Return to Transcripts main page


Boston Bombing Case In Hands of Jury; UVA Fraternity To Sue Rolling Stone For False Rape Story; Obama Rejects Israel's Demand on Iran Deal; Obama Rejects Israel's Demand on Iran Deal; Interview with Congressman Ed Royce of California and Congressman Andre Carson of Indiana. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 6, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:08] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, the Boston bombing trial now in the hands of the jury.

Will Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gets the death penalty?

Plus, "Rolling Stone" retracting its story about a brutal gang rape at a university fraternity. How much damage has already been done and why hasn't anyone at the magazine been fired over the outrageous mistakes?

And poisoned in paradise, a family hospitalized, two sons are in a coma tonight after they were exposed to a paralyzing chemical during their Caribbean vacation. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. And we begin OUTFRONT tonight with breaking news. The Boston bombing case now is in the hands of the jury. After weeks of dramatic testimony closing arguments ended late today and now the jury, it's seven women and five men, they will decide whether to convict him and whether he should pay the ultimate price for the act of terror. Witnesses in court today described Tsarnaev as fidgeting during those closing arguments. The 21-year-old Tsarnaev stands accuse of 30 felony counts including four counts of murder and detonating a weapon of mass destruction as an act of terrorism.

Prosecutors have painted Tsarnaev as a cold-blooded terrorist who along with his older brother murdered three people and wounded 264 more during the Boston marathon two years ago. He's also charged with killing a police officer three days later during the manhunt. The defense so says Tsarnaev was brainwashed by his brother.

Alexandra Field has been following this trial in Boston. And Alexandra, Tsarnaev's lawyers said, quote, "It was him." So, they've admitted it, right? So, this isn't really about guilt or innocence. This is about whether he will be put to death.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They laid that out in opening statements that it was him. So, for the defense this has always been about the long game, how to spare Tsarnaev's life but the prosecution has a different task. They need to keep their eye on the bald. They have the burden of proving his guilt in some 30 different charges which he faces, 17 of those charges come with a possible death sentence. So, if this jury returns a guilty verdict on just one of those 17 charges, then this case goes on to the second phase, the sentencing phase of this trial. Both sides however are laying the ground work for that second phase, weaving in a lot of narrative for the first base of this trial.

The defense trying to argue that this is a young man who was susceptible to the influence of his older brother, who was manipulated into this plot that he didn't conceive of himself. The prosecution drawing a much harder line saying when he was found hiding in that boat in water tank, he had laid out the motive, expressed it to the American people, writing that message saying we Muslims are one body, when you hurt one, you hurt us all. They described him as a holy warrior, a soldier who had his sights set on Boston the day of that deadly attack -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Alexandra, thank you very much. And obviously, this penalty phase, death penalty or not is at the center of this.

Ed Davis was the Boston police commissioner when the bombing happened. And Ed, you were there today as this went to the hands of the jury. So, you saw the jurors, you saw Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his face. How did he react?

ED DAVIS, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: He was relatively nonreactive until Al checked the body, who did the closing walked towards the table and pointed to him. He got a little animated after that. So there was a response from him.

BURNETT: So it was just at that one moment when he pointed at him. Someone described it as fidgeting. That you're saying he got animated?

DAVIS: Yes. He was fidgeting moving his hands around. I thought that he might actually say something. He clearly was affected by some of the things that the prosecutor was saying.

BURNETT: Oh, that's interesting. All right. So 17 of the 30 counts that he's facing of course carry the death penalty, as you know, Ed.

DAVIS: Correct.

BURNETT: You know you lived through this as a member of that community in trying to find him. The death penalty is a big question and it's a big question in a place like Massachusetts where many people oppose it. Do you think he deserves it?

DAVIS: Well, I did live through it. I spoke to you during those few days that we were pursing this guy.


DAVIS: So I may be a little slanted in my view. But I've never been a big advocate of the death penalty but I think in this particular case, this suspect's actions, what he did to two innocent young women and a little boy along with Officer Collier, it was such a vicious attack and so directed and affected so many people that I think the death penalty is definitely called for on this case.

BURNETT: So you believe in it. And even though -- so one of the survivors, Jared Cloury (ph), you know, he told me his quote was, "When Tsarnaev had the shootout he wanted to die. By giving him the death penalty he gets what he wants." And Jared is referring to when Tsarnaev said he was ready to receive the reward of heaven. There are people who agree with Jared who say, look, this is what he wants, he wants the death penalty. You know, what do you say to that? Is this rewarding him in any way?

