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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Deadly Uprising in Ukraine; Dun Prison Phone Calls Released; Interview with Senator John McCain; Deadly Uprising: At Least 21 People Killed In Kiev Protests; Family Ties: 100 Lobbyists Are Relatives Of 78 Members Of Congress; Skier Bode Miller On Emotional Interview With Christin Cooper: "It Was Me Not Her"
Aired February 18, 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: Capital of Ukraine, a country that was once a big part of the old Soviet Union. It is now erupting over the government's decision to align itself more closely with Vladimir Putin's Russia.
The people down in that square right now, Independence Square it's called, they don't want that. They've been protesting it for three months now.
Tonight government forces moved on them with force, inflicting heavy casualties and apparently paying a heavy price as well. The numbers vary, but the best we can determine right now, 11 protesters, nine police officers and one other person have been killed but expect those numbers to change. They've been rising all night.
Our Phil Black is in Kiev right now. He joins us by phone.
Phil, what's the latest?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Anderson, there is still a huge crowd here in Independence Square. Thousands of people. And all of them working in one way or another to try and ensure they continue their occupation of this space.
The front line, there are young men with shields, black helmets, feeding those huge fires, bon fires, all of them designed among the barricades that are being built here to try and keep the security forces away because after a day of the deadliest violence they have seen in some three months or so, the people on the square strongly believe the security forces are going to try and kick them out.
Tonight, though, opposition party leaders have been negotiating with the government and the president, Viktor Yanukovych, a short time ago. Those talks broke up without results. So even such a deadly toll, one that has claimed -- we now believe more than 20 lives -- has not been able to edge the two sides of this crisis closer and enable them to try and find some sort of solution -- Anderson.
COOPER: And, Phil, we're showing multiple images on our screen right now. I want to continue to do that, some still photographs. But the main picture, this long line of fires, you explained a little bit, those are fires set by whom? What exactly are we looking at? BLACK: So those fires have been set by opposition protesters themselves. Today the end of the running street battles have fallen back to Independence Square and they're trying to barricade it, build up their defenses as best they can. And those fires are really the biggest part of that still going at the moment. They have built all of these bon fires, at one point spread out across a very large section of this wide road.
Really fire and burning embers that's giving off incredible heat. It is just simply there designed to keep the security forces away to make them think twice about trying to enter the square and kick people out.
COOPER: And as we said, blood has been spilt today. The concern is more blood may be spilt tonight even in this hour.
Phil, we're going to check back with you a little bit later on and we're also going to go more in depth because we want to give you more context about what is exactly happening and why, and what may be the end result of this all.
But I want to come back here to the United States. A new development in the Jordan Davis story that may speak volumes about the man who shot and killed Jordan Davis. We're talking about that man, Michael Dunn.
In his own words tonight from jail, when he was awaiting the trial that would end in convictions on three counts of attempted murder but a hung jury on the murder charge itself. Prosecutors have now released recordings authorities made of jailhouse phone calls to his fiancee.
Now again these were phone calls before the trial. The woman who was inside the convenience store, his fiancee, when he pumped 10 shots into that red SUV hitting Jordan Davis three times. That happened as you know after an argument over loud music coming from the vehicle.
Now Dunn said he saw what looked like a gun before he opened fire. No weapon was ever found by police. He never mentioned a gun also to his fiancee and never called police. Instead the couple went to their hotel, they walked their dog and ordered a pizza.
Now that's the background. The calls, though, and a common thread, Michael Dunn believes the true victim in the case, and you're going to hear this from himself, is Michael Dunn. In this call his fiancee tells him she believes he's innocent. Here's his reply.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL DUNN, CONVICTED OF ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER: I was thinking about that today. I was like, I am the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) victim here. I was the one who's victimized.
I mean, I don't know how else to cut it. It's like they attacked me. I'm the victim. I'm the victor, but I was the victim, too. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Saying that he was attacked. Now victimhood also figures highly in this next conversation, Dunn comparing himself to a rape victim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUNN: I was the one that was being preyed upon and I fought back.
RHONDA ROUER, MICHAEL DUNN'S FIANCEE: Right.
DUNN: And then -- you know, it's not quite the same, but it made me think of like the old TV shows and movies where -- like how the police used to think when a chick got raped. They're like oh, it's her fault because of the way she was dressed.
DUNN: Yes. And I'm like, so it's my fault because I asked them to turn their music down.
