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Lance Armstrong Comes Clean; Football Player Hoax?

Aired January 17, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 Eastern time.

We begin tonight with breaking news on Lance Armstrong. After years of lying about using performance-enhancing drugs, after suing some, threatening others and ruing the careers of many who tried to expose his lies, the dethroned seven-time Tour de France winner has changed his tune in a big way.

He now calls his whole experience -- and these are his own words -- quote -- "one big lie," and says all the blame lies with him. He spoke, obviously, with Oprah Winfrey, taped a two-and-a-half-hour interview which began airing tonight on her network, OWN.

The encounter began with Oprah asking him a rapid-fire series of questions. With each answer, the stakes got higher, the tension rose. Take a look.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER": Did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Yes or no, was one of those banned substances EPO?


WINFREY: Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Did you ever use any other banned substances like testosterone, cortisone or human growth hormone?


WINFREY: Yes or no, in all seven of your Tour de France victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?


WINFREY: In your opinion, was it humanly possible to win the Tour de France without doping seven times in a row? ARMSTRONG: Not in my opinion.


COOPER: Lance Armstrong finally confirming what so many people suspected and a lot of people actually knew, that the man whose back from cancer story made him a hero to so many around the world, in a word, bicycling's best known villain. A question many were asking tonight was why is Armstrong finally coming clean?


WINFREY: For 13 years, you didn't just deny it. You brazenly and defiantly denied everything you just admitted just now. So why now admit it?

ARMSTRONG: That's the best question. That's the most logical question.

I don't know that I have a great answer. I will start my answer by saying that this is too late. It's too late for probably most people. And that's my fault. You know, I view this situation as one big lie.


COOPER: One big lie.

He said he didn't invent the culture of doping but he didn't try to stop it. Again, a fairly breathtaking admission about what he did to be the best individual cyclist of his time. But Armstrong also led a team. He's been accused of running it like Tony Soprano, forcing others to cheat the way he was cheating. Oprah asked him about that. Here's his answer.


ARMSTRONG: The idea that anybody was forced or pressured or encouraged is not true. I am out of the business of calling somebody a liar, but if you ask me if it's true or not, I'm going to say if it's true or not. That is not true.


COOPER: Contradicts what a lot of former teammates have said. That is Lance Armstrong tonight. There's more going to be on Oprah's network tomorrow night.

In safeguarding his lies, Armstrong hurt a lot of people, including Betsy Andreu, who joins us shortly. Her husband, Frankie, was a former teammate. They and Armstrong were close until they testified in a lawsuit alleging Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs. She's been watching the interview transfixed in our green room and does not want to miss a moment of it. We will talk to her coming up. With me is Daniel Coyle, co-author along with former Armstrong teammate Tyler Hamilton of "The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs. Also "Bicycling" editor at large Bill Strickland and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Daniel, just first blush, what do you think?

DANIEL COYLE, AUTHOR, "THE SECRET RACE": I think it's the most painful, unsuccessful therapy session in television. It's riveting and not necessarily in a good way for Armstrong.

COOPER: Have you ever seen Armstrong so uncomfortable, so nervous?

COYLE: He looks like he's strapped to the seat of a plane that's crashing. He looks really uncomfortable. He's not giving it up. Occasionally there are flashes where it seems like he's genuinely self-reflecting. But there's a lot more pauses, a lot more hesitations, a lot more hair splitting, as she said.

COOPER: Do you think he's telling the truth, the full truth?

COYLE: No, I don't. I don't. Clearly at parts in our book we recorded very clearly that Armstrong was the kingpin there. He made a phone call to basically end Tyler Hamilton's career. He had the number of the UCI president Hein Verbruggen in his pocket. After Tyler Hamilton beat him in an important race right before the tour, he called Verbruggen and had Hamilton hauled in and busted and eventually he was busted for doping. That type of power was what he wielded.

COOPER: Armstrong seems to indicate he wasn't forcing people, pressuring people to dope but that goes against the testimony of numerous former teammates.

COYLE: Exactly. And a partial confession is sort of the pattern here. A lot of these guys will confess partway. Maybe this is Armstrong's partial and then more will come out later.

COOPER: Oprah did go back to him and said is it possible just the very fact you were doping, that would have pressured people to dope even if you weren't the one giving the orders? But from what you are saying, he was actually verbally pressuring people?

COYLE: Exactly right.

COOPER: Bill, what do you think of what you have heard so far?

BILL STRICKLAND, "BICYCLING": It's clear what we're seeing here is someone learning how to tell the truth.

COOPER: Not fully telling the truth?

STRICKLAND: We have seen him say things for the first time that he's adamantly denied for more than a decade. So I don't think we're I don't think we're getting the full truth but I think, like Dan was saying, it's almost like a therapy session. As Dan knows with Tyler when he was writing the book, you don't get the truth the first time you talk to someone.

