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THE SITUATION ROOM

"Please Use My Broken Heart"; Weiner Resists Backlash on Campaign Trail; Anthony Weiner Sexting Partner Speaking Out; North Korea Celebrates End of Korean War; Ariel Castro Makes Plea Deal; Lincoln Memorial Vandalized; Bridge Safety Issues; NSA Leaker's Dad Appeals to Obama

Aired July 26, 2013 - 17:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Happening now, an impassioned new plea from Trayvon Martin's mother, begging the country to use her broken heart and keep what happened to her son from happening to any other child.

Plus, we're live inside North Korea right now. Just ahead, a rare firsthand look at how this mysterious nation is celebrating its own 21st century brand of socialism.

And more from the woman at the center of Anthony Weiner's latest sexting scandal. What she's now saying about his wife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYDNEY LEATHERS:

I'm very empathetic and I -- I feel for her. I feel terrible that I am part of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "GOOD MORNING AMERICA," COURTESY ABC NEWS)

MADDY, ZIMMERMAN JUROR B-29: I feel that I was forcibly included in Trayvon Martin's death. I carry him on my back. I'm hurting as much as Trayvon Martin's mom is, because there's no way that any mother should feel that pain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: An emotional message for Trayvon Martin's mother from the only minority on the all-female jury in George Zimmerman's murder trial.

The juror, known as B-29, also known as Maddy, is the second on the panel to speak out since the verdict and tells ABC's "Good Morning America" she fought to the end to find Zimmerman guilty of second degree murder, but, ultimately, the law didn't allow it. The notion came as a blow to Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, who made an impassioned plea in Philadelphia today for a change in the justice system.

Let's bring in our crime and justice correspondent, Joe Johns.

He's got the very latest for us -- Joe, what happened?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you can certainly say this was a powerful moment in Philadelphia today, as the mother of Trayvon Martin spoke slowly and painfully about her loss and her broken heart.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS (voice-over): The mother of Trayvon Martin gave a deeply emotional speech.

FULTON: At times, I feel like I'm a broken vessel. At times, I don't know if I'm going or coming.

JOHNS: Sybrina Fulton talked about her dead son and life without him and the not guilty verdict for the man who shot him. She blames the "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida for the outcome.

FULTON: Wrap your mind around no prom for Trayvon, no high school graduation for Trayvon, no college for Trayvon, no grandkids coming from Trayvon, all because of a law, a law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for this awful crime.

JOHNS: Miss Fulton appeared before the National Urban League meeting and a swirl of fresh controversy after one of the jurors in the Zimmerman case told ABC she owed the Martin family an apology.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "GOOD MORNING AMERICA," COURTESY ABC NEWS)

MADDY: George Zimmerman got away with murder. But you can't get away from God.

And at the end of the day, he's going to have a lot of questions and answers he has to deal with. The law couldn't prove it. But we just have to believe in the Lord, that he's -- if he's asked to pay, he will pay.

JOHNS: In her remarks, Sybrina Fulton did not talk about what the juror said, but had issued a statement earlier saying, "It's devastating for my family to hear the comments from Juror B-29, comments which we already knew in our hearts to be true.

And she issued a larger plea for others to take on her cause.

FULTON: My message to you is please use my story, please use my tragedy, please use my broken heart to say to yourself we cannot let this happen to anybody else's child.

(END VIDEO TAPE) JOHNS: Trayvon Martin's family has started a foundation in his memory. They say one of their goals is to fight against "Stand Your Ground" laws that have been enacted in more than half the states.

BLITZER: Very strong words from Trayvon's mom there.

All right, Joe, thanks very much.

Let's bring in our legal panel to talk a little bit more about all of this.

Joining us, our CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Also joining us, the criminal defense attorney, Page Pate, and the former federal prosecutor, Tanya Miller -- Jeffrey, let me play a little bit more of this interview that ABC News had with this juror.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "GOOD MORNING AMERICA," COURTESY ABC NEWS)

MADDY: For myself, he's guilty.

