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Justin Bieber Arrested; Can Edward Snowden Come Home?; Olympic Threats
Aired January 23, 2014 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin, two big breaking news stories at this hour.
First, Justice Department official telling CNN that Attorney General Eric Holder says if NSA leaker Edward Snowden is prepared to plead guilty, that's a big if, the Justice Department is prepared to discuss with Snowden's lawyers how Snowden may come home, how he may return to the country.
I want to bring in our justice reporter, Evan Perez, and also we have CNN legal analyst Paul Callan on the phone.
But, Evan Perez, you broke the story. Tell me what you know.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, this is probably just an opening for Snowden's lawyers to get in touch with the Justice Department and decide whether or not he is indeed prepared to plead guilty.
The attorney general is opening the door to that. This is not an indication that they are open to a reduced sentence or anything like that, I'm told. This is simply a way for the attorney general to perhaps put the onus back on Edward Snowden. As you know, "The New York Times" and "The Guardian," and many people in Congress in recent weeks have been calling for the Justice Department to try to come to an agreement, perhaps some lesser charges or something like that that would bring Snowden back and stop some of these leaks.
I'm not sure whether or not those leaks can be stopped in any case, but at least getting him out of the hands of the Russians and back to the United States to face some justice is what Justice Department is very interested in. We don't know whether or not again there is any ability to do some lesser charges and to make some kind of plea agreement.
This is simply a way for the attorney general to address these questions of whether or not they are open to clemency or some kind of deal with Edward Snowden.
BALDWIN: OK. Evan, thank you.
Paul, we hear Evan talking about this is probably the opening offer. My question to you would be, what kind of precedent would this set if the government enters into plea negotiations with Edward Snowden?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Brooke, those within the intelligence community who are opposed to making a deal with Snowden have said that this would encourage others to leak information knowing that they could negotiate their way into a deal or slap on the wrist kind of deal, because normally the penalties for what Snowden is accused of having done, which essentially is espionage, they can be as high as death.
It's one of the few federal statutes that calls for the death penalty. Eric Holder in a July 23 letter to the Russians said that they are not going to seek death with respect to Snowden, but I'm just saying to explain the severity of the penalties involved here. This sends a message obviously that under certain circumstances Justice will offer a lenient deal, a more lenient deal, and they're doing it in the Snowden case.
BALDWIN: Paul, what are the odds Snowden actually says, yes, I will plead guilty?
CALLAN: The one thing I find to be interesting about this -- and now Evan would know more about this being close to the scene and reporting, but normally prosecutors don't float this kind of an offer unless they have had some backdoor indication that there might be acceptance.
I'm betting that signals have been sent from the Snowden camp back to justice that he would be willing to negotiate and that we may find out later on that there have been some behind-the-scenes negotiations going on.
I can't see why Justice would go so very public with this unless they had an indication from the Snowden camp that something maybe could be worked out.
BALDWIN: Since I have you, let me tap into your legal mind on a different subject, Paul Callan. This pertains to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, because we are hearing his reelection campaign has been subpoenaed for documents by federal prosecutors investigating that the who so-called Bridgegate, the debacle on the George Washington Bridge back in September.
Also, the New Jersey Republican state committee has been subpoenaed. What does all of that mean for the investigation, do you think?
CALLAN: It's very interesting because there was a hint that was out there recently that this might happen.
And the hint was there is a lawyer named Timpone who was representing Bridget Kelly, his chief of staff. He said he had to step down on conflict of interest grounds from representing her. He holds the position, by the way, of a commission in New Jersey that investigates finance campaign problems on the part of politicians.
Obviously, he knew that the Justice Department was going to subpoena records relevant to campaign and campaign contributions. I'm not surprised by this. Once a federal investigation has been opened, there are a wide varieties of subjects that a prosecutor can look into. And certainly all kinds of things are going to be subject to public scrutiny and scrutiny by the Justice Department now that there is an open investigation.
Now, we have to say in the end just because subpoenas have been issued, that's no indication that the governor is guilty of anything. It's just an indication that you are going to have a very thorough investigation done by a very thorough prosecutor, Mr. Fishman.
BALDWIN: Just an indication that people still have a lot of questions for what's happened. Paul Callan, thank you so much on both of these breaking news stories this afternoon. Thank you.
