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Weiner Apologizes after Admitting to Twitter Scandal; Couple Threatens Bank with Foreclosure; Fleeing the Fires; Yemen's President Badly Burned; NATO Denies Bombing Libyan TV Studios
Aired June 7, 2011 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans. A lot happening overnight. Let's get you caught up.
Overshare, Congressman Anthony Weiner finally admitting that a Twitter picture of a man in his underwear is him. Now he'll have to answer to his family and to an ethics panel.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry.
New information about the condition of Yemen's president this morning. Ali Abdullah Saleh, sustained burns to 40 percent of his body when his compound came under attack last week. The big question this morning, will he try to return to Yemen from Saudi Arabia once he recovers.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Ali Velshi.
It may be the single worst wildfire ever to hit the state of Arizona and it keeps getting bigger. A quarter of a million acres already burned, thousands of people packing up and getting out on this AMERICAN MORNING.
ROMANS: And welcome to AMERICAN MORNING. It is Tuesday, June 7th.
CHETRY: What a wild afternoon with the press conference held by Congressman Anthony Weiner yesterday coming clean about the drama over the --
ROMANS: A story he tried to put to rest for almost a week but in the end the truth came out.
VELSHI: And after weeks of denials and deflections he did finally fess up to sending that photo of himself in his underwear to a woman on Twitter.
CHETRY: Yes, but that's not all he admitted to. He also admitted to years of inappropriate behavior over social media. He mentioned it happened with six different women in an emotional and apologetic news conference.
Here's a little bit of that news conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story, to stick to that story, which was a hugely regrettable mistake.
This woman was unwittingly dragged into this and bears absolutely no responsibility.
To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent it. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family. And my constituents, my friends, supporters and staff.
In addition, over the past few years I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and occasionally on the phone with women I had met online. I have exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.
For the most part, these -- these communications took place before my marriage, though some have sadly took place after. To be clear, I have never met any of these women or had physical relationships at any time.
I haven't told the truth. And I've done things that I deeply regret. I brought pain to people I care about the most and people who believed in me. And for that I'm deeply sorry. I apologize to my wife and our families, as well as to our friends and supporters.
I am deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions. Regretting what I have done and I am not resigning.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Wow. You know, it was emotional. The whole thing was emotional. He doesn't have to face the voters until next year but Weiner is facing an ethics investigation to see if he broke any House rules.
Kate Bolduan is live in Washington with the fallout on this.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Christine.
Well, after we're told by Democratic sources Anthony Weiner made abundantly clear that he was not going to step down, that he was not going to resign, you have this press conference and then very shortly thereafter the Democratic leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi, issued a statement calling for a House Ethics Committee investigation.
And Democratic sources, they really were underscoring right away yesterday and have continued to that they're taking this situation very seriously and also underscoring how rare it is that the Democratic leader herself would call for such an investigation.
Additionally, a fellow Democrat from New York, the man in charge of getting Democrats elected to the House, Steve Israel, he came out with a statement also agreeing with Nancy Pelosi that an investigation should occur and saying that Anthony Weiner has embarrassed himself, his family and the House.
I should add, we did get, of course, a statement from Nancy Pelosi and in part along with calling for an investigation, you guys, she said that, "I am deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation for Anthony's wife Huma, his family, his staff and his constituents."
So you can see they're very much on the same message there. But Nancy Pelosi in calling for this investigation, she says that she wants the ethics committee to look for two things, to determine if any House resources, any government resources, were used here and also if any other House rule, any other violations of House rules occurred.
Anthony Weiner issued a very brief statement following that, saying he would cooperate with and welcomed an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
But I will say one point. While Democrats are noting how serious this situation is, I've talked to Republican source who calls it hollow and noting that the Democratic leader is not coming out to call for Anthony Weiner to step down, rather calling for an investigation to occur, and now that process begins and it does not sound like it will be a short process.
ROMANS: All right, Kate Bolduan. Of course there was sort of a similar situation in the Republican camp that when John Boehner asked for someone to step down, Chris Lee, congressman in New York.
ROMANS: He did so immediately.
ROMANS: So that's the comparison that they're making.
ROMANS: And why they say it's hollow.
CHETRY: That's what she's noting. So it was a call for an investigation, not for a resignation.
