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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Official: Mine Explosion Kills 137 People; Officials Visit School A Month After Kidnapping; Karl Rove Slams Hillary Clinton With Accusations Of "Brain Damage"; Remains Of Christopher Columbus' Flagship Vessel May Finally Be Found; Official: Mine Explosion Kills 151 People in Turkey; NBA Meets to Oust Sterling as Owner

Aired May 13, 2014 - 19:00   ET

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


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, breaking news: more than 130 people dead, hundreds missing, after a mine collapses. We're going to take you there live.

And, Christopher Columbus' Santa Maria sank in 1492. Tonight, is the lost ship found?

Plus, L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling says Magic Johnson should feel ashamed for sleeping around and having HIV. Tonight, Magic responds. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. We begin OUTFRONT tonight with major breaking news. A mine explosion in Western Turkey. Officials in Turkey telling CNN just moments ago that the count of the dead right now is up to 137. Hundreds more are believed to be trapped inside more than a mile underground. An urgent search-and-rescue operation is under way at this hour.

Andrew Finkel is OUTFRONT in Istanbul tonight. And Andrew, what is the latest right now on the rescue operation? Obviously, it is the dead of night.

ANDREW FINKEL, REPORTER, TURKEY (via telephone): It's the dead of night. The operation is going on. The searchlights, there are huge crowds assembled at the mouth of the mine. Outside hospitals waiting for news of whether we believe some 200 mine workers will be rescued over the course of the night.

BURNETT: And let me ask you, Andrew, we're just hearing the Turkish energy minister telling Reuters at this hour some truly shocking information for our viewers. They're now saying there are over 700 people inside that mine. That's hundreds more than we had thought, Andrew. But again, the Turkish energy minister telling Reuters 700 people are trapped. Are officials giving you any sense whether there will be survivors? Because the count of the dead today, when it rose, it rose incredibly rapidly from 5 to 17 to 70, very quickly.

FINKEL: Well, that's right. And now we're hearing from the minister himself that the death toll, be the known death toll be actually 151 people. And of course rather than being alarmist and speculating on who might die, there is certainly the concern that the death toll could prove much, much higher, and that this could be Turkey's worst ever mining disaster.

BURNETT: I don't know the numbers off the top of my head, but I would imagine if those numbers continue to surge exponentially, it could be one of the worst in the world. Andrew, thank you very much. The deadly explosion of what we know so far is obviously incredibly horrific when we're getting these latest numbers from the Turkish Energy Ministry talking to Reuters.

Joining me on the phone now is Greg Hall. He is the president of Driller Supplies. Greg, obviously you were on the scene back in Chile back in 2010 when the 33 miners were trapped there. You just heard the latest information that we have coming in from the Turkish energy minister telling Reuters 700 people are in that mine. You also heard the numbers of the dead surging through the day today. Do you think they're going to be able to find and save a lot of people?

GREG HALL, PRESIDENT, DRILLERS SUPPLY (via telephone): Well, Erin, one of the things is never give up hope there. But the fact that it is a coal mine and there is a fire involved are two very alarming things because in the coal mine, you have the coal dust, which is combustible and very flammable. And you also have methane gas. So one of the important things to do is try to get fresh oxygen and air to the miners. Put you on the risk of putting oxygen where there is flames, which will cause further flare-ups. So the rescue workers are really faced with a tremendously hard job right now.

BURNETT: And in terms of what you saw in Chile and what you're hearing about here, given that this is a coal mine, is this even more dangerous?

HALL: It really is. In Chile, obviously, the miners we discovered them about a half mile down through solid granite. And that was a psychological feat that has never been done before. But a copper mine, gold mine, we didn't have the problems that you have with the coal mine with sparking, with fire, with carbon dioxide, with carbon monoxide. Once we were able to actually locate the miners, we could get fresh oxygen down to them and begin to do the drilling so we could sustain them very well for a long time.

In the coal mines, you've got all those gases. You've got the poison gases. You've got the flames that you're trying to drill or dig down to them you have to make sure that you're not making any sparks whatsoever, which could cause more fire which makes everything slower and slower.

BURNETT: Greg, apologies, I mean, I'm not obviously any kind of an expert on this, but air pockets may be the wrong word to use. But could there be large groups of miners in certain areas right now that are alive in some sort of a, quote/unquote, "air pocket?"