Unfortunately for Lance, he chose to do this big the way he chooses to do everything. And he's doing it right in front of us.

COOPER: It's so interesting. I have been taking a lot of notes on this. He says he never threatened others, that he wasn't the kingpin. The idea that he wasn't driving the ship on this just seems, on its face, just false.

COYLE: It's patently ridiculous. He absolutely was. He made all the decisions from the equipment to everything else so that includes the doping regimen.

COOPER: He said I wasn't the general manager, I wasn't -- but he called the shots on this?

COYLE: Tyler Hamilton gets a phone call. Be on a plane tomorrow. We're flying to Valencia to do a blood transfusion. That's what happened.

COOPER: I want to play you what Armstrong said about his personal doping operations. Listen.


WINFREY: Travis Tygart said in a statement that you and the U.S. Postal Service, cycling team, pulled off the most, his words, sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that the sport has ever seen. Was it?

ARMSTRONG: No. No. And I think he actually said that all of sport has ever seen.

And, Oprah, it wasn't. It was -- it was definitely professional. And it was definitely smart, if you can call it that, but it was very conservative, very risk averse, very aware of what mattered and didn't.


COOPER: The only example he could come up with, I guess, of a more sophisticated operation was East Germany's Olympic operation, I guess, back many, many...

STRICKLAND: The '70s and '80s.

COOPER: ... in the '70s and '80s. So compared to a state government operation, it was not that sophisticated, but in the sport of cycling, Bill, do you think this was the most sophisticated cycling operation?

STRICKLAND: Sure. They perfected it for that era. They were the most organized. They had the most money and the widest reach. COOPER: He also seems to be saying that he wasn't doing anything that the culture wasn't doing. At one point he said that the EPO generation began in the mid-'90s. He was just sort of part of this generation. But as you said, this was the most well-funded team. Did they have access to stuff that other riders didn't have access to?

COYLE: They did.

COOPER: They did?

COYLE: That's the old level the playing field argument when you say we were all cheating.

But in fact when you have Dr. Ferrari on an exclusive contract where you are the only one that can work with him, that's a bit of an advantage. When you have a private jet, when you have millions of dollars, when you have access to medicines that other people don't have, that's all an advantage.

COOPER: Amazingly, he says he didn't feel that it was wrong. Oprah said, did you feel bad about it? No, he didn't feel bad about it. Did you feel you were cheating? He said he didn't feel he was cheating. He was claiming in his mind it seems there was a level playing field because everybody had access to the same stuff. But, again, that's just not true.

STRICKLAND: I think that shows that he's being honest. That was not a good answer for him to give. A smart answer would have been more remorseful.

But that's -- he's telling honestly how he felt. It's fascinating that he will take all the guilt for himself and his own responsibility, but when it comes to the idea of, did you push this on other people, he's not willing to go there.

COOPER: And, Coyle, in your book, Tyler Hamilton kind of felt the same way, didn't he initially?

COYLE: Yes, he did. It's interesting. In a culture of corruption, when you don't understand what the other people are doing you assume they are doing more than you. And that's how you operate. You figured those guys were always cheating. So the cheating becomes an act of evening the field and you feel righteous. That's how they feel. That's why this is really a story that's bigger than Armstrong.

It's about how these cultures evolve.

COOPER: Jeff, from a legal standpoint, he won a libel case against a paper I think in England it was. I mean, they are suing him. He's facing multiple lawsuits. Has he opened himself up to more here?


COOPER: Really? TOOBIN: Criminally, I don't think he faces any problem in particular. He admitted lying in his deposition. And that was sworn testimony but it was 2005 in Texas. The statute of limitations has run. I don't think there's any risk there.

But civilly, the money back from the Tour de France, the prize money, the libel suit where he got money from "The London Times." But the biggest problem he may face is that Floyd Landis, one of the other riders on his team has filed a federal whistle-blower suit. You can file and say, look, the federal government wasted money and I can prove it.

He got $30 million from the federal government from when he was riding for the Postal Service team. If Landis wins that lawsuit he not only gets the $30 million, he gets triple damages, $90 million potentially. And that is certainly a possibility. There are other aspects to the suit that may be more difficult to prove. But Armstrong has bought himself a world of civil legal problems tonight.

COOPER: We're going to have more with the entire panel, Betsy Andreau as well, at around 10:30 for a full review of this interview. Again, it's fascinating stuff. Stick around for that.

Guys, we will see you just in a moment.

Lance Armstrong said he's spoken to her and her husband, Frankie, his former teammate. We will ask her about it. Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight.

Up next, more breaking news: late details on Americans held hostage by Islamic terrorists at a gas installation in North Africa in Algeria, conflicting reports on the status of a rescue operation by Algerian forces. U.S. wasn't even told about it, according to our sources. We will have all the latest on that.