CHETRY: Also Congressman Weiner admitted sending dirty pictures to six women over social media then lying about it, and he even acknowledged one by name, Meagan Broussard, who came forward with her claims that she received this, among others, of a shirtless photo of Congressman Weiner which was also posted by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart. Broussard told ABC News more about their online relationship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEAGAN BROUSSARD, EXCHANGED MESSAGES WITH REP. ANTHONY WEINER: Eager to hear about if I wanted him or thought he was attractive or that sort of thing.
CHRIS CUOMO, ABC NEWS: How much of it was sex talk?
BROUSSARD: I mean he would attempt all the time.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: All right. Well, Broussard is a 26-year-old single mother from Texas. She says that the online chatting started after she commented on a Facebook video of Weiner giving a speech saying it was, quote, "hot."
VELSHI: Now one of the issues that may not be as widely out there is that he may have wanted to go from Congressman Anthony Weiner to Mayor Anthony Weiner. He's a man who won his district in New York City by a landslide in November.
ROMANS: And Mary Snow has reaction from some of the people who he represents in Washington.
It was interesting she called that speech that she saw from him hot. It was actually a speech where he was defending the 9/11 --
CHETRY: Health bill.
ROMANS: -- victims' health bill, right?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We all remember when he was on the House floor.
SNOW: And remember he was --
VELSHI: That impassioned speech he gave.
SNOW: Right. Very passionate of him.
SNOW: Congressman Peter King was also --
SNOW: They were going back and forth.
SNOW: And apparently that is what caught her attention. And, you know, you mentioned that he may have wanted to become mayor. He was seen as a likely contender and a strong contender in 2013 to be New York City's mayor. Now the big question is, can he hold on to his congressional seat?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEINER: I haven't told the truth. And I've done things I deeply regret.
SNOW (voice-over): It was an emotional confession by Democratic New York Congressman Anthony Weiner admitting he lied about sending a lewd photo of himself to a woman over Twitter.
WEINER: To be clear the picture was of me and I sent it.
SNOW: Earlier in the day, more compromising photos of the congressman were posted on Andrew Breitbart's conservative Web site, Biggovernment.com. Soon after Congressman Weiner's office scheduled the news conference.
As reporters waited for the congressman, a surreal atmosphere took hold, when blogger Breitbart showed up at the event and took to the podium.
ANDREW BREITBART, BIGGOVERNMENT.COM: I want to hear the truth. I want to hear the truth from Congressman Weiner. Quite frankly I'd like an apology for him being complicit in a "blame the messenger" strategy.
SNOW: Breitbart was looking for vindication saying left-wing blogs had accused him of hacking Congressman Weiner's Twitter account and that it was not true.
When the congressman appeared he did apologize to Breitbart, the media and his constituents for misleading them. He admitted communicating inappropriately with six women over three-year period through e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.
But the congressman was most emotional when talking about his wife, choking up several times.
WEINER: Look, my wife is a -- my wife is a remarkable woman. She's not responsible for any of this.
SNOW: Congressman Weiner expressed regret for his mistake but also made it clear he has no intention to resign. New Yorkers in his district had mixed emotions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a very well-respected politician especially in this area and I'm somewhat taken aback by this whole thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually I'm glad he's not resigning. What he does on his personal time is his business.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scary that, you know, a political person that we elected would be able to do something like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He should resign.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Having spent time in Congressman Weiner's district last week, it comes as no surprise that he admitted this lie. Many constituents that we spoke with last week said they were so suspicious of his story, found his explanations very odd. But you know he is very popular.
ROMANS: What started out as a silly scandal over the past seven or eight days has turned into something serious, a House Ethics investigation.
ROMANS: And it's almost one of those classic Washington sex scandal cover-ups. It's all of the lying afterwards.
VELSHI: That's --
ROMANS: That raises the big questions about --
ROMANS: You know, about integrity and intent.
CHETRY: But I wonder, I mean, look, it's obviously bad publicity for him to not come forward for a week, but if he came forward a week ago and said yes, I tweeted that, possibly investigation would also happen.
CHETRY: I mean they're still looking into whether he used, right, government issued either phones or computers to conduct any of this?
SNOW: Right. That is the big question. And he said repeatedly yesterday, during this press conference, because he was asked a number of times about it, he said that he did not. But in this ethics investigation, of course, that is going to be one of the big things --
SNOW: -- that they're looking into.
VELSHI: What was the thing that brought Andrew Breitbart to the mikes yesterday? That was --
ROMANS: That was an odd appearance.
