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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Interview With Senator Maria Cantwell; Abortion Legislation Threatens to Derail Health Care Reform

Aired December 7, 2009 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, thanks. You've been talking to Amanda Knox' parents tonight. The people they are talking to, trying to free the American imprisoned in Italy from the legal system they believe is stacked against her.

Tonight we'll ask their senator, Maria Cantwell, of Washington what she's doing and what she wants Hillary Clinton to do and what she thought of the murder conviction.

We'll also hear from Hillary Clinton and look at the backlash in Italy as Italians ask Americans what gives you the right to complain about our courts.

Also tonight, as the issue of abortion once again threatens to derail health care reform, we want to take you inside a clinic where abortions take place. What do American women go through get an abortion? How do they pay for it? How does insurance affect whether or not they have an abortion? We'll look at all of that on the frontlines.

And later, a leading Democratic senator separated from his wife nominates his girlfriend for a top government job, never mentioning they have a relationship. Does that sound ethical to you? You might be surprised by the reaction of his fellow senators. The raw politics on that, tonight.

First up, though, Amanda Knox, convicted of murder by an Italian court, serving a 26-year sentence, appealing the verdict as her parents launch a full-court press in Italy and here at home to free her. Secretary of State Clinton was asked about the case over the weekend. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I honestly haven't had time to even examine that. I've been immersed in what we're doing in Afghanistan. Of course, I'll meet with Senator Cantwell or anyone who has a concern, but I can't offer any opinion about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you have not expressed any concerns to the Italian government?

CLINTON: I have not, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Though she says she hasn't expressed any concerns to the Italian government, it sounds like a bland statement, right? Well, not to the Italian press. The press there erupting on the front pages today. Take a look.

This morning's Milan paper, a front page editorial, it reads in part, "Once again, we have rule number one for an American accused of a crime abroad. It doesn't matter if they're innocent or not. All that counts is their passport."

It goes on to say the administration can't find time to close Guantanamo but it can find time attack the sentence in Perugia. That's a sample of what Amanda Knox's parents say they are up against in the media and the courts.

So they are pushing back tonight, asking their senator, Maria Cantwell, to help. I spoke with the senator earlier tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Senator, have you had a chance to express your concerns directly to the secretary of state?

SEN. MARIA CANTWELL, (D) WASHINGTON: I have not. We have put in a call. We hope to meet with her and we hope that she will advocate for what we believe is the need for a fair trial by an impartial tribunal.

That's a standard that we think you should be for, whether there's a trial in the United States or a trial in Italy.

COOPER: So you don't think that Amanda Knox got a fair trial?

CANTWELL: I don't. I think the issue is that to have a fair trial by an impartial tribunal, there was so much information, false information that was leaked that was unsubstantiated. There was a system where the jury was not sequestered.

And it had so much media attention, I advocated early on that I didn't think she could even get a fair trial in Perugia given the enormous amount of media attention about her there in the media.

COOPER: That seems to contradict what the State Department said. The State Department spokesman said that he didn't have any indication Amanda Knox had been treated unfairly.

CANTWELL: Well, I'm not sure as he's familiar as the state department spokesperson with the details of this case. So we plan to make sure the State Department and the secretary of state understand that it's important to make sure when there is a U.S. citizen abroad and they're in legal trouble that we advocate for a fair trial by an impartial tribunal.

I would hope that the Italian government would advocate for the same things if one of their residents was here in the United States. COOPER: A lot of our legal experts on Friday night when this case broke and the verdict came down, said, you know, they thought she was innocent, but said she was convicted on evidence which frankly many people in the United States would have been convicted on as well. Do you buy that?

CANTWELL: I did not hear that from the Friday night experts. I heard a lot of Friday night experts questioning the process.

And you know, the United States and the European Union do want to have a rule of law, and that rule of law should be for a fair trial. And that fair trial needs to have an impartial jury.

We know in the Amanda Knox case, the jurors weren't sequestered. We know that the process is different in Italy, but the amount of information of tainted evidence, the fact that there was mission information about Amanda Knox that was leaked to the press and out there in a very pervasive way, makes it very hard for a jury to have that kind of impartiality in this case.

So we suggested a long time ago that they move to a different venue, that the jury be sequestered, that information that was false information not be allowed into the court testimony. And we're going to continue to advocate for that.

COOPER: Do you believe Amanda Knox is innocent?

CANTWELL: I think the issue is that Americans traveling abroad if gotten into legal problems should have access to a fair trial and an impartial tribunal, and that's what we need to make sure happens in this case.

COOPER: So you're not taking a stand one way or another on her actual guilt or innocence?

CANTWELL: I'm making a point on the process.

COOPER: What's the next step for you?

CANTWELL: We are sending letters to the European Union about this, and we are hoping to meet with Secretary Clinton.

COOPER: Senator Maria Cantwell, appreciate your time. Thank you.

