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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Hudson Crash Caught on Tape; What's Fueling the Outrage?; Big Bailout, Big Bonus; Jackson's Unusual Problem; Doctor for Peace
Aired August 13, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening we begin with breaking news tonight. New video showing that deadly collision above New York's Hudson River; nine people died when a small plane hit a sight-seeing helicopter.
The crash was caught by an Italian tourist, the tape obtained by NBC News. Now, it may prove valuable to investigators. We want to warn you, it is tough to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: No one survived the crash. The last two bodies recovered on Tuesday. Slowing the footage down, you can actually see the plane attempting to turn and climb at the very last second, only to clip the helicopter with its right wing, right there.
Watch closely. You can see the wing torn from the plane before both vehicles flip and plummet into the river.
The FAA has begun disciplinary proceedings against an air traffic controller and a supervisor on duty during the crash. The controller was on the phone with his girlfriend at the time. His supervisor was not in the building which is against regulations.
However, according to the agency, neither actions by the supervisor or the controller appear to have contributed to the accident itself.
Let's get some perspective now from retired American Airlines Captain Jim Tilmon. Jim, as you look at this video, what kind of clues can be gleaned from the tape -- the videotape obtained by NBC News?
JIM TILMON, RETIRED AIRLINE CAPTAIN: Well Anderson, I've been kind of worried about whether or not this could have been avoided. You know, seek and avoid or rather see and avoid are the rules of the road when you're in this situation.
But could they really see each other. Let me give you an example. Look at that airplane. That's a low-wing airplane. Meaning, visibility below the aircraft is highly restrictive. Now, the chopper is looking straight ahead. The pilot of the aircraft was also looking straight ahead.
They are not able to really see each other until it's much, much too late.
COOPER: And are they -- I mean, would it have made any difference if -- what -- they don't have radio communication with each other. They're not hearing each other's radios?
TILMON: Yes. It would have made a big difference if they had been listening with each other because they would have given position reports so that everybody knew just about where the other guy was.
There are a couple of -- three things here. Discipline with the radio, discipline with altitude control, et cetera, are all part of this accident. And I'm sure that investigation is going to show that that's one area we need to look at.
TILMON: Because if we separate altitudes, this can't happen.
COOPER: As we look at this tape, I mean, these are obviously the only two aircraft that we can see. But there are -- there's been a lot of criticism over the last couple days just about what kind of a free- for-all it is in this bit of air stretch, above the river in this stretch of air.
TILMON: I talked with friends today who walk along that river quite a little bit. And they talk about the frequency of near mid-air collisions when they see aircraft much too close together. We're going to have to find a way to discipline everybody who flies on that corridor or else we'll have this again.
COOPER: And what do you make of the supervisor not being present and the controller apparently talking to his girlfriend? Now, the controller had actually handed over responsibility, electronically for this aircraft, to Newark Airport, but apparently the pilot hadn't gotten in touch. But a controller talking on the phone to his girlfriend, I mean clearly, that would be a violation of the rules.
TILMON: It is a violation of the rules. We will never know how much that may have contributed to the accident. But it certainly does give us some reason for alarm.
One of the problems with aviation safety sometimes just like in any other safety situation is routine. When you look at so much of this every day and nothing ever happens until one day it does.
COOPER: Jim Tilmon, I appreciate your expertise. Thank you, sir.
TILMON: Thank you.
COOPER: A lot more to talk about tonight.
Also ahead tonight: getting beyond all the shouting over health care reform while zeroing in on the reasons behind it. What is making so many Americans so vocal about changing a system that up until recently a very strong majority said needed more government involvement to fix? Has the health care debate become a release valve for frustration, fear and anger over a whole lot more? Why all the noise about issues that have nothing to do with health care? Hear for yourself tonight from Americans who don't like the way things are going.
Tom Foreman met some of them in our "Uncovering America" segment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, just say no, just say no.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The yelling, the posters, the verbal attacks. Is this really all about health care reform? At meeting after meeting, questions are being raised about immigration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you covering people that are here illegally? Or only the American citizen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why isn't tort reform a part of any of these bills?
FOREMAN: About an economy that is down, government spending that is up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing that I see climbing higher is our deficit.
FOREMAN: And for many of these folks, all of that is about President Obama.
BILL FOSTER, TOWSON, MARYLAND: There's no transparency here. I mean, Obama promised that we're going to have time to look at everything that goes through Congress.
FOREMAN: You don't feel like you're getting that with this?
FOSTER: Absolutely not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd rather have Palin as the president right now.
