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New Sterling Recordings Emerge; Panel Discusses Donald and Shelly Sterling; House Committee Subpoenas Vet Secretary Shinseki

Aired May 8, 2014 - 12:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Another secret recording said to be Clippers owner Donald Sterling asking how could you think I'm a racist after knowing me for all these years?

Just wait until you hear what else he says when he doesn't know he's being recorded. You'll hear the entire tape this hour right here on CNN.

And also ahead, a subpoena for Shinseki. A CNN investigation into deadly delays to veterans seeking medical treatment has the Veterans secretary in hot water with Congress now. And veterans groups are calling for his head.

And if early excerpts from her essay didn't stir things up enough, the full article out today is sure to shake up Washington and the political world. Monica Lewinsky telling her story and hoping this time, at least, for perhaps a better ending.

Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's Thursday, May 8th, and welcome to LEGAL VIEW. We start this hour with some amazing sound this hour from none other than the mouth of Donald Sterling, or at least we think so.

They are taped words reportedly from the embattled L.A. Clippers owner that we can't authenticate necessarily the recording. It was obtained by Radaronline. And we don't know who's talking to him but it sure does sound like him. Have a listen.


DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: You think I'm a racist? You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody? You don't think that. You know I'm not a racist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got the -- I mean, when I heard the --

STERLING: I can't hear you.


STERLING: You know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I heard that tape, though, that tape I heard.

STERLING: I grew up in east L.A., east L.A., you die to get out of there. I got out of east L.A. I was the president of the high school there. I mean -- and I'm a Jew. 50 percent of the people there were black and 40 percent were Hispanic. You ever been to Boyle Heights?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I've been to Boyle Heights.

STERLING: So, I mean, people must have a good feeling for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you talk to Griffin or anybody yet? Did you talk --

STERLING: I didn't talk to anybody. I'm in my house in Beverly Hills.


STERLING: I mean, how could you think I'm a racist knowing me all these years? How can you be in this business and be a racist? Do you think I tell the coach to get white players or get the best player he can get?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best player he can get.

STERLING: I mean, you -- I don't expect anything from anybody but I do from you. I mean --



STERLING: It breaks my heart that Magic Johnson, you know, my -- a guy I -- a guy that I respect so much, wouldn't stand up and say, well, let's get the facts. Let's get him and talk to him. Nobody tried. Nobody from here on, on Beverly Drive and Sunset across from the Beverly Hills Hotel. You know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's -- I mean, they're probably trying to force you to sell it, that's the thing.

STERLING: They don't -- you can't force someone to sell property in America. Well, I'm a lawyer. That's my opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just saying, I think they got Sean Combs, Diddy, he's the one that's really seeking to buy, him and Oprah.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diddy, Sean Combs and Oprah. Are the ones trying to --

STERLING: You know --


BANFIELD: First of all, I hope he wasn't saying who about Oprah. Diddy maybe. He is in his 80s. I want to bring in my panel. CNN commentator Mel Robbins and CNN anchor Don Lemon, both of whom are laughing and smiling over this only because so much of it is so unbelievable.

Can I just say first off --

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Why is he talking? Why? Shut-up.

BANFIELD: Amen. OK. But, you know what?


BANFIELD: If I called you, you would talk to me. You would. I'm your friend.

LEMON: Honestly, I wouldn't. I love you and we have some very private conversations.

BANFIELD: We did many.

LEMON: But if I was in hot water --



BANFIELD: Not even.

LEMON: And you -- come on, Ashleigh. You covered --

BANFIELD: Out of fear of anything --

LEMON: You covered legal issues and what do -- what do attorneys tell you. He's an attorney. They tell you, if you don't -- don't talk to anybody.


LEMON: Not even your more. No one.

BANFIELD: Yes, I watched "Breaking Bad," they can bug your phone, they can bug your photo on your desk. So bug --

MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR: But, you know, what's interesting though is that he's sitting here saying, I don't get it.


ROBBINS: I'm not a racist. So he's thinking because he doesn't think he's done anything wrong. He doesn't actually say anything that bad on this tape.


ROBBINS: I think what's so stunning is that oh my god --

BANFIELD: Says everything right, doesn't he?

ROBBINS: This guy has got so many enemies that people are out to get him.

BANFIELD: You know what?

ROBBINS: I mean, this is another illegal recording.

BANFIELD: You know what, here he is saying, look, I'm just sitting here on Beverly Hills Drive across from Beverly Hills Hotel. He's intimating that no one is bothering to come to me, to ask me for the real story. He also does not seem to understand, and look, maybe I'm wrong here. But he doesn't seem to understand the circumstance he's in.

He talks about America not being able to force you to sell something. He does not talk about this guy right here, a private club forcing you to sell something.

LEMON: But that's not true because we know, we have had people who are asking him to tell the real story. We had our crews there.