[19:05:12] DAVIS: You know, I was surrounded by the victims today in court and they have been so strong and so much a real role model for everyone. It's incredible the way that they have dealt with this. I don't want to argue with any victims but what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wants is irrelevant to me. I think that he is following in the footsteps of people who have declared war on the United States. They have said that they want to kill innocent civilians, they've done that and now they should pay the price for it. That's the way I look at it.

BURNETT: All right. Very well said. Thank you so much, Ed, I appreciate you being back with us.

And OUTFRONT now, Alan Dershowitz, one of the nation's leading criminal attorneys, also the author of "Terror Tunnels." Alan, you just heard what Ed said. And I thought he put it very eloquently. He doesn't care what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wants. He thinks that this merits the death penalty.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, I agree. I don't care what Tsarnaev wants. And by the way, I don't think he wants the death penalty. If he wanted the death penalty, he wouldn't have retained this brilliant lawyer Clark whose specialty is to avoid the death penalty and he would have gotten up in court and blurted out some jihadist statements as the martyrs do. He doesn't want the death penalty. But I don't think we should care what he wants. Look at any crime ever warranted the death penalty. It's this one. But the question the jury will face is, does this criminal warranted death penalty? Is this both the worst crime possible? Yes. Is it the worst criminal possible or are there mitigating factors and we'll see what Clark comes up with in terms of mitigating factors.

BURNETT: That, of course, is his attorney. And you're not optimistic. And when we keep hearing, and I've heard some really interesting analysis. People say, look, voters in Massachusetts again and again say they are not for the death penalty but when it comes to this Boston case, the views are more nuance, people are more open to it.

DERSHOWITZ: I understand.

BURNETT: What do you think this jury will do? Will they just be patently opposed to it in principle?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think one of the smart things that the prosecutors did is, they put on a very, very strong case even though the defendant conceded guilt. So they are already starting with a big advantage when it comes to the death penalty phase. But one of the smart things that Clark did is she let the prosecution basically put out its whole heart case early on.


DERSHOWITZ: So that they can't put anything on now that will be a surprise or a shock to the jury.

BURNETT: Uh-huh.

DERSHOWITZ: Look, it's always uphill to prevent a death penalty in a case where a policeman has been killed, where multiple deaths, where children have been killed. If anybody can do it, Clark can do it. She's --

BURNETT: She's known for it. I mean, she got the underwear bomber off, Jared Lee Loughner who shot Gabby Giffords.

DERSHOWITZ: But the hard question she faces is whether they him on the witness stand, now no matter what she does --

BURNETT: Now, will she do that? She didn't testify by the way.

DERSHOWITZ: Of course not.


DERSHOWITZ: Now, is she puts him on the witness stand, she'll be faulted if he gets the death penalty. If she doesn't put him on the witness stand, she'll be faulted if he gets the death penalty.


DERSHOWITZ: I can't give her advice and nobody else should give her advice because only she know what is kind of a witness he would make, what his answers would be and it all depends.


DERSHOWITZ: If he takes the witness stand, that's all that will matter. All the jury will focus on is him and what he said and whether they can look him in the eye and say, you deserve to die.

BURNETT: And on this issue of deserve to die, you know, one of the big fights in the death penalty is what cost society more, the endless appeals process of imposing the death penalty or someone being put to death. What costs society less?

DERSHOWITZ: If costs matter, imposing the death penalty is the most costly thing we can do. First of all, it will make a hero of him among some civil libertarians and anti-death penalty people. Second, it was an endless appeals. There will be no finality. I'm not sure any of us will live long enough to see this execution carried out.

BURNETT: Wow! DERSHOWITZ: So if you want finality and effectiveness, you impose life imprisonment with no possibility of parole and let him suffer with his conscience if he has any for the rest of his life in a prison cell.

BURNETT: All right. Alan Dershowitz, thank you very much. Pretty incredible as you said if he gets the death penalty may not happen any of our lifetimes.

OUTFRONT next, "Rolling Stone" magazine retracting that article about a brutal gang rape at the University of Virginia and now the fraternity at the center of the story is suing.

And breaking news, President Obama firing back, calling the demand that Iran recognized Israel as part of the nuclear deal, a big mistake. And on a Caribbean vacation, a family suddenly poisoned. Did a pesticide used at the resort where they were going for their luxurious wonderful vacation almost kill them?