FOREMAN: Polls show the president is still personally popular but support for his performance has fallen. Voters say he is not handling the economy very well. He is taking on too much. And many at these meetings suggest this is just the opening battle of a long war against the president who they believe is growing the government, ballooning the deficit and he's just getting started.
We first met Mark Kreslins, who organized one of the anti-tax tea parties when he came to a town hall meeting to protest health care reform. But he's also worried about the cost of the stimulus, new environmental laws and much more on the Obama agenda.
(on camera): So is this fundamentally a question of fiscal responsibility for you?
MARK KRESLINS: Yes, because I think that's the ultimate problem that every person will suffer from at the end of the day because I love my four kids. That's what it comes down to. I know what I'm handing off to them. I can't bury my head in the sand anymore.
FOREMAN: President Obama has said this debate should only be about health care reform.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So let me be clear; this isn't about me.
FOREMAN: But his opponents are being just as clear. "Yes, Mr. President, this is about you."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This government is out of control.
COOPER: The White House today was pushing back and supporters now flooding the airwaves. They've just launch a $12 million ad campaign backed by drug companies, hospital firms and the services workers unions.
But protesters are getting the lion's share of free media at town hall news coverage.
Our next guest is really hoping to do both. Mark Williams, organizer of the Tea Party Express. There's going to be more than 30 rallies across the country opposing the president's reform plans. The tour is going to be accompanied by national campaign ads as well.
Mr. Williams, I appreciate you joining us on the show. It's your first time. Thank you for being with us.
MARK WILLIAMS, ORGANIZER, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: We're trying to get beyond the yelling and look at the legitimate anger. And look at what that's about. Now, clearly health care is something all Americans either have or want or need so it's something tangible people relate to. But it seems like what we're seeing if for many -- is for many about more than just health care.
WILLIAMS: The health care issue, health care reform has become something of a touchstone for all of us. And I think included in there is all of the frustration over excessive spending, over government officials not listening to us, over the headlines we see every day.
I mean, it's incredulous sometimes to sit there and read a headline about how we spent a record amount last month and how the Treasury Secretary wants to us spend more and give us a higher credit card limit.
I think Americans -- and in fact I know Americans -- are worried about where this country is headed, where the future is headed. And our country, quite frankly, deserves much better than what we're getting out of the leadership of this country today, on both sides of the aisle I might point out.
COOPER: But most of your criticism though has been directed toward tossing Democrats out of office, no?
WILLIAMS: Well, they happen to be the ones in control at this point. I mean, if Republicans were pursuing such a destructive path, you'd find me yelling just as loudly.
COOPER: The images from these town hall meetings, the most dramatic images are the ones that end up getting on television.
COOPER: Critics of those images, critics of the outrage expressed at some of these town halls are saying, "Look, essentially these are people who didn't vote for President Obama and are angry, you know, the way the country is going."
Just as under George Bush, there were plenty of people who were angry about that and demonstrating and speaking out. Why should these people at town halls be listened to any more than other people in past years have been listened to, who or exercising the democratic right to speak? But doesn't necessarily mean there's some sort of ground swell against any kind of reform?
WILLIAMS: Well, a couple of observations on that. First of all, this ground swell is a ground swell unlike the marches we see in San Francisco and on the Washington mall. Or we saw during the ramp-up to the re-instigation of hostilities in (INAUDIBLE). Those were manufactured. Those were the AstroTurf.
If I've learned anything in my more than two decades of being a radio talk show host and activist talk show host, is that I don't tell people to do anything.
COOPER: But you can't honestly say that opposition to the war was manufactured and was artificial. That it wasn't -- you can't say that and at the same time say that but what you're doing is completely not, you know, being funded by groups. I mean, everybody is being funded by groups here.
WILLIAMS: Well, the difference's that what I'm doing is running to the front of the parade and saying follow me. During those other protests, Ramsey Clark stood there and said, "Here's some money, come demonstrate with me."
COOPER: So you think Ramsey Clark was paying all these demonstrators against the war? You think Ramsey Clark is rich?
WILLIAMS: Ramsey Clark and his rent-a-mob. I've run into them in New York, in Philadelphia, everywhere I've worked. But people are coming together; Americans are coming together on this central issue -- the central issue of America and where America is going. And there's a great fear out there that our country deserves much better than being dismantled only to be rebuilt as a failed socialist paradise.
We're watching the...
COOPER: You really believe that President Obama wants to make this into a socialist paradise?
WILLIAMS: We -- the government owns the automobile industry. The government owns the banking industry. The government is about to own the health care industry. Yes, I'm afraid that we have -- I don't know what his personal thoughts are on this -- but all the actions I see are moving in that direction.
