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Lone Wolves Emerge as Threat; Bombing Suspect's New Attorney; NBA'S Collins Applauded for Coming Out; Autopsy Results for California 8-year-old

Aired April 30, 2013 - 14:00   ET



I'm Jake Tapper, alongside Brooke Baldwin. We're live in Boston at Copley Square for special coverage of the investigation and the fallout from the Boston Marathon terrorist attack.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Want to let you know, we're standing by right now for new developments concerning the Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

So, meantime, we heard from the president. He spoke this morning. Held a news conference. And he warned that lone wolves like the Tsarnaev brothers, that they are the new threat.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the dangers that we now face are self-radicalized individuals who are already here in the United States. In some cases may not be part of any kind of network, but because of whatever warped, twisted ideas they may have, may decide to carry out an attack.


BALDWIN: Jessica Yellin joins us now. She is our chief White House correspondent.

And, Jessica, in the back and forth with the president today, I heard you press the president on some of the criticism he's been getting mostly concerning intelligence sharing before the attack here in Boston, just up the street on Boylston. If you would, walk me through that exchange.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Brooke. The president effectively defended law enforcement's actions leading up to the Boston attack and then forcefully defended them after the attack. He effectively accused critics who say intelligence was missed because of bad signals or bad sharing. He accused them of playing politics. Listen to a little bit of the exchange, if you would.


YELLIN: Lindsay Graham, who's a senior member of the Armed Services Committee has said that Benghazi and Boston are both examples of the U.S. going backwards on national security. Is he right? And did our intelligence miss something?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, Mr. Graham is not right on this issue, although I'm sure it generated some headlines. We now have one individual deceased, one in custody, charges have been brought. I think that all our law enforcement officials performed in an exemplary fashion after the bombing had taken place.


YELLIN: Now, with Lindsey Graham, a Republican running for re-election who has pressed the president the hardest on this and hit the administration the most forcefully, a little bit of accusation there that this is really all about his re-election. I will add, Brooke, that the president has made clear that the DNI, the director of national intelligence, is conducting an intelligence assessment to see if any balls were dropped, so to speak, in the lead up to before the Boston bombing. And, you know, the administration just isn't going to finally say yes or no whether they think any clues were missed until that -- until that report is done.



TAPPER: Jessica, of course, there are critics who are not partisan. People -- former counterterrorism officials. We interviewed one on "The Lead" yesterday, former Ambassador Thomas McNamara, who was in charge of intelligence sharing for the government at one point, and he had questions. So not all the criticism is partisan, of course.

But moving on to another subject, the president was also asked about Syria. And he seemed to be slightly at pains to clarify what he meant when he said a few months ago that using a bunch of chemical weapons would be a red line for Syria that that nation better not cross. Well, there is a suggestion that they may have crossed. What was the president's message today?

YELLIN: You're right, Brooke. Sorry, you're right, Jake. He did make very careful use of his words there. He repeatedly said that if they've determined that they've used chemical weapons and they determine what the chain of custody was for their evidence, it would be a game changer. But what's different today is how he defines a game changer. He said that there are a range of options that are available to us, and we have to figure out essentially which - he made clear he has to figure out which one of those he would use. So if any of us is assuming that the minute they say yes, this is chemical weapons, we have proof that they were using it, that that would necessarily trigger U.S. military intervention, I think he's put the brakes on that a little bit. This leave open the option that he's trying to build some sort of international coalition or some sort of other operations that could take place perhaps even outside the public eye to address any chemical weapons used inside Syria, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Jessica Yellin, thanks.

BALDWIN: In this Boston bombing investigations here, attention now turning to the trial, looking ahead. The surviving suspect now has a prominent attorney on his defense team. She is Judy Clarke (ph). She has represented Arizona mass shooter Jared Lee Loughner. Also Atlanta Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. All of them escaped the death penalty. Ashleigh Banfield is here.

And you've got some new information from your Blackberry from someone very high up.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's a good thing they have Judy Clarke.

BALDWIN: Really?

BANFIELD: Let's just say that. Yes. Look, she's renowned in legal circles as being the person who gets -- who saves your life, essentially. But that also works on both sides. It saves the public a lot of money. It saves the public a lot of pain and suffering going through very trying trials, so to speak, all of the witnesses that would have to relive what they've gone through, all of those who have lost limbs, et cetera, who would have to relive and testify. So there are benefits to both sides if that's the case.

