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Donald Sterling Gives Interview with Anderson Cooper; U.S. Deploys Spy Planes to Help Find Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls; CNN Visits Nigerian Village of Kidnapped Girls; NBA Continues Process to Remove Donald Sterling; Tragic Twist in NC Congressional Race

Aired May 13, 2014 - 07:00   ET



DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: I'm a good owner. I have a good team. There are people that want to buy my team. But because the media says that the owners want me out doesn't mean they want me out.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Have you talked to the owners?

STERLING: I've talked to some of the owners?

COOPER: Have any of them support you?

STERLING: Of course they support me. They can't understand why I would say that. I can't understand why I would say that.

COOPER: You're saying there are some owners of the NBA teams who want you to remain the owner of the Clippers?

STERLING: I don't speak for the league or for the owners. They speak for themselves.

COOPER: Have any owners told you that?

STERLING: I didn't ask them. I'm embarrassed the league, I humiliated them. I don't know how -- why I did it. It's so terrible. And --

COOPER: So you don't believe though that the owners would vote to have you removed as owner?

STERLING: I don't think so. The players don't hate me. The sponsors don't hate me.

COOPER: You don't believe the --

STERLING: The fans don't hate me. The media hates -- the media, it's all the media, pushing --

COOPER: You honestly believe this is just the media?

STERLING: I believe it 100 percent. I believe it 100 percent. People call me by the thousands and give him support.

COOPER: You don't think --

STERLING: They think I should have said that.

COOPER: You don't think the players don't like you? When the Clippers, when you team --

STERLING: Why wouldn't they like me when I'm respectful and I --

COOPER: When they reversed their jerseys and didn't wear the name and they wore black socks?

STERLING: They have to do it.

COOPER: You think it's just pressure?

STERLING: What do you think? Do you think they're all going to walk off the team? They're going to all -- can any of us just stop working? We all have to work. We all have to earn a living. We all have bills. We may work for an employer we don't love. I contend that they love me.

COOPER: You think they still love you?


COOPER: You believe the players of the Los Angeles Clippers love you?

STERLING: Absolutely. They know I'm not a racist. I'm not a racist.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so that's his thoughts about what's happening with him vis a vis the league and the players, but there's much, much more. He went after specifically NBA legend Magic Johnson in a way that is almost inexplicable. Take a listen to it.


STERLING: Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?

COOPER: He's a businessperson.

STERLING: He's got AIDS. Did he do any business -- I'd like -- did he help anybody in south L.A.?

COOPER: I think he has HIV. He doesn't have full blown AIDS.

STERLING: What kind of a guy goes to every city and has sex with every girl and catches HIV. Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about?


CUOMO: It was almost -- you didn't even know where that part was coming from. Obviously the NBA commissioner heard this, Adam Silver, and this morning he responds to Sterling. He says, quote, put it up on the screen, "I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper, and while Magic Johnson doesn't need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack. The NBA board of governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible."

Let's discuss. Let's bring in Malik Rose, two time NBA champion, game analyst for Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia, and Ms. Mel Robins, CNN commentator, legal analyst. You do not need to be a lawyer to know that Mr. Sterling did the work for the NBA owners for them. Fair assessment that if he did one thing, if he accomplished one thing here, it's that the vote to oust is now very likely.

MEL ROBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR, LEGAL ANALYST: It's one and done. I saw Anderson last night when he walked off the set and I said, you know, I think you're going to get flowers from Adam Silver tomorrow morning because all he has to do is hit play. Donald Sterling should change his name to Donald Duck because he's Looney Tunes. The more he opens his mouth, it's just kind of stunning how much worse it gets.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Couple of things. Since it happened, since the first tape, everyone says we have to hear from Donald Sterling himself, we have to hear from Donald Sterling himself. Then when he comes out everyone is saying, you should probably stop talking.

MALIK ROSE, GAME ANALYST, COMCAST SPORTS NET: Exactly. The more this guy opens his mouth, more hate and hate and negativity comes out of it. And what's ironic about what he's been saying to me is, the ironic part is Magic Johnson, a man who has done nothing to him, he utterly despises, and the woman who betrayed his trust and exposes as a bigot he love. He professes his undying love and support for her. He cried for her.