[19:13:16] BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, a UVA fraternity suing over rape charges. The University of Virginia fraternity says it is suing "Rolling Stone" magazine after a report in the magazine detailed the failures of a "Rolling Stone" report in which a woman known as Jackie accused the fraternity of a brutal horrific gang rape. This story sparked outrage across the country but it turns out it was not true.

Senior media correspondent Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No one fired. No one suspended. No one disciplined at all after a scathing Columbia university review found systemic failures in Rolling Stone's reporting of an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The failure was avoidable.

STELTER: An extensive review of the now retracted rape on Campus article found the editors mistakenly invested "Rolling Stone's reputation in the single source, the alleged victim Jackie, reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely did not interview Jackie's friends who would have contradicted her account. The magazine did not give the accused fraternity enough information to really respond to the allegations. The frat did not even hold a party on the night Jackie claimed." That fraternity Phi Kappa Psi announcing today it will now pursue a lawsuit against "Rolling Stone" over its reporting. And UVA's president says irresponsible journalism unjustly damaged the reputations of many innocent individuals and the University of Virginia. So how can Erdely ever write again? She said in a statement, "These are mistakes that I will not make again." UVA student activist Alex Pinkleton was a source for Erdely story.

ALEX PINKLETON, UVA STUDENT AND SOURCE FOR "ROLLING STONE" ARTICLE: I'm not sure who would trust her at this point with a story. I'm sure, I mean, I know from personal experience that I would not recommend it.

STELTER: But the magazine's top editor, Will Dana tells the Washington Post, "Sabrina has done great work for us over the years and we expect that to continue." That decision comes from the "Rolling Stone" publisher Jann Wenner, he is not commenting publicly but a spokeswoman confirmed, "no staff changes." He believes the report is enough punishment. And to be fair, Columbia says, the writer and her editors did not make up facts or plagiarize but the review says they did do some bad reporting and editing. But they are getting second chances and the professors who reviewed the story are not second-guessing that.

STEVE COLL, DEAN OF COLUMBIA JOURNALISM SCHOOL: It's appropriate for "Rolling Stone" to sort out that accountability.

STELTER: Meanwhile, reporters and other news outlets can't barely believe it. Lisa Myers and NBC veteran and longtime investigator reporter tweets this. "So no one gets fired and no policies changed? No wonder so few trust us anymore." And an NYU Professor Clay Shirky concludes, "It was a failure of competence one big enough that Editor Will Dana should resign."


BURNETT: Brian, I mean, that's pretty incredible that this could all happen and they are not only just dodging the issue but aggressively saying no one is going to be fired.

STELTER: Defiantly, I would say, Erin. I've been trying all day to reach Will Dana and "Rolling Stone's" spokespeople and others, they are just simply not commenting. You could argue this is about second chances. You could argue this is about loyalty on the part of the publisher. But almost everybody today is taking the opposite approach. They are saying this seems like stubbornness or ineptitude on the part of "Rolling Stone." Not to take any disciplinary action at all. We'll see if that changes in the days to come.

BURNETT: We sure well. There's a lot of outrage out there about that. Thank you so much, Brian.

And now, Joshua Strange, he was accused of sexual assault by his then- girlfriend in 2011 at the time they were both undergraduates at Auburn University. Strange was arrested but when the case was brought before an Alabama grand jury, they found insufficient evidence to prosecute him and threw the case out. Also OUTFRONT with me tonight, Linda Fairstein, former head of the Sex Crimes Unit in Manhattan's District Attorney's office.

All right. I appreciate both of you taking the time. Josh, let me start with you because I just gave everyone the headlines of your personal story. As someone who says he was falsely accused of rape in college, are you surprised by this story that Jackie's allegations were front page material for "Rolling Stone" caused outrage across this country but ended up not being true? JOSHUA STRANGE, MEMBER, FAMILIES ADVOCATING FOR CAMPUS EQUALITY: I'm

really not surprised. I'm not surprised by either the reaction of the general public nor the fact that it turned out to be false. The reaction -- it's a shock factor. And even reading it myself, it was very, very shocking to read and it was very, very difficult to read. But immediately I had red flags that came up about it. It was so heavy handed on her side and it seemed to almost just say, well, there's no point in trying to investigate any further because why would someone make this up? It seems like they just took her at her word and that was good enough and it was obviously not good enough. There needed to be some sort of investigation into the actual facts and into the story.

