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Sterling Says He's Not a Racist; Sterling Believes the Clippers Still Love Him; Sterling Says Magic Told Him to Keep Quiet; Truck Rams Local T.V. Station in Maryland; A Mother's Plea to Man Who Kidnapped Daughter; Rove's Comments About Hillary Clinton; Finding Missing Girls; Rove Clarifies Remark
Aired May 13, 2014 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, Donald Sterling's denials and accusations continue to stir up deep anger. We'll have more of the exclusive interview with our own Anderson Cooper, including details of a conversation Sterling says he had with Magic Johnson.
Also right now, Hillary Clinton supporters are fighting back against Karl Rove after the Republican strategist raised questions about a 2012 health scare that landed the former secretary of state in the hospital.
And right now, we're waiting for a brand-new report on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. It's set to release this hour. It could change the way flights are tracked.
Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from Washington. We start with more from Donald Sterling and his exclusive interview with our own Anderson Cooper. He offered more apologies, more explanations, more excuses for making racist remarks. Those remarks got him banned for life from the NBA. Here's Sterling's reasoning for why he can't be considered a racist.
DONALD STERLING: I think you have more of a plantation mentality than I do. You know what? It's -- and I think you're more of a racist than I am.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "A.C. 360": How so?
STERLING: Because I'm not a racist and I've never been a racist and I'll never be a racist. I don't know what that means to have that mentality. You're asking me that question. What do you mean a mentality?
COOPER: Well, to have a plantation mentality is to feel like you own these guys. They're working for you.
STERLING: Do I own them?
COOPER: I don't know.
STERLING: My players earn $100 million a year. COOPER: But I --
STERLING: Do I own them?
COOPER: But in this tape, you're saying --
STERLING: Some of them earn $50 million a year.
COOPER: In this tape, you're saying, I support them. I give them food and clothes and cars and houses.
STERLING: Well, I think I create opportunities for them so they can make $100 million. I don't give them anything, believe me. And those players could get that same amount of money anywhere else.
BLITZER: Let me bring in our own Stephanie Elam. She's in Los Angeles. Michael Weis, he's been covering the story for the "Washington Post" joining us from Indianapolis.
Let's talk a little bit about these comments. Stephanie, let me go to you first because you've been reporting on what's going on. What's been the reaction in L.A. so far to his latest remarks? I must say, it was much of a rant in the interview he gave our own Anderson Cooper.
STEPHANIE ELAM CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was very much -- a lot of people just befuddled, Wolf, that, A, that he would go off and contradict himself so many times in one interview. And that he seems to be constantly picking a fight with Magic Johnson. Magic is loved here in Los Angeles. He is seen as someone who continues to give back to the community.
He is also seen as a smart businessman who has made millions of dollars, millions of dollars doing what he does and doing it well. I think he's worth, like, some $500 million. So, he talks about that there's a lot of love for him. I will say this about Donald Sterling. I have seen people say that they don't support what he says but they do think that he may have a right to keep his team.
I've seen -- other than that, I have seen no one showing any support for Donald Sterling. He's sort of just the modern day case of a scarlet letter. Everyone wants to stay away from him just because it's just such a toxic situation. And when he speaks for himself, he doesn't help his case.
BLITZER: Let's bring in Michael from Indianapolis. You're getting ready to help the Wizards-Pacers game later tonight. But let's talk a little bit about what's the mood inside the NBA? You're close to players. You're close to owners. You know what's going on. How angry are they at Sterling right now?
MICHAEL WISE, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "WASHINGTON POST": I don't even think anger is the word, Wolf. I think -- I think there's almost more of a resigned notion of when do we get him out of here and how long is it going to take to sell the team? I don't think there's any -- there's any possibility, legal or otherwise, that this -- that this will end in Donald Sterling retaining the Los Angeles Clippers, especially off of Anderson Cooper's interview.
BLITZER: Let me play another clip from Anderson's interview. This is -- this is Sterling, obviously, maybe living in a dream world. I'll play this clip.
