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White House Official: Congress Shouldn't Be Surprised about Bergdahl Deal; Donald Sterling Seen In African-American Church; Donald Sterling Files Huge Lawsuit Against NBA; Obama's Action on Environment Angers Congress; FBI Manhunt in California
Aired June 2, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Jake, thanks very much. Happening now: Secret mission revealed. We have dramatic new details about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's condition and the U.S. operation to set him free as President Obama faces tough new questions about the deal he brokered to bring him home.
Armed and dangerous. The FBI now on a nationwide manhunt for a San Francisco political operative accused of having explosive materials in his home.
And praying for forgiveness? Donald Sterling visits a predominantly African-American church, home of the pastor said to be helping him through this controversy.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We begin with dramatic new details about former P.O.W. Bowe Bergdahl's condition and the treatment he's receiving right now at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. This just a little more than 48 hours since being recovered by U.S. special operations forces in a highly controversial diplomatic swap that set five senior Taliban detainees free. The exchange authorized by President Obama is drawing heavy praise from some, but growing criticism from others tonight accusing him of putting the safety of the United States at risk and even potentially breaking the law.
Our correspondents and guests, they are all standing by. But first, let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. She broke the story for CNN. She's joining us now with new information. Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, at this hour, Bergdahl is working with psychologists at that Army hospital. They want to restore his trust. He hasn't been able to speak to anyone in five years that he can actually trust. That may be job one. They are also treating him for malnutrition and other medical needs. But at this hour, perhaps the real issue is how did the rescue mission unfold? There are new details about how it all came together and how risky it was.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) STARR (voice-over0: After five years, a Taliban captive --
BOWE BERGDAHL, FORMER PRISONER OF WAR: Release me, please. I'm begging you. Bring me home.
STARR: Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is finally heading home. CNN has learned details of the secret choreography for the U.S. commando operation to get Bergdahl that had been quickly worked out between the U.S. and the Taliban.
In the final hours, an extraordinary move. A U.S. official tells CNN the Taliban communicated directly with the American special operations forces team the coordinates where they could pick Bergdahl up. They would release him after being assured five Taliban at Guantanamo Bay were being turned over to Qatari custody there.
The U.S. team worried, until the last minute, that something would go wrong. In the end, with helicopter gun ships flying nearby, one U.S. helicopter landed. The armed Americans faced 18 armed Taliban and Bergdahl. He walked to them. They searched him for weapons and explosives and quickly got him on the chopper.
Once on the noisy helicopter, Bergdahl wrote down the letters SF and a question mark on a paper plate, asking the men if they were special forces. Over the noise of the rotors, they yelled back, "Yes, we've been looking for you for a long time." At that point, Bergdahl broke down crying.
Now, as he recovers at a hospital in Germany, the questions: If Bergdahl indeed left his outpost of his own free will, is he a deserter as many on social media say? Should he be charged?
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: I don't think right now that we know exactly what was in his mind when he left that post. But let's not forget, he was held captive as a prisoner for five years. Five years by himself. That's a pretty high price to pay for whatever impelled him to walk off that base.
STARR (on-camera): Now U.S. military officials say now they must hear from Bergdahl directly, when he is able, about what really happened, what caused him to leave the base. And then once they hear his side of the story, they will make decisions about whether to proceed with discipline against him. Wolf?
BLITZER: Barbara, thank you. Our senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns is over at the White House today. Joe, the Obama administration taking some heat over this decision. What's the latest?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the truth is, this story is welcome news for the Bowe Bergdahl family. It's the end of a long negotiation for the Pentagon. But, Wolf, it simply has not been the big public relations victory for the administration.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHNS (voice-over): Instead of taking a victory lap for bringing Bowe Bergdahl home, the White House deflected tough questions, not just for failing to notify Congress of the plan to release detainees but for the decision to release the them at all.
(on camera): Has the president put a price on the heads of other Americans because of the way this deal went down?