HALL: That would be our hope and our prayer, exactly. If they're some place where they have -- because I know those tunnels are very, very long. There are miles of long tunnels. So they could be in a place that is free of any kind of carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide. But that will be building up over time, where they have some oxygen to them. And they could very well and hopefully are still alive. They just need to be gotten to obviously as soon as possible.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Greg. We appreciate your time. We're going to continue to cover this breaking news story through the hour as we get more and more details. But, again, the latest headline coming from the Turkish energy minister to Reuters saying 700 people are still trapped in this mine right now, according to the mayor of the town, over 150 are confirmed dead.

And now to our other top story tonight. Breaking news on shocking new video of a deadly terror attack. Armed Boko Haram militants setting fire to a village, slaughtering more than 300 people. Some of them they burned live. Today nearly one month after Boko Haram attacked a school, kidnapping more than 200 girls, today was the first day Nigerian military officials actually visited the school.

Days after CNN's Nima Elbagir took these pictures of the school, beds destroyed, windows shattered. Nima is in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, tonight. Nima, you visited the school before the Nigerian military. That's extraordinary.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. We also interviewed one of the girls who managed to escape the kidnappers. You would imagine would have information that would be very valuable to the Nigerian military before they did. It was just heartbreaking. I think that is the best word to use. It's heartbreaking to see the neglect that these families were feeling and the desperation that the mothers and fathers shared with us.

But this is a community that has decided it's going to fend for itself. And if the government can't help it, it's not going sit around and wait. A lot of the fathers organizing nightly patrols. They're using what they can get their hands on, machetes, bows and arrow, old guns, anything, which I imagine probably won't be particularly useful against a highly armed force against Boko Haram.

But they don't care. They're willing to take those risks because they say what they're not willing to risk is that Boko Haram come in and steal more of their children without them putting up a fight -- Erin.

BURNETT: Nima, that video is amazing that you were able to film of them with the makeshift bows and arrows. The video the world is watching of course is of the girls, or at least what appears the abducted girls chanting praise be to Allah in a more traditional Muslim garb. What have you learned about this video and how the girls are being treated?

ELBAGIR: Well, the governor of Borno State in the north of Nigeria, he has said that they have identified 77 girls from that video. That doesn't tally exactly with what we have been hearing from the parents who are concerned that many of the gathered families don't actually recognize the girls in that video. There are maybe two or three families there could be more at this point.

But so far there seems to be a bit of a disparity between what we're hearing from the government, what we're hearing from the families and given information in the past from the government hasn't turned out to be entirely accurate. This is something that is giving people a lot of pause after they had felt a lot of hope when the video was first circulated.

In terms of how they're treated, we really don't know. You can see in that video for yourself that some of those girls looked very, very frightened. It's unimaginable to be that age, 14, 15, 16, so far away from home. One of the things that I noticed immediately was when you look at this video, Erin, they're not hidden away. They're not somewhere underground. They're out in the open, incredibly brazenly -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Nima, thank you very much. Ali Soufan is a former FBI supervisory special agent who investigated and supervised many high profile terror cases including the East Africa embassy bombings, the attack on the USS Cole and the events surrounding 9/11.

There have been calls, as you know, for the United States to send in Special Forces to rescue these girls because there has been such an international outcry. Congressman Peter King told me look, I don't want to say this, I feel, but I would support the president if he chose to put Special Forces in. Could the United States put boots on the ground, Special Forces without risking American lives?

ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Absolutely not. And I think we have to understand that what we're seeing today, the tragic events we're seeing today in Northern Nigeria has Boko Haram is only a symptom of a deeper problem. And this problem is not only a Nigerian problem, but it's also a regional problem. I mean, if you look at the area of Northern Nigeria, which is more than 1/3 of the country, they have -- they rank number one when it comes to school -- children not going to school.

Half of the children below the age of 5 have chronic malnutrition, 75 percent of the houses have no electricity. So before we go there, before we put boots on the ground, we need to figure out when and how we're going get these troops out. This is a Nigerian issue. This is a regional issue. We should support them. We should help them in developing a strategy to defeat Boko Haram.

BURNETT: But no boots on to the ground?

SOUFAN: But I think we have to be very careful in a quagmire in Northern Nigeria.

BURNETT: How can the United States guarantee Boko Haram won't become a major terror organization that could attack America if they don't do something right now? It took decades for Osama Bin Laden to gain the power and ability to pull off 9/11.