And I would add this, Anderson. If this is such an imperative to pass this and why hasn't it been passed? The votes are there on the Democrat side or supposedly the numbers in the House and the Senate, the Democrats have all the votes they need to pass this without the Republicans.
WILLIAMS: So why isn't it law?
COOPER: Mark Williams, we went so over time, I can't even believe it. But it's an interesting discussion. I appreciate you being on. Thank you.
WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.
COOPER: Well, in addition to airing all sides of the health care debate, we'll also be checking with 360 MD Dr. Sanjay Gupta to see how the arguments actually fit the facts; "Keeping them Honest."
You can go to AC360.com tonight, where Dr. Gupta breaks down how the reform plans would affect young adults.
While you're there, join the live chat it's now underway. I just logged on.
Coming up next, Citigroup, you bailed it out. Now they want to make their wealthy traders even richer, $100 million richer, for a single trader, one person $100 million. It's "Your Money and You're Future" we're talking about. Ali Velshi has got to low down.
Also a breaking news, a car crash, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps involved; we're just getting this into CNN. We'll bring you the latest, when 360 continues.
COOPER: Some breaking news tonight involving Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps. He was in a car wreck at home in Baltimore. Police say his Cadillac Escalade hit a Honda Accord. Phelps at the wheel unhurt, the Honda driver apparently shaken up, she was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. The accident is now under investigation. Back to the anger that seems to be building around the country, you got a sampling at top of the program. Some of it driven by bailout fatigue especially when the bailed out company, who gets the gold mine and taxpayers, well, you know what taxpayers got in this case.
Case in point today is Citigroup, a massive bailout recipient under the last administration's TARP program. Currently subject to government review of the money it pays top executives. Reportedly, asking to write a check for $100 million to a single employee. We're talking about "Your Money, Your Future."
Ali Velshi is here with more. Ali, what is going on at Citi?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's a fascinating story, Anderson.
There is a trader, the head of the energy trading unit at Citigroup who is due to receive $100 million. Citigroup says it's not a bonus. It's a pay for performance, aligning the amount that somebody gets paid for their performance.
Now, Citigroup was the recipient of $50 billion in government financing, government assistance last year. They're saying that this is a big money-making group and the head of the group and that group are entitled to their money.
So it's a $100 million they want to pay out to this one trader, the name is Andrew Hall. They say he's entitled to it. They want to pay it. This is how they say they're going to get their business back on track. But clearly, that's attracting a lot of attention and a lot of criticism -- Anderson.
COOPER: I mean, $100 million, I mean, I don't know much about bonuses but I mean, that seems a tremendous amount. Didn't the Obama administration put restrictions on executive compensation earlier this year?
VELSHI: Yes, but they did it after the fact. And that -- those restrictions according to Citigroup don't apply to agreements and contracts that were made before the bailout, when those restrictions weren't in the place.
So they're saying this doesn't qualify under those restrictions. Now, the administration's pay czar is probably going to look at this and say this doesn't make a lot of sense. But experts have told us that he can only make non-binding comments on it. He can't force Citigroup to not honor that contract that they've got with him.
What he might do though, is if he does make recommendations that this money shouldn't be paid and Citigroup does pay it, that's going to put Citigroup under the focus of Congress again.
And we know that didn't work out so well last time -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, not so well at all. Ali Velshi, I appreciate it. Ali thanks. Up next, more fuel for the outrage fire, a Congresswoman on the phone while a cancer survivor tries to get health care answers. The lawmaker says it isn't what it seems. We're going to look at all the angles.
That's the video right there. She's clearly talking on the phone while someone else is telling her story about surviving cancer.
We're also going to "Dig Deeper" with our panel: Candy Crowley, Joe Johns and Tom Foreman.
Later, Michael Jackson's doctor, his attorney says the doctor never tested Jackson for drugs. He didn't even know about any possible problems before taking Jackson on as a patient. Is that possible? We investigate.
COOPER: "Digging Deeper" tonight to the mistrust out there of government solutions to big problems, including the banking mess and health care. Every day seems to bring something new to get angry about, justified or not.
Take a look at this video making the rounds on a lot of Web sites. Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee on a cell phone at a town hall meeting as a cancer survivor was asking a question.
Someone's heard on the tape saying she's not even listening.
Earlier today, Congresswoman Jackson-Lee told CNN's Rick Sanchez she was not taking a call, she was calling a Congressional hot line with answers to health care questions.
