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Prison Escapee David Sweat Gives Details to Authorities; Perspectives for David Trump; Wildfires in Washington Destroying Homes. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired June 30, 2015 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, good evening. Thanks for joining us. A lot to get to tonight. Donald Trump under fire in the Latino community on fire in the polls and on the stump in New Hampshire. Well, just listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ISIS is building a total in Syria. They're competing against me.


COOPER: That is just a tiny sample of what he said this evening, with unlike anything you'll see and hear in most campaigns and you'll see and hear a lot more later tonight.

We'll also bring you late details on the $500 million lawsuit he says he is filing against Univision.

We begin, though, with the breaking news on the prison breakout, an escape that nearly happened a night earlier when David Sweat and Richard Matt had a dry run that took them all the way outside the walls of the Clinton correctional facility in Dannemora, New York. That is reportedly with David Sweat is telling investigators. And he may be saying even more about how long in the making their breakout actually was. And there is fall out as well of the prison, a major shake-up at Dannemora.

As I said, a lot to cover starting with our Jason Carroll outside the prison.

Some new information about Matt's last moments before that confrontation with police. What have you learned?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. A lot of new information coming in as you know. He was able to find a number of things on the run that we're finding out. Food, pop-tarts, M&Ms, also liquor, some sort of grape flavored liquor, Anderson, that he was apparently drinking just before he was shot. These are some of the new details coming to us.

Also before he was shot, he found some sort of a shotgun and fired it several times inside of a trailer. One of those shots happened to hit a vehicle that was driving by. And that's what sort of set off this whole chain of events.

So this coming to us, also, a picture coming to us. I have to warn our viewers it is somewhat graphic. It is a picture of Richard Matt just after he was shot. And you can see there, what it clearly shows him wearing that green jacket, the brown pants, the boots, the coroner saying that it was very obvious that this was someone who was dressed to be there in the woods. This was a man who lived in extremely violent life and he came to a violent end as well -- Anderson.

COOPER: And I understand David Sweat's condition was upgraded today.

CARROLL: Yes. His condition upgraded from Albany medical. And as you said earlier, he is talking to investigators, telling them who was involved people like Joyce Mitchell, people who were not involved. People like Gene Palmer, he was that security guard there who passed on that frozen chunk of meat with hacksaws inside. David Sweat telling investigators that this is a man, Gene Palmer who had no knowledge of the plan to break out of the prison.

But a little bit more information there about Albany medical where he is being held. He is being held in a special section of the medical facility. No visitors and he has security guards there at all the doors simply because he is a flight risk -- Anderson.

COOPER: That would definitely be an understatement.

Jason Carroll, thanks very much.

Digging deep now in to how police and other investigators go about getting information from people like David Sweat. People might not always be inclined to tell the whole truth. But between the two of them, former detectives Harry Houck and Jim Trainum have interrogated hundreds of suspects and prisoners, some in the hospital. Harry is a former NYPD detective, currently a CNN law enforcement analyst. Jim Trainum, the former Washington D.C. metro police detective. It is good to have both of them on the program tonight.

Harry, the fact that David Sweat seems to be willingly giving a fair amount of information to investigators while in the hospital, does that surprise you?

HARRY HOUCK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's a little bit surprising. But the fact that, I believe that David Sweat has got quite an ego. And I think the way the detectives probably approach him, the way I would have at the time, first of all you develop a nice rapport with him and try to get personal with him. And one of the first things I probably said to him is, hey, David, you know, that was some escape. Let me tell you. If wasn't for Matt, you would be in Canada by now.


HOUCK: Exactly. Play to their ego and at the same time, using Matt as the reason why he was caught. Now, I'm asking questions, you know, why did you stay with this guy for so long if he's so crazy to take shots at the vehicle? Something like that. So when you develop this rapport with them, it is almost like a friendly rapport. And you have to keep on coming back. Once you find a detective that can talk to him and that he talks back to him without any kind of a problem, then you have to utilize that same detective every day, coming in, asking questions, talking, getting personal, getting friendly with him and therefore, he'll release more information.

COOPER: Jim, I mean, as a detective interrogating someone like this, how do you know they're actually telling you accurate information? Because it seems like Sweat is claiming credit for most of this saying he was the one doing most of the work. He was the one on the catwalk.

JAMES TRAINUM, FORMER METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT DETECTIVE: Basically, Sweat, he is going to tell you what he wants you to know. And so, what need to do is take what he's telling and corroborate with it the information you do know for sure. And that's pretty much how you determine the reliability of any sort of statement, any sort of confession.

You take what you know. You compare it to what they're saying. And then as he's given information that doesn't quite match the story, that's when you are able to kind of confront him. But you can do it in a way that's not adversarial. You can kind of ease him into it and confront him with his contradiction and try to see whether or not he changes his account.