SOUFAN: Boko Haram into a major terrorist organization. Boko Haram so far killed more than 10,000 Nigerians. They average about a thousand a year. This year alone, they killed more than 1500 and with the numbers you mentioned are correct, killing 300, that makes this year alone 1800 people that they killed.

So Nigeria and the region has been dealing with Boko Haram for a long period of time. And I think what need to be done today is two things. First, we need to assist the Nigerians to rescue these poor girls. That's number one.

Number two, we need to help the Nigerians in developing a strategy, multidimensional strategy to defeat Boko Haram, but to defeat the incubating factors that allow the terrorist groups like Boko Haram and different groups over there, some of them are affiliated with al Qaeda to be defeated once and for all.

BURNETT: Ali Soufan, thank you very much.

SOUFAN: Thank you.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, Karl Rove accused of saying Hillary Clinton suffered a traumatic brain injury. Clinton denies it, but is the political damage done?

And Chinese officials bragging about building a train from Beijing to the United States. We're going to show you how it's possible.

And we continue to monitor breaking news in Turkey, there are at least 150 dead after a mine collapses, possibly nearly one thousand trapped inside that mine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, Karl Rove slamming Hillary Clinton, raising major questions about the health of the possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. The headline in "the New York Post" today screaming Karl Rove says Hillary may have brain damage.

Speaking at a recent event, a former Bush adviser reportedly talked about a fall that Clinton took in December 2012. That was after she suffered from a blood clot. According to "the New York Post," Rove then said, and I quote, "30 days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she is wearing glasses only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what is up with that."

Of course, Clinton was admitted to the hospital for a three-day stay, not 30 days. But has Rove done the damage he was intending to do?

David Brock was OUTFRONT tonight. He founded the pro-Hillary Super PAC American bridge.

Good to have you with us, David.

DAVID BROCK, FOUNDER, PRO-HILLARY SUPER PAC AMERICAN BRIDGE: Thank you.

BURNETT: So, let me just ask you -- I mean, I would imagine this is a situation where you would just come out and use the L word for Karl Rove, right? Liar?

BROCK: Sure. I mean, I think the things you just showed in the intro, there were three lies told there. And you know, it's part of a pattern of Karl Rove. This is textbook Karl Rove. He has used sleazy personal attacks in the past for political reasons. And I think what was going on here this was a premeditated effort to put a target on Hillary Clinton's back and n the lead-up to the reopening of these Benghazi hearings. And I also think rove was trying to goad the media into raising this issue.

Now, usually when he goes and does these sleazy things, he uses surrogates. So, what is interesting here, he got caught. I think he made a big mistake. And it's not going work. There is a big backlash against this. And I think it will have the inverse effect.

BURNETT: All right. And I want to talk about that in a minute. But let me play when he came on FOX News, David, to try to explain his comments. Here is how he did that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: She had a serious episode, a serious health episode. This was a serious deal. She basically is out of action from she is in and out of the office starting on the 7th of December after she returns. She returns on a Friday from the Czech Republic. But then it begins over a month-long period where she's got a serious illness, ending up putting her in the hospital. We don't know what the doctor said about what does she have to be concerned about? We don't know about blood and she has hidden a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: David, what is interesting is, you know, there have been, you know, questions and people talking about that time and whether she was ill or not at this time. Should she just release more information and say look, you want me to put it to bed? I'm going to put it to bed. Here is the medical records.

BROCK: Well, you know, at the time, you know, the conservatives can't quite get their lies straight. Because the time they were saying this whole incident was faked so she didn't have to testify in the Benghazi hearings.

BURNETT: That's true.

BROCK: And so, I don't know what Rove is talking about when he says that things were hidden. First of all, there was a full accounting at the time. The doctor said there was full recovery. They said there was no neurological damage.

And so, this is just I think a part of a desperate effort on the part of the Republicans who know that Hillary Clinton if she decided to run would be incredibly formidable as a candidate. And their party will be divided. And they just don't know what to do with her. They have no health care plan, no job plan.

BURNETT: I just want to jump in here. Because as you know, you raise an interesting point. You know, she is going to be -- she is 66 now. She'll be 69 on Election Day.

BROCK: Sure. BURNETT: Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, John McCain, all of them dealt with that issue. But they all dealt with a lot of age questions in their elections. I mean, her health is going to be a legitimate topic, isn't it?

BROCK: Well, look, I mean, first of all, we're not there yet. We're far away from the campaign. We're far away from a candidacy and we don't know what the answer to that will be.

