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THE SITUATION ROOM

Why Syrian Army Can't Crush Opposition; Obama, Romney Battle For Latino Vote; Sandusky Trial Update

Aired June 22, 2012 - 17:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And you're in the SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, a member of a United States designated terror organization not only makes it inside the United States but gets access to top administration officials. Standby.

General Motors announces a mass recall of more than 400,000 cars. We're going to tell you which vehicles are effected and just how dangerous the problem might be.

And he shoveled snow, carried a woman out of a burning building, now, this so-called hero mayor apparently strikes again.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

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BLITZER: But first, to what could be a recipe for a whole new political uprising in Egypt. You're looking at a live picture of Tahrir Square in Cairo. This scene of last year's historic revolution where thousands are now gathering around unconfirmed reports that the ousted Mubarak loyalist, Ahmed Shafiq, will be named the new president of Egypt on Sunday.

The dramatic development, if true, would be a huge blow for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood whose opposing runoff candidate, Mohamad Morsi, has also declared victory all of this as Egypt's military leaders are tightening their so-called iron fist on power. They're raising serious fears right now of a coup. Lots at stake.

Here in the United States, meanwhile, new questions about an Egyptian delegation that came to Washington. And you won't believe what group one member is linked to or the places and the people he actually got access to. Brian Todd is joining us now. He's been investigating this story. This is pretty shocking stuff, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Wolf. This group of Egyptian lawmakers was here just this week. And among those members was a man tied to a known terrorist group. We found out he was not only allowed to enter the United States but got access to top officials of the Obama administration, possibly even at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): He came to Washington in a gaggle of Egyptian lawmakers in town to meet with top officials of the Obama administration, but it appears Hani Nour Eldin (ph) shouldn't have been allowed into the U.S. at all. Eldin seen here on his Facebook page, recently was elected to Egypt's parliament as a member of the building and development party.

Analysts say that's an arm of the group, Gama'a Islamiyya, designated a terrorist organization by the state department. Under american law, that means he should have been denied a visa to come to the U.S.

CLIFFORD MAY, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: This is a terrorist organization without any ambiguity about it whatsoever. And for somebody who represents a terrorist organization to be given a visa to come here and to meet with officials, I think that's dubious diplomacy at best.

TODD: Or maybe a mistake. In an interview with "The Daily Beast," which first reported this story, Eldin says he got a visa. In Washington, the state department acknowledges he met with two of Hillary Clinton's top deputies and with aides to Senators Patrick Leahy and Lindsey Graham.

Eldin told "The Daily Beast" he met at the White House with deputy national security advisor, Dennis McDonough. A spokesman for the national Security Council declined to comment. We tracked through Washington to find out how Eldin got here. First, at the Egyptian embassy.

(on-camera) Well, at the embassy here, they claim that they didn't arrange this visit. They don't know where the delegation is at the moment. They say that this visit, most of the logistics of it, where Mr. Eldin came and who he visited, they say that was arranged by a Washington think tank, the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Here at the Wilson Center, a spokesman said this group did not arrange Eldin's visit. He said the state department handled that. The spokesman said Eldin did have a meeting here, but says he's not sure who set that up.

(voice-over) The state department first told "The Daily Beast" that the Wilson Center invited the Egyptian delegation. Now, a spokeswoman says the department is looking into who arrange the visit. What about checking Eldin's background?

You can actually find out information online about him fairly easily, right?

SAMUEL TADROS, HUDSON INSTITUTE: Definitely. I mean, let's just Google his name in Arabic here. Let's put his name and Google. And the first entry you have here is his Facebook page.

And once you enter on his Facebook page, you can very easily see him, Mr. Nour Eldin, himself, and a short bio about him where he very clearly says that he is a member of Gama'a Islamiyya and that he was arrested in Egypt, spent 11 years of his life in prison.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (on-camera): But Hani Nour Eldin told "The Daily Beast" he is not a terrorist. An analyst, Samuel Tadros, points out Gama'a Islamiyya did renounce violence several years ago -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So, I assume he got the visa from the U.S. embassy in Cairo. That somebody at the U.S. embassy in Cairo actually stamped his passport, gave him an entry visa to come to the United States.

TODD: That's right. He says he got that. We've been trying to check with the U.S. embassy in Cairo as well. We've not gotten any resolution to that.

