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U.N. Meets Over Report Chemical Attack in Syria; Dr. Phil Under Fire

Aired August 21, 2013 - 15:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: A man armed for war walks into a school. Everyone's OK, but some parents aren't satisfied. So we're asking this question. Has anything changed since Newtown? I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

The San Diego mayor's 18th accuser comes forward.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He placed his hand on my exterior.


BALDWIN: I'll speak live with someone who says enough is enough.

If Egypt's former dictator walks free, does this essentially reverse the Arab spring?

Plus, Dr. Phil under fire today for a tweet about sex and drunk girls.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to play theme music during your convocation speak, like a badass, we're at Georgia Tech. We can do that. I am doing that.

BALDWIN: Now here's someone who's excited to go to college.

Here we go, hour two. Great being with you. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Another school scare just this morning in the Atlanta area. One day after a man allegedly brought an AK-47 into an elementary school, today, deputies arrested this man, Todd Christopher Grigg, after they say he ran from them while on the property of a Cherokee charter school north of Atlanta.

Grigg never got inside the school, but the sheriff says investigators found a BB gun that looks a heck of a lot like a semiautomatic. He also had three knives and leather gloves. It turned out a man who did enter the elementary school right around this time yesterday allegedly had nearly 500 rounds of ammunition with him.

Police within the last two hours released this new image of Michael Brandon Hill apparently holding the AK-47 taking a picture of myself. And these are some of the details that DeKalb County police made public this afternoon about what happened at the McNair Discovery Learning Academy near Atlanta.

So it turns out that Hill, who is 20 years of age, was on probation for texting a threat to kill his brother. And he'd been ordered to attend anger management classes. Police also say Hill had stopped taking his medication. And we are also learning about why his alleged plans did not succeed.

People are crediting this woman, this school staffer. She says by talking with Hill, she kept him from going outside, where all those kids were, pre-K through fifth. Our affiliate in Atlanta, WSB-TV, talked to this woman. Her name is Antoinette Tuff.


ANTOINETTE TUFF, WITNESS: He had a look on him that he was willing to kill. As a matter of fact, he said it.

QUESTION: What did he say?

TUFF: He said that he didn't have any reason to live and that he knew he was going to die today. He actually tried to go out the door where the kids was. And I called him back and kept talking to him to keep him calm to stay inside with me.

QUESTION: Why did you do that?

TUFF: Because I knew that if he got outside, that he was going to start shooting the kids. He had already shot a round off in the office with me and had been outside shooting at the police. So I knew that if he got outside, he was unstable enough to start shooting at everybody.

QUESTION: What did you say to him?

TUFF: I just started telling him my story and some things that I had been going through and how my life was -- began to turn about for me last year and how rough it was for me and how I have just felt at my low and didn't feel like anybody loved me and how I had a multiple- disabled child and, you know, a daughter who was in college, you know, and about to go to law school and just lost my husband after 33 years. And that was the only man that I knew since I was 13 years old and that, look at me.

I told him, I said, I'm still living.


BALDWIN: How about that story?

Joining me now, Chief Cedric Alexander, DeKalb County police.

Chief, wow. What a day. Welcome.

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA, POLICE CHIEF: Wow. Wow. BALDWIN: Thank goodness. It's a big thank goodness that no one, no kids, no staff, no faculty were hurt in any way possible. But I just want to first get to the parents, because they're concerned. Even with the security. Help me understand how despite security, despite a system being buzzed into the school, this guy with an AK-47 gets in there.

ALEXANDER: Well, it just tells us across the country we still got work to do. He was able to breach that school uninterrupted. And what we believe had occurred, he piggybacked behind a parent who was coming out of the school with a child.

BALDWIN: So he didn't have to buzz himself.

ALEXANDER: He didn't have to buzz himself in.

BALDWIN: OK. And so he walked in.


ALEXANDER: He walked in, and that's where it all started. From what we know so far is that he went into one of the offices, front administrative offices there where he came in contact with the witness who...


BALDWIN: Who we just heard from, who many people are calling a hero.


BALDWIN: And you heard what she did, sort of telling her personal story, trying to calm him.

ALEXANDER: Right. Right.