BURNETT: Right.

BROCK: And certainly all candidates have had to deal with these issues. But as of right now, no. I think it's an issue in Republican gossip mills. And I think that Hillary Clinton is in excellent health. She is going about her paces. She has done more than 40 public events this year. She is about to embark on a major book tour. I wish I had her stamina.

BURNETT: Good point.

David, thank you very much.

And joining me now is CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman.

All right, here is the thing about this. You know, this was out there, as he said, in the gossip mill. People wondering, was there something wrong, did something happen. Karl Rove coming out and saying something that had plenty of factual errors in it, I mean, just point-blank wrong.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

BURNETT: Does that just backfire and make him and the GOP look bad?

HABERMAN: This seems like he handed Hillary Clinton a fantastic gift today and Democrats a gift today. If the goal was to get a lot of discussion about this, that succeeded. But when you do it without basis in fact, that becomes all about you and not about what actually happened.

I think David's point also that she is not yet a candidate is very true. Remember, this did come up with John McCain, his health. He didn't release health records until he was actually a candidate. No one is going to expect her to do the same either.

Any presidential candidate's health is a legitimate line of injury. But talking about whether they had brain damage is not. And all it's going do is energize the democratic base. If that was his goal, mission accomplished.

BURNETT: Mission accomplished.

You know, I want to play what Jay Carney said at the White House. I'm curious about your take as to how this is all being handled. Here is Jay Carney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Here is what I would say about cognitive capacity which is that Dr. Rove might have been the last person in America on election night to recognize and acknowledge that the president had won reelection, including the state of Ohio. So we'll leave it at that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. Snide, funny, give him full props for that but should the White House just take the high road and don't even deign to talk about something like that.

HABERMAN: Once the Clintons had decide they'd were going address this, and they did last night. In the initial page six report of "the New York Post," there was a quip, funny, you know, Dr. Rove can be assured she is totally fine. And that went pretty quickly last night once the story got picked up on by twitter, by everyone that went to these are lies. Karl Rove has been a liar and this is another perpetuation of that they were clearly angry.

BURNETT: Salt in the wound.

HABERMAN: Yes. The Clintons were clearly angry. And then the full statement from Nick Merrill today went even further on that.

BURNETT: Yes.

HABERMAN: And they're not being subtle that they have decided there is no percentage in sort of letting rumors run wild. They are make clear this is not the case. Now look, this is not going to answer the question as you said today. People are still going to want to see her medical records. These are still legitimate questions about a candidate's health overall. But the problem is again saying that somebody has brain damage without having proof, and saying the point I think about the hospital stay is really problematic because that one is demonstrably false, it creates questions and everything else he said.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Maggie.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, one of Christopher Columbus' legendary ships lost more than 500 years may have been found. This is one of the most exciting stories of the day. What treasures might be on board.

And Donald Sterling takes another shot at Magic Johnson. Tonight Magic Johnson responds here on CNN.

And more on our top breaking story tonight. More than 150 dead, up to 700 trapped after a horrific mine explosion. We're going to go live to the desperate rescue operation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: A major discovery tonight. The Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus' fleet may finally be found. An underwater explorer says he has found the remains of the infamous ship stuck in a reef off the coast of Haiti.

Here is one of the most incredible things about this. As, you know, we're looking for planes, miles, beneath the surface, it was only 15 feet below the water's surface, and it had gone undetected for nearly 500 years.

Miguel Marquez has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may not look like much, a pile of rocks. But this could be the historical find of a lifetime, several lifetimes.

How sure are you that this is the Santa Maria?

BARRY CLIFFORD, EXPLORER: I'm extremely confident that we've -- that we've discovered the wreck site.

MARQUEZ: Shipwreck explorer Barry Clifford believes this is the wrecked ship, the Santa Maria of that other explorer Christopher Columbus. The size and shape of those rocks called a ballast pile fit the size and weight of the Santa Maria. But there was one piece of evidence that led him to his eureka moment.

CLIFFORD: It was a smoking gun as well. This -- Columbus described in his diary over and over Lombards. And Lombard is a 15th century weapon, a Cannon that Columbus used on board the Santa Maria.

MARQUEZ: So literally a smoking gun?

CLIFFORD: Literally a smoking gun.