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: I think this goes back to the general proposition that has been true throughout our history of the nation. There is a long history of a prisoner exchange and previous armed conflicts, and this action that was taken to recover Sergeant Bergdahl is entirely consistent with this past practice.
JOHNS (voice-over): But tonight, South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham is calling the former detainees the, quote, Taliban dream team and calling for congressional hearings though the White House says measures were taken to try to neutralize the danger.
CARNEY: It was the assessment of the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the full National Security team that there were sufficient mitigation steps taken by Qatar and assurances received by the United States that these detainees do not pose a threat to U.S. national security.
JOHNS: Federal law requires Congress to be notified 30 days before prisoners from Guantanamo Bay can be released to another country. Today, the White House admitted that didn't happen, saying it had to move so quickly to secure the release, there was only time to tell Congress after the deal was done.
CARNEY: It was the judgment of the team and the president that there was enough urgency here to ensure that Sergeant Bergdahl was safely recovered, that a 30-day window of hoping that that opportunity remained open was not an option.
JOHNS: Today the White House chief of staff pushed back, too, saying Congress had been kept in the loop about the Bergdahl case for years.
DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We've been consulting members of Congress about this effort, including the potential transfer of five Gitmo detainees, for years.
JOHNS: In the meantime tonight, some are also asking if the administration oversold Bergdahl's standing with the Army. Some in his unit have complained that he was captured after he left his base alone and that he was attempting to dessert the Army.
SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: He served the United States with honor and distinction.
JOHNS: But when asked today, Jay Carney sidestepped an opportunity to bolster that characterization. Of course the big question is how Bergdahl ended up in the hands of the Taliban in the first place. Carney says it will be up to the Defense Department to try to figure that one out. Wolf?
BLITZER: We'll have much more on this part of the story later. Joe, thanks very much. We're also learning much more about those five senior Taliban detainees who are now freed as part of this operation. Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown is here with us, part of this story. Pamela, what are you learning?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, these are the same five men that just a couple years ago Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said were too dangerous to release from Guantanamo Bay. Well now they are free as part of this prisoner swap and the Taliban is claiming victory.
BROWN (voice-over0: The men seen here in video released by an Afghan news agency were greeted as heroes when they landed in Qatar. For years they had been considered extremely dangerous by the U.S. government.
JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I don't think anyone harbors any illusions about these five Taliban members and what they might do if they were transferred.
BROWN: That stance changed Saturday when the men were allowed to leave Guantanamo Bay. Among the detainees released are Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa. He was previously believed by the U.S. to have ties to Osama bin Laden. He was serving as a senior Taliban official when he was captured in 2002.
Mullah Mohammad Fazl allegedly also had ties to al Qaeda. As a Taliban army's chief of staff, he was wanted by the United Nations for the massacre of thousands of Afghan Shi'ites.
Mullah Norullah Noori was a former governor of two Afghan provinces, but told the U.S. he was not connected to the Taliban. A detainee assessment released by WikiLeaks characterized him as high risk and having high intelligence value.
U.S. intelligence sources once said Abdul Haq Wasiq was second in command in the Taliban's intelligence service with links to al Qaeda. He claimed he was arrested while trying to help the U.S. find senior Taliban figures.
And finally, Mohammad Nabi Omari, the Taliban's chief of communications. He reportedly helped al Qaeda members escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Tonight, all five men are now out of U.S. custody but are apparently still being watched by foreign intelligence services.
BROWN (on-camera): And at this point, U.S. officials will not elaborate on what exactly those assurances were, and add that they were not negotiating with terrorists because Qatar officials helped secure this exchange. And, Wolf, as part of this deal, there is a one-year ban on travel for these men. Apparently that was a big sticking point on getting this done.
BLITZER: But after a year, presumably, they could get on a plane, fly out of Qatar and go back to Afghanistan, Pakistan and do what they want. All right, we're going to have much more on this, Pamela.
Coming up, much more coverage of the dramatic story. Up next, I'll speak live with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers. He's very unhappy about this deal. He'll explain why.