But I just want to let you know just with regard to what this trial might entail. (INAUDIBLE) has been very clear about two specific charges that this surviving alleged bomber is facing. But that's just the beginning. You can always wait to see additional charges added to it. But the department has not gone so far as to say that at this point they're going to seek the death penalty. A lot of people assume that's almost a foregone conclusion, but they shouldn't.

And, in fact, our sources are telling us on both sides of this defense, not just the defense but also the prosecution, that there are some very -- and I do want to stress very preliminary conversations that are under way right now between the prosecution and the defense. And these are conversations that effectively could take any kind of death penalty off the table. In, you know, in, you know, in negotiation with the opportunity getting more information about any kind of bomb plots or potential co-conspirators, et cetera, a wider range of information. This is so early, though, it is -- it would be wrong to suggest that this would effectively help the 19-year-old avoid the death penalty at this point. No suggestion that he's even --

BALDWIN: That's what I was wondering, it seems early.

BANFIELD: It's very early.

BALDWIN: Seems very early to be talking about this.

BANFIELD: He's not even - yes, they're not even seeking it yet at this point. But you would expect at this stage of this high profile a case that this would already have happened, the contact would have been made. Very preliminary. Let me reiterate, very preliminary. But in exchange for the kind of information that this country needs, it's - I don't think it's a big surprise that these conversation have begun.

There's no indication that this 19-year-old and his defense counsel has suggested that they'd be interested in this at this point. I - there's no discovery at this point. They don't even know what the government has on them at this point.

And then I also just want to make sure that everyone's very aware as we have these conversations that the Department of Justice (INAUDIBLE) did tell us, and I'm going to quote here, "that the notion that we are engaging in discussions over a penalty is not accurate." So, look, initial conversations, initial discussions, hello, my name is, without question could be going on at this point. But to suggest that there are severe negotiations would not be right.

BALDWIN: OK. OK. And what about also, totally switching gears -


BALDWIN: Kevin Spacey, one of my favorite actors, right, he's done a couple of movies based upon books based here in Boston and then here we are at the memorial --

TAPPER: You were here and you just happened to see him. You're able (INAUDIBLE) to grab him.

BALDWIN: Somebody said, Ashleigh, turn around.

TAPPER: Kevin Spacey's here.

BANFIELD: Yes, as luck would have it. And, he -- listen, there's a - there is a dichotomy of emotion that's going on here right now behind us. There are people crying as they encounter these very moving and touching memorials at the same time.


BANFIELD: And then there's Kevin Spacey, who's making people smile. He's making bombing victims smile. He's here to see them. He's making the police responders, the Boston Police whom he visited, smile. He's bringing a touch of levity and appreciation to a lot of the people who I dare say sorely need it in this town. And I asked him specifically, I know you're very busy, you're filming "House of Cards," how is it that you're - how is it that you're here? Because I don't think you film here. And this is the response that he gave us.


KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: You know, the truth is, I guess like everyone else in the world, I've been glued to the television and reading about the unbelievably tragic events here. And last week I was - you know, we're in Baltimore, about to start the series I'm doing again, and I was just like, you know, I can - I can't spend another second watching this and not get on a plane and just come to Boston. Shot a couple of movies here. I love this city.

So we got here on Sunday. And I spent the day at Spalding and I met all the staff there, and a number of those who have been -- their lives have been altered forever. And the spirit, the camaraderie, the love that you feel and the kind of extraordinary ability that they are showing to want to come back and run the race again and get over it and walk again, you know, I met Adrianne, whose the extraordinary young dancer who lost her leg, who's going to dance again. Roseanne, who is a remarkable woman from the north end, and all her friends.

BANFIELD: Were they a little surprised -


TAPPER: The warmer side of Keyser Soze.

BANFIELD: Yes, exactly. I couldn't help thinking Keyser Soze as I was talking to him. You know what he did. I thought this was terrific. He met one of the victims, he named her, Adrianne, who lost her leg, the dancer. And then he said, but her husband had already been discharged.

BALDWIN: He wasn't there.

