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Big Primaries between GOP versus Tea Party Challengers; Forcing Sterling to Sell; VA Probe Expands: 28 Facilities Now Being Investigated; Formation Of A Deadly Inferno That Scorched Part Of Southern California; Germs On A Plane: E. Coli, MRSA Can Linger For Days

Aired May 20, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

A very busy night. A breaking news tonight, election results coming from big primary races across the country.

And the NBA commissioner making it clear Donald Sterling has got to go.

Also, tonight, the V.A. scandal investigation growing, so the questions about what President Obama knew about the alleged game- playing and book cooking. Joining us only n this program, the doctor who first blew the whistle at problems at one of the now 26 hospitals under investigation.

Later, Michael Jace's road from TV detective to murder suspect, accused of killing his wife with their two young sons at home. New details murdering coming to light in the sad and puzzling case.

We begin tonight with the breaking news and states across the country as results come in from a big and potentially very consequential string of House and Senate primaries. Especially in Kentucky where Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, perhaps the most powerful Republican in Washington right now, has been locked in a big money, high stakes politically bruising battle with the Tea Party challenger.

Over the weekend, he predicted that Tea Party candidates would get crushed in the primaries. Tonight he appears to be doing at least his part. CNN can now project him the winner in this race over Matt Bevin. Matt said, his electoral troubles, very rare troubles for such a powerful incumbent may not be over.

I want to talk about that and the Kentucky results tonight. Dana Bash is at the McConnell campaign headquarters in Louisville. Also chief political analyst Gloria Borger is in Washington keeping her eye on the other key races.

So, Dana, McConnell was expected to get a major challenge from the right, from the Tea Party. What happened? Because it turned out to be not much of a race at all.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You know, as you said, he promised he was going to crush his Tea Party opponent and that looks like what he's headed to do. At this point, it looks like Matt Bevin is probably not going to crack 40 percent and that matters because it's all about at this point pitching forward to November and how much juice McConnell can get first and foremost among his Republican friends and Republican voters in order to beat the woman he'll likely have a neck and neck race with the Democrat.

But to answer your question, I've been watching McConnell for four years now try to deal and to play the tug of war with the idea of the Tea Party coming up and surprising a lot of his Republican colleagues, some of his fellow senators were beaten, outright beaten, and at the end of the day, those Republican challengers lost to Democrats. And so you have that dynamic that McConnell has squashed, which has been personal for him but it's also been hard because he has been very candid behind the scenes and elsewhere saying that he felt that some of those challenges have robbed him over the past two cycles, the ability to win back the majority for Republicans and be the majority leader.

COOPER: And Dana --

BASH: So that's why with him --


BASH: Go ahead.

COOPER: How tight is his general election going to be against the Democratic challenger?

BASH: At this point, it's extremely tight. It's early. But that's why the idea of unifying the Republican voters to vote today is really critical. But what is interesting, what we're going to likely hear from McConnell is something we heard from him on the trail over the past couple of days which is that he is going to argue that people who vote for Grimes are voting for Obama and why that matters and why that is considered a big negative here is because President Obama lost all but four counties in this state.

He is extremely unpopular, even more so than on Election Day in 2012. The question, though, is, is Mitch McConnell as unpopular? Polls now show he is and that's why his Democratic opponent Alison Grimes is thinking that she can hit on that, hit on his personal unpopularity to propel her forward in November.

COOPER: Right. We've been showing her picture there.

Gloria, let's look at the other Republican primary tonight. Another pivotal one in Georgia. The Tea Party battling the establishment. What's happening there?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. There's a real civil war going on in the Republican Party and the Democrats love it. They think they've got a good candidate going forward in the fall. Michelle Nunn who's the daughter of a former senator. You see all these primary candidates here. There are three Tea Party candidates, two establishment candidates. There may very well be a runoff if nobody gets a majority here but, Anderson, you know, what we see going on in this race is that it becomes increasingly difficult to tell the Tea Party candidates from the establishment candidates because what's going on is the establishment is running very, very far to the right so they can get those Tea Party voters out because they know that they're also going to need them in the -- in the fall.

COOPER: And Dana, for Republicans to take the Senate, they need a net gain of six seats. What does tonight mean for that?

BASH: Well, it certainly means here in Kentucky that it's much more likely because if it's Republican challenger Matt Bevin won it almost certainly would have been game over for the seat, that this would have likely gone to the Democrat in November but as Gloria was just talking about, Georgia is a whole different ball game. That's actually a seat where Democrats feel they have the best chance of picking up and the fact that there could be a Republican runoff, a continued nasty Republican fight, perhaps makes those chances even better, so it really is wide open.