VELSHI: That wasn't part of the schedule?
SNOW: I had never seen anything quite like it. He showed up in the back of the room and of course, you know, these photographs had been trickling out throughout the day. So everybody went over there to ask him about it.
CHETRY: The reporters did, right?
SNOW: Reporters. He said that he was in the neighborhood about three blocks away and that he wanted to stop by and see what Congressman Weiner had to say. And then so many reporters were around him that someone said, why don't you go up to the podium and he did.
And you know we were waiting for Congressman Weiner supposed to start at 4:00, he didn't actually take the podium until 4:25 because --
SNOW: Andrew Breitbart had pretty much taken over this thing.
VELSHI: Wow. Wow.
CHETRY: It was a very strange scene yesterday.
SNOW: It absolutely was.
VELSHI: And we'll be talking to Andrew Breitbart later on our show.
Mary, thanks very much.
CHETRY: So it our question of the day as well. Weiner confesses, what should happen to him now?
We've been getting a lot of comments already and we love to hear more. Send us a tweet, an e-mail, or post on our blog. And we'll be reading some of your comments a bit later in this hour.
ROMANS: New information this morning about the injuries sustained by Yemen's president in an attack on his compound last week.
U.S. officials say Ali Abdullah Saleh suffered burns to 40 percent of his body and also suffered a collapsed lung and a shrapnel wound nearly three inches deep. He's in Saudi Arabia right now recovering from two operations.
It's still not clear if he'll attempt to return to Yemen and when after he recovers.
VELSHI: The Casey Anthony murder trial reassumed today in Florida. Yesterday a key prosecution scientist testified about the stench in Anthony's car saying the only plausible explanation was a decomposing body in the trunk. He also testified that he was shocked about the unusually high levels of chloroform in air and carpet samples collected from Casey Anthony's trunk.
Anthony is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee back in 2008. If convicted she could face the death penalty.
CHETRY: In Germany scientists are still trying to get to the bottom of what caused the deadly E. coli outbreak. They're now saying that at least for now no trace of the bacteria at a bean farm -- sprout farm that was suspected of being the source of the outbreak was found.
So officials now say they're waiting for additional test results but they stress that the sprouts do remain the likely cause of the outbreak. At least 22 people overseas have died after being infected with this particularly virulent strain of E. coli. Four people in the U.S. have gotten sick, three of them are still in the hospital.
ROMANS: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom tonight during a dinner at the White House with President Obama. The two leaders will also be holding more talks today with the Eurozone debt crisis and the war in Libya headlining that agenda.
They met last night over dinner at a Washington, D.C. restaurant. A spokesman for the chancellor said she told the president Germany will overcome its economic crisis and emerge strengthened.
VELSHI: All right. I love this story. Talk about the tables being turned on your bank. A Florida couple paid cash for their home. No mortgage. Quite a surprise last week when we Bank of America tried to foreclose on them. The couple took their case to court, the bank abandoned the matter, as it should have, and the judge ruled that the bank had to pay the couple's legal fees.
But the bank in no particular hurry to pay. They just didn't pay the bills. So the past -- this past Friday, with the -- the couple with the judge's permission, showed up at the bank with a moving company, two sheriff's deputies and an ultimatum, hand over the cash now or an equivalent amount of furniture to be sold at public auction.
The bank cut them a check and apologized.
CHETRY: How embarrassing.
CHETRY: Two reasons. First of all, they didn't have a mortgage in the first place.
CHETRY: But then secondly you wouldn't just quietly try to pay that check and have it go away.
VELSHI: Right. Not have the truck show up. That was good.
ROMANS: But there's been so many of these situations where people have been fighting their bank and they can't get through on the phone.
ROMANS: Your bank just kind of -- doesn't do anything about and cases like this that make so many powerless homeowners feel like they have a little more power.
CHETRY: Very true. Very true.
VELSHI: Even when they don't owe the money you still can't get them on the phone.
CHETRY: All right. Well, we're following this situation out of Arizona and they're saying the next few days will be critical about whether they get a handle on this wildfire. It could turn out to be the worst in the state's history with thousands of people being forced to evacuate.
ROMANS: Plus, find out which cars give you the best gas mileage for your buck. It's 14 minutes after the hour.
