Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Interview With Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison; Insider Trading Loophole for Congress?

Aired July 19, 2012 - 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: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

And we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the continuing, escalating and, most importantly, unproven allegations by five Republican members of Congress that the U.S. government is being infiltrated and subverted by radical jihadists, members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and four GOP House colleagues are leading the charge, with the congresswoman today expanding her charges, frankly, while, at the same time, oddly claiming she's not doing exactly what she's doing.

As we have reported, Bachmann and the others have asked the inspectors general of five security agencies to look into what Bachmann calls the possible deep penetration of the U.S. government by Muslim extremists. Now, perhaps most shocking of all, they're implying that this woman, in particular, Huma Abedin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's deputy chief of staff, may somehow be working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood, and they're questioning how she got a security clearance.

Now, to be honest, after our report last night, we really thought this story might be over. We have reported on this for several days. We thought it might be over yesterday. After all, Ms. Bachmann received an extraordinary public scolding from fellow Republican John McCain on the Senate floor.

She was also condemned by other members of her own party, John Boehner, Scott Brown. Even her own former presidential campaign manager, Ed Rollins, said she ought to be ashamed of herself.

But it turns out Congresswoman Bachmann is not backing down. Instead, it seems, today she's actually doubling down. What she isn't doing, neither she nor her four colleagues, is coming on this program to back up her allegation. We have asked them all. They have all said no.

Now, remember, when last we saw the congresswoman, she was refusing to answer our questions yesterday, moving as fast as possible away from our reporter Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Hey, Congresswoman. How are you?

(CROSSTALK)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Sorry. I can't right now.

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Senator McCain was just on the Senate floor and he said that what you're doing, going after Huma...

(CROSSTALK)

BACHMANN: I can't right now.

(CROSSTALK)

BACHMANN: But I can't do it right now.

BASH: Can you do an interview with us later?

BACHMANN: Yes, I can, but I have got to...

BASH: All right, thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: She said she'd get back to Dana when she had more time, but guess what? She never did.

Today, though, the congresswoman found time to go on Glenn Beck's program and spoke once again about her suspicions of Huma Abedin. Now, listen closely, because she actually ups the ante, leveling entire new charges against Huma Abedin's family.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BACHMANN: She is the chief aide to the secretary of state. And we quoted from a document -- and this has been well reported all across Arab media -- that her late father, who's now deceased, was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Her brother was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood. And her mother was a part of what's called the Muslim Sisterhood.

It would be -- we have requirements to get a high-level security clearance. One thing that the government looks at are your associations and in particular your family associations. And this applies to everyone. It would be the same that is true with me.

If my family members were associated with Hamas, a terrorist organization, that alone could be sufficient to disqualify me from getting a security clearance. So all we did is ask, did the federal government look into her family associations before she got a high- level security?

(END AUDIO CLIP) COOPER: OK, so let's talk about what she just said, because what she said about Huma Abedin just there and her family in that statement today, it goes far beyond her prior allegations.

Today, as you just heard, Congresswoman Bachmann's said flat out that Huma Abedin's father was part of the Muslim Brotherhood and so was her brother. In the past, Bachmann in writing didn't directly attempt to link Ms. Abedin's deceased father to the Muslim Brotherhood. She claimed an organization he started decades ago allegedly had the support of another guy who had another organization that might have had the support of another organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.

As for her allegations against her brother and mother, in the letter she sent to Congressman Ellison after he demanded she back up her insinuations, Congresswoman Bachmann only cited three items as evidence of Abedin's brother and mother's alleged ties to radical Islam.

All, by the way, are from blogs in the Arab world with second- or third-hand information at best. Now, that insinuates a lot. Doesn't prove anything, which is why John McCain, in part, said what he said yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: These allegations about Huma Abedin and the report from which they're drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And, as we mentioned, plenty of other Republicans have condemned Ms. Bachmann's line of inquiry, Senator Lindsey Graham, Scott Brown, Marco Rubio, over on the House side, Speaker John Boehner calling the Abedin allegations -- quote -- "pretty dangerous."

