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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

News on Christopher Lane Killing; Gay American Journalist Kicked Off Russian TV; Chemical Weapons Used In Syria?; Interview with John McCain

Aired August 23, 2013 - 20:00   ET

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


JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Ashleigh, thanks.

Tonight, one man's murder, was he killed for thrills, a gang initiation or simply the color of his skin? A lot of opinions. We got breaking news on the racial angle, some late-breaking facts.

Also, tonight, the parents of Trayvon Martin weigh in on claims as the victim should be seen as the white version of their late son.

And later, proof, out on tape, that life sometimes sucks.

But first up tonight, breaking news in the killing of an Australian exchange student that sparked two very different controversies on two far away continents.

In Australia the focus is on America's gun culture. Here at home, at least in some circles, the focus is on race.

Breaking news on that and late word from one local official who you will hear from shortly, who does not, repeat does not, believe race played a factor. Whether it settled the question, though, remains to be seen. But one undisputed fact, it is the killing is just mainly tragic.

Christopher Lane died in a ditch, shot in the back while jogging along the road in Duncan, Oklahoma. The only saving grace, he did not die alone.

Richard Rods found him and perform CPR, tried his best to comfort him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD RODS, I said Chris, Chris, hey, hey, buddy, stay with me, man and he would come up and gasp for air and he would gasp for like 30 to 40 seconds in between, you know, and I knew there was something wrong. We need to do something quick. And so I blew in his face, you know, and he would come up and gasp for air, come on, buddy, stay with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That interview was published on the Web site of the Sydney, Australia Herald, the paper and others in Australia, full of criticism of what Australians call America's easy access to guns. Back home, though, conservative critics see this case, were racial lens.

Two of the three young suspects is African-American, the youngest of whom, 15-year-old, James Edwards has a number of racially inflammatory tweets to his name. Ninety percent of White people are nasty, he writes in one, #hatethem and with my "n" words when it comes to taking lives.

Like I said, racially inflammatory which has led some to compare this to the Trayvon Martin. And I asked why President Obama has weighed one and not the other. Here is a heated debate among some opinion maker, largely on the right.

Here is the late breaking fact when it comes, as I mentioned, from local authorities. I spoke just a short time ago with the district attorney handling this case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON HICKS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, STEPHEN COUNTY, OKLAHOMA: I don't believe that this is a racial crime at all. I have nothing in any of my files, any of the paperwork, any of the audio recordings that we have that would suggest that Christopher Lane was killed either because of his race or his nationality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That's the chief prosecutor. But again, his word likely won't be the last word. We'll debate the question shortly.

First though, more on suspects James Edwards and the question of another motive, gang initiation.

Here is Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If James Edwards was such a good kid, a top athlete with an outgoing personality, how did this 15-year-old ended up being charged with felony first-degree murder.

Danielle Crudup is Edward's sister.

DANIELLE CRUDUP, JAMES EDWARDS' SISTER: He just started hanging out with all the, you know, wrong crowd and they was in some deuce block gang or whatever, you know, and he just wanted to -- I guess he was going through an identity crisis.

KAYE (on camera): The deuce block gang is really more of a clique than gang she says. In fact, when we asked the Duncan chief of police about gang activity in town, he told me, there aren't really any gangs here, just a bunch of want to be gang members.

(voice-over): Still, in the last six months Danielle says her brother really changed from honor student and star wrestler to this.

CRUDUP: I've never seen him wear his pants below his waist. I never seen him wearing -- you know, it was just not him, you know. He was --

KAYE: Did we want to be a gang member?

CRUDUP: No, he just wanted to fit in.

KAYE: Maybe so. But look at this, on Edwards' facebook page we found this photo posted this year. That's Edwards along with one of the other suspects in the Chance Luna. They appear to be flashing gang signs.

Ryan Benton is a youth pastor at First Christian church. He told me Edwards came here to pray and take part in youth programs. But Edwards came around less often in the last six months, Benton says, after he was expelled from school and told he couldn't wrestle.

RYAN BENTON, YOUTH PASTOR: For him, wrestling was his life, and with the possibility of him not being able to pursue that because of him being expelled, I could see where it would possibly take him down a bad road and not to mention, have more time to hang out with people that weren't a good influence on him.

KAYE: Like some of the people at Elm Street apartments where Edwards and the others are believed to have hangout with the wrong crowd.