VELSHI: Thousands of people are fleeing their homes in Eastern Arizona this morning. One of the worst wildfires in the state's history has now scorched a quarter of a million acres. It's growing 20 percent larger just in the last 24 hours with high wind conditions forecasts for the next few days. People in the cities like Alpine, Springerville and Greer, have no choice but to leave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We packed up for everything that we could.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Memories and -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Memories and clothes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if I'm going to have to start over again or not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our livelihood. This is our life.
VELSHI: Wildfires also making life uncomfortable for thousands of people in the - in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. Right now, about 200,000 acres are burning and firefighters are monitoring over 200 separate fires in Florida alone.
ROMANS: Rob Marciano is in the Extreme Weather Center. And, Rob, you know, all of the smoke, you got reports in the Midwest of sort of the smoke hanging over some of - some counties there that's been drifting that way.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Midwest and to the mountains - everywhere. This is a huge fire across South Arizona and getting into New Mexico and spots, and the heat obviously not helping things. And pretty much everybody in the country, at least the eastern three quarters is - is enduring some of these numbers.
Heat indices expected today near 100 degrees or at it or above it in Little Rock, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, so these are dangerous numbers, similar numbers down to the south and east. So there's been no relief, really, for - for much of this part of the country.
Critical fire danger again today for Eastern Arizona where that fire is burning and parts of almost all of New Mexico and we're looking for a windy conditions also in this area.
We do have an area of - of thunderstorms that's moving across the Great Lakes, towards the Northern Ohio and Western PA and Western New York. This may become severe as it crosses there and we'll watch that for potentially some damaging winds moving into that area.
We do have a high pressure that's in control. That means it will stay hot and dry. Folks out in the Sierra, seeing snow, though. That's the cool spot. Just to - just to kind of try to cool your soul, guys. They are putting the chains on their as they go over the mountain passes in the Sierra Nevada.
So there is a couple of cool spots in the country to kind of, you know, get you thinking about next winter. We haven't even gotten into summer officially yet.
VELSHI: Slushy Rob -
MARCIANO: It's (INAUDIBLE) so far.
ROMANS: Rob cannot hide the ski bum in him.
VELSHI: Yes. That's right.
ROMANS: Every picture of snow he's able to give it to us.
CHETRY: And it's easier (ph) for him to be a ski bum. They're going to be skiing in Aspen until July.
VELSHI: Well, he told us. He said you'll see snow in June and we've got snow in June. All right. Rob, thanks. We'll check in with you later.
MARCIANO: Sounds good.
CHETRY: All right. Some stunning images coming from Chile where more than 3,000 people have been forced to evacuate after a volcanic eruption -
CHETRY: -- over the weekend. That looks like it's -
VELSHI: That's incredible.
CHETRY: -- in outer space (ph). The volcano sent a towering plume of smoke six miles into the sky coating the country side in parts of neighboring Argentina as well with ash. The cloud soot darkened skies, created eerie images of glowing lightning - there you see it - through the thick ash.
ROMANS: All right. Up next on AMERICAN MORNING, there is one state - one state about to become the first in the United States of America that will require sick days for most employees.
VELSHI: And a German teenager's sweet 16 goes viral. You wouldn't believe what happened when she forget to mark her Facebook invitation private. Look at that. We'll tell you more about that when we come back.
VELSHI: Twenty-four minutes after the hour. "Minding Your Business."
Concerns of an economic slowdown pushing stocks lower for a fourth straight day. The Dow was up 61 points, the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 also closed lower.
President Obama's top economic adviser Austan Goolsbee is leaving his post. The White House announcing yesterday Goolsbee will return to his position at the University of Chicago's Business School. The White House has not named a successor.
Connecticut about to become the first state to require companies with 50 or more employees to provide paid sick leave to their workers. The bill, which is expected to be signed by the governor - by the governor states that workers get one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours they work.
Consumer reports is out with its most fuel-efficient cars. The Honda Fit was ranked best subcompact car. The Toyota Prius was named best family car. And the Ford Escape Hybrid was named the best small SUV.
Apple about to change the way users access their information. The company unveiled its new iCloud yesterday. The free service which debuts this fall lets you store pictures, music and other information on the Internet, instead of on your computer or mobile phone.
You better have some deep pockets if you want to grab a bite with Warren Buffet. The Annual Charity Auction for lunch with the legendary investors is under way now on eBay. Already, the highest bid tops $2.3 million. The auction ends on Friday night.