[20:05:27] COOPER: You know, Harry, it is interesting -- I'm wondering if he tried to strike some sort of a deal of, you know. Because clearly law enforcement wants to know the full details, if there are other people involved. They want to know everything they can from Sweat. You know, he doesn't have that much leverage. That much to bargain with. But clearly, you know, he is probably going to be in isolation for a very, very long time, 23 hours a day. I suppose that's the only thing he can try to request, you know, to be back in the honors block or to be in General population, not being in solitary confinement.

HOUCK: Right. And that's basically the only thing that the police can also -- detectives can work with. He doesn't care if he gets ten years added on to his sentence. The guy is doing life. He is going to be in jail until he dies. So he doesn't really care about that.

What he cares about, as we can see, you know, here is a guy that was on the honor roll who still tried to escape, alright. So he don't like it there. So the last thing he wants to be is in lockdown for 23 hours a day. So the detectives will be able to utilize that and say listen, well, maybe we can put you in lockdown for only five years instead of ten. Maybe we'll give you two, three hours a day to come out. And that is going to be their bargaining chip. But that's the only thing they really have.

COOPER: Jim, the Clinton county district attorney told NBC tonight that Sweat is claiming, as I said, he was the mastermind behind the escape. That he navigated the catwalks. I mean, he is the only survivor so it is not surprising, I guess, that he is taking all the credit. TRAINUM: I mean, he is going to paint himself in the best light

possible. I mean, he is basically a con artist. Look what he did in the jail, how he conned all these people and how he manipulated him. So sure. He is going to paint himself in the best light possible. This is going to give him a lot of (INAUDIBLE). And also now, he has the opportunity to get back at those people who failed him during this escape attempt. So, yes.

COOPER: Interesting though that he seems to be standing up for Gene Palmer saying that Gene Palmer didn't know about it.

Harry, it is amazing thought, the practice run that these guys made the night before the escape. The DA tells NBC they actually ended up in a manhole near the prison, decide that had wasn't the right manhole to try to escape from. So they went back to the prison and did it the next day. I mean, the fact that they could do that, and have the confidence to do that is pretty unbelievable.

HOUCK: It is unbelievable. You know, the fact is, I think, you know, I think they got lucky. I think they got lucky that they found the right manhole or they had plenty of time. They figured this was the last run they were going tonight, that night. And they had to just keep on going through that tunnel until they found the right manhole to be able to get out of there.

COOPER: A lot of confidence to go back, and decide no, we'll do this tomorrow. We have plenty of time. Obviously more details still to know.

Harry Houck, Jim Trainum, appreciate you being on.

Again, we do not yet know whether David Sweat has told interrogators specifically where and how he was planning to get into Canada. We do know, however, that he was shot and captured near an especially difficult border crossing.

Our Gary Tuchman reported that last night. Tonight, he shows us a much easier way in.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): David Sweat ran into this field. This is where he was shot. Canada is through this forest but it is in heavy wilderness. It is two miles as the crow flies but it would have taken a long time to get there because the brush is so thick. But there is a much easier way to get to Canada. He could have gotten it very quickly if he took path that I'm about to take.

It is long mostly dirt roads. But at night, it is very dark and he could have gotten away with it if no police were present. And I want to show you how easy it would it been for David Sweat to do. I'm going to jog some of the way and walk some of the way which is likely what he would have done.

He was seen jogging. But I'll show you how long it would take and how easy it would be for him to get into Canada. Cut in through the farm field saves time. All you need is an

electronic map or paper map and anyone can figure out how to do it.

I've now walked a bit over a mile in about 17 minutes. The course we've charted is 4.2 miles, longer than the two miles through wilderness, but this will be much easier to get into Canada as you'll soon see.

I have less than half a mile to go to the Quebec border. I've been going about 50 minutes. The 4.2 mile walk/jog is over. This is the international border between the United States and Canada. And you haven't seen one like this before. The only impediment stopping you from going into Canada is this. This jungle gym.

This is a single family house right here. This family lives right on the border. And I'm going to show you, had Sweat planned it like, this it would have been very simple for him to get into Canada because you see that monument? This is the border between the countries. The backyard of this family's house is Franklin County, New York. This is Franklin County, United States. This is Quebec, Canada.

This backyard is part of Canada. This sign for people entering illegally from people, not so ferocious. Stop, United States boundary, there's no one here. This is Canadian land. And if David Sweat got to this point, it would have been Canada in charge of finding him.

The entire journey to get here took one hour and one minute.

Deborah Smith lives here with her dogs.