STERLING: The players don't hate me. The sponsors don't hate me.
COOPER: You don't believe the players --
STERLING: The fans don't hate me. The media hates -- the media -- it's all the media pushing it.
COOPER: You really -- honestly, you really believe it's just the media?
STERLING: I believe it 100 percent. I believe it 100 percent. People call me by the thousands and it -- giving me support.
COOPER: You don't think the players --
STERLING: They don't say I should have said that.
COOPER: You don't think the players don't like you? When the Clippers, when your team (INAUDIBLE) --
STERLING: Why wouldn't they like me when I'm respectful?
COOPER: You think they still love you?
STERLING: I do. I do.
COOPER: You believe the players of the Los Angeles Clippers love you?
STERLING: Absolutely. They know I'm not a racist. And I'm not a racist.
COOPER: Why haven't they come forward and said that?
STERLING: Well, you see, people are intimidated by even the thought of racism. And around the world, and this -- they call me from Australia, from London, and they ask me, different media, are you a racist? I'm not a racist.
BLITZER: All right, Michael, let me go to you first. He seems to be delusional. I mean, I don't know what -- how you can react to that.
WISE: To me, it's the sad, sick ramblings of an old man. While I will never sit out here and say that somebody asking for forgiveness is a wrong thing and I don't want to question their apology. I still wonder why it took this long. I don't -- I don't know of any person of a dominant race in this world accused of being a racist would not wait two weeks to clear his name or at least ask for forgiveness or something. It's unconscionable to me, especially the Magic thing. I can't go -- I can't say enough about that.
I've known Earvin Johnson since he was 15 -- since I was 15 years old. And to say that Magic Johnson hasn't done enough for minorities in this country? The moment, November 7, 1991, was almost a Jackie Robinson moment for the NBA. Magic Johnson put a public face on the HIV virus. And the way David Stern handled that was magnanimous. The way Magic handled it. Magic went on to fund HIV centers in which people from low-income neighborhoods could afford drugs that he got when he first acquired the HIV virus. This is a person who led a broader commercial life, returned to many neighborhoods in this country where nobody's wanted to put their business.
So, for a guy who was seen in a deposition 10 years ago to say that he didn't want black people living in his buildings, to criticize Magic and say he doesn't have enough -- it's unconscionable.
BLITZER: And, Stephanie, let me play the exchange that Donald Sterling had with Anderson on the whole issue of Magic Johnson and his efforts on behalf of minorities.
STERLING: He lulled me into waiting a week. You know what I mean? He says, don't do anything.
COOPER: He told you -- you're saying he told you not to say anything?
STERLING: Yes, don't do anything. I know the girl. Don't do anything. I'll help you. I'm waiting and I'm waiting and I'm waiting.
COOPER: What you're saying is magic Johnson called you up or you called him up?
STERLING: I don't know his phone number. He called me.
COOPER: He called you up --
COOPER: -- when the tape broke.
STERLING: I don't call anybody. I'm loyal to you.
COOPER: He called you up when the tape came out and he told you not to say anything, you're saying?
COOPER: Why did he say, don't say anything?
STERLING: He just said, wait, be patient. I'll help you. We'll work it out.
COOPER: Why do you think he said that?
STERLING: I think he wanted me to just do nothing so he could buy the team. He thought maybe the whole thing would be resolved in two weeks. Well, what has he done? Can you tell me? Big magic Johnson, what has he done?
BLITZER: It didn't take long, Stephanie. Adam silver, the commissioner of the NBA, released a statement saying I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack. And I assume everyone in Los Angeles is outraged by all of this, Stephanie.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very much so. Well, I mean, the man has so much love in this city. He's got a big personality. You know it when he's there. But he also -- take a look at what happened. And, you know, I think most of us who were around at that time, I remember where I was when we all found out that Magic had --
ELAM: -- HIV. I was at Howard University at swim practice. I came out and the campus was silent. Everyone was devastated with this news. Magic could have gone. He could have disappeared in a hole and just not dealt with any of this. Instead what he did is that he started his foundation. He became a businessman that is respected among other businesspeople. And he focused on making things better. Getting businesses in other places.