AMERICAN MORNING right back after this break with new information on the condition of Yemen's president, he was injured in an attack at his presidential compound.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: Twenty-nine minutes past the hour right now. A look at your top stories this morning.
New York Congressman Anthony Weiner now admitting he sent a lewd photo to a woman on Twitter. He admitted that during a news conference yesterday and went on from there. He also said it wasn't the first time. Weiner, though, apologized, saying he's sorry but that he will not resign over it.
Thousands of people forced to evacuate their homes in Eastern Arizona. One of the worst wildfires in the history of the state is now only growing this morning. It's already burned a quarter of a million acres and forecasters are calling for more windy conditions over the next few days.
In last week's attack on his compound in Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh suffered a collapsed lung as well as shrapnel wounds nearly three inches deep and burns to 40 percent of his body. That's according to U.S. officials who still don't know if Saleh plans to return to Yemen after he recovers from two operations in Saudi Arabia.
VELSHI: Meanwhile fresh fighting has erupted in Yemen's capital Sana'a, government forces and armed tribesmen battling in the streets overnight. There are reports that more than 40 people were killed.
Mohammed Jamjoom covering this for us live from Abu Dhabi this morning.
Mohammed, there was a ceasefire in place, and there are these deaths now and reports of others in other parts of the country. Continued concern that Yemen is slipping into civil war.
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ali.
And, you know, the question now becomes not just if President Ali Abdullah Saleh resigns will there be peace, but it's much more complicated than that because you have still anti-government protesters in many parts of the country demanding the ouster of the president, demanding that he not be allowed to return. A lot of conflicting reports as to his health and if he will return. But also, you have this tribal fighting still going on in the streets of the capital, despite the fact that a cease-fire was announced.
And let's look at another area, an area called Abyan province in the south of the country, a known hotbed for militancy. Overnight, there's a city in Abyan called Zinjibar. Islamic militants seized that city last week. They've been fighting security forces ever since. That's separate from everything else going on in the country, the fighting in the capital.
Overnight, nine soldiers killed, five civilians killed. That's just one flashpoint.
Then you have a city like Taiz, where there's anti-government demonstrators coming out day after day. In the overnight hours, fierce clashes erupted as well between anti-government gunmen and government security forces.
Everywhere you look in Yemen right now -- strife, chaos, violence looking more and more like that country is slipping into civil war, even though U.S. officials, Saudi officials, Yemeni officials maintaining negotiations going on, that they're trying to find a peaceful solution. But so many conflicts there right now. It just doesn't look good -- Ali.
VELSHI: Mohammed, in the way you're so good at, just give me some context as to the particular danger in Yemen, as compared to Syria or Libya or Egypt or Tunisia, if a power vacuum exists, you have a very strong presence of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
JAMJOOM: That's right, Ali. We've talked about this so much in the past week. One of the key concerns for the U.S. is if there is a power vacuum in Yemen and is looking like there is a power vacuum, what happens with regards to al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is deemed to be the most dangerous, the most active, the most militant wing of the al Qaeda network. They have a hub in Yemen. They only about 700 to 1,000 fighters by most estimates, but they've been able to try to launch spectacularly planned and sophisticated attacks against the West, against Saudi Arabia these past few years. The concern has been if Saleh leaves, because he's seen as a key fighter against al Qaeda, what happens then. At this point, because there is activity from militants, nobody knows.
Are they going to try to take advantage of the turmoil? Nobody knows at this point -- Ali.
VELSHI: Watching this very closely for us from Abu Dhabi -- Mohammed Jamjoom, thanks very much -- Christine.
ROMANS: Ali, a stern warning from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to his colleagues from around the world: don't lead the world in a race to the bottom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: The risk is that the risk in derivatives will become concentrated in those jurisdictions with the least oversight and this is a recipe for another crisis. So, we're going to look for a global approach on margin that will help reduce opportunities for regulatory arbitrage and a prevent a race to the bottom of margin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: OK. Race to the bottom, that's a key line here. But what does all this mean? Think of the financial crisis as a really bad traffic accident on a busy road. After the accident, laws are passed to make the road safer to prevent another accident from happening again. Those new laws might include lower speed limits, traffic lights, maybe more police patrols. But if those laws aren't applied to other streets in the town, there's still be a chance of another bad car accident just in a different place.