DUNN: It's like I got attacked and I fought back because I didn't want to be a victim. And now I'm in trouble.
DUNN: It's like I refused to be a victim and now I'm incarcerated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, some of Michael Dunn's jailhouse letters have also been made public, including some that seem to show a preoccupation with race. "The jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs," he writes in one of them, dated July 12th last year. He expressed a similar sentiment in a phone conversation about being in solitary confinement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUNN: So being in a room by myself kind of sucks. But I guess it would be better than being in a room with them animals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Dunn now faces at least 60 years behind bars on the attempted murder charges. Prosecutors say they intend to retry him on the murder count itself.
Benjamin Crump is fighting the Florida self-defense statutes that many believe made it easier for Dunn to shoot and harder for jurors to convict him and George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin. He's an attorney for the Martin family.
Ben, these tapes are pretty stunning. I mean, we hear Michael Dunn say over and over again that he was the victim in this situation, not Jordan Davis. When you hear him say this, what goes through your mind?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY: Well, unfortunately, you have all these individuals with these imaginary fears of young black men for whatever reason. And then when they're held accountable by the law, just being arrested, Anderson, then they feel like they're the victim.
Well, I'll tell you, they are not more of a victim than Jordan Davis's family. They are not more of a victim than Trayvon Martin's family.
COOPER: He also makes comparison between himself and women who have been raped trying to make the point that it was him who was preyed on and who fought back. He kept saying it's like he was attacked. The reality is he was not attacked.
CRUMP: Yes, and that's the problem with this whole Stand Your Ground law, Anderson. Because if you kill the individual and it's only your word against a dead man's word, then you just have to try to come up with the excuses of how much fear you were in and why you should be exonerated and it should be justified you murdering this innocent, unarmed kid.
COOPER: I want to bring up something that you said yesterday on this program. You said that Stand Your Ground law, quote, "legalizes murder of young black men."
Can you expand on that a little bit more? That's -- those are pretty tough words. What did you mean by that?
CRUMP: Well, even though Michael Dunn is off the streets, the justice system let him escape criminal liability for killing Jordan Davis just as George Zimmerman escaped criminal liability for killing Trayvon Martin. So in the end, Anderson, what you have when you think about the message that's being portrayed to America, is when you shoot, if you miss, you go to jail. That's what Jordan Davis's killer was convicted of, attempted murder, not for killing Jordan.
So this Stand Your Ground law really should be called the don't miss law because if you miss you go to jail but if you kill the young minority then you're not held accountable.
COOPER: Do you believe, though, that Stand Your Ground can be equally used by an African-American youth against a Caucasian if he feels threatened by or says he feels threatened by a Caucasian person? Do you think the law is equally applied in the state of Florida?
CRUMP: Well, Anderson, where does it happen in America when Trayvon Martin kills an unarmed George Zimmerman or Jordan Davis kills an unarmed Michael Dunn and they are not arrested, convicted, of first- degree murder and nobody says a word? But when you reverse the roles, it seems that Stand Your Ground law allows them to be legalized in killing our children. And at the end of the day, these are our children.
So people ask why are we so emotional. They can't fathom their children being gunned down even though they're doing everything they legally have the right to do and the killer not going to jail. Every black parent in America can imagine that happening to our child and it scares the hell out of us.
COOPER: I know it's something you're going to be bringing to the legislature coming up in March. We'll talk to you about it then, too.
Benjamin Crump, appreciate you being on.
CRUMP: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: I want to broaden the conversation now on Dunn and the larger question of race and justice in America. We're joined by criminal defense attorney Joseph Haynes Davis, "New York Times" op-ed columnist and our political commentator Charles Blow, and our own legal team, Sunny Hostin and Mark Geragos.
Sunny, let me start with you. I know you say that you believe there's no question race was involved in this case.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure.
COOPER: How do these recordings change your opinion or confirm your opinion?
HOSTIN: It just solidifies my opinion. I mean, when you listen to the calls, he talks about the black people in jail as animals. He writes letters from jail calling black thugs. And I think what was so interesting is when he writes the letter to his grandmother, and he says, this may sound radical but if others did -- when black people threatened them, kill them, maybe they would change their behavior.
I mean, I think that speaks volumes about the person's character. And I'm very clear in my mind that his fear was based on the fact that these boys were black. When you listen to the phone calls, he says he doesn't even believe that they didn't have a criminal record because they were bad.