ROBIN ROBERTS, HOST: Because?

MADDY: The evidence shows he's guilty.

ROBERTS: He's guilty of?

MADDY: Killing Trayvon Martin. But we couldn't prove that intentionally he killed him. And that's the way that the law was read to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Jeffrey, could the prosecution have done a better job with this whole issue of intent?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, jury instructions are hard for anyone to understand. I've heard them a million times and I find them hard to understand.

But it's quite clear that Maddy, the juror, at least now, doesn't have a clear understanding of what was required, because that was not the law, as she described it.

And in other parts of the interview, I think she -- she garbled the law a little bit.

One thing you could have said the prosecution could have done is in its summation talk more about the jury instructions, explain why the elements of the crime were met by the prosecution here.

It might have made a difference, it might not have, but clearly, this juror, at least at this point, does not have much of an understanding for what was really required to find Trayvon Martin -- to find George Zimmerman guilty. BLITZER: Tanya, let me get to you react to what Mark O'Mara, the defense attorney for George Zimmerman, posted a little while ago, "Why Zimmerman Juror B-29 is a Model Juror." That's what he entitled his statement.

"People may disagree with self-defense laws, but a juror's job is not to decide what a law should be, her job is to apply the facts presented at trial to the laws they are instructed about. This is the essence of what we seek in a juror -- the ability to use one's common sense, apply the law to the facts, agree not to be swayed by sympathy or emotion, no matter how loudly it's argued by the prosecutors, and decide a lawful and fair verdict."

Do you agree that Juror B-29 was a quote, "model juror?"

TANYA MILLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I don't know if she was a model juror or not. I certainly think that she approached the process in good faith. I don't think there's any reason to doubt that she did that.

But I think Jeffrey makes a good point. What is really clear when we hear this juror speak is that she really misunderstood the law. She did not appropriately apply the law to the facts because she didn't understand it.

And the reason why she didn't understand could be because she wasn't really given that road map by the prosecution team during trial. As a homicide prosecutor for many years, we were taught to spend a significant amount of time talking to the jury about the law, giving them each and every point that they needed to go back into that jury room and argue for your position as a prosecutor. And I just don't think she was equipped to do that in this case.

Do you agree, Page?

PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree 100 percent. I mean we have to remember that this juror went back into the jury room ready to find Zimmerman guilty. The problem became that she could not convince the other jurors and could not hold her own ground when they started arguing the law to her. And the reason she couldn't is because the prosecution did not give her that road map, did not talk about the law in their closing arguments, like the defense did. And the defense did it very effectively.

Emotion is important, but you're not going to persuade a jury in closing arguments. You have to give them arguments to use on your behalf back in the jury room.

BLITZER: Was the issue of intent, Jeffrey, the same as far as second degree -- convicting someone of second degree murder and -- or convicting someone of manslaughter?

TOOBIN: No, it's entirely different. You know, manslaughter does -- requires a level of almost negligence, a very low level of intent, whereas second degree murder, in the Florida statute, requires a level of almost hatred. So the level of intent is almost entirely -- is entirely different. And so that was one level of misunderstanding that Maddy reflected in her comments. It may be that she just didn't understand -- you know, she couldn't recite it a couple weeks later or maybe she never understood it.

BLITZER: So who do you blame, Tanya, for the confusion surrounding the jury instructions?

MILLER: Well, part of it is just the nature of jury instructions. I mean, as Jeffrey alluded to, they are very confusing. As lawyers, it sometimes takes us a while to master what they mean and to translate that into normal layman's terms for a jury to understand. So in part, it's just the nature of jury instructions.

But as the prosecutor, you have the burden of proof. You have to convince that jury that you have provided evidence to each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. To that end, you have to give the jurors a clear layman's understanding of what the law is so that they can go back there and apply it to the facts.