Congresswoman Bachmann though seems unfazed and oddly not only did she increase her allegations against Huma Abedin's family. Today, talking to Glenn Beck, she tried to say she wasn't really casting suspicion about Abedin.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BACHMANN: That's all we're saying, because we did not infer that she's a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or that she's working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Our point was regarding the security clearance and did she have to go through the same sort of process that anyone else has to go to? Did they check the boxes? Because if the State Department breaks American law to bring a terrorist into the White House, a member of a terrorist organization, it certainly is conceivable that maybe they looked the other way on issuing this security clearance. That's all we're doing is asking a question. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's all we're doing, asking a question.

But, "Keeping Them Honest" that is just nonsense, and you know it. If she wasn't alleging Huma Abedin was somehow sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, she wouldn't have ever brought her up in her allegations about alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the government. Why would she even have included her? She wouldn't be raising questions about her vetting for a security clearance if she didn't have these suspicions, which, by the way, she has no information at all about. She has no information about what security clearance she has or how she was vetted.

In fact, the words she's used to describe Abedin and the reason she's concerned about her background and her allegiances is because in Bachmann's own words "Her position provides her with access to the secretary," meaning the secretary of state, Clinton, "and puts her in position to influence policy-making."

She's concerned about Abedin influencing policy. Now, to pretend today that she's simply making a point or asking questions about security clearances and not questioning Abedin's loyalty, that would be laughable if it wasn't so serious, if people's lives and careers and futures weren't at stake here.

And of course Ms. Bachmann and her four colleagues are doing more than singling out Huma Abedin, who I don't know. They're also alleging that the FBI removed vital information about the threat of radical Islam from its own training material under pressure from Muslim groups aligned with or directly from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now, we contacted the FBI about the changes that they made to some of their training material, because after some controversy, some reporters brought up some of the details of things that were in some of these training materials, a small amount of the training materials. The FBI did change their training materials.

FBI said the information they changed was changed because it was either factually incorrect or offensive to Muslims -- quote from the FBI, because we called them -- "Our review of FBI counterterrorism training materials was not influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood or any other outside entity. We initiated an internal review after recognizing that some of our materials did not meet the FBI standards of professionalism."

Again, though Congresswoman Bachmann is alleging deep penetration of the entire government, not just the FBI, but at the end of the day, she and the other four lawmakers have targeted one person, Huma Abedin, and they may be throwing a chill into many more good public servants who happen to be Muslim.

Together, these five congresspeople, they only represent about four million Americans, but they speak with the force of the powerful House Intelligence Committee. They say they only want an investigation. But as one my predecessors in news put it, the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one.

You can decide whether the congresswoman from Minnesota has stepped over it.

Today, Ms. Bachmann also took sharper aim at Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison, who is a fellow member of the Minnesota delegation. He is also Muslim.

Today, she accused him of having -- and I quote -- a long record of being associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Joining us now is Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison.

Congressman Ellison, Congresswoman Bachmann was on Glenn Beck's radio show and had some things to say on a wide of variety of topics, but on you as well. I just want to play a little bit of some of what she said.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BACHMANN: Well, he has a long record of being associated with CAIR and with the Muslim Brotherhood. CAIR is an unindicted co- conspirator (INAUDIBLE) largest terrorist financing case that we have had in the United States of America.

And so he came out and essentially wanted to shut down the inspectors general from even looking into any of the questions that we were asking. So he wanted to shut it down.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: Let me ask you just on two things. One, she's saying you have a long record of being associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Is that true?

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: No. That's not true.

COOPER: Do you support the Muslim Brotherhood?

ELLISON: I don't support any organization that -- I support American institutions.

I don't know enough about them. What I know about them is that in Egypt, one of their candidates has ascended to the presidency. I have never met that person. But I do think the United States should have a foreign policy where we talk to foreign leaders of all kinds. But, no, I don't have any -- I don't have any Muslim Brotherhood connections that she's talking about.

COOPER: And when she says that you are trying to shut down their investigation, what do you make of that?

ELLISON: I'm absolutely not trying to shut down their investigation. What I'm trying to do is to raise a concern about unfounded allegations of disloyalty, specifically with regard to Huma Abedin and a few other people who she mentioned. But there is -- if she has legitimate evidence, she should go forward.

All I do is ask her to put up the proof.

COOPER: We called the inspectors general involved here. Two of the five agencies, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, told us they had no plans to investigate.

And both were clear that a request like this is outside the inspectors general mandate, saying that they look at the effectiveness of programs. They look for waste, fraud, abuse. Wouldn't members of Congress and/or their staffs know that?

ELLISON: Yes, members of Congress would know that very well.

