Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Top Christie Aide Signaling Political Vendetta; Texas Woman Forced to Live?; Police Union Posts Video Of Toddler Trading Insults, Profanity With Adults; Mom Credits Pot For Son's Cancer Remission, Wants To Stop Chemo; Fad Diet Crackdown: FTC Says "Miracle" Products Don't Live Up To The Hype; Utah Refuses To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages
Aired January 8, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Don, thanks very much.
Good evening, everyone. Tonight breaking news in the scandal involving America's busiest bridge. The GOP's brightest presidential hope right now, Chris Christie, and evidence that his administration played the kind of bare knuckle partisan politics that he criticizes in others.
We're "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.
Also ahead in the program, her brain-dead body is being kept alive against her wishes, against her family's wishes, because she's pregnant. We'll look at another very hard case at the intersection of life and death and the law.
And later, medical marijuana. We know it helps some people tolerate cancer treatment. The question is, can it also be a cancer treatment by itself?
In tonight's installment of our week-long series "Gone to Pot" the parents who want to take their child off chemo because they believe marijuana is curing their child's cancer.
We'll look at the medical evidence.
We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the breaking news. What started as a local traffic story became a state-wide scandal and now has gone national. At the center of it all, the world's busiest bridge and the man seen by many as the Republican Party's leading hope to win the White House in 2016.
The bridge in question is the George Washington. The man is Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey. The scandal involves lane closings from the city of Fort Lee, New Jersey, onto the bridge that tied up traffic so badly ambulance crews were complaining about being able to respond to emergencies and school buses were delayed for hours.
Now the allegation is that Christie's office and potentially, potentially the governor himself ordered those lane closings to snarl traffic as political payback because Fort Lee's mayor, a Democrat, refused to join other state-wide Democrats who were endorsing the governor.
The implication that Governor Christie is not the bipartisan uniter that his big re-election victory suggested and that he himself claimed to be.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: As your governor, it's never mattered to me where someone was from, whether they voted for me or not, what the color of their skin was or their political party. For me being governor has always been about getting the job done first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that was Governor Christie on election night promising to be governor of all the state of New Jersey, everyone, whether they voted for him or not. And here he is slamming Washington for not being more like himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: We watch a Congress at war with itself because they're unwilling to leave campaign-style politics at the capital's door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now all along, though, critics have accused the governor of doing just that -- preaching tolerance but practicing behind the scenes bare-knuckle politics.
Well, today e-mails and text messages obtained by CNN implicate some of his top staffers and appointees on precisely those grounds. About a month before the lane closings that locked down parts of New Jersey, Manhattan -- the Manhattan Bridge, Ann Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie's senior staff, writes the following e-mail to Christie appointee David Willstein at the Port Authority which runs the bridge.
"Time for traffic problems in Fort Lee," she writes. The reply from Willstein, "Got it".
Many of the e-mails and messages were redacted so we don't know who texted this to Willstein. Quote, "Is it wrong that I'm smiling?" The person writes. "No," Willstein responds. "I feel badly about the kids," the unknown person writes, talking about the kids going to school stuck on school buses.
"I guess," comes the reply from Willstein. Quote, "They are the children of Buono voters," meaning Barbara Buono, Christie's 2013 opponent. Willstein has since resigned. And up until now Governor Christie has either dodged the question of responsibility or openly mocked it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: I actually was the guy working the cones out there. You really are not serious with that question. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, this evening, though, he issued a statement blaming others. It reads, quote, "I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge."
The statement goes on, "This behavior is not representative of me or my administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions."
Now he does not in that statement include himself, even though the people now implicated are some of his top staffers and appointees.
"Keeping Them Honest," when it comes to accountability the governor has high standards for others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: When you make a mistake, you should own up to it and apologize for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's the governor chiding President Obama for what he saw as an incomplete apology for his broken health care promise.
Fort Lee's mayor, for one, isn't satisfied. He spoke with Wolf Blitzer earlier this evening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: Wouldn't you expect him to start making some phone calls to at least apologize, even if he had nothing to do with it but his senior aides did?
MAYOR MARK SOKOLICH, FT. LEE, NEW JERSEY: Wolf, don't call me. Do me a favor, don't call me but call the families who were waiting three, four times longer for emergency service agencies, when their loved ones were having heart palpitations or when their loved ones had extreme chest pains and were waiting for ambulance court to arrive.
Do me a favor, call and apologize to thousands of families whose kids were late for the first day of school and the three or four days that ensued thereafter. Call our police department and call our administrators in the school system that had to deal with this. Call the folks that had to deal with traffic Armageddon here that week.
Don't call me. It's not -- you don't have to call me. I give you a pass. Don't call me. But call those families, call those kids and call everybody else. Because Fort Lee didn't deserve it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Lots to talk about tonight with senior political analyst David Gergen, chief international correspondent John King and CNN political analyst Gloria Borger.