MARQUEZ: The Lombard he believes is that long tube-like thing there marking the spot where Christopher Columbus woke up on Christmas day 1492 and realized his flagship was sinking. Clifford relied heavily on this, Columbus' diary now marked up and poured over to also help lead him to the wreck.

Is this the page that led you to the discovery or to believe that this is the discovery?

CLIFFORD: It's one of the pages. About a league and a half from said shoal when he learned of it.

MARQUEZ: A league and a half? About 4.7 miles offshore of cap-Hatien in only about 10 feet of water.

Why do I feel like I'm talking to Indiana Jones?

CLIFFORD: I don't know. But I love that movie. I think there is a great lesson here for kids. Not just about the discovery of the ship, but how you can take history and use clues to go back and solve riddles.

MARQUEZ: If this nautical Indiana Jones has found the Santa Maria, Barry Clifford's name will also go into the history books.

How big would this be for you personally?

CLIFFORD: This is hitting it over the fence at Yankee stadium with the bases loaded.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: I mean, at the least. I mean, this is just incredible. We were talking, you know, this is something I've dreamed about as a kid. So what about sunken treasure? Could this be full of all the famous gold they were taking?

MARQUEZ: It is possible. They didn't find a lot of gold here, and they also had time to off-load whatever was on that ship while it was sinking. So it's likely there wouldn't be gold. But there might be trinkets that they were trading with the native there's that they would find. That they have to get under the rocks and around the ship and find out what else is there to verify that this is the Santa Maria. It could take months.

BURNETT: It's incredible.

MARQUEZ: Very cool story.

BURNETT: The ship Christopher Columbus was on.

All right, Miguel, thank you very much.

And still to come, Donald Sterling attacks Magic Johnson for sleeping around and not doing enough for the African-American community. Tonight magic Johnson responds on CNN.

And we are following the major breaking news story tonight with more than 150 dead and hundreds, up to 700 trapped in a mine tonight. We're going go there live right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Back now with our breaking news: a deadly massive mine explosion in western Turkey. Officials say at least 151 people are dead. The numbers, though are, still very uncertain because 787 were at work at the mine at the time. Hundreds are still trapped more than a mile underground, and an urgent search-and-rescue operation is underway.

They're desperately trying pump oxygen into the mine shaft. But given this is a coal mine, any ignition could cause further explosions and more death.

Andrew Finkel is OUTFRONT. He is in Istanbul tonight.

And, Andrew, obviously, this is a desperate and urgent situation. 787 people they say could have been at work at the time. We don't know how many are in the mine right now who are missing.

What's the latest that you know?

ANDREW FINKEL, REPORTER (via telephone): Well, we -- the figures so far is about 151 people we know have lost their lives in this disaster. There are hundreds, as you say, more trapped underneath.

The search-and-rescue operation is still going on, in very, very difficult conditions. There is a fire underground. They're as you say pumping oxygen to keep these people alive. And the rescue operation will clearly go on throughout the night. And we supposedly will have to wait for the dust to settle to see how terrible this tragedy will be.

BURNETT: I mean, it's already going to be among some of the worst -- the worst in the world with the death toll of 151, which of course unfortunately could go significantly higher. What are they saying about the conditions of the miners who are still trapped? Earlier an expert had been telling me that the prayer is that they are in air pockets.

But you can't really pump a lot of oxygen in without risking additional massive explosions.

FINKEL: Well, this is a very, very deep mine with several kilometers deep. The explosion occurred maybe 400 or 500 meters deep inside. So, it may well be that there are places where these miners can get to away from the fire. It doesn't seem to have been a methane explosion which is the worst thing that could happen. It seems to have been an electrical fault which started this whole thing.

So, it is possible that these people are able to get to safety. Of course, we'll have to wait in the morning to see exactly what happens.

FINKEL: Andrew Finkel, thank you very much, reporting live from Istanbul.

Bulent Kilic joins me on the phone now. He's a photojournalist with AFP. He took the photos that you've been looking at, and the ones you see here, these moments of anguish. You see some of the survivors, right after they were rescued.

You were there. I mean, what sort of condition were they in?

BULENT KILIC, AFP (voice-over): I just drive from the coast of Izmir (ph) to (INAUDIBLE). I just arrive at the mine. And people are shouting.

People were -- like crazy. And they're searching their friends. And a lot of injured people I saw coming out from the mine. And I saw a lot of died people coming out from mine.