So, he's not the guy that you want to target. Targeting somebody that's also loved within the NBA on top of it is not a very good way of going about this. The other thing about it is Donald Sterling seems to think of himself as the victim. He's been victimized by Magic. And, of course, Magic wants to respond, I'm sure, to this because he's pretty much calling -- sullying his name in this interview.
And then, he's saying that V. Stiviano didn't really care about him. So, I think Donald Sterling sees himself as a victim in this. But one of the people he seems to think that took advantage of him is Magic and we have no proof that that is the case at all.
BLITZER: And very quickly, Michael, because we're out of time. His wife, Shelly Sterling, she keeps saying she thinks he has dementia. You buy that?
WISE: I don't buy that. I mean, he seemed pretty lucid in that interview. Could he -- could he think some rambling thoughts that he forgot about? Yes. But he was pretty clear in some of his statements. And just a side note, I know Shelly Sterling wants to keep the team. I can't imagine being married to someone for 50 years and not knowing their behavior and who and what they're about. I think -- I think any inclination that she would get the team is patently ridiculous.
BLITZER: Michael Wise of the "Washington Post. Stephanie Elam of CNN. Michael, let's hope our Wizards do well tonight against the Pacers. We need a win and we need a win badly. By the way, you can hear a lot more from Donald Sterling talking about his wife Shelly, about the NAACP, later tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, more of Anderson's exclusive interview.
Also, Anderson is going to be joined by Magic Johnson to get his take on Donald Sterling, the personal attacks against the NBA Hall of Famer. You'll want to check it out, 8:00 p.m. Eastern later tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Let's get to the breaking news. Right now, out of -- out of Towson, Maryland, that's near Baltimore. A man reportedly barricaded himself inside a local T.V. station after ramming the building with a truck. Our Athena Jones is joining us now. She's got more on what's going on. What do we know, Athena?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, we know that this is still an active situation. That station, WMAR, an ABC affiliate, has been evacuated. And so, they're now the story. They're in taped programming. And we're getting a lot of information from the staff of that station about what's going on.
But let me just tell you, this is a very densely populated area. It's near Towson University. There's a hospital, St. Joseph's, nearby. And next door, there's a school, St. Pius X. It's a pre-K through eighth grade and they are on lockdown right now as a precaution.
You can see these aerial shots that we've been watching. We saw the SWAT teams come in as law enforcement try to get a handle on this situation. But we're learning from some of the staff who are tweeting from the location. One reporter tweeted -- Brian Kuebler tweeted, suspect yelled, let me in. This is a person who rammed -- this reporter says, rammed a large truck three times into the front door of this station and eventually broke through. The suspect yelled, let me in. He said he was god. He rammed the building at least three times. And it -- they believe it was a landscaping truck that landed in the lobby. We just saw some earlier reports that it was a dump truck. But either way, a very large truck that is now inside the station.
Again, they're in taped programming now. I will say that they've tweeted they did do a head count. And everyone is out of the building and safe, says one of the tweets. Many are calling loved ones now to tell them -- to let them know they are OK. One other person said, you know, look at the size of that building. You can tell how big it is. And so, it could take some time for law enforcement to go through the building and find this potentially armed suspect.
One staffer tweeted, the ABC 2 News building is surprisingly big inside, not too many entrances and exits but lots of places for a crazy guy to hole up. Another person tweeted, if you --- if you drove a dump truck through the front door of ABC 2 News, you'd run smack into a staircase that isn't going anywhere. So, we're getting a little bit of color from the scene, from staffers on the scene who, of course, now are the news. They're unable to do their usual broadcast, instead that team is in a -- that station is in taped programming. And we're watching this unfold -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. We'll continue to update our viewers when we get more information. Let's hope this is resolved quietly, peacefully, and is over with. Athena, thanks very much.