ROBINS: That was to me one of the weirdest parts or I guess -- it was almost the most authentic part because it's clear he is crazy in love.

CUOMO: He's completely authentic. I don't think any of it is contrived. He can't have an agenda that would make him say --

ROBINS: You know what was striking --

CUOMO: The two most go together then, the feelings for the woman and his feelings about Magic.

ROBINS: There is a way to explain the feelings for Magic.

BOLDUAN: There is?

ROBINS: Because what he says is that Magic called him -- I don't know if this is true but he says in the interview Magic called me and told me to the to talk and that would help. And then he kind of goes on this tangent about, well, why does everybody want Magic to have the team? Why Magic? Why is he such a good guy and I'm such a bad guy? Then he sort starts pontificating and it comes right off the rails.

ROSE: There is also jealousy there, too. He says I didn't want other black guys being with her, sleeping with her. He's not black. Listen, let's just say this guy is -- I don't want to say he's nuts.

ROBINS: He's nuts.

ROSE: He's clearly delusional if he thinks the players who said -- who have said if you are part of this team, I'm going to walk off or boycott, I'm not going to play. He thinks these guys still like him? He's nuts. He is so out of touch. And, yes, I did want to hear from him because now it further exposes his racism and that he doesn't even realize how racist he is. He denies. He calls Anderson racist.

ROBINS: The other thing that struck is I though, for the first time, if I were V. Stiviano and I'm with this guy and this is what he's like and nobody believes me, I can kind of understand why she would be taping him saying you've got to listen to the way this guy talks.

CUOMO: I think we're going to be slow to put her on a pedestal of integrity. I think that what's nice about this is she's irrelevant now. This can be examined all on its own. One value here is, whether it's age or generational or being a little addled, it does allow you to expose ideas that you want to have out there as a culture so you can condemn them and say this is now absurd talk. Talk about HIV and AIDS as if it's a blemish on someone's character.

ROSE: He's 80 years old. He lived through the civil rights movement. We can't excuse people for age because you live in the here and now, and especially with young players. There's a turnover on his team every single season of young people. He should be more aware of the way the world is progressing.

BOLDUAN: What is the impact of hearing this on the players? I can assume Doc Rivers has done a really good job of saying, look, we are going to focus on the series and focus on the playoffs and all of this is happening off the court.

ROSE: For me, being a player that's served in the union, I was on the executive committee member in the union for over seven years and across the bargaining table from him, he wasn't the one speaking, but he represented the owners. And this is a guy, this plantation mindset we're talking about where my players love me, the disconnect there that makes him believe in spite of all of this, the Clippers still love him. I thought it was an interesting analogy that Spike Lee put on after the Anderson Cooper interview, you know, they still love me in spite of it. That's like that racist plantation owner's mindset.

CUOMO: They love me because I put food on the table.

ROSE: So that stuff there. And for me as a player, I always knew he was cheap, always kind of like the clip joint, nobody wanted to play for the Clippers because they were cheap. Now it's coming full circle. Elgin Baylor was not crying wolf, he actually got it right. All of this stuff is being exposed. ROBINS: Malik, that's a great point because this didn't happen just last night. There have been people around this guy for years that have been hearing this and have done absolutely nothing.

BOLDUAN: One interesting point I want to get your guys take on. He said a whole lot about things we were not expecting him to talk about, right? Where should we begin? The one place, the one topic that he's wanted to be tightlipped was about the legal strategy going forward. He had that line down. When Anderson asked him if he thought they were going to kick him out, he said we weren't there yet, so why should I address that issue? I don't want to fight with my partners. We all do what we have to do. He had that down.

ROBINS: He's right. If he says I'm not going to sue, they're going to kick him out immediately because they know there's no repercussion. But look, do we really know what the guy is going to do? Of course not. Given the fact that the conversation blew around like a leaf falling from a tree, who knows where he's going to do?