COOPER: We have more breaking news tonight. We want to get you up to date on the fast-moving situation in Algeria.

An effort to free hostages, including some Americans being held by Islamic militants. Here's what we know. Some Americans have been freed. They have gotten out of the country. But others are still unaccounted for right now. Algerian and foreign workers were taken hostage Wednesday at a gas plant, apparently a response to France's offensive near Mali.

Tonight we're getting word about what those hostages have been going through. What we know is the crisis is far from over.

Foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty joins me now live with the latest.

This has been a fluid story all day long. There's been a lot of speculation. It's unclear what's been going on. What's the latest you are hearing right now? What do we know?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: The latest is we believe -- we are being told by a U.S. official that it's not over, that they took a break, the Algerian military, took some type of break until tomorrow morning. But they will be back at it again because there are still terrorists there, and there are still hostages.

And, Anderson, there's some details we have been getting from U.S. officials about the conditions in which those hostages have been held. In fact, we were told that some of them actually had suicide vests put on them by the hostage-takers. Pretty frightening situation. Leon Panetta, the defense secretary, said there were probably about seven to eight Americans, but I have to say, you know, throughout the day, the numbers on all of this, where they are, who might be injured or any other condition is not really known.

And the numbers of people who have been killed in this operation have really been all over the map.

COOPER: It's kind of odd to hear that they are taking a break. I mean, if they have launched an operation to try to free hostages, the idea of taking a break in the middle of that operation seems very odd to me. I haven't really heard of operations where that has happened.

And I was also surprised to learn that the U.S. was not informed or given a heads-up before they conducted this raid, right?

DOUGHERTY: Yes. In fact, yes. The U.S. officials that we have been speaking to say that they were not given a heads-up that this was going to take place, and that has create some problems.

This one official that we spoke to said that they actually, the United States, had urged and cautioned the Algerians to be very careful in carrying this out, to make the priority really the safety of the hostages. But there is some frustration coming from both the Americans and also from Europeans that I have been speaking with who are saying, they haven't been getting very much information. They have been getting conflicting information. And certainly those numbers are testimony to that.

COOPER: Jill Dougherty, appreciate the update. Thank you very much.

"Keeping Them Honest" now on a story that is really beyond bizarre, the Manti Te'o hoax. Here's a football player, his dying girlfriend, a team that is counting on him, a team, Notre Dame, where Hollywood endings are almost a birthright, where back in September, the linebacker Manti Te'o makes 12 tackles, powering the Irish to victory over Michigan State even though he'd just learned he had lost his grandmother and his devoted girlfriend, Lennay Kekua.

Notre Dame would go on to play in the national championship. Te'o would nearly win a Heisman Trophy. Cue the credits, grab a hanky, call up "Sports Illustrated," put him on the cover. But just like the feel-good hit of the summer, the Manti Te'o story isn't real. The girlfriend didn't die. In fact, she didn't even exist.

Now Te'o, his family and Notre Dame say he was simply the victim of a hoax. But "Keeping Them Honest" the record, including Te'o's own statements, cast doubt on the notion that it's just that simple. And whether or not he was duped, virtually everyone who covered this story was. Did they see what they wanted to see and not look any further than that? There's a lot of questions tonight.

They saw the girlfriend, Lennay, and her storybook meeting with Te'o -- quote -- "Their stares got pleasantly tangled," writes Eric Hansen in Notre Dame's hometown paper -- quote -- "Then Manti Te'o extended his hand to the stranger with a warm smile and soulful eyes."

That's the South Bend, Indiana, "Tribune," describing how Te'o and Lennay met three years ago, supposedly. The article quoted the father, Brian Te'o, who says she would travel to Hawaii to see Manti, as his friends, then romantically.

But "Keeping Them Honest," Te'o's own statement yesterday said nothing, nothing about any face-to-face encounters -- quote -- "We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating online and on the phone. And I grew to care deeply about her."

So the question is was Brian Te'o lying to the reporter, Eric Hansen, or was Manti lying to his father who told a reporter? Manti's recent statement only muddies the water really. Listen once again to Te'o speaking to ESPN back on September 15. He talks about being reunited with his grandmother and with Lennay.


MANTI TE'O, NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL PLAYER: I miss them, I miss them, but I know that I will see them again one day.


COOPER: Not I will finally meet her but see her again one day, implying he had seen her.

If, as Manti now says, he was the victim of the hoax and that the relationship only existed online, why was he saying back then he had seen her? Also, we know do know that Manti says he found out Lennay -- when he got a call from someone with Lennay's number and Lennay's voice said she wasn't dead.

Why does he wait until the 26th, 20 days later, to tell the coaches at the school? Notre Dame investigates and gets a report on January 4. We know that. Why does it wait until yesterday, until after reporters at run an expose, to go public?

And, crucially, getting back to Manti, if he knew on December 6 that he had been scammed, why two days later did he once again talk about the girlfriend he is now supposed to know is fictitious as if she were real? Listen.