[19:18:06] BURNETT: Right. And then there was, Linda. But, you know, Josh raises an interesting point, which is that we went from a time when women didn't come forward at all. Now you have something like this where it's almost -- it's just seen as you can't ask the questions. You can't push back. This reporter -- everything was done in the names of protecting this woman. Right? So, they didn't do any of the things they would ordinarily do in a story, because they didn't want to risk offending.

LINDA FAIRSTEIN, FORMER HEAD, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY SEX CRIMES UNIT: In fact, Erin, there are two very different things at play. One is how these cases unfold on a college campus. And you're right, I think you can't question critically or people don't question critically an accuser who, after so long being unable to get justice, they are coming forward. But I think Josh and I would probably agree that college campuses are not the place to adjudicate criminal charges. In the story for me as a prosecutor, as a professional, I think the reporter and the magazine were so irresponsible because there were other huge tells, like the fact that this young woman claimed seven men serially assaulted her while she was laying naked on shards of glass and didn't need medical treatment for that, did as an intelligent young woman see the need to be examined because --

BURNETT: Right. There were certain questions they could have asked without so-called questioning her story.

FAIRSTEIN: Absolutely. Yes.

BURNETT: I mean, Josh, in your case, and in the UVA case, though, and the experience of a young man who has gone through this sort of a thing, do you feel it's guilty until proven innocent? So, someone makes an accusation at a young man in college and that accusation is the reality?

STRANGE: Absolutely. It is 100 percent you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent which is not the way that it is supposed to be at all. I will say that no matter what I did in that room, no matter who I brought and no matter what they said in my hearing, I was gone. I was signed, sealed, delivered, expelled. There was nothing I could do because there was such a presumption against me that it was almost futile.

BURNETT: And Linda, what do you say to that? I mean, you know, I know most young woman who come forward obviously have gone through trauma and are telling the truth but there are some who are not.


BURNETT: And no young man deserves to have his whole life ruined, which can happen, because there it is out there, because someone falsely accused you about something that's frankly you can't prove.

FAIRSTEIN: Erin, I started prosecuting these cases in 1972. That's ancient history in this area of victimization. The rules are very different, they didn't allow most women to go forward. And so, we struggled for a long time to give accusers a day in court.

BURNETT: To give them their voice. Yes.

FAIRSTEIN: Absolutely. And now there has been the shift, title line, the federal government is imposing on colleges the need to resolve these cases there. Schools are in place to educate young people. And this idea that they can serve as investigators, judges, juries, there's no due process, neither for Mr. Strange, I'm sure, had probably no right to have an attorney, no right to call witnesses, nor do the accusers in these cases have the ability to call witness, have DNA evidence presented.


FAIRSTEIN: These cases should not be investigated by people on campuses. It's just wrong.

BURNETT: So Josh, what should a young man do now in college? I mean, obviously the answer is complete abstinence. But, you know, what would you say?

STRANGE: Really, just always be aware of your surroundings and don't -- I'll be the first one to tell you that I did practice poor judgment. Try to not do that. Just always be aware of who it is that you're speaking with and who it is that you're getting involved with and never set yourself up for something like this.

BURNETT: And Linda, what about on the other side? The woman who now goes through this traumatic act and is afraid to go forward because people are going to say, oh, she's making it up?

FAIRSTEIN: Well, women need to know that they can be believed and there's so many more advocate units in place all over the country and on campuses, purification to help with this kind of thing. But as Josh was saying, I mean, get consent. If you're a young man, make sure you have consent from a woman before you engage in acts. These cases are not caused by drugs and alcohol but they are contributing factors.

BURNETT: Of course they are.

FAIRSTEIN: If you're a young woman going out and you think you can have five tequila sunrises and --

BURNETT: And don't remember what you did -- FAIRSTEIN: Yes. The courts can't reconstruct it for you.


FAIRSTEIN: So, there's a lot of basics that really need to be re- established about how we socialize and women need to know that when they come forward with the truth, there are court systems that are able to help them and until this is sorted out on college campuses, a lot of the Title 9 work will go on.

BURNETT: Right. Alcohol doesn't excuse it on either side.


BURNETT: Thank you very much, Linda and Josh. And OUTFRONT next, breaking words, a war of words now between President Obama and the Israeli Prime Minister heating up tonight. So, the President swinging hard about the nuclear deal with Iran, we're going to tell you exactly what he just said.

[19:23:05] And a family poisoned while on vacation at a Caribbean resort. A common chemical nearly killed them. Two of them are fighting for their lives in a coma tonight.