And now to Justin Bieber. He is one of the hottest pop singers in the world. Check his Twitter page. This guy has some 49 million Twitter followers, a movie, hit songs, a following that might make Elvis jealous if he were alive today. But this 19-year-old multi-platinum- selling recording artist was arrested for DUI and resisting arrest.
Here's the mug shot. Miami Beach police pulled him over early this morning. They say he was drag racing and looked high. Bieber left jail just about an hour ago, free on a $2,500 bond. Our camera was there. Is he waving?
Look at that. First time I am seeing this video right here with you. The singer is a teen music sensation, but the headlines as of late are of a very adult nature.
Earlier, I talked to former child actor, "Partridge Family," anyone, Danny Bonaduce, who said all this negative attention has to be sinking in for the star.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY BONADUCE, ACTOR: It's quite literally sobering. He's realizing at this point -- because I don't think this kid is an idiot, no matter what he has done. He has got to understand what is happening to his career. Every minute, there's another picture of him in an orange jumpsuit.
I saw him at court, totally different attitude than in jail with a smiling mug shot. He was there. You could tell he was getting bummed out and he was getting an idea of what it's like to be there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Also arrested was Bieber's friend, R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff. That is who police say Bieber was allegedly drag racing with in this residential neighborhood going double the speed limit.
Nancy Grace, HLN host Nancy Grace, I wanted to begin with that smiling mug shot, but I have changed my mind on the fly now that I have seen the picture. Did you see just the video of Justin Bieber leaving the Miami-Dade County jail? Let's play it again, guys, waving to his fans. When you see this, what do you think? NANCY GRACE, HOST, "NANCY GRACE": It immediately reminds me of when Michael Jackson, in the middle of the child molestation trial, got up on top of the black SUV and danced and waved to all of his fans.
Of course, this is a car cry. Bieber is still a kid. He is. Imagine this, a 19-year-old with an alcohol problem and a dope problem, because when he was arrested he was bragging to the officer, man, I have been smoking weed all day. That will go over well in court.
The bigger concern for me though is a lot of people in America, or they want to, live in quiet neighborhoods with their children. You know what? I would not appreciate somebody in my quiet residential neighborhood with my children and other children playing speeding up to 60 miles an hour. You don't want to live on the interstate for a reason.
Justin Bieber can't fly by at 60 miles an hour. They had cordoned it off, blocked it off, Brooke, with black SUVs so he and crazy Khalil could drag race at 4:00 in the morning. Yes, he needs to go to jail.
BALDWIN: That's exactly what I was about to point out. I have read all three pages of this, as I'm sure you have as well.
When he says -- and I'm just going to have to bleep myself -- this is what Justin Bieber, according to police, said.
GRACE: The F-bomb on the cop.
BALDWIN: "Why the 'bleep' are you doing this?" This is Bieber to the cop after 4:00 a.m. "What the 'beep' did I do? Why did you stop me? I ain't got no 'bleeping' weapons. Why do you have to search me? What the 'bleep' is this about." A couple of other things on the screen that you see.
And then I guess I have a lot of questions about this one. Let me just say, when you see his language toward an officer, how do you get to this point?
GRACE: You know what? I think, again, he's only 19. And I usually reserve my resentment for full-grown adults that do things like this, but if they had run over a kid, it wouldn't have mattered if he were 19 or 29. It wouldn't matter.
But another thing, when I first started prosecuting, I had a very dear friend, a brand-new rookie cop, Randy Shapani (ph). He pulled over a kid about this age, told him to take his hands away from his pants. He didn't arrest the kid. The kid shot him in the head and killed him.
That's what I remember. Bieber would not keep his hands out of his pants and the cop put him against the car. And he kept turning around to confront the cop. You know what? I'm surprised they didn't throw him down on the ground and arrest him right there. I'm stunned, and he F-bombed the cop over and over. If a cop stops me, I am not going to curse at the cop.
BALDWIN: There has to be this sense of celebrity invincibility, this sense of celebrity narcissism. I'm just curious in just watching him with that judge today, do you think he thinks this is real?
GRACE: No. I don't. I don't think it sunk in.
He did a couple of hours in the can, in the jail. He got out on -- he is not being treated any differently. He got out on $2,500 bond, which is typical for that. He failed a field sobriety test. He took a Breathalyzer and I don't know the results yet, although there are rumors swirling what it is. I don't know the answer to that yet.