So I think there's a little -- the defense did a really good job of explaining the law as it relates to their theory of the case. The prosecutors gave a powerful closing argument, but left out a little bit of detail as it related to the law. And I think the law just is confusing for lay people without that help.

BLITZER: And Page, let me play this other little clip from this juror, what she told ABC.

Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "GOOD MORNING AMERICA," COURTESY ABC NEWS)

MADDY: I'm thinking to myself, did I go the right way?

Did I go the wrong way?

I know I went the right way because by the law and the way it was followed is the way I went. But if I would have used my heart, I probably would have went a hung jury and believe it with all my heart, because I do. I do have kids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: She was the only juror of the six women on the jury who started off right after the trial with a guilty verdict, as far as second degree murder is concerned. She wound up, many hours later not guilty, an acquittal.

How unusual is that, to go all the way from second degree murder, forget about that, forget about manslaughter and wind up not guilty?

PATE: It doesn't happen often, but it's not rare. Many times, once a juror gets back into the jury room, they are going to be persuaded by the other jurors. And that's especially true if most of them are on the other side. And that's why jury selection is so incredibly important.

And when you had this particular jury, this composition of folks, I think the verdict that came out, not guilty, was, in some ways...

BLITZER: But remember, Page -- and let me let Jeffrey weigh in on this, as well, when they first went into that room after all the hours and hours of testimony, there was -- it was basically 3-3, three for not guilty, but two a guilty for manslaughter, one guilty, this woman who spoke to ABC, of second degree murder. So the debate was only just beginning.

TOOBIN: It was, Wolf. But there's really nothing unusual or certainly nothing inappropriate about that kind of vote initially then one that changes. That's why they call it deliberation. I mean we could have a system where each juror pushes a button and you have a vote right at the end.

But the idea behind deliberation is that the jurors talk to each other and listen to each other and sometimes become persuaded.

So, you know, in my experience talking to jurors, it's often that there is a non-unanimous reaction when you first go back into the jury box. But after listening to colleagues, they usually -- not always, but usually come to a unanimous agreement. And that's what happened here.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, Page Pate, Tanya Miller, guys, thanks very much for joining us.

Lots more to discuss and we'll do it down the road.

When we come back, the embattled San Diego mayor, Bob Filner, vowing to seek counseling now, amid a wave of sexual harassment allegations.

But is that enough?

Plus, the woman in the middle of Anthony Weiner's latest sexting scandal, she weighs in on his wife's decision to stand by his side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEATHERS: I don't think it's really my place to say that, but if I were in her shoes, I wouldn't stay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: An embattled big city mayor accused by multiple women of sexual harassment says he'll get counseling but San Diego's Bob Filner is resisting growing demands for him to resign. He spoke out just a little while ago. CNNs Casey Wian is in San Diego. He's joining us now. Casey, what did the mayor have to say?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been a really bizarre day here in San Diego, Wolf. It started off with the mayor attending sort of a routine city planning meeting about a bus line. And then, there was a hastily called news conference and word started to get around that he might step down at least temporarily from his job.

He didn't do that, but here's what he had to say to the victims of his alleged inappropriate sexual behavior.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BOB FILNER, SAN DIEGO: I apologize to my staff. I apologize to the citizens and staff members who have supported me over many years. I apologize to the people of San Diego. And most of all, I apologize to the women that I have offended.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIAN: Now, Filner took responsibility for his behavior and said it needs to change and to do that, he says he's going to enter a behavioral clinic on a two-week inpatient basis. He will be living there for two weeks. But, he will be getting morning and evening updates on city business. So, he's not really totally walking away from this job, not even on a temporary basis.

And some of the victims have told us that they don't think that this is the right step. They want him to resign. Their voices added to those of powerful people like Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee. All of the victims say he should step down and resign, but Mayor Filner is not doing that at this time, Wolf.

BLITZER: If he doesn't resign voluntarily, If he doesn't step down, is there some recall, some sort of electoral process that folks in San Diego could undertake to get rid of him?