David, do you believe it's possible, first of all, that Christie did not know about this? That all these people around him --
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's possible. But my experience going all the way back to the Nixon days, I hesitate to make that comparison to his, that sometimes the boss does not order something, but people who -- I don't know whether Nixon ordered Watergate, but I can guarantee you that people who carried out Watergate thought that's what he would have wanted.
That there's an environment in which you find yourself sometimes when you're on staff when things don't have to be said. You sort of know.
COOPER: So --
GERGEN: Let's face it.
COOPER: So even if he didn't know about it, the fact that everybody around him thought this is the kind of thing he would want says something about him, about his leadership.
GERGEN: Well, I sure think it bears reporting on that very subject. Because it has all -- there's something about this that's so petty. And so vindictive. And it feeds into this narrative that has been building up sort of Sub Rosa that he's a bully. And I think he's now -- you know, he's on the defensive. He's going to have to find some way to diffuse this to prove he doesn't run a shop like that.
And I hope for his sake, you know, his candidacy does not rise or fall on this issue. Rather see it on more substantive issues.
COOPER: And, John, I mean, it's one thing to be seen as a bully for things that are right. I mean a bully for trying to do things right for the people of New Jersey as many people would traditionally have seen them. But to be a bully on something so petty and vindictive in an election where he was going to win anyway, that's a whole other matter.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And now you have the suggestion that perhaps first responders were delayed. Perhaps they were late getting an ambulance to a 91-year-old woman having a heart attack. And so you have petty, you have vindictive, you have harsh, you have mean.
These are the words being thrown around, Anderson, and not just by Democrats but they're being thrown about Republicans who don't like or don't trust Chris Christie. So he is at a defining moment. How he handles this in the next 24 to 48 hours in terms of firing those responsible because he said he would and then as the investigation unfolds he'd better be -- I'll use the word damn sure that there's nothing that ties him to this.
If he handles it decisively and then it sits down and calmly answers questions and doesn't berate the reporters who ask them then he has a chance to be a leader who dealt with a crisis and he moves on. But if that perception starts to stick in, that's not a presidential temperament and that's bad for him nationally in his perspective, it's bad for him as he starts his new term in New Jersey, and it's bad for him with the audience he needs to care about most politically long term at the moment. And that's the Republican base that he wants them to make him their nominee.
COOPER: Gloria, you're looking into those EMS allegations. What are you hearing?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Four EMS responses were delayed considerably as a result of all of this traffic. And as John just mentioned, there was a death of a 91-year-old woman who had a heart attack.
Now we do not know whether the delays really contributed to that outcome or not. But this is a very direct letter from the head of EMS saying essentially, what is going on here? Our paramedics can't get to the people that they need to help.
COOPER: And, David, I mean, to echo John's point, how he handles this the next 24, 48 hours will be critical. I mean, who's going to be fired, who's going to be held responsible.
GERGEN: Yes, his problem is proving the negative. You know, that I didn't know anything, I didn't do anything. And to some considerable extent this is going to depend on the people who were in his office who did apparently order this. You know, having some kind of interviews that will have lie detectors involved and other things.
If a woman died, if a woman died here, he's in deep, deep trouble.
COOPER: Even if --
GERGEN: I don't care what he does.
COOPER: Even if it was the staff.
GERGEN: The buck stops at his desk. He knows that. He's a big boy. And to have something like this happen, if a woman dies, he's in deep, deep trouble.
BORGER: You know, Anderson, there's an investigation now by the legislature which started all of this. And I called up the former Republican governor of the state of New Jersey, Tom Cane, today. And I asked him, so what should they do? He said, look. There are partisan Democrats who are out to get Chris Christie. But this story makes absolutely no sense.
He said that Chris Christie, I'm quoting the former Republican governor here, said he's not accepting responsibility. He didn't answer the questions. And what he suggested, in order to get it all out there, is to have a bipartisan investigation in the state legislature in New Jersey, let Christie go and answer questions, let his staff go and answer questions. Because don't forget, as the mayor of Fort Lee told Wolf Blitzer earlier today, there could be criminal issues here.
COOPER: And, John, if -- I mean, if there are investigations and looking into corruption or whatever it is, in terms of presidential chances, I mean, it certainly takes the kind of the shine off of Chris Christie for many.
KING: Again, every governor who runs for national office has to deal with something. And how he deals with it is critical. If there's any connection to him or any gray in the idea of did he know about it well, then he's in trouble. But consider there's the policy which is this investigation. Why did they do this? Who did it? Who was responsible? How does the governor respond and how does he hold them accountable? What did the investigators ultimately find?
And then there's politics. Remember, he's starting his second term. This already is going to make it harder for him to be the governor of New Jersey. He's also supposed to go to some 30 some states this year raising money and helping Republican candidates for governor.
And every one of those stops, guess what, the local press is going to want to talk to him. He's going to be trying to be raising money. The Democrats are trying to make him a lightning rod now and to make him baggage to hurt his political viability not only in 2014 helping candidates but then in the long term in 2016. So he needs to find a way to end this chapter. And that depends on him and how he handles it.
COOPER: David Gergen, thanks very much. Gloria Borger and John King as well. Thanks.