BANFIELD: Heck yes.

LEMON: Barbara Walters is asking him to tell the real story. And you're right that -- the bylaws you're talking about the constitution for the NBA. That's a different story. And when he says -- did he say property? This is America.

ROBBINS: Yes. Yes.

LEMON: Property.

BANFIELD: He said you can't force someone to sell property in America.


BANFIELD: I'm a lawyer, he goes on to say.

LEMON: Yes. People are property.

ROBBINS: And look, here's (INAUDIBLE). Article 13, the NBA Constitution, and I'll give you one better, Section B.

LEMON: That's a morality clause.

ROBBINS: Yes. You fail or refuse to fulfill your contractual obligations to the association or members, the players or any third party in such a way as to affect the association or members adversely, and guess what, America can force you because these Americans signed the deal with you.

LEMON: Right.

ROBBINS: This select group of rich special Americans signed a deal with you.

BANFIELD: Well, you know, here's the other thing. He keeps saying it's my property.


BANFIELD: But the NBA granted him a license.

LEMON: Right.

BANFIELD: And said, here you go, Don, here's the Clippers.

LEMON: Here's -- right .

BANFIELD: You own them but there's provisions for us to take it back because it's actually ours and we're just handing to it you to operate under our rules. So they're not forcing him to sell. What's so interesting is he keeps saying, I'm not selling. But guess what if the owners vote him out and all they need are three-quarters vote, and the "L.A. Times" is reporting this morning that Finance Committee of owners --


LEMON: Right.

BANFIELD: That is 10 strong -- there you go. That's not. Right?

ROBBINS: No. No. I'm going to throw a huge wrinkle in.


BANFIELD: Come on. Wrinkle it up.

LEMON: Can I -- I raise my hands up.

BANFIELD: Wrinkle it up.

ROBBINS: Before I wrinkle or after I wrinkle?

LEMON: You wrinkle but I have -- I've got a big -- this is a big deal.

ROBBINS: It's been going on for years.

LEMON: This is a big deal that I want to tell you about.


LEMON: I spoke with someone in L.A. last night and -- who's very close to the team and very close to this. This guy has the ability to take down the entire league.

BANFIELD: You're right.

LEMON: To ruin a multi-billion dollar league. BANFIELD: You're right.

LEMON: Because if the Sterling family has anything to do with this team after this is decided, it's not just the Clippers players who may walk, it's other players around the league who may walk.

BANFIELD: It's sponsors, it's everyone.

LEMON: It's sponsors, it's everyone. And so if one starts to walk it's a domino effect.

BANFIELD: Well, guess what.

LEMON: And guess what?

BANFIELD: Let's hear. Let's hear. What is the wrinkle?


ROBBINS: Drop the bomb, girl.

BANFIELD: Like you expected the reasons, Don Lemon.

LEMON: Is that -- sorry, I didn't.

BANFIELD: It's like you teed me up for this little one.

Shelly Sterling has said to the "L.A. Times" she believes she's legally entitled to maintain the ownership. Apparently she says that the sanctions that Donald Sterling was given by Adam Silver and the NBA apparently do not apply to me or my family. And this is apparently a wild card the NBA officials according to a league official who spoken with the "L.A. Times" did not anticipate. Like you didn't anticipate?

ROBBINS: Sure. You know, Donald Sterling has got some real (INAUDIBLE). He's got the V factor on one hand, he's got the X factor with his wife.


ROBBINS: But so here's the thing, though.

LEMON: You're talking about Stiviano I hope.

ROBBINS: Yes. So she -- but see, here's the thing.


She can hold every press conference that she wants.

BANFIELD: Daytime. Daytime television.


ROBBINS: She can -- oh I just -- sorry. Need some more coffee. Just got that one. Sorry.

LEMON: Yes. We were up late last night.

ROBBINS: Yes. We were arguing about this. Right. But she can hold a press conference, she can release a statement and say, I am a co- owner.

LEMON: Right.

ROBBINS: However, that doesn't necessarily make her one.

LEMON: Right.

BANFIELD: You can be a co-owner of the money, not the privilege.

ROBBINS: Yes. Correct.

LEMON: But that's what it's all about.

BANFIELD: Co-owner of the money, lady.

LEMON: It's all about the money and it's all about the taxes. They don't want to pay taxes on this. So he's giving it to her so that -- they don't have to pay the taxes, right? So --

ROBBINS: And actually wouldn't it be interesting if what we find out is that he and his ex -- whatever, he and his wife are colluding on this and they basically decided --


LEMON: It's interesting, if they are, of course they are.

BANFIELD: Of course. It's a pretty crazy relationship.

LEMON: Of course they are.


BANFIELD: He colluded with the girlfriend, too.

ROBBINS: Maybe Donald Sterling never sues and she goes for the legal challenge.