BLITZER: You know, this whole notion that while he was here, you know, he had these high-level meetings at the state department, the Woodrow Wilson Center, but at the same time, and you can confirm this.

TODD: Right.

BLITZER: He was pressing for the release of a notorious terrorist who's serving a life sentence in the United States.

TODD: That's right. According to "The Daily Beast," he asked Dennis McDonough of the National Security Council for a transfer of Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Sheikh. He was convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He asked for a transfer of Omar Abdel Rahman to an Egyptian prison.

Now, he says that that request was denied. The National Security Council, again, not commenting on that.

BLITZER: But this organization, Gama'a Islamiyya, is still on the state department's list as a terrorist organization, even though, as you say they renounced terrorism a few years ago.

TODD: That's right. They're still on the state department's website right there as a known terrorist organization.

BLITZER: So, somebody screwed up. They should find out what happened and make sure it doesn't happen again.

TODD: It could have been an oversight.

BLITZER: I suspect it wasn't just an -- I know there's a high level of Egyptian delegation that's been here all week meeting with high- level -- and this individual was part of this delegation.

TODD: And he was a legitimately elected member of parliament, we have to say. And that, it came, you know, as part of that delegation. but There was something that went wrong in trying to let him in here.

BLITZER: If you get some more answers, let us know.

TODD: Sure thing. BLITZER: Brian, thank you.

Turning to Syria right now. The opposition says at least 61 people died today, and the Syrian government also claims heavy casualties at the hands of the opposition. These latest images show fierce fighting said to be a rebel attack against a regime. We can't verify all the claims because the regime severely restricts journalistic access.

But we do know there are cracks in the Syrian military armor, including defections of several senior level officers. Let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. She's been investigating what's going on. Barbara, what does all this mean for the fight going forward in Syria?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, that is the question. U.S. officials believe that defections by Syrian officers are accelerating and that it is coming at the very time the opposition appears to be making progress.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR (on-camera): It's just one Syrian armored vehicle under attack by opposition forces, opposition forces that have grown from handfuls to nearly 40,000 by some estimates, now attacking Bashar al-Assad's regime every day.

Some weapons are being smuggled into the country, but as senior U.S. official with access to the latest information says there's also an increasing number of weapons from the Syrian military itself. How the rebels get them says a lot about what is going on.

ANDREW TABLER, WASH. INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: They just purchased them from officers. So, you know, the Syrian system is quite corrupt. Many times, when people are stopped at checkpoints, soldiers are asked if they'd like to buy any ammunition.

STARR: There's no sign of collapse by Assad's most elite military units, but the rank and file may be less loyal. Opposition sources tell CNN some Syrian troops may deliberately be missing their targets, a sign of support for the people.

TABLER: I've heard that on a number of occasion. It wouldn't surprise me. And that also can be, you know, these kind of slowdowns in the government and the army and the bureaucracy are a way of resisting the Assad regime's reaction to the uprising.

STARR: U.S. officials say there's no way to confirm the reports, but it's now clear that opposition forces are strong enough that Assad's most elite units cannot always respond everywhere they are needed.

GEORGE LITTLE, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: You have an opposition -- a set of opposition groups that is finding ways -- they're not totally coalesced, but they're finding ways of organizing themselves more effectively.

(END VIDEOTAPE) STARR (on-camera): Now, no one is predicting that Assad's regime is about to collapse. But this week, two brigadier generals, two colonels defected from the Syria regime. And that Jordanian pilot, officials (ph) tells us that defected yesterday. He was a senior colonel, they believe, who has access to Syrian military information, Wolf.

BLITZER: The Syrian pilot who defected in this mid-21 to Jordan, he's now in Jordan. He's received asylum there, that's right?

STARR: That is correct.

BLITZER: All right. Good. Thanks very much for that, Barbara.

Let's dig a little bit deeper. Right now, what's going on in Syria and more, the former Bush homeland security advisor, CNNs national security contributor, Fran Townsend is joining us. When I interviewed the deputy prime minister of Israel this week, he was here in Washington.

He said Bashar al-Assad's days are numbered because there will be major defections in the Syrian military. The military, eventually, will get rid of this guy. What do you think?

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I have no doubt. Look, I think that what we're seeing is the beginning of a wave. And when you see a guy take his mid-21 into Jordan, that's a real signal and a real demoralizing effect. So, I think we can expect that we will see sort of a knock-on effect throughout the Syrian military.