CANTWELL: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: More now about what happened in court, what happens during the appeals process, which could take as long as two years with Amanda behind bars the entire time, and what happens on the diplomatic front between now and then.

Joining me is legal analyst Lisa Bloom on the phone, Daily Beast contributor Barbie Latza Nadeau in Italy, and former assistant secretary of state Jamie Ruben. Jamie, a senator can write letters, but essentially there's not much the American government can do, is there?

JAMES RUBEN, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Intervening in a fellow democracy's legal system is pretty tough. Italy is an unusual legal system. They have some pretty wild cases there. The CIA was just tried in absentia for a case involving extraordinary rendition. The president is under investigation every week in the Italian justice system.

But if there is good news is that in the European system there are very many appeals processes. And I think if the United States follows this closely, and they clearly will now, that this is an opportunity to raise questions -- I don't think "intervene" is the right word, but certainly provide the support necessary to make sure every legal means are pursued.

COOPER: Lisa, how do you think all the attention -- this story is getting so much attention and her case is getting so much attention, and the outrage is because she's an innocent looking, pretty 22-year-old girl. I mean, there are -- as you said on Friday night, there are other people in the United States who might be convicted on the same kind of evidence here.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's right, I was one of those Friday night experts. It's amazing to me, Anderson, how many of the harsh criticisms of the Italian system in the Amanda Knox case apply equally well in the United States.

Prosecutors, for example, do not have to prove motive in the United States. Prosecutors use animations as defense attorneys do in closing arguments in the United States.

The jury was not sequestered in this case. Jurors are rarely sequestered in the United States.

So here, of course, many people are convicted on the same type of scant evidence that was present in the Amanda Knox case, namely inconsistent statements to the police and questionable DNA evidence. And I would hope the same outrage applies to them as well.

COOPER: We'll have more from Jamie and Lisa and we'll talk to Barbie in Italy about the appeals process in particular. The live chat is also up right now, running "AC360.com." You can log on, let us know what you think. I'll log on in a moment myself.

And as we said, we're digging deeper into the case next, hearing from Amanda's parents as well.

And later, we'll take a look at some of these e-mails and ask if they are a smoking gun proof scientists are cooking the books on global warming, or is the research sound no matter what a few researchers are saying to each other in e-mails?

We're going to look at the emails and the data with the skeptic as well as Science Guy Bill Nye. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Amanda Knox, now appealing her guilty verdict in the murder of Meredith Kercher, a verdict built on Amanda's inconsistent statements to police, erratic behavior, and DNA evidence.

Despite that, Amanda's parents say the system was stacked against them. Tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE" her parents presented their view of what happened between Amanda, her boyfriend, who was convicted of murder as well on Friday, and another man who was convicted earlier for the crime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDDA MELLAS, AMANDA KNOX'S MOTHER: What has been proven by evidence, for instance, is that Amanda and Raffaele were seen at Raffaele's house. It shows computer activity as his house. They cooked dinner, they watched a movie, they hung out. All of that is proven through computer records.

All the way up until at least, I think, 9:15. Now, they believe that Meredith was killed about 9:30. And somehow the prosecution claims that in 15 minutes Amanda and Raffaele got totally wasted, ran off, found a guy they didn't know, committed this murder in about 15 minutes. It's ludicrous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Her parents tonight on "LARRY KING." We're back with our panel, Lisa Bloom, Barbie Latza Nadeau in Italy, and Jamie Ruben.

Barbie, in terms of the appeals process, how different is it from the process we saw on the first time around. Is it more amenable to political pressure? What do we know about it?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, CONTRIBUTOR, DAILY BEAST, ROME, ITALY: Well, I think one of the things that's important to understand in this case, you know, is the fact that the American embassy has monitored this case all the way through. They've had monitors in the courtroom.

I feel like I need to say that, because she got a fair trial, I think. Whether she's guilty or innocent, I think we need to understand that there was an Italian also convicted of murder. And the Italians are not up in arms as the Americans are right now on the conviction of Raffaele Sollecito. I just think that needs to be said first up.

But in terms of the appeal, the appeals process is very automatic here. They have 90 days for the judge to give his reasoning and then within 45 days after that reasoning is given, the defense has to file their official appeal, and then it has to be heard within a year.

So really it could be within a year and a half probably that Amanda Knox will get her appeal.

And then there's another step of the appeal, there will be a third step. If she doesn't get this conviction overturned in that first appeals process, she'll probably get a few years knocked off if she doesn't get it overturned. But in the third process where she is in a high court, it's very likely she would be able to get -- to do, you know, get more of her sentences and have it appealed on the third level.

COOPER: Jamie, Barbie makes an important point. It's not as if -- if you listen to Marie Cantwell, it sound as if the U.S. has been ignoring this trial all along. As she says, they have met with Amanda Knox in prison and have been monitoring the trial very closely. So in reality, what's the toughest thing the U.S. could do?

RUBEN: U.S. diplomats are doing their consular duties and the consular office have been made available. They have been meeting with her and monitoring the trial, and the Italians have been very cooperative in ensuring that the U.S. diplomats are there.