I sat with those boys. I've met those boys. I've met those families. Those are good kids, good, decent kids raised by -- in a two-family household, not that that necessarily matters but --
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Two-parent.
HOSTIN: Two-parent household rather, and they are just good people.
COOPER: Charles, when you hear those recordings, does it change anything? Does it confirm something for you?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think -- I think Sunny touched on it. It is a confirmation. And I think the bigger issue here is how people perceive young black bodies, particularly males, young males. And I think that this idea that you could embed or project behaviors onto them, project kind of pathologies onto those boys never having met them, all they're doing is what teenage boys do. They're all full of themselves.
I was 17 once. I was full of myself. You're kind of full of yourself. And you're kind of out on your own, you're in the car, your parents let you have it. That happens. We all have been in a situation where at a stop light or gas station or somewhere where somebody's playing loud music you deal with it. You roll up a window, you fill your tank, you get your chips or whatever, you move on.
This idea that we are creating an environment and a culture that we can now say that fears, whether they are legitimate, whether we actually feel them or whether we manufacture them, that we can use those fears as justification to take out guns and take people's lives, particularly people who are not threatening you. In this case, you know, there's no evidence whatsoever that those boys did -- attacked Dunn in any way.
That is a very dangerous precedent that we are setting that people, even if he didn't get off completely but got off on the murder charge or not convicted on the murder charge, the fact that people see that as a legitimate excuse or rationale is a problem.
COOPER: Mark, why weren't those recordings played in court in? Prejudicial?
GERAGOS: Well, a lot of times the defense will say it's more prejudicial than probative. That's the line. Meaning that you can't -- you put it in there it's going to inflame the jury. The interesting thing at least to me on this discussion, and listening to Ben Crump talk is this reminds me in a bizarre way of what used to happen with cocaine in America.
Remember the cocaine penalties were so draconian when cocaine was in the inner city, when powder cocaine became popular in the '80s and a bunch of white kids at least in California who from middle class and upper middle class families started getting busted, well, what happens? Then the legislature all of a sudden changes the penalties.
HOSTIN: Absolutely. That's right.
GERAGOS: Now you get possession of cocaine --
HOSTIN: Not our boys.
GERAGOS: -- and it's diversion or deferred entry judgment. It went from a state -- mandatory state prison to something where you didn't even have a record when it gets into the white community. The thing that people I think don't understand until you get it is America is still, no matter what anybody says, an extremely racist place.
I mean, whether you want to accept it or not, I hear the same kinds of talk all the time when people think it's safe to say it.
HOSTIN: That scares me.
GERAGOS: This is not surprising in the least.
COOPER: Let me bring in Joseph.
Joseph, you say that there's no shred of evidence that race played a role in this case. Do the tapes change your mind in any way?
JOSEPH HAYNES DAVIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What I mean by that, Anderson, and thank you so much. And thank you for having me on your program. What I mean by that is, when you look at the jury, you look at the procedure and so forth in this case, I ask the question where in the matter did race play a part in this process?
Now, we're looking -- we've heard the sound, the audio of Mr. Dunn. He clearly made some bigoted comments and so forth. So one could conclude that Mr. Dunn is quite frankly a bigot. But when you look at the trial itself, I asked this esteemed panel of good folks here, where in the trial, and the procedure, was there any bigotry or overt racism?
HOSTIN: It's at the root of the case.
DAVIS: May I finish?
COOPER: Let him finish then we'll answer your question. Go ahead.
DAVIS: May I finish? Because I did not interrupt anyone on this panel. Let me also say for a complete transparency I am pro-Second Amendment, I am a concealed weapons holder. I'm pro-Stand Your Ground. I am pro civil rights all the way. Pro Ninth Amendment for women's rights and so forth.
And at the end of the day as a black American male in this country -- and I've been black and American and male longer than anybody on this panel -- I refuse to not embrace every single right under this great constitution.
COOPER: Joseph --
DAVIS: And that is -- and that includes the right to keep and bear arms.
GERAGOS: I don't know if he's --
COOPER: But Joseph --
GERAGOS: I don't know if he's older than me.
COOPER: Joseph, let me just ask you, though. Do you believe in the state of Florida that the law is equally applied, that if a -- if an African-American male argued Stand Your Ground shot a -- I mean, if the roles were reversed on this and Mr. Dunn was African-American and the young men in the car were Caucasian, and said it was Stand Your Ground, that he felt threatened, do you think the law would treat an African-American male who shot a white male the same?