So when you heard where David Sweat was shot so close here, what did you think?

DEBORAH SMITH, RESIDENT: It scared that the Jesus out of me. I didn't realize that they were quite that close.

TUCHMAN: I mean, this is obviously an easy place to cross into Canada.

SMITH: Very easy. Very easy.

TUCHMAN: Did you have any police come to you during this three-week search asking you question or wanting to look?

SMITH: No. I don't think they even thought they were down in this area until like the very last, you know.

TUCHMAN: And that's true.


TUCHMAN: And Deborah Smith says a narrow once through this Canadian forest that exits in to the Quebec farmland.

(END VIDEOTAPE) [20:11:31] COOPER: Gary, it's amazing, a, how good shape you are in but also that she didn't have any encounters with police in all this time given that her house is right on the border. Did she tell you if she's ever actually seen anyone crossing between the U.S. and Canada?

TUCHMAN: Deborah has lived there seven years, Anderson. And she said to me during years she's seen numerous people crossing in her backyard between the countries, mostly from Canada into the United States. She said it is very scary. One time she says she saw people in masks coming through her backyard. She called border officials in both countries, the United States and Canada, when she sees that. She also tells us there are sensors in the woods. But of course, that is Canada. So it is the Canadian authorities who control the sensors, not the United States authorities.

And finally, one more thing, it is important to mention, Anderson, Canada is perfectly capable of dealing with manhunts. But when it comes to this, it could have turned into an international manhunt and that's much more complicated and that may be what Sweat and Matt were banking on.

COOPER: I mean, it's amazing how close he was to being able to cross over and just how easy it is. I never seen that before.

Gary, appreciate that report. Thank you.

Coming up next, a dozen prison employees in Dannemora, a dozen, including the highest officials they have been sidelines. We got details on that.

And a new reporting about how incredibly long Sweat and Matt may have been cutting their way out of their cells without being discovered. The question, of course, is how was that possible?

Later, more of Donald Trump's free form stump speech and the ongoing fallout from his speech about Mexico and the half billion-dollar lawsuit he says he is filing against Univision. It is safe to say what you heard at the top of the program, that is far from all he said just a short time ago.


[20:16:58] COOPER: The breaking news tonight, not only could Richard Matt and David Sweat slim out of their cells, access prison walkways and climbed down five stories of steam pipes, it turns out they actually did it twice. Sweat telling investigators they did a dry run the night before the actual escape. A very full run according to the local district attorney Andrew Wylie who spoke today to NBC News.


ANDREW WYLIE, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, CLINTON COUNTY, NEW YORK: They did get out to that point of the village and did actually pop one of the manholes up. Sweat indicated it was close to the power station and the powerhouse, as we made reference to. And he felt that due to their being a number of houses in that area, that it might not be a good spot to exit from. And so, they located a manhole in between that manhole and the tunnel system where they escaped from.


COOPER: Well, I mean, it certainly says a lot about security in the honor block and the prison itself. So the question is, 12 people who had the duty of keeping this sort of thing from happening, how did they let this happen? And they were put on forced leave today including the superintendent and his deputy. And that's not all.

We're also learning just how long in the making and digging this escape may actually have been. Details and all that from Deborah Feyerick who joins us now.

What have you heard about how long Matt and Sweat were doing this?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really interesting because we are going back and we're are looking at the time line. And what we do know is that investigators believe that Matt and Sweat were actually gathering information about hunting cabins and terrain in that area for more than a year.

Eight months ago, it was the first time that corrections officer Gene Palmer actually brought in a screwdriver and needle point pliers and brought the men in the back of the catwalk. So again, all of this was so carefully orchestrated.

COOPER: The needle nose pliers.

FEYERICK: Yes. And then we know that Joyce Mitchell spent several buttering up her colleagues bringing muffins in order to get the cells moved together and also, convinced Gene Palmer to bring in that frozen meat. That was just several months ago.

We know that the steam in those pipes was turned off in May. And we also know that if you look out at the tailor shop windows you can actually see the manhole from which those men escaped.

So all of this is information that investigators are now gathering from David Sweat. Because this clearly, they may not have started hacksawing their way out of the prison cell and then in the tunnels more than just a couple months ago. But this was something that they had been thinking about and considering for a very long time. Remember, they escaped in May when the weather was better. Clearly, than it would have been if they had escaped in the dead of winter.

COOPER: OK. So she using hamburger meat to smuggled in supplies and she is using her muffins to curry favor. FEYERICK: That's exactly right which really shows intent. So she is

going to have a hard time with that one.

COOPER: I mean, this is like a lifetime movie in the making. It wasn't so deadly serious. Twelve prison employees now sidelines.