TE'O: I don't like cancer at all. Cancer, I lost both my grandparents and my girlfriend to cancer.


COOPER: That was two days after he apparently got the call.

Plenty to talk about now with Tim Burke, who broke the story on Deadspin, also "Sports Illustrated" senior writer Michael Rosenberg.

I spoke earlier tonight.


COOPER: Tim, let's start with what we know. We know we haven't heard from him today. We know Notre Dame is still sticking by its claim he was the victim of the scam or an online identity deception. What we don't know seems endless at this point. Have you been able to fill in any blanks since we spoke last night?

TIMOTHY BURKE, DEADSPIN.COM: We have a couple -- sort of fill in the blanks. With what we have been exposed to through journalists who have sort of shared their process in reporting the stories that we have now shown to be bunk, we know at least where some of those words were coming from.

We know that Brian Te'o, Manti's dad, was the source of that origin story, if you will, the 2009 meeting at Stanford. So it sort of shifts where our attention goes to the answers we want. We started off wanting to know when Manti found out. Now we really want to know who came up with that story because that's really important. That's part of the romance here.

COOPER: Do we know now who was running this hoax? Whether or not Manti was in on it, who the other players are?

BURKE: Well, our original reporting said it was this Tuiasosopo character and two of his cousins.

We weren't told what the cousins' names were. But when we asked if one of them had to have been female if he was going to be using this to actually hoax Manti Te'o, we were told yes. We believe there were three people who were part of that. But we know that Tuiasosopo, Lennay Kekua portrayal online has gone on for a long time.

Now we have heard alleged rumors from alleged an uncle of the Tuiasosopos that says he has done this leukemia scam other times before and in other places.

COOPER: Michael, I know you want to be very clear. You don't know what happened. None of us really know what has happened, I guess, until Manti Te'o speaks or until there's more information that comes forward.

In your gut, do you think he was a victim in this, do you think he wasn't a victim, do you think the truth lie somewhere in between?

MICHAEL ROSENBERG, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": I think it's somewhere in between.

And, first of all, congrats to Deadspin on outstanding work on the story. There is no reasonable explanation to any of this. It's all bizarre. The question is among the bizarre possibilities, what is the most reasonable?

It seems more likely to me that maybe three people tricked Manti Te'o, duped him into believing this girl existed and then he then exaggerated the relationship, for whatever reason, whether it was publicity or it just got out of hand or something else. That strikes me as more reasonable than him being in on it and knowing she was fictional and fooling his entire team for a long period of time and starting it two years ago.

I find that difficult to believe, but let's face it, it's all difficult to believe.

COOPER: Also, Michael, I don't understand if on December 6 he gets this call from her phone or a number he associates with her, and it's her voice saying it was a hoax, I'm not dead, and I'm not, you know, Lennay, then why two days later does he volunteer on a panel that his girlfriend has died?

ROSENBERG: Well, there is certainly no good explanation for that.

I do think if he did exaggerate the relationship and did believe she was real, all of a sudden, among other things, he's thinking, oh, my goodness, what have I done here, this person wasn't real, then you panic and you cover for yourself.

But you can also turn around and say why would he turn around and tell Notre Dame officials that this was all a hoax if nobody had reason to suspect it before? On top of that, why would he say he wasn't involved? Wouldn't the co-conspirator in this case, Tuiasosopo, be able to point to a bunch of evidence, e-mails, phone calls, whatever it is, that he was in on it?

COOPER: Tim, if you hadn't broken the story, Deadspin hadn't broken the story, would we even know about this?

BURKE: As we illustrated in some posts today on, there are so many contradictory statements in the story that as people would talk about Manti Te'o and the draft, they would go back to the stories and eventually somebody, I think, would have found them.

COOPER: Right. Tim Burke, I appreciate it. Again, you guys broke the story. Michael Rosenberg, appreciate you joining us. Thank you very much.


COOPER: Just ahead, more on Lance Armstrong's admissions after years of denials that he doped while collecting all seven Tour de France titles and bullying people who told the truth about his doping and sued them. We have been watching the interview as it unfolds.

So is Betsy Andreu, whose husband was a teammate. Tonight Armstrong says he has spoken with her on the phone and her husband. She joins the rest of our panel ahead. Did she hear what she wanted to hear when he called? He also would not answer Oprah's questions about what they actually spoke about. We will talk to her about that next.


COOPER: Welcome back. Breaking news. More on tonight's Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah Winfrey, his admission to Oprah that he doped for years. The interview has just wrapped up, the doping starting in the mid-'90s. Not stopping until, he says, 2005. All the years of denials he told her were just one big lie. She grilled him on the specifics, which banned drugs he used and the difference they made. Listen.


WINFREY: Did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Yes or no, was one of those banned substances EPO?