DAVIS: I would like to think so. And let me give you a personal example. Florida statute 776.013 is the "Castle Doctrine." On October 16th, 2006, I accidentally left the garage door up for my garage and the door to my house unlocked. A white male intruder came into my home. 3:30 a.m. in the morning.
I immediately got up with my .357 magnum with six rounds of hollow point bullets, fired five of them at him. I missed. But had it not been for that, I might not be here having this conversation with you all on this show.
DAVIS: So the answer is yes, I have experienced these -- statutes protecting me. Now --
DAVIS: Let me also say -- and let me just say this. I did not like the verdict in Zimmerman. And I covered that trial. I think that Mr. Zimmerman should not have exited the car at all because that's not how we were trained as concealed weapons holders.
COOPER: OK. I don't want to -- I don't want to go down the Zimmerman roll again. We've covered it a lot.
DAVIS: No, I'm just saying. And I think --
COOPER: And, Charles, when you hear Joseph's argument, you don't buy it?
BLOW: No. Listen, I completely respect the fact that that was his experience. But that's an anecdote, right? The problem with his argument is that it has an evidence problem, which is that all the evidence when you look at it in aggregate shows that there are obvious biases in the system, and including the Stand Your Ground.
COOPER: But, Joseph -- and we'll --
HOSTIN: We can talk about this case.
COOPER: Mark or Sunny, let me put this question. Joseph asked -- Joseph asked the question. Where in this trial was it raised?
HOSTIN: It's at the very root of the case. It's at the very root of the case. I sat in that courtroom every day. And I will tell you that but for the fact that those boys were black, he would not have felt threatened. He made a leap because he saw them, he heard loud music and he immediately felt threatened by this alleged inherent criminality of the black kid. COOPER: So you're not saying in the process --
HOSTIN: And anyone including Joseph who doesn't know that and who doesn't see that is very naive and under some --
COOPER: OK. Mark, Mark --
GERAGOS: Now I want to say --
COOPER: One at a time. One at a time. One at a time.
GERAGOS: Let me just kind -- let me just kind of bridge this for you, Joseph.
DAVIS: The fact of the matter is, Mr. Dunn might be a bigot.
GERAGOS: He might be a bigot. That's where race played in this.
DAVIS: But you cannot point to anything in this procedure.
HOSTIN: You're very confused, sir. You're very confused.
COOPER: Joseph, you're talking about the procedure, the court procedure.
DAVIS: No, I'm not confused.
COOPER: Mark --
DAVIS: I just disagree with you and you think I'm confused.
COOPER: It seems apples and oranges.
Joseph, you're talking about the procedure itself. What you're talking about, Mark and Sunny, is the mind of this man. What's --
HOSTIN: That is the case.
GERAGOS: The premise which you look at.
COOPER: Yes. I know. We got it. We got it.
GERAGOS: Look, this judge ran a -- in my opinion, this judge -- I didn't see anything that was egregious. I didn't see this --
GERAGOS: I didn't see this judge do anything at any point that I'd say, wow, that was just --
COOPER: Right. You're not just agreeing with the judge. You're agreeing -- right.
GERAGOS: I don't disagree with any of that. What I'm telling or what I'm trying to point out, this is -- you know, we can talk about the trial but the trial is only reflective of the society we live in. And the society we live in, whether -- you know, I guess you and I are the only Caucasians on this panel right now. And I don't know if you in New York, you know, hear the kinds of things that I hear in some of the communities I hang out in.
But some of the communities I hang out in, the things that this guy says, the things that are on those phone calls, that's perfectly acceptable.
GERAGOS: I mean, it might not be acceptable right here.
COOPER: I was surprised by the things he said.
DAVIS: Nobody -- listen. Nobody is disputing bigotry throughout America. I mean, since 1857 --
BLOW: Or in this case.
HOSTIN: IN this trial. In this case.
COOPER: Guy, we've got to leave it there. I appreciate the discussion, though. We will have more.
Joseph Davis, it's good to have you on. Charles Blow, as well. Sunny, Mark, as always.
Let us know what you think. Let's continue the conversation online. Follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper, tweet using #ac360.
Just ahead, we want to talk about the peace talks on Syria. They're stalled in Geneva. On the ground the civil war has gone from really bad to worse. Senator John McCain joins us, a long time supporter of giving more aid to the opposition, the Free Syrian Army. He's going to join us coming up.
Also more on our breaking news. The deadly violence. And take a look at these images. This is Kiev, this is Ukraine, the capital of Ukraine, the city's Independence Square in flames.