Republicans for sure feel as good as they ever have about taking those six seats and Democrats, they're just not sure.

COOPER: And, Gloria, you've sat down with the House Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania who also happens to be Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law. She's locked in a heated primary.

BORGER: Yes. She is. You know, she was a congresswoman 20 years ago and she actually delivered the vote. There you have, Marjorie Margolies. She delivered the vote for Bill Clinton's economic plan that actually saved his presidency. Fast forward 20 years, she's running again. The district has changed. She lost her seat as a result of her vote to help out Bill Clinton. Now she's running again in a much more Democratic district and it's a very tight race.

There's a bunch of other Democrats running. We don't know if she is going to win but I'll tell you what. Bill and Hillary Clinton have been out raising money for her. Bill Clinton did some of those robocalls for her so they might just be the pixie dust that gets her over the finish line.

COOPER: But we don't know how she's doing yet, right?

BORGER: We don't know the results yet.

COOPER: OK. All right. Dana, Gloria, thanks very much.

More breaking news tonight a day after outlining the charges against L.A. Clipper owner Donald Sterling, a day after Sterling's lawyer demanded three months to answer those charges. The league commissioner, Adam Silver, moments ago, answered it back and answered aggressively. He said Sterling has got to give up the team a lot sooner than that. Pointing to his remarks with me last week as one reason why he might just give -- why he needs to give in. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: The timing is laid out in the NBA constitution. We're following it to the letter in terms of numbers of days that Mr. Sterling has to respond and then when the hearing will be held, and as I said, I know we're doing the right thing here. This is an unprecedented proceeding. You know, will there be bumps in the road? Presumably yes. You know, Mr. Sterling on one hand at least in his CNN interview indicated a willingness to accept the judgment of his owner partners, his lawyers are saying otherwise. So we'll see.

But this will all get worked out. I mean, I know we're pursuing the right course here and doing the right thing. The proceedings and the process is set out in our constitution and something they signed on for when they became owners in the league and my position on Mrs. Sterling is that, and I said at the initial press conference, we haven't focused on any conduct by Mrs. Sterling.

The way the franchise termination proceedings work is that if the primary controlling governor of the team in essence is found by three quarters of the members of the other members of the association, the other owners in the league, to have in essence, you know, done something under our constitution that calls for the termination of his team, all ownership interests are terminated as part of that proceeding.

As I understand the position of Mrs. Sterling's lawyers, in essence, they would say we accept you can terminate Mr. Sterling but somehow Mrs. Sterling comes with the team. I think even if that's not what it said in our constitution it just doesn't make sense. I mean, the same way even if you had unrelated partners, if you terminated the franchise of the primary owner and that owner had several, you know, colleagues, cronies who were also owners with him, it wouldn't make sense that under our constitution we could then go about selling the team but those other partners would have to come along.

And so our position is once under the constitution based on Mr. Sterling's conduct, if the owners ultimately decide that it's appropriate to terminate his franchise the interest of all owners is terminated.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What exactly was it that he said to Anderson that made his situation worse in your -- in your opinion?

SILVER: You know what? It's outlined in the charge that we made against Mr. Sterling. I will say I responded in part right after that interview with particular comments he made about Magic Johnson, but also to comments he made about African-Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the left-hand side, right here, Dave.

DAVE MCMENAMIN, ESPN LOS ANGELES: Yes. I'm David McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles. Piggybacking on my last question, you mentioned early on when you had the -- announced the lifetime ban of Donald Sterling that you had some interaction with him in terms of interviewing -- information gathering process. Has that continued at all or by virtue of his public comments in the CNN interview and then your statement afterwards, are you beyond that point where you guys can hash it out just between man to man?

SILVER: Well, I'll only say that Mr. Sterling still owns the Los Angeles Clippers. Mr. Sterling, as I understand it through a trust, owns 50 percent of the team, as well. It is their team to sell. And so he knows what the league's point of view is. And so I'm sure if he wanted to sell the team, you know, on some reasonable timetable, I'd prefer he sell it than we go through this process. So if that's what you mean by man to man, I'm open to that.


COOPER: And this process could be long, could be nasty and tough. Reaction now, a look at how all this could play out, I'm here with Rachel Nichols, host of CNN's "UNGUARDED", as well as legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and Sunny Hostin.