WIAN: Absolutely. There's a couple of things going on. There are reports, unconfirmed at this point, reports that he may have been served a subpoena by the city attorney. So, there could be an investigation by the city attorney into these matters because some of these women did work for him.

But also, right before his news conference, just a couple of hours ago, a citizens group arrived at the mayor's office with a letter demanding that he resign by Monday evening. And they say that if he does not do that, they will begin a recall campaign, Wolf.

BLITZER: Casey Wian in San Diego for us, thanks very much. He'll keep us up to speed.

Coming up, a driver's terrifying plunge raising serious safety concerns about America's bridges. We're going to hear her story.

And the woman who received Anthony Weiner's lewd messages and pictures, this woman, she is speaking out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just feel nauseous, literally nauseous when I see him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A judge has sentenced the ousted Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, to 15 days in jail. Mary Snow is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM right now. Mary, what do you have?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Morsi is being charged with collaborating with Hamas to escape from prison in 2011 as well as killing and abducting police officers. Morsi was removed from power earlier this month. He's been in detention ever since.

The jail sentence comes as large groups of anti-Morsi and pro-Morsi protesters hit the streets in Cairo and other city. At least five people have died from clashes in Alexandria.

Tropical storm Dorian remains on track to hit the Northern Carribean next week but is most likely not going to become a major hurricane. Strong winds and dry air have weakened Dorian which the National Hurricane Center forecasts, Wolf, say will pass close to Puerto Rico on Monday.

And you may have seen the heartwarming photo of George H.W. Bush with his head completely shaved, which he did in support of a two-year-old named Patrick, the son of one of Mr. Bush's security detail who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. The former president and former first lady Barbara Bush Spoke about it on NBC's "Today Show" this morning. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Little Patrick had leukemia. A lot of the agents shaved their head. I say why not me. It was the right thing to do. They're a wonderful group of people. They're like family with us.

BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: I was shocked, surprised and thrilled. But, I think he looks beautiful. He looks younger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: Mr. Bush said he just hoped he brought Patrick a little happiness, but that he thinks Patrick is too young to know who he is -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A nice gesture, indeed. Very nice from the Bush's. Very nice move, I must say. I was impressed. Thank you, Mary.

When we come back, a rare look inside North Korea as that mysterious nation celebrates its socialist communist history. We have two reporters inside North Korea right now, and we're going live to Pyongyang.

Plus, more from the woman at the center of Anthony Weiner's latest sexting scandal. She talks about some -- she also talks about his shocking news conference, his loving wife, and a whole lot more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm very empathetic. And I feel for her. I feel terrible that I've been part of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A defiant Anthony Weiner isn't letting up on the campaign trail despite, despite even more backlash across New York City on his latest sexting scandal and a dramatic new interview from the woman right at the center of it all. You're going to be hearing more from what she told "Inside Edition's" Jim Moret in just a moment. He's standing by, but Mary Snow first has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anthony!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anthony!

SNOW (voice-over): For days, Anthony Weiner's been dogged about the latest chapter of his sexting scandal. He's become the target of countless jokes with "The New Yorker" magazine among the latest to mock him. But he's showing no signs he'll drop his bid to run for mayor.

He took his campaign to an area hard hit by super storm Sandy, Staten Island. With cameras following him, a woman who says she isn't a supporter confronted him.

PEG BRUNDA, RETIRED TEACHER: As a former New York Department of Education employee, 21 years as a teacher, and a nine years as an assistant principal, had I conducted myself in the manner in which you conducted yours, my job would have been gone.

ANTHONY WEINER, (D) NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: In the privacy of your home?

BRUNDA: In the privacy of my home.

WEINER: I respect your views.

SNOW: That exchange comes one day after Sydney Leathers gave a detailed account of the sexually explicit relationship she says she had with Weiner online and by phone a year after Weiner resigned from Congress. She spoke to "Inside Edition."

WEINER: And I said that I thought that someone may want to release stuff on their own, but it is not, I believe, to be all and end all of my campaign. I want to talk about how we continue Sandy relief.