Want to take a look at what's behind the unrest. Is a full-blown revolution under way? We'll talk about it ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Welcome back. We're looking at live pictures of the violence still raging in Kiev in Ukraine, where tensions have exploded. We're going to have much on that shortly.
First, though, new efforts being made tonight to bring home the only American soldier in captivity, Bowe Bergdahl, is his name. The army sergeant was seized in Afghanistan back in 2009. He's been held this long. He's believed to be held by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani Network inside Pakistan.
Over the years several proof of life videos of Bergdahl have been released. CNN is unable to independently confirm their authenticity. But just weeks ago the U.S. Military obtained a new video that's never been publicly released. It's raised concerns, though, about Bergdahl's health.
The Taliban has long demanded the release of five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo in exchange for his release. Well, today a U.S. official confirmed that new discussions led by diplomats and the Pentagon are underway.
As you know the United States has long policy saying they don't negotiate with terrorists. That's the official policy. But time may be running out. With U.S. troops set to leave Afghanistan by the end of the year, there's the prospect of leaving a man behind.
Senator John McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, of course, has been a vocal opponent of negotiating with the Taliban in years past.
Tonight only on 360 he has a new position. I spoke to him earlier.
COOPER: Would you oppose the idea of some form of negotiations or prisoner exchange? I know back in 2012 you called the idea of even negotiating with the Taliban bizarre, highly questionable.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, at that time the proposal was that they would release -- Taliban, some of them really hard-core, particularly five really hard-core Taliban leaders, as a confidence- building measure. Now this idea is for an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting man.
I would be inclined to support such a thing depending on a lot of the details.
COOPER: Of anybody on Capitol Hill, you know better than anybody what this young man must be going through. Obviously it's a very different time. How do you get through something like this? I mean, for somebody in this situation?
MCCAIN: Well, I was fortunate in where he is not that I had fellow POWs that even though I was a long time in solitary confinement we would tap on the wall to each other and stay in communication. If it wasn't for that, it would have been a very different story for most of us. And this is why I feel especially sympathetic for Mr. Bergdahl because he is all there by himself.
COOPER: So if there was some -- the possibility of some sort of exchange, that's something you would support?
MCCAIN: I would support. Obviously I'd have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing him home and if exchange was one of them I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider.
COOPER: I want to ask you a few questions about Syria. Obviously you've been out in front of this for a long time. You and I have spoken about it a lot. Recently we've seen -- I want to warn our viewers just horrific images of Syrians reportedly starved, tortured by this regime. It shouldn't be a surprise, but that's there's greater documentation of it now than ever before.
Do you see any way that this situation changes anytime soon?
MCCAIN: I do, if we take really significant measures, training, arming, equipping, and I mean really arming and equipping, including surface-to-air handheld missile capabilities.
Look, there are no good options. None. But doing nothing, which is basically what we've done, Anderson, is the worst of all options. And the president of the United States who said, you know, it wasn't a matter of whether but when that Bashar al-Assad would leave and all that ridiculous statements that he made in the past. That was before 5,000 Hezbollah came in.
And this farce, this joke, this sad tragedy of the Geneva agreements thinking that somehow Bashar al-Assad would negotiate his departure when he's winning was just the height of insanity and an insult to the intelligence of all of us who know this.
The only thing that Bashar will understand will be a shift in the battle field. And also the Russians have got to pay a price for continuing this supply. The Iranians have to pay a price. Hezbollah has to pay a price.
If I'm passionate about this, I am passionate about this. And I want to thank you. I want to thank you personally for all the coverage you have given this issue.
COOPER: Well, we have a video which is obtained by CNN. It's an execution, we understand, committed not by forces of the Assad regime, which God knows they have committed plenty of atrocities, nor by members of the Free Syrian Army, but rather by members of the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria, ISIS.
I mean, this is not -- or would you say that this is what some in the international community have feared most? I mean, you now have a situation where moderate groups are having to fight against these radical groups as opposed to fighting even against the Assad regime.
MCCAIN: They are fighting a two-front war. And by the way, it's interesting that Bashar al-Assad is not attacking those areas that are controlled by ISIS. But there is a backlash against ISIS. One the 7,000 foreign fighters are primarily there. And this brutality that they've been practicing has caused a reaction and a coalition of moderate and Islamic groups that are doing -- achieving a little bit of success.