And this is what Geithner was getting at. In the case of the financial crisis, the Dodd-Frank act was passed to prevent the mistakes and risky behaviors that led to the financial crisis to keep it from happening again. It creates an independent watchdog group aimed at protecting consumers and oversight council to watch over large financial institutions. It also ends the so-called too big to fail bailout system for big institutions and it enforces regulations that are already on the book, regulations that had not been enforced.
Geithner's warning is similar laws aren't enacted in other countries around the world, Geithner says the entire world is at risk that another global financial crisis could happen again -- Kiran and Ali.
CHETRY: Christine, thanks.
Also new this morning, actor Wesley Snipes will remain in prison. The Supreme Court yesterday refused to consider his appeal from a three- year prison sentence for not filing tax returns in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Snipes is serving his sentence in Pennsylvania and is not due out until 2013.
VELSHI: And former New York Mets and Philadelphia Philly slugger Lenny Dykstra behind bars this morning in Los Angeles. He is charged with two dozen counts of grand theft and identity theft for allegedly using fake business and credit information to lease luxury cars. He's facing drug charges as well. In a separate case, Dykstra is accused of federal bankruptcy fraud.
CHETRY: Well, a season without a champion, the BCS has stripped the University of Southern California of its 2004 national football championship. Why? Well, because of recruiting violations. The scandal also cost running back Reggie Bush his Heisman Trophy.
VELSHI: Filling the void that Oprah left in our syndicated hearts, ABC has announced that Katie Couric will join the network and host a daytime talk show that will debut in September of 2012.
Couric left the anchor chair at the "CBS Evening News" last month. The announcement her show will air at 3:00 p.m. on the East Coast has soap opera fans a little worried since that's "General Hospital's" time slot. But ABC says it continues to support the long-running soap.
CHETRY: Isn't that the only soap opera left?
VELSHI: Yes. I mean, we see them disappear.
ROMANS: The people who want to save the soaps are very upset, wringing their hands this morning.
CHETRY: I know. ROMANS: The invites for this sweet 16 party, they went out on Facebook with a teenager in Hamburg, Germany, couldn't have imagined what would happen next.
CHETRY: Really, she couldn't have -- she sent it out on Facebook. Well, instead of just the few friends she was expecting, ended up being a swarm of partygoers showing up followed by police.
CNN's Colleen McEdwards has the story.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was supposed to be a small, sweet 16th birthday party for Tessa in Hamburg. She sent a party invitation to close friends on Facebook, but -- she forgot to mark it private. And this is the consequence -- 1,500 random and unwanted guests actually showed up. All of them, ready to party.
With Tessa t-shirts, balloons and posters, the massive crowd turned this German neighborhood upside down. Complete chaos, police tried to control the situation, Tessa fled to her grandparents and angry family member attacked a TV camera.
Day turned to night, and with the amount of booze being consumed, things just went from bad to worse. A few partiers were detained, the neighborhood trashed -- the cause: social media.
So, perhaps one lesson learned here, don't forget to use your privacy settings.
Colleen McEdwards, CNN, Atlanta.
ROMANS: I'm still confused about the privacy settings, trying to figure out how so many --
CHETRY: Apparently she was too.
CHETRY: I mean, the thing is we were thinking back in the day, you know, hear from a friend of a friend there was a party and you go to it. In the world of -- you know, in the days of social networking and social media, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more actually.
VELSHI: Well, good point.
CHETRY: Well, up next on AMERICAN MORNING, he says he's not resigning. He admitted he did wrong but he's staying in office. But can New York Congressman Anthony Weiner survive politically after admitting he tweeted lewd pictures of himself and spent days lying about it?
CHETRY: Forty-one minutes past the hour right now.
New York Congressman Anthony Weiner is very remorseful, he says, but determined as well not to resign over the scandal. Weiner's political future is still unclear, though, following his tearful admission that he sent sexual messages and lewd photos to a half dozen women he met online.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent it. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma, and our family, and my constituents, my friends, supporters and staff. I haven't told the truth and I've done things that I deeply regret. I brought pain to people I care about the most and people who believed in me. And for that, I'm deeply sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: It was just a few minutes after the end of that press conference that Nancy Pelosi's office released a statement saying they, indeed, are opening a House ethics investigation into this.
Joining us to talk about the political fallout, from Washington "Roll Call," political reporter Emily Heil, and with us here is CNN contributor Errol Louis.
Great to see both of you.
Emily, let me ask you quickly -- can he survive this given that now there is going to be a House ethics investigation looking into whether, I believe, he used any government phones or computers when conducting these inappropriate relationships?