So, Jeff, Adam Silver says no more time for Donald Sterling. Sterling want a lot more time to respond to the NBA's move to terminate his ownership. Does Sterling have any options here?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: He has one option at this point, which is to go to court, persuade a judge to stop the sale for some reasons. But it seems entirely clear that if the process goes forward on June 3rd as the schedule now has it Sterling -- Adam Silver will get well more than three quarters of the owners and it will all be over by then.

COOPER: And, Sunny, if there's doubt about Shelly Sterling's standing in all this, she's obviously argued she should release his ownership stake, Silver said without a doubt all the Sterlings have to go.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's what Silver's position is. That's no surprise. That has been the NBA's position. But I don't think that that is actually so cut and dried, Anderson. And I've said it before.


COOPER: You think Shelly has options?

HOSTIN: I think -- I do. I think that the nuclear option, of course, is filing for divorce. This entire thing will end up in some court somewhere in Los Angeles, some family law divorce court. I think that's a possibility. And I disagree with Jeff. I think bottom line is this lawsuit that Donald Sterling is filing has already been drafted and it's going to be filed this week and so he may very well find a judge that says I need some more time to look at this.

You can't take this man's property, you can't take this man's franchise without some sort of due process. So I think we're in for a legal fight.

COOPER: Jeff, would a divorce derail this thing? TOOBIN: You know, I don't think so. I know Sunny has said that and Mark Geragos has said that. I think the NBA is going to say, look, you know, you want to get divorced, fine. We are putting this franchise up for auction, and you can split the proceeds however you want. But you are out. And you cannot use your marital problems as something to interfere with the workings of the NBA. I just think there is -- this is not going to be a factor in how this matter is resolved.

And Sunny talks about a lawsuit. There is no lawsuit yet and they haven't filed one and talk is cheap. It is easy to talk about filing a lawsuit but nobody has filed one yet and I have my doubts about when one will be filed at all.

COOPER: Yes, you know, Rachel, I mean --

HOSTIN: I'll take that bet.

COOPER: Donald -- Rachel, Donald Sterling could very well just be kind of rattling the saber. And you heard Adam Silver referenced that the interview that he did with me, he in the interview -- I mean, he was back and forth on it. At one point said he didn't want to, you know, be in a fight with the league. I just want to play some of what he said.


DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: People want me to hire a wall of lawyers and them to hire a wall of lawyers and to go to war. I don't think that's the answer. The league is a good league. All honest people. And I think that whatever they decide that has to be done I think I should work with them. I don't want to fight with my partners. You know? We all do what we have to do in life.

I love them and I respect them and whatever their decision is, with regard to the disposition of my terrible words, then I have to do it I think. I mean, I love my league. I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake? It's a terrible mistake. And I'll never do it again. The league won't stand for that. They won't stand for racism. I'm telling you. And I did it. So is it harsh? Of course it's harsh. But it's not like I don't deserve -- I thought they were going to do more.


COOPER: Rachel, that's clearly the message to the owners hoping to influence them on how they may vote but at the same token he -- you know, he talked about what his other options are. What do you think is going to happen?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN HOST, UNGUARDED WITH RACHEL NICHOLS: Look, Donald Sterling has a history of saying anything and everything to get him what he wants. You have seen all this from him before. We've seen him use delay tactics before. Sure enough, when the NBA delivered these charges to him what did his lawyer ask for? A three-month delay. We have seen him even say he's going to sell the team before. Remember, 30 years ago the NBA's advisory committee voted to force him to sell his team because he admitted openly that he was trying to tank, to get the number one draft pick. He said, sure, absolutely, I'll sell the team. Didn't do it. Delayed, and guess what, he got to keep the team. So we've seen all of this from Donald Sterling before. We've seen him go through the legal system before.

I think whatever is convenient in the moment he's going to say. He may try to get a temporary injunction here to slow the process but the bottom line is the NBA wants him out. And they laid out in these charges just how he has defamed the league.

Look, Justin Timberlake goes on TV the other night, at the Billboard Music Awards, and says I want to thank everyone in the world except for Donald Sterling. This is a guy who is now eclipsed, what, Kim Jong-Un, the leaders of Boko Haram? I mean, he's basically now the world's worst person and he's currently a NBA owner. That's a problem. The NBA wants to separate.

COOPER: I wouldn't put him in the league with certainly with those but I understand.

NICHOLS: I wouldn't either.


COOPER: I know. I understand your point.

NICHOLS: But the fact that he's on TV making this statement.


NICHOLS: He's now being singled out as the worst person in the world. He's obviously not the worst person in the world --

HOSTIN: He's the poster child for racism.

NICHOLS: -- but he's the poster child for it and it's not an association the NBA can stand for anymore. That's very telling the fact that he's being singled out and all these other places that have nothing to do with sports. They need to get him disassociated with the league.