BENTON: They got an opportunity to feel like they are more important with that group than what they feel in the rest of their life. And so it's almost a -- it's almost a wowing, if you will, of giving them a place where they feel like they fit in, belong and they have power.

KAYE: Was it power or pure evil that allegedly drove these teenagers to kill? On August 15th, just one day before the shooting, Edwards wrote on his facebook page I've never been this mad in my life. What was he so angry about? That same day he posted this, bang two drops in two hours. Edward's sister wishes she had gotten to him sooner. She spoke to him from jail on Wednesday.

CRUDUP: He just cries and cries and cries and he is like man, I'm sorry. And he was like nobody deserves that. We should have never been out doing that in the first place. He said sis, it wasn't even my idea. I was just riding with the guys.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN. Duncan, Oklahoma.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Digging deeper now with criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, conservative blogger, Crystal Wright, and Michaela Angela Davis, editorial brand manager to BET Network.

Mark, let me start with you. The Duncan police chief, Danny Fort, says one of the suspect told authorities they did this because they were quote "bored." You heard the DA saying he doesn't see race involved. Could it be that straight, open and shut?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, there is a lot of people who probably don't want it to be that open and shut. I think given some of the things that I have at least earned there or out there, somebody could make this into a race or racial crime or hate crime, but I think if you got a DA whose there, who has got the wind at his back and who knows the facts, at least at this point I would defer to the D.A. And unfortunately, and I say this with a lot of regret that it sounds like it could be that simple and that's the extremely disconcerting.

KING: Fifteen, 16, 17-year-olds, suspects, yet the two charged with murder being charged as adults. Does that surprise you?

GERAGOS: No, not at all. You know, that's been a real trend in this country in the last 20 years to go lower and lower in ages and make those people adults. I mean, that is contrary, frankly, through the biological research that shows especially among males that they don't really fully form, or at least their brains don't until they are 25 or so. you know, it's unfortunate but I will tell you, if you're in the criminal justice system, you see it all the time. This is a national and international story in terms of its attraction to the media. Unfortunately, it happens way too often on an everyday basis in the criminal justice system.

KING: Crystal, it's sad and we can't jump the gun here, innocent until proven guilty. Sad to look at the young faces. You say that it's not a gun problem but a breakdown of the Black family. How so?

CRYSTAL WRIGHT, CONSERVATIVE BLOGGER: Well, I want to go back to a little bit what Mark was saying. And you know, this is about race. It might not necessarily be a hate crime but it is very much about race. And what bothers me and strikes me about the media's whole characterization about this case is never once do we hear about the fact, that two of the killers are Black, two Black teens killing a young White male and when we contrast that to Trayvon Martin, the news media rushed to judgment really quickly. And they said before charges were even brought against George Zimmerman, remember, it was a White man who savagely gunned down a young Black teen. And I think what this tells us is that America has gotten used to and numb to the fact that young Black males are doing the killing.

And that, however, at the same time when the news media reports on a crime, a heinous crime like we see where Christopher Lane, there is no acknowledgement of the reason why young Black males are killing. And you danced -- you know, dancing around the fact. Let's be politically correct.

This was a heinous, savage crime and the fact is, James Edwards did post White hate on his facebook page, on his twitter account, and he glorified hip-hop, which is also part of the problem. So yes, the fact that 73 percent of all Black babies are born into households that where they don't have two parents is a huge problem. And I want to know when are we going to honestly talk about the problem? And Mark, it's not -- it is open and shut? So it's open and shut when a Black -- when Black kids kill a White boy, it's open and shut. But it's not -- oh, God, it's not open and shut when we know that White -- and George Zimmerman, by the way, was not White. Remember, he was conveniently recast as a White-Hispanic, right?

I mean, the case should have never been brought to trial. I'm just -- this makes me upset to my core because this is a setback for race relations in America on the 50th anniversary of what Martin Luther King fought for.

KING: Michaela, jump into the conversation here because you have now -- you have now this one being thrown into the political debate, like Trayvon Martin, this, for better or worse. You have a lot of conservatives saying where is Jesse Jackson, where is Al Sharpton, African-American leaders getting blow back saying, you know, they jumped into the Trayvon Martin case demanding action. Where are they now? I'm having a hard time with this one. But do you see a parallel?

MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, EDITORIAL BRAND MANAGER, BET NETWORK: No, I don't. I'm actually having a hard time to sort of managing what all the different things that Crystal just put into the pot, and, you know, when --

WRIGHT: I'm sure you are.

DAVIS: When civil rights leaders speck out there is usually an injustice in place, right? So in this case they have been arrested. They are not waiting 45 days, you know. So the system worked. And I think what is terrible about this is that criminality is usually connected more through poverty than through race. And we've made this way of looking at Black and Brown kids kill more versus people that live in poor communities have more violence and have more crime. So we need to look at this more in a social point of view.

And also, in his hometown in Australia, they definitely saw this as a gun problem. This is a growing sentiment around the world that it's dangerous to come to America because you can be gunned down, the sentiment that there is a gun for every American.

So, I think the issue is we have got three young men who are in a horrific place mentally, emotionally, what is wrong with our boys? And why are they so violent? And why can they get guns? And it's easier for them to get a gun than vote. These are the issues. It's bottom feeding to make this about race. Sometimes it is --

WRIGHT: Well, OK, but --

DAVIS: But this is such is a stretch --

WRIGHT: It's not a stretch.

DAVIS: That everyone, even the DA, even in Australia, even his family doesn't see it as race. So, I think that we should really deal with what is at hand and how can this help our community versus shaming the president, shaming leaders, shaming, you know, shamming community.

WRIGHT: Let's talk about facts. I'm going to agree with you.

KING: Just -- I'm not sure it's a healthy thing at all when the politicians jump into these cases although I think I understand the president's personal comments when it comes to Trayvon Martin.

Mark, go ahead. You want to make the point.

GERAGOS: I was going to say, injecting politics, you know, this is part of the problem with the criminal justice system. We politicized the criminal justice system.

And for Crystal to say, well it is two Blacks, remember, there was three boys involved in this case, not just two, Crystal.

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: And the Black boys were responsible for shooting at the unarmed White kid shot in the back.

GERAGOS: But, they were -- guess what, the third was not. The other thing is why --

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: He was charged with accessory to murder.

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: I think you're emotionalizing it and we should talk about facts. Facts are that according to the justice department --

GERAGOS: Crystal, why don't you just tamp it down for a second and try to talk about the facts in this case and instead of ignoring the facts in this case.

The fact is that there were three boys involved. Two were Black, one was not. Why don't you talk about the facts that they were arrested immediately, unlike Trayvon Martin who bears no resemblance to Trayvon Martin, except you got Black and White. The justice system, at least so far is working. The people who alleged to be responsible were arrested first and you ask questions later.

WRIGHT: John, can I address facts, please?

KING: Sure, let's address facts. Go ahead.

WRIGHT: OK. Two things, first of all, according to the justice department, young Black men are six times more likely than young White men to be victims of homicide and young Black men are seven times more likely to kill with a gun.

Second of all, Mark, what did the jurors say after the Trayvon Martin trial was over? That this case never should have been brought to trial. Charges never should have been filed, and when the FBI investigated, did an investigation last year on the killing of Trayvon Martin, they found race was not a motivation in it. And I really take offense at what was just said about oh, this is a problem, yes, it is a problem with young Black males. It is a problem with young Black males because they are doing the majority of the killing and they are doing the majority of the terrorizing in inner cities like in Chicago. Black on Black crime is what we all should be outraged, frankly, if we believe in saving young live.

But I don't see this outrage when Hadiya Pendleton was gunned down. Where was the president giving remarks on that? And frankly, the president needs to call the family of Christopher Lane and I think we deserve comments about this because --

DAVIS: But wait a minute, there is a young man being shot right now. The president --

WRIGHT: No, it is not wait a minute. Why isn't he talking --

KING: Michaela, jump in.

DAVIS: The president can't make a phone call every time a young man is killed --

WRIGHT: Oh, oh, really? He did with Trayvon.

DAVIS: These are two very different cases.

WRIGHT: No, they are not.

DAVIS: Unfortunately, the way that violence is happening so rampantly in all our communities of all races. And the president would never get off the phone if he called every person.

WRIGHT: So he shouldn't have stuck his neck out like John said on Trayvon Martin, period. It's not a very different case.

DAVIS: This is the different case, meaning, the president felt the entire community and entire world was mourning with Trayvon Martin, was mourning at Sandy Hook. They are bigger issues when you ask the president.