KING: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, let me know what you think about the story. Do you believe the governor didn't know about what his staff was up to?
Follow me on Twitter @Andersoncooper. Tweet us using hash tag "ac360."
Up next a very tough story no matter how you look at it. The question, does the state have the right to keep a brain-dead woman, this woman, alive against her wishes, against her family's wishes as well, if that woman is pregnant? She was pregnant. The hospital refuses to take her off life support as her family wishes, as her family says she would have wanted, because she is pregnant.
Later, the video itself is troubling enough. A cursing toddler with grownups egging him on. Get this, though. It was posted by local police organization they say to educate the public.
The question is, who's looking out for the child? Details coming up.
COOPER: Hey, welcome back. So you've been 360 recently, you know, we've been following the deeply troubling story of Jahi McMath, the teenager who was declared brain-dead but remains on life support because that's what her parents want.
Well, tonight a somewhat similar story, a brain-dead Texas woman who's being kept alive, only this time in spite of what she or her husband ever wanted.
Ed Lavandera explains why and why the story is so important in Texas and 29 other states nationwide. Listen.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was a 33-year-old mother of a young baby boy, a paramedic married to another paramedic. The couple expecting their second child when it happened.
Marlise Munoz collapsed in her home of an apparent blood clot in her lung. Her family got the devastating news shortly after. They say doctors told them she was brain dead and would never recover. Her body is now connected to a ventilator inside this Ft. Worth, Texas, hospital despite her family's wishes.
ERICK MUNOZ, HUSBAND: We've reached the point where, you know, you wish that your wife's body would stop.
LAVANDERA: The hospital refuses to unplug the ventilators because Munoz is pregnant. And Texas is one of about 30 states that restrict a woman's ability to be disconnected from life support if they are pregnant regardless of the patient or the family's directive.
Erick Munoz and his wife are paramedics and end of life issues is something they talked about often.
MUNOZ: We've seen things out in the field. And, you know, we both knew that we didn't want to be on life support.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Officials at John Peter Smith Hospital here in Ft. Worth will not say if Marlise Munoz is brain dead. But in a statement the hospital officials did say that, "The hospital will follow the law as it applies to health care in the state of Texas, and that every day we have patients and families who must make difficult decisions. Our position remains the same. We will follow the law."
TOM MAYO, SMJ LAW PROFESSOR: And I think they got it wrong.
LAVANDERA: Tom Mayo was one of the advisers who helped write this law 15 years ago and which was signed by then Texas Governor George W. Bush. The Southern Methodist University Law professor says if Munoz is indeed brain dead like her family says, then the hospital has the law all wrong.
MAYO: If she's brain dead she's already dead. So letting her die isn't really the concept. But can he say take her off the ventilator? I believe he can. Surrogate decision makers make those kinds of decision with their doctors every day. LAVANDERA: Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed. The fetus is now almost 20 weeks. The family says the fetus still has a heartbeat but it's not clear if it can even survive. In the meantime, Erick Munoz has to stand by and watch his wife trapped in a position he says she never wanted to be in.
MUNOZ: I can't say enough about her. Everything I do will always be short of what she was. I can't do her justice. She's a great woman.
COOPER: All right. Ed Lavandera joins us now live in Ft. Worth.
So what's next for the family? Where do they go from here?
LAVANDERA: We've learned today that Erick Munoz now has two lawyers that he's working with in this case. I had a chance to speak with those attorneys this afternoon. They say they're researching the law and that they're trying to figure out the legal strategy that they want to take to have Erick's wishes complied with here. But that they're still researching that and they're not exactly sure what path they will take legally. But I think one thing is clear. This will end up in the courts -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. It looks like it.
Ed Lavandera, thanks.
Let's dig deeper now with Art Caplan, head of medical ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center. Also legal analyst Sunny Hostin, a former -- former federal prosecutor, and Mark Geragos, a criminal defense attorney.
Art, from an ethical standpoint, you believe not only the hospital making the wrong decision but this law is ethically wrong?
ARTHUR CAPLAN, NYU LANGONE MEDICAL CENTER, HEAD OF DIVISION OF MEDICAL ETHICS: I think the law is completely wrong, Anderson. It basically is saying an individual who has clear-cut values and choices, a paramedic, made it, you know, obvious that she didn't want to be on life support. Her husband agrees with this. The fact that her family backs them up.
The state of Texas is basically saying, you know, we're going to treat her as an incubator. If she was awake, she certainly wouldn't have this happening to her. If she was awake she could actually go out and have an abortion at the age of this fetus. Asleep she's being ignored. It's unethical.
The law also says anybody who's pregnant from one day, pregnant all the way out to where she was when she had the incident at 14 weeks, today we're 20, that law is just too broad. It's out of control.
COOPER: But does your opinion changed now that the -- now that the fetus is at 20 weeks and will be even older when the decision is made?
CAPLAN: It's a great question. But 20 weeks isn't viable yet. She's -- this is going to have to go on to probably something like 26 weeks to get viability. Even then the child would be very premature. And remember, this woman went without oxygen for a long time, resulting in her death. The fetus was probably harmed then, too. I'm sure the husband is thinking that's part of the reason we don't want to proceed here. We could have a very damaged fetus.