COOPER: Yes. And I get your reference. You also, Sunny, heard Adam Silver reference some of what Sterling said about -- said to me about Magic Johnson. I just want to play a bit of that.


STERLING: Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?

COOPER: Well, he has -- he's a business person. He --

STERLING: He's got AIDS. Did he do any business? I'd like -- did he help anybody in south L.A.?

COOPER: I think he has HIV. Not full-blown AIDS.

STERLING: What kind of a guy goes to every city and has sex with girls and he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. That's one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. And some of the African-Americans, maybe I'll get in trouble again, they don't want to help anybody.


COOPER: I mean, Sunny, he's certainly, you know, in an effort to apologize, he certainly did himself no favors and that interview is now being, you know, referenced by the NBA.

HOSTIN: No question. And it's going to be used, going to be used in court, as well. But I -- you know, I think the bottom line here is that this guy likes to sue for sport. He is a lawyer. Remember, he wasn't supposed to move the Clippers from San Diego to Los Angeles. He did it anyway. The NBA sued him. He sued back. Guess what? The Clippers are in Los Angeles. He's not afraid, I think, to file suit when he thinks that he doesn't have a good chance.

I think he does think that he has a good chance. So are we going to see an injunction filed? Request for injunction. Absolutely. Are we going to see a lawsuit? Absolutely. I couldn't disagree with Jeff more. The bottom line is this again is a guy who likes to sue for sport. What Adam Silver said today means game on. You're only giving me a week, Donald Sterling is thinking, I can file a lawsuit in a week.

COOPER: Rachel Nichols, thanks for being with us. Sunny Hostin, Jeff Toobin, as well.

It goes on.

Little quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR so you can watch 360 whenever you'd like.

Just ahead tonight, more breaking news, major developments in the VA health care scandal. The scope of the federal investigation has more than doubled in size and a House committee says the VA is dragging its feet on the information that they've demanding.

Plus vital clues in a cell phone video showing the first moments of a fire that turned into a deadly inferno in southern California. The question is, was it arson?


COOPER: Another breaking story tonight. New developments in the scandal that's rocking the Veterans Affairs Department. The Office of the Inspector General now says that 26 VA facilities are under investigation for allegations related to appointment wait times. Last week, the IG told the Senate committee that 10 facilities were being investigated. The new number tonight, 26. And in case you missed here's how VA Secretary Eric Shinseki characterized the allegations of fraudulent record while testifying at that same hearing.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), CHAIRMAN, VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: In your judgment, based on what you know, are people, quote-unquote, cooking the books? Is that, in fact, a problem within the health care system?

ERIC SHINSEKI, VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY: I'm not aware other than a number of isolated cases where there is evidence of that. But the fact that there's evidence in a couple of cases behooves us to go and take a thorough look.


COOPER: Well, "Keeping Them Honest," 26 by almost any measure is a lot more than just a couple of cases. Today the White House says it's sending a top aide, Deputy Chief of Staff Robin Avers, to review the problems at the VA hospital in Phoenix. Problems first reported by our own Drew Griffin. Now Drew's reporting sparked the federal and congressional investigations that are now under way and today Drew once again asked Shinseki to talk to him.

He didn't get an interview still. For six months, the VA has refused his request for interview. They've stopped returning his calls, I should also point out. That has not stopped Drew from trying, though, over and over and over again.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: We've been trying to get an interview with Eric Shinseki as you said since last November.

COOPER: You've been trying for months, continuing request.

GRIFFIN: Yes, we asked again today. Well, I didn't get any callback today. Again no response to our request. They simply do not respond. We are again requesting an interview with General Shinseki.


COOPER: Again, the invitation for Secretary Shinseki to come on the program or talk to Drew stands. And still stands tonight.

Now apparently we're not the only ones that Shinseki has you could say been stonewalling. Today the chairman of the House of Veterans Affairs Committee, the chairman who'd subpoenaed Shinseki and other VA officials last week called the VA's response to the subpoena very weak. He also said if they don't get the information in a timely fashion the committee could move to hold the VA in contempt.

President Obama's resisted calls to fire Shinseki even as he himself faces growing questions about when he first learned about the problems at the VA. Now today the White House was again asked about internal VA memo first disclosed last week.

Drew Griffin and Jim Acosta join me with the latest.

So, Drew, we're learning tonight that the Office of the Inspector General is now investigating 26 facilities. Do we know where they are?