WRIGHT: No, Australia and the United States are mourning over Christopher Lane. This is sad. This is hypocritical. I can't even believe you're saying this.

KING: I'm going to end this conversation tonight, but as the case goes forward, I think we'll air out the disagreements over everything, whether it is the charges, whether it is race a factor, whether it is the politicians should get involved.

DAVIS: Guns.

KING: Mark, Chris, Angela, Michaela Angela Davis, Crystal Wright, Mark Geragos, thanks so much.

Thank you all. We will continue this conversation next with the parents of Trayvon Martin.

And later, he said the killing was for Jihad. The fort hood killer, here is the verdict from a military jury. Details of that ahead

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Next week is the 50th anniversary of the landmark moment in the civil rights movement, the march on Washington for jobs and freedom.

It was Wednesday, August 28th, 1963 hundreds of thousands of people at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. famously declaring "I have a dream." It's a dream only partially fulfilled of conversation still very much on going over many, many issues, real and perceive, including New York's Stop-and- Frisk program, the Trayvon Martin case and now, as you've just heard, the killing of Christopher Lane.

Earlier tonight I spoke with Trayvon Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. Also with them the Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Thank you for joining us.

Sybrina, I want to start with you. There is another big case in the news now. It is a murder in Oklahoma of a White guy from Australia who was here. He was out for a run, and he's murdered, and there are a lot of people, especially on the right, saying this is reverse Trayvon Martin. Do you see any comparison to these cases?

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTI'S MOTHER: I really don't know about the story. I haven't heard about the story. But it really doesn't matter to the parents of what color the shooter is. The parents are going to receive a loss, you know, the loss of their child. So it really doesn't matter what color the hand is that shoots the gun. It's the tremendous, you know, pain that they are going to suffer from the loss.

KING: It may be inevitable Tracy, but when you hear the news and people try to draw some connection or some comparison, does it bother you?

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FATHER: In a way it does, and in a way it doesn't. With everything going on today, each case is unique in it is own right. I am not going to say our case is different than anyone else's. A crime is a crime, and that's what we're trying to channel a lot of negative energy to advocate against all the senseless violence that is going on. So, just to separate our case from other cases, that would be selfish of us when we're, in fact, trying to advocate against senseless crimes. KING: Ben, if you look largely from the right, you see Rush Limbaugh, you see others, and they say where is the president in this case? Where is Al Sharpton? Where is Reverend Jackson?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: You know, when you look at that case, I am somewhat -- just learning about it yesterday. The police arrested the killers. They are doing their job. They said they will throw the book at them, give them the maximum. The reason 2.2 million people signed the petition, John, on change.org was because the police say they would not arrest the killer of Trayvon Martin. So, there is the difference.

KING: What does it mean to you, personally, to be invited here for the 50th anniversary for the march on Washington, to have your son and this tragic case now linked to a historic event and what many called the next chapter of the civil rights union. As you answer, address the critics who would say, you know, this case was about self- defense, not about civil rights?

FULTON: It's an honor to be here, first of all. It's an honor to be here. It is an honor to be amongst other families who have suffered a loss and have done something positive with their loss. That's what we're trying to do with our foundation, with the Trayvon Martin foundation.

So, it's important that we link that, we connect together so that, you know. we can understand what happened, so we can move forward. It's very difficult to move forward. And I guess, if you're not actually sitting in that seat, it's very difficult for other people to understand. So it's easy for them to sit back and criticize what has happened because they are not involved. Lord forbid, if anything happens to their child, then it will be a totally different story.

KING: Oprah went as far as comparing the killing of Trayvon to the killing of Emit Till.

MARTIN: It has similarities. I think that Mrs. Till had to go to extraordinary lengths to get some sort of justice. I think it was a decade that she had to wait just to get a little justification in Emmett Till's death.

In our case, we had to go through extraordinary lengths to just get a simple arrest, and we try to say that here is the measuring stick, how is American justice now? How far has American justice come? And being here this week on the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington, even though we've come a long way, we still have a far ways to go.

KING: And when you hear the chatter, Ben, as I was asking Sybrina, this was about self-defense and not civil rights, what would you say?