Joining us now: Candy Crowley, Joe Johns, and Tom Foreman. Candy, so Congresswoman Lee says the video is misrepresented. Viewers can decide for themselves. But it certainly looks like a literal representation of the common complaint which you've no doubt heard -- you've been at these town hall meetings -- that members of Congress aren't listening to their constituents' complaints.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I see a political ad coming with that. It's a -- certainly it is emblematic; it is something that people can use for campaign purposes.
I think that I have heard probably at every town hall meeting I went to yesterday -- there were four of them -- I heard at least one person say to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, "We don't even know what's going on. We don't feel as though anyone is listening to us."
And it's a common complaint, I have to say. People always feel that Representatives -- that Congress doesn't really listen to "people like them" as they say.
But the fact of the matter is that right now, the passions are so high that you really hear that message coming through. "You're not listening. The federal government's moving ahead. The administration is moving ahead on things I don't like."
COOPER: But Joe, you know the White House is essentially saying, look, they're showing all these -- the most heated moments which is essentially what television always does, it goes for the most heated moments, is misrepresenting the overall tenor, what's actually taking place in a lot of these town halls.
You're seeing the most excitable people. You're not seeing the sort of the discussions that go on in places where this doesn't occur. Is the White House right about that?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of people say there's a danger in that. I did see a poll that suggested people who are watching this are really tuning in to what the people on camera having to say.
Some Democrats even say the president really ignores these people's concerns at his own peril. Because at the end of the day, this is about listening and it's about having a government that says, "I hear you. I hear your concerns and we're going to try to address those concerns," rather than dismissing those concerns.
So it's a little bit difficult for the administration at the same time. They have a lot of frustration because they feel like, hey, it's all political. Its politics and people get that. Not everybody gets that from the middle of the country.
COOPER: Well Tom, it's interesting because a lot of people were kind of angry about the anger being shown at these town hall meetings saying, "Look, these people probably didn't want Barack Obama to be President. They're angry about that."
And that may be fueling this in part. And people always get upset after an election and this is, you know, there were probably plenty of liberals who were equally upset when George Bush was President. But it wasn't shown on TV as much.
FOREMAN: Yes, I think that's true. There's no question. There were a lot of liberals who were very upset; a lot of Democrats were very upset with George Bush. And it didn't get this kind of play.
At the same time, you weren't having members of Congress go out and stage these events all over the country over and over again where you were having these oceans of people show up.
Look, its natural television. It's naturally interesting and it actually does matter, because these people are creating genuine pressure on these members of Congress.
I think they're scaring some of them half to death because they know they have to come back here and vote now. And that these people are all going to be watching.
And you know what, Anderson, it goes beyond just the people who we know didn't vote for Barack Obama. What I think they're really worried about is that big meaty middle that elected Barack Obama and those people who are mad at him are the ones that worry them.
CROWLEY: You know, Anderson, I just want to say, when I was with Grassley, they were not yelling, shouting people at any of the -- at any of the town halls that he went to yesterday.
These were -- these were pointed questions. These were even sometimes angry questions. But it, nonetheless, had the same passion. And I have to tell you that Senator Grassley said he'd been seeing these things all along, since about February, and he saw his crowds grow and grow and grow and that what the underlying theme here is, which is now captured up on the health care debate, is that people are looking and saying, "Wait a second, the government is taking over everything."
So that's really the underlying problem that they see with now we own the auto industry or we own this or we own that, which is hyperbole. But nonetheless, they see the government interfering or intervening in so many private businesses and they now see health care as yet another attempt by the federal government to take something over. And that does not sit well with a lot of people.
COOPER: Joe, where does the debate actually stand? You know, I mean, in Congress, obviously, folks are out in their districts. When they come back, I mean, it seems like there's not one bill at this point to actually discuss. It's kind of all over the place.
JOHNS: It's totally all over the place. And the Democrats are going to have to get together and get something. There's a lot of speculation that at the end of the day, we're going to have a much smaller bill than a lot of the Democrats wanted, simply because after people in the Hill go out and hear all this stuff, it's very hard to go back into the Capitol and ignore what you've heard.
On the other side of the coin, the administration is going to be pushing frankly, Anderson, for all they can get.
COOPER: And Tom, I mean, where do you see this thing going? I mean, are there -- how many -- we've got what -- two or three more weeks until Congress is back in session. Are they going to continue to have these town halls or the Democrats are going to start to pull back?
FOREMAN: Well, some of them have already bailed out Anderson, as you know. And I understand why they do this to some degree because this is a hard experience.
Now, I will say, to echo what Candy said, at the meetings I've been to this week, there was never a point at which the elected Representative didn't get to say what they wanted to say.
Maybe there were a lot of cat calls, that sort of thing but it's like those House of Lords meetings you see from England where there's a lot of the carrying on but in the end they get their message across.
Where it's going to go from Anderson, I think that Joe has got the right key there. What's going to happen is that the pressure comes downhill on Washington here. You're going to look at a much more -- a lot more talk about scaling this thing way back to address principally the question of cost, which I hear from everybody out there, and the question of simply being so big that nobody comprehends it.
FOREMAN: If they don't address this, they'll certainly be on fire.
COOPER: Quickly Joe.
JOHSN: The bottom line is Pew did a huge poll that came out just a couple of weeks ago. And it said that this is the President's most polarizing issue. There's a big ideological splits, something like almost three quarters of Democrats said health care should take priority over reducing the deficit.
Whereas the Republicans on the other side had completely different answers; 63 percent said reducing the deficit should take priority over health insurance reform.
So this is the kind of thing that's a very polarizing issue. It's not politics at large. A lot of people are looking at just that and saying...
JOHNS: ... it's spending versus health care.
COOPER: Joe Johns, Candy Crowley and Tom Foreman; good discussion. Thank you all, I appreciate it.
Special program notes about tomorrow. Tonight and for days now you've seen health care town halls transform into stages for anger and fear and about staggering deficits and big government. Emotions so raw we've heard precious little about this.
All the people who do not have health insurance -- who do not get regular medical care -- like the people who are filling a massive during in Los Angeles for an offer of free health services. About 47 million Americans don't have health insurance. We're all paying for that.
Tomorrow, we're "Digging Deeper" on the rising cost to all of us of not doing anything.
Coming up next -- dozens of villages under mud and water, rescuers rushing to save thousands of typhoon victims. We'll show you the incredible pictures.
And was Jackson's doctor in the dark? According to Dr. Conrad Murray's attorney, his client was unaware of Michael Jackson's quote, "very unusual problems" when he actually took the job. What's he's talking and how much should a doctor know? I'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Jeffrey Toobin about that.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Coming up, Michael Jackson's drug use, what his doctor did and did not know about it or at least claims he didn't know about it.
First Erica Hill has the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a massive rescue effort continuing in Taiwan following a deadly typhoon that left more than 100 dead, dozens are still missing. 20,000 troops have now been deployed to Taiwan's remote mountain villages where thousands are stranded. So far, some 14,000 villagers have been rescued.
An African-American man pleaded guilty today to making a racial threat on Facebook. Tyrone Hart (ph) created a fictitious account, impersonated a white supremacist upset about the election of President Obama used that profile to make death threats to an African-American college student. He now faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Michael Vick is returning to the NFL. He has signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. The former Atlanta Falcons QB served a 23-month sentence for running a dog-fighting operation. He recently spoke to CBS's "60 Minutes" about the victims of his crime, the dogs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES BROWN, CBS SPORTS ACHOR: What about the dogs?
MICHAEL VICK, NFL PLAYER: It was wrong, J.B. You know, I feel -- I feel tremendous hurt behind what happened. And I should have taken the initiative to stop it all and I didn't. I didn't step up. I wasn't a leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: And Oprah Winfrey, today among the hundreds paying their respects to the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver at her public wake. Also, among the family members, of course, including the daughter Maria Shriver and her husband, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, were many Special Olympians today.
Shriver founded a camp which eventually became the Special Olympics. Today more than 3 million people with mental disabilities compete in those games in 170 nations.
A private, invitation-only funeral will be held tomorrow near the family's compound in Hyannis, Massachusetts -- Anderson.
COOPER: Wow. Amazing what she accomplished.
Many of you are already weighing in on tonight's news in our blog from the live chat happening now at ac360.com.
Still ahead -- intriguing new developments in the Michael Jackson story: the lawyer for Jackson's personal doctor now saying when his client showed up for work in Los Angeles he discovered the singer had some unusual medical problems. Details ahead. Plus, a Palestinian doctor who spent years working for peace in the Middle East, side by side with Israeli doctors he suffers the ultimate test of his convictions. His story when we continue.
COOPER: New developments tonight in the Michael Jackson investigation: Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician once again at the center of this story.
In an interview with the "Los Angeles Times," Murray's attorney, Edward Chernoff, said his client did not know what medications Michael Jackson might be taking when he accepted the job or whether Jackson was addicted to any drugs. Chernoff says when Murray moved to Los Angeles in May to care for the singer. It was then that he realized Jackson had, quote, "some very unusual problems."
It's an intriguing somewhat mysterious comment that comes as the investigation heats up. Joining us now -- 360 MD Sanjay Gupta and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Sanjay, so CNN has confirmed that Dr. Murray is claiming that he didn't know what drugs Jackson was taking when he was hired.
I just want to play exactly what Dr. Murray's lawyer told the "L.A. Times." He said when he accepted the job he was not aware of any specific requirements regarding medications that Michael Jackson was taking or any addictions that he was suffering from."
As a doctor does that -- do you buy that?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's an unusual situation in that Michael Jackson and some of his drug use -- some of the drug use that wasn't just alleged but that he admitted to -- was pretty well defined out there.
COOPER: I mean, if you had Googled Michael Jackson, you could have found out he himself said he had been addicted at one point.
GUPTA: Yes. You know, I would say two things. One is most doctors prior to taking on a patient do a pretty thorough -- at least a history of the patient, not a physical exam, at least the history. Who is this patient, what is their past history, including drug use.
And also, given that this was so much out there in the public and obviously Conrad Murray must have known about Michael Jackson, it just doesn't pass the sniff test, so to speak.
COOPER: Jeff, why do you think Dr. Murray's lawyer is now saying this?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's very clear. He's looking at a possibility of his client being charged with causing the death of Michael Jackson. To the extent Murray's lawyer can say, hey, look, this guy had all sorts of issues, all sorts of problems, addictions, other drugs... COOPER: Pre-existing conditions.
TOOBIN: Pre-existing as they might say in the insurance world, absolutely. To the extent he can make the medical situation of Michael Jackson as complicated as possible, that's good for his client, even if it doesn't make Dr. Murray look like the best doctor in the world, it doesn't make him look like a criminal.
COOPER: Because at this point it's beyond trying to make him look good. It's the question of defending him against possible manslaughter charges.
TOOBIN: Absolutely. He could say -- Murray could say, I did an investigation, an interview with my patient and he didn't tell me these things.
COOPER: If Propofol is what in the end killed Michael Jackson and Murray administered it, which at this point is still to be determined, does the fact the Michael Jackson may have been addicted or taken things before -- does that really matter?
TOOBIN: I think it does matter, because Propofol itself doesn't usually kill people. It's a drug ordinarily administered. It's in odd circumstance here but the fact is it's a legal drug. A doctor was administering it. Jackson had a bad reaction to it. But that doesn't necessarily make Murray guilty of a crime.
COOPER: Sanjay, the search warrant served at the Las Vegas pharmacy earlier in the week showed what authorities -- that they were specifically looking for evidence related to Propofol purchased by Dr. Murray. What kinds of things might they be looking for? And what do you think that evidence would potentially tell investigators.
GUPTA: Let me say one thing about Propofol as a drug. It's not necessarily just a side effect that it would kill somebody. This is a medication that can essentially put you to sleep so hard, so powerful sleep, that you're unable to breathe on your own.
COOPER: Which we saw in a piece you did. You were in an operating room with doctors and anesthesiologists. They put someone under and his breathing stopped almost instantly.
GUPTA: Yes. Within 10 seconds, he had to have a breathing tube placed or he would -- not being able to breath on his own -- he would have died.
So this is a drug that even under normal circumstances can cause death. That's why it has to be administered under monitoring in a hospital-like setting.
COOPER: Why, Jeff, do you think this coroner's report has not been released?
TOOBIN: The reason has to be that the prosecutors think that releasing the information will give witnesses the chance to line up their story with the known medical facts. That's the risk you always with the known medical facts. That's the risk you always take when you release documents that are related to an investigation. This is a very long time to hold it.
COOPER: Is it possible they would hold it until the trial?
TOOBIN: They couldn't hold it, I don't think, until the trial. But it's over and they've completed their investigation when they decide to charge Murray or someone else or not; I think they basically decided to hold it at least for that long.
COOPER: All right. Jeff Toobin, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks, guys.
Still ahead, it had been five years since Lynndie England's face became the symbol of prisoner abuse in Iraq. With jail behind her, England is now talking about what happened in Abu Ghraib. Is she sorry? Find out coming up.
Plus a doctor who's devoted his life to making peace between Israeli's and Palestinians faces the ultimate test of his convictions when his kids are caught in the cross fire of a bloody battle.
COOPER: Earlier tonight in a two-hour special, Christiane Amanpour reported on "GENERATION ISLAM." Now she brings us another report from the Middle East. In just a matter of weeks, the U.N. is going to issue its report on the bloody battle in Gaza that ended in mid- January.
Israel lost the offensive in late December in response to rocket attacks by Hamas. Over the 22-day battle, 13 Israelis and more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of kids.
Christiane Amanpour traveled to Gaza in the wake of the fighting to meet a man who has suffered a tremendous loss. A tragedy that might easily cause anyone in his shoes to become bitter.
But not him. Christiane has the story in tonight's "360 Dispatch."
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): At the height of the war, Israeli reporter Shlomi Eldar got a panicked and desperate phone call from his Palestinian friend, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.
It was a cruel irony. For 12 years, Dr. Abuelaish worked side by side with Israeli doctors in Israeli hospitals, devoting his life to medicine and to making peace between ordinary people on both sides. Now, paramedics race to save his surviving daughter, Shada, and his niece, Ida, after the Israeli shelling that killed three of his eight children. The wounded were rushed across the border to the Sheba Medical Center in Israel where Dr. Abuelaish's distraught colleagues try to comfort him and to save the girl.
We travel with him back to Gaza. (on camera): Oh, my God, what a mess. Can you tell me what happened?
DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH, DAUGHTERS KILLED IN GAZA: When my daughters were building their future and their hopes and their dreams, inside this room. All of a sudden, everything exploded. Look what kind of weapons they have, educational material.
AMANPOUR: This is art, culture, and entertainment and shopping.
ABUELAISH: Management. Social, culture, demographic and environment.
AMANPOUR: This is what your daughter was studying?
ABUELAISH: Yes, yes.
AMANPOUR: Her blood is still on that.
And when we're standing here, where your children were killed, how do you teach your surviving children, your friends, your family, not to hate?
ABUELAISH: I teach them to learn from what happened and how can this tragedy be translated into positive actions and to achieve the dreams of their lost, beloved sisters.
COOPER: Dr. Abuelaish has since been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. We're pleased to have him with us tonight. Dr. Abuelaish, thank you so much for being with us. My condolences on the devastating loss to your family.
How do you get -- how do you continue on after something like that has happened? Of anybody who has a reason to feel hate in their heart, you certainly have a valid reason and yet that's not what we're hearing from you.
ABUELAISH: Thanks God that I'm a physician who deals with living people and I don't deal with dead patients. I lost the three precious daughters but I have other five more, and they have the future and I have many things to do for my children and for the people that I am living for.
COOPER: How does it not, though, change what's in your heart? You've lost something and yet you are not preaching hate against the Israelis.
ABUELAISH: I have one of two ways, to go to the way of darkness and (INAUDIBLE), animosity or go to the way of life, love and making of this tragedy something positive. I swore to God that this tragedy will be for positive and for good for humanity.
COOPER: Was that something that took you a long time to come to? How soon after this horrible incident did you start to feel that?
ABUELAISH: From the first moment of the tragedy, while I am in the scene of the tragedy and seeing the bodies of my daughters, I started to behave as a physician and to think of the casualties, to think of the severely injured, daughters, niece and the brothers.
COOPER: This -- I read that you've been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and I read that you, in part, dedicate the nomination to prejudice peopled everywhere. What do you mean by that?
ABUELAISH: Because this world really is full of prejudice. I think humanity brings all of us together. When you defend humanity or you defend Izzeldin as a Palestinian or as an Israeli or any other place, you defend yourself, Anderson. And that's what we want to get rid of this prejudice and suffering of human being and humanity that we belong to.
COOPER: How do you go about doing that? I mean, you've started a foundation, "Daughters for Life." What are you hoping to accomplish with that?
ABUELAISH: My daughters were successful, who represents the girls in this world. And I'm ready to achieve their dreams. I think there are a lot of girls in this world who deserve the care.
This foundation will be dedicated for girls and women, because I fully believe in the potential of girls and women in making a difference. An educated and healthy girl and woman will raise an educated and healthy children, family, husband, community and nation. It's time for women to take the lead.
COOPER: It's remarkable your message that you send and your example that you're setting. I congratulate you. And I'm sorry that you went through this experience but you're continuing on and staying strong. I appreciate you being with us tonight.
Thank you so much.
ABUELAISH: Thank you so much.
COOPER: A remarkable man. For more on his story, go to ac360.com where one of his friends describes the moments the attacks happened. You can also find out how you can help the doctor's organization.
Hear more incredible stories. Watch as Christiane Amanpour travels to two of the places where the battle for hearts and minds is most intense, Afghanistan and Gaza. "GENERATION ISLAM" is coming up in about 10 minutes.
Also we're going to update you on our breaking news: swimmer Michael Phelps involved in a car crash in Baltimore; details ahead.
COOPER: First we'll update you on two breaking stories tonight, including new video.
The first of that deadly collision above New York's Hudson River; NBC News obtained it. It's difficult to watch. Home video taken by an Italian tourist showing the small plane and single engine hitting the sight-seeing helicopter -- 9 people, of course, died. The FAA beginning disciplinary action against an air traffic controller who was talking on the phone with his girlfriend at the time and his supervisor who was out of the building. According to the agency neither actions appear, at this point, to have contributed to the accident itself.
We are also following breaking news involving Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps. He was in a car crash at around 9:00 p.m. Eastern in Baltimore where he lives. Police say his Cadillac Escalade hit a Honda Accord. Phelps at the wheel, unhurt; his two passengers are also fine. The Honda Driver shaken up; she was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. The accident is under investigation.
Now to some of the other stories we're following tonight, Erica Hill has the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, with a major offensive now under way the Pentagon today releasing a grim new report on Afghanistan. The bottom line here, no assurances about how long the war might last or what it could cost. 62,000 American troops are already on the ground there; another 6,000 set to arrive by year's end.
Lynndie England is speaking out more than two years after doing time for abusing prisoners in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison. Downplaying the abuse she and others committed, the former Army Reserve private told the BBC she was only following orders and was just a pawn in a larger story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNNDIE ENGLAND, DISGRACED U.S. SOLDIER: Compared to what they would do to us, that's like nothing, because if you think about it -- at the same time they were cutting our guys heads off and burning their bodies and dragging them through the streets of Baghdad and hanging them off bridges.
This happens at colleges and dorm rooms or whatever here in the U.S. all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Back home, guitar legend Les Paul has died. He invented the electric guitar as we know it and that wasn't all. He pioneered the multi-track recording without which of course rock 'n roll would be recorded. The guitar came in 1941. He kept right on performing up until last year. Les Paul was 94.
And firefighters unite and feel the burn of -- get this -- a belly flop competition. The brave winner, Eric Devereaux, will get a chance to recover with a week long trip for two to Mexico. Worth it, I guess.
COOPER: Yes. Ouch.
COOPER: Painful just to watch.
Time for our "Beat 360" winners; our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption better than we come up with for a photo that we put on the blog everyday. Tonight's picture -- a Beatles tribute event, remembering the 40th anniversary of John, Paul, George, and Ringo's iconic Abby Road album; photo taken August of 1969.
Our staff winner tonight, Joneil. His caption: "Desperate to meet their fashion idol, Ali Velshi's biggest fans flock around the CNN Express."
HILL: Very nice, Joneil.
COOPER: Our viewer winner is Mark from Toronto. His caption: "All they love and a fitness regime" or regimen.
HILL: And maybe style.
COOPER: Maybe style as well. Mark congratulations. Your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.
Coming up, I just want to make you smile before going to bed. A walk on the wild side; a 300-pound bear leads officials on a high speed pursuit after pool hopping in an L.A. neighborhood. That's tonight's "Shot".
And later, "GENERATION ISLAM" more than 780 million Muslims are under the age of 25. What's it going to take to earn their trust? Coming up is Christiane Amanpour's special report following 360 at midnight.
COOPER: For tonight's "Shot" a bear. A bear in southern California tries to get in a little pool time and ends up facing a game warden's bean bag gun.
Here's the dramatic animal video.
HILL: Look at that.
COOPER: The 300-pounder fled up a tree after trying to take a dip in a neighbor's backyard pool, apparently. When it wouldn't come down, officials started firing not to hurt him, just to scare him down and apparently worked. You can see him high tailing across several yards and back into the national forest.
HILL: A bean-bag gun. I've never heard of that.
COOPER: Bean-bag gun?
I got one in my office.
HILL: That explains why Jack is afraid of you. COOPER: That's right. Exactly. Not all bears, of course, get off so easy. . You may remember the nose dive this guy took after getting hit with a tranquilizer.
HILL: Oh, our good friend the bear.
COOPER: Apparently he was there to help, sort of. Not really.
HILL: We are told the bear is fine.
COOPER: Oh yes. Apparently that bear is fine.
HILL: It's been fine for years.
COOPER: And gets royalties every time we watch that.
COOPER: I love it.
HILL: I hate it. The turtle man is mean.
I don't know who that guy is though. He's watching the turtle man.
COOPER: All right, you can see all the most recent shots...
HILL: Bad, turtle man, bad.
COOPER: Saw that last time on YouTube. This guy kind of checked out. Kind of -- I don't know -- it's hard to explain.
HILL: It's wrong.
COOPER: I'm glad you just threw in turtle man.
That does it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"GENERATION ISLAM" is next.