But you have to ask yourself, you know, why did she make this so public? Why did she seem to be seeking public attention for these allegations she was making? If she really had actionable intelligence, why wouldn't she go to the agencies that investigate these things?

I think the answer is clear, that she wanted attention. That was her goal all along.

COOPER: It's about politics, it's about fund-raising, it's about attention?

ELLISON: Yes, but it's also about making -- it is also -- I think it is those things, but it's also about marginalizing and alienating a certain group of Americans who she does not view all American enough.

COOPER: Because it does seem like basically she's painting with a very broad brush Muslims in this country. I mean, you suddenly now are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Huma Abedin's father is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, her brother is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, even though there's no direct evidence of this.

And as we talked about, you know, she's raising questions about Huma Abedin herself. It does seem she sort of is using the term Muslim Brotherhood interchangeably with the term Muslim.

ELLISON: Right.

And one of the things that compelled me to step forward on this issue is that I believe Huma Abedin is going to be fine. She has an impeccable reputation. She's going to be OK. But what about some mid-level person whose name may be Mohammed or Ahmed or just be a Muslim, but who's doing a good job and has been a loyal American?

Is her kind of allegation going to have such a chilling effect that a person like that is going to come under suspicion? These are the things that make me worry. COOPER: In the interview, she talks about the FBI, saying -- quote -- "The FBI, who are supposed to be trained in radical Islam, elements have been purged of their training materials, so they're no longer being taught about what radical Islam is in order to be able to truly identify it ahead of time."

Is that your understanding of what happened? Because, according to the FBI, they removed documents and some presentations that they said stereotyped Islam or were factually inaccurate in their training materials.

ELLISON: Yes.

On the training material issue, they had a whole host of materials that were simply inaccurate and, in many cases, biased. And they tried to improve their training presentation, which I think is good and we applaud it. The fact of the matter is, when law enforcement is trying to improve how it does law enforcement, we should applaud that.

But, apparently, she wanted to keep in the biased, inaccurate material so that people would be trained on improper material and perhaps engage in profiling or whatever else because of it.

But, you know, it's just one of those situations where if good people will stand up and say this is wrong, we can put a stop to it. I'm glad that this story has gotten a lot of attention because we need a reminder every once in a while, you know, that this is a country of laws and not individual persons, and that proof is needed, not just allegation. I mean, this is why I'm glad this story has gotten a little bit of attention.

COOPER: Well, Congressman Ellison, I appreciate your time tonight.

Thank you, sir.

ELLISON: Thank you, sir.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. We're talking about this on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper. Join me there.

Also, "Keeping Them Honest" tonight": how a loophole got into a law that was supposed to keep the folks who work on Capitol Hill who work for you from cashing in on inside information about the companies they regulate. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" now with the case of the lingering loophole.

It exists, hidden in plain sight, inside a law called the Stock Act. Now, the Stock Act is supposed to prevent your elected representatives from using information they may have gained as elected representatives to get rich in the stock market. You will remember "60 Minutes"' Steve Kroft broke the story late last year of lawmakers in both parties apparently doing just that and doing it legally.

Well, a short time later, President Obama made regulating congressional insider trading a centerpiece of his State of the Union message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress. I will sign it tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, and that's what Congress did. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: This is an attempt to take a step, a significant step, to rebuild the lost trust that the American people feel today in members of Congress.

In short, the Stock Act is intended to build a wall of separation between stocks and state, between public office and private profit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, the Stock Act passed with support from Democrats and Republicans. President Obama signed it.

You would think that's the end of the story, right? No more legalized insider trading, right? Not exactly.

CNN's Dana Bash and her producer have done some digging into the law. They have discovered not just a lingering loophole, but how it got there.

She's "Keeping Them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: Let me sign this bill.

BASH (voice-over): This was memorable because it was so rare, President Obama signing a bipartisan law Congress passed swiftly and overwhelmingly to make sure there's no insider trading in Congress. Lawmakers crowed about restoring trust in government.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: If there was any chance of fact of using non-public information for personal profit, we were not going to allow it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have tried to focus at the specific task at hand, closing loopholes to ensure that members of the Congress play by the exact same rules as everyone else.

BASH: But "Keeping Them Honest," CNN has learned that not all the loopholes were closed. Here's why. The key to making sure lawmakers don't profit off secret information they learn on the job is based on a new rule. Financial transactions over $1,000 must be reported within 45 days.