FEYERICK: Yes. Well, what we do know is that nine of them are security officers and they are being looked at very closely. Not only by the inspector General, but also by the New York state police. There is an FBI probe right now about whether any of those corrections officers may have been involved somehow getting drugs into the prison. The FBI really investigates public corruption. That's what they're focused on to see whether that public corruption involves some sort of a drug ring.

But the three top men who are in-charge of that prison, they're also on administrative leave because the buck stops with them. They are supposed to know what's going on their prisons at all times. They're supposed to make sure that weekly cell checks are taking place. And that means taking a stick and banging on the bars. Taking something and banging on the walls to make sure that nobody is trying to break out. That was not done.

COOPER: Clearly. Deborah Feyerick, thank you. Fascinating stuff.

One prison worker, seamstress and alleged accomplice Joyce Mitchell reportedly is happy the manhunt is over. Ecstatic, in fact, according to her attorney that no one else was hurt. As for her husband, Lyle, who might have been killed by Matt and Sweat if Joyce had actually gone through with her alleged role as getaway driver, he is also weighing in.

Joining us by phone is attorney Peter Dumas.

Peter, good to have you on the show again. I know you've been in touch with your client, with Lyle Mitchell. What is his reaction to what Sweat has told investigators? That Joyce Mitchell was the escapees' primary plan for a getaway car and they intended to kill him.

PETER DUMAS, LYLE MITCHELL'S ATTORNEY (via phone): He certainly didn't think that was plan "a" in the beginning. But - and the way he's looking at it, like Joyce saved his life that night by not picking them up.

COOPER: I mean, certainly one way to look it, I guess. I mean, the most optimistic reading of it. According to authorities, though, the plan was for the three of them on drive to Mexico. I mean, when you heard that, what did he think of that? Because I know all along, and when you and I spoke before, and also he talked to Matt Lauer, he said he didn't believe there had been any sexual relationship. So what does he make of the idea that she was going to take off to Mexico?

DUMAS: Well, when I talked on him about that he just keeps going back to the fact that she didn't go through with it. And I think he's hanging on to that.

COOPER: Has your client been in touch with his wife? Does he continue to be in touch with her? Because I think she had visited her early on. Have they communicated about Matt's death, about Sweat's capture?

DUMAS: Not that I know of. They haven't talked about Sweat's capture yet. He did speak to her on the phone last week and I'm not sure if he's had any contact with her since then. He hasn't told me about that. And that leads me to believe that he hasn't. COOPER: And - I mean, obviously, we don't know what is going to

happen with Joyce Mitchell. Can you describe how he feels toward her right now? I mean, has he told you about that? What his plans are?

DUMAS: Well, he's still in love with her, to put it bluntly. And I think he plans on waiting for her.

COOPER: He had not been -- the last time we spoke, your client Lyle had not been questioned any more by authorities. I'm wondering if that has changed. Have they reached out to him in recent days?

DUMAS: They haven't. Lyle did, however, reach out to them today just to keep in touch with them to make sure the avenue is open, so to speak, and to make sure that they know he is still willing to cooperate.

COOPER: And - I mean, it is touching that, and understandable, I guess, you know, the heart wants what it wants. He is still in love with her, you say. And so, even if she going to prison, even if she does time, you think he wants to wait for her?

DUMAS: At this point, he does. We've spoken about the fact that he may still be an employee of the department of corrections and community services here in New York and what that would means if his wife was in prison at that point.

COOPER: He could also, I mean, if he remained an employee at Clinton correctional and Sweat is still there, it is possible that he could, I guess, have some encounters with Sweat as well.

DUMAS: That's true. He has put in the paper requesting a transfer at this point.

COOPER: To another prison facility.

DUMAS: Sure. And in Malone alone there are three other state correctional facilities.

COOPER: Well, Peter, I appreciate you coming on and talking about your client. And thank you very much. Peter Dumas. It really interesting to hear.

A quick programming note on another killer who is continuing to make news. Remember Drew Peterson, the police officer who became a spouse killer? Well, he is heading back to court. Tonight at 9:00 eastern, we're airing a Special Report. Married to a murder, the Drew Peterson story. We'll have a preview for you in the second half of this hour.

There's also more breaking news ahead. Late word on concerns from top security officials about the threat of terrorism this Fourth of July weekend.

Also, a preview of big news coming tomorrow ending half a century of diplomatic isolation with Cuba, but also potentially sparking a big fight back in Washington.


[20:29:01] COOPER: Well, more breaking news tonight. Law enforcement officials are increasing security around the country with the Fourth of July holiday coming up and warning from the FBI and homeland security about a possible terrorist threat.