CRUMP: I would certainly say you look at the circumstances of Trayvon being profiled not just by his killer but by our institution of criminal justice. That's the big problem here. They profiled him and that was terrible when you think about it. They didn't do the blood test, the alcohol analysis on the shooter. They were very just in their mind just going to let him go home and go to bed. And what everybody was saying, if they reversed these facts, no way would they let Trayvon go home and go to bed. They would arrest him. So, this is a civil rights issue.

KING: Thank you all for your time. And hope you enjoy the weekend.

MARTIN: Thank you, John.

FULTON: Thank you.

CRUMP: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Just a quick note, if you want to learn more about the Trayvon Martin foundation, you can find it online at TrayvonMartinfoundation.org.

Up next, Anderson's interview with James Kirchick. He is gay American journalist who was kicked off Russian television after going rogue.

Also, the jury in the trial of army major Nidal Hasan has spoken.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Tonight, a "Keeping Them Honest" story that is getting a lot of attention. James Kirchick, a gay American journalist was invited by Russia's state-funded English language television network, RT, to talk about the Bradley Manning verdict, but Kirchick had other plans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, James, let me ask you the same position (inaudible) and question.

JAMES KIRCHICK, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Yes, well Harvey Fierstein is a very famous American playwright and actor. He said that being silent in the face of the evil is something that we can't do. And so, you know, being here on the Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I'm going to wear my gay pride suspenders and speak out against the horrific anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law, that was passed unanimously by the Russian DUMA that criminalizes homosexual propaganda, effectively makes it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public. We seen violent attacks --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: James, of course, we'll discuss it later -- but what about Bradley Manning first?

KIRCHICK: You know, I'm not really interested in talking about Bradley Manning. I'm interested in talking about the horrific environment of homophobia in Russia right now. And to let the Russians know they have friends from people around the world and we won't be silenced by the perpetrated by your pay masters, by Vladimir Putin. I don't know as a journalist you can go to sleep at night seeing what happens to journalist in Russia who are harassed --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: James, you have to come over here and --

KIRCHICK: And how you can go to sleep tonight. You should be ashamed of yourself. Everyone that works at this network should be ashamed of themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to go and talk about Bradley Manning and the verdict. We're waiting for the verdict.

KIRCHICK: You have 24 hours a day to lie about the United States and ignore who what is happening in Russia. I'll take my 2 minutes and tell the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have that absolutely. Are you ready to have a conversation about Bradley Manning right now with the panel we've assembled?

KIRCHICK: RT has been Bradley Manning 24/7. I don't see anything on your network --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: James --

KIRCHICK: -- but violence and hostility towards gay people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lames, last Monday we held a panel discussion on the program about the laws. You'll find it informative. You can find it on YouTube. We had representatives from the LGBT community.

KIRCHIK: Who can't say -- they can't say -- they can't make these comments on Russian television. They can't write --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Might not surprise you as that continued, his audio was cut off, a columnist of the "New York Daily News" and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Initiative is in a Stockholm studio at that time. He says the Swedish camera crew and many others gave him a standing ovation. Anderson spoke to James Kirchick a bit earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360": James, I mean, I said this to you before we went on air, that was kind of the most amazing television -- couple minutes on television that I've seen in a long, long time. This was obviously something you planned before hand right? You probably don't carry rainbow suspenders everywhere you go?

JAMES KIRCHICK, FELLOW, FOREIGN POLICY INSTITUTE: No, actually I'm on vacation at the time I was in Stockholm yesterday and they asked me to go on, talk about Bradley Manning and normally I have a rule I don't go on RT or press TV who which are propaganda TVs, but I figured because of the situation in Russia I would abridge that rule. So I hatched this plan, and I spent the day looking for some sort of gay pride props. I took them to the studio.

COOPER: Were you nervous?

KIRCHICK: No, I don't consider what I did were brave or courageous. Those are words that should be used for people in Russia right now risking their lives to combat these laws.

COOPER: One of the things about what RT is doing in their coverage is essentially excusing this law. I mean, repeatedly in the little bit that they have covered, they basically are making excuses for the Kremlin. They say over and over again that the laws aren't as bad as they are in other countries and say the situations for gays in Russia isn't as bad as some country. It's Russia phobia from the west and this is designed to protect children although anybody can explain how this law protects children.