Still to come, a Nigerian mother's desperate plea to the man who kidnapped her daughter. We're going to hear from her. We're also speak with our own Christiane Amanpour about what options the world has when it comes to rescuing these girls.
Later, Karl Rove's trying to clarify remarks about Hillary Clinton's -- he suggested, at least he was reportedly suggesting that she may have brain damage. He's now denying it. We'll tell you what's going on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What would you say if you could say one thing to the people who took your daughter? What would you say to them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told them, I just can't say anything about them, but if they left, if they left, they leave our daughters.
We are pleading with them to leave our daughters. We are pleading them to leave our daughters. We don't have power do anything that requires power. But if they like and they are good, then they'll help us to leave our daughters. That is what I have towards them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: An emotional moment. CNN's Nima Elbagir, the first international journalist to make the dangerous journey into Chibuk, talking to a mother of one of the girls being held captive by Nigerian terrorists.
Now a video released by Boko Haram, the terrorist organization, purports to show those kidnapped girls but some relatives have told CNN it's not quite the case. They say some of these girls in this video were abducted as long as two years ago. It's not necessarily surprising considering the history of Boko Haram.
The U.S. designated Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization last November. The State Department's terrorism report says the group is responsible for numerous attacks in northern and northeastern Nigeria that have killed thousands of people since 2009. Loosely translated, Boko Haram means "western education is a sin," in the local language. The group has repeatedly targeted places of learning and deadly attacks that have highlighted its fundamental philosophy against education for young girls, whether they're Christians or Muslims or anyone else.
Meanwhile, the U.S. s stepping up its efforts to try to find those girls. The U.S. is now sharing aerial surveillance of Nigerian territory, both through commercial satellites and manned planes from the Defense Department. That according to two senior Obama administration officials. Our chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is joining us from London right now.
And, Christiane, what a heartbreaking story this is. But there has been, in recent hours, the arrival of teams from several countries, including the U.S., Britain, France, China, Israel, raising hopes that the girls might be found. What do you think they're going to be able to achieve, if anything?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, honestly, Wolf, if all these forces, let's say all these experts are coming from all these countries, this is the best chance there is of these girls being rescued, despite (ph) clearly the Nigerian government has not been able to do that. Look, when we saw this terrible picture that you're showing right now, we did wonder when this was taken, were these the 200 or so -- 200-plus girls that were taken just last month. And now we understand from relatives, as you've reported, that some of them were abducted years ago.
And this has been going on for years. The Nigerian government has not had the wherewithal or the incentive to go and get them or the ability to do so. So they really do need outside help. But when I asked Prime Minister David Cameron here in London on Sunday, he said, well, we've offered to send teams to explain to the Nigerians how we could help. It's pretty unclear, at least to me right now, how much help and precisely what kind of help the Nigerian government is actually accepting.
BLITZER: As you know in that video that was released yesterday, Christiane, the leader of Boko Haram says he would release the girls if members of the Boko Haram organization, the terrorist organization, are freed from prisons inside Nigeria. The Nigerian government responded by saying all options were on the table. This isn't the demand the group has made before, the government has conceded at least once. So, here's the question, at least here in Washington, some terror experts, they say if you negotiate with terrorist, it invites more abductions down the road. What do you make of that argument?
AMANPOUR: Well, clearly, that is the case. And most people do say that. I mean many countries, many governments, have a principle of not negotiating with terrorists. On the other hand, we also know that there have been many back door negotiations with various terrorists, kidnappers, those kind of things in the past, whether it's in Nigeria, which has happened with Boko Haram in the past not over -- not only over certain prisoners but over other abductees, foreign tourists, et cetera, and it's also happened in Afghanistan with the Taliban when they've taken and kidnapped certain foreign nationals from wherever. Some of them, we believe, have been released because their governments have paid ransom. So it does happen.
The question really is, is how straight is this guy, the head of Boko Haram? As you can see, the way he appears in these videos, it's really quite a disturbing presence that he's telegraphing and it's very unclear exactly where the red lines are or where his line of negotiational bargaining is. But it's clear that something needs to be done by the government because it's now really enraged the country after they, for years, have actually been watching this going on and it hasn't really got any traction.