Our justice reporter Evan Perez joins with us the latest. So, is it a specific threat or plot or more just kind of general precaution?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Anderson, that's actually what they're worried about is, you know, if they had a specific plot to look for, the FBI and all the counter terrorism officials would know what to do. This is more of a General warning, frankly, because they've seen a lot of intelligence that indicates that there are ISIS recruits here in the United States who may be planning to carry out attacks tied to the Fourth of July holiday. And that's what has them concerned. They know that there are number of them that they are watching, that they are monitoring, but these the ones that they don't know about. That's what they worried about, Anderson.

COOPER: And clearly, this is ISIS related. I mean, we have seen them claiming credit for attacks just last week, three different attacks in different countries.

[20:30:00] PEREZ: Right. Exactly. This is all ISIS related. And we know that there are ISIS-related investigations all around the country. There are hundreds of people who are consuming all the ISIS propaganda, and that's what the FBI is very concerned about. It's the fact that a lot of them are beginning on Twitter and then they go offline. They go on peer to peer communications and encrypted communications that the FBI does not have a good way of keeping an eye on.

COOPER: Also, obviously, the more people who are involved in the plot, though that has the potential to make it bigger and all says to be more potential that it can be discovered. If it is one individual, you know, an active shooter situation, or, you know, a handful of individuals, that makes it all the more difficult.

PEREZ: Right, exactly. And I was talking to one counterterrorism official on the West Coast today and he said, you know, one of the things that happens with this group of recruits that we're looking at is that, you know, they're not necessarily connected. They don't necessarily need to have any activation. They're looking for an excuse to go operational and frankly, a lot of them are just not on our radar and that's what they are worried about.

COOPER: Evan Perez, I appreciate the update. Thank you. I want to get the latest on other stories we're following. Amara Walker is here with "The 360 Bulletin." Amara.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Anderson. The United States and Cuba are making it official. Two senior administration officials say there will be an announcement tomorrow that the countries have reached an agreement to renew formal diplomatic relations and open embassies in Washington and Havana.

The girl scouts of western Washington have returned a $1,000 donation, $100,000, I should say, because there was a note attached that read, please guarantee our gift will not be used to support transgender girls. And Indiegogo (ph) fundraiser has already raised more than $200,000 to replace the donation.

And Misty Copeland has become the first African-American female principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American ballet theater. Very well deserved and a big congratulations to her.

COOPER: An amazing dancer. Amara, thanks very much.

Coming up tonight, growing backlash for Donald Trump and his beauty pageants over his comments calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers. Trump just spoke at an event in New Hampshire, and to say he's not backing down, that is certainly an understatement. I don't say this often, but believe me when I tell you, you're going to want to see this. That's next.

Also, live update from Washington State where a wildfire has burned thousands of acres and destroyed dozens of homes. You're going to hear from somebody who lost his home and only had a few minutes to get out in time.



COOPER: A bunch of fallout from Donald Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants including grime repercussions affecting (INAUDIBLE) the beauty pageants he owns. Not only is he not backing down, he just gave a speech that you're going to have to hear for yourself. Trump spoke a short time ago in event in New Hampshire where he is just five points behind GOP front runner Jeb Bush in the polls. Now, you'll remember when Trump announced that he was running for president, he said that Mexican immigrants are criminals, drug dealers and rapists, though he said there are also some nice people as well. NBC and Univision cut their ties with Trump as a result. And we learned late this afternoon, he is now suing Univision for half a billion dollars. We'll talk about that in a moment. First, though, tonight's speech was one of the, well, Trumpiest we've ever heard. And no matter what you may think of him, like him or not, it is fair to say we've never seen a candidate quite like this. Just watch.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: See if you can find those couple of articles that I - to get. And I didn't bring them up because it is raining. Now at least you know it is my hair. Because it's raining out here. If this wasn't my hair. Believe me, I would not be out here. What do the Chinese most want? One of the ten things. One of them was anything Trump. It's crazy. They all said, he'll never run because he doesn't want to show that he isn't as big. It turned out I was much bigger than everybody said. Who's done more than me? I've employed tens of thousands of people over my life. (APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I've employed. And they're saying - And, you know, people, they are real losers. Sleepy eyes, chopped - You know, "Meet the Press" dying, going down the tubes, no ratings. So CNN. So, they do a poll. And it was a nice poll. And they had me second. Which it's hard to believe I'm second to Bush. Because Bush is not going to get us to the Promised Land, folks. ISIS is building a hotel in Syria. They're competing against me.