KIRCHICK: Exactly. And the other point of what I did was to not only draw attention to this law RT. I'm 29 and it is popular among people of my generation. You know, we're naturally skeptical and want to challenge authority and RT very cynically plays on those motives by spouting this conspiratorial anti-western propaganda on a daily basis and developed huge following among people who may not really understand what the network is really about, which is promoting a Putin again to and policy.

COOPER: It seems strange to have anchors, they didn't seem Russian. I don't know where they are hired from but they are defending this and the guy, he says well, a week ago we had a panel with some gay people on it.

KIRCHICK: Right.

COOPER: If the last time they covered this was a week ago, that doesn't say very much for them.

KIRCHICK: Not only that, but the coverage of it, as you said is so distorted and bias it's not honestly covering any story related to Russia or America. Anyone from a democratic free country who goes to work for RT should not call themselves a journalist. They should be ashamed of themselves on a constant basis and any journalist who goes on RT should go on with contempt and do what I did and speak the truth and expose these propagandas for what they are.

COOPER: James, again, it was a remarkable moment and I appreciate you coming on to talk about it. Thanks.

KIRCHICK: Thank you very having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: I'll second that emotion from Anderson there.

Up next, President Obama and Senator John McCain on the alleged poison gas attacks in Syria and the giant sink hole with an appetite, there it is, for trees.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Tonight, there is mounting international pressure on the Syrian government over allegations it attacked an opposition stronghold with chemical weapons. CNN obtained graphic video from ITV that may be difficult for many of you to watch, but we believe it's important for the world to see. ITV says the video was shot by a credible, independent film maker and journalist and shows the immediate aftermath of the alleged attack. Bodies of men, women and small children can be seen.

Opposition groups claim the attack on Wednesday killed more than 1,300 people and injured 5,000. The regime calls these allegations baseless, but today the United Nations demanded that its investigators have immediate access to the location before the potential evidence deteriorates. Here's what President Obama told CNN's Chris Cuomo this morning, an exclusive interview on "NEW DAY."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are right now gathering information about this particular event, but I can say that unlike some of the evidence that we were trying to get earlier that led to a U.N. investigator going into Syria. What we've seen indicates that this is clearly a big vent with grave concern. What I do believe is that although the situation in Syria is very difficult, and the notion that the U.S. can somehow solve what is a complex problem inside of Syria, sometimes is over stated. There is no doubt that when you start seeing chemical weapons used on a large scale and again, we're still gathering information about this particular event, but it is very troublesome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: CNN has been told tonight the Pentagon has given the president an updated list of military options, including strikes should he chose to act. Let's bring in a voice now. Senator John McCain Republican of Arizona joins us on the phone tonight. What is your take on what the president said? On one hand it's a big event of grave concern but said you need to go to the United Nations, you need prove, you can't do it alone. Was he moving forward or being too cautious in your view?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: No, I felt for a long time the president is not only too cautious, but he's lost credibility because the president said a year ago said if he used chemical weapons he would cross that line. We know he's already done that and there has been absolute proof he's already done that. So it should have surprised no one if he does it again in far greater impact, and he will do it again because we have given him, instead of a red line, we've given him a green light and to do that and many other atrocities committed.

I remind we you have over a million child refugees and over 100,000 killed. When we do nothing not only do they have a green light, but this gives a green light to brutal dictators all over the world they can do the same thing without -- we may be unleashing weapons of mass destruction in other parts of the world. I don't believe the United States can quote solve it, but obviously, two years ago, the president said he had to leave. A year ago he said it would be a red light if they used chemical weapons and then we prove that they did.

So there is no credibility anymore and for the president to rely on the kind of advice he's getting from the chief of staff will dissuade him because he will get a requirement list that does not in any way comport with the realities of what we need to do. The Israelis struck four times inside Syria at weapons that were being transported. The Institute for the Study of War and General Keen and others have shown us with a minimal amount of missiles, we can neutralize the air capabilities.

KING: You watched a lot of policy fights play out in your time in Washington. You mentioned General Dempsey's reluctant and this is Susan Rice in a tweet tonight, what is Bashar Al-Assad hiding? The world is demanding an independent investigation of the attack immediately. She went on to tweet otherwise we'll conclude that Assad is guilty. A similar aggressive sounding tweet, are those who want intervention in the administration trying to suede this argument by going public?