And we've been reporting it for years. But now that this hash tag viral campaign to bring them back has really galvanized so many people, they've been forced to actually take a look at this problem. But even yesterday, you know, the interior minister, very hard line, said we will not negotiate, we will not do anything with these Boko Haram people. And then the governor had to say he was just speaking in a personnel capacity. And now we report that all options are on the table. It's very confuse and confusing what's happening inside the government there.
BLITZER: Let's just hope they can find those girls and bring them back to their families. Christiane Amanpour, thanks very, very much.
Other news we're following, the number of cases of MERS in the United States appears to be growing. Two health care workers who were treat - treated a confirmed MERS patient in Florida are now being checked for illness themselves. Both were taken to the emergency room after experiencing flu-like symptoms. They were initially placed in isolation but one has since been released. A separate case was reported in Indiana earlier this month. The Florida patient flew from Saudi Arabia, where the disease was initially reported back in 2012. Health care officials have been stressing MERS isn't spread through casual contact. The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, says President Obama has been briefed on the situation and the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, taking the lead on this issue.
Just ahead, did Karl Rove go way, way too far when he suggested that Hillary Clinton may have suffered some brain damage in 2012? He's backing away somewhat from those comments reported in "The New York Post," trying to explain what he meant. You're going to hear what he had to say. We'll get full analysis.
Later, should all commercial planes have real-time tracking that can't be turned off? We're going to tell you if it could soon be a reality.
BLITZER: Republican strategist Karl Rove now denying he ever suggested Hillary Clinton may have suffered severe brain injury when she was treated for a blood clot back at the end of 2012. According to "The New York Post" page six, Rove said this about Clinton last week at a forum in Los Angeles. Quote, "30 days in the hospital and when she reappears she's wearing glasses that are only for people who are traumatic brain injury. We need to know what's up with that."
The Clinton camp immediately fired back. Quote, "Karl Rove has deceived the country for years but there are no words for this level of lying. As to her health, she is 100 percent. Period." This morning, Rove was on Fox News, where he works. He says he only meant that the medical episode in December of 2012 deserves scrutiny if - if Clinton seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, I never used that phrase. I never used that phrase. But, look, she had a serious episode, a serious health episode. And I don't know about you, but if you go through a serious health episode, it causes you to look at life a little bit differently. And I mean this was a serious deal. I mean she basically is out of action from -- she's in and out of the office for -- starting on the 7th of December after she returns. She returns on a Friday from the Czech Republic but then it begins an over a month long period where she's got a serious illness, ending up putting her in the hospital. We don't know what the doctor said about, you know, what does she have to be concerned about. We don't know about what - and she's hidden a lot of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Let's bring in our senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar and our CNN political analyst Maggie Habraman of Politico.
Guys, thanks very much.
Brianna, first to you.
What do we know about this incident? We also know a more robust statement has just been released from the Clinton camp.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, and a rather long one. This coming from her spokesman, Nick Merrill. It says, "from the moment this happened 17 months ago, the right has politicized her health. First they accused her of faking it. Now they resorted to the other extreme and are flat-out lying. Even this morning, Karl Rove is still all over the map and is continuing to get the facts wrong but he doesn't care because all he want to do is eject the issue into the echo chamber and he's succeeding. It's flagrant and thinly veiled. They are scared of watch she has achieved and what she has to offer. What he's doing is its own form of sickness. But she is 100 percent, period. Time for them to move on to their next desperate attack."
So pretty strong statement coming from Hillary Clinton's camp there. But what we do know just about the facts of this case, in 2012, was that then Secretary Clinton had a stomach virus. She became dehydrated. And we've learned this from her aides and also from hospital officials. She fell and ultimately I think there was the impression it was just a concussion buts he went to the - obviously to check with a doctor and it turned out that it was a blood clot between her skull and her brain.