BALDWIN: I'm just curious. As a chief of police, is that the kind of advice you would give someone in a situation like that, heaven forbid?

ALEXANDER: Every situation is very, very different.

And this is a very different situation. And for her, she came in contact with him first, from what we know. And she just did what came natural for her. You know, some things you cannot rehearse in life.

BALDWIN: Mm-hmm.

ALEXANDER: And this is one of those things as well, too. She allowed her instinct, her goodwill and her ability to be able to -- her sense of a need to talk to him, being that she was right there with him. And it all turned out well for everyone involved, but a hero, she certainly is. That's exactly what she is, a hero today to all of us across the metro Atlanta and all of us across the country.

BALDWIN: What about the parents? I talked to in the midst of this yesterday a man who was trying to pick up his nephew. He was learning about what was happening through watching CNN, through watching Atlanta TV. So I know a lot of parents are still pretty frustrated. And this is more with the school system than anything that they didn't get enough information. Do you know what's being done about that?

ALEXANDER: You know, in a situation such like that, because all these situations are very different, there's many similarities, but there are also a great deal of differences.

And once first-responders get to that scene, that's police, that's fire, that's everyone, all hands on deck, because we want to get there. We want to take that focus away from the school towards us, because that's what we're trained to do, to engage that type of threat.

When you have all of that going on, we have to do all of that along with think about the safety of those kids. Once we secured that scene, had him apprehended, the key was now how do we move all of these children out of this school into a continued safe area, and then get them safely to their parents.

And some of that can be rehearsed. But there's times when you're going to have to improvise. And we had to do a lot of improvising yesterday, because also what we knew at the front of the school where he parked his vehicle, our canine dogs hit on that vehicle for explosives. We were not going to bring the kids out through the front of that school. We had them go through the back of the fence line of the school where we got all 900 of them together.

And we had to create another exit for them to get off of that school property. So we had to cut through a fence in an adjacent neighborhood.

BALDWIN: To get down the road, to get to the Wal-Mart, to get their moms and dads.


ALEXANDER: Absolutely. That's a lot of improvising. In that moment at that time, our folks did a courageous job in making sure that all that happened and got all these kids safely to their parents, everyone happy, good day, very unfortunate incident.

But the good part about it is, everyone...


BALDWIN: Everyone is A-OK.


BALDWIN: Chief Alexander, thank you so much.

ALEXANDER: Thank you very much as well.

BALDWIN: Appreciate you coming in, in person very much.

ALEXANDER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Now this.

Happening right now, the U.N. Security Council is in a closed-door meeting about a reported chemical attack in Syria. And this is the big if. If it is true, the video you're about to see shows the deadliest attack in Syria since the civil war there began back in March of 2011. Here's what we know.

As many as 11 -- check that -- 1,300 killed east of the capital of Damascus. And the pictures we're about to show you, I just have to give you a quick heads-up, they're very, very difficult to look at. As we roll the video, I can tell you that CNN cannot authenticate the footage. The Syrian government denies it used such tactics. Here now is the video as it was posted online.

Just this past Sunday, a team from the United Nations arrived in Damascus to try to figure out if chemical weapons were actually being used in Syria. And the White House released this statement today. Let me read this for you. "If the Syrian government has nothing to hide and is truly committed to an impartial and credible investigation of chemical weapons use in Syria, it will facilitate the U.N. team's immediate and unfettered access to this site."

In Egypt, a shocking turn of events there. Hosni Mubarak, former president and dictator, thrown out of power, locked up over the deaths of protesters during the Arab spring, will be released from prison, could be as early as tomorrow. As we have been reporting and showing you pictures day-to-day here, this is a country already in turmoil.

Remember how crowds filled Tahrir Square to demand the end of a military-backed government? And then just two years after that huge, hopeful uprising, this week we again watched the violence unfold as Egyptians returned to that very spot by the droves to push for the restoration of a military-backed government.

So talk about what's happening here in Egypt and this potential release.

Ivan Watson back with me here in studio.

Explain. I guess, under Egyptian law, you can't be in jail for more than two years on a charge you haven't been convicted of. There may be a retrial. Can you just walk me through this? What's the point of all of this?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't know. I'm not an expert on the Egyptian judicial system.