SNOW: As Weiner presses ahead with his campaign to become mayor, the man who currently holds the office weighed in. MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (I) NEW YORK: Conduct like some of these things we've been reading about is reprehensible. But whether it should impact your voting, that's up to the voters.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (on-camera): Weiner also indicated he may stop answering questions all together about his online relationships with women. He said today there's going to reach a point fairly soon that he's going to say he thinks he's said enough about it -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. We'll see when that point arrives. Mary, thank you.

Let's get some more now from the woman right at the center of this latest scandal, Sydney Leathers, in her exclusive interview with "Inside Edition's" chief correspondent, Jim Moret. She also talked about Weiner's wife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, INSIDE EDITION: Do you think she's making a mistake to stay with him?

SYDNEY LEATHERS, SEXTED WITH ANTHONY WEINER: I don't really think it's my place to say that, but if I were in her shoes, I wouldn't stay.

MORET: Do you believe that Huma can ever trust Anthony Weiner?

LEATHERS: I don't think it would be smart to trust him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And Jim Moret is joining us now from Los Angeles. Jim, you spoke to this woman for, what, two hours. dId she ever say that Weiner lied to her?

MORET: Yes, she did. Repeatedly she said that. She came to that conclusion. And you know, I think after the interview it started to hit her how big this story was. I don't think she had a sense of the impact that her interview would have on this campaign and these revelations would have on Anthony Weiner's campaign.

But frankly, Wolf, you and I were talking just off the air, it doesn't seem to affect Anthony Weiner at all. And that frankly stunned me.

BLITZER: Why did that stun you?

MORET: You know, the man was disgraced in Congress and left, frankly, not of his own accord, he was pretty much pushed out. And when you look at the poll numbers and you see how New Yorkers are turning away from him, although he appears still to be in second place, which I suppose from his standpoint is good enough to make it into the general election, you know, it's amazing that he did lie to the voters, he lied to the public through these articles showing a happy family and a man who has been rehabilitated.

And clearly that was a lie because while all of this was going on, he was having yet at least one more relationship, perhaps two or three according to his own account.

BLITZER: Let me play another clip from your interview with Sydney Leathers. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: What was your reaction when you saw the news conference of him standing alongside his wife?

LEATHERS: I just feel nauseous, literally nauseous when I see him. You get to know someone and you think they're this other person and then you really find out they're just kind of a sexual deviant and that's it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Did she acknowledge she knew she was married during their online and phone relationship?

MORET: Yes, she did. And you know what, she's humiliated, she admits her mistakes, she owns it, she takes full responsibility for it, she feels frankly horrible for Anthony Weiner's wife and responsible for a lot of the pain she knows that was caused by her actions, but also more important by Anthony Weiner's actions.

BLITZER: Let me play another little clip from your interview. This one. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUMA ABEDIN, ANTHONY WEINER'S WIFE: I love him, I have forgiven him.

MORET: Do you see a woman there in pain?

LEATHERS: Absolutely. And I am very empathetic and I feel for her. I feel terrible that I'm part of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: She obviously is very, very upset that she had this relationship. How long did the relationship go on? And do you know precisely when it ended?

MORET: It ended -- well, it began around the time of the "People" magazine article, so around, say, July 2012, ended around November. The last communication that she had with Anthony Weiner according to her was in April of this year and that was not a text -- it was basically through a Facebook where she had posted something referencing "House of Cards," the Netflix programs which recounts a congressman having an affair with a reporter and she made a comment about that show and Anthony Weiner reached out to her, and said, "Is this about me? Is that show about me? Are those comments about me"? And also he became jealous of her Facebook friends mentioning how she looked in photographs and he became possessive. And she realized that with -- the very real possibility that he could be mayor and continuing this kind of behavior she wanted to come forward. And she really sat on that for a while, before coming forward, and she wrestled with it. And I think that because of coming forward, she may actually not go back to school in August like she was originally planning to. She may sit out a semester because of all of the attention this is getting.

BLITZER: Jim Moret is the chief correspondent for "Inside Edition." Jim, thanks very much for joining us again.

MORET: My pleasure, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead, hundreds of bridges used by millions of Americans. How safe are they? One woman shares her horror story.

Plus CNN inside North Korea as the country marks a major milestone. We're going live to Pyongyang.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: CNN is inside North Korea right now. One of the world's most isolated countries, opening up slightly, temporarily at it marks the anniversary of the end of the Korean War 60 years ago. And it's doing so in spectacular fashion.

Our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang right now. It's, what, just after 6:30 in the morning, Ivan. I know there are severe restrictions, what you're allowed to see, who you could talk to, but tell our viewers a little bit of what's going on.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are very strictly controlled here, but what we are seeing right now is what the North Korean government would like us to see, the image of this country that it wants to portray to the world.

And I can't stress enough how much that is dominated by the iconography of the government, of its own patriotic vision, and by the dynasty that has ruled this country, really, for 60 years now. What is really striking also is how much you get a sense that the whole city of Pyongyang, perhaps the whole country, is being mobilized to celebrate the 60-year anniversary of the Signing of the Armistice that brought an end to the Korean War. Really an entire city being mobilized for these celebrations.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON (voice-over): It is a spectacle celebrating North Korea's 21st Century brand of socialism. With a cast of thousands.

North Koreans call this the annual Arirang games. This year's theme is victory. Victory is what Pyongyang calls the Signing of the Armistice, which brought an end to the Korean War in 1953. (On camera): This is a mass collectiveness way of national unity and North Korean political will. And it's also a message that 60 years after the Korean War, this country is still here.

(Voice-over): The biggest applause of the night goes to North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong-Un, third in a dynasty that rules this country and the man held here as the, quote, "fearless brilliant commander," who leads the fight against what the government calls American imperialism.

In the crowd, veterans of past conflicts. And on stage members of the country's next generation. Rich with propaganda, this performance includes a celebration of North Korea's missile technology and its controversial nuclear program.

One of the closing acts of this year's Arirang games, an appeal for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, a reminder that for all the talk of victory in the stadium, North and South Korea are still as divided as ever.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON: And what's also fascinating here is that the North Koreans have also -- often described their effort in the Korean War as a purely North Korean effort. Now there is a lot of emphasis being given to the hundreds of thousands of Chinese who also fight against the U.S. and its allies during that war.

Chinese veterans are here as well as one Russian veteran, who was a Soviet anti-aircraft gunner, who was shooting at American planes during the war, and one American Navy pilot, also visiting this country for the first time in 60 years since the conflict -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's obviously still a very tense time on the Korean Peninsula, Ivan, right now. But are you getting any indications that the North Koreans would like to ease some of those tensions?

WATSON: It's very hard to tell right now, Wolf. We're hearing from some of the minders that we talked to that yes, of course, North Korea wants to reach out, improve relations, that it's under terrible impression by what everybody here describes as U.S. imperialism.

What's interesting is that the Chinese vice president, he came to visit here. China, of course, North Korea's closest ally. And he has called for resumption of the six-party talks aimed at trying to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

What it will be really interesting is to hear whether or not North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-Un, whether or not he will have some kind of response to that request at the military parade we're expecting to see here in just a few hours.

BLITZER: Ivan Watson in Pyongyang. It's not often we get to -- we get to send one of our reporters there. Not only is he there but he's there reporting live from the North Korean capital.

We'll check back with you tomorrow, Ivan. Thanks very much.

Coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM, we have details of a plea bargain by the man who held three women captive in this Cleveland home for a decade.

We're also going live to the Lincoln Memorial right here in the nation's capital. It has been attacked by vandals.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: For the first time we're now hearing directly from the Ohio man accused of kidnapping three women, holding them captive for a decade. Ariel Castro appeared in court today and agreed to plead guilty to 937 counts in exchange for life in prison, plus -- plus 1,000 years.