BANFIELD: HE wasn't there. So he said he's going back to the hospital so that he could at least organize a meet, you know, meeting with her husband. And then, on top of that, I had read that he was here with some, you know, with some Netflix giveaways for those police (ph) - this is true. He apparently brought over 200 free memberships to Netflix.

BALDWIN: Handing them out. Handing them out.

BANFIELD: Yes. To give them to those first responders so they can watch "House of Cards," you'll give him that plug, he deserves it, but it was a really sweet thing that - it made the local papers too. So, you know, really appreciated by those who need it.

BALDWIN: It's the little things.


BALDWIN: Kevin Spacey is the big thing.

BANFIELD: And he's also having lunches, right where we speak, to signal this place is open for business. (INAUDIBLE) beautiful.

BALDWIN: Come on down. Come on down.


TAPPER: It is gorgeous out here.

BALDWIN: Beautiful on Boylston Street. Thank you, Ashleigh.

TAPPER: Thank you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: You're welcome.

BALDWIN: Well, you heard from the president on Syria, on Boston. We played a short bit of that for you. But he also addressed the coming out of NBA player Jason Collins. And coming up next, we will speak live with NBA legend Karl Malone. TAPPER: "The mail man."

BALDWIN: Yes. Who, by the way -

TAPPER: He's known as "the mail man."

BALDWIN: Who, by the way, is on a lake in Louisiana and is calling in just to talk to you, Jake Tapper.


BALDWIN: Also we'll be talking to an ESPN writer who is openly gay. We'll get his perspective.

And in just a couple of minutes, the victim of the Boston attack, one of the survivors, we're hearing these stories, will be speaking out live from the hospital. We'll play that for you. Stay right here.


TAPPER: The NBA's Jason Collins says he hopes one day to be a role model. Jason Collins one day after coming out of the closet, becoming the first acknowledged gay American in a major team sport. A man, at least. Jason Collins says he has been overwhelmed at the response.


JASON COLLINS, FIRST ACTIVE NBA PLAYER TO COME OUT AS GAY: It's incredible. Just try to live honest, genuine life and next thing you know you have the president calling you. And --


COLLINS: He was incredibly supportive, and he was proud of me, and said that this not only affected my life but others going forward.


TAPPER: Jason Collins talking to George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America." President Obama called Jason Collins. All kinds of folks are wishing him well, including players in the league, the NBA.


KEYON DOOLING, MEMPHIS GRIZZLES: I know he feels liberated for doing it. And I hope -- you know, I wish him the best and I hope that, you know, NBA guys can get past sexual orientation. Any - you know, all that - all that BS, you know? At the end of the day, he's a good --

KEVIN DURANT, OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: Us NBA players, you know, this is like the - you know a group -- a big group of guys that it's just kind of like a brotherhood, you know. I know I support him. You know, I mean, and like I said, I don't even know him. So, you know, whatever decision he makes is, you know, something that he really thought was good for him.


BALDWIN: You know, there's been a lot of love for this player in the last 24 hours or so, but there is at least one dissenter out there. Someone who is not in the league. We're going to talk about him here in just a moment.

But first, let me bring in L.Z. Granderson, senior writer for ESPN.

So, L.Z., welcome to you.

And on the phone, somewhere on a lake in Louisiana, we have NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone.

Go, gentlemen, welcome to you.

And, Karl, let me begin with you. First, just your reaction to the news, Jason Collins coming out.

KARL MALONE, FORMER NBA PLAYER (via telephone): Well, my reaction to it is, I think everybody should embrace what he did. Jason didn't do this to be talking to the president of the United States. You know it - you know, I always say this right here. It's time that we kind of move past that kind of thing. You know, it's not for us to say because what's in the Bible that this shouldn't do this. We're not the judge, you know? The Almighty is the judge. Whoever that is to you, it don't matter.

But the fact of the matter is, in the time that we live now, I always say this, I'm a big military supporter. If you got someone that may be openly gay and they're in the military and we have the enemy about to point a gun to our head, are we going to tell him, no, just take my life because you're gay? No.