ROBERT WALKER, GOVERNMENT ETHICS LAWYER: So that the public could have more real-time understanding of what their members and what senior staff and other high government officials were doing with their finances. What kinds of trades were they making?

BASH (on camera): On the Senate side of the Capitol, the Ethics Committee decided that the new rule must apply to lawmakers and their spouses and children. But over here on the House side, the Ethics Committee told its members something completely different, that spouses and children do not have to report their stock trades in a timely way.

SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: I'm obviously deeply concerned about that.

BASH (voice-over): All of this was news to the senators who sponsored the legislation. Needless to say, when we brought it to their attention, they were not happy.

BROWN: Let's say that I find out some information and I tell my wife and she goes and trades on it, what's the difference? Bottom line is, we're supposed to have that level of transparency and have us be treated like every other member of the United States.

BASH (on camera): It specifically says that members of Congress do not have to have their spouse or their children file.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: I think it's wrong and I think it's unfortunate, because the reality is the whole point of this legislation is that we should play by the exact same rules as every other American citizen. And when all of America looks at Washington, they know it's broken.

BASH: The fact that the House and the Senate can have different interpretations of the same law that each passed, doesn't that speak to the fact that Washington's broken?

GILLIBRAND: Yes, and I have concerns.

BASH (voice-over): After we told Senator Scott Brown about this, he fired off a letter to fellow Republicans in the House, saying it's "deeply troubling that members' spouses and children are not required to regularly disclose stock trades. The House interpretation leaves a loophole and the appearance of an ongoing double standard," Brown said in the letter.

All this raised a big question. How did the loophole happen? When we started asking questions, all signs pointed to the opposite House majority leader, Eric Cantor, which wrote and controlled the legislation that became law.

(on camera): It turns out Cantor's staff changed the original bill without most in Congress, even the Senate sponsors, realizing it. At first, Cantor's office insisted that the changes didn't alter the intent of the insider trading ban. But we kept pressing them with information to suggest otherwise.

Finally, Cantor's office sent us this statement, which acknowledged that there is a problem. And because of CNN's reporting, they're trying to figure out how to fix it.

(voice-over): "It was not the intention of the House to differ with the Senate-passed bill with respect to application to spouses and dependent children," said Cantor spokesman Doug Heye. "Since new information has been brought to our attention with respect to this discrepancy, we're reviewing our options regarding transaction reports in the House of Representatives."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Dana, this is amazing reporting. Dana joins us now, along with former Congressman Brian Baird of Washington State, who tried for years to close this insider trading loophole.

First of all, Dana, so Cantor's office is suggesting they're going to try to fix the problem now. Did they give you any indication exactly how or when that's going to happen?

BASH: They don't know. That's the answer.

In fact, I talked to their office just before coming on with you to try to get the answer. And they said that they're trying to figure out how. And once they figure out the how, that will probably help them determine when.

I asked whether or not they have to do a legislative fix, whether or not they have to pass a new piece of legislation all over again that the president has to sign or whether or not they can simply send maybe a memo to the House Ethics Committee making clear that that was not the intention, that the intention was to make sure that spouses and children also file and report their transactions. They said that they're trying to figure this out.

COOPER: Congressman Baird, when you were on this show back in December, you questioned Cantor's dedication to passing this bill. When his office says it wasn't their intention to differ with the Senate-passed bill, you were in Congress, you speak that language. What does that mean to you?

BRIAN BAIRD (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I had doubts about the Majority Leader's Cantor's commitment to this bill from the beginning. He had somewhat of a switched position, if you will.

He seemed initially to try to oppose it and then tried to embrace it. I'm glad -- and I commend Dana and the rest of the CNN team for discovering this. Clearly, the intent of this legislation is to make sure the public knows if members of Congress are trading on non-public information, and if spouses are excluded from that, you could just pass information on to your spouse or kids.

So I really commend CNN. And I hope Mr. Cantor will be sincere and correct this. It should not be difficult to do. It's the right thing to do. But time will tell.

COOPER: You think it should be a relatively simple fix?

BAIRD: It should.

First of all, Ethics could tomorrow -- without legislative action could announce. The Ethics Committee could make a decision and a ruling that members of Congress and their spouses and children have to file internal financial reports which are then made public. You don't have to legislate that.

