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Travel Ban May Be Lifted for Taliban Five; U.S. Student Killed While Trying to Stop Attack; Anti-Islam Rally Met With Counter- Protest; O'Malley to Announce White House Bid Today; Ex-Speaker Accused of Sexual Misconduct; Washington Sending Federal Aid to Texas; TLC Silent on Status of "19 Kids and Counting"; Falcons Player Cut after Dog's Death. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired May 30, 2015 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:25] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. officials on alert, the deadline nearing on a traveling ban for the Taliban Five, the five terrorists exchange for former POW Bowe Bergdahl.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Friends are calling a 22-year-old from Wichita state killed an ISIS suicide bombing as hero. Why they say he was volunteering as a security guard in Saudi Arabia?

BLACKWELL: The problems just keep coming for reality TV show family dealing with a sex scandal. We'll talk to a woman, the Duggar's invited into their home to talk about the abuse.

BLACKWELL: Good morning. It is always good to be with you. It's 8:00 here on the east coast. I'm Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: I'm Christi Paul. We want to start with the Taliban Five because they could be free to return to the battlefield literally in just days at this point. Today efforts are under way to stop that, though.

So we are talking about terrorists with ties to al Qaeda. One man even directly associated with Osama Bin Laden. These former detainees at Guantanamo Bay were exchanged for the freedom of former POW, Bowe Bergdahl, and their travel restrictions end Monday.

BLACKWELL: A diplomatic sources tell CNN that officials from both the U.S. and Qatar where the five men were sent after their release are meeting today to prevent that from happening.

PAUL: Global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott has been working this story. Elise, good morning to you. What can you tell us?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, Victor, under the agreement the five Taliban detainees have been monitored by the Qatari government for one year and banned from traveling outside the country. Now, the State Department is leading separate negotiations with both the governments of Qatar and Afghanistan about what happens next. U.S. officials say there are a few options in play.

Now the U.S. prefers they stay in Qatar where they will be monitored. The five have brought their families there and now total amounts 70 among them. The other options could see the five returning to Afghanistan either be released or monitored by the Afghan government.

Now, the Qatari say they will not expand the restrictions on the five, nor will they send them home to Afghanistan, if they don't want to leave Qatar. So, none of these are great options. These are five pretty high-ranking Taliban officials.

At least one has tried to communicate with Taliban militants back home since arriving in Qatar raising questions about whether the lives of Afghans, Americans, and U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan would be at risk.

Republican lawmakers were upset with a deal in the first place and now they are calling on the administration to make sure the five are not set free -- Christi, Victor.

PAUL: All righty, Elise, thank you so much.

I want to talk with CNN military analyst, Retired Lt. General Mark Hertling about this. General Hertling, thank you for being here. I want to ask you right out of the gate, of course, how big a risk or a threat do you think these men are to the U.S. if they return to their terror networks?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: There is no way to sugar coat this, Christi. At least four of the five are very significant Taliban figures. It was difficult to see them released, but, truthfully, there was not a lot of evidence against them. So, it's difficult to hold them. That's the quandary that the administration sees itself in with many of the Gitmo prisoners.

PAUL: I just wanted to ask, I mean, if they do go back to the terror networks, are they not seen in some sort, you know, characterized at some sort of heroic status because they have been as being imprisoned and suffering for their cause, so to speak?

HERTLING: Unfortunately, that's a part of it. It also comes at a time when the Afghan government is beginning to become stabilized under Mr. Ghani, and it's becoming a better place, but there are still pockets of the insurgency throughout the country.

So, yes, they will become heroes to their followers. They will be challenged, if they do go back to Afghanistan to the Afghan government and it's certainly a political factor here in the United States, as well, as the White House continues to, the State Department primarily continues to engage with Qatari government.

PAUL: So, the U.S. wants stronger restrictions in place for this. We know, but where do you see might some of the bigger gaps be that we need to have some modifications? HERTLING: Well, it boils down, truthfully to the legal issues at Guantanamo. You can't continue to keep people when you don't have evidence against them as these insurgencies die out. But they are still dangerous.