BANFIELD: All right. I have to go leave it --

ROBBINS: On behalf of both of them.

BANFIELD: I have to leave it there, although truly I don't want to.


You were awesome.

LEMON: Will you have us back please?

BANFIELD: How about next block?

LEMON: All right. I'll call you and tell you some secrets, I promise.


BANFIELD: I never -- he always does.

All right, Mel Robbins, Don Lemon, like I said, next what, don't go far.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, man, is he in some hot water with Congress now and it's all over these deadly delays and hospital care for veterans who were sick and just waited too long, ultimately too long. They died.

CNN's Drew Griffin has been working this story for months. He broke it, he's going to join us next with the details of the allegations and the fallout today.


BANFIELD: When I asked Don Lemon and Mel Robbins to stick around, they stick around.


They refused to move.

LEMON: We're like bad house guests. We overstay our welcome.

BANFIELD: I was like serve pro during the commercial break and I could not get them out of here.

LEMON: We're not leaving.

ROBBINS: We want to talk about this, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: This is why. Look.


BANFIELD: This is a legal show. It's called the LEGAL VIEW and while everybody wants to freak out that there were secret recordings made, and that not legal in the state of California, none of this is in American law right here in pretty little red constitution. The United States Constitution doesn't apply. The NBA Constitution does, Mel.

ROBBINS: Yes, you're exactly right. And you know the only thing that I'm kind of curious about is the idea about what's going to happen vis-a-vis the fact that Shelly Sterling is now involved. Because one of the things that's interesting that not a lot of people have picked up on is that Shelly Sterling had sued V. Stiviano before these tapes went release.

(CROSSTALK) BANFIELD: She wanted all those sexy setbacks.

LEMON: But she sued other women as well.

ROBBINS: Yes, correct. And four days the after V. Stiviano's attorney replied to that lawsuit, V.'s tape were mysteriously leaked. TMZ is reporting that Donald Sterling muttered I wish I would have paid her off.


BANFIELD: Yes, that's not bad.

ROBBINS: And so now there are these sort of allegations that he might extortion involved.

BANFIELD: OK. You know something, thought, I have seen in criminal trials people have brought up. You know she said I could have killed the man. Come on, we all speak in hyperbole at times as well. How fair is it to say, I should have paid her off. I could say that about a million people in that -- wish I paid them off.


ROBBINS: That's true. That's true.

LEMON: And kind of did pay her off. I mean, gave her Bentleys and houses.

ROBBINS: What (INAUDIBLE) all those special things.

LEMON: And he probably sold some of those visors, I think.

BANFIELD: I think a lot of people actually she sold 600 of those visors from the Tribeca store in like store in like two days. Yes, there's report about it .

LEMON: Well, I bought two.

BANFIELD: Did you buy one? Yes.

LEMON: I bought two. They're not here yet. Where's my Stiviano?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: P.S. she's under investigation for a couple of things as well. The word extortion has come, although I have not seen a report on that.

LEMON: That's not -- see, we haven't confirmed that.

BANFIELD: No. Absolutely not. But let's just talk about what we know did happen.

There were two people having a private conversation and we know one of them was not interested in having that private conversation leaked.

LEMON: Right. BANFIELD: That would be Donald Sterling. She swears up and down she didn't do it, but she taped it.

LEMON: In a two party tape --


LEMON: -- where you have to notify the second party.

MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR: But she's also claiming that he knew and --

BANFIELD: Give me the consensual contract. Otherwise, it's one word against another. And, Mel, in a court of law who wins on that civil court of law?

ROBBINS: I think it gets thrown up in the air, and he truth is I don't think any of this goes up in a civil court of law.

And here's the thing that I find interesting. The more muck -- this is like Pigpen, the big clouds --

BANFIELD: I'm sorry. I'm going to stop you right there. I really believe that a lot of this will end up in a court of law, because if Mrs. Sterling, the lovely Shelly --

ROBBINS: I meant the extortion --

BANFIELD: I know. But it is a ripple effect. It is a domino effect. And if she decides to hold all of this up, then every one of these nitty-gritty annoying little issues may end up getting litigated to the max.


LEMON: Hang on!


ROBBINS: This is such a nightmare. We've got racism. We've got extortion. We've got affairs. Get them out of here.

LEMON: Of course it's got to end up in court, because they're going to be deposed. And it's all going to be part of the record. How did you get these audiotapes? Were you his archivist?

ROBBINS: You what else is going to be part of the record that no one is talking about? Shelly wants to keep this team? Well, guess what, all the racist allegations against her are popping out.

BANFIELD: Because it's on the record already the things she's done and said on the record.

LEMON: Can we talk more about this?

BANFIELD: I'm getting the wrap, 100 minutes ago, but, yes, because Don Lemon -- because you're Don Lemon, and it's not Fox that has a show called "Outnumbered." It's us right now.

