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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
Ballmer Offer $2 Billion for Clippers; Shinseki Resigns; New Info on Mental Welfare Check of Santa Barbara Shooter; Did "Breaking Bad" Character Die?
Aired May 30, 2014 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Sterling will not leave empty- handed. He originally bought the team for $12 million. If the sale goes through, he stands to make over $1.9 billion in profit.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And look who's here. It's the Rosa Flores of that report. She's with me now, live, joined by Danny Cevallos, our CNN legal analyst, and then from Boston, CNN commentator and lawyer Mel Robbins.
You ladies are in the pink, but I'm going to start with Rosa right now. So here's the big question that everybody wants to know. Can Shelly pull this off, or can Donald really thwart this deal?
FLORES: I like to call this the unwritten law of marital persuasion. Can the woman really, in this case, pretty much force him to sell?
Because you know she's been paving the road. She's been negotiating. She's been saying, yes, let's go ahead and sell this. And it's unclear if she has that kind of pool with Donald Sterling because they are estranged, so we should note that.
But he was very nice when it comes to talking about her in the interview with Anderson Cooper. He kept on going on and on that she was such a wonderful woman that had given so much time.
BANFIELD: Yeah, sure, and he also said, I'm so sorry, and I won't mount a big defense to all this, and the NBA probably didn't even go far enough.
To pink lady number two, this all feels like a very big kabuki dance, but I'm not getting the plot. But I know there is one, and I know you have a theory.
MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR: I do have a theory. You know, when Donald Sterling's attorney yesterday with Wolf was talking, Ash, about the fact that Donald Sterling wants vindication, I thought, you know, I bet that's what he's really after, because he is going to make a big payday. In the press conference, I'm sure you noted it, Ashleigh, he actually admitted the fact that the sponsors had fled for the hills violated that Section 13, so I thought to myself, you know, I bet he's acting in concert with his wife.
Because if they come to the table with a $2 billion deal, right, first of all, the NBA has to approve it. And everybody's exhausted by this. They want completion. They want it done. So imagine a scenario, Ashleigh, where they show up Tuesday in New York, and the way the proceeding's supposed to go is we're voting Sterling out.
But instead of that happening, Donald says, we have an offer for you. I will agree to the sale of this team if you will remove some of those initial violations that you put in place, number one, the lifetime ban.
I think after being the longest-standing owner in the NBA, and a member of that board of governors, that one stings him right down to the soul. And I think that's what they're hinting at when they talk about vindication. So that's my theory.
BANFIELD: And that's the kabuki dance I'm wondering about, is that all this is just a bunch of theater to red-herring us away from thinking that these things they say really matter. Real quickly, remember I showed this picture with the "Daily News," "The $2 Billion Bigot."
I also read "The New York Times" every morning, and, Danny Cevallos, "The New York Times" suggested that since back in 2013 Steve Ballmer was already vetted with an investors' group when he wanted to get in on buying the Sacramento Kings and that didn't go so well, ultimately, a lot of the leg work has been done.
So does that mean that this could make this process much faster, this time around?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No question that there are certainly parties that are trying to speed this process along. I guess the best analogy would be in football. If you get the next play off before you reviewed the last play, then there's little to argue about if someone else already has possession of the team.
So I think there are a lot of parties, including the commissioner, who wants this sale to go through as quickly as humanly possible. And that's exactly what I think their mission here is. However, one of the things people have been talking about is the potential capital gains consequences to Donald Sterling. Those are some serious tax consequences.
One of the things, though, I've been looking at is under the tax code, if Donald Sterling claims that his property was improperly taken and sold from him, he can potentially avoid tax consequences, if he goes out and buys another similar piece of property. Here would be a --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's got two years for that.
CEVALLOS: Two years for that. Yes, in this case, that will be a pro sports team --
BANFIELD: A couple hundred million bucks, right?
CEVALLOS: Yeah. Exactly. And it can't be in the NBA, because we all know you cannot be in the NBA anymore, Donald Sterling, no more.
BANFIELD: A couple hundred million bucks in two years, right now, I can see why it's all worth it to go all out and sound a little bit crazy on the TV, as well.
All right, Danny and Rosa, thank you. And, Mel, as always, thank you. We're going to see if your theory plays out, Ms. Robbins. Have a wonderful weekend. I'm going to return after the break to this big, breaking story here on CNN, and it started heard on CNN, the veterans affairs secretary asking the president to accept his resignation, and the president saying OK.
We are digging deeper into this breaking news. And who's in charge right now and for now, but who ultimately is going to assume this big, old mess?