I guess if through all of these appeals, there was no justice in the perception of lawyers who really took a good hard look at it, if it was determined that there was some, you know, real miscarriage of justice, I don't think the U.S. could really intervene.

Probably they could declare this part of Italy as a dangerous place for people to go and live and travel there and put it in some sort of travel warning, something like that. But it would be very difficult to intervene in any successful way.

COOPER: Lisa, the "Telegraph," a British newspaper, reported today that Knox won a prison essay writing contest about a woman being injured during a sex-fuelled sex party. Regardless of whether or not this is true, how much are any revelations like this going to affect her chances of getting off during her appellate process?

I find it hard to believe that story and knowing the British press in particular, it's hard to believe it. But all these stories, all these -- you know, the stories we read about her in Italy, how much more difficult is this going to make it for her on the appeals process?

BLOOM: That's a very difficult question, Anderson, because those of us who feel this is an unjust verdict, and I'm one of those people, you look for excuses and you look for reasons for the jurors to have reached this decision, and you wonder if the judges at the appellate level are going to be tainted by the media as well.

I don't necessarily believe that the lower case jurors were tainted by the media. Jurors, and I've interviewed hundreds of them after trials, they always say they decide the case based on the evidence. There was a lot of evidence here.

Appellate judge of course are used to cases where there's a lot of media attention. They know the tabloid reports aren't necessarily true. So I'm not as concerned about the media as some other people are.

I think this jury decided this case, however wrongly, based on the evidence they had in front of them. Most juries convict in Italy and in the United States. When a prosecutor gives them a case, 95 percent of them are going to come back with a conviction.

I think that's what happened here, based on the jurors' wrongheaded view of the evidence, and I think the appellate courts are going to take a closer look at it.

COOPER: Barbie, as a reporter who was there every single day covering this story for quite a while, do you feel like you know what happened the night of the murder? Do you feel you have a clear knowledge of what happened more than you did before the trial began?

LATZA NADEAU: No, absolutely not. I don't think anyone following this feels they understand completely what happened to Meredith Kercher and how she really died.

But a lot of people following is this case are less convinced of their innocence than they are of their guilt, if that makes sense. There is the false confession.

There's a murder weapon, which Amanda Knox' DNA was on the handle of the knife, and what the prosecution said and presented to the jury was the victim's DNA on the blade. That's very powerful. We hear a lot of things there's absolutely no evidence. The family says there is not a shred of evidence. Well, there's a knife. There's mixed blood.

There's a false confession. There is a lack of alibi. No one was ever able to put Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito at her boyfriend's house. No one ever testified in court -- and I didn't miss a hearing -- that said they were there.

A lot of the story is lost in the translation in the United States. Unless you really sat the courtroom and listened to the trial all the way through -- the defense didn't do a great job of knocking down the prosecution's weak case. That is the bottom line of the story.

COOPER: We'll watch what happens in the days ahead. Lisa Bloom, appreciate it, Barbie Latza Nadeau and Jamie Ruben, thank you very much, appreciate it.

Just ahead tonight, as abortion takes center stage in the health care debate, we take you inside a clinic where abortions look are performed to look at how the battle over abortion and insurance may impact the procedure.

And later, a stack of e-mails has some critics suggesting global warming was cooked up by climate researchers. We'll bring you the computer messages, the controversy and facts so you can decide for yourself what's going on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight's Senate Democrats say they may be nearing agreement on alternatives to a government run public health insurance option in their sweeping health care bill.

But for much of today, the fight over abortion was actually back in the middle of the health care bat. Today, Democratic Senator Ben Nelson, who opposes abortion, introduced an amendment that would bar any private insurance company that receives taxpayer money from covering abortion.

Now, opponents say the amendment is too tough and would restrict women's ability to get an abortion. We're going to talk with David Gergen about all the politics, but we wanted to take a look at basic facts about abortion, how much it costs, how much insurance is actually used by women seeking abortions. We want to try to get past all the politics.

And it's not our intention to talk about whether abortion is right or wrong. That's up to you to decide. But we just wanted to see for ourselves what it looks like on the frontlines of this issue.

We went up close inside a Planned Parenthood clinic here in New York City. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're here at Planned Parenthood of New York City. There's three health centers that they operate in the city of New York, all of which provide abortion services.

We're here to talk to Leslie Rottenberg, who's the director. Security here is very tight. Just to go in, there's a guard. You have to pass through a metal detector before you can even get into the clinic, and then there's a pass code you need as well.

This is the waiting room. Someone comes in here. Then what?

LESLIE ROTTENBERG, CENTRAL DIRECTOR, PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF NYC: They would have called us on the phone, and we would have gone over with them whether they have health insurance, whether that covers the procedure or not, whether they were planning to pay for it out of pocket.

We offer them to see an entitlement counselor when they come in to review with them what programs they may be covered for and to get somebody the coverage they need for all services.