The other thing is, we don't know what, of course, has not been revealed to us, that is, look, are there other covert clandestine activities on behalf of the United States and other allied governments? We've got to assume that there are that would support such an effort.

BLITZER: Yes. I'm sure there's a lot of covert activity going on. We don't have the specific details, as you say, but what I assume that that's going on. If Bashar al-Assad were to go down, that would be a huge setback for its ally in Iran.

But, you know, the suspension of these Iranian nuclear talks in Moscow did not go well. There's some concern, I know here in Washington, that the Ayatollah-Ahmadinejad, they think they can ride out the severe sanctions that are about to take effect. What do you hearing on that?

TOWNSEND: Well, I think there's real concern, particularly among U.S. diplomats and seniors in the United States military, because of course, we worry that Israel will become impatient, right, and act on their own unilaterally. I think that Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah will be surprised.

I mean, I they went into these talks knowing that the sanctions were going to have an impact. And I think how widespread and how dramatic the impact will be is going to be surprising. I think it's going to be a devastating impact on the economy, which is why they've tried so hard to avoid it.

BLITZER: Yes. I went to a dinner last night. The defense secretary, Leon Panetta, was honored by the national -- the Center for National Policy over at the National Press Club here in Washington. I was expecting he would give a nice bland little speech, but he really deviated. And, he was on fire.

He was really passionate in going after Democrats and Republicans for even the possibility that there could be these mandatory cuts in U.S. defense spending at the end of this year if there's no deal that's called sequestration. I want you to listen to some of what he said.

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LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I'm always asked in the Congress, well, have you looked at sequester and tried to plan for it? I said, I can't plan for something that was designed to be crazy. In January of 2013, it will pose if it happens. I've made this clear, an unacceptable risk to our ability to defend this country.

Make no mistake, it will hollow out our force. It will weaken us at the very moment when the United States needs to remain the strongest military power on earth. It would virtually double the cuts in the defense area. And worse, it does it by cutting everything across the board, basically, hollowing out the entire structure of our national defense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Now, I know you went with Leon Panetta to pay respects for the death of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. You were on the official U.S. delegation. This is not vintage Leon Panetta. At least, you know, he didn't seem that -- normally, he's much more cool, but on this issue, he is so passionate.

TOWNSEND: Well, Wolf, look, this is a former director of OMB, a former member of Congress. He understands the budget process, and he understands the politics of it, and this is beyond the paled (ph). Sequestration was a hostage taking exercise, and the hostage was the Department of Defense's budget.

And now, we're getting up to the deadline, it shouldn't surprise anybody that the hostage is angry and speaking out and resents being used as leverage in what has become a political game. He honestly feels -- you know, I've heard him speak about the fact that he's got to write the condolence letters. This is not a game to him.

And when you see him angry and passionate about the defense department budget and the political games that are played, I think that's why you see him sort of lash out at Republicans and Democrats --

BLITZER: Yes. He really berated them. He said, if young men and women can go off to war and risk their lives for this country, how dare these members of Congress play games with the defense department's budget. He was furious.

TOWNSEND: Right. And it's from the heart. It's absolutely from the heart.

BLITZER: Fran, thanks very much.

TOWNSEND: Sure.

BLITZER: General Motors recalls more than 400,000 Chevys built here in the United States. Just ahead, we're going to tell you which models are effected, just how serious the problem could be.

Plus, President Obama slams Mitt Romney on immigration over at a major Latino conference, but who will come out on top with one voting block neither man can afford to lose?

And with so much talk about young victims of sexual abuse, we have a firsthand look at how some children are managing to recover.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: President Obama's in Tampa. He just finished a major rally in the town where the Republican National Convention will be held at the end of August. The president, by the way -- look at that.

When he walked on stage over at the Hillsborough Community College, he stumbled apparently on some big paint chips that are on the ground. He quickly recovered. And he was on fire as he spoke. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can decide whether we're going back to the days when you can be kicked out of the United States military just because of who you are and who you love.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You can decide whether it's time to stop denying citizenship to responsible young people just because they're the children of undocumented immigrants.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You can decide that this becomes the last election where multi-million-dollar donations that are undisclosed somehow speak louder than the voices of ordinary citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The president of the United States recovering quickly from that little stumble. I'm sure he's fine.