Plus, weeks after that now infamous racist rant, Donald Sterling pays a visit to a predominantly African-American church. We have details.
BLITZER: Let's get back to our developing story, the return of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Joining us now is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan. Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for coming in.
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-MI), CHAIRMAN OF HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Thanks for having me, Wolf.
BLITZER: We heard today from the White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough and the White House press secretary, Jay Carney saying that they've been briefing you guys on the House Intelligence Committee and other intelligence committees, in the Senate, for example, about various negotiations going back years, involving the freedom of Bowe Bergdahl, so you shouldn't have been surprised by this weekend's development. Is that good enough for you?
ROGERS: Oh, absolutely not. As a matter of fact, that last meeting where he talked about the house and Senate where they had all of the national security chairs in the room, there was bipartisan opposition to any negotiation to release prisoners in an exchange and that was back in 2011. By the way, they pitched that at the time of a confidence builder into negotiating a peace agreement.
So clearly that doesn't jive with what they've just been saying, and to come out that forcefully -- and we have pretty good records down there in both the Senate and the House, it makes no sense to me whatsoever.
I don't know why they want to get into a public match of some sort with the House and the Senate Intelligence Committee, whose job and responsibility it is by both statute and Constitution, to oversee these very sensitive operations. So, again, it baffles me, other than when they did try this pitch back in 2011, bipartisan, bicameral opposition thinking this was a really bad idea, even for its stated intent then, and now the intent is completely different.
BLITZER: Well, the argument that they make is back in 2011 when they spoke to you about this, his health, Bowe Bergdahl's health was apparently better. It had deteriorated, they say. They really didn't have time to go through formal consultations with you guys on the Hill. Is that good enough? ROGERS: Well, again, unfortunately, we're going through the records now and that does not reflect the records and the information that we have available to us as of even this afternoon. So this thing was going on for weeks. As a matter of fact, maybe as early as last December when this thing re-engaged to any meaningful way.
So that is wrong and it's misleading and, again, I don't understand that. Well, I have to tell you, A, I don't like the deal. I think it's a bad deal. I think it's a dangerous precedent, but why would they go through this whole machination of trying to say, no, they just don't know what they're talking about when in a bicameral, bipartisan way we understand that just didn't happen?
They'd be better off saying something different. I won't say what they ought to say but they sure should come up and get this story straight amongst themselves. This health issue, again, we learned today, is simply just not the case. It wasn't this -- they had no information that he had an acute health issue as of last weekend. They just didn't have it.
Now, these are the people who make the assessments. You'd think they would have that information. Why would you say that to the American people, and it just not be accurate? This is maddening to me, and this is the second round of secret negotiations.
If you remember, when they did with the Iranians, we argued that they probably violated the rule and the law that says you have to keep Congress currently informed, and there's a reason for that. Because there's a lot of experience in that room. You think of how many years of experience sit in that room and offer advice and consent the way the Founding Fathers envisioned, because you would say, hey, have you thought about these five things? Apparently, you have not.
In the Iranian deal, we have honked off for our allies. We did it again for the prisoners, and now you've got all of these people up in arms. It's not healthy. As they move forward, they need to get out of this trap, and they've set a horrible precedent on this prison transfer.
BLITZER: I think they were afraid -- this is just my assessment -- that there could potentially be released on the secret Iranian negotiations involving the nuclear deal as well as on the freedom for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. But you -- do you believe -- I'll ask the question. Do you believe the president of the United States broke the law by engaging in this exchange?
ROGERS: I think it certainly merits further review, and that's what I'm going to do to make that determination. It certainly doesn't smell right to me.
And I want to back up for a minute. The covert action that we do both in both the House and the Senate is so more sensitive than what you see with this prisoner exchange. This prisoner exchange is sensitive, and it causes international concerns and other concerns and forced protection concerns for our troops and forced protection for our diplomats all around the world. Again, another reason you want another set of eyes and ears on this. But the sensitive information that flies through that commission, some notion that this was more sensitive than the things that we deal with on covert action is nonsense, and it's an excuse. And it is an excuse to try to violate or certainly circumvent the law of the United States.