Castro seemed noticeably more engaged than in previous court appearances, even at one point publicly admitting he has a sexual problem.

Our national correspondent Gary Tuchman is joining us now. He was in the courtroom. He's got the latest information.

Gary, how did it go?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Castro was certainly more engaged compared to other times in courts. He was a relative chatter box. The judge questioned him for about an hour and 15 minutes to make sure he understood this plea bargain. And he talked quite a bit. But this is the most important part. He never, absolutely never, sounded contrite. He never sounded that he felt badly about what he had done.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN (voice-over): With glasses on his nose, a shuffling Ariel Castro walked into a Cleveland courtroom, shackles on his leg, handcuffs on his wrists, and with plea agreement details in his head.

JUDGE MICHAEL RUSSO, CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO: Mr. Castro, I understand from meeting with your counsel and counsel for the state is that a plea agreement has been reached in this matter. Are you fully aware of the terms and do you consent to that plea agreement?

ARIEL CASTRO, DEFENDANT: I am fully aware and I do consent to it.

RUSSO: You understand that by virtue of the plea, you'll not be having a trial.

CASTRO: I am aware of that.

TUCHMAN: Castro pleaded guilty to all the 900-plus counts against him, including kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder for the miscarriage one of his victims had when she was made pregnant by him. In exchange for Castro's plea, the death penalty was taken off the table. He'll receive a life sentence plus 1,000 years, no chance of parole.

One of his victims, Amanda Berry, gave birth to a daughter while on captivity who was on Christmas day 2006. Castro stunned the courtroom when he stated this during the hearing.

CASTRO: I'd like to say that I miss my daughter very much.

TUCHMAN: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight did not want to have to go through the ordeal of testifying at the trial, which was scheduled to start a week from Monday. Hence, the prosecution's motivation for a plea bargain.

In a statement, the victims said they are relieved by today's plea and are looking forward to having these legal proceedings draw to a final close in the near future.

The official sentencing will take place next Thursday.

CASTRO: I don't necessary --

TUCHMAN: But on this day Castro was fairly talkative and appeared unemotional, nonchalant and downright strange at times.

CASTRO: When I first got arrested and interviewed, I told Mister -- was it Dave? I said to Dave that I was willing to work with the FBI and I would tell them everything. I knew I was going to get pretty much the book thrown at me. There's some things that I have to -- I don't comprehend because of my sexual problem throughout my whole years. I would like to state that I was also a victim as a child and it just -- kept going.

RUSSO: That's certainly something you can bring up at your sentencing hearing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: So, next week, the official sentencing. At that sentencing, he will have a chance, Castro, to make a statement, to talk kind of like he's been talking about today.

We should tell you, the victims of course have every right to make a statement at the final sentence. Prosecutors tell us that the victims will be represented. That's all they're saying right now. They weren't there -- they weren't here today, the three young women. But they will be represented.

Well, we don't know if that means that one, two or three of them will be here, but they will have the right to make a statement. And one more thing he talked about the 6-year-old girl, the 6-year-old daughter with Amanda Berry. Prosecutors say that Castro has a zero percent chance of visitation with that girl -- Wolf.

BLITZER: He'll never see her. All right. So he's going spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole, right?

TUCHMAN: Basically 11 lifetimes. Life plus 1,000 years. No parole hearing will ever be held for this man. The only way he'll ever get out is if he escapes.

BLITZER: Gary Tuchman in Cleveland for us. Thank you, Gary.

Here in Washington, a landmark, the Lincoln Memorial, vandalized sometime overnight. Someone splattered paint on the statue of the 16th president of the United States.

CNN's Erin McPike is on the scene for us. She's joining us right now.