Let's discuss what's going on with two CNN contributors, Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona, Republican strategist, Ana Navarro. She's, by the way -- she was the national Hispanic co-chair of Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign. She's the one with the yellow sweater. I think that it's raining, ladies. So, thanks so much for doing this.

You watch what was going on. You know, it's interesting. Yesterday, Romney addressed this group of Latino lawmakers, elected officials, appointed officials. Today, the president did the same thing. I think we have a clip. I want to play a little clip of what Romney said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, tomorrow, President Obama will speak here. He may admit that he hasn't kept every promise. And he'll probably say that even though you aren't better off today than were you four years ago, things could be worse. He'll imply that you don't really have an alternative. I believe he's taking your vote for granted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: That was Romney yesterday. The president responded today. But let me ask Maria first, do you think that Romney scored some points with the Latino community yesterday?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Very few points, Wolf. His speech was found wanting because, in fact, he didn't really address two things that this crowd was really looking to him to address.

The first one was, he still couldn't answer what he would do with the policy President Obama announced last week that would help the 800,000 dreamers, which are the undocumented students that are here through no fault of their own and who are making positive contributions to our country.

He did say that he would replace it with a permanent solution. And he also said that we could trust his words. Well, if we trust his words, Wolf, during the primaries, he was very unequivocal about what he would do about the Dream Act, which effects those students, which means that he would veto it.

He was also unequivocal about what he would do about the 12 million undocumented immigrants that are here, which he did not address yesterday. So, if we take him at his word, which he told us to do, he would want to make life in this country so miserable that those 12 million would have to self-deport.

BLITZER: Well, he didn't exactly say that. He said what he does want is comprehensive immigration reform. That's what I heard him saying. He said he would get to work on day one and try to work with Democrats and Republicans to come up with a big package solution. But you're right, he didn't go into a whole lot of specific details.

CARDONA He didn't say anything. Right.

BLITZER: You have to admit, Ana, that the president was so much more enthusiastically received today than Romney was yesterday by the same audience. ANA NAVARRO, FMR. NATL. HISPANIC CO-CHAIR, HUNTSMAN CAMPAIGN: Absolutely, no doubt. For a while there, Wolf, I thought it might not have been the same audience because they were much more pumped up, much more enthusiastic than they were yesterday. It's a tough crowd for Mitt Romney. These are Latino-elected officials.

About 10 percent of the membership of NALEO is Latino -- is Republican. So, this is not a particularly friendly crowd for Romney though they were very respectful and they did give him some applause and were courteous. This is a very good crowd for the president. And I also have to tell you, Barack Obama is a great speaker.

Barack Obama gave a good speech. And he knows how to connect with the Latino community. Mitt Romney's not going to outspeak Barack Obama with the Latino community. He's not going to be able to compete on personality. So, he's got to give substance. And I think what Mitt Romney's going to have to do is try to exploit the credibility gap on the immigration issue.

But in order to do that, Mitt Romney's going to have to fully engage on immigration. If he doesn't fully engage Barack Obama on immigration, confront him repeatedly on this issue, then this issue's going to be one that Obama's going to end up winning. He was here today after the announcement seven days ago.

He was here taking a victory lap doing his touchdown, you know, dance (ph) basking in the afterglow. It was -- obviously, you know, he was reaping the benefits of a very political move from seven days ago. If he had been here ten days ago, he probably would have received a much different reception from this crowd.

BLITZER: He did get a good reception today. Romney got a very polite reception yesterday. Ladies, it's pouring down there. We're going to let you go right now. Go inside that CNN bus right behind you.

Terrifying video as powerful floods paralyze the Midwest. The lives have been lost, roads shut down, and the damage could cost millions.

Plus, Greece has a chance to do something incomprehensible. Knock Germany out of the -- hold on. We're not talking about currency, we're talking about the biggest soccer tournament in Europe.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The Midwest states are reeling right now from two days of heavy flooding. Lisa Sylvester's monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM right now. What's going on?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf. Well, officials say three people are dead in Wisconsin after crashing on a washed out road after intense flash flooding. Parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota remain under flood warning, and many roads are closed. Up to ten inches of rain fell in the area surrounding Duluth, Minnesota.