This is part of the asymmetric of conditions of the kinds of war that we're in right now where, you know, these aren't uniformed figures and at the end of the war you trade a soldier back to their government for whatever reason.

That's the challenge that we're sitting between. These are full fledge, life-long fighters for a cause. They are not soldiers in an organization and that's what makes the rules so difficult.

[08:05:10] So these are going to be continued challenges. We get rid of the remaining prisoners in a Guantanamo camp and it's also going to be the challenges that face us in the future as we deal with ISIS.

PAUL: So in an interview on CNN last year, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. could kill these men if they return to terrorist activities. But you know, Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis earlier today said these men are older. They wouldn't necessarily be in combat ready positions obviously. They would be in more strategic positions. Is there any way to really monitor them at this point or are they free to go?

HERTLING: There really isn't. What we are talking is about if they leave Qatar and they go to Afghanistan, certainly the Afghan government would continue to monitor them, much like we would put a prisoner on a monitor status here in the United States once they were released on parole.

But the technology isn't that available in Afghanistan. And I'm not sure I agree with the fact that these at least four of the five might not continue to contribute to the fighting because before they were higher level officials.

They weren't involved in the direct fighting. They weren't involved in combat actions, but they were guiding that combat action. This is a very difficult call -- Christi.

PAUL: All right, Retired Lt. General Mark Hertling, always appreciate your insight. Thank you, sir.

HERTLING: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right now to a story developing this morning, we're learning more about the Wichita State University student killed in Saudi Arabia, 22 years old. This student died when a suicide bomber attempted to blow up a packed mosque.

This was the scene yesterday. Four people were killed in that bombing. CNN's Nick Valencia is following this story for us. Nick, what do we know about this student was doing there?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to his family, the student had volunteered as a security guard there. There was a different attack on a separate Shiite mosque so the tensions were already high.

The 22-year-old Abdul-Jalil al-Arbash was visiting Saudi Arabia to get married while he was there. He volunteered as a security force. According to reports, a suicide bomber showed up at that mosque dressed as a woman and that grew some suspicions because women were asked to stay home because of this increased security threat.

According to report that Abdul-Jalil chased this attacker off and that's when the attacker detonated a suicide bomb killing himself and at least three other worshippers.

Now Abdul-Jalil's family spoke about his character calling him a very good man saying that he always had a smile on his face. His university also released a statement.

I want to read part of that. It said, "The Wichita State University community is saddened by the tragic death of one of our students. Our condolences go out to Abdul-Jalil's family, friends, and colleagues in this time of loss.

The state-run news agency in Saudi Arabia has not officially named him as the person who stopped the attack, but his family and friends are calling him a hero -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, so, this, Nick, is the second attack claimed by ISIS in Saudi Arabia in just a couple of weeks.

VALENCIA: That's right. It is the second attack on a Shiite mosque, which is interesting that Saudi Arabia is a Sunni nation, majority Sunni nation, and these attacks have become a little bit more frequent according to the Shia community at least two in the last two weeks

Now, ISIS sympathizers and supporters have posted claims of responsibility by ISIS saying that they are taking responsibility for this attack that killed a handful of worshippers -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Nick Valencia reporting for us. Nick, thank you so much.

VALENCIA: You bet.

PAUL: Take a look at what's happening in Arizona, the Muslim community.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have called this press conference so we can state the obvious. We, here in 2015 in America are reminding Americans that bigotry is a bad thing.


PAUL: OK, those are, those are some people in the community of Arizona speaking out and condemning an anti-Islam rally that was held outside a mosque in Phoenix.

Take a look at this here, too, video from the protests. You see it there. Shows on one side there's the supporters of the contest. Organizers say they're fighting for the first amendment, freedom of speech.

And some came, we are told armed in case their rights were impeded. You look at the other side of that obvious divide there and you've got the group that says it's fighting for the first amendment, as well, the freedom of religion.

Some 500 people reportedly attended the rally and it did end without any major incident, fortunately.

BLACKWELL: Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is about to make it official. In just two hours or so he is expected to formally announce he is running for president. A live report on what is behind planned protests against his announcement and his candidacy.

Also, important question, what is the risk to the nation? President Obama is warning lawmakers to resolve the NSA surveillance program before major parts expire tomorrow.

[08:10:07] Plus, former speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, first he's indicted for lying to the FBI. Now, he's linked to a multi- million dollar pot to cover up allegations of sexual abuse, according to sources.


BLACKWELL: All right, just about two hours from now former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is expected to announce that he is running for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States and he is set to do it in the city of Baltimore where he served two terms as mayor.

CNN senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, joins us now and, Jeff, you know, a lot of people that don't know much about Martin O'Malley.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. You're right. He certainly has a big job ahead of him in terms of introducing himself to Democratic voters. But he is a former mayor of Baltimore, as you said, a former two-term governor of Maryland.

He is well-known among party activists, but this president announcement here today is going to swing through early voting states, Iowa, New Hampshire. He is going to present himself as a new alternative to Hillary Clinton. Let's take a listen.


ZELENY (voice-over): The man strumming hail to the chief is Martin O'Malley and he wants to be president. He is a musician and former Maryland governor, ready to go head-to-head with Hillary Clinton. MARTIN O'MALLEY (D), FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR: Right now our country is going to fight the very future of the American dream and I am drawn to that fight.

ZELENY: On a recent visit to New Hampshire, he acknowledged he is hardly a household name.

ZELENY (on camera): Start this race having to introduce yourself to a lot of people?

O'MALLEY: Just as, you know, I start this race as a new face to a lot of people and somebody totally unknown to most and it's just the same way I started when I ran for city council and state senate or mayor.

ZELENY (voice-over): His time as mayor of Baltimore is now in the spotlight, given the violence and protests in the city. He talked about it with CNN's Jake Tapper.

[08:15:12] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "THE LEAD": Do you shoulder any of the blame here? Are you responsible at all?

O'MALLEY: Well, we are all responsible. I was responsible when I decided to run for mayor in 1999 and I told people all across our city vote for me and together we will not only improve the policing of our streets, we'll improve the policing of our police.

ZELENY: His record will be seen in a new light in his uphill battle to knock off the Democratic frontrunner.

O'MALLEY: History is full of examples where the inevitable frontrunner was inevitable until he or she was no longer inevitable.

ZELENY: This year, he's been sharply critical of Clinton.

O'MALLEY: The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families.

ZELENY: It's a different tune from eight years ago when he was one of her biggest fans.

O'MALLEY: It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I endorse my friend, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, to be the next president of the United States.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I could not be prouder than to have this endorsement.

ZELENY: Those old bonds now broken as he seeks to stop her presidential bid.


ZELENY: Now, in this campaign we will see a new side-by-side picture of O'Malley and Clinton when they appear on a debate stage together later this year. Now Victor, he also has a super PAC called "The Generation Forward." Another implicit reminder that he is presenting himself as a candidate of the future while Secretary Clinton he says, may be a candidate of the past -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Jeff, there are going to be crowds there who want the nation to pay attention to his past in Baltimore. These protests are planned. Tell us more about what we've learned about them?

ZELENY: That's right, Victor. We're told there will be protests around when this speech begins around 10:00, but you can see we're in downtown Baltimore. Governor O'Malley has been presenting himself the record as the mayor of Baltimore as a plus, as one of his attributes.

Well, now, of course, you will have to deal with some of the questions about what happened during his time as mayor. Were his policing strategies the right one? We'll see if his announcement is interrupted by protesters.

I can tell you, Victor, there is a decent amount of security here on Federal Hill, in downtown Baltimore. They're certainly prepared for any protest.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jeff Zeleny for us in Baltimore awaiting the announcement from former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. Jeff, thank you so much and of course, we'll have Mr. O'Malley's announcement live here during in 10:00 a.m. Eastern hour -- Christi.

PAUL: You know, Victor, time is running out for lawmakers to make a deal on the NSA's controversial data collection and surveillance program and President Obama is warning, if they don't make a deal this weekend, a terrorist could slip past U.S. intelligence.

Also, the longest Republican serving speaker of the House accused of paying hush money to cover up an alleged sex scandal. What is going on? We'll have the latest for you.



BLACKWELL: The U.S. Army may have shipped anthrax to Australia.

PAUL: The Pentagon says they might have sent live samples of the dangerous pathogen back in 2008 or 2009. No other details have been made immediately available, but officials say they are now reviewing their anthrax inventory. Science experts say there was thankfully no risk to the public.

BLACKWELL: This comes after the revelation of other live shipments. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants China to quit its territorial expansion into the South China Sea. This comes after a week after a U.S. surveillance plane carrying a CNN crew swooped over the islands, which triggered then warnings from the Chinese Navy to back off.

U.S. officials say they're concerned about China's militarization of some of the islands and are considering flying surveillance missions closer than it has before over these islands.

PAUL: Well, President Obama is warning of grave consequences without resolution on the National Security Agency's massive data collection program. He says if lawmakers do not scramble and make a deal by midnight tomorrow, a terrorist could indeed slip past U.S. intelligence.

Sunlen Serfaty is following the story from Washington. Sunlen, I was wondering what the banter is there this morning as we edge towards this exploration?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, we absolutely are edging towards the exploration. It is now about 40 hours before that midnight deadline tomorrow and there is really no sign of a resolution yet.

The White House has been ratcheting up their warnings calling it irresponsible and reckless if Congress allows the surveillance programs to expire. They have been characterizing them as essential tools needed to track terrorists.

Administration officials say the only viable option to avoid lapses for the Senate to take up and to pass the House bill when they come in for that rare session tomorrow.

Now, the House passed compromise measure that would extend the expiring laws, but changes that controversial bulk phones records program putting it in the hands of phone companies, not the government. The president yesterday in the oval office, he called for the Senate to get this done.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We've got our law enforcement and national security teams and civil liberty proponents and advocates who say this is the right way to go. The only thing that is standing in the way is a handful of senators who are resisting these despite law enforcement and the IC saying, let's go ahead and get this done.


SERFATY: The IC, a reference to the intelligence community. That was also not so subtle shot at Republican Senator Rand Paul, who has pledged to try again to block this bill from moving forward on Sunday. He's opposed both to the full extension of the Patriot Act, as well as the House compromise bill unless significant changes are made to weaken the government surveillance powers.

But Christi, at this time, the way forward. It's not clear and intelligence agencies are already making contingency plans preparing for this deadline to be missed -- Christi.

PAUL: All righty, Sunlen Serfaty, appreciate it, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, as TLC struggles with what to do with their hit show "19 Kids & Counting," we'll talk to our media correspondent about their options.

Also, you'll hear from a survivor who was abused as a child and is now an activist, who talked to the Duggar about sex abuse. We'll have that interview in the next half hour.


PAUL: It's 28 minutes past the hour. Want to get you caught up on what is happening around the world right now. First of all, a Wichita State University student is being called a hero for saving hundreds of people from an ISIS suicide bomber.

The 22-year-old Abdul-Jalil Al-Arbash was volunteering as a security guard at a mosque in Saudi Arabia when the bomber tried to get inside. Al-Arbash stopped him, but the bomber then set off his explosive killing him and three other people.

In Central Texas, more rain. I'm sorry to say it's going to drench that already oversaturated land there. Severe weather has killed at least 22 people just this week in the state with authorities expecting fatalities to rise.

And late yesterday President Obama did order federal aid to be delivered to the lone star state. We're going to have a live report for you on that situation in Texas coming up in a couple of minutes.

And in less than two hours, another Democratic presidential contender will enter into the 2016 race for the White House. Martin O'Malley expected to make an announcement in the heart of the city, Baltimore, where he served as mayor for seven years. We'll bring you that announcement live at 10:00 a.m. right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Well, according to sources, now indicted former speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, once the one of the most powerful people in Washington was making payments to keep quiet alleged sexual abuse of a minor.

That minor, law enforcement officials tell CNN, was a male former student of Hastert's.

[08:29:50] BLACKWELL: The former speaker was a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Illinois for 16 years starting back in 1965. Now, the news comes amid this federal indictment filed Thursday against 73-year-old Hastert. Federal prosecutors say Hastert lied to the FBI, skirted bank laws, tried to evade the IRS all to cover up, quote/unquote "misconduct" with hush money. Adding to the mix, the "L.A. Times" reports there may be a second person who is making similar allegations.

Let's bring HLN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson. Joey -- good to have you.

And I want to start here. The reporting is from CNN and other outlets that this was to cover up sexual abuse or allegations of sexual abuse. Will there be any interest to investigate that alleged sexual abuse so many decades later? JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning -- Victor.

You know, will there be an interest in it? I think certainly there will in as much as people want to know specifically what the nature of the conduct was, when it occurred, how it occurred, why it occurred and so there would be certainly an interest in it. As to whether there will be a viable prosecution stemming from it, I think the answer is resoundingly no.

That really, Victor, is predicated upon statute of limitation issues; that is, there's a certain time frame in which you have to prosecute sexual abuse crimes involving minors. The statute was changed in Illinois in 2005 to make it three years from the 18th birthday in many instances, you know.

But nonetheless -- and there are other exceptions that would even prolong it and make it longer. But I think even if you look at the statutory exceptions, I think you're pretty much out of the box and there will be no prosecution on that ground.

BLACKWELL: So, does the sexual allegation and sexual abuse allegation play any role in this federal investigation out of indictment?

JACKSON: I think it plays a role, Victor, in as much as it answers the question of why he was paying money. What was that predicated upon? Of course, when the government began to investigate, they were suspicious because he was withdrawing money at $50,000 intervals at the time and then bank officials initially approached him in 2002 apparently after he had been doing this for two years and said, hey, what is going on here?

And then apparently the Speaker became attune to the notion that, hey, we have to report any transaction as a bank that is over $10,000. And when he started taking it out, that is the former speaker in less than $10,000 increments that's where you run afoul of the law because the allegation is he was doing it to evade any type of reporting requirements. So certainly, it provides a sense of understanding as to why he was doing it to provide it as hush money.

But beyond that, in terms of the prior allegations of sexual misconduct, that's why, you know, it's really not in the complaint itself. If you look at the indictment, it does not reference the specific allegations, but just speaks to past allegations of misconduct.

BLACKWELL: You know, I think that it was 2010 at which point they had this discussion of misconduct and met with Individual A, who was a recipient of a lot of this money, according to the indictment.

But let's go to 2002. Let's go to the time that he was speaker. If any of these allegations overlap with his time as speaker of the house, what then?

JACKSON: I think certainly there will be an interest in determining what he did and when he did it. However, it doesn't appear, based upon the indictment that I'm reading, Victor, that anything is included in that indictment regarding any allegation of misconduct while he was speaker. It appears to be that the meetings, as you reference in 2010 began with Individual A, who is a person he apparently knew from the complaint. That is the indictment for the majority of his life and it seems as though it's based upon misconduct that he engaged in back in the day when he was a wrestling coach at this school. It does not appear to have anything to do while he was speaker. But I'm certain the federal government will have an interest in that.

Apparently to date, they have not had an interest in going forward with any extortion allegation or charges as to the person who actually he was paying the money. But that may be subject to change, as well.

BLACKWELL: All right, defense attorney and HLN legal analyst, Joey Jackson -- always good to have you.

JACKSON: And you. Have a great day -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: You, too.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn't know this was a flood zone. Now my car is all drowned.


PAUL: The stories are just so sad in Texas with this flash flooding. It swept away homes, cars, anything in its way in a matter of minutes. We're going to go live to Houston for an update for you.

Also, an NFL player cut from his team this morning after being charged with killing his ex-girlfriend's dog.


[08:38:07] BLACKWELL: President Obama is answering that call for help from Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Late last night he ordered federal aid into the state which has just been ravaged by severe weather. Hundreds of people left homeless because their homes have been swept away by powerful floods or damaged to the point where they're uninhabitable. And we know that at least 22 people -- 22 have died in Texas.

PAUL: Unfortunately, authorities expect that fatality number to rise.

Dan Simon is in Highlands, Texas. This is near Houston and it was hit pretty hard yesterday, we understand.

So Dan -- it looks like there's not a ton of water in terms of how high it is, but you've been there, you've been walking around. Tell us about it.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is an area known as the Banana Bend and it is prone to flooding. You have the San Jacinto River just next to me and it has spilled over to some of these residential streets. You have several subdivisions where really the only way you can get around is by boat.

I should tell you that the homes in this area, they're elevated. They're on stilts. They're not going to flood. But that doesn't apply to some of the other communities in Texas that are currently under a flash flood watch. You have the town of Morton, Texas southwest of Houston, you have about 30 homes under a mandatory evacuation order.

So, the question is what is going to happen later this afternoon. The forecast does call for rain. If you get one or two inches, perhaps they can handle it but if they get much more than that, then we may see a whole another round of flooding -- Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dan Simon for us there in Highlands, Texas. For more information on how you can help the victims of that severe flooding and the storm damage in Texas, head to

PAUL: Well, a young woman who was abused as a child now has a law named after her -- Erin's law. Erin Merryn -- she speaks to the Duggar family about sex abuse. You're going to hear her talk to us here live in just a couple of minutes.

[08:40:01] Also, an NFL player is fired after arrested for killing a dog. A live report on what's behind this abuse charge.


BLACKWELL: -- TLC, struggling still with what to do about the show "19 Kids & Counting". It pulled episodes of the show after it was revealed that the eldest son, Josh Duggar, molested several girls, including his sisters, when he was a teenager. Even after advertisers dropped out, TLC is still silent about the show's fate.

Let's bring in CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter. He's joining us now. Brian -- we've seen with several shows whether it's sexual abuse or racially-insensitive comment, these networks move quickly. They may change their opinion or their decision later, but why haven't we heard something definitive from TLC?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: This is a very difficult situation for TLC -- Victor. For some reasons that we haven't really thought about, I think. You know, for one thing, the show is not currently in production which means there's no camera crews following around the Duggars right now. So the network doesn't have to make a decision right away, you know.

[08:44:56] Because it's not in production, they don't have anything to "cancel", quote/unquote. They will however at some point probably decide not to resume production. That's what it comes down to -- a decision not to ever send the camera crews back out to the Duggars to follow them around in the future.

I'm told by sources close to the show that that's probably going to happen. The show is over, but TLC doesn't want to say so publicly. They don't want to actually make the announcement or the decision because it is going to create waves and create further controversy. You know, for all the people they will please by canceling the show, they're going to disappoint other people. They're going to disappoint fans of the Duggars that want to see the family supported during this crisis.

BLACKWELL: Much like we saw that backlash after "Duck Dynasty" was pulled --


BLACKWELL: -- and then that came back.

Let's talk about Hulu, the streaming video service that dropped all the episodes of "19 Kids & Counting" -- all the Duggar shows from their programming. That was in consultation with TLC. You spoke with an executive there, which side initiated that?

STELTER: Yes, Hulu's CEO said he was in talks with TLC and that's why they took the show off line. It's sort of a digital age problem right. When a show becomes controversial, you can take it off your schedule but you also have to take it off the Internet. So that's what they did in this case. But they said it was only for the time being and, again, leaving the door open to the show coming back at some time.

I think what happens in these cases is, these shows or these brands become political fights. They become red and blue issues. You have a lot of blue sort of commentators. A lot of progressives or a lot of progressive-minded Web sites saying why hasn't the show been canceled yet?

But then on the other side, you have some red type commentators, you have Christian conservative evangelicals that have loved this family for years and has supported this family for years that don't want to see them further penalized by taking the show off the air for a long time.

As you know, it's off the air right now and advertisers don't want to be associated with it. But to abandon the Duggars entirely could turn off some of TLC's core supporters which, you know, tend to live in red states, tend to live in the heartland.

So there is that tension that TLC has to grapple with. Of course, there's obviously business ramifications, but also there's cultural ramifications.

BLACKWELL: With all this going on, I understand there is potentially a spinoff that is being considered?

STELTER: That is exactly where this all wind up getting us to. You think about all the issues they face. You think about the pros and cons of canceling or keeping the show. And the most logical outcome is probably a spinoff. The most logical outcome might be just to have the kids featured. Do a spinoff of "19 Kids & Counting" with just a few of the kids as they're starting their own families and that's a way to distance the show from Josh Duggar and from the parents while still creating the relationship with the Duggar family while still keeping a popular show on the air and while still keeping TLC in business with the show.

You know, one point executives made to me is TLC has had a relationship with the Duggars for years. They don't want to appear to be abandoning them or penalizing them further in this situation. So by butting out for the time being and not making any decisions they are allowing themselves the ability to go ahead announce that spinoff some time in the future.

BLACKWELL: All right. CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter. Brian -- thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.

PAUL: Listen, our next guest is a survivor of abuse and a staunch advocate for education to prevent it. Erin Merryn wrote the book "An Unimaginable Act". She also knows the Duggars. The invited her into their home to talk to their kids about Erin's law. That's her initiative to get education about abuse into schools and she's been very successful at it. Almost half the states in the country now have signed on to it.

So, Erin, thank you so much for being with us. Help us understand when you were brought in to talk to the Duggars about abuse, what was that experience like for you and then what did you -- how did you feel when you heard about these allegations?

ERIN MERRYN, CHILD ABUSE SURVIVOR: It was a very positive experience. They had heard me speak at a conference and asked me that night will you come into our homes and talk about Erin's law teaching kids about personal body safety, to speak up and tell if you've been abused. So I sat there for two hours talking to their kids about this. And their hope was to help me bring my message into home schooling families.

My law requires public schools Pre-K to 12th grade to teach kids personal body safety. And so it doesn't reach the homeschoolers. So they were talking about ideas on how to bring this message to national conferences on homeschooling, getting me in front of some of these people. So it was a positive experience.

So, when I heard about this, I was shocked, but at the same time, you know, 93 percent of the time children are abused by someone they know and trust. No, it isn't often that stranger danger we talk so much about in society. The reality is we need to talk to kids about the people we know and trust that can hurt you and that you don't keep this a secret if it's ever happened to you.

PAUL: So what is the one thing do you think we can teach our kids to help them, empower them to speak up? What is the one thing they need to know?

MERRYN: Kids need to know that the differences between safe touch, unsafe touch; safe secrets, unsafe secrets. That the areas covered by your swimsuit if anybody ever touches you there, anybody, that you report it to an adult and you keep speaking up, this is not your fault. You're not to blame and you will be believed. [08:50:05] PAUL: You know, one of the things that I think is so

perplexing about this situation with the Duggars is the fact that, you know, as a parent -- every parent who's heard about this and who were fans of them think what do you do as a family when you have one child or more than one child who is a victim and yet your other child is the accused, is the abuser? I mean we love all of our children. How do you deal with that?

MERRYN: Yes, well, I tell people right now that try to put yourself as a parent in their shoes. What if this was your son or daughter that had done this to a sibling? You know, it wouldn't be easy at all. You love all your children. In this situation I tell any parent if this happens, go to the authorities. Get your child help.

The one and most important thing is to get them help and, honestly, remove them from the home. If this happened to my kids, I love my kids but I would not allow that family member back into the home. It just would not be safe.

PAUL: You actually wrote a great article about how you won't let your daughter go on sleepovers even at family's home because that's where you were violated as well.


PAUL: So that was a really good point.

You can find that online, too. Erin, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate your voice in this.

MERRYN: Thank you, thank you for having me.

PAUL: Of course.


BLACKWELL: Thanks, Christi.

Another animal cruelty controversy for an NFL team: a player is cut from his team after being charged with killing his ex-girlfriend's dog.

Later this morning, ten years after teenager Natalie Holloway disappeared in Aruba, could a new lead help to solve this mystery?


PAUL: This month in our "One to Watch" series, we're exploring the world of classical music. First up, South Africa's largest township, Soweto, is where we found a group of young musicians who swapped soul music for strength.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This precious wooden instrument is perhaps an unusual toy for a teenager. But 13-year-old (inaudible) carries it with pride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I most like about playing the violin is the sound, the texture of the music, the thickness, you know, of classical music.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maya (ph) wants to watch a beautiful string ensemble from South Africa. It's called Buskaid String Ensemble. They are from underprivileged backgrounds, but music lightens up their hope and future.

[08:55:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Buskaid string ensemble is made up of 28 young musicians, born and bred in South Africa's most populous black township -- Soweto.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of our parents grew up listening to sort of Motown or African jazz, you know. Classical music isn't really something that a lot of people listen to. And I think it's quite extraordinary that a lot of black kids are going to classical roots.


PAUL: Watch the full show at


PAUL: Well, a lot of you are talking to us on Twitter about this today. The Atlanta Falcons cut linebacker Prince Shembo after he was arrested on felony animal cruelty charges.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we have Coy Wire here with some of these really difficult to listen to details. What happened here?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: Well, he was arrested because he allegedly killed his girlfriend's dog. And we're talking about a small dog. It was a Yorkie. He told police that he kicked the dog when it bit his hand but because of discrepancies with what Shembo told the police and the animal autopsy results they got an arrest warrant. The result showed the dog died of blunt force trauma, fractured ribs, fractured liver, abdominal hemorrhage and this is just half of the list.

I talked to a high-ranking team official last night. He said that the Falcons got a phone call yesterday as Shembo was going out onto the practice field saying that he probably would be arrested within the next 24 to 48 hours. So they looked into this and rounded up all the high-level execs -- the owner, the president, the GM, of course, the head coach and they made a swift decision. They cut him before, guys, he was even arrested.

BLACKWELL: Yes, there's some questions about the credibility of that story. If the dog is biting your hand, how do you then get to kick it?

PAUL: To kick it.

WIRE: But --

BLACKWELL: Shembo has a bit of a checkered past.

WIRE: He does. Back in Notre Dame during his freshman year there was a 19-year-old girl who accused him of sexual battery. He was never charged but ten days after the girl reported it, she committed suicide.

Now, we asked you guys to tweet us using the #newdayCNN letting us know how you feel about this story and you responded.

Lisa Ling said Shembo cut for killing, Rice suspended for some games for knocking now-wife out." That was an interesting perspective, I thought there.

Also Palak said anyone that hits an animal is a coward. This makes me cringe. What kind of an example is he setting for all that idolize him?

So guys, this is -- we want to continue to hear from you, use your perspective here on our show. Use the #newdayCNN, of course, #Christi_Paul and #VictorCNN as well.

PAUL: Thank you, Coy.

BLACKWELL: Thank you Coy.

WIRE: All right guys.

PAUL: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, that's it for us. We'll see you back here at 10:00 Eastern, that's in the "CNN NEWSROOM". We'll bring you the campaign announcement from Martin O'Malley out of Baltimore.

PAUL: We'll have that for you live.

But don't go anywhere. "SMERCONISH" is starting for you right now.