WINFREY: Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Did you ever use any other banned substances like testosterone, cortisone or human growth hormone?


WINFREY: Yes or no, in all seven of your Tour de France victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?


WINFREY: In your opinion, was it humanly possible to win the Tour de France without doping seven times in a row?

ARMSTRONG: Not in my opinion.


COOPER: Armstrong made that admission in a two-and-a-half-hour interview. The rest of it airs tomorrow night. Oprah said her questions would be no holds barred. They were. She asked him if he realized at the time what he was doing was wrong. Listen.


WINFREY: Was it a big deal to you? Did it feel wrong?

ARMSTRONG: At the time? No.

WINFREY: It did not even feel wrong?


WINFREY: Did you feel bad about it?

ARMSTRONG: No. Even scarier.

WINFREY: Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?

ARMSTRONG: No. The scariest.

WINFREY: You did not feel that you were cheating taking banned drugs?

ARMSTRONG: You know, at the time, no.


COOPER: Well, for years, we have heard allegations Armstrong ruined careers and reputations when he was crossed. He sued multiple people. Tonight, he admitted to Oprah he was a bully who unleashed his wrath on those two dared to tell the truth about his doping.

She asked him how he could justify attacking, even suing anyone for telling the truth.


WINFREY: This is what doesn't make any sense. When people were saying things, David Walsh, "Sunday Times," Emma O'Reilly, Betsy Andreu, many others were saying things, you would then go on the attack for them. You were suing people and you know that they are telling the truth. What is that?

LANCE ARMSTRONG, DISGRACED PROFESSIONAL CYCLIST: That's -- that's a major flaw. And it's a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted and to control every outcome. And it's inexcusable and that's -- when I say that there are people that will hear this and will never forgive me, I understand that. I do.

And I have started that process. I think all -- all of this is a process for me. One of the steps in the process is to speak to those people directly and just say to them that I'm sorry. And I was wrong. You were right.


COOPER: Our panel has been watching along with us. Betsy Andreu, wife of Armstrong's former teammate, Frankie Andreu, joins us now. She wanted to see it all before weighing in on what she heard tonight. Also joining us, Daniel Coyle, co-author of "The Secret Race," is back with us. Also Bill Strickland, editor at large for "Bicycling" magazine; and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Betsy, just first of all, your impressions on what you heard tonight.

BETSY ANDREU, WIFE OF ARMSTRONG'S FORMER TEAMMATE: I'm really disappointed. He owed it to me. You owed it to me, Lance, and you dropped the ball. After what you've done to me, what you've done to my family and you couldn't own up to it. And now we're supposed to believe you? You have one chance at the truth. This is it.

If he's not going to tell the truth, if he can't say, yes, the hospital room happened, then how are we to believe everything else he's saying? We're already questioning him.

COOPER: You were in a hospital room, and you heard Lance Armstrong tell doctors about all the drugs that he took?

ANDREU: Yes, yes. It happened.

COOPER: And he denied it happened up and down, and this was a key part of a lawsuit that he ended up winning.

ANDREU: Yes, that he settled with.

COOPER: Right.

ANDREU: But if the hospital room didn't happen, just say it didn't happen, but he won't do it because it did happen. And if this is his way of saying -- "I just don't want to go there, OK. We'll give it to her." That's not good enough. That is not being transparent. That is not being completely honest. That's skirting the issue.

I want to believe that Lance wants to come clean, but this is giving me an indication that I can't.

COOPER: I want to play the exchange he had with Oprah where he specifically is talking about calling you. Let's play that.


WINFREY: Have you called Betsy Andreu?


WINFREY: Did she take your call?


WINFREY: She did. Was Betsy telling the truth about the Indiana hospital? Overhearing you in 1996?

ARMSTRONG: I'm not going to take that on. And I'm laying down on that one.

WINFREY: Was Betsy lying?

ARMSTRONG: I'm just not -- I'm going to put than one down. And I don't want to -- she asked me and I asked her not to talk about...

WINFREY: What you said?

ARMSTRONG: ... the details of the call. It was a confidential, personal conversation. It was 40 minutes long. I spoke to Frankie, as well.

WINFREY: Is it well with the two of you? Have you made peace?

ARMSTRONG: Oh -- no.


ARMSTRONG: Because -- because they've been hurt too badly. And a 40-minute conversation isn't enough. And...

WINFREY: Yes, because you repeatedly characterized her as crazy. Called her other horrible things.

ARMSTRONG: Well, and I clarified some -- I did call her crazy.

WINFREY: You did.

ARMSTRONG: I did. I did.

WINFREY: If you were to go back and look at all the tapes of things you said over the years about Betsy -- OK.

ARMSTRONG: And I -- I think she would be OK with me saying this, but I'm going to take the liberty to say it. And I said, "Listen. I called you crazy. I called you a bitch. I called you all these things, but I never called you fat."