But if Ethics chooses not to do that, then legislative process should be invoked. And it should be brought up under a number of measures that allow quick deliberation and decision. And I think most members would clearly sign on to this.

COOPER: Dana, do we have any idea specifically how or why the House changed this? And how often does something like this happen, where the House and Senate have different interpretations of the same law?

BASH: Well, to answer your first question, the why, that was obviously something that Deirdre Walsh, who I should say really uncovered this -- I helped her investigate -- but the question that we were asking, OK, now that you admitted that you changed it, why did you do it?

The answer we got was that Cantor's office and the broader Republican leadership that was working on the legislative language consulted the House Ethics Counsel's Office and that they were told that this is the best way to write the language. They insist that there was nothing sinister here, that they weren't trying to pull one other, they weren't trying to find this loophole and that it just happened.

And that answers your second question. Does this happen? The former congressman can answer this better than I can. It does, especially in cases like this. When there's such a P.R. push or a sense that for members of Congress that they have to do something very fast, things fall through the cracks. Loopholes happen. And that's what happened in this situation.

COOPER: Congressman, is there a bigger issue here at play having to do with resistance to transparency?

BAIRD: There is indeed.

If you look at what happened just last week, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives refused to pass the Disclose Act, a simple piece of legislation that would have said the large donors to these super PACs and the campaign attack ads, we have to find out who they are. They wouldn't pass that. We don't seem to be able to get candidate Mitt Romney to disclose his tax returns.

I really think we ran into heavy resistance on the Stock Act from the Republican side. There's a pattern here. The pattern seems to be we don't have to tell you what's going on. We're somehow exempt from this. And, you know, the paradox here is that existing prior law to the Stock Act required disclosure from spouses every year.

What they actually did was weaken existing law and carve out a loophole that was already there in the process of passing the Stock Act. And I think -- I don't buy -- I think it's rather disingenuous of them to say, oh, it was just incidental. I think it was willful, intentional, and part of a longer pattern that is quite troubling.

COOPER: Shouldn't point fingers, I think, just at one side here. Even in the White House, we just saw an example where the president was talking about executive privilege on documents related to Fast and Furious for the Justice Department. That raised a lot of questions about the desire for transparency on all sides.

Dana Bash, I appreciate your great reporting, your producer as well.

And, Congressman Baird, thank you so much. You have been out in front of this for a long, long time. We will continue to follow it.

Take a look at this airport security video that was released today. The guy looks like an ordinary tourist, right, shorts, a T- shirt, and a backpack. Well, Bulgarian authorities say he is the suicide bomber who blew up a bus carrying Israeli tourists. And wait until you hear what other clues they have turned up. A driver's license, we will tell you what state in the United States it's from.

That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A bizarre story -- a billionaire and his wife, they seemed to have it all, but, privately, they led a very different life.

And now one of them is dead and the other facing charges -- "Crime & Punishment" ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight, the mystery of who was behind that deadly bus bombing in Bulgaria is deepening. Authorities revealed new clues today, including a fake Michigan driver's license and an airport security video.

Bulgarian authorities believe this man in shorts and a T-shirt was the bomber. They believe he hid the device in his backpack before boarding the bus full of Israeli tourists. That's him right there.

Now, they were on their way to a resort, but the bomb went off before they left the airport parking lot. Five tourists died, along with the driver and the suspected bomber. Dozens more were injured. The attack is adding new fuel to already-escalating tensions between Israel and Iran even as the story and the plot thickens.

Here's Tom Foreman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators say this is the man who set off the bomb, captured here on an airport security camera in the town of Burges, wearing a hat, carrying a backpack, and seemingly wandering around aimlessly.

Conflicting reports from authorities in Bulgarian media say he arrived in the country 1 to 5 weeks ago. And he mingled with tourists who just arrived from Tel Aviv right before the bomb went off in the bus's luggage compartment.

Beyond that, much seems uncertain. It is not apparent if he acted one or with help. Authorities say he used a fake Michigan driver's license for travel with a Louisiana address. This picture obtained by ABC News shows a man with long hair, just like in the surveillance video.

In Israel, the prime minister is making it clear what he thinks: this was an agent of Israel's old enemy, Iran.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: This attack was part of a global campaign of terror carried out by Iran and Hezbollah. This terror campaign has reached a dozen countries on five continents. The world's leading powers should make it clear that Iran is the country that stands behind this terror campaign.