GRIFFIN: No. They won't tell us. What we do know is the allegations in these investigations, 26 now confirmed involved relating to wait times, possibly the hiding of just how long those waits for veterans are. It certainly today does not seem isolated at all, Anderson, as you said.

COOPER: And Drew, there's also evidence that the VA knew that facilities were gaming the system, manipulating wait times for years, right?

GRIFFIN: Yes. Even used those words. Let me show you this memo from 2010, four years ago, written by a VA undersecretary. It's a call to immediately, and here it is, review current scheduling practices to identify and eliminate inappropriate practices.

This is 2010, Anderson. The memo goes on to list all the different ways that facilities have used, quote, "gaming strategies." We reached out to the VA yet again today to ask if Secretary Shinseki has read this memo. They haven't gotten back to us on that either.

COOPER: And they haven't gotten back to you for an interview request I assume.

GRIFFIN: No, no. Not at all.

COOPER: OK. Let's bring in Jim Acosta from the White House.

Jim, the White House press secretary said yesterday to you that the president first learned of the problems in Phoenix from Drew's reporting but now it seems they're also saying that the president has been aware of these problems at the VA for years.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're pretty clear that what they're talking about is the president knowing these delays, these the wait times for many years but I asked about that 2010 memo that Drew just mentioned, and here's what Jay Carney had to say.


ACOSTA: This is going on for years, this concealing of wait times. How's it -- is the president satisfied that he had not heard of this until --


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Let me be clear because there was a misunderstanding, a lot of misreporting about this specific topic. Yesterday I was asked I think by you when did the president learn of the specific allegations or at least that's what I understood. I understood your question to be the specific allegations contain first I believe and CNN reported about the Phoenix facility.

The president, as we all know, we've discussed it here, has been talking about the issues and challenges facing VA since he was a candidate and it was precisely those problems that had been identified and were discussed in 2006, 2007, 2008 that he spoke about as a candidate. And that led him to commit to increased resources available to the VA so that we could better serve our veterans and to deliver on that commitment every year since he's been president. So no, this is not a new issue to the president.


COOPER: So to be clear, and to be fair, the White House is saying it's not a new issue. The president knew about the cooking of the books problems at the VA for years or at least the wait time issues for years? Did they specify?

ACOSTA: No, they did not. And when I pressed Jay Carney about this, about when the president first learned about this concealing of wait times, because there is a distinction here between the wait times and the concealing of wait times, Jay Carney asked that we wait for the outcome of the investigations that are underway so it's just not clear at this point -- Anderson.

COOPER: OK, but Drew, we know from that memo from 2010 that the VA -- the VA at least, undersecretary of the VA at least, was aware that people were cooking the books or gaming the system, gaming the wait times. Do we know if that got to the White House?

GRIFFIN: We don't know if that got to the White House. Jim had a busy day at the White House today. He tried to press Jay Carney on that as well. But Carney kind of danced around that. So we don't have a direct answer from the White House on that. But just a little aside, everybody at the VA has known about this for cooking of the books for years and years and years and years because the Government Accountability Office has been telling about this for years and years and years.

COOPER: I want to bring in Dr. Sam Foote. He was the first whistleblower from the Phoenix VA.

Dr. Foote, thank you for being here, first of all. The fact that now 26 facilities are under investigation, does that surprise you?

DR. SAM FOOTE, VA WHISTLEBLOWER: No. This is a systemic problem and they have been cheating and gaming this for years.

COOPER: You say this is a systemic problem. How do you -- I mean, how can you say -- I mean, how can you say that for sure?

FOOTE: Well, I guess I can't say that for sure. It's certainly been going on in Phoenix for years and I've talked the people at other VAs and they told me the same thing. Basically when you have a system where if the hospital director turns in good numbers to the vision director, they get ahead. If the vision director turns in good numbers to the VA administration, they get ahead. And if Congress comes and asked how's the VA doing, they'd say hey, our numbers are great. So there's absolutely no incentive for upper VA management to demand or get good numbers.

COOPER: And, Doctor, I'm curious about sort of the inspection process. We hear about the inspector general's office doing these investigations. So I'm curious to see how this investigation actually plays out on the ground.

Have inspectors from the VA's office reached out to you at all or asked to interview you as part of the IG investigation?

FOOTE: I have met with them the very first week they were here. They outlined several strategies to get some key points of data and information retrieval. I really can't go into discussion of that as there's appears to be an ongoing criminal investigation but no, they were very helpful and they are leaving no stone unturned in this investigation. I have ultimate confidence that they're going to get to the bottom of this thing.

COOPER: That's interesting. So you're --

GRIFFIN: Anderson.