LEMON: The one person holding all of this together, including the NBA, is Doc Rivers. Doc Rivers -- if Doc Rivers speaks out and says, you know, hurry up and make a decision then the commissioner has to do something.

Doc Rivers is holding this together, and the one mistake people believe Doc Rivers made was allowing Shelly to come back into the games, and he --

BANFIELD: I want to see the contract that this Sterling family has with the NBA. And I want to see if Shelly is 50 percent part owner and actually could sit in on those meetings in his absence.

ROBBINS: She might be what's called a member because she's a beneficiary. But an owner is a totally different thing.

LEMON: She's a wife. Isn't that community property?

ROBBINS: My husband has restaurants. If he ever sells them, I get part of the cash. But I've got nothing to do with the operation. I'm not an owner of the restaurants.

BANFIELD: ServPro! ServPro! Now I really do have to wrap.

Mel, Don, thank you.


ROBBINS: ... right here, when everybody comes back.

BANFIELD: We're not going anywhere, because, listen, there is a very serious story breaking, and speaking of law and subpoenas and the things that you never want to see in (inaudible), you must testify.

This one's not in a court of law, but it is to Congress, and Congress is important to man like this. Wow, Secretary Shinseki, you've some explaining to do about why there were people waiting, people who were dying, waiting too long for treatment, never got it and died.

It's a CNN investigation, Drew Griffin coming up.


BANFIELD: In Washington today, a major escalation in a scandal that first came to light on CNN, the House veteran affairs committee voted unanimously to subpoena Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki, a secretary.

At issue is veterans who have died while waiting for basic care to the V.A. hospital, actually that V.A. hospital. There are a couple of them in Phoenix and elsewhere, focus has been on one in particular, allegations that V.A. officials fudged or destroyed the waiting lists. Some lawmakers want Shinseki to resign, but he says he has, quote, "more work to do."

CNN's Drew Griffin has been working this outrageous story for months now. It's been exhaustive the work you've done, and you've tried and tried again to speak with the secretary about this.

And for some unknown reason, Drew, he's speaking to other outlets, but he refuses to speak to you. Tell me about the development today.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: It has been difficult for Congress, too, to speak to Eric Shinseki and get the information.

What we're talking about, Michaela, is, specifically in this case, the Phoenix V.A., where 40 veterans died waiting for care on what we've been describing as a "secret waiting list," where the management kept this list to hide the fact that veterans had been waiting months and months and months, up to 21 months in some cases, just to see a doctor.

As you say, we had been trying to get answers for weeks, just on that specific allegation. All we've gotten were denials.

Today, at the House veterans affairs committee, the congressman who's in charge of the committee, Chairman Jeff Miller says not only does he know that there was a secret list, he calls it an alternate list or an alternative list, but he says he's got information that that list has been destroyed to hide the evidence.


REPRESENTATIVE JEFF MILLER (R), VETERANS AFFAIRS CHAIRMAN: It's unfortunate we have to come to this decision, but we did not do this without some substantial justification. The last few weeks have been a model of V.A. stonewalling which precipitated the need for this subpoena.

First, on April 24th, our staff was briefed and informed on the existence of an alternate wait list and how that list was subsequently destroyed.

Yesterday, May 7th, I received a response from V.A. that does not -- does not -- fully answer the very simple questions that I asked. Therefore, the time for requests for this matter is over.

Today, we'll vote to issue a subpoena. It's an historic vote. This committee has voted once before to issue a subpoena, the first time ever in the history, and we worked with V.A. and actually we did not deliver that subpoena, but we ultimately got the information we were asking for.

But I trust the V.A. will have the good sense to not further ignore the request this committee has made.


GRIFFIN: Ashleigh, I apologize, the sound here is very bad, but Congressman Miller has talked to me directly about how he doesn't want to make this a partisan thing. He didn't want it to escalate to this level.

They have been diligently trying to get answers from the V.A. about all this mess all across the country. And they've just not been able to. And it's inexplicable as to why there's so much stonewalling at the V.A.

That's why I think it's come down to this issuing of an actual subpoena to get these records and try to preserve some of the evidence they think may have been destroyed.

BANFIELD: And, Drew, we're seeing pictures of the secretary from 2013 when he was at a hearing.

But I will be so curious if we're going to see a picture with him raising his right hand and invoking a Fifth Amendment privilege instead of actually answering critical questions, questions that those families and the rest of the people really deserve to know.

Excellent work, Drew. Dogged work, and it paid off. Thank you for that, Drew Griffin reporting live for us.

It is official. Monica Lewinsky's essay about her affair with the president is out in full today. So far, you have just heard the excerpts. And, holy cow is there ever a lot more.

Will there be fallout from this? Ramifications from this? And, p.s., you may feel real bad about all the things you've been reading over these years once you hear a little bit more about what it's really done to her.

Our panel weighs in next.