COOPER: Sunny, you actually think the hospital has made the right decision.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I do. And I think, you know, we're all working on the wrong premise here. And I'd like to note that all men are sitting here discussing this. And in the piece, all men sitting and discussing this. And since I'm the only one with a uterus on this panel, I think I've got it right.
Bottom line is, I am certain, Anderson, that this woman may have had these discussions about not wanting to be on life support. But I am also certain that the discussion was never had that if she were carrying a baby should she be placed on life support. And as a mother of two, as a woman, I am certain that this is something that this woman would likely have wanted.
COOPER: You would -- you're not reading -- you're not reading from the ethical standpoint, you're simply projecting into what you believe she might want.
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. She's not reading from an ethical standpoint.
HOSTIN: Well, I think no, but I think it's about a woman's right to self-determine.
GERAGOS: She's reading a dead person's mind.
HOSTIN: It's about a woman's right to self-determine, Mark.
COOPER: OK. You make -- Mark, make your point.
GERAGOS: Let me just say something here. I do not have a uterus. So I'll say that at the outset.
HOSTIN: That's right.
GERAGOS: However, as the professor has just said, ethically this law makes no sense. I'm going to go a step further. Anybody who reads this law, and if they get this into a courtroom they're going to -- the hospital is going to lose. She is dead. The -- clearly under the law, under any state in the United States, she is dead. They cannot torture this law into saying that you're going to keep her alive because you can't bring her back to life.
HOSTIN: Look --
GERAGOS: So this is going to end up in a my guess would be a federal courtroom. There's going to be a federal judge who's going to say, are you guys smoking something? Unplug it. It's a done deal.
HOSTIN: No --
COOPER: Sunny, brain dead is dead.
GERAGOS: I mean this is legally done.
COOPER: I mean, you can't be brought back from brain dead.
HOSTIN: Look, Anderson, when you have a situation where you are unclear about a woman's choices and I think --
COOPER: But the family is not unclear.
HOSTIN: I think -- I think we are unclear as to her choices because again while the discussion may have been had about life support, I'm certain that this particular scenario wasn't discussed.
CAPLAN: I wouldn't be so certain about that.
HOSTIN: I think it wasn't discussed. And if that --
CAPLAN: She's a paramedic. She was a paramedic.
HOSTIN: But if that is the case, then, you know, when there's this murky area then the law should --
GERAGOS: There's nothing murky.
HOSTIN: Then the law should --
GERAGOS: She's dead.
COOPER: One at a time. One at a time. All right.
HOSTIN: Then the law should I think step in and let's -- and as a medical ethicist I think you can agree, right that, most times families want to keep child.
HOSTIN: And that is why the law is the way it is written.
CAPLAN: Sometimes. But they don't want it if the fetus is damaged. She went without oxygen for a long time.
HOSTIN: And that's a real problem. And that's a real problem.
COOPER: Let her in. CAPLAN: And they don't necessarily want it if the fetus is going to be born premature. Do you think Texas would ever pass a law that said, you know, a man has a living will? And if his wife is pregnant we're going to void it because he has to be a dad? I think there's sexism here. And I think it's basically going to women and saying, we're taking your rights away.
HOSTIN: That is absolutely -- that is absolutely false.
GERAGOS: I think the whole problem -- The whole problem here is that you have confused, and I think a lot of people have confused.
HOSTIN: I'm not confused at all.
GERAGOS: A vegetative state, a coma, from what we have here which is death.
HOSTIN: The real issue is the woman's right to self-determine.
GERAGOS: This whole thing is she's dead. This is not invasion of the body snatchers.
HOSTIN: This is about her right to self-determine.
GERAGOS: She's not an incubator.
HOSTIN: And --
GERAGOS: It had a self-determination. She said don't do this.
HOSTIN: And that's where we disagree. And that's where we disagree.
GERAGOS: This is really about your ability to determine for her.
COOPER: Sunny, go ahead.
HOSTIN: And that is where we disagree.
GERAGOS: Yes, what we disagree is --
HOSTIN: Bottom line is this is a murky issue.
GERAGOS: You don't --
HOSTIN: And -- and most women, I think, want to keep their babies. Most women want to make sure that their babies are protected. We know that this is a woman that had a 2-year-old son that she loved very dearly.
GERAGOS: Why is it you just refuse to --
HOSTIN: I can't imagine that she would want her baby to be killed.
(CROSSTALK) COOPER: OK, (INAUDIBLE).
GERAGOS: Right. Why is she just -- and this what drives me crazy about Sunny. She is dead. She was somebody who was a paramedic. She dealt with end of life issues on a daily basis.
CAPLAN: And the husband is a paramedic, too.
GERAGOS: Her husband is a paramedic. Her husband is sitting there.
HOSTIN: And so she would want her baby to die? So she would want her baby to die?
GERAGOS: Well, she is dead --
CAPLAN: Under these circumstances, there are a lot of people who might step forward and say, a damaged fetus --
HOSTIN: That's what's troubling.