WINFREY: That's one of the things she said?

ARMSTRONG: She thought I said you were a fat crazy bitch.


ANDREU: Well, I guess we know why I was all these years. Putting up with that, how would you act, sweet as apple pie?

COOPER: The idea that somehow not calling you fat is any kind of...

ANDREU: Consolation?

COOPER: Yes, is -- when I heard that, my jaw dropped.

ANDREU: He shouldn't have done "Oprah." He should -- this was too big to -- he shouldn't -- he shouldn't have gone on here. This is going to be a long process for him, but he's approaching it the wrong way. What -- that exchange right there, it has me furious.

Bill, help me out. I mean, what is going through his mind?

BILL STRICKLAND, EDITOR AT LARGE, "BICYCLING" MAGAZINE: It's fascinating to me that Betsy and I have been talking about the exchanges. And it's just fascinating to me that he took that step, which everyone would think would be the hardest, to say, "I doped, I cheated. It was all a lie." And yet when it comes to details about other people he just can't -- he can't quite get himself there.

He called it a process. You know, I think Betsy said it's going to be a long process. Dan alluded to it earlier. I think that's what's going on here, but it's just -- it's uncomfortable to watch this play out on national TV.

COOPER: He's also indicating that he doesn't want to talk about the, you know, whether or not he said what he said -- you say he said in the hospital room, because it was part of a private conversation and you asked for him not to say anything. Is that true? I mean, would you mind if he talked about it?

ANDREU: Let him -- fine. He can talk about everything now. I'll talk about the intimate details of the conversation. He can talk about that, because I brought it up to him. We talked about that. And he dropped the ball.

I didn't want to get into the -- to the -- it was a very emotional phone call. This is a guy who used to be my friend who decimated me. He could have come clean. He owed it to me. He owes it to the sport that he destroyed.

And don't -- when he says he doesn't like the UCI, that's a bunch of crap. He had the UCI in his back pocket. Lance wasn't a leader? That's a bunch of crap, because he owned the team.

COOPER: He would say -- he would say that he was -- he wasn't the general manager, that he never forced people to do it. He never directed anybody to do it, to take -- to dope.

ANDREU: OK, then why did -- why did they make sure Frankie's contract wasn't renewed in 2000 when he wanted Frankie to see Ferrari and Frankie said, "No, no, no, no." He rode the 2000 campaign clean, had a -- the vast majority of his career was clean.

What was his reward? He didn't get compensated for that tour win, and he lost his job and his career was derailed. That's -- that's going up against Lance Armstrong. Going up a decade of being excoriated by him.

And I was willing to give him a chance. And this is how he responds? It just doesn't make sense.

COOPER: I don't know if you can or want to answer, but did he in that phone call with you, did he admit that he had said that in the hospital room, that he had told the doctors about the drugs he had used? Or did you ask him? ANDREU: No, we -- we talked about it a couple of times. And he said he wasn't going to admit it. And I said why?

COOPER: What did he say?

ANDREU: And I heard "legal," which makes me think we have Stephanie McIlvain who was in that hospital room when it happened. She went before the grand jury. Did she lie before the grand jury? But we don't know because Andre Barat (ph), who was a U.S. attorney for the central district of California, shut down this thing. So we don't have any answers.

COOPER: And that was -- this is a lawsuit that an insurance company...

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, no, this -- I think you're talking about the criminal case that just ended recently.

ANDREU: Exactly.

TOOBIN: And I just -- the one thing I should say is that when U.S. attorneys stop criminal investigations, they don't explain why. It's not that -- this wasn't some benefit for Lance Armstrong. When investigations are dropped without charges, they're just dropped without charges. They don't -- they don't explain why.

I can't tell you why it was done, but the fact that there was no public explanation isn't sinister or suspicious.

COOPER: Do you think he was -- he wasn't -- he was refusing to answer that question for legal reasons?

TOOBIN: Perhaps. But he did answer a lot of questions that were legally very incriminating to him. I mean, the fact that he admitted all this doping for all seven Tour de France titles, that certainly is very damaging to him, legally.

So why he might have drawn a distinction to that conversation versus others, I can't really answer, because he did put himself in legal jeopardy several times.

COOPER: Why do you think?

ANDREU: Why do I think he...

COOPER: Why do you think he wouldn't answer that question?

ANDREU: I don't know. I don't know. Because the hospital room is where it all started. It's where it all started. And so him not answering that question is going to infuriate people who know the truth. So if he really wants a shot of redemption here, he's really dropping the ball.

I think a lot is because he wants to protect people. And I know that the -- Barat (ph) doesn't have to explain himself at all. But when you look at the USADA report and you see that there was witness tampering and drug trafficking and wire fraud and mail fraud. If you're a witness in Barat's jurisdiction and you're going up against somebody who has money and power, I'd be really afraid.