BANFIELD: Welcome back to our breaking news coverage. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.
We're right on top of this news on CNN. A U.S. Cabinet member has resigned this morning. Not just any cabinet member, Eric Shinseki, the now long-embattled, it seems, secretary of Veterans Affairs. He is the highest ranking of several people in leadership roles at the V.A. who are out as of today.
The president spoke just a short time ago about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am grateful for his service, as are many veterans across the country.
He has worked hard to investigate and identify the problems with access to care, but as he told me this morning, the V.A. needs new leadership to address it. He does not want to be a distraction because his priority is to fix the problem and make sure our vets are getting the care that they need.
That was Ric's judgment on behalf of his fellow veterans. And I agree. We don't have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Eric Shinseki, a retired four-star general, said today he trusted reports given to him about veteran patient waiting times. He says now those reports were misleading, unfortunately. The V.A. acknowledges that nationwide 23 former military members died while waiting for hospital care. The president has already installed a replacement for Shinseki and he is Sloan Gibson. He was the deputy secretary at the V.A. up until just about an hour and a half, two hours ago.
And we expect the House speaker, John Boehner, to make a statement about Shinseki's resignation, any moment, maybe about three-and-a- half, four minutes from now. Our mikes are live and the backdrop is being straightened out. As soon as the speaker hits that podium, we will bring that to you live, as well.
Also learning some brand-new details about the mass murder in California. Police came face-to-face with Elliot Rodger on a welfare check a month before this attack.
They were called because of some disturbing videos, and not just by one person. You are about to find out the chain of events that led to the police on his doorstep but why they could not cross it and find the guns that would kill so many.
BANFIELD: Welcome back. We are watching the live mike on Capitol Hill. The speaker of the House, John Boehner, expected to appear at any moment.
We are going to break into our continuing coverage of the news today as soon as he takes into the floor, his comments about this resignation this morning of the secretary of the Veterans Affairs administration, Eric Shinseki. So, as soon as that happens, you will see it live.
Also, CNN following the added anguish over the killings of a half dozen college students a week ago in California. That added anguish is the knowledge that the young killer's mom, and at least one friend, and a mental health expert, saw it coming, tried to prevent it.
"It" -- "it" -- might be the issue. What did they see coming,? What did they know? What did they expect?
What we do know is that, after seeing Elliot Rodger's demented YouTube videos, they contacted a mental health hotline, April 30th. The hotline called the sheriff.
Today, we have the sheriff's version of how that welfare check went down. I want to read the key passage here. Deputies found Rodger to be shy, timid and polite. When questioned by the deputies about purported disturbing videos he had posted online, Rodger told them he was having trouble fitting in socially in Isle Vista and that the videos were merely a way of expressing himself.
The statement goes on to say, based upon the information available to them at the time, sheriff's deputies concluded that Rodger was not an immediate threat to himself or others and that they did not have cause to place him on an involuntary mental health hold or to enter or search his residence. Key issue there. Therefore, they did not view the videos or conduct a weapons check. They did not view the videos and they did not conduct a weapon's check. They said they didn't have cause.
We've already seen the killer's version of that visit. I want to read from the writings that he e-mailed after he killed his two roommates and a visitor and then before he fatally shot three others. Quote, as soon as I saw those cops, the biggest fear I ever felt in my life overcame me. I had the striking and devastating fear that someone had somehow discovered what I was planning to do and reported me for it. We're going to continue to watch that story, find out just exactly what cause should have been or would have been. In the meantime, I want to get you directly to Capitol Hill where the speaker of the house is getting ready to make his comments. Let's listen.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE SPEAKER: The Senate should immediately pick up the house passed, VA management accountability act. Until the president outlines a vision and an effective plan for addressing the broad dysfunction at the VA, today's announcement really changes nothing. One personnel change cannot be used as an excuse to paper over a systemic problem. Our veterans deserve better. We'll hold the president accountable until he makes things right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Speaker, the president referred to Congress and the media as being part of the political distraction, that he felt forced the hand of the secretary to offer his resignation. Do you think politics was a factor in this decision?
BOEHNER: I think there's broad bipartisan concern about what's happening at the VA and the treatment that is being denied to our veterans. These people put their lives on the line for our country. And they deserve better, much better, than they're getting today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Speaker. In her new book, Hillary Clinton writes this about Republicans and Benghazi. Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool, minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country. Is she right, are Republicans politicizing the Benghazi attacks?