Iran must be exposed by the international community as the premier terrorist-supporting state that it is.

FOREMAN: Tension between Israel and Iran has been growing for decades and recently has escalated sharply, with allegations of everything from harassment to spy hits to mass murder.

When Israeli diplomats came under attack earlier this year, Israel quickly blamed Iran. When Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated in 2010, the government there immediately said it was the work of the super-secret Israeli spy agency Mossad. Iran hanged one of those suspected spies earlier this year. And Israel broke up what it called an Iranian terror network just months ago.

(on camera) Western suspicions that Iran is secretly trying to build a nuclear weapon are only making all of this worse. So even as Iran furiously denies that it had anything to do with the attack in Bulgaria, the accusations just as furiously continue.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, Eva and Hans Kristian Rausing seem to have lived a charmed life, in my respects. He's the son of one of the world's richest men, but her mysterious death has exposed how far they'd fallen and the toll that drugs and addiction had taken on this couple.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A disturbing video of an alleged abduction attempt in Philadelphia. Police say a man tried to kidnap a 10-year-old girl. Take a look at the tape -- who was walking home from a store with a 2- year-old brother. There has now been an arrest. Details on this ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment," family and friends of Eva Rausing are waiting for answers ten days after she was found dead in the London mansion that she shared with her husband, Hans Kristian Rausing, the son of one of the world's richest men.

They've been together more than two decades. Mr. Rausing was initially arrested on suspicion of murder but hasn't been charged with that crime.

According to a British news report, London police did charge him with preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife. Her body was badly decomposed when it was discovered. Mr. Rausing is in rehab. The cause of death hasn't been determined yet.

Now, among the many unanswered questions tonight, how their life of enormous privilege and all the promise it once held, how it came to this.

Here's CNN's Nima Elbagir.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eva Rausing and her billionaire husband, Hans Kristian, were fixtures on the London social scene. He is heir to the Tetra Pak food giant fortune. She was the trustee to one of Prince Charles' charitable foundations. All that ended in 2008 after she was caught attempting to struggle crack cocaine into the American embassy in London. She was given a warning, and charges were dropped. But the problems with drugs didn't end there.

Last week, her parents flew into the U.K. to identify her body.

Nothing in Eva Rausing's early upbringing gave any hint of the tumult to come. Born into comfort, her parents live in a $1 million property in South Carolina and split their time between that and a home in Barbados. Her friends, though, say she was introduced to drugs very early on.

LIZ BREWER, FRIEND OF EVA RAUSING: She had been introduced to drugs at an early age, 16 or something at university. But she got married. She seemed to be very happy. He was, when I met him, far more -- he wasn't reclusive. He was far more difficult to talk to. He was -- he had a nice personality. A nice person. But she was the one who did all the talking. She was vivacious.

ELBAGIR: The couple came to London to escape the taxes in the Tetra Pak heir's native Sweden, but they grew increasingly reclusive. In this rare recent footage of Eva Rausing and her husband, Hans Kristian, out in public, they are almost unrecognizable. Gaunt. Disheveled. Disoriented. Filmed in May, police say this was the last time she was seen alive.

BREWER: Physically, there was a difference, obviously, because her health -- well, her health had always suffered and not necessarily through drugs, but she had a heart condition. I mean, I think she had a pacemaker. And -- but with him it was -- it was far more visible.

ELBAGIR: Eva and Hans Kristian Rausing first met in a drug rehab facility over 21 years ago. And as she detailed in her own blog, sobriety remained a constant struggle. But it was a struggle that paralleled her philanthropy. Eva Rausing helped found the addiction prevention charity Mentor U.K.

ERIC CARLIN, FOUNDER, MENTOR U.K.: She gave a great deal of money to us over the years. We received about 600,000 pounds and over about seven years to get the charity established and operational.

ELBAGIR (on camera): Often in these kind of situations, people say, well, they didn't really know what they were getting into, but it sounds like Eva understood only too well.

CARLIN: There's a difference between knowing that something's harmful and being able to do something about it.

One of the other people on the board kind of said, "Well, our starting position is that we all hate drugs and we all think drugs are a bad thing." And most people actually agree with that.

And she, like, said, "Well, no, actually, I -- that's not really my position. If only it was as straightforward as that. In fact, my problem is that I actually love drugs."