And now, (INAUDIBLE) crying and this is so, so sad that some of them waiting for their children, some of them waiting their sisters, brothers, husband. And it's so sad here. I mean, nobody sleeps here. And wee hours in morning, all is wake up and it's so sad here.

BURNETT: Bulent, thank you very much.

Those incredibly moving pictures as he watched the survivors and some of the dead coming out of the mine.

Well, our breaking news continues. The NBA just wrapping up a meeting about whether to force Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. So far, they did not make a decision, but the owners talked about Sterling's exclusive interview with Anderson.

And tonight, Magic Johnson, who was repeatedly slammed by Sterling, responds. Now, I'm going to talk to Anderson in a moment, who just talked to Magic Johnson.

But, first, Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT with more on what obviously has become massive bad blood between the two men.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To say Donald Sterling has a problem with Magic Johnson would be a gross understatement.

DONALD STERLING, CLIPPERS OWNER: I just don't think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles. That he would go and do what he did, and then get AIDS. I mean, come on. Maybe he doesn't think I could be a good owner.

CARROLL: Those are some of Sterling's most recent comments. But what started it all were racist statements heard during a recorded argument Sterling had with V. Stiviano after she posted a picture of Johnson on her Instagram.

STERLING: Admire him, bring him here, feed him, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I don't care. You can do anything. But don't put him on Instagram for the world to have to see so they can call me. And don't bring him to my games, OK?

CARROLL: The NBA banned Sterling, and that was enough for Johnson.

MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Cookie and I said that we would never go back to a Clipper game as long as he owned a team. But now that he is banned, I'll go back.

CARROLL: Sterling telling CNN's Anderson Cooper he apologized to Johnson, but that didn't stop him from criticizing him again. STERLING: If I said anything wrong, I'm sorry. He is a good person, and he -- what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don't think so.

CARROLL (on camera): For the record, Johnson, who is now worth an estimated $500 million, has invested in urban areas such as here in Harlem and in Los Angeles by opening businesses and movie theaters during a time when others would not.

(voice-over): He also founded the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote HIV/AIDS awareness. It has raised $20 million in charity.

HOWARD BECK, BLEACHER REPORT: It's really hard to understand what is going through Donald Sterling's mind, and why Magic Johnson keeps entering into the conversation, why he seems to be kind of fixated on Magic Johnson.

CARROLL: The NBA's commissioner released a statement apologizing on behalf of the NBA, saying it continues to move forward with removing Sterling as quickly as possible.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And now, Anderson's OUTFRONT.

I mean, Anderson, I know you spoke to Magic Johnson. You know, Jason just ended his piece there talking about this effort to force Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers. And I know you had a chance to talk to Magic about that. Here's what he told you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: He is man who is upset, and he is reaching. He is reaching. He is trying to find something that he can grab onto to help him save his team. And it's not going to happen. It's not going to happen.

The board of governors now have to do their job. Adam Silver, our commissioner of the NBA, did a wonderful job of banning him for life. Now, the board of governors got to do their job.

And, again, I'm going to pray for the man, because even if I see him today, I'm going to say hello -- hello to Donald, and his wife as well. I'm not a guy who hold grudges and all that.

Yes, am I upset? Of course. But at the same time, I'm a God-fearing man. I'm going pray for him and hope things work out for him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Anderson, that was an incredible moment. But I believe Sterling and Magic, have they spoken? And if so, what did Magic Johnson say happened in that conversation?

ANDERSON COOPER, "AC360": Well, that's what is really interesting, because Donald Sterling in the interview we played last night insists that he doesn't have Magic Johnson's number, that Magic Johnson called him after that tape broke and told Donald Sterling to lay low, not say anything publicly. And Donald Sterling is claiming that was an effort, an effort by Magic Johnson to trick Donald Sterling to try to get his team.

Magic Johnson says categorically that did not happen. In fact, Donald Sterling called Magic Johnson's office wanting magic to appear on a television program sitting next to Donald Sterling.

We go into a lot more detail about why Donald Sterling thought Magic Johnson would want to sit next to him on a TV program being interviewed basically providing him with cover. That will be at the top of the hour in just about 20 minutes.

But he goes into great detail about, you know, the few times that he has met Donald Sterling and Donald Sterling also alleges that Magic Johnson knows V. Stiviano, knows her well. Magic Johnson puts that idea to rest as well.

BURNETT: Wow. I really am -- I know everyone is eager to hear what Magic Johnson says happened in that conversation.