WATSON: But from the reports I have seen, yes, he has been in detention for longer than the two years, the statute of limitations. It's important to note that last year he got a life sentence, a conviction for charges of failing to protect Egyptians from getting killed, protesters, under his watch. That was overturned. And a retrial is under way. He's expected to go to court on Sunday, I believe, the 25th, with his sons who have also been in prison and facing charges.

In this case, if he's released, he would presumably be under some kind of house arrest and then coming into trial, into court for trial.

BALDWIN: Bigger picture, though, wouldn't this just add to the volatility? You were there right around July the 3rd when all of this sort of next chapter began to erupt. Wouldn't that add to the volatility, A.? And, B., given everything we saw, and the hope we saw in Arab spring and what happened in Tahrir Square, would his release essentially reverse that?

WATSON: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: It would.

WATSON: If Hosni Mubarak is let free, that will mean that the counterrevolution that I think we have been seeing over the last six weeks since the coup would be complete. It would be done.

In fact, you know, some of these Egyptians, they're so clever online, have said, well, look at what we have right now. We have got the Muslim Brotherhood in prison. We have got Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Prize-winning former IAEA chief, who was the deputy prime minister in this post-coup government, he has apparently left the country to Vienna. Now if Hosni Mubarak gets released, you're basically back to 2010 all over again as if nothing really happened.

BALDWIN: Wow. That's a big wow in Egypt and what's happening. As we continue to watch, Ivan Watson, thank you very much.

I want to now show you this one photograph, because here you have the mayor of San Diego on the right. This is Bob Filner. We have been talking about him for quite a while here. He's standing next to Dianne York. Dianne York is his latest accuser. That is number 18 if you are still counting. And what she says is happening in this photo, look long and hard, will shock you.


DIANNE YORK, ACCUSER: After approximately 30 minutes or so of conversation with the issues at hand, we got up to leave and took photos. And he placed his hand on my exterior, on the back of my on my buttocks, is what he did. He totally startled me. I feel very violated. I feel extremely violated.


BALDWIN: Ruben Navarrette, political commentator, Ruben, good to see you. You hear this 18th account. The big news is also that the DNC this week voting on a resolution, calling on Filner to resign. I want to quote part of your fiery op-ed here on "San Diego County is a red county that is turning purple as the number of Democrats grows, thanks to changing demographics. Filner could drag his party down with him and send the county back into the Republican column for another generation."

So I guess two-fold, how much could all of this impact, of course, his party? And if he says, despite everything, I'm staying in office, what do you think the chances are he gets kicked out?

RUBEN NAVARRETTE JR., CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I will tell you, that's the question. It may be that there are lots of different ways to get him out. We really do feel like a city held hostage at this point, because the mayor can't go. He won't go and he can't be forced out because there's been all these accusations.

There's only been one woman who's actually filed a lawsuit against the mayor. He can still claim I haven't had my day in court. I'm due due process. Innocent until proven guilty.

And then as you mentioned, you have so many Democrats out there, some who support him because they're afraid of what this will mean. They have decided to ride this train all the way off the cliff. But there are many other Democrats, it's worth noting, that want him out. They think this is doing irreparable harm to the party and to their chances of maintaining control in the county for the years to come. It's become a very dicey situation here.

But we have finally learned what happens when you have a divergence between an elected official who says I'm in it for me vs. I'm in it for you. It's clear Bob Filner is in it for Bob Filner. He doesn't care what anybody says and he's not going anywhere.

BALDWIN: He's not. No, he says he is staying put despite all these allegations against him, though we have to say, obviously, two sides to every story. We have seen the rallies. We have shown them live on this show. He has his supporters. This is what one of them had to say.


ENRIQUE MORONES, FILNER SUPPORTER: I know he's stepping on a lot of toes. It's been 20 years since we had a Democrat in office. I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Republican. I'm independent. But I know that Mayor Filner since being a Freedom Rider as a teenager to being the mayor has always stood side by side with the most oppressed communities, and we want to let the mayor know we are standing side by side with him.