Erin, the monument was closed for a time. Has it reopened?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is open. And there are actually a lot of tourists on the steps of the monument right now. I did talk to some of those tourists earlier this morning and they were really upset about this, disgusted about how this monument could be vandalized. Listen to what Carol Johnson of the National Park Service had to say earlier today about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROL JOHNSON, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: From a personal level, it breaks my heart is that somebody would do this. Especially this year, 50th anniversary of the march on Washington. It's heartbreaking. And you know the -- at anytime these national treasures are -- need to be protected. People come from all over the world to see them.

And, you know, it's just disturbing that someone would do this. And, you know, I'm not sure what else to say except the Park Service, you know, takes great pride in taking care of these national icons. And anything like this is devastating to us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCPIKE: Now the good news is that, although there is still green paint on Abe, they say he's going to make it. There's no permanent damage. There's been a power washer up there all day. And there's still suds on Abe. They're cleaning him up but they think he'll be in good shape by tomorrow -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Do they have a suspect? Do they have a motive? What do they know about this?

MCPIKE: No motive. What we do have is surveillance video. The park security is reviewing that video. And they say that they will release it to the public if they need help catching a culprit -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Erin McPike at the Lincoln Memorial. One of my favorites here in Washington. I'm sure they'll do an excellent job cleaning it up.

When we come back an emotional appeal to President Obama by the father of the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden.

And safety concerns about America's bridges after one woman's terrifying accident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN LAKE, CRASH SURVIVOR: I got a good scream in because I just knew if I was going over the bridge I wasn't going to make it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Here is a look at this hour's "Hot Shots." A hot air balloon flies over France during an annual international air balloon meeting. Celebrations take place in Cambodia in front of the Independence Monument at a pre-election rally. Flames flair in North Dakota as workers drill for oil and natural gas. And as heat sweeps across Britain, one elephant tries to cool down at the zoo.

"Hot Shots," pictures coming in from around the world.

Driving across a bridge can be a nerve-wracking experience for some drivers and with good reason. We are about to meet a woman who survived a horrifying accident that's sparking new questions about bridge safety.

Let's go to CNN's Rene Marsh.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, after a woman and her car fell off a major bridge in Maryland, one auto group is questioning whether the federal height requirement is adequate for barriers on that bridge and all bridges nationwide.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH (voice-over): Within three blinks, 22-year-old Morgan Lake went from the eastbound lane of Maryland's Bay Bridge to free falling 40 feet into the Chesapeake Bay below.

LAKE: I got a good scream in because I just knew if I was going over the bridge, I wasn't going to make it.

MARSH: A tractor trailer rear-ended her 2007 Chrysler. The force pushing her car up and over the barrier. As her mouth filled with water, she decided she didn't want to die.

LAKE: I also in the vision just my family for a second. I just felt God touch my shoulder as -- as he relaxed me and I unbuckled my seatbelt with my right arm.

MARSH: The water, seven to 10 feet deep. Bystanders captured the moment Lake swam to a bed of rocks.

LON ANDERSON, AAA MID-ATLANTIC: We have to go back and remember the basic purpose of a bridge. And that's to get a driver from point A to point B dry when -- if the bridge doesn't keep you out of the water, then it's failed.

MARSH: AAA called on the National Transportation Safety Board to look at the safety of this bridge to determine if the current federal requirements for the height of the barriers are adequate here and nationwide.

(On camera): At its highest point, the Bay Bridge is about 186 feet high. And you see those barriers? They're two feet, 10 inches. For drivers, this is ranked one of the scariest bridges to go over in the U.S.

(Voice-over): That's where Alex Robinson comes in. For $30 each way, he drives people across the bridge.

ALEX ROBINSON, DRIVER: They have just this anxiety, this phobia. Every time they come to the bridge they don't want to drive it.

MARSH: Since the accident, he's seen a spike in business. As for Lake, realizing how close she came to death brings her to tears.

LAKE: It's a mixture of making it, being an inspiration to people, sharing my story and it's scary.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH: The NTSB says they're working with the Maryland Transportation Authority to determine if there are any nationwide safety issues that need to be addressed -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Good report. Rene Marsh, reporting for us. Thanks very much.