[19:27:10] BURNETT: Breaking news, President Obama responding to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Of course was one of the harshest critics of that preliminary nuclear deal with Iran. The President moments ago dismissing Netanyahu's demand that Iran recognize Israel's right to exist as part of the deal. This, as the Obama administration tries to convince Congress not to derail the deal that has the President's legacy on the line.

Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT from the White House. And Jim, that's pretty aggressive, I mean, Israel saying that they want Iran to recognize their right to exist but it seems to be a pretty basic thing that the United States would be completely on board with but the President in this tense war of words shooting that down.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. And that sparring continued today as the President weighed in as you said on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand that Israel have its right to exist recognized by Iran. The President basically saying today that is a nonstarter and insisting in that interview with national public radio it's a deal Iran never would have accepted.


ACOSTA (voice-over): The full-court press has begun as President Obama sells a nuclear deal with Iran to deeply skeptical lawmakers and worried allies. The President explains to NPR why he did not craft a deal that hinge on Iran's recognition of Israel's right to exist.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons in a verifiable deal on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won't sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transformed and that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment.

ACOSTA: He told "The New York Times" in an interview that the negotiations with Iran are proof that diplomacy even with long-time adversaries can pay dividends. Especially, the President said, when engagement is backed by the threat of military action.

OBAMA: The truth of the matter is, Iran's defense budget is $30 billion. Our defense budget is closer to $600 billion. Iran understands that they cannot fight us.

ACOSTA: But the President's critics saying, he's undercut that position of strength by allowing Iran to keep too much of it is nuclear program.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, my view is probably the best deal that Barack Obama could get with the Iranians because the Iranians don't fear nor do they respect him and our allies in the region don't trust the president.

ACOSTA: It's a message Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu all but repeated on CNN when he declined to say he trusts the President.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you trust the President, Mr. Prime Minister?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I trust the President is doing what he thinks is good for the United States but I think that we can have a legitimate difference of opinion on this because I think Iran has shown to be completely distrustful.

ACOSTA: The President revealed he takes that criticism too harsh.

OBAMA: It has been personally difficult for me to hear sort of expressions that somehow we don't have this administration has not done everything it could to look out for Israel's interests.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Part of the reason there was so much skepticism is the fact that a big portion of the framework agreement touted in the Rose Garden last week is hardly settled. The White House conceded the U.S. and Iran have yet to agree on when sanctions on Tehran will be lifted.

(on camera): Does that mean that there was no framework agreement last week.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Jim, there's a four-page document --

ACOSTA: That's a pretty key pillar it seemed of this framework agreement.

EARNEST: Well, Jim, I think we've been very clear about the fact that there are important details that need to be locked down.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA: And a confrontation between the White House and Congress is becoming even more of a possibility as Republicans say they are busy gathering up Democratic support for a plan to have Congress vote on the final nuclear deal. The White House said again today the president will veto that measure but Republicans -- they're getting increasingly confident that they'll have enough votes to override that veto, Erin. The president is feeling it from all sides tonight.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim Acosta.

And OUTFRONT now, Congressman Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Democratic Congressman Andre Carson on the House Intelligence Committee.

Good to have both of you with us.

Congressman Carson, let me start with you on this news that the president just made, that he will not make this deal contingent on Iran recognizing Israel's right to exist. This is very, very basic thing and obviously relevant to the deal, right? If Iran recognizes Israel's right to exist, then it's essentially saying they are not going to try to destroy it.

Why wouldn't the president -- why would the president not do that? That doesn't make sense, does it?

REP. ANDRE CARSON (D-IN), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I think the president is wise in this regard. It's no secret, without a doubt, that America stands with Israel. We support Israel's right to exist and Israel is an important and critical ally in the region.

What is more important is that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon and I think this deal keeps our country safe, it keeps our allies safe, and it keeps the region safe.

BURNETT: Representative Royce, what do you say to that? I mean, the president says, look, I don't have to put this right to exist thing in here because I know it's going to blow the whole deal up, because Iran doesn't want any parts of it, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I don't trust Iran but I'm going to verify, my inspectors are going to go in, go ahead and pass this deal.

REP. ED ROYCE (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Well, as the head of the military in Iran said, head of the Basij, he said the destruction of Israel is nonnegotiable in this deal. Israel will be destroyed.

And the message from the supreme leader a week ago was death to America. He has told -- he has told the Iranian military, I want you to mass produce ICBMs and they are less than a year away from having the capability with these ICBMs.