COOPER: And then what's the next step?

ROTTENBERG: We don't want many people to have too many barriers to care. Then they can have whatever services it is that they wanted to come in for. And they can have those services within the same day.

COOPER: So everything can be done the same day?

ROTTENBERG: Yes, but that's different nationally.

COOPER: In terms of counseling, what do they have? ROTTENBERG: A lot of information -- this is what's happening today. Are you sure of your decision? How can we help you think about all of your options?

COOPER: So this is where somebody has an abortion?

ROTTENBERG: Yes, this is a procedure room where an abortion would take place.

COOPER: And how much does it cost?

ROTTENBERG: It ranges. In Planned Parenthood of New York City, it's $450 to $1,200, but it's very variable across the country.

COOPER: Different states cost --

ROTTENBERG: It would cost more if you were flying in a doctor from out of state and you need armed guards at your clinic. The price may be higher for a procedure depending on what you have available to you.

COOPER: What percentage of people actually use insurance?

ROTTENBERG: A third of the parents we see at Planned Parenthood in New York City use insurance.

COOPER: And if more people had insurance, I mean, if health reform passes and the Democrats are correct and 30 million people are added to the rolls, what impact will you see here?

ROTTENBERG: I don't think it's going to change the number of people we see having abortion. It may or may not change how people are paying, whether or not they choose to pay out of pocket. But I don't think it's going to change the number of patient we see.

COOPER: If insurance isn't so much of an issue -- if a woman is going to have it whether or not she has insurance for an abortion, why have insurance for an abortion?

ROTTENBERG: I think it's going to significantly change when a woman has an abortion if she doesn't have health care coverage for it. I think she will delay care and could end up having a much later term abortion, struggling to put the money together. And that certainly is a change in health care.

COOPER: And you've seen that? You've seen women delaying the process in other places because they couldn't pay?

ROTTENBERG: Absolutely, yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: What it's like in a Planned Parenthood in New York City. Let's dig deeper now and talk to CNN's senior political analyst David Gergen. David, I know you're doubtful that Senator Nelson's abortion amendment is going to pass. If it does fail, that's a big obstacle if and when it comes time to reconcile the Senate bill with the House bill because the House bill has a very similar amendment to what Nelson is proposing.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: That's absolutely right, Anderson. And it's important substantively as you just underscored with your piece for an awful lot of women. If they do -- if we do have health insurance reform, will they be able to have abortion insurance very easily?

And the bill that's being introduced by Senator Nelson in the eyes of Senator Nelson and his supporters would prevent federal money being used for that abortion but still would allow insurance. The other side believes just the opposite, that it would put higher barriers in the way of poor women in particular getting abortions.

But as you point out, Anderson, there are also enormous political implications coming from this amendment by Senator Nelson. Essentially insiders are telling me today, Anderson, that the White House and Senator Reid's office are now -- they need 60 votes to get health care through the Senate.

They think -- they're reasonably confident about 58. They need two more. There are three senators who are now in play to get -- they need two of those three senators to get to 60. One of them is Senator Nelson.

Now, if he doesn't get his amendment passed in the next couple of days, he may turn against it, so they would then need the other two, Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Olympia Snowe. They need some combination of two out of those three.

So whether they get Nelson or not is very, very important, because if they don't get Nelson then they have to get the other two. And that's where this other question you introduced tonight becomes important, because there's a second negotiation going on right now in the Senate about whether to have -- how to formulate the public option.

And that is, there is a -- there's a view growing that there ought to be something less than a public option that both Lieberman and Snowe might agree. If they could get that and then they would then vote, the Senate may have a clear passage way to passing this in the next couple of weeks or so.

So it's big, big politics are under way. We are in the home stretch of health care reform in the Senate. And too two major issues -- abortion and public options, are right on the top of the burner.

COOPER: And amazing that it boils down to those three senators, convincing enough of them.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid said today the Republicans are going to be on the wrong side of history when it comes to health care reform. He made a comparison that has angered a lot of Republicans. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID, (D) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: You think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, slow down, it's too early. Let's wait. Things aren't bad enough.

When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote. Some insisted they simply slow down. There would be a better day to do that. Today isn't quite right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Reid was way out of line. He said it was disgraceful. He actually questioned Harry Reid's state of mind, saying he's lost the ability to reason. Do you think Reid went too far?

GERGEN: I do. But I do think it's important to understand it in context. And Senator Reid's people told me tonight, listen, he's extremely frustrated by the blocking action, the efforts that he sees by Republicans over a long period of time to tear down President Obama and make sure he has an unsuccessful presidency.

The Republicans, on the other hand, feel like this is a bad bill. And they're dragging their heels. And what I do think, Anderson, is he spoke out of frustration, but it was also intemperate. I do think it went over the line.

And I have a lot of respect for Senator Reid, but I do think him going over the line -- here's the danger. It goes back to what we were talking about. The danger is -- the political danger -- is that it may so alienate the Republican caucus that it makes it hard to get Senator Olympia Snowe to vote for the final bill.

This kind of thing could antagonize her and make it much more difficult to do. So you can see -- if substance and politics are now intertwined in this health care fight.

COOPER: Snowe, Lieberman, Nelson, it all boils down to them right now.

GERGEN: Seems to.

COOPER: David Gergen, appreciate it. Thanks, David.

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: Still ahead tonight, hacked emails that climate change skeptics say prove scientists have distorted the facts on global warming. We'll show you some of the e-mails and you'll hear from both sides of the sides of the debate. You make up your own mind.

Plus a powerful Democratic senator nominates his girlfriend to a top job in the Justice Department. Does that sound fair to you? does that sound ethically right? You might be surprised to hear how fellow senators are reacting, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Still ahead, some incredible video to show you: a woman being dragged by a train after her purse got stuck in the door. It's every New Yorker's nightmare. See what happened to the train's driver. And of course, we'll explain how this situation ended. All ahead.

But first, Erica Hill has a "360 News & Business Bulletin."

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, at least 36 people are dead and dozens injured in explosions in Papidou (ph) Market in Pakistan. Police say the explosions did not appear to be a suicide attack but could have been remote-control bombs.

According to the nation's state-run news agency, most of those victims were women.

A U.S. citizen charged in the deadly terror attacks in Mumbai just over a year ago. The Justice Department said David Headley of Chicago actually helped to plan the November 2008 attacks that killed 160 people, six Americans among them.

Parents who bought this holiday season's hottest toys can breathe a little sigh of relief. Toy safety regulators say the Zhu Zhu pets do not violate federal safety standards. Deep breath, everyone.

A consumer group had raised questions this weekend over a potentially harmful metal found in one of the toy hamster models. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, though, reviewed the toys and determined the little guys are safe.

And billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson today unveiling his winged rocket that would take tourists into space.

COOPER: It's called Galactic.

HILL: It is. Three hundred people have already paid $20,000 deposits towards the $200,000 ride on Spaceship Two.

COOPER: It's like "Battlestar Galactica."

HILL: But better, because it's real life and you can do it. How about that?

The first flight is set to launch in 2011. Anderson Cooper, are you on the list?

COOPER: I've been mocked, for you at home, who are wondering why I'm talking about "Battlestar Galactica." I'm being mocked because I reveal I've been watching it lately. And the entire crew is now mocking me.

HILL: He's addicted to "Battlestar Galactica," people.

COOPER: I am. It's true.

HILL: Which is fine.

COOPER: Let us know what you think about that or anything else. Join the live chat at AC360.com.

Up next, a senator with a key role in the health-care debate nominates his girlfriend for a U.S. attorney job. Does that sound ethical? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also ahead, Sarah Palin's popularity on the rise, and new poll numbers, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The United Nations convention on climate change began today. Nearly 200 countries are going to attend the two-week summit in Copenhagen. President Obama will be there on December 18.

The goal is to reach an agreement on capping greenhouse gas emissions that most scientists believe are warming the planet. And the meeting comes as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency in this country labeled those greenhouse gas emissions a public health threat and said there's scientific evidence to prove it.

That evidence, though, is being called into question with the release of thousands of stolen and leaked e-mails from a leading world research body. Now, I want to show you two of the most explosive e- mails. I have them right here. These were e-mails sent among leading climate scientists. And what they say is creating a new firestorm over the case for global warming.

The e-mails contain language that indicate the figures for global warming are perhaps being twisted and manipulated and have been for years. One scientists in one of these e-mails uses the word "trick" and writes about trying to hide data that doesn't jibe with his position.

So the e-mails were stolen from a British university. John Roberts is in the U.K. tonight taking a close look at the e-mails.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: John, you know, you read these e-mails, and there's a lot of them. But many of them, I mean, they don't look good.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and even the man who wrote them, Phil Jones, admit that some of them don't look good at the first reading.

For example, take this e-mail from 16th of November, 1999. Phil Jones writes, quote, "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temperatures to each series for the last 20 years to hide the decline." Now, if you're a skeptic of global warming, you take a look at that e-mail, and you say, "Well, wait a minute. They're trying to manipulate the data, here. They're trying to hide things. They're using a trick to do it."

But I talked to the person that this e-mail was addressed to, and he said no, no, no. What, indeed, Phil Jones was trying to do was he had two different data streams, and one ended at a certain point. And then the other one began, and he was just trying to put the two of them together. So if you're a scientist, you say, "Oh, well, that's a clever method of being able to do this."

But perhaps the one that's most problematic for him is the series of e-mails talking about trying to resist Freedom of Information Act requests. In fact, he actively says that if somebody tries to get their hands on this data and gets it through the Freedom of Information Act, he will delete the file before he releases it to them.

I put that question about those e-mails to the acting director of the CRU, the Climatic Research Unit, Professor Phil List. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: What's your understanding?

PETER LISS, ACTING DIRECTOR, CLIMATIC RESEARCH UNIT, UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA: Well, I think the university is trying to, as fast as possible deal with Freedom of Information requests. We've had a huge number, I've got to say. And it takes a lot of time to deal with them.

ROBERTS: He was doing more than just trying to comply with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

ROBERTS: He was trying to resist them.

LISS: Well, I think -- I can't comment on that. That's the subject for the review. But you've got to look at it in the broader context as well. Individual scientists have views on a particular piece of work that someone somewhere else has done. For instance, they may well express that in certain terms and they may be quite negative about it. That doesn't mean that work is hidden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: But for a lot of people, this raises a lot of concerns about climate research in general, and the e-mail's impact, I mean, not just the research from this university but all climate research going on.

ROBERTS: Well, it at least affects this university, Penn State, which is where Michael Mann, who a lot of these e-mail were addressed to, works. And as well, Boulder, Colorado, where another fellow who was in this e-mail chain works. At least three institutions. Their work now is somewhat under the microscope of skepticism.

But every researcher I talk to -- now, these are all people who do support the concept of global warming, I should point out, Anderson. They all believe that, even if you took the work that these scientists are doing and set it aside, there is a preponderance of evidence that suggests that the earth is warming and that manmade causes are to blame.

So they really do have faith in the science.

Now, as far as Professor Jones goes, they also believe that he is going to be exonerated when this review is all said and done. But again, that won't be until the springtime, and meantime, that Copenhagen climate conference will long be history by then.

COOPER: Yes. All right. John Roberts. Thanks, John.

So was the professor's use of the word "trick" in an e-mail an attempt to climate change deception? What about the scientific data? Do the leaked messages make it tougher to convince people?

Patrick Michaels is one of the skeptics. He's a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute. And at this side, a familiar face, Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

Patrick, let me start with you. Just to be clear, you believe that climate change is real and that man contributes to it but not as -- it's not as catastrophic as some fear and it's probably not really something man can really reverse. So if that's correct, what about these e-mails troubles you?

PATRICK MICHAELS, GLOBAL WARMING SKEPTIC: Well, a lot of the trouble -- a lot of what troubled me were the attempts to hide things from freedom of information acts. You've got to wonder what's being hidden.

Listen to this one. Phil Jones to Mike Mann. It's short. Don't worry. Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith" -- that's Grippa (ph) -- "re: the latest U.N. report. Keith will do likewise. I'll also e-mail Gene and get him to do the same. We will be getting Casper to do likewise."

Oh, my God. And the subject line for that e-mail is "FOI," Freedom of Information.

COOPER: And you were actually mentioned...

MICHAELS: What in the world?

COOPER: ... in some of these e-mails. They were actually talking about you. What did they say about you?

MICHAELS: Well, they -- they did not like the fact that I had a bunch of articles published in the literature, and so they decided they would see who the editors were for those journals and try and influence their editorial decisions in the future. One famous one says, "We may have lost control over climate research. We don't want to lose" -- I think it's geophysical research letters -- "lose control." These guys are saying that they have control over what goes into the scientific literature, and they're going to threaten editors if they publish papers by me or my apparently few friends?

That's really dangerous. Because it biases the referee literature, and that's the cannon of science that we all rely upon to make our consensual decisions.

COOPER: Bill Nye, what about that? I mean, you read the hacked e-mails. Patrick seems to have a point. You know, trying to manipulate peer review journals doesn't seem like a particularly ethical thing to do.

BILL NYE, SCIENCE GUY: Having read the e-mails, to the best of my ability, with the regard to the expression "Climate Research," that refers to a specific journal that a specific scientist doesn't especially care for. So there you go.

The world is still getting warmer; humans are still to blame.

COOPER: You say...

NYE: The e-mails, when you get into it carefully, the e-mails are guys who are generally very, very concerned about the efficacy, about the quality of their research. And their concern is that people like Dr. Michaels are going to scrutinize it so carefully that they will be able to discredit it without really embracing the overall message.

So it's a concern. These e-mails were hacked. People referred to other people as idiots. I am very confident that each of the three of us has been called an idiot from time to time.

But the details in the e-mails are extraordinary. And the work that these people are trying to do, trying to cover so many details, so many millions of data that have to be analyzed over centuries, trying to coordinate it, is a very, very difficult business.

COOPER: Patrick, let me ask...

NYE: And sure enough, if you go through them carefully enough, you find phrases that are out of context.

MICHAELS: Oh, come on.

COOPER: Patrick, in your mind, do you have any questions that there was a deliberate attempt to manipulate and skew -- and skew the data, to have particular solutions?

MICHAELS: Absolutely. Absolutely. They said that they wanted to get -- they wanted to boycott certain journals if they published certain articles. Now, that means that the editors will all of a sudden certainly view things that might get them a boycott with a little bit of trepidation and, in fact, there were resignations from these journals. Another one, Geophysical Research Letters...

NYE: Isn't a boycott good for you, though?