Hard-hit was the zoo. Eleven animals died there. Officials estimate the recovery will take months and will cost millions of dollars. And a sad day on Washington's Mt. Rainier after a national park ranger plunged to his death while trying to rescue four injured climbers. Nick Hall (ph) was preparing the climbers to be rescued by helicopter when he fell almost 4,000 feet. The climbers are safe. None of their injuries are life threatening.

And talk about an intriguing grudge match in the Euro 2012 soccer championship. Greece and Germany have been linked a lot recently lately with Germany providing the bulk of the Greek financial bailout. On the field, the Germans proved to be too strong, beating Greece 4-2 behind an offensive explosion on the second half. Germany now moves into the final four of Europe's biggest tournament.

Now, a lot of folks worldwide are watching. Have you been following?

BLITZER: You've got a future in sports.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: You're doing that well. Show a little passion, little excitement telling the scores, giving a little color.

SYLVESTER: I have to practice that.

BLITZER: Maybe there's something (ph) ahead of you.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: Lisa Sylvester --

SYLVESTER: The sports caster.

BLITZER: Sports center, ESPN, maybe, you never know.

SYLVESTER: Well, thanks for the plug.

BLITZER: An alleged victim of Jerry Sandusky becomes the first to tell his story on television. What it means in the case against the ex-Penn State football coach. And when should we expect a verdict? Standby.

And the trauma suffered by children of abuse that can stay with them for a lifetime. We explore how young victims can ever begin to heal.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: He shoveled snow, carried a woman out of a burning building. Now Corey Booker, the hero mayor, strikes again. You're going to find out what happened today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Second day of deliberations underway right now in the infamous Jerry Sandusky child rape trial. Jurors are poring over transcripts of testimony even as new allegations of abuse from Sandusky's adopted son, Matt, could lead to additional charges. Let's go straight to CNN national correspondent, Susan Candiotti. She's standing by at the courthouse.

Susan, what issues does the jury appear to be focusing on right now?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, they've been out for about 16 hours over the course of two days now. And they started off the morning by having testimony read back to them in the courtroom by prosecutors and defense attorneys of two important witnesses first.

Then grad assistant Mike McQueary who testified that back in 2001, he said he saw something sexual going on in a locker room shower between Jerry Sandusky and a little boy. And he said you didn't have to be a rocket scientist to know what was going on.

But then they also wanted to hear back the testimony from a Dr. Dranhoff (ph) who testified for the defense that he had only heard Mike McQueary describe to him that he heard sexual sounds. So they could be deciding on McQueary's credibility. Or they might possibly be deciding on the degree of guilt. It's impossible to know, Wolf.

BLITZER: They've had a few questions, haven't they?

CANDIOTTI: Well, they also asked another question. They came back in the courtroom and wanted to have the judge re-explain to them what circumstantial evidence is and what hearsay is. And that involved the testimony of a janitor, who said that he saw Sandusky and a little boy walking out of a shower late at night.

But also he talked about what another janitor had said that he told him about 10 minutes later, that that other janitor who's now ruled incompetent to testify because he's too old and senile, that he was really upset and said that he actually saw an attack going on. So these are issues that the jury is now apparently struggling with.

BLITZER: All right. We'll stay in close touch with you and we'll await this verdict. Thanks very much.

When the 10 alleged victims in this case, while they await the verdict, another Sandusky accuser, who did not testify in this trial, is breaking his silence. Travis Weaver sat down with NBC's "Rock Center." He claimed Sandusky abused him 100 times over a period of four years, beginning when he was only 10 years old.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATE SNOW, NBC HOST, "ROCK CENTER": Was this a guy, in your opinion, is this a guy who thought he would never get caught?

TRAVIS WEAVER, SANDUSKY ACCUSER: Yes. I don't think the thought ever even crossed his mind.

SNOW (voice-over): At age 14 Travis Weaver says he reached a breaking point. Sandusky took him to Philadelphia for a Second Mile fundraiser, he says, and started wrestling with him in the hotel room.

WEAVER: I told him if he didn't get off me, I was going to call the police on him. And he just laughed at me and forced me to stay on the bed and told me if I ever said anything that nobody was going to believe me and he would get my dad fired from Penn State.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: So how does any young victim of sexual abuse ever begin to heal after undergoing a horrific ordeal? Our Lisa Sylvester spent some time with children and teens at a camp nearby.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the first day of summer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a little warm out here.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): These kids are racing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): Something so normal --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're having a great time.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): -- for children who have been so traumatized.