And the same thing in an NBA basketball game or arena. Hey, look. I played with John Amaechi (ph). Was a great - was a teammate of mine. So it's time for everybody to really and truly mind their own business, you know what I'm saying? He didn't ask to be talked to the president. But now - now, guys, so many people are so caught up in this or that. You know what, if you're living your life and you is happy with your life and you're not hurting anybody, I say - I say God bless you. But it's time for us now to say, you know what, that is his business, I support him, my brother-in-law is openly gay. Matter of fact, he got married. It don't make me change my feeling toward him. So I think it's time for us now as America to grow up, let's move on, let the guy live his life. And that's what's most important to me.

TAPPER: All right, well, Karl, you mentioned the almighty. And speaking of the almighty, not all the reaction has been universally positive. Here is a dissenter who's thus far caused the biggest stir.


CHRIS BROUSSARD, ESPN ANALYST: I'm a Christian and I don't agree with homosexuality. I think it's a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is. In talking to some people around the league, there are a lot of Christians in the NBA and they don't want to be -- just because they disagree with that lifestyle, they don't want to be viewed and called bigoted and intolerant.


TAPPER: So, L.Z. Granderson, I want to get your reaction to that reaction. He was talking about how not only homosexuality, but also premarital sex, et cetera, doesn't line up with his biblical world view. There's been a very strong reaction against it. But isn't he just saying what hundreds of millions of people think, people who are very religious.

L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, first of all, I want to say that, you know, Karl Malone just dropped the mic on what he said about people living their own lives and who's openly gay and who's not openly gay. And as far as that conversation with Chris, but first of all, in full disclosure, I was the person he was actually talking to in that interview yesterday at ESPN. Chris and I have had elements of that conversation over the years. I used to be Chris' editor when I was an editor at ESPN, the magazine. So we've known each other a really long time. And I personally was not surprised at all at anything that Chris said. And I don't think anyone that follows Chris online would be that surprised.

With that being said, it's very important that we, in this effort to have full equality, also have patience and tolerance for conversations that may not necessarily be where we would like them to be. Part of the reason why I felt that Chris was able to say what he said is because he has a certain comfort level in our friendship. And within that friendship, he's able to say some things and I'm able to push back on some things. And that's how we have respect and that's how we have progress. We can't keep shouting down people simply because they don't agree with us. We have to have a willingness to have some patience, as well as tolerance for people who oppose us so that we can perhaps get a better sense of understanding where the other person is coming from.

BALDWIN: Let me follow up. Karl, back to you. Karl, you brought up John Amaechi. We actually - I talked to John Amaechi just yesterday, a buddy of yours. You know, you used to play - used to play ball and came out. And he said to me, Brooke, I don't understand what the big deal is. You know, the media's all over this story. I'm getting inundated by e-mails. And so many other people are saying, what's the big deal. If it's not such a big deal, then why do you think it's taken this long, Karl?

MALONE: Brooke, let me say this. OK. I can really care less what somebody else's opinion is, OK? If that's Chris' opinion, God bless him. I'm not here to get into a back and forth with Chris, because I do respect him as a person. That's not what I'm doing. I'm speaking on behalf of Karl Anthony Malone. And I'm telling you that some of my best friends are gay. That don't test my manhood.

But another thing, it's time for us to kind of accept it. It's here, guys. It's - we've got to accept it. I'm not here to go back and forth with anybody what they think. I'm telling you, I personally have experience with John Amaechi, my brother-in-law, who I absolutely love like he's my blood brother, is kin. He's openly gay. I'm not here to judge. He or she that's judge is being judge, and that's not what the point is.

The point of the matter is, the point of the matter is, it's here. We can be civilized about it and we can go on from there. I'm a southern Baptist. My wife was catholic, OK? So (INAUDIBLE) say our children are catholic. We don't care about all of that. What we're trying to do is understand other people and enjoy and tolerate. It's not an epidemic that if we touch a gay person, we're going to kick over and die. That's your opinion. And this is my opinion. And I see it like this. I'm Karl Malone and I approve this message. I'm not hiding from anybody. I'm big enough to take care of myself, OK. But the fact of the matter is, we can get on with life and enjoy things. Why you all laughing at me right now?

TAPPER: We're not laughing at, we're laughing with you. We're not laughing at you, we're laughing with you.

GRANDERSON: We're laughing with - we're laughing with you.