Now, the question is, will -- will the inspectors be able to go in and actually inspect these sites, especially the military sites? Because, remember, the ayatollah has sided with the military here and, so far, Iran has cheated the IAEA on the ability to get those answers in terms of it is nuclear bomb work and to get access to places like Fordow. And the reason Fordow exists is because they cheated. They made a military site on a military base.

And so, this is going to be the question. And this is why Congress is interested in what's in this deal.

MADDOW: Now, I know, look, they say they are going to get access to Fordow. They're going to get access to Parchin, these sites that you're referring to.

But, Representative Carson, Representative Royce raises a key point, which is, this all started from a baseline of the United States saying Iran could not have a nuclear program at all. And now, all of a sudden, they get to keep their research and development, keep their centrifuges, don't have to destroy anything.

I mean, here is President Obama when he was running for re-election in 2012.


OBAMA: The deal we'll accept is they end their nuclear program. It's very straightforward.


BURNETT: Congressman Carson, does it give you pause in supporting him that he has done such an about-face?

CARSON: Well, I think -- I think under the current proposal, Iran has agreed to cut their centrifuges from just over 11,000 to around 6,000, which is roughly two-thirds in many ways, or at least half. And so, I think that's a step in the right direction.

What I'm comforted by is that the IAEA will be allowed to do regular inspections without intervention and what is critical and for people to understand is that the current sanctions that are in place, Erin, from terrorism sanctions that are in place, to the human rights abuses sanctions and ballistic missile sanctions that are in place will not be impeded or will be interrupted. So, that's critical for folks to know.

And once this deal, if it is a solidified, once it progresses, the other sanctions that are in place will be ultimately phased out during a series of seasons, if you will.

[19:35:01] But the other sanctions, terrorism, human rights abuses and ballistic missiles will stay in place.

BURNETT: All right. That's a fair point. They get some of those key banking paths to open up.

CARSON: Absolutely.

BURNETT: But Congressman Royce, are you sold at all by the issue -- you know, I was talking to the head of the IAEA on Friday and he said there's a couple sites, they can't get into all. Under the deal, they'll be able to get into all of the sites, he says, if it's observed and he also said, now, they have to give 24 hours notice and now they will only have to give two hours notice. He seemed to think that was enough, that was enough for just a sudden visit, the U.S. could just show up, Iran wouldn't be able to hide stuff in that amount of time.

Does that optimism convince you? I mean, this is a guy after all who said, look, Iran has been lying to us for years and years and years. And now, he's optimistic.

ROYCE: Well, remember, we went through this with North Korea. I remember the North Korean trade framework agreement and I remember the way the North Koreans cheated, and the upshot was we found out that because we didn't have anytime/anywhere inspections -- and let me explain, we don't have anywhere/anytime inspections. We run these by the Iranians and then they decide whether they're going to let us in.

And remember, the military has a real say with this. They are the ones with a real connection with the ayatollah, who ultimately decides. If the ayatollah decides to hold us up from getting inspectors in or if the ayatollah decides to open up new sites, like they did with Fordow, on other military bases, remember, they are saying, we don't want you to be able to come in and just do snap inspections everywhere.

So, we could find ourselves in the same situation as we found with North Korea, where we find out they've got a dual program, plutonium and enriched uranium, and all of a sudden, here's the bomb, here's the deliverable capability with the ICBMs and it's too late.

This is why most of us favored more pressure, 265 members of Congress two weeks ago sent a letter to the president, laying out all of these points. We have passed a bill 400-20, which I had authored, to put more pressure -- more pressure on Iran in order to get the concessions -- the real concessions that we need in this agreement. And this is why so many members of Congress are concerned at this moment on both sides of the aisle.

BURNETT: And as you heard Jim Acosta tell our viewers, it looks like they may have a veto proof majority to shoot it down. Thanks very much to Congressman Carson and Congressman Royce.

Congressman Royce mentioning North Korea, and don't miss a special edition of OUTFRONT this Friday. We will be in South Korea to speak to the new secretary of defense, Ashton Carter. It will be his first in-depth interview. We're going to talk about the Iran nuclear deal, ISIS, and the rising tensions with North Korea. That is this Friday, live from South Korea.

And OUTFRONT next, a major new attack by ISIS. A fierce fire fight outside of Syria's capital. Charges they're beheading captives. We have a live report.

And a vacation in paradise goes horribly wrong, an entire family hospitalized. Two of them in a coma tonight, when they were poisoned by a pesticide that they didn't even know had been sprayed in their room.