But they need a lot of help. We've got to take out these helicopters that are dropping these barrel bombs.
Can you imagine dropping these barrel bombs that are just cluster -- crude cluster bombs indiscriminately killing people? When is the United States of America going to show some leadership? When is the president of the United States going to look at history and say, what -- how is history going to judge me and -- this country when we've we simply did not -- watched these people die by now 130,000?
And it is a regional conflict. And it's going to spread.
COOPER: 130,000 dead. As always you can find more on the story at CNN.com right now.
Coming up next we're going to take you back to Ukraine. This is really an important story. The capital Kiev in flames. You see the images there. Rebellion spreading across the country. We're going to take -- give you some context about what is going on. What the demonstrators want, what the government wants.
And later with billions of tax dollars at stake, your money, lobbyists who are literally in bed with Congress. Big money influenced peddlers with the ultimate inside track. Their spouses are the lawmakers themselves. We're "Keeping Them Honest."
COOPER: Welcome back. Early hours of the morning, the center of one of Eastern Europe's major cities is still in flames. Take a look at the images. Ukrainian forces moving hard tonight on protesters in Kiev's independence square. Vice President Biden speaking by phone with Ukraine's president warning that his government bears special responsibility to de-escalate the situation, a crisis that appears to be spreading right now.
Want to go back to the phone and Phil Black who is in Kiev tonight. Also joining us former CNN correspondent, Jill Dougherty, who is now at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Phil, we spoke at the top of the show. Explain the situation now. The images we're seeing, the flames still burning there in Independence Square.
BLACK (via telephone): Indeed. Just about 3:30 a.m. local time. There are still thousands of people here, Anderson. They're all working most of them in one way or another. They're either fuelling those big bon fires that you can see, building up barricades, standing sentry at the frontline with shields and batons or literally tearing up the roads, the buildings, forming huge piles of rubble, which are really ammunition they say they're prepared to use if riot police try to move through here and retake the square.
Those fires have actually spread into a building, a multi-story building overlooking the square. You can see the outside of the fire, outside of the building not badly damaged. But inside that fire is darting the billing as we speak. It is the building that these opposition protesters have been using as their main headquarters for the last few months -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Jill, essentially -- explain what's going on. I mean, my understanding is that the Russians want the Ukraine economy tied to Moscow, not to the European Union, which is what the protesters want. They want it tied to the European Union. Explain to people why this is important.
JILL DOUGHTERTY, FELLOW, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL (via telephone): It's extremely important because Ukraine is a very big country. It's right on the eastern part of Europe between Europe and Russia. It's just east of Poland. It has a population of 45 million people. So geographically it's as big as France, the population of Spain. And it is really a titanic struggle between the east and west, between the E.U. and the U.S. versus Russia. Unfortunately, as you look at these pictures, we could very easily be headed towards civil war. And that would be a disaster.
COOPER: What are the possible ways that this could get resolved, Jill? I mean, some sort of obviously negotiations tonight seemed to end without anything being resolved.
DOUGHERTY: They could, but that seems to be the case because they have come to the point of and over again where it seemed to be resolved by offering different positions. For instance when the prime minister stepped down, the president offered a prime ministership to the opposition. But the opposition turned it down. They don't want it.
And right now you have Russia in a really zero sum fight, an economic fight, offering to bail out. Remember that happened in December. Russia said look, we've we'll give you $15 billion to rescue you if you will come our way, if you will join our trade union and not join the E.U.
But Ukraine was trying to play both sides against the middle. And as the demonstrations continued, they decided that Russia pulled that money, was freezing that money. Now it's giving that money back. It is saying we're going ahead with that.
As I read that, Anderson, it looks as if they believed that the new prime minister, which could be decided this week will be a pro-Russian person. So you have a total tug-of-war between east and west.
COOPER: Phil, is there a sense of how much support the protesters have or the government have? I mean, does one have more than the other?
BLACK: It is difficult to say just across the country, Anderson, or to speak for the country as a whole. Certainly here in Kiev, it's the west of the countries. We know the mission of these protesters has the most support. We know that these are the people that see themselves as being western-leaning, more European. They want these values, they want that economy, they want their country to have that sort of democracy.
East of the country it is culturally, ethically more Russian, always has been. It is the president's power base, his heartland. So that is the crisis. That is why this is so difficult to resolve this. This is a divided country. And the next few days could determine whether or not that divide becomes greater and potentially rips the nation apart.