ELBAGIR (voice-over): British police are still treating her death as unexplained.

There is no denying, though, the havoc the couple's addiction wreaked on both their lives. One source told us Eva Rausing's family went so far as to employ an ex-Special Forces private security contingent to disrupt her procurement of drugs.

In a written statement, the family said, "Eva and Hans Kristian were a devoted and loving couple. They bravely battled their demons and supported each other. And Eva will be a devastating loss to our beloved son, Hans Kristian."

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: So Nima, Eva Rausing's body, how did the police find it?

ELBAGIR: Well, they actually pulled over her husband, Hans Rausing, because they saw that he was driving erratically. And when they stopped him, they said that, although they couldn't smell any alcohol on his breath, his pupils were very dilated. So they searched the car and found a crack pipe and various drug paraphernalia, as they said, which led them to go and do a search of the house.

When they came into the house, they said that the stench of decomposition was so strong that it led police officers up to the second floor, to the room where her body was. And they subsequently found it under bin liners and random clothing, wrapped in plastic tarp, we understand.

COOPER: It's just such a horrific, bizarre story. He was originally arrested on suspicion of murder, and he wasn't charged, though, with anything. Now authorities can't even question him. Why not?

ELBAGIR: Well, he went into alcohol withdrawal pretty immediately. And now they've released him on conditional bail, but that conditional bail is to a psychiatric facility. He can't leave that facility without a nurse accompanying him. And so that actually hinders the authorities' ability to question him.

I've been speaking to several of their friends. And their worry is, and as you saw in that statement from that family, that they were so close, that Eva was so the center of his world that they're concerned that he became unhinged by her death.

Nobody even knows how long her body was decomposing in that room. Nobody has any idea how long she's been dead, Anderson.

COOPER: I mean, it's just such a tragic end for this couple that had so much, I mean, potential going for them. Nima, thanks very much.

Scary video -- take a look here -- of a brazen kidnapping attempt. A man tries to grab a 10-year-old girl while she was walking with her 2-year-old brother in broad daylight down a Philadelphia street. She fought back. The little boy screamed. The suspect ran away. Well, police released this video, hoping it would lead to his arrest. Apparently, it has. Details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A U.S. drought that's devastated crops and taken a toll on river levels is getting worse. And the proof is evident all over this country.

Levels in the Mississippi River have fallen to near record lows. In St. Louis, it's at three feet, down from the typical 15 feet this time of year.

About 64 percent of the U.S. is now in some form of drought. Sixty-four percent. It's pretty stark. They're the worst conditions since the summer of 1934 in the Dust Bowl era. It's threatening crops, water supplies and as Ed Lavandera reports right now, the cattle population.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's shaping up to be a wild day at the Coffeyville Livestock Market. Thursdays in Coffeyville, Kansas, is cattle auction day. Ranchers and cattle buyers are descending on this 80-year-old stockyard. And cattle auctioneer Brian Little expects quite a rush of cattle to roll in.

BRIAN LITTLE, AUCTIONEER: Of late, over the last two or three weeks, we've had some really nice runs here. Today, looks like we'll probably have somewhere around 1,600, 1,700. Normally, for us this time of year, we'll probably sell between 800 and 1,000 cattle.

LAVANDERA: It's all because of the drought. Grazing pasture is fried. The cost of cattle feed is skyrocketing. Ranchers can't afford to fatten up the herds. So many cows are heading to slaughterhouses much sooner than normal.

(on camera) All right. It's show time. It's time for Brian Little to start the auction.

LITTLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Brian Little says about 25 percent of these cows will head straight to slaughterhouses. Another large chunk will be sent to feed lots and then slaughtered a few months from now.

Ben Allen sits and watches it all quietly. He's selling half of his herd: 90 cows and calves in all.

BEN ALLEN, CATTLEMAN: I told my wife yesterday I wasn't going to come to the sale, but here I am. I don't want to see them go to slaughter.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Why not?

ALLEN: You get attached to them cows. You know them. They know you.

LAVANDERA: What auction barns across the country are seeing this summer is unprecedented. There are so many cattle being sold off at auction that one industry analyst says that we could be seeing the largest single-year reduction in livestock population ever, leading some to even call this summer cow-pocalypse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the economics part of it. The other thing is we just don't have the grass to take care of them. And if -- and if you're not wanting to spend $350 or $400 a ton for feed, then -- then your best bet is just not to take them home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's it.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): All of Ben Allen's cows sold. This final batch will soon be headed to a slaughterhouse.