MCCAIN: I hope so. I hope so because they are deeply offended as we should be. I wish every American could have had the terrible experience and I and Lindsey Graham and others have had going to these refugee camps where there are tens of thousands of people just living in the most incredible conditions. By the way, it's turning -- the president is right in this respect. It's turning into a regional conflict. It's spreading throughout the region, and that, of course, has serious consequences for all of us and turning into a region conflict.

KING: Chris Cuomo directly raised your concerns with the president of the United States in that interview. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm sympathetic to Senator McCain's passion for helping people work through what is an extraordinary difficult and heart-breaking situation, but what I think the American people also expect me to do as president is to think through what we do from the perspective of what is in our long- long-term national interests. We see folks will call for immediate action, jump into stuff that does not turn out well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: For today, Senator, let me give you the last word. How do you respond to the president?

MCCAIN: It's been two years now, and the president said, as I mentioned before, that it would be a red light if he used chemical weapons. He has, again, by the way, I don't -- I'm confident the U.N. inspectors won't be allowed in by Assad and to say we're calling for immediate action after two years of slaughter, 100,000 people massacred, hundreds of thousands wounded, Lebanon and Jordan and Iraq destabilized and the return of al Qaeda and Islamist extremist flowing in to Syria, there are good people. If we give them a safe zone and take out Assad's air power without putting a single boot on the ground or American life in danger, we can do that and if we don't, I think you'll see a regional conflict that will sooner or later impact the United States of America.

KING: John McCain of Arizona. Thank you for your time and thoughts.

MCCAIN: Thank you, John.

KING: Thank you, Senator.

Ahead, now you see them, now you don't. Watch here. That's a sinkhole swallowing a big clump of trees. I'll talk to the official that shot that.

The National Zoo's newest arrival, yes, the panda cam is up and running.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Up close tonight, you would swear it's a special effect but this is as real as it gets. Going all in. Wow. This happened in the Louisiana bayou. The sink hole was discovered last august and been growing since. The video shot by director of homeland security. John, your video is incredible. You shot it with an iPhone, about 3.8 million people have viewed it since posted on Wednesday. Take us through what is happening, you are standing there and wow?

JOHN BOUDREAUX, DIRECTOR OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, ASSUMPTION PARISH: We were at the site earlier that afternoon. That is what we call a burp on the sink hole where debris and hydro carbon came up and we were following up late that afternoon on that burp, and we saw indications that we were going to have a slough in and I happened to have my phone with me, and I shot that video.

KING: Ever see anything like this before?

BOUDREAUX: I have. This is not the first time I saw it slough in. It was the first time I was able to video it, and it gave me the indications that it was going to happen, to have my iPhone ready. So I've seen it before but this is the first time I caught it on video.

KING: How big is this now?

BOUDREAUX: It's, my estimate it was 24 acres before this active think this week. I suspect it's probably grown another up to five acres with this recent activity from the weekend until yesterday, so close to 30 acres.

KING: And tell our viewers what is causing this. BOUDREAUX: The -- it is adjacent to a salt dome where a cavern has breached, has a failed side wall, side wall salt that has collapsed deep below the earth and is now filling in and created this third rock zone next to the salt itself ask created the sink hole.

KING: John Boudreaux, appreciate it. Best of luck as this goes forward.

BOUDREAUX: Thank you.

KING: Thank you, sir.

Let's get an update on other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks has the 360 Bulletin.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, it took a military jury less than seven hours to convict Major Nidal Hasan on murder and attempted murder in the Fort Hood shooting rampage. It puts the death penalty on the table as a sentence.

After seven weeks of sexual harassment acquisitions, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is stepping down effective August 30th. He said he never harassed anyone and has faced a lynch knob.

A giant panda gave birth today in Washington. The baby is about the size of a stick of butter you can say and appears to be doing well and cradled by mom, can't get enough of that.

A close call aboard a fishing boat in the Dominican Republican as fishermen were trying to reel in the blue marlin, look what happens. It jumped on the boat and the spear like snot barely missed one of the men.

KING: I think they would have rather seen the baby panda.

HENDRICKS: Right.

KING: Thanks so much. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That does it for this edition of 360. Join us again for Anderson's interview with Antoinette Tuff and the 911 operator that helped. The face-to-face meeting after those dramatic moments on the phone, you will not be able to stop smiling. It's a truly, truly inspiring story. First, "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.