BOEHNER: This is about one issue and one issue only, and that is getting the truth for the American people and the truth about what happened at Benghazi for the four families who lost their loved ones there. That's why we created a select committee. It is about getting to the truth. We have to remember, we've been asking for documents now for 18 months. Why does the administration refuse to turn over the documents? Why do they refuse to tell the American people the truth about what happened?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speaker Boehner, other than urging the Senate to pass your bill what specific steps do you want the president to take on the VA he hasn't taken already?
BOEHNER: I think the president could order the VA to cooperate with a congressional investigation that's under way. Passing the VA management accountability act in the Senate will be another step. And in addition to that, the president needs to outline his vision. For how do we get to the bottom of the problems at the VA and how do we make sure that those veterans, who are waiting for care, get access to care sooner rather than later? If the waiting times at the VA continue as they are, we've got to find a way to get veterans the care they need now.
BANFIELD: Speaker of the house, I should tell you, right off the top made the key remarks, and that was that the resignation of Eric Shinseki does not absolve the president in the speaker's mind, of the blame in this issue. He also said, we will hold the president accountable, until he makes things right. Again, we are seeing report after report coming in from Congress members who have taken this opportunity, literally within minutes of the resignation to, you know, shed their feelings and let those feelings be known to the media. Hence the question from that reporter. Are people politicizing this. This story continues. We're back right after the break.
BANFIELD: Did you see it? The big star of "Breaking Bad", Bryan Cranston dropped by the show yesterday, and just so happened to drop a big juicy bombshell right at the end of the program and it kind of set the Internet on fire. Spoiler alert. If you haven't seen the end of "Breaking Bad" and you're going to watch it on Netflix or some other great delivery device, hit mute right now. I asked Bryan point blank yesterday whether his character, Walter White, actually died.
At the end of "Breaking Bad" his eyes were open, and I didn't want him to die and I kind of thought, well, maybe. I didn't expect the answer I got. What he said is actually giving hope to fans that the show -- that the meth kingpin's last chapter just destroyed us, apparently that last chapter may not have been written yet. I want to show you the highlight from the interview with Bryan, the Emmy-award winning actor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: You called Walter White the role of a lifetime. Did you know at the beginning that you had that in you, that you had that man in you?
BRYAN CRANSTON, EMMY AWARD WINNING ACTOR: I think so. I think every actor is just looking for an opportunity to be able to showcase themselves and their talents. And I, for some reason, it came if into my lap and I jumped on it. I knew when I read it that whoever was fortunate enough to get this role, it's going to change their career. I didn't know at the time it was going to be me but I'm very grateful.
BANFIELD: That executive producer of yours, Vince Gilligan, knew it was you. He fought the studios. He said this is the man. "Malcolm in the Middle", are you kidding me? But he knew.
CRANSTON: Exactly. They saw the "Malcolm in the Middle" dad, and he is a sweet, lovable, goofy man. They didn't think that was the right template for Walter White. But, you know, Vince Gilligan, God bless him, he said, no, he's an actor this is what they do, he's a guy, he can do this.
BANFIELD: So the body positioning of Walter White - And, by the way, I have been steeped in Breaking Bad for the last couple of weeks. I finished the whole thing last week. I'm a little behind obviously. Slumped, the weight of the world on his shoulders. I think I saw somewhere that you equate that with your own dad, you looked at your dad that way.
CRANSTON: Yes, well, no, my dad is now almost 90. And, you know, naturally there's a -- gravity pulls you down. And I thought Walter White should have some of that sensibility.
BANFIELD: Spoiler alert for all of you who are going to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix. That final scene that final image.
CRANSTON: Oh, I know.
BANFIELD: I know, He's like, yes.
CRANSTON: When he had the sex change, oh, my God, I never saw that coming.
BANFIELD: No, I am going to ask you really, seriously. I wasn't so sure that you died. I really wasn't. Your eyes were open. I thought what if the police just take him into custody, he gets better and breaks out, and just goes nuts.
CRANSTON: You never saw bags zip up or anything or anything --
BANFIELD: No, is he dead?
CRANSTON: I don't know.
BANFIELD: No movie, no nothing? No Walter White ever again?
CRANSTON: Never say never.
BANFIELD: Dear God, please come back, I love Walter White.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: He said I don't know, never say never. Please. The movie. Awesome. Thank you, everyone. Thank you to Bryan Cranston for stopping by. Thanks for watching the show. Have a great weekend. Congratulations, New York Rangers. Stanley cup within our grasp, I know right? Wolf starts after this break.