[19:41:45] BURNETT: ISIS and a major new offensive tonight, making a bold push towards Syria's capital. They're releasing video. This video right here, this is militants storming the streets of a refugee camp, which is just miles from President Bashar al Assad's palace in Damascus.

Atika Shubert is OUTFRONT.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This video is proof, ISIS says, that its fighters are now in Yarmouk, just miles from the presidential palace of Bashar al Assad. This is the closest ISIS has gotten to threatening the seat of Assad's power, by striking at one of the most vulnerable populations in Damascus, the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk.

Now, reports from Palestinian leaders that ISIS is staking its claim by beheading rival rebel commanders inside the camp. The U.N. is calling the situation, quote, "beyond inhumane."

PIERRE KRAHENBUHL, UNRWA COMMISSIONER GENERAL: When we think of a situation that was already unbearable in many terms, in human terms when I visited three weeks ago, the situation now has only deteriorated further and so, it is really very much a test for the entire international system to see whether this situation can be addressed in human terms and in political terms.

SHUBERT: Yarmouk has already been starved by Assad's forces, bombarded by regime's rockets. A year ago, this was the scene when aid workers were finally able to negotiate a way to the camp. Hundreds were believed to have died in Yarmouk, not only from the violence but also lack of food and medicine.

Now, ISIS is on the streets and their presence threatens civilians once again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): As you see, brother, houses are ruined and destroyed. We are afraid to sleep on the upper floors. We are tired of hunger and thirst. We do not have food or medicine here. We have nothing at all at this camp. We're really tired of this. So, please try to find a solution.

SHUBERT: But there may be worse to come. From Yarmouk, ISIS can strike at the heart of Damascus. Assad's forces may decide to hit back. That will surely mean more suffering for civilians in Yarmouk.

Atika Shubert, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: Our thanks, Atika.

I want to go straight now to a former counterterrorism official Phil Mudd.

All right. So, you just saw that report. Obviously, they put this video out because they are politically savvy in terms of their PR. But still, this is a bold attack. This is miles from Damascus.

What is that significance?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Look, you look at this and I think the first reaction you have is there's a humanitarian disaster and there's a potential threat to the Assad regime.

I'd say take a step back for a second. There's a broader issue that people like me are more focused on.


MUDD: You go east to Iran, you have Shia-backed militias killing Sunnis. You go south to Yemen, you have an Iran-backed Shia group the Houthis going after Sunnis. You go up to Syria where we are here. We have ISIS moving in next to Damascus.

Where are they getting close to? A Shia-backed regime across the region. You don't just have civil wars. Time and again you have a potential battle that has regional implications -- the Sunnis versus the Shia.

BURNETT: Right. The Sunnis versus the Shia.

[19:45:01] And, of course, then you have Iran on one side.

MUDD: That's correct. Yes.

BURNETT: You know, it's ascendancy for the Shia.

So, if ISIS were to grow, to succeed -- I mean, this could be just one PR element and may not be at all the true story. But if they are growing and all of a sudden, you see the Assad regime in danger due to ISIS, you end up in a situation again which we've seen already starts to happen, where the United States is in a position of backing Bashar al Assad.

MUDD: I think sort of backing Bashar al-Assad. I think there's going to be pressure on the government, U.S. government, eventually, to say, if we want other oppositionists, those other oppositions in Syria, the people who potentially go fight ISIS are people who are going to say, if you want to join us, if you want to give us weapons, aren't you in this game with us, too? In other words, taking out Assad?

We're going to have to figure out this little riddle. If we play this game of supporting oppositionists so they can defeat ISIS, we've got to have the same goals as they do, which is take out Bashar al Assad. It ain't that hard.


MUDD: The strategy, not the operations. BURNETT: Yes, the hard part is what to replace them with. We learned

that in Iraq.

MUDD: Yes.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Phil Mudd.

MUDD: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the criminal investigation underway after a vacation nightmare. Two teenagers are in a coma tonight. Officials think a pesticide used at their resort is to blame. Why was it used years after it was banned?

And Jeanne Moos on the selfie that everyone from the president to the pope, they all take them with pride, no problem, no shame. They don't worry about dignity? Prince Harry, though, apparently is.


[19:50:01] BURNETT: The family's dream vacation quickly turned into a nightmare. They were poisoned by a highly toxic pesticide. And now, the Justice Department is launching a criminal investigation into why the chemical which was banned was even used in the first place.

