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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Cruz Didn't Disclose Wall Street Loan For 2012 Senate Bid; Cruz Hits Trump For "New York Values"; Trump, Cruz Tensions Flare On Eve Of Debate; Politics And Pediatric Surgery Death; Powerball Fever!; Powerball Fever!; Jackpot For Tonight's Drawing $1.5 Billion; $100+ Million In Powerball Tickets Sold In Last Hour; Secret Deaths At Florida Hospital; Why Did FLA Ditch Pediatric Heart Surgery Standards?; Iran Frees American Soldiers; U.S. Sailors Freed By Iran; Diplomatic Coup Or Crowing To Iran?; War On ISIS; Child Soldier Escapes; New Details On What Led To Arrest Of "El Chapo"; Officials: U.S. Knew Of Actors' Connection To "El Chapo"; Officials: Text Messages Led To Arrest Of "El Chapo". Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 13, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 HOST: Good evening, 9:00 P.M. here in New York. $1 million question time for Ted Cruz. There's late word first reported in New York Times and that confirmed by CNN on more than a million dollars he got from a Senate campaign from investment bankers Goldman Sachs. Now remember he told a story of liquidating his family's entire net worth to finance that senate campaign. He did not tell the story the golden money or disclose it to federal election officials.
Tonight, we're learning details and hearing from the Cruz campaign. Chief political correspondent Dana Bash just talked to them. Dana what have you learned?
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPODENT: Well, you know, you kind of take a step back about why this is so important. Ted Cruz has spent months and months, years really building a brand of somebody who is an outsider, who is a populist
who rails against the establishment, talks about Washington but he clearly is signaling to his supporters, New York, too which is why a headline saying that he got a loan from Goldman Sachs, a place where his wife works is not something that his campaign talks about. She is has been a very successful banker at Goldman Sachs got a loan and that in part helped pay for his in surging campaign. That's not something again that's helpful this close to the Iowa caucuses.
Especially I asked him about that. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Senator, how do you explain to your supporters that you got a very large loan from your wife's Wall Street bank in order to fund your upstart insurgent senate campaign?
TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the premise of your question is not right. Heidi and I...
BASH: You didn't get a loan?
CRUZ: The premise of your question is not right. Heidi and I when we run for Senate we made the decision to put our liquid net worth into the campaign. And so we did so through a combination of savings, liquidating our savings through a combination of selling assets and then we had a broker account that has a standard margin loan like any broker account has and we borrowed the stocks and assets that we had under ordinary terms.
And so, those loans have been disclosed over and over and over again on multiple filings. If it was the case that they were not filed as required exactly as the FEC requires, then we'll amend the filings but all of the information has been public and transparent for many years and that's the end of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: That's the end of that. That's certainly where Ted Cruz wants this to be. I will say that I spoke to some senior official at one of his rival campaigns. This is somebody, Anderson, who has spent a lot of time trying to tear down Ted Cruz. He actually thought that this was in his words a non-issue and even a cheap shot he said to me there are lots of other things to get Cruz on this and this probably isn't one of them.
COOPER: Well, it so happens Donald Trump is continue to hammering him about being eligible to actually be president. What does the Cruz camp make of that?
BASH: To see the shift inside the Cruz campaign and more specifically from Cruz himself just since last week when Donald Trump began to really hammer out the idea -- hammer him on the idea that he's not eligible potentially to be president because he was born in Canada. The shift has been amazing. I was with them in Iowa last week, he try to brush it off as a joke. He's not doing that anymore. Listen to what he told us, this for a while ago on that issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: You know, it's very interesting this issue did not seem to concern Donald, until a little over a week ago. When suddenly he was trailing in the polls in Iowa and I understand. Mr. Trump and other candidates in the race being disturbed that conservatives are coming together and when they are disturbed, they try to raise whatever attacks they can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Maybe that's true, but the other reality is that as this has gone on, whether it's related or not, we're not really sure. Ted Cruz had a pretty sizable lead in Iowa that has gone down in the past week or so in many polls so as that happened, we've seen Cruz more aggressively respond to Donald Trump, one of his aids told me here, tonight that it just wants to show that he's not going to take hits lying down, but that is different from what he did just a couple weeks ago when he just said he's not going to go back and have personal attacks on anybody even and especially Donald Trump.
COOPER: Yeah, Dana Bash, Dana thanks very much. Let's dig deeper with CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson and CNN political commentator Jeffrey Lord and Ana Navarro. Jeffrey is a Trump supporter, former Reagan White House political director and is a Bush supporter and a Rubio friend.