BALDWIN: You know, his point is about the issues,. saying this is just a witch-hunt, that this is just an excuse for people who don't like his politics. What would you tell him, Ruben? NAVARRETTE: Right. I would say that this has now become an issue with 18 women making this claim. This is not about a party anymore. This is about those women. In fact, what do you do? How seriously do you take these accusations of everything from charges of sexual harassment, unwanted touching and kissing and all of this?

You know, it's really hard, I think, for liberals to walk it like they talk it. If in fact they care -- and they said they care all along about women's rights and women's equality. The fact that very powerful women, in fact, have had to put up with this sort of behavior, it's really a crisis of confidence for the liberals and the left who don't know quite what to do in this situation. It would be so much easier for Bob Filner were Republican. But, no, he's one of theirs.

BALDWIN: You look at these women. You have very high up in the Navy, deans at universities.


BALDWIN: We watch and we wait and we continue to count. Ruben Navarrette, thank you.

Read's Ruben's opinion piece,

Coming up next, he's a popular TV host who gives advice to everyday folks and celebrities alike on TV and on Twitter. And he is in some hot water from one of his tweets. What Dr. Phil said about drinking and sex has some people outraged.


BALDWIN: Dr. Phil is on the defense today. This is a case of be careful what you tweet, especially if your tweet is worded like a note high school students might pass around class.

Here it is. "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to Dr. Phil, #teensaccused."

Entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner is here with me, if I can get that out, is here with me with the fallout and also the statement we have gotten from the show. I think what made this -- when I read this this morning, what made it suspect was that the tweet was deleted.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, very quickly deleted. It was poorly worded. We all know that. Brooke, you're right. It was taken down pretty quick from the show's Twitter page.

You did talk about the statement from Dr. Phil. I do want to read that, because we just got this statement from him which apologizes that the question suggested was anything other than data gathering for an upcoming show. The statement also admits that the question was clearly ill-advised. Here's what the statement says.

It says -- quote -- "Dr. Phil believes those incapacitated in any fashion, be it drugs, alcohol, age or mental illness, cannot and do not have the capacity to give their consent to anything, especially sex." This statement also goes on to say Dr. Phil McGraw himself is very upset this happened and, Brooke, that he deleted the post the second he saw it.

I'm not sure if anyone thought Dr. Phil himself posted the question in the first place. But it is his Twitter page. There was also this petition on that was attacking the show for the tweet. It has more than 1,000 signatures right now. As you can imagine and like you said, it definitely touched a nerve.

BALDWIN: Definitely did.

Nischelle Turner, thank you.



BALDWIN: Something else that touched a nerve, remember this from Dr. Sanjay Gupta not too long ago, making business news, changing his stance on medical marijuana? Well, moments ago our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin asked the White House about pot and the president's stance. We will play that sound for you, next.


BALDWIN: Remember a couple weeks ago, big, big doings here at CNN? We heard from our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He'd done all this research, like a year's worth of research ahead of this big documentary we have unveiled called "Weed."

Essentially he was apologizing to Americans and saying I have changed my mind when it comes to medical marijuana, so because of that our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin was sitting in the daily briefing at the White House. She was asking the press secretary about the president's stance on pot. Here's the answer.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. government currently classifies marijuana in the category of most dangerous drugs with no medical benefit, the same category as heroin and more harmful than cocaine or meth. Sanjay Gupta, as you may know...



YELLIN: Yes. My distinguished colleague Dr. Sanjay Gupta has just called for a reconsideration by the government.

So, given the reported medical benefits of marijuana, does the president believe the government should reconsider this classification?

EARNEST: Well, Jessica, I can tell you that the administration's position on this has been clear and consistent for some time now, that while the prosecution of drug traffickers remains an important priority, the president and the administration believe that targeting individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers, is not the best allocation of federal law enforcement resources.


BALDWIN: That was the White House briefing just today.

A campus looking for answers, a college football team in shock, former Vanderbilt football players accused of raping a girl in a dorm room. Now others are charged with trying to help cover it up. More on the scandal that continues to grow, plus what's next for these players.

And he's traveled the world bringing you the most unique dishes from faraway lands. I love this guy. Now we know where Anthony Bourdain will be headed for season two of "ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN." See if he will be making any stops near you.