ROSE: Even suing is out of the question. Lee Steinberg last night hit it on the head. He gave up the right to sue when he signed in to get the charter for his franchise.

CUOMO: This is a club.

ROSE: This is a private entity, exactly. And there are rules and regulations in place. When you damage the brand the way he has, when you jeopardize the revenue making capabilities of the NBA, it's within the power of Commissioner Silver to do what he did, and is up to the owners then falls on the board of governors to kind of like give the step two, get him out of there.

ROBINS: I love that Adam Silver came right out yet again strong, this is what we stand for, this is what we don't, had a statement out there immediately.

CUOMO: A statement basically saying he basically helped me. I know we have to run, but can we talk about he had those AIDS, when he has those AIDS, the AIDS, it's like, man, really?

ROSE: How many more people is he going to result in his apology?

BOLDUAN: Back to 1980? I don't know. There's more tonight, right?


BOLDUAN: More interview airing tonight?

CUOMO: Yes. You know, there's good and there's bad. Some people like, why are you fanning the flames, we don't need to hear it. You do need to hear it because it makes it easier for people to condemn it and say this is now unacceptable. The one question that is now brushing over which is another legitimate question is how we punish thought in society going forward? Because there was a real issue here about do you take his property for what he thinks? But it's a private club. He's now kind of overwhelmed that by the nature of his comments. So we're going to have much more of the interview later this morning, including his thoughts on Magic Johnson as we try to make sense of them because they really incited reaction. Our thanks to Mel and Malik. I like this sound of that.


ROSE: M and M.


CUOMO: Even though Magic Johnson is saying he wants to move forward from this he is going to take an opportunity to respond. He's going to do it exclusively with CNN. He's going to do it with Anderson on "AC 360" 8:00 p.m. eastern of course only here on CNN.

BOLDUAN: Much more measured conversation we would hope on that one tonight.

Let's get it back over to Don Lemon in for Michaela for some of today's other big stories.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: There are other stories going on. That one is amazing though.

A fourth VA hospital is now being investigated for allegedly covering up potentially deadly treatment delays. Two workers at the Durham, North Carolina, VA hospital has been placed on leave, accused of cooking the books to cover up long wait times for patients seeking appointments with doctors. VA policy states, no veteran should wait more than 14 days to be seen. CNN has already uncovered treatment delays at VA Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, that are being blamed for at least 40 deaths.

The National Security Agency reportedly planting a backdoor spyware in American made computer devices, embedding surveillance tools before they're shipped overseas. Details of the NSA intercepting devices before export now come from documents leaked by Edward Snowden to journalist Glen Greenwald. The agency doesn't deny using American made hardware to protect U.S. interests but won't comment on specific activity.

An unbelievable scene in a home in New Hampshire as it literally explodes. Take a look at this, the blast happening moments after a police officer was killed in a New Hampshire home. Officer Steven Arkell was responding to a dispute and then he was gunned down. The suspected gunman is the son of the homeowner and is believed to have died in that fire.

Yes. It just exploded. As you said, pointed out earlier, right next to other homes.

BOLDUAN: Right, it looks like it's on a cul-de-sac right near other homes. Thanks, Don.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, U.S. spy planes now being used to help Nigeria's search for the missing schoolgirls. We're going to go live to Nigeria where a CNN crew found out firsthand how that village is trying to protect itself since that horrifying abduction.

CUOMO: And brain damage? All indications are that Hillary Clinton is in perfect health. But on "INSIDE POLITICS" we're going to look at the rumors that Karl Rove is spreading that the Clintons are hopping mad.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Spy planes provided by the Pentagon are now patrolling the skies over Nigeria searching for nearly 300 schoolgirls kidnapped last month by terrorists, as officials try to determine whether it is the girls that we see in this video released by the al Qaeda affiliate Boko Haram.

CNN's Nima Elbagir is the first international journalist to make the very dangerous journey to the town where the kidnappings took place. She spent a night on patrol with the villagers who are now simply having to take security into their own hands.