COOPER: You're confident -- sorry, Drew, go ahead.

GRIFFIN: Anderson, I just want to jump in. You know, since we first talk to Dr. Foote some three weeks ago now, everything he has told us has been consistent with all these other whistleblowers who have now come forward, actual clerks in San Antonio, Texas, Cheyenne, Wyoming and others.

So everything that Dr. Foote has told us about was happening here in Phoenix, we have found to be happening according to whistleblowers across the country. I think that's why he says it is systemic.

COOPER: Right.

GRIFFIN: We've certainly found that, as well.

COOPER: And, Doctor, a lot of pressure, obviously, on Secretary Shinseki to resign from the VA. You actually think he should stay on as secretary. Why?

FOOTE: Well, I'm afraid if he leaves then the focus will shift away from correcting the problem to who's the new guy going to be. And he knows the lay of the land. He knows who to count on most likely and who he can't and I think he just needs to shift from passively letting Dr. Petsell run in cover-up mode as the standard for the VA, delay and the deny, and he needs to get proactive on this. You know, sending vision employees out to inspect other visions doesn't get any useful data. What they need to do is they send to send out electronic survey perhaps by the General Accountability Office so can get anonymous replies on what the true waiting times are from the providers and the staff and the clerks. And then they can give the administration, say, one-week amnesty for the actual waiting time numbers and if they differ, the IG needs to investigate them and if they found that they, you know, fudged those numbers, they need to fire those people and prosecute them.

COOPER: You know, Doctor, I mean, just briefly, obviously, there's a lot of really good people who have the best of intentions to work incredibly hard at the VA across the country and want to do right. Not everybody gaming the system. Is the core issue here that the VA's underfunded, they don't have the resources to treat the large number of vets?

The growing older vet population, the large number of vets from Iraq, Afghanistan and that these are basically bureaucrats trying to cover up the fact they don't have the resources and game the system to fake the wait times? Is to you the key problem behind all this?

FOOTE: Well, we have had poor administration for several years which has compounded the problem of more demand than we can supply. Rather than admit to it and address it, they have elected to cover it up. That's where the problem lies -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Drew Griffin, appreciate it. Jim Acosta, Dr. Sam Foote, especially, thank you for coming forward and being on with us tonight.

More breaking news tonight, we're able to call another big primary race tonight. CNN's projecting Michelle Nunn will be the Democratic Senate nominee in Georgia. Her father obviously is Sam Nunn held a seat years ago. She'll face one of five Republican hopefuls this fall. That race as we talked about earlier still undecided. We'll continue to monitor returns throughout the hour and call it when we can.

Coming up next, incredible cell phone video capturing the first minutes of a wildfire in Southern California that grew into a deadly inferno. The question is, in this video, are there any clues that investigators can actually use to figure out how this fire started?

Also ahead, a study to give anyone that flies commercially kind of the creeps and examines how many bacteria live on surfaces in planes. If you fly and often, you want to see the report. You may want to start packing, you know, some wipes to wipe down your seat. After hearing how long germs can survive in those seats. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Some key developments today regarding those wildfires that scorched thousands of acres in Southern California last week. A joint task force has now been set up in San Diego County to coordinate the investigations of at least 11 fires that broke out there. Investigators had determined some of them were caused by arson. And as they sift through debris and search for evidence, investigators have discovered video that shows the first few moments of one fire that turned into a deadly inferno. Kyung Lah reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to leave.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are watching a rare and critical clue. Cell phone video catching the first seconds of a fire. Investigators now using this to unlock how a deadly wildfire unfolded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're catching so -- fast.

LAH: You can hear Adam Jordan panicking as he records on his cell phone. He was working on a house just up the hill and saw the first signs of smoke. This is what he saw. As a point set of fire grew and raged out of control. This video now in the hands of fire and arson investigators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy -- look how fast it's moving, dude.

ADAM JORDAN, EYEWITNESS: Scared for the people. Scared for their lives and just got -- it was a matter of minutes. The people had minutes to get out of the homes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There at the cul-de-sac.

LAH: Before flames reaching 100 feet tall started ravaging neighborhoods and gutted an apartment building, eight homes and two businesses. One person killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy was really lucky to capture it like he did.

LAH: Retired San Diego fire investigator, Michael Merican believes based on the cell phone video and pointing out here in the charred starting point of the fire --

(on camera): So the fire goes from this hill --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here, to the center of that divide.

LAH: Over the median to the hill.

(voice-over): It was likely started by someone on the gulf course, possibly an accident. But like many of the dozen or so fires in the San Diego area, sparked by a person.