COOPER: Phil Black, be careful tonight. Thank you for reporting for us there, Jill Dougherty as well.
Just ahead tonight, in the world of Washington lobbyists have the closest connections of all. They're actually related to the lawmakers that their clients want to influence. We're keeping them honest tonight.
COOPER: If you're already a little jaded about Washington, this will not help. But it's something you need to know about. All year long we'll be keeping them honest about money, influence and power in the nation's capital. We're working with a non-profit group called the Government Accountability Institute.
Tonight CNN's Drew Griffin takes a hard look at lobbying, not just the thousands of run of the mill lobbyists who earn a healthy living in Washington. We're talking about influential lawmakers in powerful positions whose family members actually lobby Congress. Here's Drew's report.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For some of the most powerful people in Washington, people you vote into office, power and influence are a family affair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you take somebody like Harry Reid, for example, the majority leader in the Senate. He has three sons and a son-in-law all of whom have been registered lobbyists. Same thing in Missouri with Republican Roy Blunt whose wife and several of his children are registered lobbyists.
GRIFFIN: Reid and Blunt's family lobbying ties are legendary, but neither has a monopoly. According to a Legistorm, a congressional watchdog tracking service, since 2001, 100 federally registered lobbyists related to 78 members of Congress have worked on lobbying contracts worth nearly $2 billion. That's 100 Congressional family members related to these 78 members of Congress. And transparency campaigner, Peter Schweizer says every one of those family lobbyists got paid.
PETER SCHWEIZER, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY INSTITUTE: It's not just about staying in office because you like the power. It's about staying in office because it generates huge amounts of cash for your family.
GRIFFIN: But official registered lobbying by family members is only one part of this family business, and one of the only parts you can track. Nick Nyhart heads Public Campaign, a group trying to get special interest money out of politics. Campaign donations, lobbying, schmoozing, that's easy to track, he says. There is something much more subtle yet larger going on in D.C. big government contractors seem to have a lot of congressional relatives on their staffs. It's just not talked about.
(on camera): It just seems like it's one big inside game.
NICK NYHART, PUBLIC CAMPAIGN: Well, I think that's right. This town is built on that kind of inside game.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Want an example? Take Christie Clemens Rogers. Four years ago, she married the powerful chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers. Up until 2012, she was also the CEO of the American branch of Aegis, a defense and security contracting firm.
Where according to her new employer, the law firm, Manett, Phelps and Phillips, Christy Rogers successfully developed and led a two-year pursuit and capture strategy to win a five-year, $10 billion contract under the Department of State's Worldwide Protective Services program."
And yes, it's an area her husband's committee has Congressional oversight, making sure diplomats and their staffs are properly protected. You would think Congressman Mike Rogers would at least disclose that family connection, or that in appearing before Congress, Christie Rogers would disclose her marital ties.
But on his web site, Congressman Rogers only states he's in fact married, no name, and Christie Rogers in an appearance before a presidential commission back in 2010 didn't mention the name of the man she just married, even though she missed her first appearance due to her honeymoon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was an unfortunate perfect storm. I had just come off my honeymoon. That was not the perfect storm --
GRIFFIN: The Congressman declined our interview request, and his press secretary set us straight in this e-mail, telling us this is all old news. Christie Rogers is not a lobbyist, she writes, and is not engaging in those activities. She has also never met with any member of Congressman Rogers' staff or staff members of the intelligence committee in any professional capacity on any issue."
Christy Rogers is now the managing director of Federal Government Affairs and Public Policy from Annette, Phelps and Phillips. She is not a registered lobbyist. She just happens to work for a firm that does extensive lobbying. On its web site, touts its strong relationships in Congress with a solid record of success in securing legislation and federal funding on behalf of clients.
NYHART: It's this kind of conflict of interest that leads to this deep distrust.
GRIFFIN (on camera): What we are told constantly by the members is, I never talk to my spouse about this issue. I never talk to her on this business. There's a firewall between me and my sons who are lobbyists. Do you buy that?
NYHART: Well, whether you buy it or not, here's the question of the appearance. I'm sure there's some reality. I can't quite believe that members of Congress don't care about the fortunes of their family members.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): And the fortunes go both ways. Mike Rogers' wife, Christy becomes CEO of defense contractor then is hired by a lobbying firm. Rogers becomes chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and according to the Federal Election Commission, political donations from the defense industry quadruple, all legal, all within the rules, all routine in the family business of Washington.