She's joining was much more of this CNN exclusive. Tell us more.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The reality, is, Kate, that this is still very much a dangerous area. Boko Haram still roam well. And a lot of the fathers in this village especially feel that it's time for them to take matters into their own hands, that they can't wait for help to come to them from outside.

Take a look at this, Kate.


ELBAGIR: Nightfall in Chibok and with it the fear returns, bringing back memories of when nearly 300 girls were abducted here. It's at night that people here say they feel most vulnerable, most abandoned by the outside world, which is why they've started going on nightly patrols like this. Ever sense that horrifying night of April 14th, the men here have come together, each bringing what they could, machetes, homemade bows and arrows, trying, hoping that they will be able to protect their families.

DANIEL MUVIA, CHIBOK RESIDENT: It was nearly dark, made this sound of gunshot, explosions everywhere.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Daniel Muvia and his family witnessed the terror firsthand.

MUVIA: We have to run into the bushes for our lives. So it was -- it was my whole family. Fear is everywhere.

ELBAGIR: Daybreak does bring respite, but the burned out school stands as a reminder of the sheer scale of the devastation. Nearly a month since the night when the radical Islamist group Boko Haram stormed this town, more than 200 of the girls are still missing. Tired of waiting for help to arrive, fear is making way here for resilience. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ELBAGIR (on-camera): What is really extraordinary, Chris, is how this community is picking itself up, and it's moving on. They're patrolling their own streets. They've reopened the market. And some of them have even gone deep into the Sambisa Forest where Boko Haram has garrison (ph) to look for their daughters. It was just amazing to witness. Chris?

CUOMO: Nima, thank you so much. We know how much you risked to get there, but now you are giving us a way to see what the fight against Boko Haram is like, specifically in communities like this. And there are many, as well as what is actually working and what needs to be done to help keep kids getting kidnapped. So our thanks to you, Nima.

Let's bring in Paul Cruickshank, a CNN terrorism analyst and Fran Townsend, Fran Townsend, a CNN national security analyst, former homeland security adviser for the Bush administration. She's also on the external advisory boards of the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA. In other words, Fran, you better have all the answers for me this morning.


CUOMO: I'll give you a chance to compose yourself because there's so much on you. And I'm gonna start with Paul.

Paul, we hear from Nima's reporting, and we see in video, that local militias are organizing. Now, to the uninitiated you would say, well, what can they do against Boko Haram, but isn't it true that these local militias have been the best defense so far?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Chris, that's absolutely right. These vigilante groups, local militias, have actually led to a number of setbacks for Boko Haram in the last year. They've actually driven then them out of urban areas in northeast Nigeria, and they've driven them into the countryside, into the forests of the region.

We've actually seen Boko Haram now lash out with now extremes of violence and, hence, this operation they conducted to abduct the -- the schoolgirls. This is a group on the defensive because of these local militia groups that are absolutely fed up with Boko Haram's violence, Chris.

CUOMO: And obviously, it also does speak to the sufficiency of Nigerian government and their ability to protect their people if these local militias are necessary, but somewhat of a side issue for us right now.

Because the headline, Fran, is that Boko Haram is coming forward and saying we want to talk about how and under what conditions we will give back the girls. They want to negotiate. Now, we're all going to say but we don't negotiate. But does our rule necessarily have to apply here?

TOWNSEND: It us doesn't, Chris. Look, we have -- the U.S., as you say, U.S. policies, we don't negotiate with terrorists. We wouldn't engage in that sort of a dialogue with them. But we know our allies have. So for example, Israel has engaged in prisoner swaps with the Palestinians to get captured soldiers back.

And so, you know, the interesting thing here is, we don't know as much as we would like to know even if you were going to consider engaging in such a dialogue, right? We've seen the video. You don't know when the video was taken. Typically in a video where you're looking for proof of life in a condition of someone who's a captive, you want there to be something in it that makes a reference to a current event.

CUOMO: Some type of time stamp.