TRUMP: It's true. I don't want to go to that hotel. Who do you think would do and who would be the strongest leader? Now, this is CNN. They don't like me. Because I want the country to be great and they don't know about greatness. They don't get it. But CNN - I assume I must be a legitimate poll because I'm winning in so many of these categories. But here's a pretty good one. Who do you think would be the strongest leader of all the Republican candidates? Number one is Trump. And I had an uncle who went to MIT who is a top professor. Dr. John Trump. A genius. It's my blood. I'm smart. Great marks. Like really smart. If I were a Democrat, especially if I was a liberal Democrat, that (INAUDIBLE) human being ever, but as a conservative Republican, I've got to work hard. That's why I tell you my credentials before I get up. I'm not even talking about you. I'm talking to them, but they are not going to care. Nothing is going to change them.


COOPER: Joining me now, CNN chief national correspondent John King, anchor of "Inside Politics", senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and chief political analyst Gloria Borger. John, you know, I mean - listening to him, he's talking extemporaneously for an hour plus. He's entertaining. He has got definitely very strong opinions and he is not a politician and that really comes across.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He seems reasonably confident in his own abilities.

COOPER: Reasonably confident.

TOOBIN: Look, we can laugh about this and sometimes we do laugh about this. And the great question of Republican politics is how long can this last? Will he either drop out because as long as they file disclosure forms, or, if he doesn't make debates down the road, or will he flame out? But at the moment that he is in second place in New Hampshire. There was a Fox News poll earlier this week that had him in second place nationally. There will be new polls tomorrow morning in Iowa. We have a new poll at CNN nationally tomorrow. Let's look at those numbers there. Right now he is having the biggest impact on the Republican race. Why? He is not a politician. Dr. Ben Carson is also doing well in most of these polls. So you have Mr. Trump and Dr. Carson beating the guys called Senator and Governor.

COOPER: He also looks like he's having fun and enjoying it and able to just kind of speak off the cuff.

TOOBIN: The question, though, is how long can that last? Will Republican voters, at what point do Republican voters say, can this guy beat Hillary Clinton who we assume will be the Democratic nominee? Can we get the White House back with Donald Trump? That's where most of the other candidates think this will flame out. But it will be an interesting challenge. He is a good public speaker. You see that there. He's a good showman. He knows how to promote his own brand and he is going to be, there is no question, unless the polls just collapse, there is no question he's going to be in the first and probably the second Republican presidential debate.

COOPER: He stood by his comments about immigrants and crime. He said no one else wants to talk about it. Only him. Listen.


TRUMP: 80 percent of Central American women and girls are raped crossing into the United States.


TRUMP: I mentioned this and they said how could you mention a thing like this? I had no idea it was this bad. It's horrible. Here's another one. Just I have hundreds of these articles. Hundreds. Illegal alien rapes and murders young baby in New Mexico. OK? By the way, hundreds of these articles.


COOPER: I mean it is interesting. Obviously, he's not backing down at all from his comments. He is getting a lot of attention from it. Clearly, for those who said the Republican Party needs to do a better job among the Latinos in the United States, this is not getting them closer to that.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, no. It certainly isn't. So interesting to listen to him. I've never quite seen a stream of consciousness kind of candidate before like this. And in terms of attracting Latino voters, I mean you had Ted Cruz out there, of all people, saying, you know, Donald Trump is right. Stop being so politically correct. But I think what you'll see other Republicans start to do now is take on Donald Trump on the immigration issue. They've got to, they can use him as a foil if you will. And the big impact he's going to have on this field, it is like a kid in the sandbox. Once one kid starts throwing sand, all the others join in. And they've been trying to avoid challenging each other directly. They're taking off after Hillary Clinton. I think what Donald Trump is doing right now, and it will happen on the immigration issue and on other issues, is that Republicans are going to have to start responding to him and taking on each other which is kind of a nightmare for them right now.

COOPER: Jeff, let's talk about this lawsuit against Univision. Half a billion dollars. He says look, NBC, they're not standing by me. They're standing by Brian Williams and those were the words he used. Does he have a case against Univision?

TOOBIN: Well, it's a breach of contract case. There is a contract between Univision and the Trump organization and the Univision is not commenting. But I spoke to Trump's lawyer today and he said, look, let me send you the contract. And he sent me the contract.

COOPER: So you've seen the contract.

TOOBIN: I've seen the contract. And there is no provision in there as there are in a lot of personal services type contracts. You know, we can get rid of you for moral turpitude or embarrassing behavior. There is nothing like that. So ...

COOPER: And, by the way, I should just point out. Because Trump is saying, in fact, the lawsuit says as Mr. Trump explained in interview with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, on March 30, 2011. They're coming over, talking about immigration. They're coming over, they're climbing over a fence, there's nobody within ten miles, they are selling drugs all over the place. They're killing people all over the place and we're not doing anything about it. He's saying, essentially, I'm not saying anything different now than I was saying back then.