MICHAELS: Not at all. These guys are major contributors to journals.

Anyway, another one, "Geophysical Research Letters," they said they had a problem with an editor because he was at University of Virginia. Just because I was there doesn't mean the editor was biased.

COOPER: So Bill...

MICHAELS: Then they said the leak was plugged there. Come on.

COOPER: For you -- Bill, this doesn't raise concerns about -- doesn't raise concerns for you, Bill, about the vast research on climate change that's been produced over the last few years? Not just from this university but just in general?

NYE: When you refer to that university, by the way, right now that university is where those data are stored. They have that responsibility. So no, it doesn't.

I think, just as the gentleman you had from East Anglican University referred to -- made mention, when these things are carefully reviewed, you'll see that there's -- people are chasing ghosts or phantoms. It's not that serious a business.

MICHAELS: It's not chasing ghosts to say, "Can you all delete all your e-mails, each and every one of you, in response to a FOIA request"?

NYE: So here's another problem. If you're a public figure, have you ever been audited?

COOPER: Are you talking to me?

NYE: When you're audited it's -- either one of you. It's a very, Dr. Michaels, very difficult business when you're audited. So apparently, my understanding from what I could infer from this e-mail, for example. They have a requirement to report within 20 days. This is in the United Kingdom. That's quite a burden.

People are in the middle of their academic research. They might have obligations to teach classes. So to be -- to have, in my interpretation of the word skeptic, to have this burden to report in 20 days, they go, "Jeez, we just don't want to bother to get involved."

COOPER: So bottom line...

MICHAELS: So let's delete the e-mails.

COOPER: Unfortunately, we're out of time. So Bill Nye, for you, basically, this does not change matters. Patrick, for you, this is... NYE: No, in fact, it reinforces it for me.

MICHAELS: The planet is still warmer than it was, but there are a lot of problems that are not going to go away because of these e- mails.

COOPER: Patrick Michaels, Bill Nye, I wish we had more time. But I do appreciate both your different...

NYE: We're still getting warmer, and we still have to do something. Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Thanks, guys. Appreciate it.

Tomorrow on 360, James Arthur Ray, the self-help guru involved in that fatal sweat-lodge ceremony. did he try to cover up the death of another follower in another case? Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: July in San Diego. Scores of people looking to improve their lives paid self-help guru James Ray thousands for his three-day seminar. In part of it, they were told to pretend they were homeless. A bus dropped them off downtown. They carried no I.D.'s, no cell phones. Surviving with that little would make them more self- sufficient.

When it ended, one woman did not make it back on the bus, but it left anyway. And now we know that less than hour after the event started, Colleen Conaway jumped off a balcony and killed herself.

PAUL PARKER, MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE: At the hospital, we labeled her as a Jane Doe, because she had no identification.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why she committed suicide is a mystery. Her body wasn't identified until seven hours later. But participants in the seminar, including this man, were never told who the victim was by James Ray officials, even as the seminar continued.

ANDY GRANT, SEMINAR PARTICIPANT: I find it very disturbing and upsetting. And you know, it smacks of cover-up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are disturbing allegations about the conduct of James Ray and his company after her death, which they deny, but which were also heard after the sweat-lodge deaths.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll look into that and also we update you on the sweat-lodge deaths tomorrow on "360."

Coming up next, a lawmaker's personal life becomes a political scandal. Imagine that. We've heard that before. This time it's Senator Max Baucus. He recommended his girlfriend for a political appointment. Some are saying she got special treatment. We'll give you the details, let you decide if there's reason to be upset. And a very close call caught on tape. Watch what happens when a woman's purse gets stuck in a train door. Details on what happened, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Max Baucus in the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill, with a big role in the health-care debate. Tonight he's caught up in an unfolding scandal that involves a high political post and a personal affair.

While he was separated from his wife, Baucus was seeing another woman, a woman he championed to be U.S. attorney for his state, Montana. The Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Steele, is calling for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.

CNN caught up with Baucus. Here's what he said about his recommendation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D), MONTANA: Everything was straight on the up and up. I went out of my way to be up and up.

She's just so good; she's just so qualified. She just shines above everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Jessica Yellin is following the story with the "Raw Politics."

So did he do anything wrong? I mean, when he recommended his girlfriend, did he say, "This is my girlfriend" or " This is a friend of mine"?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nope. He didn't, Anderson. And according to the law and Senate Ethics Rules, he didn't do anything wrong. But according to common sense, you've got to kind of ask, what was he thinking? He recommended her to the president on a short list of three nominees that he's suggesting for his job. He had his fellow U.S. senators sit with him as he interviewed this woman for the job.

And he had a private independent vetter interview her for that job, without telling any of those parties that this was his girlfriend.

Now, it might not be illegal, but it's just not how things are done, at least in the private work place.