But what about the state of mind of Donald Sterling? Magic Johnson had a conversation with him and he knows him and had a chance to evaluate him. And Sterling's wife again, as you know, Anderson, said today, her husband is suffering from dementia.

What did Magic say?

COOPER: You know, I talked to Magic about that. About whether -- you know, obviously, Magic has not heard Donald Sterling make these kind of comments about magic Johnson, about him. But that guy who is speaking, that the guy you know? Is that the guy you have known over the years?

And, again, Magic knows Donald Sterling, but has only probably hung out with him three or four times over 20 or so years from the first time he came to L.A. So they don't have a long history. But, you know, Magic certainly gives his impression that Donald Sterling knew what he was being asked in that interview that I had with him. He knew what he was saying. And he was present in that interview. He was certainly able to answer questions.

BURNETT: So did Donald Sterling apologize to Magic Johnson ever?

COOPER: No. No.

BURNETT: No?

COOPER: I mean, Donald Sterling has not called Magic Johnson and apologized personally to him at all. In that interview, I mean, he came as close as he said to Magic Johnson -- well, you know, if I said anything wrong, I'm sorry. Saying if you said something wrong, that's kind of a qualified thing. But he has not reached out to magic Johnson at all. BURNETT: Wow. All right. Anderson, thank you very much.

And as Anderson said, that interview, the full interview with magic is at the top of the hour on "AC360." you don't want to miss that, obviously.

OUTFRONT next, an underwater express train from Beijing to the United States. No joke. This could be real. And we're going to show you exactly how and when.

And was Beyonce's sister attacking Jay-Z? Jeanne Moos is on the case tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: It's an engineering feat that could make the Great Wall look small -- a high-speed train from China to the United States.

So, according to a report in "The Beijing Times", Chinese officials are considering building this high speed rail line. It would start in northern China, go up through Russia and connect through Canada into the United States. The proposed line would be more than 8,000 miles long. That would be going from New York to Los Angeles nearly three times.

It would also include an underwater tunnel stretching 125 miles. That's four times longer than the tunnel connecting England and France.

OUTFRONT tonight, David McKenzie in Beijing begins our coverage of the story.

I mean, David, when I first heard this, I said this is just absurd. But is this a real proposal or a publicity stunt?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it's probably a little bit of both. You know, considering this was in state media and picked up a great deal here by official media and internationally, you know they're putting this out as a provocative statement, saying we can do this here in China, take a train ride all the way to Anchorage, all the way on the other side of the earth. It speaks about what they want to say about their technical prowess.

But just politically, forget about it, you can't get connection directly from China through Russia into the U.S., that's a non- starter. But at the very least, they want to say, hey, guys, we're thinking about this kind of thing, look what we can achieve -- Erin.

BURNETT: And they can achieve. I mean, you know, high speed trains in China -- well, they are sort of embarrassing from the United States' perspective, right? I mean, they have speed trains, we don't.

MCKENZIE: Well, they say they are the rail leader. And some of the facts really stand that up.

Take a look at this, Erin. You know, fastest passenger trains here in China, from Beijing to Shanghai can clock at 235 miles an hour. The fastest in the U.S. on the Eastern Seaboard, the Acela Express, at maximum, around 150 miles an hour. That's a lot slower.

And you look at just how much they built up this network. The Chinese premier said from March this year, they put in more than 6,800 miles of high speed rail network, that pushes them to the top of the world's standings.

Then, just take this -- you know, if I'd jump on the train here in Beijing, and go all the way to Shanghai, more than 800 miles away, it could take me less than five hours and cost as little as $100. The same roughly between New York City and Atlanta. That would take 18 hours and cost a lot more.

So, you know, while on the rail network side, China is leaping ahead, certainly on air travel and road networks, the U.S. is the world leader. But they say they can do it technical and they up in the money to build up the infrastructure here in China.

BURNETT: All right, David McKenzie, thanks.

Now, we bring in Tom Foreman. He has been looking at how this high speed rail line could actually be built.

So, Tom, the verdict, please? Is it possible?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, the Chinese trains are very impressive, yes. But let's look at the building site first, because this is way, way up there right on the edge of the Arctic Circle. The Bering Strait is what separates North America from Russia. And as Sarah Palin might note, you really can't see Russia from here. If you can get high enough, the nearest point is about 53 miles wide.

How deep is this water? Not that bad, about 98 to 164 feet deep, depending on where you paddle your kayak.