MARK HORNER, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: The worst you can imagine people are capable of, these children have experienced.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): Sixty boys and girls who live at a residential camp in rural Virginia ranging from ages 5 to 14 --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right here. Yay!

SYLVESTER (voice-over): They are all victims of physical or sexual abuse.

HORNER: Probably 75 percent to 80 percent of our kids have been sexually abused.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, sweetie.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): They live here --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sweetheart, right here.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): -- eat here --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How about beans and corn?

SYLVESTER (voice-over): -- and hope to heal here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, you need to go eat what you got, your salad, before you come back for cucumbers, honey.

HORNER: Most of the kids don't come out and report that somebody did something to them because there's that whole shame factor.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): The children's stories at the nonprofit Child Help Residential Center are almost too difficult to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scope of the problem is huge.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): But you can see their angst --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see where the kids really are struggling with some of their identity in some of the pictures.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): -- subject to severe neglect, physical abuse and horrendous sex abuse, sometimes at the hands of a parent, a stepparent or another trusted person in their lives. Lancaster says child sex abusers choose their victims carefully.

LANCASTER: If they walked into a room, they could pick out which kids that they could probably groom and probably victimize. It's that loner in the classroom or the child often that isn't included in part of the groups.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): And sexual predators manipulate their victims.

LANCASTER: From convincing a child that nobody's going to believe them, that they're going to lose friends, that everybody's going to hate you, to things as drastic as, if you tell, then I'm going to do something, you know, horrible to your family.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): The advice for parents:

HORNER: Listen carefully and believe what your child is telling you. And to inquire if you see them acting differently. And to avoid what's all too easy, which is to discount concerns because a priest would never do this or a coach would never do this.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): When innocence and self-esteem are stolen, the center tries to build it back.

LANCASTER: And this is such a healing place. You've got this 270 acres that used to be a horse farm.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): The horses have stayed and are now part of therapy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Behind you is some shampoo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think four-legged therapists are better than any two-legged therapists. Very confident building especially for kids who have been victimized. Gives them a sense of, wow, I'm not as small and powerless as I felt at other times in my life.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): When the children leave the center either to return home or to foster care, they leave behind their handprints at the stables.

SYLVESTER: Some of these hand prints are so small, this one is about the size of my son's handprint. And he's not even 5.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): Small hands, hopefully leaving behind huge burdens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And Lisa's here with us.

Lisa, I'm glad you did that piece. Can these kids -- what do the experts say? Can they ever fully recover?

SYLVESTER: You know, I asked that question. Is it something that they can get past? Is it something that they can move beyond? And in a way, it will always stay with them. It will always be a part of their future, it was part of their past.

But kids are really -- they're very resilient. And that's the thing that we keep hearing again and again. And with therapy, with programs like this, I mean, this is a starting point. But the key is, they have to get lots of therapy, Wolf.

BLITZER: Now what should parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, what should they be on the lookout to see if there -- these young kids are being abused?

SYLVESTER: Yes, this is a story, I mean, you're a parent, I'm a parent. When people hear about what's going on with the Jerry Sandusky case, these allegations, raises a lot of concerns. But there are some things that parents should look out for, teachers as well, caregivers.

One of the things is you want to see if a child's behavior starts to change. If they're suddenly reverting back to their old ways or younger age, for instance, wetting the bed, things like that. If they have nightmares, these all might be potential red flags.

Another thing you want to do is have a conversation, have a dialogue with your child. Parents need to tell their kids, you know, there is appropriate behavior and there is inappropriate behavior. These are boundaries. It is not acceptable for anybody to touch you in certain places.

And it is important that parents have these conversations with their kids even when they're really young because this stuff happens -- in fact, that's one of the things that they told me, Wolf, is that there are other stories and there are other cases like this that never come to light because these kids are so embarrassed and there's such a shame factor that it is so difficult for these children to come forward.

BLITZER: So heartbreaking.

SYLVESTER: Yes. It really is.

BLITZER: Thanks for doing this report.

SYLVESTER: Thank you.

BLITZER: Lisa Sylvester on the scene for us, doing important work. Meanwhile, a verdict in another notorious Pennsylvania abuse case. A jury finding the monsignor, William Lynn, a high-ranking cleric in the Philadelphia Catholic Church archdiocese guilty of endangering children by helping to cover up incidents of sexual abuse. Lynn has been taken into custody and his bail has been revoked. He's set to be sentenced in August.