You cannot continue to do -- this is a dangerous precedent that's being set here when you have those secret negotiations and everybody said, bad idea, don't do that again. They just did it again. I'm worried, are there other secret negotiations that Congress has not informed? And they need to be informed by the law, by the way. This isn't just Congress wants to know. There are triggers and other mechanisms we have to go through, including mitigation of the damage after this happens which, by the way, we're going to have to go through now because of the new dangers as presented to our troops in the world and our diplomats around the world. Those are the two largest complaints I'm getting these days, are from diplomats, diplomat families and soldiers and their families on having to serve after this event.
BLITZER: The law, as you well know, it states that they cannot release anyone from Gitmo without 30 days notification to Congress, except in this case the White House cited what they call the signing agreement. I have a copy of it here in my hand. When the president signed HR-3304 into law, there's one clause in there that says the executive branch must have the flexibility, among other things, to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstance of detainee transfers.
So they say when the president signed this into law, he had a waiver. He, being the national interests as the commander in chief, can waive that 30-day permission. Do you accept that?
ROGERS: No, I do not, and I think it's wrong for a couple of reasons. One, again, we knew that there was information that started last December when there was the kickoff of these negotiations. Then January. Then February. It's June. Some notion that they didn't have time to come up and fully brief the Congress is wrong. There wasn't exigent circumstances. They didn't wake up three or four or five days ago and go, "Hey, we're going to have this prisoner transferred. Isn't that a great idea? We'd better do it. It's an emergency." That's not what happened.
And so when they do this kind of silly argument about what the law is or isn't, they're basically arguing that they just don't have to follow the law, because they just don't have to follow the law. So the Obama administration is going to assault with the Obama administration. If the Obama administration should have to follow the law and, guess what? The Obama administration decided they don't have to follow the law. That is unacceptable.
And what I worry about is not from a Republican or a Democrat position. Candidly, that really doesn't matter. There's bipartisan opposition to this. It's about the institution. We are that last guard to make sure that our intelligence services are doing it right, that our Defense Department is doing it right.
That's why you have the Founding Fathers built into this check and balance into the system so somebody can go, boy, that is a really dumb idea. Let me tell you why. Even if you have to do it in a classified way, they didn't use any of that. They just decided they do best. And candidly, I think it puts a price on the heads of our soldiers in Afghanistan. Clearly now they know what the price is.
And here's the other part that gets me going on this, Wolf. We have information that these groups tried to kidnap other Americans in the past and had trading arrangements in the past for one of the members that they've released. So they knew or, at least in their mind believed that they could take prisoners to negotiate a release.
So tell me what they've just learned in this lesson. They get five very seasoned Taliban folks when they desperately need them coming back onto the battlefield in about 12 months from now, and by the way, they went to a place that had a violation, meaning a detainee was sent to Qatar before and didn't live up to the ban.
They ended up arresting him in Great Britain. This -- I mean, that's why you talk to other people, other than yourselves to come up with a better agreement, a better understanding, or maybe you even pause and say it's important that the family get their loved one home. Absolutely. We're all for that. But what -- at what expense and risk for other soldiers and their lives in the next two years that the president said are going to be in Afghanistan?
BLITZER: One quick final question if you have the answer. Some of those fellow soldiers from Afghanistan have accused him of actually being a deserter. That he walked away from that base. What do you know about that?
ROGERS: Seeing the information we have, this was actually a topic of discussion back in 2011. They haven't answered the question. I think the Department of Defense needs to do a thorough review to find out and determine what -- what caused him to -- to fall into Taliban hands, and I would, I think, be remiss if I conjectured in on that particular event. It's pretty serious. So we need to find out, and they need to go through that review. It's important that people know. I know that certainly soldiers that serve with them are pretty upset right now.