EMIL HEIL, POLITICAL REPORTER, ROLL CALL: Well, the truth is, actually, that house rules certainly contemplate members of Congress using their official phones and official resources for some personal activity. And it's completely agnostic as to whether you're calling your wife to make dinner plans or your mistress to flirt. House rules actually don't ban that.
So, I actually think that if he's being honest, if there weren't, you know, violations that went beyond that, I think he could survive that ethics probe very easily because the House rules really don't preclude calling your mistress and flirting or sending a flirty e-mail. That's really not against House rules. People are talking about that and I think that taxpayers would be --
CHETRY: What about work place rules in general about lewd material being sent or lewd text messages? The -- some of the shots that were sent don't necessarily look appropriate and then apparently there are claims there are other ones that are even worse.
HEIL: Well, those aren't the subject of house rules. House rules contemplate personal use, but they don't go to content. So, that's something I think that people will be looking at, I think people will be concerned about.
But to be honest, you are perfectly allowed to use your House phone to call your wife or to call your kids or call your mistress. So, you know, some of this might be upsetting to people and it certainly will be upsetting to taxpayers who think, well, why am I paying for this? But to be honest, they're paying for all of their members to conduct some personal business on their official equipment.
CHETRY: Errol, I want to ask you, because you're a local reporter. You've covered Weiner, as well as other congressmen, and you actually talked to him. He lied to you in the wake of this when it first surfaced last week.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
CHETRY: Credibility -- I mean, speaking to his credibility if he does survive it, will he remain a variable congressman?
LOUIS: His credibility with the press and those he lied to is severely reduced. I'm not sure when he's going to be back on our show or others like it. But, you know, he -- in his district, we had a reporter out there, watching in the diner with other of his constituents as this was going on yesterday and many of them seemed to be forgiving, the attitude being, well, if his wife takes him back who are we to say has he been useful. Is he really sorry? Do we have all of the facts? So, all of those questions are still being asked.
If he gets affirmative answers to all or most of them, he may be OK. Of course, the big thing that he was a candidate for mayor in 2013. He was arguably the front runner. He'd raised more money than anybody else. That is completely out of reach now because the mayor of New York City now runs the school system for about the last nine years or so, and people, you know, parents are not going to look away at something like this.
So, that part of his ambition seems to be closed off. He says he wants to try and run for election again. It sounds like that's going to be between him and the voters.
CHETRY: That will be interesting. Emily, you know, the other question that it was circulating around yesterday because, I mean, all of this, and we're talking about social networking. People were responding in real time at that very wacky press conference that took place yesterday afternoon, first Andrew Breitbart, the guy who uncovered this or at least exposed the scandal through his website, was out there talking at a press conference.
It was supposed to be Anthony Weiner, then he comes up and starts talking, but I notice a lot of people writing how do these guys, and this is a bipartisan issue really to think they can continue to get away with this. I mean, this is not the first, and it certainly won't be the last that we've heard of men in power taking these very risky chances seemingly without regard for what the fallout will be.
EMILY HEIL, POLITICAL REPORTER, ROLL CALL: it is stunning. And, you know, I think that the reason that they think they can get away with it is probably because many of them do. We know about a few of these incidents, but we certainly don't know about them all. And there is something to coming to Washington, and I've covered this extensively.
Men who come to Washington, often, they are without their wives, they spend a lot of time here in Washington, and when they get here, there's always someone willing to give them whatever they need, whether it's a briefing, you know, on the hearing tomorrow morning or a date. I mean, they get what they want. And I think in a professional context. And that bleeds over into the personal.
CHETRY: Politically speaking, does he have many supporters left? I mean, are people standing by him, especially those in the New York delegation?
LOUIS: We have not heard from any of them. And there was always this underlying problem where Anthony Weiner was considered a show horse rather than a work horse. We see him on cable TV all the time, but that's not really where a lot of work gets done in the district. There are a lot of meetings. There's a lot of hard work that gets done.
So, there's a certain amount of satisfaction from some of his colleagues, frankly, saying like, look, the guy got what was coming to him. On the other hand, they can't lightly dismiss him. He's a very powerful patron. He's former employer, the senior senator, Chuck Schumer. He's married to somebody who was very close to the Clintons, and so, they can't just roll over him, but he's -- he's -- he doesn't have a lot of supporters.