(on camera) I think a lot of people might have a hard time envisioning a grizzled rancher veteran like yourself getting a little emotional over -- over your cows.

ALLEN: Yes, yes, yes. I'm sure. I'm sure, yes. But anyway...

LAVANDERA: But there's just not much you can do, I guess?

ALLEN: There's not much I can do.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): That's the reality of life on a cattle ranch in the midst of this relentless drought.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Coffeyville, Kansas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Tough times.

There is a lot more we're following tonight. Randi Kaye joins us right now with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Randi.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, two people are dead in Louisville, Kentucky, tonight after lightning struck a house, setting it on fire. Severe thunderstorms in Louisville also tore off part of a hotel's roof.

Philadelphia police say they've arrested a man who tried to abduct a 10-year-old girl in broad daylight but fled when she fought back and her 2-year-old brother screamed. The incident was caught on surveillance video. The suspect, Carlos Figueroa-Fagot, turned himself in to police.

Officials searching for two missing cousins in Evansdale, Iowa, have drained about half the water out of a lake and are waiting for FBI divers with sonar equipment to arrive. Ten-year-old Lyric Cook and her 8-year-old cousin, Elizabeth Collins, were last seen on Friday when they went for a bike ride. Their bikes were found near that lake.

Yahoo! is giving its new CEO a hefty pay package, worth possibly $71 million over the next five years. That's according to documents filed with the SEC. Marissa Mayer was lured away from Google, where she also made a fortune.

And off the coast of Florida, a group of men spear fishing spotted what looked to be a Great White Shark. They caught the encounter on tape -- Anderson.

COOPER: Time now for "The Shot." Tonight, it's a video that was posted on YouTube of a woman feeding a dragonfly. This is pretty amazing. The video description says she found the injured dragonfly on the banks of a river in Oregon. She made several unsuccessful attempts to feed it, but then she found one that worked. Looks like the old tweezers and ants method. But the dragonfly -- it's kind of -- it's amazing to see a dragonfly up that close.

KAYE: I've never seen what they look like up close.

COOPER: Yes.

KAYE: I'm so busy swatting them away.

COOPER: That's right, yes. Looks like something out of "Alien." All right, Randi. Thanks very much.

Coming up, now not to keep your job -- or how not to keep your job, I should say, at a fast-food restaurant. Do not try this. "The RidicuList" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time for "The RidicuList," and tonight, it's a story of the tireless work of those in the fast-food industry. The people who remain dedicated under thankless circumstances. They deal with low pay, long hours, people flipping out because they received an inadequate number of ketchup packets, what have you.

Well, tonight from that group of fast-food employees there emerges one who truly is outstanding in his field. And by that I mean here's a picture of him standing on the lettuce at the Burger King where he worked. And yes, I did say "worked," past tense.

He was fired after this photo was posted online with the caption, "This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King."

And I think it was appropriate that he was fired. No doubt about it. Because really, if you're going to stand in the lettuce bins, at least have the courtesy to take off your shoes.

Actually, would that be better or worse? I'm not sure. As far as I know, employees are not necessarily required to wash their feet before returning to work, so you can make the call.

But at least he was just standing in the lettuce. It's not like he put his buns in there or something.

Now, this was actually a triple whopper, because not only the guy in the picture but also two other employees involved in the incident got fired, which really makes you wonder why did it take three people to pull off this ridiculous incident? One to stand in the lettuce. One to take the picture. I guess the third one was the brains of the operation, drove the getaway car, caused a distraction by hocking lugies into the deep fryer? I don't know.

Anyway, our affiliate, WKYZ, went to do some man-on-the-street interviews, or man-in-the-drive-thru, as the case may be, at the Burger King where this reportedly took place. As you might expect, when people saw the photo, they went ballistic. They were just completely shocked and outraged. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've always had good service here and good food here, and I really don't know what to tell you. I'm really surprised by it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: OK, so the guy wasn't all that outraged. If there's one thing I've learned in all my years of journalism, it's this: if you want a real straight-from-the-gut reaction with no holding back, you've got to go to the teenagers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, ew!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's repulsive. I'm not eating there ever again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, ew!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Ladies, I couldn't have said it better myself.

That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.