BLITZER: Mike Rogers is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thanks very much.
ROGERS: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Let me bring in Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst. You've looked at the law. You've looked at the signing statement. You've gone through it. Did the president break the law by engaging in this deal?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think he clearly broke the law. The law says 30-days' notice. Give 30 days' notice. Now, it is true that he issued a signing statement, but signing statements are not law. Signing statements are the president's opinion about what the law should mean. Now, it may be that the law is unconstitutional, a violation of his power as commander in chief, but no court has held that. The law is on the books, and he didn't follow it.
BLITZER: You know, President Bush used to do these signing statements that there would be a violation of what he signed into law, saying that if he determines, as commander in chief, he could go ahead and do it, it's OK, even though that negates the law of the land.
TOOBIN: That's right. You know, lots of presidents since, probably, I think, President Roosevelt have issued signing statements, but you know, liberals were outraged by George W. Bush's signing statements. They thought he was -- he was deciding which laws he was going to follow and which laws he wasn't.
BLITZER: Was President Bush breaking the law, too?
TOOBIN: Well, there may have been examples where he did. But certainly, this is an example of a signing statement where the president is -- is taking power for himself that the law didn't give him. He's specifically contradicting it. Now, that may be constitutional, but it is still a violation of what the law says.
BLITZER: You realize, of course, you're accusing the president of the United States of breaking the law? Jeffrey Toobin, who has written books about the United States Supreme Court.
TOOBIN: Well, I don't think the president is too worried about what I think about this.
But I do think that his critics have a very good point here, that you have a law on the books, and you have a direct contradiction. Situations like this, there's not much Congress can do about it. The courts generally stay out of it. They say this is to be worked out between the legislative branch and the executive branch. They can impeach the president, but I don't think -- clearly, that's not going to happen here. But it matters whether people follow the law.
BLITZER: It does. You don't want the president of the United States breaking the law.
Jeffrey, stand by, because we have other subjects we want to discuss with you, as well. We're going to have much more at the top of the hour. Our special report, the return of Sergeant Bergdahl, including a live interview with the deputy national security adviser to the president. Guess what? Tony Blinken has very different views on all of this.
Plus, police shut down an entire block in San Francisco as the FBI searches for a man accused of having a house full of bombs.
And brand-new details about what role the Sterlings may have with the Clippers down the road as they work out an agreement with the NBA. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: We are just learning brand-new details about the deal Shelly Sterling reached with the NBA as Donald Sterling makes a bizarre appearance at a predominantly black church in Los Angeles.
Our Brian Todd has been following this every step of the way.
Brian, what is the latest?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we have new information tonight about Shelly Sterling's role with the L.A. Clippers once the sale goes through. To the surprise of almost no one, she's not going to go away quietly.
TODD (voice-over): Even while negotiating the sale of the L.A. Clippers for $2 billion, Donald Sterling's estranged wife was also working out a position with the team for herself. While she won't take part in running the Clippers day-to-day, once the team is sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, a source familiar with the situation says she will have is described to CNN as a type of owner emeritus position, presumably allowing her attend games in the arena, something that the NBA's lifetime ban doesn't allow for her husband. A deal that some say may not sit well with players and fans.
ERIC DEZENHALL, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: I think that ideally, you'd want a clean break. Ideally, anybody with the last name Sterling is part of the backdrop and it adds another cycle to the news.
TODD: Our source says once people understand what role Shelly will have with the team, they won't have a problem with it. As part of her deal to sell the Clippers, the NBA says if Shelly Sterling also made a separate agreement with the league, promising to protect it from lawsuits from Donald.
JEREMY JACOBOWITZ, LEGAL EXPERT: If in fact, it's an air-tight indemnification, and it sounds like it is, then the NBA cannot be on the hook for damages. NBA, even if it sued, if it loses, Miss Sterling is obligated to pay the damages.
TODD: But that agreement still did not stop her estranged husband from going to court. Late Friday, he indeed filed a billion dollar lawsuit against the league calling for the NBA to lift its lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine it imposed on it.