BALDWIN: Laughing with you.

TAPPER: Thank you so much, Karl Malone, "the mail man," we appreciate it. L.Z. Granderson, thank you so much.

MALONE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thanks, guys.

TAPPER: A vicious attack that investigators are now calling intentional. Up next, the new clues in the murder mystery of an 8- year-old California girl.


TAPPER: The California medical examiner has confirmed the violent final moments of 8-year-old Leila Fowler. Listen to what investigators revealed with the girl's parents present.


CHRIS HEWITT, SPOKESMAN, CALAVERAS COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: An autopsy was conducted today on Leila Fowler. The cause of death was listed by the medical examiner as shock and hemorrhage due to stabbing.


TAPPER: That's Krystal Walters by Leila's father, Barney Fowler, hearing how their child bled to death. At this point, investigators do not know why she was stabbed or by whom. Those questions are consuming the town of Valley Springs, about an hour's drive southeast of Sacramento. Tonight, the community will hold a vigil for the little girl as the manhunt for her killer intensifies. Here's CNN's Stephanie Elam.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a community trying to make sense of the senseless. An 8-year-old girl brutally killed in her home, the assailant still on the loose.

MIKE RANGE, NEIGHBOR: It's rough. I mean it happened right around the corner from my house. And I've lived here my whole life.

ELAM: Leila Fowler was mortally stabbed Saturday afternoon while home with her 12-year-old brother in Valley Springs, a quiet northern California community, far removed from city life.

MARK CAMPBELL, SUPT. CALAVERAS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT: It shatters that illusion, you know, that we're immune to the (INAUDIBLE) of society, if you will.

ELAM: Her brother reported seeing a male intruder in their home before discovering his severely wounded sister. One friend says the children in the family are traumatizes, especially the boy who found Leila.

AMANDA PEKAREK, FAMILY FRIEND: When we saw him, it was pure shock. I don't know how many times I just wrapped my arms around him and I wanted to take it away.

ELAM: The Calaveras' county sheriff's department says it gathered some clues from the home.

CAPT. JIM MACEDO, CALAVERAS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: We did collect some fingerprints during that search. And we also collected what we believe to be DNA. Those prints and that DNA will hopefully be processed within the next week.

ELAM: Authorities also say they have nearly completed searching and contacting all sex offenders in the area.

CHIEF GARY KUNTZ, CALAVERAS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: We'll not rest until we capture the responsible person. We will continue to beef up our patrols in this area until we figure they're no longer needed.

ELAM: In a statement to CNN via FaceBook, Leila's mother asked their community for help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): We are devastated. If someone is helping hide him, turn him in. Look at our baby girl. She didn't deserve this. She was so full of life. We want everyone to remember the good in her and not how she was taken from us.

ELAM: Some neighbors are doing their best to honor the family's wishes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It hit home a lot with me having kids and this town just shows support for one another. It doesn't matter what it is, they just all come together. It's always been like that ever since I've lived here.


BALDWIN: And Stephanie Elam joins us live from Valley Springs.

Stephanie, I know people in this neighborhood, they're living in fear. At the same time, as we just heard, very supportive. What are you learning today?

ELAM: Well, we are learning one thing, Brooke, that I can definitely clear up for you, is that there have been reports out there that Leila Fowler was targeted in this murder. But we just spoke to the sheriff just right now and he confirmed for us that the information that he has is showing him that they don't have any reason to believe that at this point based on their investigation. But they do continue to investigate all of the leads that they are getting. The reason why we haven't seen a sketch composite come out yet is because they have some differing views on what this person may have looked like. And so because of that, they're waiting to put out that information.

But a lot of people here very concerned about the fact that this person has yet to be caught. At the same time, they want to honor the memory of Leila Fowler. So you're seeing throughout town a lot of purple ribbons, purple balloons and also these purple ribbons that people are wearing. Tonight at the vigil that is going to be held at her elementary school, they're asking all the little boys to wear purple and the girls to wear pink. Those were her two favorite colors.

Brooke and Jake.

BALDWIN: All right, Stephanie, thank you so much.

Just ahead, shocking undercover video of doctors allegedly admitting to letting babies die. Babies that initially survived abortion. It's a hidden camera operation you have to see, next.