General Motors announces a huge recall of a popular model, 400,000 of them to be exact, because of an engine failure. Engine failure may cause fire. Stand by.

And a day after 15 of the biggest banks' credit ratings are downgraded, we're going to tell you how the markets reacted. You might be pleasantly surprised.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: General Motors has just announced a mass recall of more than 400,000 Chevy Cruze small cars built right here in the United States due to an engine shield issue that could potentially cause a fire.

Our aviation and regulation correspondent, Lizzie O'Leary is back. She's got the details.

Our viewers are interested. What's going on?

LIZZIE O'LEARY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a lot of cars, some 400,000 cars. Remember, the Chevy Cruze is one of GM's crown jewels, their best selling car last year, one of the things that's really helped them move forward from that bankruptcy. The recalls we're talking about all involve Chevy Cruzes built in the U.S. from September 2010 to May of this year.

The fear is that an engine shield, which is basically a big piece of plastic under the engine, could trap oil and that could create a fire hazard. Now they're also worried about cars with manual transmissions that some burning hydraulic fluid could ignite the engine shield. Anything basically coming out of a worn-out clutch. GM says there are no known crashes, injuries or deaths related to this recall.

We do know that federal investigators have two reports of engine fires that essentially destroyed two Chevy Cruzes. Then they since kind of went back, looked at the pattern and found 28 fires. They have an open investigation into these cars.

They still say they're safe, but there was an issue, also remember with GM's Chevy Volt. So the federal investigators here say those two are unrelated. People had some concern, wait a minute, what's up with all these fires. They say, no, no, they're still safe cars and we consider these two issues unrelated.

BLITZER: So if someone has one of these Chevy Cruzes, what do they do?

O'LEARY: They take it back to the dealer. And right now what Chevy is saying is that it will take probably half an hour, if it's a more minor repair; it could take up to three hours to fix these. But bring them back to the dealer. The dealers will do the maintenance needed to essentially upgrade the cars so that there is no worry, Wolf, of an engine fire from one of these engines.

BLITZER: It's a good Chevy. I rented one a few months ago. It was a nice car, enjoyed (inaudible).

O'LEARY: Got Facebook all built-in.

BLITZER: Yes, it's got -- very cool.

O'LEARY: You tweeted from it.

BLITZER: I didn't -- not when I was driving. Thank you. That's bad. Never tweet while driving. Remember that.

He shoveled snow and carried a woman out of a burning building. Now the hero mayor as we like to call him, Corey Booker, he strikes again. Stand by for details.

And you could call it an expensive car sandwich. Just ahead you're going to find out what caused this dramatic pileup.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Perhaps no one finds himself in the right place at the right time more than Corey Booker. The Newark, New Jersey, mayor says he helped a man who was hit by a vehicle today. All this coming just two months after he actually carried a woman out of a burning building.

Let's go back to New York. Mary Snow is standing by.

Mary, what's going on with Mayor Booker and these incidents? A lot of folks call him the hero mayor.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's something about Newark, New Jersey, Wolf. You know, his timing is even something Corey Booker has joked about. The Newark mayor is playing down his role in this one, though He really credits a detective with coming to the aid of a pedestrian hit by a car.

But earlier in the day, Corey Booker tweeted, "God bless my residents. Pulled up on pedestrian vehicle accident. We got man stabilized and into ambulance. He'll be OK. Thanks to all who helped."

He goes on to say, "I appreciate the driver. Man ran into traffic. Driver did the right thing and stayed and helped me and others aid man until medical help arrived."

Now, as you just mentioned, back in April, Booker ran into a burning building, suffered minor injuries. He rescued his neighbor.

And after today's tweets, he's getting some amusing responses on Twitter.

This one reads, "Man, you seem to always be in the right place at the right time."

Now, recently Booker himself poked fun at himself with help from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Governor --

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), N.J.: Hey, trooper.

CHRISTIE: You guys got any problems you want me to handle, like a fire anywhere, people trapped?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

CHRISTIE: Like a bad automobile accident where you need me to help some folks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, nothing like that.

CHRISTIE: Maybe a cat in a tree?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I think we're all set here.