COOPER: Well, it's also not a private position that she's going for. I mean, it would be one thing if he's recommending his girlfriend to some friend of his, you know, who has a law firm. This is a public position. YELLIN: It is a public position. It's ultimately the president's decision, not the senator's. And his defense is that she was eminently well qualified for the job. He says, and he is not embarrassed about it. He's not apologizing. He's not saying he did anything wrong.

He says by withholding the fact that she was his girlfriend, he was preventing other people from being biased in favor of her. Because, well, maybe if they knew she was with the senator, they would have chosen her. So that's his defense. Ultimately, the bottom line is she withdrew from consideration so it's not going to go anywhere as an issue, but it's sort of amazing that he doesn't think that there was anything wrong here.

COOPER: So I mean, is there any other outrage or any other senators, you know, saying this is inappropriate? Or just Michael Steele out there right now?

YELLIN: Right. Yes, you'd think that maybe there would be. But the bottom line is that...

COOPER: It's powerful.

YELLIN: There's so much nepotism in Congress that they're not shocked by it. Other members, the way they're defending this is, look, this happens all the time. If it's not your girlfriend, it's a senior staffer who served with you for many, many years. They get recommended to posts.

And Baucus himself is saying, basically, that he's really happy with his life right now. He says, "My life with Melodee is wonderful. We're in a romantic relationship. We're very close." He says, "It's very, very happy in my life right now."

Bottom line, this story comes down to TMI, too much information.

COOPER: Well, I mean, good for him that he's happy and stuff. But again, the point is -- you know, and he's not recommending somebody who worked for him whose work -- you know, it's somebody -- you know, it's somebody he's having a relationship with.

YELLIN: Right.

COOPER: Appreciate it. Jessica Yellin, "Keeping Them Honest." Jessica, thanks.

Coming up next tonight, Sarah Palin's popularity. New poll numbers show a shift in opinion and a divide among men and women. Details on that ahead.

Then a commuter nightmare. Watch what happens when a woman's purse got stuck in a doors of a subway door. How many times do you worry about something like this? We'll tell you what happens, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, let's get the latest on some other stories we're following. Erica Hill has the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, a major winter storm moving across the Western United States has dumped snow as far south as Arizona, triggering blizzard warnings. The system is expected to hit the plains and upper Midwest tomorrow and Wednesday.

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds 46 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin, and 46 percent do not. It's even. Palin's popularity dropped to 39 percent after she resigned as governor of Alaska. The current poll finds she is most popular among Republicans and men.

Talk about a terrifying moment at a Boston subway station. Here's the video. Look at that. The woman's purse got caught in the train door. She was trying to free it, but the train attendant at that point gave the all career. And as you can see, the train starts moving. She gets dragged, hanging onto her bag, until you see her off camera. She gets slammed into a wall.

She suffered a bloody nose, bruises. She's considering legal action. The employee who gave the all clear, by the way, was fired. The train operator has been suspended. Crazy.

COOPER: Yes, it's like everybody's nightmare on a subway.

All right. On Friday night, we showed you Tom Foreman's impressive work in the batting cage. At the CNN office party in Washington. He talked about what happened to him when he -- oh, I'm sorry, we talked about -- you talked about what happened to him...

HILL: Yes, when he tried to leap onto it. So standing on two feet, he tried to dump up onto a desk. He was about -- he was going for a quarter that we could do it.

COOPER: Right.

HILL: We tried to find the picture Friday night. We didn't have enough time to get it.

COOPER: Yes.

HILL: But there's good news tonight, Anderson.

COOPER: What's that?

HILL: We've managed to dig that photo up.

COOPER: Oh, good.

HILL: In honor of Tom Foreman's birthday, which is today.

COOPER: So this is Tom Foreman attempting to jump onto a desk?

HILL: Yes. Now, keep in mind, he's 29. So maybe next year when he's 30 he'll have better luck. But take a look at the aftermath here. The war wound that existed. There he is, having it checked out. Can you see the large gash in his leg?

COOPER: Yes.

HILL: Across a bunch of chairs. Yes. There's an assortment of medical supplies.

COOPER: Is that actually a doctor checking him out?

HILL: I believe so.

COOPER: That's -- wow.

HILL: Yes, yes. That's Mona's dad. You know Mona. She used to be on our how. Dr. Long (ph).

COOPER: Well, they -- it looks like he has a lot of drugs on the table there.

HILL: I don't think so, no. Not Tom Foreman. Those would just be bandages for him. But we did put together, actually Julia, who used to work on our staff, put together a triage kit for the next time that he was in town, just in case he needed it.

COOPER: All right.

HILL: Happy birthday, Tom.

COOPER: It's his birthday?

HILL: Today.

COOPER: Oh, happy birthday.

HILL: You missed the cake earlier?

COOPER: Yes.

HILL: There were two kinds of cake.

COOPER: I was out working.

HILL: There's still some left on the snack table.

COOPER: OK. Yes. It's only 10 hours old.

Coming up at the top of the hour, powerful stuff. Amanda Knox's murder conviction and the transatlantic fight to free her. We'll be right back.