TODD: And while all of this was going on, Donald Sterling has some damage control on Sunday, at least an attempt at it. He attended a church service in south central Los Angeles of a predominantly African-American church. This was at the invitation of the pastor. But Wolf, most people who we talked to, strategic communication specialists, said that was an obvious attempt of damage control, probably too little, too late and didn't too much to help his case with the public.
Also Wolf, we got the two legal analyst who have now told me on camera, told CNN on camera, actually, that they believe Donald and Shelly Sterling were working together in this whole thing, almost colluding because the sale of the team moved so fast. It moved too easily for them not to be.
Max Blecher -- excuse me, Donald Sterling's attorney has denied that they are not colluding. We have not got response yet from Shelly Sterling's attorney.
BLITZER: Now, V. Stiviano, the other woman who was apparently recording all of those racist conversations, she is making the news now too.
TODD: That's right. According to her attorney, V. Stiviano was attacked by two men in New York on Sunday. The lawyer says the man followed her as she left a restaurant yelling racial slurs at her and then punched her several times leaving her face swollen and red. The lawyer said he expected her to file a police report at some point.
BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much.
Let's go a little bit more though, with our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin who is with us and CNN's Don Lemon who is joining us from New York.
What do you make of Shelly Sterling at at least some serve owner emeritus role in the future Steve Ballmer owned L.A. Clippers?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think it is much difference. As you just pointed out, she's been going to games anyway since this crisis hit. The NBA owes her a certain debt of gratitude because she got them out of this whole dilemma because she engineered the sale of the team to Steve Ballmer. So if she can go to games and give herself a fancy title named owner emeritus, I don't think anybody is going to give her a hard time.
BLITZER: Because Don, unlike her husband, she has not been ban by the NBA for life. For what she said, she was allowed to go to those games, those playoff games even after he was banned for life.
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I just think that the coach at that time had enough on his plate. He said this is one last thing I don't want to deal with. So I think he probably let her go to the games.
And you know, I don't really know how the team and how the fans are going to react to her having any sort of role because last I checked and last, you know, just taking the temperature of the people who were the fans and the team, they wanted Shelly Sterling have nothing to do with the team, even if it is an owner emeritus position. They didn't want her to have anything to do with it. So, I don't know if it will cause some sort of glitch. I have no idea. But I don't think it's actually a good idea. BLITZER: What about this notion that Donald Sterling through his attorneys is filing a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA? You're smiling.
TOOBIN: I just don't think that this lawsuit is going to go anywhere. And the NBA achieved this remarkable indemnification agreement from Shelly Sterling so the NBA is not even at any risk in this lawsuit.
BLITZER: She would have to pay it from that trust.
TOOBIN: Have given this pace at which the California legal system operates, this is likely to be on a slow boat to nowhere for quite a few months, if not years. I assume this case will fade away. I don't think it has any merit as far as I can tell. I don't think it had any impact on this.
BLITZER: That's the impression I get from the NBA as well.
Don, what do you make of the decision by Donald Sterling to go to this predominantly African-American church and show his solidarity with the African-American community?
LEMON: I would just say this. As a member of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist church in Portland, in Louisiana still where I went to church, he went to the praises of Zion missionary Baptist church, we believe in forgiveness. We don't forget. So he went to the right place if he wants forgiveness, but people are not there, probably are not going to forget what he did.
So listen. I think it was -- I would like to believe that it was some sort of earnest attempt to sort of vindicate himself and to find the Lord, but I think it's obvious what it is. He's trying to save face and I just think it's -- people see that and you know Donald Sterling, do your thing. Go to a church where you normally go, if you go and I wouldn't be going to a black Baptist church on Sunday. I just think it embarrasses him.
BLITZER: I mean, Don, if you look at the video, it looks like he was pretty well-received at that church?