COREY BOOKER, MAYOR OF NEWARK, N.J.: Trooper, what do we got?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor, thank you for coming. There's a two-alarm fire down on State Street. We do have a car broken down out on Route 1, and, yes, a little girl has lost her cat in a tree.

BOOKER: All right, trooper, as you were.

Governor, I got this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: Now, if you remember, Booker started getting attention as a hands-on mayor during a blizzard two years ago. He was out shoveling and also writing about it on Twitter.

BLITZER: Yes, he was. He's a good guy. He's a good mayor and he's, obviously, a hero as well. Thanks very much, Mary, for that.

U.S. stocks are bouncing back. Lisa is back, she's monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

You know, this mayor is at the right place, at the right time. Most importantly, he does something about it.

SYLVESTER: I was going to say, we need to get that guy a cape. Get the mayor a cape.

Well, a day after 15 U.S. banks were downgraded, including major banks -- Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, U.S. stocks rebounded with the Dow Jones industrial average rising 67 points. Investors tell CNN they are just relieved to have the looming downgrade out of the way and rallied through the news.

And the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney has married her longtime partner, Mary Cheney and Heather Poe were married in Washington. The Cheneys released a statement saying, quote, "Mary and Heather been in a committed relationship for many years, and we are delighted that they were able to take advantage of the opportunity to have that relationship recognized."

The couple has two children and we wish them the very best.

Talk about a pricey mistake. A Chicago man accidentally crashed his rented BMW through a guard rail landing directly on top of, get this, a Jaguar and a Mercedes. The driver says he hit the gas instead of the brake, but the driver of the smashed Jaguar was obviously not very amused, calling the man an idiot. That's not good. A BMW, a Jaguar and a Mercedes all lumped together in one accident.

BLITZER: Pretty expensive stuff --

(CROSSTALK)

SYLVESTER: I know. And did you get that? It was a rented BMW. He's going to have to go back to the rental car company and say, "Oops."

BLITZER: Lisa, thank you.

Alec Baldwin has a revealing interview on "David Letterman." It's not so much about what he said but what he showed. A lot of people are talking.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The actor Alec Baldwin is showing off his legs. And David Letterman is showing off his socks. CNN's Jeanne Moos has a closer look at what happens when the pants come down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a day destined to go down in television history. The day not one, but two, major stars --

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: You notice I've been trying to diet. I've lost so much weight that --

MOOS (voice-over): dropped their pants.

BALDWIN: The problem is that none of my clothes fit me. So if you put your hands in your pocket, your pants come down.

MOOS (voice-over): So what if Alec Baldwin may have been trying to distract from his latest meltdown, shoving a photographer? Such short-term memories departed as he stood there in his shorts.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": But now I'm thinking, should I take my pants off? MOOS (voice-over): Sure you should. Dave modestly disrobed behind the chairs. But there are perils to publicly dropping your pants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's talk about Alec Baldwin's legs for a moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hairy!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very hairy.

MOOS (voice-over): A blog called "Seriously? OMG!" said, "He has some sexy gams. I just wish he took a weed wacker (sic) to them."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like a woman's cleavage. After a certain age, no one wants to see it.

LETTERMAN: Oh, they're examining my junk.

BALDWIN: Yes.

MOOS (voice-over): Well, actually, Dave, it's your socks that everyone is examining. We've seen them before. For instance, the time you showed them to "Vogue" editor Anna Wintour.

LETTERMAN: Take a look at those, honey.

MOOS (voice-over): But you always kept your pants on.

LETTERMAN: Here they are right here.

MOOS (voice-over): Fans always wanted to know why you wear white socks and Dave would say, they're gray, that he got them as a gift or in bulk at Costco.

LETTERMAN: I got a thousand pairs of socks.

MOOS (voice-over): When an audience member said he was inspired by Dave to wear the same socks, Letterman gave him three pairs. No one showed more interest than Regis Philbin.

REGIS PHILBIN, TV PERSONALITY: The man wears knee socks all the way up to his knee, $250 a pair. And I got myself a pair of them, too. Check it out, baby.

MOOS (voice-over): When Letterman and Baldwin finally did drop trou, Dave made his own tabloid headline. "LetterJunk." When the credits rolled on "Letterman," they should have read "Worldwide No Pants" -- Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Guys are having a lot of fun. That's it for me. Thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Remember, the conversation continues. You can follow me on Twitter, @WolfBlitzer. The news continues next on CNN.