TOOBIN: Exactly. And look, I don't think this case will ever go to trial. I assume it will settle like most of these lawsuits settle. But it is not a frivolous lawsuit, it appears. And it just - is further grist for him saying, you want to mess with me. I'll show you I fight back. And he's fighting back.

COOPER: And people like that. And John, he is also pointing - taking on other candidates. I mean he's talking about Jeb Bush saying there is no way Jeb Bush can win. He fumbled on Iraq for days. It is interesting that it's not just Mexico. It is other Republican candidates.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And again, he's going to be up there on the debate stage. You're going to have ten candidates on the debate stage at the first, the big debate. CNN is going to have a second tier, but he'll likely be in the first tier unless the polls change dramatically. So, he's going to be up there with the people, who most believe will be, one of them will be the Republican nominee for president. And how he changes the dynamic. Now, as a peril, a lot of people are like, oh, my god. The glorious point, because he's a good showman. He starts throwing the sand. The other thing is there is an opportunity, if somebody can turn this into their moments. Stand up to Donald Trump. Jeb Bush says he disagrees with him about this comments about illegal immigrants. Chris Christie is also a performer. We'll see if he gets on the same debate stage as Donald Trump. So there is a great fear that this will turn these into reality television as opposed to a presidential debate, but there is also opportunity for the other candidates.

COOPER: It's going to be fascinating to watch. John King, thank you. Jeff Toobin, Gloria Borger as well.

Just ahead, more breaking news tonight. A live update from central Washington State where wildfire now threatening thousands of homes. I'm going to speak with someone who has already lost his house. Lucky to be alive. Almost lost a pet and barely had time to get out. We'll be right back.



The massive wildfire burning in the central Washington State continues to rage tonight. It has already destroyed dozens of homes and it's threatening thousands more. In a moment I'm going to speak with someone who lost everything in the fire and is certainly lucky to be alive. The mayor of Wenatchee, Washington, says hundreds of firefighters are working around the clock, but he's worried about what is going to happen next. Dan Simon reports.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is how things looked before the fire and this is what it looks like now. The aftermath of a fast- moving blaze that took out two dozen homes in a single night. This is drone video captured by a local resident as the flames came barreling down a canyon and then igniting a multitude of houses. It came really fast, didn't it?

KEITH NEWBERRY, HOME WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE: Yeah. Extremely fast. I mean I can't believe the storm and a fire creates.

SIMON: One of the houses belonged to Keith Newberry.

NEWBERRY: I came - my home - was over there.

SIMON: The 44-year-old returning to the house he lived in with his wife and three children.

(on camera): Is there anything you were able to save?

NEWBERRY: I mean, we saved our pictures and took our computer tower because it has all of our important stuff on it. The rest of it is replaceable.

SIMON (voice over): He became emotional thinking about his youngest daughter. A nine-year-old.

NEWBERRY: She was in a swimsuit. We're not the only ones. It is happening for years and years and years. Be strong and rebuild.

SIMON: At least 3,000 acres were charred along with the two dozen homes that were destroyed. A wall of fire coming over a canyon and into the subdivision with flying embers landing in all directions.

CARMYN RIGGENS, NEIGHBOR: The flames were just, they looked evil. They were - it was scary. It is scariest thing I have ever seen.

STEVE CLIVE, NEIGHBOR: As we were grabbing stuff, some guy kind of ... UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A fireman --

CLIVE: Yeah. He came into the house, announced, no door bell, no nothing.


CLIVE: He just opened the door and said get out, get out. There were houses on the back side, they are on fire. Just go. And so we just went.

SIMON: Fire crews' rapid response undoubtedly saved both lives and property.

A lot of time we focus on the structures lost. But agencies locally, many structures that were actually saved out there.

NATHAN RABO, FIRE INCIDENT COMMANDER: We focus on structures loss. We are all certain there is works to the crews and agencies here locally. There is a mini-structures that are actually saved out there.

SIMON: Authorities are optimistic they're getting a handle on the blaze, but Washington like much of the West Coast is also in the middle of a severe drought. So there's a fear this could be a long wildfire season and crews are concerned that Fourth of July fireworks could trigger more devastation. As for Keith ...

NEWBERRY: It is surreal. Sad. Lost some important memories. But a chance to rebuild.

SIMON: And he wants to rebuild in the same spot.

NEWBERRY: We'll be sitting on the back patio and barbecuing and have the house the way we wanted it. It will be fine.


COOPER: It's just heartbreaking. Dan Simon joins us now. What are the conditions like there right now? I mean I know yesterday it was 100 degrees. Not even in the fire zone.