LEMON: As I said, we believe in forgiveness but we don't forget. If you go into a house of worship, no one is going to kick and yell at you or call you names because that's what the word is about. That's what's the Lord is about. It's about forgiveness. But that doesn't mean that we want you to own the team, the church would probably say.
So, we'll forgive you. We will scream and shot with you. We will get the holy ghost and people will fan you and whatever, we will do all of those things, but on the team, no, not at all.
BLITZER: Got a round of applause with the church goers there.
V. Stiviano, Jeffrey, she was apparently roughed up in New York City. Where does she fit into this, I guess, it is the final chapter in this deal to sell the Clippers, ban Donald Sterling for life?
TOOBIN: I think there is going to be a where are they now column about every year now on into the future. That's about it. I don't see much other else as a public figure for V.
BLITZER: What about you, Don?
LEMON: Well, here's the thing. When I heard about this V. Stiviano thing because earlier on Saturday night and then all last night I was in the same area where she was, right down by Soho house, right down (INAUDIBLE) by the standard hotel and usually that place is -- it's not a busy place. It's very Kardashian now. It is very (INAUDIBLE) now. It is not what it is used to be.
But if something like that would have happen, it's a very small place. People would have been talking about it. No one mentioned V. Stiviano. I don't know if she is telling the truth. I would assume -- listen, I would hope that she is. But it is just odd that something like that would happen to someone as high-profile as her and have no one in that area even heard about it and she didn't even file a police report. So, I want to see what the outcome is going to be. I reserve judgment. But to me, it's just odd that no one talked about it.
TOOBIN: Can we hear more about, Don, Saturday night?
LEMON: Well, if you really want to. I will tell you.
BLITZER: Don, we'll hear more about it 10:00 tonight. Don Lemon will be back 10:00 p.m. eastern "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon. He'll have more on the Donald Sterling affair as well.
All right, guys, thanks very much.
Just ahead, a SITUATION ROOM Special Report. The return of Sergeant Bergdahl with new questions about the deal that brought him home and whether he's a hero, whether he's a deserter. Standby.
But first, President Obama wielding executive power today and what could be the most important act potentially of the second term with an impact that could be felt not only in the United States but around the world.
BLITZER: President Obama is taking his boldest executive action yet to combat climate change but Republican and some Democratic critics are arguing that the changes could cost lots of American jobs.
CNN's government regulation correspondent Rene Marsh has been investigating all of this for us.
What are you finding out?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, critics say that this could be a hit to the economy in the billions, a sucker punch to low and middle income families. But the administration paints a different picture. Climate and health benefits worth tens of billions of dollars. While both sides battle that out, Democrats in red states and cold states deal with a battle of their own.
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MARSH: One of the strongest actions by any president to tackle climate change. President Obama is bypassing Congress and mandating by 2030, the nation's power plants must cut emissions 30 percent from where they were in 2005.
EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, delivered the message.
GINA MCCARTHY, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: This is not just about disappearing polar bears and melting ice caps. This is about protecting our health and it is about protecting our homes.
MARSH: Inaction means dire consequences, according to a White House climate report. Rising sea levels will threaten millions of people in coastal areas. Heavy drought, heat waves, and wildfires will scorch communities and agriculture, sending food prices higher.
The EPA predicts the cut in carbon emissions will prevent more than 6,000 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks in children.
MCCARTHY: Under our proposal, states have to design plans now and they have to start reducing so that the -- they can be on a trajectory to meet their final goals in 2030.
MARSH: The plan, a political lightning rod. Coal state Republicans and even some Democrats say it will kill jobs and hike consumer electric bills. House leader John Boehner calling the plan "nuts." The leading Senate Republicans agreed.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: This is the single, worst blow to Kentucky's economy in modern times.
MARSH: The administration says the plan will actually lower bills by 8 percent.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When America has taken steps to cut pollution and protect public health, opponents of those steps have made dire predictions about destroying jobs and harming the economy and throughout our history they have been wrong.
MARSH: Who is right?