Compare this to what Charlie Rangle went through when he had a very serious ethics scandal, there were members including from the other party sitting with him as he was on television being admonished. So, he's -- Anthony Weiner hasn't seen any of that, and it's very telling.
CHETRY: All right. We will see what happens. Emily Heil, political reporter for "Roll Call," Errol Louis, CNN contributor and political anchor at New York 1, great to see both of you this morning. Thanks.
HEIL: Thank you.
CHETRY: Forty-eight minutes past the hour. We'll be right back.
ROMANS: A lot going on this morning. Here's what you need to know to start your day.
ROMANS (voice-over): Congressman Anthony Weiner finally admitting that he sent an inappropriate photo to a woman on Twitter and also exchanged naughty exchanges with several other women. He said he's sorry, but he says he will not resign. U.S. officials say Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, suffered burns to 40 percent of his body after last week's attack on his compound. He also had a collapsed lung and a shrapnel wound nearly three inches deep. He's being treated in Saudi Arabia.
NATO officials denying their air strikes damaged Libya's state run television studios in Tripoli. Libyan TV is airing pictures of demolished broadcast facilities and satellite vehicles claiming NATO targeted the facility.
One of the worst wildfires in Arizona's history is threatening thousands of homes this morning. Evacuations are under way and a quarter of a million acres have already burned.
German chancellor, Angela Merkel, receives the presidential Medal of Freedom tonight when she's honored to the White House dinner. She dined with President Obama at a Georgetown restaurant last night. The two leaders hold more talks today.
And the Boston Bruins finally getting their first victory in the Stanley Cup Finals. They routed the Vancouver Canucks 8-1 in Boston. The Canucks led the series two games to one. Game four tomorrow night in Boston.
ROBERTS (on-camera): You're caught up on the day's headlines. AMERICAN MORNING is back right after this.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: The Anthony Weiner sexting scandal is basically like Christmas, the fourth of July and Cinco de Mayo all wrapped into one if you happened to be a late night talk show host. Let's take a look at how they handled it.
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: The category tonight top ten questions to ask yourself before tweeting a photo of your deal.
LETTERMAN: Here we go, number ten, is this my best side? Number seven, do I have a last name that would make this especially embarrassing? Number four, is there a better way to show people I'm Jewish?
CRAIG FERGUSON, HOST: Congressman Anthony Weiner held a press conference today. He admitted to sending underpants photos of himself.
FERGUSON: It's a huge political scandal. Today, Arnold Schwarzenegger actually called Weiner to say, thank you! (LAUGHTER)
JAY LENO, HOST: I don't think Congressman Weiner learned his lesson. Oh. You see him leaving the press conference. Look at the car he drives. Look, seriously, look at there. You see right there. Right there.
LENO: Dead giveaway. Right there, should have known.
ROMANS: OK. So, that brings us to today's question of the day. What, Kiran?
CHETRY: No, I'm just -- those meetings must go so long, because there are so many obvious ones you have to get out of the way, and then, you try to figure out. So much material.
ROMANS: It's like Leno telling the kid that's amateur, amateur, amateur. Step it up. Congressman Weiner confesses. What should happen to him now? Here's what some of what you are saying to us.
David on Facebook says, "An investigation? Don't they have more important things to do? God please don't waste my tax dollars on a ridiculous investigation."
Steven also on Facebook says, "If he can lie about something so simple, he has no right to represent the people. He has forfeited his ability to be considered a leader."
VELSHI: On the other hand, on Twitter, I got this one, "Slap him on the hand for being naughty and reprimand from Congress for lying but only his constituents should vote him out, not Congress.
And Jamie on Twitter says, "I'm sure the shame and massive embarrassment of this whole situation is enough of a punishment."
CHETRY: And Donna also writes, "I think his constituents will fix the problem at his next election. I just hope his wife doesn't put up with this jerk."
And thebahr writes, "With a name like Weiner involved in a pseudo-sex scandal, isn't that punishment enough?"
VELSHI: Keep your comments coming. Send us an e-mail, a tweet, or tell us on Facebook. We're going to read more of your thoughts a little bit later.
CHETRY: Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, a deadly police shooting. It happened during what was called urban beach week in Miami. Someone taped it.
CHETRY: He says the police smashed his cell phone because of it. We have the video, and we'll speak to the witness.
VELSHI: Unbelievable what he had to do to keep those pictures.