Jeffrey, obviously as I said, you're a Trump supporter but how big of a problem do you think could the news about this Goldman Sachs loan be for Senator Cruz and do you expect Trump to hit him over especially since they are in such a dead heat right now?
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure, less -- yes to the latter. I'm sure he will. I would certainly expect so. There's three problems here as I see this Anderson. One is the substance of it and, you know, this will immediately get into the deep weeds here of, you know, should have he have reported, should the amendment? Is it legal? Is it not legal, et cetera? All which leads to the political problem which is not the similar from the natural born citizen thing.
[21:05:03] An issue in the sense that it detracts from whatever message he's going to have to spend time as he just did with Dana discussing this when I'm sure he wants to discuss other things. And three, there sort of an outlier here, is the fact that Goldman Sachs is involved, and you get it the issues with some people out there have the right that, you know, Goldman Sachs being, you know, a big Wall Street bank and, you know, whatever his ties may not being his certainly his wife's ties were known to this.
All right I'm not in the least at buying anything bad. I'm just saying it politically, that by itself is an issue with some people and maybe this will rev that up. So he's got a problem I think on three different fronts.
COOPER: Right. And Ana, into Jeffrey's last point in particular I mean Cruz is now hitting Donald Trump for like New York values, I think, was the term he's been using. I mean, Goldman Sachs in sort of you can argue, you know, the heart of New York values if you think New York values are in someway negative.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I guess he can argue that Wall Street financial firms don't have values. You know, Anderson, as I was listening to the story, I have heard Ted Cruz tell the story many times about how he liquidated his family's assets. How he mortgaged his house, how he went to his wife and they together made a decision to put all these assets on the line. I have never heard this Goldman Sachs line.
Now, you know, and in the same way that yes, some months ago, Donald Trump was not at all bothered by Ted Cruz having been born in Canada. I would say Ted Cruz was not at all bothered a few months ago by Donald Trump having New York values. I remember that big meeting they had. I think Ted Cruz was thinking Donald Trump was not going to hang in this and he was going to be able to inherit all of his supporters.
Now they are running against each other and it has all changed. Ted Cruz is surging in Iowa and he's going to get all sorts of attacks. This is the race for presidency. Everything is fair in love and war and a Republican Primary is in war.
COOPER: And Nia, I mean it will be interesting to see on that debate stage tomorrow night, how Trump and Cruz deal with each other. Because in the past we've seen, you know, them sort of back off each other when they're actually on stage face-to-face. He told Trump told Erin Burnett, he won't bring up the issue of Cruz' citizenship and eligibility. But just a moment in Florida, he said he's sure it will come up somehow, I mean that's hard to met and he wouldn't ask about it.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITCAL REPORTER: Yeah and you know he probably won't be Trump bringing it up. He tends to like, to fight off the debate stage in rallies or on Twitter but certainly I imagine it will come up with those moderators. But it is on the minds of people at this point even though 85 percent of likely caucus goers in Iowa said it isn't of concern, it doesn't bother them, this issue of Cruz, his citizenship and eligibility for the presidency.
Fifteen percent of Iowa our caucus goers said it didn't bother them and we're talking here about a contest that's going to be likely decided on the slimmest of margins.
If you look back at 2012, officially 100 votes, less than 100 votes of separated Mitt Romney from Santorum and you're talking about roughly 125,000 people who show up at the polls, so these kinds of little dings, not only the citizenship issue and eligibility issue as I think it's probably going to be a settled matter in the minds of most voters, you have that to this new line of attack at source add up.
COOPER: Jeffrey, do you think Senator Cruz is attack against Trump about New York values will actually resonate with rural conservatives in Iowa?
LORD: Well, you know, in truth, Anderson, I didn't really think it would go very far because Donald Trump is such a known commodity and, you know, there's a lot of glamor attached to him at all this not unlike say JFK in early 1960 and when he first became president.
But now with this latest story, just as you pointed out here when you have him out there pounding away at New York values and that he gets $1 million or whatever it is from Goldman Sachs, yeah, then you can get some interest in this and not to his favor, I would suspect.
COOPER: Ana, I want to play a clip of something President Obama said in Nebraska. He didn't mention Trump by name but people certainly interpreted this is a dig in Trump, let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: The First Amendment is important. The First Amendment is value. So we do have to be cautious about suggesting that anytime somebody says something, you know, we shut them down. But let me say this, that doesn't mean that you go around insulting people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's interesting now and this now the second day obviously at the State of the Union Address last night, the president made certainly comments which applied to Donald Trump. Do you think that -- does it actually help Donald Trump to have President Obama who so many Donald Trump supporters, you know, vehemently do not like coming after their candidate?
[21:10:07] NAVARRO: Hell yes, it should be music to Donald Trump's ears to have President Obama go after him even if it's not by name. Look, Donald Trump exists as a viable candidate in the Republican Party today as a direct result of President Obama of seven years of President Obama who Republicans view as somebody who is politically correct, who is deliberate, who doesn't act, who is weak and you've got Donald Trump who is the exact opposite brash, bluster, politically incorrect and they are embracing that because they are fed up with the seven years of what they see as President Obama's weaknesses and lack of leadership.
So, you know, I'm beginning to think that President Obama really does want Donald Trump to be the nominee if he keeps criticizing him by name or not by name what he's doing is helping him become that nominee.
COOPER: And Nia, I mean you see this Des Moines register Bloomberg poll, statistical dead heat in Iowa with Cruz actually losing the ground in the past month. I mean Cruz had been gaining ground. Do you think it is because of these attacks by Trump on the eligibility issue?
HENDERSON: You know, Trump has figured a way to diminish most of, you know, his opponents when he goes after them when, you know, starting with Jeb Bush and now on Ted Cruz. So it does look like this is gaining some traction. Cruz obviously has other problems in Iowa, as well, coming out against ethanol subsides is one of them. People in Iowa don't like that.
And so, I think Trump has been very clever here even though he sort of makes it seem like someone else brought it up. He certainly run with it and today he started tweeted all sadly he thinks that Ted Cruz is an eligible. I'm sure he's really sad. But we'll see how this place out, you know, less than three weeks to go.
COOPER: Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you, Ana Navarro, Jeffrey Lord as well.
Coming up tonight, an update to a story we've been following since last year. A hospital in Florida with the death rate for pediatrics surgeries, it was three times the national average. The factor was kept secret from parents. This time with new information about company that owns the hospital and political donations that have made. Also had, we just gotten the latest numbers on Powerball sales. Wait until you hear how many have been sold in just the past hour. Check in with some last-minute ticket buyers and fuel your day dreams of stories of people that won the lottery before.
[21:21:00] COOPER: The next Powerball drawing is less than two hours away. We got breaking new in just how massive tickets sales now are according to a Texas lottery official, $100,953,489 in just the last hour. There's more than $28,000 inn sales every second. The record breaking jackpot win a half billion dollars.
The staff here chipped in for a bunch of tickets. We'll have a show tomorrow either way. Do not worry. Miguel Marquez has been out talking people in New York waiting for ticket at station. Let's check in with him. Wow it is crowded there, Miguel.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it kind of goes, comes and goes all day long but it's getting crowded now that it's coming down to the end. 10:00 p.m. they stop selling them here. This is world books deep in the bowls of Penn Station, the busiest place in New York State to buy a lottery ticket. It is been jammed all day long with everyone a winner. What are you going to do with the billion dollars when you win it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to donate some to charity and donate some to my father-in-law because he needs it.
MARQUEZ: And maybe the jets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the jets.
MARQUEZ: Because they can use some help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they can get a quarterback.
MARQUEZ: This place is been -- how busy has it been today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very crazy.
MARQUEZ: Very crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
MARQUEZ: Look, despite the odds on this thing, you have a better chance of getting hit by an asteroid than actually winning the lottery here. People are coming out and I think what I'm going to do with my lottery money is have my apartment gold plated and probably build a zipline from the World Trade Center down to work at World Trade Center or at Time Warner Center and that might be a sensible thing to do, yes?
COOPER: And no matter what the jackpot goes up to, the odds of winning or the small obviously I mean you still stay the same, right? MARQUEZ: Tiny, tiny, tiny odds. Yeah, free as they stay the same. There are some differences by 292 million to 1. You have a better chance of being hit by lightning, you have a better chance of drowning. You have a better chance of being hit by lightning while drowning than winning this lottery but hey, we live in hope. I have actually -- I've told everybody to just go home because I have the winning ticket here.
COOPER: How many tickets have you bought, Miguel?
MARQUEZ: So, it's useless they can just take off, go home. Well, I keep getting texts from people at work saying, "get me one, get me one". So I keep buying them. I have three or four now at this point. I'm not telling what the numbers are.
COOPER: All right. Miguel Marquez, Miguel thanks very much. We all know that the chances of hitting the jackpot as Miguel said are infinitesimal. I mean, if you do is not like the lottery guarantees happiness.
Earlier this week, we brought you stories of people won the lottery and then there lives basically were ruined which we realize is total Debbie Downer one month (ph), sorry. But enlightened tonight's drawing, we're not going to dash your day dreams but instead take a look at times are winning was actually a good thing. Imagine that. Gary Tuchman, reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Violet and Alan Large retired to Nova Scotia in 1983. After 27 years of retirement, they won Canada's Atlantic lottery receiving a cheque for over 11 million Canadian dollars.
VIOLET LARGE, LOTTERY WINNER: We're country hicks and we're not going to -- we're not travelers so why keep the money and give it to the government?
TUCHMAN: Instead, they gave it to others. Almost all of it went to more than 60 public organizations. Huge donations to places such as hospitals and fire stations.
LARGE: We hadn't bought one thing. That's it because there's nothing that we need.
TUCHMAN: Gloria MacKenzie won a huge Powerball jackpot in 2013 at the age of 84 after moving from Maine to Florida. She cleared $278 million after taxes. And did not forget her hometown of East Millinocket, Maine. She donated $1.8 million to the local high school that was likely to be closed because of a leaky roof.
QUENTEN CLARL, SUPERINTENDENT: Without that, the school was going to die. East Millinocket was not going to have a school in the long run and I think with this, we'll be able to keep the school going for awhile.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For all of our winners.
[21:20:01] TUCHMAN: And then there are the Albany seven. Seven New York State Government worker whose split a $319 million jackpot in 2011 in the mega millions lottery. This man John Kuti and his wife decided to give back to their community, too. They donated $200,000 to construct a spray park in their town of Greene, New York. They did it in honor of their parents.
Another very generous Canadian is Tom Crist. The Alberta native won $40 million in 2013. And his first donation was $1.2 million to the Tom Baker Cancer Center in Calgary. His wife Janice had died of cancer a year before. He vowed all his winnings would ultimately go to charity.
TOM CRIST, LOTTERY WINNER: I know where the money is going. I'm not keeping a dime of it, not a dime. She'd be 100 percent behind it. That's who she was. She was a very giving person. You can ask anybody that knows her, any of her friends. That's just who she was and she made me a better person. There's no doubt about it. She'd be ecstatic.
TUCHMAN: Back in Nova Scotia where the largest gave away virtually all their jackpot. Some emergency money was kept for violet because she was diagnosed with cancer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll get through it one way or another.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God willing.
TUCHMAN: Sadly, his wife passed away a year after the couple won the lottery. Her name will live on though, because of the remarkable generosity.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Wow, what an incredible couple. Just ahead, what Florida officials did after CNN exposed the hospital where the death rate for children having heart surgery was three times the national average. You're not going to believe this. We're keeping on this.
[21:25:40] COOPER: Keeping them honest. Tonight, new developments in a story that Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen broke last year about a Florida hospital where the death rate for pediatric surgeries was off the charts, three times the national average.
Here's part of Elizabeth's report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Just weeks into life, this tiny baby is Layla McCarthy needed heart surgery. Here at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, Dr. Michael Black performed the delegate procedure to widen Layla's narrow aorta, a defect she had since birth.
CHRISTINE MACCARTHY, LAYLA MCCARTHY'S MOTHER: He just made it seem like he was the best person to do this, yes.
MATT MCCARTHY, LAYLA MCCARTHY'S FATHER: It was very, like, no sweat, don't worry about it, you know, it's a walk in the park.
COHEN: But the surgery was a disaster.
MCCARTHY: I looked at her and her legs had started -- they had stiffened up a lot and they started going in almost a table top position.
COHEN: After the surgery, Layla was paralyzed. Here she is today. The McCarthys' had no idea that their daughter's tragedy had a disturbing back story, one that no one had told them.
Just three months before Layla's operation, a baby had died after heart surgery by Dr. Black and five months before that, Alexander Gutierrez Mercado had died and a month and a half before that, Kiari Sanders had passed away.
MCCARTHY: It's horrible that -- you go into a program like that and they can be dishonest with you and they don't feel the need to tell you what has happened there before.
COHEN: One week after the surgery that left Layla paralyzed, Amelia Campbell died after heart surgery, then Parish Wright a few months later and Landon Summerford eight months after that.
The hospital and the Heart Surgeon, Dr. Black rejected requests for an on camera interview, so we tracked down CEO, Davide Carbone to give him a chance to explain.
Hi Mr. Carbone, it's Elizabeth Cohen at CNN. Hi Mr. Carbone, it's Elizabeth Cohen at CNN. How are you sir?
Sir, we want to know why what's the death rate is for your babies at the Pediatric Heart Hospital in the -- your program?
He also wouldn't answer the parent's question, why did so many babies die at St. Mary's. Last year a team of doctors from the State of Florida's Children's Medical Services evaluated the program. It was at the request of St. Mary's which sought to, "evaluate and identify opportunities for improvement."
The head of the team Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs, sub-professor of cardiac surgery at John Hopkins, found St. Mary's was doing too few surgeries to get good at it. How few?
In the United States, 80 percent of children's heart surgery programs performed more than 100 surgeries a year, each procedure giving them valuable expertise. But the review of St. Mary's program shows in 2013, the hospital performed just 23 operations. "It is unlikely that any program will be capable of obtaining and sustaining high quality when performing less than two operations per month", Dr. Jacobs wrote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Elizabeth's reporting sparked a federal investigation, a couple months later, St. Mary's shut down this pediatric heart surgery program. State officials also took action but not the kind of many people are expecting.
And now, Elizabeth has new information about political donations made by the company that owns St. Mary's. Elizabeth joins me. So, the standards at the hospital was a living off to, Elizabeth. What's the State of Florida done about it?
COHEN: You know, it's interesting, Anderson. So, there are these standards that were in place, the report found that the hospital wasn't meeting them, so the State of Florida got rid of the standards. That's right. Less than two months...
COOPER: They got rid of them.
COHEN: ... after our report came out this past summer, Anderson, the State of Florida moved to just get rid of them.
COOPER: And, I mean, why? I know you've been looking into it. What exactly is behind the reason to get rid of the standards?
COHEN: You know, Anderson, the doctors who take care of these babies with congenital heart defects, they say that they think they smell a rat. They can't prove it but say look, the tenant healthcare gives large amounts of money, big donations to Republicans who, you know, of course run the show in Florida.
So, for example, look at contributions from tenant to Rick Scott. In 2014 for example, tenant gave Rick Scott $50,000. That is twice the amount that tenant gave any other candidate.
And there are also other contributions to other republican lawmakers and tell the Republican Congressional Groups and, you know, it was a lot of money, it was way more than was given out to other states.
[21:30:07] COHEN: The tenant and the governors say, "Look, we never discuss these standards. Tenant says, "We never discuss them with any elected officials.'' And the State of Florida says, "We have to get rid of these standards because the legislature never told us that we were allowed to have them''.
I said well, the standards were in place for 38 years well, you know, now you're discovering that the legislature never said it was OK to have them? I didn't really get a direct answer to that question.
COOPER: I mean, its incredible (ph) they've been around 38 years and now they're just gone. The broader implications, I mean, their doctors in Florida, you've spoken to, are they worried about getting rid of standards or that's just going to cause real harm?
COHEN: They are and they've actually been involved in legal cases to keep the standards. The standards are technically still there but they are currently on their way out.
The doctors say. "Look, the standards are there for a reason. These are very difficult surgeries to do. You need certain pieces of equipment. You need people with certain kinds of training''. They're there to protect children, especially babies who were born with these terrible defects and they're horrified that the state is trying to get rid of them. They're really worried about the health of thousands of children who are born with congenital heart defects.
COOPER: Incredible news. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks for the reporting.
COOPER: Coming up, 10 American sailors who were detained after strained to Irani waters are now free. A video shows one of the sailors apologizing and thanking Iran for its hospitality. What we know about the video, when we continue.
[21:30:27] COOPER: Today Iran released the 10 U.S. sailors who were detained after entering Irani waters, but not before these images were air on state television, showing the sailors after their capture in the Persian Gulf yesterday. They were on route to Bahrain from Kuwait when it happened.
Another video that Iran aired today, showed one of the sailors apologizing while President Obama was giving his State of the Union Address last night. He didn't mention any of this, Secretary State John Kerry was working behind the scenes before the State of the Union likely after to secure the sailor's release.
Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto, tonight joins us with the latest. So what did you learned, Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: So Anderson, two of the key questions here have been one, how did those sailors end up on their knees disarmed with their hands over their heads? Was that under duress? Was it a gun point?
And the second one, was any point during this episode, was an apology issued from the U.S. to Iran? Oddly enough, we got what could be an answer to both of those questions from an interview one of the sailors did with Iranian state television while they were in custody. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a mistake. That was our fault and we apologize for our mistake. The Iranian patrol boat came out when we were having engine issues and had weapons drawn so we talk -- tried to talk to them until more boats came out and took us in. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Now, on the apology, U.S. officials tell me one, there's no official apology. John Kerry did not apologize to the Iranians and anything that sailor said would be considered under duress, acting saying anything really just to protect his crew. On the question of whether guns were drawn, that's the first time we've heard that, Anderson. They're still debriefing the sailors. That's going to take place tomorrow in the region. The navy waiting to get there own hard answers to those questions as well.
COOPER: And how does this compare to how the Obama administration has been portraying it?
SCIUTTO: Let me tell you, I mean, you and I, everyone else looks at those images. It's hard to reconcile those sailors on their knees with the story of a diplomatic victory that we've heard from Secretary of State John Kerry from the White House, even from the Iranian side. They seem to be on point in terms of talking points there. But they're still saying administration officials listen, this could lasts a lot longer, it could ended a lot worse if those diplomatic channels weren't open that being the result of those nuclear negotiations.
COOPER: But again, I mean, the timing of all of this, it's a very sensitive time obviously for U.S., Iranian relations.
SCIUTTO: But no question. Imagine this, beyond -- being the State of the Union last night, Anderson, in the next few days, officials tell me is when they expect the Iran nuclear deal to be implemented and that's when those sanctions, billions of dollars in sanctions on Iran are going to be lifted. So it seems that could have been a big influence on this that even the hard liners in Iran did not want to lose that.
COOPER: Jim Sciutto, Jim, thanks.
A lot to discuss joining me is Kirk Lippold former Commander of the USS Cole who also served on the joint chief of staff in the Bush Administration. Also Fareed Zakaria, CNN World Affairs Analyst and host to Fareed Zakaria GPS.
Commander, the Obama administration is portraying the resolution of this incident as a sign of progress and cooperation between the U.S. and Iran. Do you buy that?
KIRK LIPPOLD, U.S. NAVY COMMANDER: Well, it may be some progress with respect to cooperation, Anderson. The biggest concern is how Iranians are actually treating it. When you look at how they treated the sailors when they were captured and I use that word specifically on their knees, hands behind the head, guns pointed at them, that's really not a sign of two nations that are treating each other with respect.
COOPER: Fareed, what about that, not only doing that but that releasing video of it, releasing video of them and them and captivity as well. FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Look, Iran and the United States are adversaries. You know, let's not make mistakes about it. We're adversaries in the Persian Gulf, in other parts of the region.
The question is not, you know, would this be the same as if the United States navy had breached territorial waters with Great Britain or France? The question is given that they are adversaries, how was this resolved?
In 2007, a British boat ventured into Iran's territory waters in very similar ways. They were captured. The sailors were captured for 13 days. And then if you remember President Ahmadinejad had paraded them and gave them free uniforms, clothes, you know, some kind of publicity stunt.
This was very different. Secretary Kerry and the Foreign Minister Zarif were on the phone five times and appeared a few hours, it was resolved peacefully and relatively amicably but look, and it's peaceful and amicable management off a tense adversarial relation.
[21:40:02] COOPER: Commander, do you see it the way it was handled by the Iranian as a violation to international law?
LIPPOLD: I would say it came very, very close. When you look at what is required under the Geneva Convention, when you actually parade these people about, when you show them their faces, when you have them on TV. When you extract apologies under duress, that is a violation of the Geneva Convention. But then, when is the Iranian, you know, the IRGC, the IA told us ever had any respect for international law whatsoever. I mean all you have to look at the recent over taking of the Saudi Embassy.
Clearly they've had a disregard since they came to power in 1979 and it continues today with the ballistic missile firings with the firings next to the carrier within 1,500 yards with a 23-minute notice or merit or notification. Clearly, they have a disregard for international law and quite frankly don't care, which is what does make them a very dangerous adversary in the region.
COOPER: And Commander, this is a stupid question, but had you been commanding a ship and the Iranians veered into U.S. waters and you take them into custody, would they have been handled differently than the Iranians handled the U.S.?
LIPPOLD: I think they would have been handled much differently. I think we would not have treated them the way that you see our threat -- sailors being treated. We would not have paraded them about. We would have not had the kind of video footage that's coming out. We would not have leveraged the incident immediately to the media because those are all things that violate international law under the Geneva Conventions.
COOPER: And Fareed, obviously, I mean the context of all this, this is right before sanctions against Iran are about to be lifted. I mean, for those who want to see better relations, who are in favor of this Iranian deal couldn't have happened at the worse time. ZAKARIA: It's a very tense time both in the region, you know, in the United States for -- it's a political season here, but also in Iran. It's very important to remember that the people who took these sailors, the revolutionary guard are the most hard line element within Iran. They have been opposed to the nuclear deal they tried discovering, they try to arrest the Americans and while it was going on including an American journalist, Washington Post correspondent who is known to be a friendly with Javad Zarif the Foreign Minister Of Iran.
So they have tried all kinds of things to ensure that even if there were a deal, it would not result in any kind of fall in relations and so you have to imagine that when they found this opportunity, the revolutionary guard did decide that they would try to in someway embarrass not just the United States but President Rohani, Foreign Minister Zarif who have been trying to work a slightly better relationship with the United States.
COOPER: Commander, I mean the last thing made of the fact the sailor apologized for going into territorial waters. Is there something else he should have done in that situation? What do you make of that?
LIPPOLD: Well, Anderson, I think it could be a sign of a larger issue within the United States Navy and while there's an investigation going on and we should wait for all the facts to come out. You know, a lot of it is you have code of conduct training for the sailors. The sailors did undergo that training prior to deployment, but the reality of it, is they no longer sit down and talk to them about it.
How do you do your code of conduct training? Oh, you took quick online course that when you finish you get a little quiz, you finish the quiz and you're done. Instead of having a real chat with these young men and women about the impact of their behavior can have, given how the media works today, given the kind of international impact that this kind of incident could have. Plus, you have the larger picture, Anderson, in that where this boat was transiting, how did it get that far out into the gulf? What was the mission for this boat? Who ordered that mission? And once it was there and it's in fact there was a break down like we're starting to hear may have happened, why didn't the other boat take them under tow?
They have satellite communications capability on this boat. Why weren't they talking specially headquarters in Bahrain to say we broken down. We need help. We're drifting toward Iranian waters. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered.
Fareed Zakaria, Commander Kirk Lippold, appreciate both of you being with us. Thank you.
Just ahead, hundreds of children taken by ISIS, many forced to go to training to become ISIS fighters, some have escaped and one is speaking out sharing gruesome details of what he says he was forced to do.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:48:21] COOPER: In his final State of the Union Address President Obama told enormous nation that ISIS is not an existential threat to Americans. Now whatever you think about that statement the view looks very different from Iraq and Syria where ISIS is obviously in ever presence and the media threat to many.
Tonight CNN, Nima Elbagir shows us how the terror group is exploiting kids to carry out their mission, forcing them to become child soldiers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMAR ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The road into Sinjar Town. Almost two months of deliberation from ISIS it's still heavily guarded. Sinjar's Mayor has traveled with us today to show us what remains of his city. When ISIS swept through his Yazidi Homeland it's along this very road where the men, women, and children, rounded up from the surrounding the villages were driven. The men take off to the other side of the earth defenses in circling the town. This was the site of an ISIS massacre.
ELBAGIR: It breaks his heart, he says to leave the bones exposed like this to the elements. But, no one has come to investigate, no one has come to document, so they don't want to undermine any findings.
This grave is one of the hundreds; he tells us. Here is where they buried the women and the children. The young boys who refused to accompany ISIS, who refused to be conscripted as child soldiers.
Surviving eyewitness tells CNN the victims in these graves, more than 130 people had originally been singled out for transferred to a nearby ISISI town Abdal Akbar. They refused.
[21:50:01] You can still see the cloth ties that bound the victim's hands, both young and old, the prayer beads clutched until the final moments, the bullets fired by the executioners. A refugee camp in Northern Iraq. Those who've managed to flee ISIS have found refuge here.
Kurdish authorities tell CNN they have evidence of abduction of approximately 600 children. From Sijar and the surrounding Yazidi villages. Around 200 have since to escaped. And are sheltering in camps like this one across the Kurdish Region, returning to describe the brutality.
11-year-old Nouri Falah is one of the lucky ones. His family were abducted the day of the Sinjar Massacre. Once in Tal Afar he refused to join the training. ISIS fighter brutally beat him breaking his leg in three places. When it healed he could only limp.
ELBAGIR: They asked me to go to the mountain, he says and I refused. Again, and then they broke my leg. That saved me. The other children were taken by force. He says the ISIS deemed him useless. That saved his life.
Nori, 5-year-old brother a man was terrified from the very beginning, subjected to daily beatings. Their life in the ISIS camp is something no one -- no child -- should ever have to endure. The children's grandmother Gorah Halah (ph) says the boys described watching as militants murdered other children who refused to train.
ELBAGIR: Gorah (ph) tells us they are utterly traumatized. Nori wakes up screaming through the night, screaming that he is being choked and some man still suffers from seizures. Traumatize and too broken too much into militant ranks they were by some miracle released by ISIS.
Back at the outskirts of town in the distance we can see smoke rising from a mortar strike into an ISIS encampment. Mass graves with hold honeycomb the valley leading to boundary of their territory. On the ground the mayor spots a fragment of what appears to be a child's skull. Delicately, reverently, he places it on top of the grave. One day, he tells us he hopes it will be safe enough here for forensic investigators to come and help them identify the children under this reble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So Nima, why are, is ISIS going after these kids? I mean in what way are they being used?
ELBAGIR: Well, we saw in Ramadi and we saw in Baghdad Anderson after the fall of Ramadi. That by -- that there is definitely a sense that ISIS are increasingly under pressure. So what they're doing is they're using every able bodied, every experienced adult fighter they can. And in their place they're using this children in the sentry posts, they're using them increasingly in the front wave of their ranks as suicide bombers, and speaking to some of those Kurdish Peshmerga Forces that are facing ISIS.
They say they are seeing waves on waves of children coming at them strapped with these explosive devices and some of these men were just so traumatized, Anderson, they have to make that decision, either I think I'm going to die at the hands of a child or I'm going to have to be the person that takes that child's life.
COOPER: It is just so horrific to see these poor kids. Nima Elbagir, thank you very much, be careful. We're going to have more ahead.
Coming up next, exclusive breaking details emerging from the arrest of drug lord "El Chapo", after his interview with Sean Penn. We got new information about how much authorities knew about it all.
[21:57:40] COOPER: It's breaking news tonight about the secret meeting, actor Sean Penn pulled off in the middle of an intensive man hunt for Mexican drug lord, Joaquin Guzman known as "El Chapo." As, you know, Penn interviewed him in October while El Chapo was still a fugitive.
A Mexican actress helped arrange the meeting. Penn wrote about it in a Rolling Stone article that run the day after El Chapo was captured. He was caught after a deadly raid on his hide out in North West, Mexico.
Rolling Stone went to great lengths to keep the interview secret. Tonight, as CNNs Pamela Brown has exclusive information about what Mexican and U.S. officials knew about the actor's plans. She joins me now. So, what have you learned?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've learned from Law Enforcement Sources that U.S. law enforcement knew about this connection that Sean Penn had with El Chapo before his capture.
But they suspected that perhaps he was trying to broker a movie deal even before Sean Penn went to Mexico in October. Communications that he had with the actress, Kate Del Castillo garnered attention from U.S. law enforcement around the same time, Mexican authorities uncovered these text messages between Del Castillo and El Chapo. And then after that, Sean Penn went to Mexico, arrived at the airport.
The U.S. was alerted to that. But authorities lost track of the actor. It was then they suspected, he was on his way to meet El Chapo, the location where an operation was about to take place and we have learned, Anderson, that operation was delayed.
In fact, I spoke to the Attorney General today, she wouldn't comment on that specifically. But she made it clear that she wants El Chapo back here in the U.S. soil.
COOPER: And the Mexican actress, that you're saying you're learning more about her involvement?
BROWN: Well, that's right. So, we know that she was texting with El Chapo leading up to the visit that she had in Mexico with Sean Penn. It seems like El Chapo had some obsession with her. He was a fan of the show that she was on where she was involved with a drug kingpin.
And so, they were exchanging these text messages and it appears that she was going to El Chapo and saying, "You should talk to Sean Penn, this actor." He didn't even know who he was. But there was a clear tie between El Chapo and Del Castillo, the actress and Sean Penn and Del Castillo.
And when authorities put all of it together, that was when they were able to make the link between Sean Penn and the drug kingpin.
COOPER: Pamela, thanks.
[22:00:00] OK. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. We'll see you again, 11:00 p.m. Eastern. Another edition of 360.
"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts now.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The Powerball of candidates. Who is that? Of course, it's Donald Trump firing up the crowd in Florida as only he can.