CAPLAN: Premature -- I don't think I want to take that chance and --
HOSTIN: So because this baby --
CAPLAN: And further the husband may be thinking, I'm a single dad. I have another child. They do. They have a 1-year-old. I'm not sure my wife would want to have a child under these conditions. It's not so --
HOSTIN: And the conditions are that the baby may not be perfect.
CAPLAN: The conditions are that --
HOSTIN: The baby may not be perfect.
CAPLAN: Mandating --
GERAGOS: It's not a baby, it's a fetus.
HOSTIN: The baby may not be perfect.
CAPLAN: It is --
GERAGOS: A fetus. That's not viable.
CAPLAN: Texas is saying, you take your chances. We know better than you do how to interpret these risks.
GERAGOS: I don't even buy that.
COOPER: Mark, Mark, do you make any distinction between the age of the fetus?
GERAGOS: Absolutely. I mean, you're at a point right now it's not viable. It's tissue. It's a fetus.
HOSTIN: That's ridiculous.
GERAGOS: It's not viable.
HOSTIN: When you have --
GERAGOS: Well, then you could make --
HOSTIN: When you get the opportunity to have a 20-week-old fetus in your uterus, then you speak to me.
GERAGOS: You can use -- you can use those ad hominem arguments.
COOPER: One at a time. One at a time.
GERAGOS: That isn't a logical argument.
HOSTIN: Yes, it is.
GERAGOS: All that is, is an attack that men can't argue this. That has absolutely no logical basis. The fact is here that she is dead.
HOSTIN: So a 20-week-old fetus is --
COOPER: So you're saying if it was a 26-week-old or 27-week-old --
GERAGOS: You have different issues. And if it's viable you've got completely different issues.
CAPLAN: It just -- it would change the ethical equation if you had a viable fetus.
CAPLAN: But again we're back to that situation, I want to stress this. Think about the husband. Does he want to be a single dad? Does he think his wife would want a child brought in this way?
GERAGOS: He doesn't have a uterus so he can't think about it.
HOSTIN: That's right, he can't.
CAPLAN: And are we in a situation where the risk of a harmed, damaged fetus is so great, and I think it's very great that he says in my view she wouldn't want that. I wouldn't want that.
GERAGOS: And we -- it's no longer a woman's right to choose. It's the state's right to choose.
CAPLAN: The state of Texas is now choosing.
COOPER: Let's talk about it on Twitter because we have to take a break here. @andersoncooper. Hash tag ac360. Let us know what you think. It's a difficult dilemma.
Art Caplan, appreciate it.
CAPLAN: Thank you.
COOPER: Sunny Hostin, Mark Geragos as well.
Up next a disturbing video that's all over the Internet involving adults, a toddler, and obscene language. And what these adults are telling the toddler to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You a bitch, (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You a bitch, (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You throwing a fit right now, little (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now a lot of you who saw the video last night are asking where is Child Protective Services in all this? Should they step in? Can they step in? We'll look into that. We'll have the latest on that.
And the weirdness of the Dennis Rodman road show in North Korea. He now leads a stadium full of people in happy -- in a "Happy Birthday" serenade to that country's dictator.
That's not all he did. We'll explain ahead.
COOPER: Disturbing video has gone viral on the Internet. It shows a toddler, a little boy wearing only a diaper, trading obscene words, insults and profanity with at least two adults who seem to encourage him. The video is not easy to watch.
Here's part of Casey Wian's report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a bitch, (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You a bitch, (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You throwing a fit right now, little (EXPLETIVE DELETED)? (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put that bitch (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ain't talking that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) now.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The child then flips his middle finger at the camera.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you, too.
WIAN: The toddler whose face was shown in the original video, but CNN has obscured, exchanges at least 35 swear words with the adults in the 1 minute, 23-second video.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say bitch? Say --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why you can't fight. You're a bitch.
WIAN: They discuss sexual matters, even apparent gang affiliations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what hood you from, blood?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What hood you from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say -- my name three times --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You an ho --
COOPER: The video is posted on the web site of the Omaha, Nebraska Police Officers Association, which says they got a tip that it was uploaded to the public Facebook page of a person refers to as a quote "local thug" and that it posted the video because it wants to educate the public about it what calls the, quote, "terrible cycle of violence and thuggery."
One African-American leader accuses the unit of crossing the line and using racially charged language. Omaha's police chief says he strong disagree with web postings that can divide the community. However, the police department confirmed to CNN that it has contacted child protective services to investigate the video and that its own child victims unit is looking into it as well.
Want to talk about this more with Areva Martin, an attorney and children's advocate. Great to have you on the program again. Obviously what the adults are doing in this video is appalling. No one should ever talk like that to a child or get a child to say those things. What do you think? Can child protective services actually intervene based on one video?
AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY AND CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE: Absolutely, Anderson. We know that child protective services get involved in cases a lot of different ways. There are some individuals who are mandatory reporters such as teachers and police officers and doctors. But also anyone, a neighbor can make a report to child protective services, and they can do an investigation. They can talk to the parents.