I don't know. I think he is still protecting people who were loyal to him. That's what I think.

COOPER: We've got to take a break. We're going to have more with Betsy, Daniel Coyle, Bill Strickland and Jeff Toobin.

Also coming up, I'll speak with Armstrong's former personal assistant. The live coverage continues. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Back to our breaking news and the powerful reaction to it. Lance Armstrong admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs for each and every one of his Tour de France victories and the people who used to be close to him who say his confession isn't enough.

Mike Anderson is Armstrong's former personal assistant. He recently wrote about his time working for him for "Outside" magazine. He joins us now.

You deliberately did not watch the interview tonight. You knew ahead of time that Lance Armstrong was going to say things you probably wanted to hear him say for a very long time. Why didn't you want to see this interview?

MIKE ANDERSON, ARMSTRONG'S FORMER PERSONAL ASSISTANT (via phone): I completely doubt his sincerity. I don't -- I don't believe anything Lance Armstrong ever says. I don't trust him. And I don't think that it was an appropriate venue for him to air his confession.

COOPER: Do you -- I want to play you what he told Oprah about how he felt about cheating. Let's listen.


WINFREY: Was it a big deal to you? Did it feel wrong?

ARMSTRONG: At the time?

WINFREY: Uh-huh.


WINFREY: It did not even feel wrong?


WINFREY: Did you feel bad about it?

ARMSTRONG: No. Even scarier.

WINFREY: Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?

ARMSTRONG: No. The scariest.

WINFREY: You did not feel that you were cheating, taking banned drugs?

ARMSTRONG: You know, I've -- at the time, no.


COOPER: Mike, do you buy that? Because I mean, if he didn't feel he was cheating, why did he go through all this effort to hide it?

ANDERSON: Lance is a different -- I can't relate to what he's saying. I can't relate to that kind of behavior. I know what's right and what's wrong, and I have always tried to lead a correct life. That's not the way that he does.

He -- he had a reputation for being that way as a teenager. And for a brief period when I worked for him, I thought that that was -- that was all over and that he had grown up, and I quickly found out that was not the case.

I don't believe him. Yes, it's really tough to hear that, Anderson. I'd had no intention of listening to his voice ever again. It's painful.

COOPER: Betsy, I want to bring you back in, and our panel. When Lance Armstrong says that he wasn't the kingpin, that he, you know, was just a guy on the team, I mean, does that seem completely disingenuous to you?

ANDREU: It does. Because he was co-owner of the team. He made decisions on who was fired, who was hired, who got paid what. He had the connections.

You didn't see any of the other riders having their political connections, cozying up to the politicians, getting the corporate sponsors backing them, being in so cozy with the federations, with the governing bodies like Lance.

So it's completely disingenuous, and I think it's a way to make him distance himself from being this -- the leader.

COOPER: So when he says that this wasn't that sophisticated an operation, that it was professional, it was conservative, it wasn't the biggest doping operation in all of sport. He says East Germany had a bigger doping operation in the Olympics back in the '70s and '80s. I mean, it sounds like he's being disingenuous. I mean, it was -- he had access to drugs that other people did not have access to. He had access to funds that others didn't.

DANIEL COYLE, CO-AUTHOR, "THE SECRET RACE": That's exactly right. The facts are out now. When you take a hotel room and put plastic wrap over the toilet, as we relayed in the book, so there are no microphones in there so they can conceal that, and put tape over all the smoke detectors in the room, and then you do transfusions for the whole team in the room in the middle of the Tour de France. I'd say that's reasonably sophisticated.

And they always stayed ahead of the curve. Each year it was slightly different. Each year -- it was two bags of blood, one year; it would be three the next year. It was a constantly moving target. It was like an innovation race. And Armstrong with Ferrari, with his other director, Bernile (ph), had the best minds in the game. And that's what they kept...

COOPER: In this interview, and Bill, also, he says that his comeback in 2000 -- I guess it was 2009, 2010 that he did not -- that he wasn't doping at all for that. And that -- if that's true, why -- I mean, Dr. Ferrari was still on the salary. Why would -- why would that have -- do you buy that, that he wasn't doping then?

ANDREU: No. Because why was Ferrari? Ferrari was known for one thing and one thing only. And that was to dope riders.

But if I could just get back to what Dan said about -- and what you said about Lance being the kingpin here, Frankie was never involved in the transfusions. Frankie was never involved, and that cost him his career in the sport, because Lance deemed him selfish, arrogant, not willing to do what it takes. So I just wanted to add that to what...

COOPER: And which he in this interview categorically is saying that he never would have done, that he never directed anybody. Nobody - he wouldn't have had anybody kicked off if they didn't want to dope. He never pressured people.