But he was totally drinking. He had been having a weed party all day long. Don't even get me started on that. And to top it all off, out driving 60 miles an hour in a residential area. No, I think he has gotten away with too much bad behavior and has never been called on it. He had a rough time growing up with, single mom. He has got over a lot. I hate to see his career end like this, but what I really don't want is for him to run over someone and kill them when he is high on weed and drunk.
BALDWIN: We all agree with you. He could have killed someone this morning. He could have. Nancy Grace, thank you.
In about 20 minutes, we will take a look at the business of Justin Bieber, his money and his music and his endorsements. That's coming up in a few minutes.
Coming up next, though, a shocking case that could impact hundreds of people, a sperm switch at a Utah clinic. Already happened one time. This man worked there and turned out to be the biological father of a patient's child. Now the clinic said up to 1,000 other people could be impacted. They are offering genetic testing to see who else could be affected. Stay here.
BALDWIN: This is an identity crisis that could impact as many as 1,000 people. I am talking about couples possibly being given the wrong sperm for inseminations that took place more than a decade ago.
The University of Utah says it is indeed taking full responsibility, just held a news conference urging potential victims to call this hot line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SEAN MULVIHILL, CEO, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH MEDICAL GROUP: I would say it's in the hundreds to thousands, you know, somewhere in -- let's just say 1,000 might be an estimate of people who might be affected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Wow. I know. We are thinking, what?
We know a sperm switch did happen a clinic affiliated with the university. Pam Branum, a mom who now lives in San Antonio, was the one who discovered it. She just wanted to do this random test because they were interested in ancestry, and learned that the 21-year-old daughter sitting next to her shares no DNA with her husband.
Turns out the biological father is this man, who, by the way, is dead. This is Tom Lippert. He worked at the clinic that the Branums used at this adjacent facility under the University of Utah. There is no proof Lippert switched any sperm, but his widow said he talked about his kids even though they were not parents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN LIPPERT, WIDOW: He would show me pictures of kids and it seemed like he was very proud of all those kids. He was like, this is my girl or this is my son and I have all these kids out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Joining me now, senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.
We both were saying, what? Because to hear the guy -- it's one thing to think 1,000 families could be affected, but then to hear him hundreds and thousands? Yikes.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yikes. Exactly. This guy was very busy, or if this true...
COHEN: Then he would have been busy taking sperm, donor sperm, dumping it out and putting his in if that's the case. That's why there is a hot line and families can come in and get free paternity testing. It's sounds like they're really trying to get to the bottom of this.
BALDWIN: It's tough because he's dead and the clinic is gone. It's tricky for these people in the area.
The obvious follow-up is, for people, IVF is very popular. How do you safeguard?
COHEN: I can imagine people listening to this right now who are going through the IVF process, this makes them very anxious.
I will say two things that hopefully might make them feel better. One, they do criminal background checks now for people who work at labs. That would have helped in this case.
BALDWIN: Because he has a background.
COHEN: He had a background.
And, number two, they have the tops of the vials now, if you tamper with them, you can tell, you can see it. What we were told by doctors and lawyers who we talked to is, look, if someone picked up that vial to start the process, they would say, oh, no way, it's been tampered with.
Having said that, we pressed doctors and lawyers and we said, are you saying it's impossible this could never happen again? They said, look, it's not necessarily impossible if someone really wanted to do this. Is it possible? It could be possible. But they said it's extremely unlikely because of the procedures they have in place now.
BALDWIN: OK. Hopefully, that will make some people feel a little bit better.
COHEN: I hope so.
BALDWIN: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much.
Happening right now, Edward Snowden holding a virtual town hall. The man who leaked thousands of classified security documents is now taking questions from the public. What are people asking? What is Snowden saying? We are watching that.
Also, Justin Bieber arrested earlier this morning, bond, out of jail, $2500, not too much for this multimillion-dollar superstar. What do we know about the music and his merchandise? We will take a look at the business of Bieber next.
BALDWIN: We have already established that Justin Bieber, arrested and changed today with DUI and resisting arrest, is an international superstar. This guy has sold tons of records.
He has been in TV, the big screens and a huge hit on social media. The business of Justin Bieber is big. His arrest today could even drive that Hollywood stock up and he is all of 19 years of age. How big is his Bieber net worth?
CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik is live at the New York Stock Exchange with a look at his portfolio.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brooke.
This kid is not only rolling in a heap of trouble. He's also rolling in dough. The pop star's estimated net worth is $130 million and, as you said, he's only 19 years old. Forbes is calling him the ninth most powerful celebrity. That may be up for discussion by some people, but let's go ahead with the numbers. You look at all of his albums, all three of them have gone platinum. His combined albums have sold almost 10 million copies. The album "My World" became the first album since the Beatles' "1" to sell more in its second week than the first. That's just the music part.
His concert movie, "Never Say Never," pulled in $100 million at the box office total. He also has a perfume called Someday. That came out a couple of years ago and did $60 million in retail sales in its he first six months. Let's not forget about the endorsements. He endorses companies including Adidas and Proactiv. The Proactiv one is up in March.
He is really, really busy. If you are wonder how he is spending some of that money, Bieber reportedly dropped $75,000 at a strip club in Miami earlier this week all in $1 bills -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Uh-huh. OK. It does make you think though when you heard the judge say his bond was $2,500, it's like peanuts.
KOSIK: I have that in my pocket.
BALDWIN: No bigs. What about, though, he is also investing in social networks?
KOSIK: Yes, so a lot of people actually forget about this part of his fame.
Bieber and his mom, they used to make -- to post these homemade videos and those actually caught the attention of his manager who flew him to Atlanta to meet with Usher and of course the rest is history. So, social media obviously remains something close to Bieber's heart.
He recently invested $1.1 million in the teen-focused social network called Shots of Me. And what that basically is, it lets you share all those selfies that you take, not you, per se, but some of us. On Twitter, he is also making his mark, though he was dethroned by Katy Perry. Bieber, Brooke, had been the most popular person on Twitter with almost 49 million followers, a lot more than me -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: This is crazy, 49 million, 14 million on Instagram, and he has been tweeting and Instagramming, not in several hours. I have been checking, though. Alison Kosik, thank you very much.
Today's court appearance certainly is not Bieber's appearance in the headlines. Here are some of the more notable incidents over just this past year.
BALDWIN (voice-over): January 2013, New Year's Day, a photographer was killed crossing the street while taking pictures of Justin Bieber's Ferrari. The star was not at the scene.
Flash forward to April. Bieber got some flak after visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and saying he hoped the teen who died in a Nazi concentration camp would have been a Belieber. May, neighbors up in arms accusing Bieber of reckless driving in their neighborhood. July, a leaked video shows the Biebs relieving himself in a bucket at a restaurant and all the while shouting "F. Bill Clinton."
October, bodyguards carry Justin Bieber up the stairs of the Great Wall of China. November, Bieber reportedly seen leaving a brothel in Brazil. And just last week, his mansion raided in the investigation over the egging of his neighbor's house. During the raid, a Bieber pal busted for drugs.
BALDWIN: Tomorrow night, catch a CNN special, "Justin Bieber's Wild Ride," 10:00 Eastern here on CNN.
The Olympics just two weeks away. It's a time for spirited competition and patriotism, really symbolic of the world coming together here, but terror threats plague this year's Games in Sochi and now one reporter is asking, do we really need the Olympics? We will hear his argument next.
BALDWIN: Just about the bottom of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
What is happening in the Ukraine right now is unthinkable, because what you are now looking at is something you have likely never seen, a police officer in full riot gear lighting a Molotov cocktail before throwing it at protesters. One person capturing this moment. Police used batons, beating people as they run from them in the streets of Kiev. Watch this closely, people beaten, left bleeding in the snowy streets.
We are told at least four protesters have been shot dead. And there are reports out of Ukraine's capital that injured protesters have been mysteriously going missing from local hospitals. These violent clashes are all over this decision by the Ukrainian president to reject a trade deal with the European Union and turn toward Russia instead.
Americans are beginning to trickle into Sochi, Russia, and with just 15 days to go until the opening ceremony of the Winter Games, the hunt continues around the Olympic Village for these women, these female terrorist bombers on the loose.
A poll out today reveals half of the Americans questioned, 50 percent here, say that they believe a terrorist attack at the Winter Games is very or somewhat likely.
So, the question that has been posed is, are the Olympics really worth it?