They can talk to the adults in this video, the school if this child attends school, his medical providers, anyone that's involved in this child's life can be a part of this investigation for them to determine is this child being abused or is there a possibility of abuse. Abuse is widely defined. Not just physical abuse. It can be both mental and emotional abuse as well.
COOPER: I mean, the adults in the video are not the child's parents. The man apparently is the child's uncle. CPS can still intervene. I mean, they can intervene in cases of bad parenting?
MARTIN: Absolutely. They can order the parents to go to parenting classes. They can order that the child not be in the presence or not be cared for by this particular uncle if they believe the uncle is not providing a safe environment for the child or is subjecting this child to harm. Child Protective Services has a great deal of latitude, Anderson, in keeping children safe. That's its mandate. In this case, it is clear that the adults need help. Looks like a family in crisis. It looks like someone needs to step in to make sure this child is safe.
COOPER: So how would that work? CPS would visit the child's home then launch an investigation?
MARTIN: Visit the home, visit the home, talk to all the adults that are in this child's life and try to find out what's behind this video. Is this an aberration? Is this a one-time situation or is this the environment that this child is in on a regular and daily basis? Clearly not healthy, not developmentally appropriate for this child to be using this kind of language to be around adults using this kind of language and they can step in and mandate that this child be cared for in a completely different manner and that this child be kept safe.
COOPER: For the people from the police union who actually posted this video, do you think -- I mean, they should have post the video? Should they have just called the police? Do you think it was inappropriate for them to label this thuggery?
MARTIN: This video and the posting of this video, Anderson, is just reprehensible. I can't see any value in the police union in posting it. Absolutely if they saw it, call Child Protective Services. If your real goal was to help this child, then do something that's going to directly impact the child. It looks like this was a vindictive act on the part of this police union, maybe done to divide this community.
We know that there has been issues with African-Americans in this community, lawsuits that have been filed. So I can't help but think that there's something else involved in the posting of this. Clearly it's not going to help the child or the parents.
COOPER: We'll see what happens on the case. Areva Martin, I appreciate you being on as always. There is a lot more happening tonight. Susan Hendricks has a 360 Bulletin -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it was three years ago today that former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was seriously wounded in a mass shooting that killed six others. Giffords reports that she has regained movement in her right arm and vows to continue fighting for stricter gun control laws.
Former NBA star, Dennis Rodman, publicly sang happy birthday to North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un at a basketball arena in Pyongyang today. Then it appears to bow before Kim. It appears that he does this. A man Rodman calls a friend and a good guy despite his brutal reputation.
Setting aside Vatican protocol yet again, Pope Francis gave a ride today in the pope mobile to a priest he knows from back home at Buenos Aires. The priest got a front row view of the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square -- Anderson.
COOPER: Wow, quite a ride there. Susan, thanks very much.
Just ahead, a mom who says that marijuana put her young son's cancer into remission is now fighting to stop the chemotherapy that his doctors say he needs. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has their story and looks at the medical facts.
Plus the government is cracking down on weight loss products. Says these products lure customers with ridiculously misleading claims. Four companies have been charged. Details up ahead.
COOPER: In a week-long series "Gone To Pot" we're taking a close look at what's happening in Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. Retail pot shops are new. Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado for more than a decade. Pot for medical purposes has wide support. In a new CNN/ORC poll, we commissioned 88 percent said it should be legal.
Here's how far attitudes have shifted, 88 percent today support this medical marijuana compared with 80 percent back in 2002. Some families desperate to get access to medical marijuana actually moved to Colorado from other states.
The Riddle family is just one example. They say that medical marijuana saved their little boy's life. And now they're fighting to actually stop the chemotherapy that they say nearly killed their child. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has their story.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go, Landon.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Back in September of 2012, 3-year-old Landon Riddle developed a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes one night. It was likely just a virus, his doctors thought. But the reality ended up being much worse. Acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL, it's a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It's one of the most common cancers in children. It's also one of the most treatable, but the therapy was going to be tough. SIERRA RIDDLE, LANDON'S MOTHER: They started him on chemo, but told us that he probably wasn't going to make it, that he only had like an 8 percent chance to live 24 to 48 hours.
GUPTA: The chemo made the little boy very sick, nauseated, vomiting, barely able to walk or talk.
RIDDLE: Good job.
GUPTA: His mother, Sierra, wanted to try anything to help, and eventually found medical marijuana. Now again, Landon is just 3 years old. They'd come from Utah where medical marijuana was not legal to Colorado where it was. And for Landon, it seemed to work. He rebounded, able to eat, sleep, just be a kid.
But Sierra told us something else, something surprising. She believed that the marijuana was healing him. Not just from the ravages of chemo but from his cancer as well.
RIDDLE: I think that chemo in combination with cannabis did put him into remission. Now cannabis will keep him there.
GUPTA: To be clear, ALL is one of the most curable cancers. More than 95 percent of children go into remission with existing therapies. But still, Sierra was so sure of marijuana's healing properties that six months after her son started the treatments, she decided to stop his chemotherapy all together. Her argument, the chemo was too toxic and the cannabis was not. She said the doctors were stunned at her decision.
RIDDLE: The options were to either voluntarily agree to the chemo and steroid plan for the next three years or to refuse it in which they would take us to court and have it court ordered anyways. And the possibility of them removing Landon from my care would come into play at that point.
WARREN EDSON, RIDDLE FAMILY ATTORNEY: How's it going, Landon?
GUPTA: So Riddle found a lawyer willing to take on the case, Attorney Warren Edson.
EDSON: It didn't appear she was doing anything wrong other than just being a mom and trying to do what's in the best interests of her kid.
GUPTA: In an effort to avoid a court battle, Riddle, her mother, Wendy, and Edson met with Landon's doctors and Child Protective Services.
RIDDLE: They said they were willing to alter the chemo plan. They're not. They did not do that at all.
GUPTA: That's not surprising. While many mainstream doctors do support the use of cannabis to offset the side effects of chemotherapy, as things stand now, no doctor would recommend cannabis instead of chemo, myself included. But there is a growing body of promising research. Dr. Julie Holland is the editor of "The Pot Book."
DR. JULIE HOLLAND, EDITOR, "THE POT BOOK": It turns out it actually fights the cancer itself.
GUPTA (on camera): You're a doc. You've studied this, talked to the researchers. You're saying marijuana can kill cancer cells.
HOLLAND: I'm saying that and there are many other researchers who are saying that, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got lung samples from our treated mice.
GUPTA: Like San Francisco researchers, Pierre Desprez and Shawn McAllister, who say they've seen firsthand what the cannabis compound or CBD can do. In their lab, they use CBD to kill mice and human cancer cells. We asked the American Cancer Society what they thought about all of this.
And in a statement to CNN, they said "There is no available scientific evidence from controlled studies in humans that Cannabinoids can cure or treat cancer." Even Landon's doctor who prescribed his marijuana and is a firm believer in medical cannabis is cautious about this.
(on camera): Sierra has decided to stop the chemotherapy for Landon. As an as a doctor who's seen his progress, is that something you would be on board with, that you recommend?
DR. MARGARET GEDDE, LANDON'S DOCTOR: As a physician again, I'm not sure that I could recommend that to a parent, to say -- I can't say to them, I know that the CBD is a treatment that can work and you don't need the chemotherapy.
GUPTA (voice-over): For the time being, Sierra Riddle is afraid of losing her son, so she is allowing chemotherapy once a month. She's still also trying to find an oncologist willing to take Landon off the chemo. So far she's had no luck.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Faster.
GUPTA: But Sierra and her mother aren't giving up.
WENDY RIDDLE, LANDON'S GRANDMOTHER: I want Landon to know that we did everything in our power to be compassionate in his care and to protect him. I want him to know that we were willing to go to bat. He's a 3- year-old child.
GUPTA: We did reach out to Children's Hospital a number of times. So far they've declined to discuss Landon's care. And meanwhile, Riddle says she and his doctors, are still at odds over his treatment, but they point out it's been nine months since he's had significant chemotherapy treatments and he remains cancer free -- Anderson. COOPER: I've heard a lot of people treating chemo-induced nausea with marijuana. That's not what we're talking about, right? These people are saying the pot actually cured cancer.
GUPTA: In this little boy's case that's how it starts was this idea that medical marijuana could be used to help alleviate some of the ravages of the chemotherapy. Then that's where Sierra, his mother, and the lawyer took it a step further saying they believe it can actually treat the cancer itself, and they should forego chemo for this cannabis. Nobody agrees with them.
I think most doctors, myself included, don't think that's the right idea because there is good treatments that exist. But you're right. That is where a lot of this research is headed. Could cannabis actually treat the cancer?
COOPER: The American Cancer Society though says there's no evidence for this at all.
GUPTA: Yes. They want the evidence. They want the actual clinical trials where you look at patients who have cannabis treatments and those who don't and compare them. Those types of trials don't exist. Again with ALL, this particular type of cancer, the treatments, Anderson, 95 percent of the kids go into remission. So you wouldn't probably treat something against a gold standard therapy like what already exists.
COOPER: In your documentary "Weed" cannabis was used to treat epilepsy. Is there more of a scientific consensus around that?
GUPTA: Around the world, many countries, there's a pretty good consensus. Studies that have looked at this and using cannabis to treat epilepsy, that idea has been around for a long time. I will share with you in the United States now within the next few weeks a clinical trial is going to start in this country using essentially a marijuana plant extract to treat the type of epilepsy like you saw in our documentary.
So that's going to be a first in this country. And remember, part of the difficulty is that we still think of cannabis, marijuana in this country, as a schedule one substance, meaning it's highly addictive and has no medicinal applications. So to test something medicinally is an important step here.
COOPER: We'll watch. Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, the FDA cracks down on some popular diet companies say are making promises they simply can't keep. We'll tell you which diets do not deliver.
Also the cold weather trick that blew my mind apparently inspired copy cats including one that landed us on "The Ridiculist" tonight.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: If you're one of the millions of people who has resolved to lose weight this year you should know about this. The Federal Trade Commission has charged four companies with deceptive advertising related to their weight loss products. Just how bold are some of the claims?
One commercial for a product called "Sensa" tells viewers to quote, "simply sprinkle Sensa on, eat all the foods you love and watch the pounds come off." A lot of people apparently swallowed that line. Court documents show Sensa raked in, get this, nearly $364 million in profits between 2008 and 2012. Senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen joins me tonight.
So Elizabeth, what exactly were these products claiming to do?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: These products in many ways, Anderson, were claiming to do magic. For example, one of them, Sensa, was saying that if you sprinkle this product on your food that you would feel fuller faster and therefore would lose weight. Another product said if you just rubbed this lotion, this cream on your body you would lose inches. So the FTC says there's no science behind any of this.
COOPER: How is it that these products were on the market for years before the FTC finally caught up with them? I feel like I go in some of those vitamin and nutrition stores and see all these supplements. Is anybody really regulating this stuff?
COHEN: The FTC does regulate, but just as you said they are everywhere. So the FTC really can't keep up with every single product that's making a crazy weight loss claim. That's one reason. The other reason is that let's say they do pick a product they are going to go after like they did today. It takes years of legal back and forth before they can find them. While they're doing this legal back and forth with the company they can still make these claims on their products.
COOPER: It's crazy to me like how many supplements are out there making all these claims. Why can't the FTC hire more people? What happens to them now?
COHEN: What happens to them now is that they've been fined. These fines are huge, millions and millions of dollars. And what's interesting is they can still sell the products, they just now can't make the claims that they will give you this incredible weight loss.
COOPER: All right, Elizabeth, thanks very much.
COOPER: Huge profits, though, they've already made no matter what the fine is. Let's get caught up in some of the other stories, Susan Hendricks joins us with a 360 Bulletin -- Susan.
HENDRICKS: Anderson, a Montana judge widely condemned for sentencing a former high school teacher to a month behind bars for raping a 14- year-old girl says he will retire at the end of this year. G. Todd Baugh who is 72 says he is not leaving the bench because of that controversy.
The Utah's Governor's Offices say it will not recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages that were allowed by a federal judge's ruling last month. The Supreme Court blocked that ruling on Monday to allow the state to appeal. Officials say more than 1,000 marriage licenses were issued before the injunction.
As many as 22 deaths in five states are blamed on that storm that turned most of the country into frigid misery. Today millions of Americans woke up to slightly warmer weather. By Saturday across the country most highs will be at or above average temperatures.
And winter storms in Europe are giving surfers a gift, check it out, giant waves off the coast of Ireland, Spain, France, also Portugal. World-class athletes are flocking to the hot spots to chase the so- called black swell, very talented surfers.
COOPER: Susan, thanks.
Coming up, record-breaking cold can really bring out some strange behaviour, "The Ridiculist" is next.
COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." Tonight I want to draw your attention to some of the neat stuff that can happen when it gets super cold. For instance the things CNN's Stephanie Elam showed us earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I saw this last night for the first time, blew my mind. We've got some hot water for you. Let's see if it works right now, Anderson, live TV, here we go.
COOPER: That's crazy.
ELAM: It has to be really hot. It has to be really, really hot. If you do that then you get the mist. Unbelievable little science project.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We had her repeat it about 20 times. If there's one thing I've learned for every cool little science project there's always some guy who thinks what would happen if I took a whiz right now. The following gentleman took that idea and went full stream ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peeing in Minnesota when it's freezing cold out. Negative like 17. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, it's turning into fog. This is pee snow. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is so weird.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see it like fogging?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I don't believe that's real. I just frankly do not believe that's real. I think he had a hidden water bottle, some yellow colored water. I'm no expert on how urine behaves in extreme cold. Snowy fog but a lot of liquids seemed to hit the ground. So we turned to who else a particle physics professor at Columbia University.
Professor Bryan Cole explains that when hot water is thrown, the fog results from water that has evaporated freezing the air. Not all of the water evaporates. Much of it reaches the ground because the larger drops take much long for freeze. He could conclude that the same thing could happen with the gentleman doing that. Some water vapor that has evaporated from the stream which is at body temperature and therefore quite high will freeze producing the fog while the remainder of the stream will hit the snow.
This was after Professor Cole politely noted this is a bit outside his area of expertise as a physicist. We looked at his web site which states that one of the goals of his research is, quote, "experimental manifestation of the QCD phase transition from ordinary hydronic matter to a matter in which quarks and gluons become locally deconfined."
I don't even know if I pronounced any of those words correctly. We would like to sincerely thank him for taking a break from that to answer our question about when we go weewee into the cold. At the end of the day, whether the video is real or not, and I'm on record saying, I do not believe it is real. I think we all learned something tonight on "The Ridiculist." What I'm not exactly sure. I hope you enjoyed the program.
We'll see you again one hour from now at 10 p.m. Eastern for our panel discussion AC 360 LATER. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.