COOPER: Drew joins us now. Drew as you said, this is all somewhat routine in Washington, almost taken for granted, but the numbers are really astounding, a 100 family members of a congressman listed as registered lobbyists?
GRIFFIN: It is so normal inside the beltway, Anderson, that we hear the same thing every time we go there. This is old news to them. They don't think there's anything wrong. D.C. is a family town. These family connections are very important and the examples are everywhere you look, both parties. It's why people elected to office when they leave office, they don't leave Washington.
COOPER: Unbelievable. Drew, thanks very much. We'll continue to follow this throughout the year.
Olympic skier, Bode Miller, breaks down that post-race interview on NBC. You probably heard about this. When asked repeatedly about his late brother. The question is did the reporter go too far? Bode Miller talks to our Rachel Nichols next.
COOPER: Olympic skier, Bode Miller speaking out about the controversy surrounding his emotional interview with NBC's Christine Cooper after winning the bronze in the men's Super-G Sunday. Cooper repeatedly asked Miller about the death of his brother last year to the point where Bode Miller broke down in tears.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much to come up with a great performance for him and was it for him? BODE MILLER, U.S. OLYMPIC SKIER: I don't know if it's really for him. But I wanted to come here and, I don't know, I guess make myself proud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you're look up in the sky at the start we see you there and it just looks like you're talking to somebody. What's going on there?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Cooper got criticized online for that interview. Miller sticking up for her. He says had doesn't blame her for asking those questions. Today Miller sat down with Rachel Nichols, host of CNN's "UNGUARDED." Take a look.
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You had a pretty emotional interview with Christine Cooper. Got a lot of controversy back in the states afterward, people back home felt that she pushed you too far asking about your brother.
MILLER: I felt like it was me, not her. She asked questions that I feel like with her knowledge of my brother and the situation I felt like were pretty normal questions. I mean, maybe in hindsight from other people's perspective, I think she kept pushing a little bit. But I've known Christine for a long time. I think she's really comfortable with me.
I felt terrible that she was getting just massacred in the press and in social media. But I think in the end people will sort of see thought was more me just dealing with all these emotions and the buildup of several years of very tough personal life stuff.
NICHOLS: You tweeted sort of to defend her. You said it's not her fault, you said it's me.
MILLER: I think it caught everybody a little bit by surprise, myself included. I didn't know my reaction was going to be that strong. And I really appreciate the support I got from social media and from people because I think it was very authentic and people are protective and they don't like seeing somebody suffer. But invariably that's what happens. It was just -- I was suffering and it wasn't anybody's fault I don't think.
NICHOLS: There's a lot of people outside of skiing who don't know your brother's story. He had a motorcycle crash, how long was it?
MILLER: It was '06. And yes, it was really super tough on all of us because we didn't know if he was going to even recover or be alive or anything. It was really kind of a turning point. After he recovered over the course of six or seven years, he had five seizures, six seizures. Not a lot but all kind of critical.
One on a chair lift and fell off the chair lift from like 40 feet up, one just after he'd been on the highway which would have been awful so it's not that we knew something was ever going to happen. We all hoped thought would be fine. But it was just a really tough thing to go through and a tough process to deal with.
NICHOLS: And through that time as he was dealing with the seizures, he's also a great snowboarder and had hoped to join you at these Olympics. What conversations did you guys have about that?
MILLER: He set his goal to come to these Olympics. That was part of the reason why I was staying with it and coming back to continue to race so we would be here together and hopefully win together.
NICHOLS: And when he did have the seizures and died from that, did that make you rethink coming to these Olympics?
MILLER: It didn't change my feelings about the Olympics at all. It just was an emotional moment that kind of like -- emotions I think just live inside of you no matter. What but when you have that kind of -- it's just a -- you can feel like a ball of energy in there. I didn't really intentionally do it. But it certainly came out in that Super G.
To look back on it now, it probably made the difference for me between getting a medal and not. But the real part of it hits afterwards when you deal with the consequences of really living those emotions. It was really pretty raw and pretty painful.
NICHOLS: If you do think that thinking of him and that experience is what pushed you over the edge in the Super G is a nice part of that he helped you do that?
MILLER: Yes. And if you lose a family member, a loved one, I don't think there's anything more sort of to honor their memory than to use that memory and the love for them to do something that maybe you couldn't do otherwise. And that felt great, but it also was painful.
COOPER: Bode Miller talking to our Rachel Nichols. We'll be right back.
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