So, who would have to be involved in this project? Well, politically and economically, probably the U.S. and China, the Canada and United States here in the form of Alaska.

The channel, is what they would pattern this after in all likelihood. So, let's look at the construction of this thing because that was built under the English Channel that connects the U.K. and F, even at the narrowest point, what we're talking about could be twice as long as the channel, but the water is shallow.

So, essentially, what they would have to start to bore through and this is what they would aim for. Something like this -- three tunnels, one with trains going in one direction, the other in the other direction. And in the middle they built an access tunnel for emergencies and for services and all sorts of ways to get back and forth.

It's a big, big project. They have to push here in the water and the rock here and the undersea, and they have to put in shielding as they go, just a step at a time claiming this area with a big metal tube in a sense to build all of this. It's a big, big, job, Erin. No question.

BURNETT: I mean, it's incredible. It sounds like at least from an engineering standpoint, which is might have given a lot of people pause. It's possible, OK?

But then here is the question, Tom, I mean, how much would it cost and how long would it take?

FOREMAN: Yes, well, it is possible. Although I would like to point out, you know where you are in each of this tunnel? You are in the middle of nowhere. So, they got to build about that. But if you look at just the cost of this thing, if you based it roughly on the chunnel, maybe $35 billion if everything goes well.

BURNETT: That's nothing for China, that's nothing.

FOREMAN: That's not unbelievable. It's not crushing.

But, you may also talk about 20 years to complete, maybe, but boy, big, biggest here, Erin. You know why? Because the idea for the chunnel came up a good while before anybody actually started digging -- as in it was first seriously proposed by Napoleon back in 1800. And they finally completed it in 1994.

BURNETT: You know what? I got to give Napoleon. I don't think I have given him enough credit.

FOREMAN: So, our great, great, great grandchildren may have been able to report on the ribbon cutting up in Alaska, Erin.

BURNETT: Wow, a little man with great ideas, Napoleon. And, by the way, people have been over the Bering Strait, you know? I mean, people -- we can do it again.

All right, Tom, thank you.

FOREMAN: All right.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, why did Beyonce's sister attack Jay-Z? This is one for Jeanne Moos and she is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: A video that seems to show rapper Jay-Z being kicked and slapped by Beyonce's sister, what could have caused the attack? For the answer, we turn to our own Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started as such a nice night, Beyonce and Jay-Z arriving at the Met Gala, Beyonce dropped her ring.

Her husband put it back on her finger, but on the way out after an after-party, fingers gave way to fists.

Round one, Beyonce's sister, Solange, started hitting Jay-Z. The bodyguard pulls her off. Beyonce mostly stays out of it.

Round two, Solange tries to kick Jay-Z, he grabs her leg in defense.

Round three, a somewhat half-hearted assault.

Round four, with the door open, Solange hauls off and whacks Jay-Z with her bag.

Online commentators had a field day captioning the after picture. Did that just happen? Smile through it. Bring it, says Solange.

(on camera): Something Jay-Z says really pushed Solange's buttons.

(voice-over): But since the surveillance video has no audio, #whatJayZsaidtoSolange encouraged guessing. This elevator music better than any song you ever made, a reference to Solange's singing career.

Solange Knowles attacks Jay-Z, the first she's had in years.

Everyone had a theory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Solange heard Jay-Z say something to her sister that she didn't like.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

MOOS: One online analyst even quoted Dickens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is melancholy truth that even great men have their poor relations.

MOOS: Years ago, Solange seemed to be putting distance between herself and Jay-Z.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Solange, good morning. And thanks a lot for joining us.

SOLANGE KNOWLES: Good morning. I have to say that was not a very professional introduction before. Please don't tie me into family and my brother-in-law's establishment.

MOOS: Someone put the elevator fight to Jay-Z's own song.

(MUSIC)

MOOS: Jay-Z's 100th problem is what they're now calling Solange. Jokesters are dressing up and re-creating the fight, making fun of everything from the late grab, to the handbag turned weapon.

One day, you're grabbing your sister-in-law's leg in self defense, then you're caught on camera caressing your wife's leg -- just a week in a life of a rapper. Ground floor, lady's bags.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: I can't decide what I love about this more, the look on Beyonce's face when the elevator opens, or the look on Jay-Z's face, I'm sorry, I know it's not funny, but it is.

All right, thanks so much as always for watching. See you back here tomorrow.

"AC360" starts right now.