SIMON: Triple digit temperatures again, Anderson. So, it's a very difficult day for firefighters. We are in the Broadview subdivision, specifically on Maiden Lane and the devastation is just unbelievable. About eight or nine homes just on this one block. It looks the same across the street. Now, in terms of where we are right now, officially they're saying it's a ten percent containment. But it appears at the moment there is no active flames. So, authorities are optimistic that they're getting the upper hand on this fire, but we do have to talk about the drought. Washington State like much of the West Coast is experiencing a severe drought. So there is a lot of concern. Especially with the Fourth of July holiday coming up that you'll have somebody shoot off a firework and start another wildfire. So authorities are hoping that people just use common sense. Anderson. COOPER: Yeah, Dan Simon, I appreciate the report. Thank you. Joining me now, is John Dominguez whose home was destroyed in the wildfire.

John, I understand you've just gotten back from vacation when you saw flames coming toward your home. What happened then?

JOHN DOMINGUEZ, HOUSE BURNED TO GROUND IN WASH. WILDFIRE: Well, actually they were a ways away. I'm guessing at least three, four miles away in a town nearby called Monitor. And it isn't unusual for us to see brush fires. And they usually often snuff themselves out or the firemen are great at putting them out. But it seemed so far away and so unlikely to affect us at the time.

COOPER: How quickly did it actually get close?

DOMINGUEZ: It came really kind of all at once. It was, I guess about eight, shortly before that we weren't on any level. And then a policeman came through and said that we are on level one, which basically means pack everything up. You might need to get out of here. And I guess we're estimating like 15, 20 minutes later, my wife came through the house kind of screaming at me to get out. I was packing some of the things that any of us might pack if we get into this kind of a situation. By the time I pulled the car out of our garage, there was a fire ball behind my neighbor's house.

COOPER: Wow. That's incredible!

DOMINGUEZ: Maybe it's 150 feet away from here. Oh, yeah, and it was more real when I saw smoke, black smoke billowing up as though something had really caught fire. And at that point, my wife was still trying to train some hoses on the house. And her brother who lives with us was trying to get some things out. And then I turned to screaming at them. We've got to get out of here! And I screamed a couple of times, honked the horn and we got in and we got out.

COOPER: And do you have pets? You were able to get them?

DOMINGUEZ: Yeah. We have four pets. One of the cats, which was outside my wife kept calling and we basically decided we have to leave that cat which would have killed my wife. It showed up at the back door in the last moment.


DOMINGUEZ: Really the last moment.

COOPER: That's amazing. I mean I hate to ask this question. Have you seen your house? Is there anything left of it?

DOMINGUEZ: You know, you can't come back into the neighborhood ones something like this happens. They keep you out. But the next morning we could come back and it was, you know, smoldering. A smoky scene. It looked like any of a hundred pictures I've seen of World War II aftermath. COOPER: And we're looking at actually the pictures of your house

right now. I mean, it's just- god, it's just unthinkable. How do you -- this is a dumb question. How do you deal with something like this?

DOMINGUEZ: I guess we're kind of in a stumble mode. We just kind of do things. When you lose all that you've accumulated, there is not a lot to do except eat and then talk about the things that you need. I couldn't go to work and that was really strange. I've missed one day of work in my whole life.

COOPER: John, Iisten, I wish you the best and your family the best. And I just, I hope things work out for you quickly. Thank you so much for being with us.


DOMINGUEZ: Oh, yeah, thank you.

COOPER: So sad. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Convicted murderer Drew Peterson goes on trial for allegedly hiring a hit on the prosecutor who put him away for killing his ex- wife. Just minutes from now, CNN's special report, "Married to a Murderer, the Drew Peterson story." Takes a fresh look at how Peterson went from cop to killer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: October 28, 2007. The day Candace Aikin's niece Stacy Peterson vanished without a trace.

CANDACE AIKIN: I thought that she had been murdered most likely by Drew.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aiken was not alone. All eyes were on Stacy's husband, Illinois police officer Drew Peterson. A man whose third wife, Kathleen Savio, had been found dead in the bathtub about three years earlier.

JOE HOSEY: I walk into everywhere I go, and there is this little hum that goes through the establishment, there's Drew Peterson, there's Drew Peterson. there's Drew Peterson

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joe Hosey staked out Peterson's suburban home when news broke of Stacy's disappearance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This morning Drew Peterson spoke to reporters through his front door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first few days he was just peeking out his front door, but then he was letting people come in to talk to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hosey was the first. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was eerie. I got a view of the living room, and I was watching the kid watching the TV, and it was kind of strange.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Strange because they were watching the news coverage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was last heard from on Sunday morning ....


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About their missing mother.


COOPER: And the whole strange tale and "Married to a Murderer" starts now.