MICHAEL MERRIKEN, RETIRED SAN DIEGO FIRE INVESTIGATOR: The golf club or discarded cigarette or something like that. I have to get out before they catch me and charge me with this.

LAH: The fire moving fast, about 20 miles per hour fuelled by hot desert winds. Bob and Sophie Payne's house sat in the line of fire that day. Less than a week later, they laugh. So they don't cry as we walk through the shell of their home. It took a lifetime for the retired bus driver and casino worker to build this home. They left to go visit an aunt that day.

SOPHIE PAYNE, FIRE VICTIM: To have a dream home go to pot and not have it again is like, wow.

LAH (on camera): How important is it for you to know what caused this fire?

SOPHIE PAYNE: It's very important.

BOB PAYNE, FIRE VICTIM: It's important and I hope he gets caught so he doesn't do it again for somebody else. That's -- I mean, this is done. You know? So I just hope they catch him so there's no more future of this going on.


COOPER: Incredible. Kyung joins us from California, you mentioned the cell phone video in the hands of investigators. Has it led to developments do we know about?

LAH: Well, we know of at least one, we understand that authorities have spoken to a man who was seen in a part of the video only authorities have and see a golf cart leaving the scene of the fire. They have spoken to that person. We don't know what happened as a result of that conversation and part of the reason that investigators have been so cautious about making sure that the media knows to not label what started this particular fire may be that there was a death in this fire, Anderson, and because there was a death, even if it's accidental, a cigarette butt or that golf club, the consequences certainly could be very different.

COOPER: All right, Kyung, appreciate the reporting. Thanks.

Coming up, we are going to look at germs on planes. If you fly, you want to hear this report and a study on how long they linger and how easily they spread. And also we'll tell you where the germs or the most germs linger for the longest on your seat.

Later, crime and punishment, a former cop show star is a real-life murder suspect.


COOPER: Some of the stories lately notwithstanding, aviation is the safest way to travel. That said, if researchers at Auburn University are right, it can be gross. Simulating the kind of conditions in a typical airline cabin like this one. They examined how long two kinds of bacteria, E. Coli and MRSA can live on surfaces like armrests and tray tables, seats and those seat pockets in front of you.

They also measured how easily the two bugs are transmitted by contact. Again, this was a simulation. The researchers did not take samples of actual airliners obviously instead they used seats and other furnishings provided by Delta Airlines like the ones you ride in with all the germs. Now senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is investigating and joins us tonight. Elizabeth, this report, a little bit more than disturbing. How long can E. coli and MRSA live on the surfaces inside a plane?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, I think a lot of people think, they are little bugs and they sort of disappear. You know what? They actually don't. There are hearty little critters so what the research out of Auburn University found is that, for example, take an armrest that's between the seats, MRSA, which is an antibiotic resistant bacteria can survive for six days. That is a very long time.

Also, on that leather seat that you are sitting on, MRSA can survive for six days. On the tray table that you pull down from in front of you, it can survive for five days and this one, Anderson, I have to say, I hadn't really thought much about this. The window shades we put down, push up, they can survive for five days there. Now, for E. Coli, a really nasty one, doesn't survive as long, but still it survives for days and days.

COOPER: And people that don't fly a lot thinking they clean the planes between flights, but I fly all the time. You do, as well. They don't have much turnaround time and very often, you know, you open up those pouches in the seat in front of you and you find all kinds of things from the last person who was there. They're not cleaning these seats in between flights.

COHEN: Right. I once found a half-eaten cookie and glad to tell you I didn't finish it and all sorts of stuff that stays in the pockets and on the pockets, the bacteria stays the longest, it can stay for seven days.

COOPER: That's where it stays the longest, on the pocket on the seat in front of me?

COHEN: The cloth pocket. That's where it stays the longer. Now it tends to be absorbed and doesn't transfer as easily and survive for seven days there and about the disinfecting question, we're told that the planes get disinfected every day on the ground overnight and wipe down the surfaces but, still, if they're not doing it between every flight, it means that you're possibly getting the same germs as the person that sat in the seat in the flight before you and before that. So it's, you know, once a day is not going to get everything.

COOPER: So if you do travel a lot, is there anything to do to protect yourself? Should you start wiping down your seat with wipes or not a good idea?

COHEN: You know, Anderson, I'll tell you. I sat next to people that do that and thought they're so -- why are they doing that? I'll tell you that I've read the study I think they're pretty smart. You get an alcohol-based wipe and wipe down the tray table and the armrest and all of that, the window shade and kills the bugs so that's a pretty easy thing to do.