STUART ROTHENBERG, EDITOR, THE ROTHENBERG REPORT: I think the proof will be in the pudding. Will electric rates go up? Will consumers feel a pinch? Will businesses lay off employees? And, you know, we'll have a better idea in six months or a year or two years.
MARSH: Obama's move could be a problem for coal state Democrats running for re-election in 2014. ROTHENBERG: He's not looking for the midterm as much. It's now about his legacy and accomplishing what he can given that he knows he can't get anything through the Republican House.
MARSH: So if you're a coal state Democrat, what do you do? As Rothenberg put it, you make lemonade out of the lemon that the president just handed you today. And that's exactly what we're seeing happen. Democrats in coal states and red states coming out today and saying we don't stand with the president on this.
We should note that the states have a deadline of June 30th, 2016, to submit their plans but we already know we should expect some legal challenges to this.
BLITZER: I'm sure there will be.
All right, thanks very much, Rene Marsh, for reporting.
Just ahead, a SITUATION ROOM special report. The return of Sergeant, Bergdahl amid the celebrations, there are lingering questions about the day Bergdahl disappeared. Did he desert the U.S. Army?
And after five years Bergdahl's parents are about to welcome their son home. We're going live to the small town of Idaho where they are preparing a hero's welcome.
But up next, police shut down an entire block in San Francisco as the FBI searches for a man accused of having a house full of bombs.
BLITZER: The FBI says he's armed, dangerous and on the run. Police are now looking for this man who's accused of having explosive materials at his home.
CNN's Kyung Lah has been following the manhunt out in California.
What's the latest, Kyung?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Ryan Chamberlain was last seen south of San Francisco. According to the FBI, he was driving a white Nissan Altima with either Texas or California plates. The FBI saying he is considered dangerous and they are calling for a nationwide manhunt.
LAH (voice-over): Agents swarmed a San Francisco building this weekend wearing hazardous material suits, crews shut down an area near San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf as they searched the apartment of 42-year-old Ryan Chamberlain.
PATRICIA BARLOW, NEIGHBOR: He's very friendly. He's a nice looking sort of fellow. He's quiet. He's not -- you always have to start the conversation with him. It's never vice versa.
LAH: Neighbors didn't know him, but he is known in San Francisco political circles. A fairly well known operative. In 2003 he worked on the campaign of then-mayoral candidate Gavin Newsom and other San Francisco political hopefuls on both sides of the aisle. In recent years he became a social media consultant. Active and cheerful on what appears to be his Twitter account.
Online, he describes himself as a communications hack, social media- ist and save-the-world type. Certainly the opposite of the warning issued from the FBI who say he is wanted for allegedly possessing explosive material in his home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's considered armed and dangerous.
LAH: Those who work with Chamberlain say none of this makes sense and say they will wait until authorities find him or he comes in peacefully.
ALEX TURK, FORMER COLLEAGUE: Flabbergasted, just out of character for anything that I know about Ryan.
LAH: A U.S. law enforcement official tells CNN that they are aware of some online postings that purport to be from Chamberlain. They cannot conclusively say, though, that these postings were in fact put up by Chamberlain.
Now what they are referring to are two things. One is an apparent suicide note where the writer talks about depression and some personal problems and the other is this tweet. It's pretty unique because it came through this morning while the manhunt was going on. And the tweet says, that there is, "nothing that they're reporting is true, no stashes and not armed."
We're assuming, Wolf, that that means not armed and dangerous. Referring directly to what the FBI was saying.
And, Wolf, what this tells us is that he is certainly, if this is indeed him, watching television.
BLITZER: That's a key point if in fact that is the real him there tweeting that.
All right, Kyung, you'll stay on top of this story. Thank you.
Just ahead, a SITUATION ROOM special report. The return of Sergeant Bergdahl. There are now accusations from some fellow soldiers that America's only prisoner of war was actually a deserter and deserves a military trial. We'll investigate.
And I'll speak live with President Obama's deputy national security adviser. Did the administration break the law by trading Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl?