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North Korea Levels Grim Threat; $50,000 Reward in Facebook Murder Suspect Manhunt. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 17, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:03] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Two stories dominate the news tonight. Only one of them involves a threat of nuclear war. It's been that kind of day.

The other story is an urgent manhunt -- the search for this man, Steve Stephens, who posted a video on Facebook taking another man's life. It happened in Cleveland. The victim, a 74-year-old father of ten who had just finished Easter meal with his family.

Tonight on 360, members of his family speak out. We just finished the interview and I got to say, their strength is remarkable.

Here's a bit of it.


COOPER: Have police been keeping you up to date? Have they been letting you know about everything that's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we've been contacted by the mayor and officials from his office and everybody has been really nice keeping us up to date. The only thing is that we really desire to see our father. Some of us.

COOPER: That's a hard decision to make.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to let him know we're here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We haven't been able to see him yet like since they took him away yesterday evening. We haven't been able to look at our father at all. And last we heard, they had not even finished the autopsy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They haven't finished his autopsy, and it's just heart wrenching. I just want to just rub his hair or something.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But we can't right now. We understand that it's --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're doing a job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's an investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the thing that would take away the most from my father is he taught us about God, how to fear God, how to love God and how to forgive.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Each one of us forgive the killer, the murderer.

COOPER: You do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to wrap our arms around him.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We absolutely do. We don't -- I honestly can say right now that I hold no animosity in my heart against this man.


COOPER: They also have a message for the killer and there's a manhunt on for the person. We'll bring you more of the conversation shortly and, of course, bring you the very latest on the manhunt.

Before we do, we want to turn to the global showdown that one expert likens to the Cuban missile crisis in slow motion. A young dictator, North Korea's Kim Jong-un, confronting a new president, the president telling Kim Jong-un he has got behave after a weekend of muscle flexing by the North. A failed missile launch and reported preparations for another nuclear test.

The president of the United States tonight saying this to FOX News.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to telegraph what I'm doing or what I'm thinking. I'm not like other administrations where they say we're going to do this in four weeks, and that doesn't work that way. We'll see what happens.

I hope things work out well. I hope there's going to be peace. But you know, they've been talking with this gentleman for a long time.


COOPER: Well, for his part, North Korea's ambassador to the U.N. had this to day, warning that the United States has, quote, "created a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any minute." Hyperbole or not, that and a variety of statements from the administration coupled with a limited number of military and diplomatic options available, all of it certainly focuses the mind.

We begin at the White House with CNN's Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, how does it feel to have the whole Trump family with you today, sir?

TRUMP: It's great. Great.

ACOSTA (voice-over): President Trump is hardly walking on eggshells when it comes to handling North Korea. With his family by his side at the White House Easter egg roll, the president all but told North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to cut it out.

(on camera): Any message for North Korea, sir, Kim Jong-un?

TRUMP: Got to behave.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Even though the White House has been flexing its muscles lately with high profile military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan, the president told us he hopes North Korea will choose the path of peace.

ACOSTA (on camera): Mr. President, do you think North Korea can be resolved peacefully, sir? What are your thoughts on Kim Jong-un?

TRUMP: Hopefully it can.

ACOSTA (voice-over): White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told CNN the president is counting on China's help.

Over the weekend, the president defended his decision not to label China a currency manipulator, asking, why would he do that when they're working with us on the North Korean problem? We'll see what happens.

(on camera): Because he sort of let China off the hook.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, I wouldn't say he's left them off the hook. He understands that they can play a very important role in making our world safer. And we're going to utilize the relationships that he's built with President Xi.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But Democrats worry the president's rhetoric is getting too overheated arguing there's no military solution with an unstable regime boasting nuclear ambitions.

SEN. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think because of the unevenness of his statements and positions which he has taken thus far, it is highly unclear as to whether or not he has the ability to be able to think this thing through in a way that avoids an actual military showdown between the United States and North Korea. [20:05:03] ACOSTA: One thing the White House says it won't do is draw

a red line for North Korea to define just how far the communist country can go in its provocations. Spicer noted red lines didn't work in the Obama administration's efforts to stop atrocities in Syria.

(on camera): Does the president have a red line when it comes to North Korea that if they cross it, they will bring about some kind you have military response from the U.S.?

SPICER: I think what we talked about, you know, the use of red lines in the past with respect to Syria, the president's -- drawing red lines hasn't really worked in the past. He holds his cards close to the vest, and I think you're not going to see him telegraphing how he's going to respond to any military or other situation going forth.


COOPER: And Jim Acosta joins us now.

Jim, the president saying North Korea has to behave. Has the White House given a sense of what the next move is if they don't?

ACOSTA: Not really, Anderson. You've heard over the last few days, the White House talked about ending this policy of what they call strategic patience they say was practiced by the previous administration. But when asked how their policy would be different, they're not offering a whole lot of details.

So, while you hear Sean Spicer saying they're not going to draw red lines, they're warning of military consequences basically when they say look what we did in Afghanistan and Syria. But at this point, they're not saying what would draw those consequences forward.

And so, at this point, it's really anybody's guess as to how they're going to curtail North Korea and what they're doing right now. But a lot of the tough talk coming out of this White House, just not very specific tough talk, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

Dana Bash is with the vice president who has been at the DMZ at the border between North and South Korea. We'll have a report from her later on.

More now on the diplomatic military choices open to the president. Retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling joins us. Kimberly Dozier, whose new piece in "The Daily Beast" on the Trump national security team entitled "New Power Center in Trumpland: The Access of Adults." Also, Mike Chinoy, author of "Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis".

General Hertling, I know you've worked a lot in the South Korea. You know very well the military capabilities the U.S. has and the difficulties on the battlefield, the difficult fight it would be. In terms of what the U.S. can actually do, what are the military options exactly?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Anderson, if we had about an hour, I could go down the list of all the options both from a diplomatic, military, something that's called left of launch where you conduct perhaps cyber operations, sabotage operations, which have been on going. That's all I'm going to say about that.

But there's all sorts of other things, potential for open negotiations with North Korea, pressing China more effectively, more economic sanctions that could hurt North Korea, but all of those bear a price.

From a defensive standpoint, you know, this hasn't started from ground zero as we've just heard many say that nothing was going on. There was a bevy of activities going on -- everything from the placement of the THAAD missiles in South Korea, to increased patriot coverage, to the potential for nukes to South Korea, preemptive war plans, all of this stuff is going on.

And whenever the Defense Department and the other whole of government gives the president an opportunity to make choices, they're going to give him that litany of things that he can choose from. And that's what's been going on. And Mr. Trump is just beginning to see there is a lot more than just kinetic strikes against an enemy.

COOPER: Kimberly, I mean, the president's message for Kim Jong-un today that he's got to behave. The tension -- I mean, it does just keeps ratcheting up here.

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, at least the rhetoric keeps ratcheting up. But Trump's national security team seems to have made the calculation that the only way to get Pyongyang to think about letting go of its nuclear weapons and getting back to internationally led negotiations is to convince them that the U.S. is serious about using military force. And if not to convince Pyongyang, and then to convince Beijing, so that they will put more pressure on North Korea.

When they talk about though the last administration was exercising strategic patience but they can't do that now, they're right in that the Obama administration had the luxury of time. North Korea hadn't yet gone so far down the road in developing a missile that could possibly reach the continental United States, if not this year, within the next couple years, and shrinking its nuclear weapons payload and getting those weapons more sophisticated.

COOPER: Mike, how crucial is China? I mean, every administration in the U.S. has always said, look, China has got to do more. The Trump administration says it looks like China is doing a little bit, but they still have to go farther.

MIKE CHINOY, SENIOR FELLOW, USC US-CHINA INSTITUTE: The Chinese have an important role to play, but you're right. Successive American administrations have all said it's up to the Chinese to lean on North Korea to bring sufficient pressure to get the North Koreans to change their tune. But the fact of the matter remains I think, even now with the more intense muscle flexing on the part of the United States, the Chinese calculation is still, they are worried about collapse in North Korea.

[20:10:05] They're worried about North Korean refugees pouring across the border into China. They're worried about the potential for an eventual unified Korea under a South Korean government with a security treaty with the United States. And so, while Beijing is increasing pressure on Pyongyang, it's not going to bring the kind of pressure that's going to force the North Koreans to change their policy.

Moreover, there are signs that the North Koreans are holding the Chinese at arm's length. There were reports the Chinese had been trying to send an envoy in the past several days and the North Koreans haven't responded to Beijing's requests to send that envoy.

COOPER: General Hertling, just in terms -- I mean, obviously, the nuclear, the idea of a nuclear strike by the North against the South is obviously a worst case scenario, just in terms of the potential for loss of life. But even ground warfare, artillery, troops, all of that short of nuclear weapons still is a very difficult fight. I mean, the terrain is very difficult. It's a -- I know, you've trained for this.

HERTLING: It is a horrible terrain. It's one of the worst possible conditions to fight in. There's a reason some people in the past, military people in the past have said never get in a land war on the Asian continent. It is horrendous hillside. The estuary north of Seoul would be difficult to cross. It's about twice as wide as the Hudson River.

And not only that, but all of the revetments within North Korea where they are hiding artillery pieces and rockets. As we showed those videos yesterday or Saturday of the parade in Pyongyang, you saw every single piece of equipment was either on a truck vehicle or wheeled vehicle. That means they're mobile.

And Kim Jong-un over the last few years has continued to rivet his equipment in the mountain side, in hidden locations. So, even if there is a preemptive strike against nuclear weapons or some of these missile systems that are in there being launched from the North, the North Koreans could roll out almost 10,000 guns to fire on Seoul, Korea, which is 35 miles away with 10 million people. It would be devastating. And this young leader would do something like that. Just to protect his regime.

COOPER: Kimberly, you wrote a piece, as I said, for "The Daily Beast". You talk about access of the adults in the Trump administration. Talking about General Mattis, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Kelly, along with General McMaster, Director Pompeo over the CIA.

How much is their world view influencing the president right now?

DOZIER: Well, according to staffers close to them and close to Donald Trump, they've really seen his attitude change. You can see that reflected through his decision to strike in Syria after the suspected sarin attack, and his decision to review the war in Afghanistan with an eye to escalating it. They say that he is gleaning this information often through informal

dinners, sometimes up to three times a week with members of his cabinet. That's how he learns.

There is one caveat to this, however. They still haven't managed to broach the subject with him that when he goes off on a tweet storm, he can upset the policies that they are painstakingly working on behind the scenes. I can tell you some of the staffers that I've spoken to really wish the bosses would have a heart to heart with him and say, hey, you've got a great weapon here in your tweets. Let's coordinate the message that we're sending to a leader like Kim Jong-un.

COOPER: Appreciate it. We're following this minute by minute obviously over the next two hours. We'll bring you developments. And more on North Korea ahead.

Also with Tax Day tomorrow, the White House has asked, will the president ever, ever release the returns, the tax returns that he has not? We'll bring you their answer and more.

And in just a few minutes, family members talk about the father whose life was taken them on Easter by a gunman on Facebook live. Their message tonight for the killer still out there. An update on the manhunt, all of that when we continue.


[20:17:44] COOPER: As we mentioned at the top of the broadcast, a fugitive is out there somewhere tonight. Authorities say he's armed, dangerous. A killer who murdered an elderly man named Robert Godwin yesterday in Cleveland and posted video of it on Facebook Live.

Facebook has taken it down. CNN has not broadcast any of that video, because we don't want to give behavior like this a platform on this network.

The alleged killer is Steve Stephens. He is 6'1". That is his photograph. Two hundred forty-four pounds, believed to be driving a white Ford fusion.

Take a look. There's now a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. If you see this man, police say you should keep a safe distance and call 911.

In a moment, you're going to hear my conversation with members of Robert Godwin's family. But, first, the story from our Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Robert Godwin was the family patriarch, a father of ten and grandfather. Visiting family on Easter. And while walking home in the middle of the afternoon, a video of him was taken by this man who was holding a cell phone camera and a gun.

Robert Godwin was shot in cold blood. His killing posted on Facebook. This woman lives on the street where the 74-year-old man was gunned

down. Ardella doesn't want her last name used for her safety.

ARDELLA, WITNESS: Just getting ready for Easter. And then sat at the table listening to gospel songs. That's what I was doing. At that very moment, I heard a gunshot.

TUCHMAN: Ardella ran to the front door and saw what she believes to be the murder suspect, Steve Stephens, holding up a cell phone and walking to his car. And then she looked toward the fence.

ARDELLA: I saw a man laying there slopped against the fence, with blood coming out of him. And I say, I know he didn't shoot that man. And I say, he not moving. I said, oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God.

TUCHMAN: Ardella called 911. At around the same time, Stevens was seen and heard on Facebook saying he snapped. And that he had killed many others.

Robert Godwin Jr. is the son of the victim. Melissa Godwin, a daughter-in-law.

ROBERT GODWIN, JR., SON OF VICTIM: This man right here was a good man. And I hate he's gone. You know what I mean? I don't know what I'm going to do. It's not real.

MELISSA GODWIN, DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: Feel like my heart is going to stop.

[20:20:02] I feel like it. It feels like it's going to stop.

R. GODWIN: You're going to be all right.

M. It feels like it's going to stop.

R. GODWIN: Lisa, Lisa --

TUCHMAN: Police are saying they consider Stevens extremely dangerous.

CHIEF CALVIN WILLIAMS, CLEVELAND POLICE: We know that Steve is still out there someplace. We don't know his condition. And, of course, right now, we don't know his location.

We're asking the public to remain vigilant. We're asking you to go about your day but to be careful.

TUCHMAN: This is now officially a national search, but there is no solid evidence Stephens has left Ohio.

(on camera): There are a considerable number of abandoned homes in this neighborhood and police started searching buildings such as this one after the killing in an attempt to find the suspect. However, there was no sign of him.

(voice-over): Meanwhile, near the site of the attack, Ardella has painted over her address on her front steps because she's afraid the killer might come back. She says her voice is on his Facebook recording.

ARDELLA: You could hear me in the background screaming, they said. And I didn't know that. But was screaming so loud, I had panicked but I didn't open that door. I was screaming from the screen door.

He know -- he heard me. They said it was on his cell phone, my screaming. I didn't know that.

TUCHMAN: A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Steve Stephens arrest.

WILLIAMS: We're still asking Steve to turn himself in. But if he doesn't, we'll find him.


COOPER: Gary, I understand there were early reports.

TUCHMAN: Seconds before --

COOPER: Go ahead, Gary.

TUCHMAN: Sorry to interrupt you.

Let me just tell you this, that seconds before the shooting, we have found out this, that Stephens blurted to Mr. Godwin. He said save the name of the woman that I had been having a relationship with.

So, indeed, the reason he said that was he added this to it. He said to him, she's the reason this is going to happen to you. That woman tonight is said to be devastated by what has happened and will is also said to be cooperating with the authorities -- Anderson.

COOPER: So, Gary, there were early reports of pinging from the suspect's he cell phone. What's the latest on that?

TUCHMAN: Right. Earlier in the day today, authorities in the state of Pennsylvania said they had received a ping or a signal from Stephens' cell phone in the city of Erie, Pennsylvania, which is about 100 miles east of here. But then later in the day, the police department in Erie said it had no knowledge whatsoever of any such ping.

So, as we said, as of now, there is no solid evidence that he Stephens has even left the state, has even left the city. He might be very close to us right now -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Gary, thanks very much.

Two of Mr. Godwin's daughters have a message for the killer if he is out there tonight. They'll join me shortly. We recorded that interview right before broadcast.

Right now though, CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander, Robert Fernandez, commander of the U.S. Marshals capital regional fugitive task force joins as well. Commander Fernandez, I know you've been talking to your colleagues at the ATF. Can you give us a sense where the manhunt stands right now and how a manhunt like this -- what it would look like?

CMDR. ROBERT FERNANDEZ, U.S. MARSHAL CAPITAL AREA REGIONAL FUGITIVE TASK FORCE: Well, right now, it's a complicated affair. You're trying to find out anything you can about this individual's background. Will he no criminal history that I know of. He had a permit to car a concealed weapon. He's just -- he's not the typical criminal that we're used to going after.

But we have a lot of people in our northern Ohio violent offenders task force working this case that have been working it all night. And they will not stop until he's found.

COOPER: Cedric, in a search like this, I assume time is of the essence. The longer it takes, the wider net has to be cast, right?

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, certainly it is, but I think under this particular case, we can never lose hope here, Anderson. They certainly have extended their search outside of the state of Ohio to a number of contiguous states there to Ohio. I think it's important to be mindful of this case is really going to be brought to bear by citizens or family members or someone who is going to see him and identify him and notify the authorities and here again, making sure that they keep a safe distance.

But this is somewhat complicated merely because of the fact here's an individual who don't have a criminal history. He certainly would not have been in be that job as a counselor had he. But obviously, he's someone who had some type you have experience himself, maybe with his girlfriend. We don't know. It could be a number of other variables involved that caused him to go off the deep end.

But he's a very dangerous individual and one that is highly unpredictable at this point.

COOPER: Commander Fernandez, I understand you take issue with the idea that this has been called a five-state manhunt. What -- can you explain that?

FERNANDEZ: We -- right now, from what I understand, there's no evidence to think that he's only limited to five states. Think about it. If this occurred at 2:00 in the afternoon, he's had what, 27, 28- hour head start. He could be anywhere in the country.

[20:25:00] And it's a detriment to law enforcement to say oh, OK, it's a five-state investigation, because he might have people in Florida or Texas or somewhere who might see him going into a motel and say, well, he's not supposed to be here. So, I'm not in one of these five states. We don't want that to happen.

We want people, if you see him, if you see his vehicle, don't be afraid. Call 911 or they can call our tip line. It's 1-866-4-WANTED. The number four and then wanted. We also have an anonymous text tip line. It's tip 411. And then you

just text in the first word as "wanted" and then the rest of your message. Both of those are anonymous. You can give your number if you want. You don't have to.

We need the public's help on this one.

COOPER: And, Commander, just in terms of an investigation like this, at this point, how important is something like motive? Or does that matter at this stage of the manhunt?

FERNANDEZ: Oh, it matters a lot. Basically, for someone to have such an attitude to do such a brazen, you know, wickedly evil act like this, it really shows that maybe he's predetermined the outcome. Whether he's going to commit suicide, whether he's going to have a shoot-out with the police, it does makes him extremely dangerous.

And, you know, hopefully if he's watching this, the best thing would be turn yourself in. Nobody else has to get hurt. We don't police officers to get hurt. We don't want citizens to get hurt and we also don't want him to get hurt.

So, we want -- we want a safe conclusion to this. But we need the public's help. If you're working at -- I'm sorry, if you're working a bus station, train station, motels, hotels, campsites, keep an eye out.

If you see someone that looks like this individual, 6'1", 244 pounds, he's bald. He could have shaved his beard by now but he's not going to have much hair growth at all in one day. But if you see someone and you're not sure, just call. It's okay. We've been handling a lot of tips.

We've been going out. I mean, we had one in Akron where it was the exactly same car with a temp tag. It wasn't the right car but ware appreciative that the public is calling in.

We want them to keep them motivated because the safety of our community, it's not just the responsibility of law enforcement. It's the responsibility of everybody. And we need citizens' eyes and ears on this one.

Just call in -- call our tip line. Call 911 if you see him. We're going to need someone's help to capture him.

COOPER: Yes, Commander Fernandez, we appreciate your time. Good luck to you.

Cedric, as well.

Just before air, I spoke with three members of Robert Godwin's family you. You hear how they want him to be remembered.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't make men like him anymore. He is definitely -- he was definitely one in a million.



[20:31:46] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: As we reported the search is on for the suspect in a murder in Cleveland. The suspect posted video of the killing on Facebook, but that is how Robert Godwin's life ended. That's not what we want to focus right now. We want to focus on how he lived his life. He was a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather and a role model to so many.

Shortly before we air tonight, I spoke with two of his daughters Debbie Godwin and Tonya Godwin Baines, and his son-in-law Tommy Baines.


COOPER: Debbie, first of all, let me tell you how truly sorry I am for your loss. Tell me about your dad, what kind of man was he?

DEBBIE GODWIN, ROBERT GODWIN'S DAUGHTER: If I could describe my dad in one word, it would be that he was peaceable, he was a peaceable man, he was a kind man, he was a giving man, he was a loving man, he loved his family. He loved his children, he would give you the shirt off of his back, literally, he was just a giving type of man.

COOPER: And Debbie, I heard you say at some point that he had no shame in his game, can you explain what you meant?

GODWIN: Well, what I meant by that, my dad, his grandsons, his grandchildren, the male children, what was the name they called him?


GODWIN: They called him O.G. so that was -- and for those who know what O.G. --


GODWIN: -- means, everybody would know what that means.


GODWIN: But he was just -- he was just a cool guy. His grandsons loved him, they admired him, you know. And not for any bad reasons, but he was just a down to earth type of person.

COOPER: And I heard a story you told about that he would shop with the daughters, he would shop for things that maybe a dad might feel uncomfortable about but -- but he had no shame about it?

GODWIN: He didn't, because he had five girls at the time, when we were growing up, there was just five of us, so my dad would go and buy the things that most men would be ashamed to go buy. But he had no shame in that. He would said it's a part of life, what is there to be ashamed about, that's how my dad was.

COOPER: I understand he was out that day collecting cans, because he kind of liked to do that, just to get out and make a little extra money, is that right?

GODWIN: That's it, not because he need it at all, he would just -- it was something he did. As a matter of fact the day I was at his house, I looked on the front port (ph) and I said, oh, dad, you got about four bags full of these things, I said, you know, he said, well I'm going to get a little bit more and then I'm going to take them and cash them in.

So it was just a little something that he did. And I understand from him going around, that it was something he did regularly, and people almost mistake my dad for being somebody that it was poor and destitute to. And he was far from that.

COOPER: But probably allowed --

GODWIN: Far from that.

COOPER: -- he probably allowed him to interact with people and, you know, made friends and get about.

GODWIN: Yes, he was a definitely a people person. There's nobody that didn't love my dad, like, you know, since my dad has passed away, a lot of our friends that grew up with us have they just -- they called him Mr. Godwin and they remembered our dad, and my dad was a type of person like he could run and he could swim very well.

[20:35:04] And when we were younger, he would tell us, I can beat you running, you know, we were like maybe between 12 and 14. And he'd say, I can beat you running with broad hand (ph), he would put on boots and we would race my dad and he would beat us every time. He would. He was probably in his 40s, somewhere like that. So he was just an extraordinary guy.

COOPER: Have police been keeping you up to date, have they been letting you know about everything that's been going on?

BAINES: Yes, we have been contacted by the mayor and officials from his office and everybody has been really nice, would keep us up to date. The only thing is that we really desire to see our father, some of us.

COOPER: That's a hard decision to make.

BAINES: Just to let him know we're here.

GODWIN: We can't. We haven't been able to see him yet like since they took him away yesterday evening, we haven't been able to look at our father at all. And last we heard, they had not even finished the autopsy.

BAINES: They had not finished his autopsy. And it's just hard wrenching. I just want to, just rub his hair or something. COOPER: Yeah.


BAINES: But we can't right now and we understand that it's vacation -- investigation, but --


BAINES: -- the thing that I would take away the most from my father is he taught us about God, how to fear God, how to love God, and how to forgive. And each one of us forgives the healer, the murderer.

COOPER: You do?

BAINES: We want to wrap our arms around him.

GODWIN: We did. We absolutely do. We don't -- I honestly can say right now that I hold no animosity in my heart against this man because I know that he's a sick individual. I know that, you know, because of his sickness, whatever evil overtook him that caused him to do this to my dad, is not him it wouldn't be something he would typically do and I promise you, I could not do that if I did not know God, if I didn't know him as my God and my savior, I could not forgive that man, and I feel no animosity against him at all. I actually -- I feel sadness in my heart for him. I do. I feel real sad.

BAINES: All of us. And we want to, you know, we've lost our dad, but his mother lost her son, lost her children, his children lost their dad. And the girl that --

COOPER: It's incredible Tonya that you're thinking about that even in your time of grief of --


BAINES: It's just what our parents taught us.


BAINES: But it wasn't that they just taught us, they didn't talk it, they lived it.


BAINES: Like people would do things to us. And we would say, dad, are you going really forgive them really? And he would say yes, we have to. So my dad would be really proud of us and he would want this from us.

GODWIN: He would.

BAINES: And he would say, Tonya, forgive them, because they know not what they do.

COOPER: Debbie, you know, you talked about how -- Tonya you talked about how your friends growing up said that they wished they were Godwins, I think a lot of people watching tonight and I know certainly I speak for myself I wish I was a Godwin right now, because you all represent your dad very well. Thank you so much.

GODWIN: Thank you.

BAINES: Thank you.

COOPER: I wish you peace and strength in days ahead.

BAINES: Thank you.


GODWIN: Thank you.

BAINES: God bless you.

GODWIN: God bless you.


COOPER: Incredible family. I mean just the strength and the worst moment of their life to be able to speak with grace and strength and courage.

There is other news to cover meantime. Up next, what can happen is you're a senator and you mentioned taxes and President Trump in the same sentence.


SEN. TOM COTTON, (R) ARKANSAS: The president says he's still under audit.




COOPER: A little reminder for everyone, the IRS tax deadline is tomorrow, Tuesday, the topic of taxes came up at today's White House press briefing, take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've been asked about this obviously 1,000 times.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've always talked under audit, the president is (inaudible). Is it time to say once and for all the president is never going to release his tax returns?

SPICER: Well I will have to get back to you on that.



SPICER: Really.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he make (ph)?

SPICER: No, I said I'd have to get back to you on that, and I think that we're -- he is still under audit, the statement still stands.


COOPER: President Trump's taxes also came up today as Senator Tom Cotton's townhall in his home district. Look what happened with the Arkansas Republican defended the president's decision not to release his tax returns.


COTTON: As far as I'm aware, the president says he's still under audit.



COOPER: A lot to discuss, with former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, he's a professor at UC Berkeley and author of "Saving Capitalism for the Many, Not the Few. Also with CNN political commentator Jeffrey Lord, he's supporter of President Trump who works in the Reagan White House.

Jeff, why not just be up front about it at this point, why not just say the president's not going to release his tax returns, end of story?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well to be perfectly candid, think they should do that, I mean I think this is now all about politics, this has been going out for 40 years and it is increasingly got to be more about politics. And if I can --

COOPER: What is that mean?


COOPER: Because after 40 years, people have been releasing their tax returns for all that time, presidents.

LORD: Well right and it's all used for political purposes. Now if I can, Anderson, I'd like to ask Secretary Reich, you were the United States Secretary of Labor for four years, did you release your tax returns to CNN and the "New York Times" and the wider world?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: I released my tax returns, of course and the fact I released my tax returns. Every member of the cabinet and every president and every vice president is not only required to release their tax returns but they're also required to have an audit.

[20:45:10] But, this is important. They're required to have an audit. So in other words they choose to release the tax returns, even though they have an audit. And that's what is so weird about Donald Trump.

COOPER: He's asking if you released them public, if you release them publicly.

REICH: Frankly I don't remember, but I wasn't president.

LORD: Exactly. My point. Hit my point. What you did, Mr. Secretary, I'm taking a wild guess that you released them to a Senate committee, they were not released to the public, right?

REICH: So why -- I don't understand what you're talking about, we have the president.


REICH: Wait a minute. But the president -- for 40 years, presidents have released their tax returns to the public, particularly one of the main purposes here, it's not political, one of the main purposes is to reassure the public that the president is actually not only obeying the law, but at a time when, you know, the public is paying a lot in taxes, the public wants to make sure that their president is basically doing it right.

And here we have Donald Trump who comes into office with all kinds of clouds hanging over his head, having to do with all these conflicts of interest and possible debts to Russian oligarchs and everything else. And he doesn't release his tax returns for the first time in 40 years, and it's because he says he's having an audit?

COOPER: All right, Jeffrey, I don't understand why the president would lie about it because he's always, you know, initially he said I really want to release them. And then he came up -- he suddenly came up with the audit story. He said they're really complicated at first then he came up with the audit story, then his own lawyers released a document in which they pointed out like his tax returns, I can't remember if 2003 or 2004, before that time up until 2003, 2004 are no longer under audit. They're not under audit. So he could release that.

LORD: Right.

COOPER: So now you're just saying, he should just admit he's never going to do it. Wouldn't by doing that be acknowledging that he was just making up the audit stuff or just lying about -- getting using that as an excuse?

LORD: No Anderson. I think he probably didn't feel that way. But in truth, I mean --


COOPER: Again, why not release his -- if it was the audit, why not release the tax returns that are not under audit.

LORD: Right, right. Because Anderson as we saw for example with Governor Romney, there stood the majority leader of the United States Senate on the floor to Senate making up stories about his tax returns, this has become highly politicized and for somebody like Donald Trump who's got an extensive tax return, with billions of dollars at stake I mean this is just a fishing expedition. And I really think --


REICH: I don't understand the argument. If you're saying that Romney --


REICH: -- Romney, Romney did released his tax returns during an election. And they were discussed during an election. But we're talking now after an election. Donald Trump is already president, he keeps on saying to everybody, you know, I'm already president, I'm president, I have to, you know, I don't have to do this or that, but we're talking about public trust, this is very basic, why doesn't he release his tax returns? Every other president has had an audit and has done that.


REICH: I'm sorry.

LORD: Probably for the same reason you didn't release yours to the public.

COOPER: But Jeffrey, it's not that every secretary -- you know, member of the cabinet has released theirs, we're talking about the president of the United States that there is a tradition --

LORD: But there it is --

COOPER: -- going.


COOPER: OK, but you're just trying to change the conversation. I noted cue (ph) argument --

LORD: No, no, no.

COOPER: -- but we're talking another president and why he's lying or said one thing during the election and is now, you know, I mean the audit excuse doesn't hold water.


LORD: Anderson, I'm trying to illustrate that this is all about politics and Secretary Reich's response proves this exactly.


REICH: I have no idea what you're talking about.


REICH: I really have no idea what you're talking about. This is very clear. In January of 2016, Donald Trump said he would release his tax rump returns, soon thereafter he said he couldn't because of an audit. And then the IRS said, anybody can released their tax returns even if they haven't audit and now his president, every president and vice president have had their tax returns audited automatically and every president and vice president have released their tax returns.

So what is the problem here? Why --

LORD: No, that's not true.

REICH: -- how can we come to any conclusion other than he's trying to hide something. Is he trying to hide something?

COOPER: Jeffrey -- Jeff.

LORD: Every president since Woodrow Wilson has not released their tax returns.

COOPER: Jeff, come on --


COOPER: Jeff, you know it's from Richard Nixon on, yes not through -- yes George Washington --


LORD: So what, so what. So from Woodrow Wilson to Richard --

COOPER: In modern times, in the lifetime of -- OK, we're going to thank you guys. Thank --

REICH: I don't get it. I seriously don't get it.


REICH: Well, can I just say I think it would be in Donald Trump's interest to release his tax returns for the simple reason there is so much doubt, so much distrust, if he has nothing to high, let it out there.

LORD: What about liberal?

REICH: Why not?

COOPER: All right, Robert Reich thank you, Jeffrey Lord as well. [20:50:01] Coming up, the former president and first lady keep a low profile as much as you can as a on a famous persons yacht anyway from boating with the rich and famous, a Broadway shows, kites a fame the island vacations a post-White House like looks pretty good. That's a picture of former President Obama and his wife on a very nice boat.

What is next, the Obamas, coming up.


COOPER: Well the current president may spent a lot of time at his resort in Florida, he doesn't have the market cornered a lodgering, let's a take a look at some pictures from the former president's life after the White House. Brianna Keilar tonight has more.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Spotted, President Obama on a mega yacht in the south pacific taking a photo of his wife Michelle. With an iPad. And with that, the internet went nuts. One observer labeling him an Instagram husband, imagining a conversation with the former president asks Michelle Obama, why do you want the photo taken in square mode and she replies, just do it.

Aside from this visit on board, David Geffen's luxury yacht, the rising son while vacationing reportedly with the like of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey, post-White House life has been really well fun for the Obamas.

[20:55:01] After leaving office with an enviable approval rating, it was straight to California for some mid winter golf. Obama then popped up in the British Virgin Islands, kite surfing with Virgin CEO Richard Branson, staying on the billionaire's private island with his wife.

He's visited New York City, taking an Arthur Miller's "The Price" on Broadway and posing with the cast and his eldest daughter Malia.

Back in D.C. where the Obamas are staying until younger daughter Sasha finishing high school, Michelle Obama made a surprise visit to a local school last month.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: We're celebrating International Women's Day with a group of amazing young women.

KEILAR (voice-over): Both she and the former president have signed book deals with penguin-random house.


KEILAR: When it comes to politics, Obama has laid low only occasionally speaking out as he did to a spokesman who response to President Trump's travel ban. He doesn't see himself as the point of the spear when it comes to opposing Donald Trump and leading the Democratic Party, that's what one of President Obama's former top aides tells me adding, that he is keeping a low profile politically hoping that it allows new leadership to develop. Anderson.

COOPER: Brianna, thanks very much.

Well last note, we're late now -- I should say we've learned the former President Obama will be attending funeral service tomorrow for Dan Rooney the late owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, President Obama's ambassador to Ireland, and a beloved figure not just in Pittsburgh but also throughout the NFL.

Coming up on the second hour of "360", President Trump saying North Korea has "got to behave", as North Korea's ambassador to the UN says the United States created, "a dangerous situation that could lead to nuclear war". The latest next.