ANDREU: Yes. Lance also wouldn't even admit to this hospital thing happening, and Oprah could have follow up and said, "Yes or no? Yes or no? What is it, yes or no?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The psychology is he's taking his entire resume, which is a pretty big resume, really, and circling little bits of it and admitting to that but omitting huge, huge portions of it as he goes through this with Oprah.

TOOBIN: Can I ask a question? Why would he admit the seven wins where he was doping, but the '09 and '10 when he didn't win, why would he say he didn't dope then? What's -- what's the thought process there?

What I've seen with the riders that I've spoken with in the research for the book is that they don't want to admit the whole thing at once. It's too heavy. It's just too heavy to admit the whole thing at once. You want to preserve a little good guy.

And so they admit it part way and over time, returning to it many times, looping back. I remember one time with Tyler, we were talking. He said, "We only doped during mostly May and June." And we looked in his journal under March, and he had taken EPO about fourteen days in March. He said, "Oh, I guess I did."

COOPER: Armstrong tonight was saying that he can't even remember details of, you know, were you in a tent doping? And then there were fans waiting outside. He said like, you know, "I don't have any memory of that." He said he couldn't even remember how many people he'd sued for making allegations against him, which is...

ANDREU: Well, he was telling the truth there. And I think -- he wants to give himself some credibility. He wants to say, "Look. I still was a magnificent, great athlete, even when I didn't dope," if we're to believe he didn't dope. Because when he finished third in the Tour de France, that's pretty darn good. And if he's saying he did that clean, then that's pretty remarkable. So he wants to give himself some credibility here.

Bill, what do you think?

STRICKLAND: It seems important to him. I've talked to him quite a bit about those comeback years. I wrote a book about his comeback. And he was always adamant to me then and now that he was clean.

There's a bio passport. They took some samples. It seemed to show otherwise. But he is really holding fast to this.

There are just certain things that he just does not seem ready to give up now. And maybe ever. You know, I mean, that's what we're going to find out as the months and weeks and years go on.

COOPER: It would be bizarre for him to then later on say, "Well, actually, I also lied about something I said to Oprah Winfrey." I mean, if you're -- I mean, we've seen this before.

John Edward did this famously when he came clean on the affair with Rielle Hunter, but refused to admit that he'd fathered the child with her, and then his coming clean interview wasn't really a coming clean interview.

I also want to play what he said about another former teammate who came forward to accuse him of doping. This is one of his close friends, a guy named George Hincapie. And close observers always thought once this guy testified against Lance, the game was over. Here's what he said.


ARMSTRONG: My fate was sealed. I think, for those people that were my supporters who I'm assuming have left, he was the -- they could have heard anybody say anything, and if George didn't say it, they'd say, "Well, George didn't say it, so I'm sticking with Lance."

And I don't fault George at all. I mean, there was a lot of pressure with that. But, yes, listen. George is the most credible voice in all of this. He did all seven tours. I knew him since I was 16. We practically lived together. We trained together every day. And for the record, we're still great friends. We still talk once a week.

I don't fault George Hincapie. But George knows this story better than anybody. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We have about 30 seconds before break, but Betsy, I see you shaking your head. You don't buy that?

ANDREU: No, I don't buy it.

COOPER: You don't? Which part don't you buy? That they're great friends?

ANDREU: It's hard to know what to believe now, you know. Has he been talking to George once a week? Since when? Two weeks ago? Who knows.

COOPER: We've got to take a break. We'll have more with Betsy and Daniel and Bill Strickland, Jeffrey Toobin, as well. We'll be right back.


COOPER: We're back with our panel. Just in the minute that we have left, overall, was this -- Bill, do you think this was a mistake?

STRICKLAND: I think it was an amazing first step. I think he failed in a lot of key places. He came through in a few big places. I think he's got a lot of work to do.


STRICKLAND: Big mistake.

COOPER: And Betsy, your thought?

ANDREU: Lance can still redeem himself, if he will tell the truth, again. One more time. But he's got to meet with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. He's got to meet with WADA.

And he has to be 100 percent honest, truthful. Tell them everything. Because there is no way he pulled off the biggest fraud in the history of sport by himself.

COOPER: This was a big gamble for him. Do you think it was -- do you think it was a mistake?

COYLE: I think it was a mistake. These are conversations that probably should have been in private. To do it in front of millions of people without a net. That's kind of how he's operated his whole life to take these big gambles. And I don't think this worked.

However, now -- he does have a place to go forward from. It definitely can't get worse.

COOPER: And legally, Jeff?

TOOBIN: I think he's in big trouble, civilly. He supposedly has $100 million. He's going to have a lot less than $100 million when this is all over.

COOPER: We've got it leave it there. Betsy Andreu, appreciate it. I know it's without power -- I can't it. I know it's -- I imagine what it's like for you tonight. Appreciate you being here. Daniel Coyle, Bill Strickland, as well; Jeff Toobin, as well.

Also I want to thank Mike Anderson who we spoke to briefly. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" is coming up right after this break.