TOWNSEND: That's exactly right. So you know, it references the outcome of an election, so you know it couldn't have happened -- the tape couldn't have been made before then. We don't really know that. We don't know the condition of the girls. And we're unlikely to be able to get sufficient proof of life as to all of those young girls who are captive. And so it's a very difficult circumstance in which to even consider engaging in such a negotiation.

CUOMO: Well, what do you see as options on the table though, Paul? Why is it so wrong to negotiate in a circumstance like this? What else can be done?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, it's going to be very, very tough to get them in some sort of military operation, special forces operation. In the past, Boko Haram, they're a ruthless group, they have executed hostages before special forces have been able to get to them. So maybe some sort of negotiations is the only hope of getting some of these girls back.

And this group has a track record of abducting girls in order to force concessions for the Nigerian government. Almost exactly a year ago the leader of the group Abubakar Shekau released a video with strikingly similar demands after the group abducted around a dozen girls from northeastern Nigeria. And there was a deal done a year ago in that case. There were 100 Boko Haram prisoners released in return for those girls. So some precedent for that, but obviously any time you negotiate with terrorists, you incentivize them to launch exactly the same kind of operations in the future.

CUOMO: Well, for what it's worth, the organization says -- Boko Haram, organization, whatever you want to call it, is saying, you did this to our people in Cameroon and elsewhere. That's why we're doing it to yours. We know that when you've tried to do it with force they've killed the hostages. We know that when you've negotiated they have returned hostages. So what does that make as a formula for you?

TOWNSEND: Well, the answer, Chris, you've got know -- you've got to have in your own mind what does success look like, right? I think we've got to be realistic even in a negotiation because of the large number of captives you are unlikely to return all approximately 300 girls to their families and reunite them healthy, safe, and well.

So you've got to have realistic expectations. You may be able to get the majority of these girls back. What condition they will be in and what they will have been through will remain to be seen. I mean, we've got, as Paul rightly points out, this is a brutal group. The notion that they've cared for these girls well is sort of ridiculous. So they're likely to have been harmed in some way, but you hope to be able to recover as many of these girls and reunite them with their families as you can.

CUOMO: This is happening in real time because Nigeria is going back. Our latest reports the interior ministry is saying no, but a director at a government information ministry said it could be an option to negotiate. So we're gonna have to keep an eye on it.

Paul, we know you're great at that. Paul Cruickshank, thank you. Keep us in the loop. And, Fran, thanks for helping us understand it because it doesn't get more simple as time goes on.


CUOMO: Thanks for this. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, they were once a hot lead in the search for Flight 370, but are those signals picked up in the Indian Ocean now being dismissed? New concerns about their viability in the hunt for the missing plane. Richard Quest will be here to explain and discuss.

And also ahead on Inside Politics, vicious and unsubstantiated rumors. We'll see what Karl Rove is saying about Hillary Clinton's health.


CUOMO: Welcome back. A lot of news this morning. Let's get over to Don Lemon, in for Michaela, with today's top stories.

LEMON: And of course the biggest story of the day, an exclusive interview with Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Questions whether Magic Johnson should be a role model because he has HIV and suggests Johnson hasn't done enough to help the black community.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver responded in a statement. And here's what he says, quote, "While Magic Johnson doesn't need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack."

The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible. We're gonna have much, much more, of course, on Sterling's interview next hour on CNN, throughout the day as well.

Now to the latest in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Separatists in Donetsk celebrate and now say they're ready to join Russia after declaring a landslide vote for self rule. Kiev has blasted the referendum and is now pivoting to the general elections set to happen in less than two weeks. Separatists say they won't participate. But some experts say they fear the separatists may actually disrupt or block the general vote.

This is a tragic twist in a North Carolina congressional race between Clay Aiken and Keith Crisco. The 71-year-old Crisco died Monday, reportedly from an accidental fall at his home. Well, the Democratic primary contest had been too close to call with Aiken leading by more than 300 votes. Officials are expected to certify the results today, but Aiken suspended all campaign activities after news of Crisco's death. It's certainly a very interesting turn. I mean --

BOLDUAN: It was already getting more attention than a normal Democratic primary does in a congressional race in a red district.