Steve Esmond and his two teenage sons are fighting for their lives in a hospital tonight. Both sons are still in a coma. Traces of the fumigating chemical methyl bromide was found in their room at a luxury resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A spring vacation for the family in the U.S. Virgin Islands was supposed to be a tropical paradise. But just hours after checking into their St. John's condo, the family of four thought they had food poisoning. Paramedics were called to the Delaware family's villa on March 20th, after Steve Esmond fell unconscious. His wife and two sons began having seizures.

The family was rushed to a hospital in nearby St. Thomas, and then airlifted to the United States after it appeared they had been exposed to a lethal pesticide.

JUDITH ENCK, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ADMINISTRATOR: Methyl bromide is a potent neurotoxin. And, in fact, EPA banned its use for indoor applications all the way back in 1984.

CASAREZ: Ignoring EPA regulations, federal investigators say methyl bromide was sprayed on the first floor of the condo to kill bugs. But odorless fumes reached the second floor where the family was staying.

ENCK: This is a very toxic pesticide that can damage your central nervous systems. CASAREZ: The family says Steve Esmond is now out of his coma and

improving. His two sons are still both listed in critical condition. His wife is out of the hospital and undergoing therapy. Indoor use of the toxin is illegal.

But the EPA says it has never seen such a devastating indoor case before, raising serious questions about where else this chemical is used.

ENCK: Today, it's used primarily in agriculture. For instance, it's injected into the soil of strawberry fields.

CASAREZ (on camera): If the chemical is put in the ground near the strawberries, how do we not get it in our system when we eat some of those strawberries?

ENCK: Well, we trust that the strawberry producers are making sure that there's not excess pesticide residue on strawberries. You definitely want to wash them really good.

CASAREZ (voice-over): According to the "Journal of Industrial Medicine", field workers were poisoned at a Connecticut nursery in 1990, after methyl bromide was injected into the soil.

And in 2011, the CDC reports warehouse workers in California were taken ill after exposure to grapes imported from Chile, fumigated with methyl bromide.


CASAREZ: And, Erin, we're just learning right now that Sea Glass Vacations have just told CNN that they are canceling their contract, they are renters of the condo, in regard to Terminex. They will not be using them anymore.

And also, the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into this. The EPA is assisting. But the more I learned about this, the more concerned I got, because it is used amongst agricultural crops.

BURNETT: You talk about injected into the soil next to strawberries.

CASAREZ: So, I asked the EPA, what do you do? She said, wash your fruits and vegetables. And that's really serious. Wash -- and she said, organic, you can buy organic and it shouldn't happen at all. But for the rest of us that eat regular fruits and vegetables, the real hope is to just wash them.

BURNETT: Which is terrifying, because you never know if you really get it off to wash it.


BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jean Casarez.

And next, one member of the royal family takes a selfie. Jeanne Moos has the story, next.


[19:57:49] BURNETT: The money, the power of selfies. According to "Time" magazine, the selfies city in the world is Makati, outside Manila in the Philippines, also known as the Wall Street in Philippines. For every 100,000 people, 250 are selfie takers. People, don't ask me how they get their stats.

A plane ride to the Southeast though, Prince Harry is in Australia in what could be the least selfiest city in the world, after what he's done there.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It took a prince to put his royal foot down moments after one Australian fan tried to sneak a selfie with Prince Harry. He gently but firmly nixed the request of another.

PRINCE HARRY: No, I hate selfies. Seriously, you need to get out of it. I know you're young, but selfies are bad.

MOOS: Did you hear him? Selfies are bad.

Finally, finally someone willing to exercise a little selfie control, and just say no to selfies.

Even the queen has been caught in selfies. Although it's said she photo bombed these two field hockey players. They say they posed where they figured she'd walk by.

Watch the fan in Washington, D.C., make a beeline for Prince Charles. Shake his hand, pose, and then celebrate.

No one's immune from the pope to the president, and the vice president. Mr. Obama even joked around with a selfie stick -- as he did some shtick to promote health care.

Selfies have been around since before they were called selfies. In 1966, Buzz Aldrin took what may have been the first space selfie. Back on earth, though still above it, skyscraper selfies are popular.

And even below ground, in the pit of a volcano, George Koronnos (ph) put on a horse mask and snapped a selfie.

From horses to lions, to lions to bulls, this guy was taking selfies during the running of the bulls.

The prince took the bull by the horns and said, you may not take a selfie.

PRINCE HARRY: Just take a normal photograph.

MOOS: When it comes to just say no to selfies, the redheaded prince rules.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: I'm all for it. He's in the right.

Be sure to watch our show, and you can also DVR it every night.

Anderson starts now.