COOPER: Some people said anti-bacterial wipes are bad and sort of overusing anti-bacterial stuff. Is that not true?

COHEN: Yes, that's true. No. Lots of concerns about that. Look for -- doesn't need to say anti-bacterial, but alcohol based and if you read the ingredients, it will tell you that, alcohol based.

COOPER: All right, I'm going to start traveling with it. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

COOPER: All right, up next, he played a cop on a popular TV show. Now police say that the actor, Michael Jace, shot and killed his wife and called 911 to apparently confess. Details ahead.


COOPER: An actor that played a police officer on the TV show "The Shield" has been arrested in the fatal shooting of his wife. Police say the Michael Jace called 911 to report that his wife had been shot. Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Smiling and seemingly in love. Pictures of actor, Michael Jace and his wife from her Facebook page. Now in stark contrast to the explosion of gun fire in their home. It left 40-year-old April Jace dead. Her husband under arrest for murder. The 51-year-old actor reportedly called 911 himself to report he'd shot his wife.

According to KTLA she was shot multiple times in her torso. Neighbors also called 911 to report gunshots. It happened about 8:30 Monday night at the couple's Los Angeles home. April Jace was pronounced dead at the scene. "The Los Angeles Times" is reporting her body was found in the hallway. Even more disturbing their young sons both under 10 may have witnessed the shooting.

DETECTIVE SAL LABARBERA, LOS ANGELES POLICE: They were, unfortunately, inside the home when the shots rang out. They were in the home. They're with family members.

KAYE: Detectives say April who worked as a financial aid counselor had just returned home with the couple's children minutes before the shooting. The couple married in June 2003, a year after Jace divorced his first wife. The LAPD is calling the motive domestic violence though there are no reports they had trouble at the home before. Next month would have been their 11th wedding anniversary.

Michael Jace is best known for his long-running role on FX police drama "The Shield." He played Julian Lowe, a rookie officer who later became a detective before the series ended in 2008. He'd also portrayed a member of the Black Panthers in the blockbuster hit "Forrest Gump" and a police officer in "State of Play."

(on camera): Still, even with an acting career that spanned 22 years, Michael Jace was under financial strain. Documents obtained by CNN showed he filed for bankruptcy back in 2011 citing $500,000 in debt. His annual income at the time was about $80,000 in TV and film residuals. He'd also defaulted on a mortgage of more than $400,000 for the home where his wife died.

(voice-over): According to his lawyer, the bankruptcy case is still active.

LABARBERA: Just so very unfortunate that a domestic incident occurs, we have two young children that lost their mom and now their dad, you know, is in jail and most likely will be imprisoned for this.

KAYE: A promising career and a family destroyed. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Very sad.

Big political night continues to gain momentum. In a moment, another big primary race to tell you about. The general election battle that sets up between Georgia's governor and former President Carter's grandson.


COOPER: Another big primary call. Georgia primary race. One name is a big deal and one is a Carter. Gloria Borger, what's happening?

BORGER: We are projecting some winners in these primaries, Anderson. Governor Nathan Deal is going to win the Georgia Republican primary and as you just pointed out he is going to face a famous name, Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter in November. Jason Carter ran unopposed, Anderson. Wasn't much of a race on that side but trying to carry on that dynasty.

COOPER: For the Republicans, vying for the Georgia Senate seat, vacated by Saxby Chambliss, any results yet?

BORGER: No. It's really very much up in the air. You have five Republican candidates. Three of them from the Tea Party and two from the establishment and is very likely to result in a runoff. And so, we don't know the result yet.

COOPER: And as we mentioned earlier, Mitch McConnell, he secured the Republican nomination for Senate in Kentucky. Alison Grimes won on the Democratic side. Is there an early read on how they match up? Polls show them even, right?

BORGER: Very close. Don't forget, Kentucky, Kentucky is a Republican state. Barack Obama only won four districts in that state. So, you know, you have to favor Mitch McConnell. Some say over $100 million is going to be spent in this state. But she's a good candidate. She's a woman. McConnell has to unite the Republican Party and get those voters out and they're motivated in a midterm election with Barack Obama president. COOPER: All right, we'll see what happens. Gloria, thanks very much. More primary results obviously moment by moment at, at 10:00 Eastern Time, also on "CNN TONIGHT," a full wrap-up of the races we're calling as well as the ones we're keeping watch on.

Thanks very much for joining us. We're back at 11:00. "ANTHONY BOURDAIN PARTS UNKNOWN" starts right now.