Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Bill Clinton Apologizes; Interview With Senator John McCain

Aired June 07, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

And we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with allegations the White House is leaking state secrets, classified information for political gain. Republican Senator John McCain is leading that charge, though he has a lot of bipartisan support, Democrats as well.

McCain claims the White House orchestrated leaks to boost President Obama's national security reputation heading into the election. The alleged leaks to reporters at major news organizations included classified data on a computer virus attack on Iran, as well as CIA drone strikes.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The release of the information in these articles harms our national security and puts in danger the lives of the men and women who are sworn to protect it. The only conceivable motive for such damaging and compromising leaks of classified information is that it makes the president look good.


COOPER: We're going to talk to Senator McCain in just a moment.

The White House for their part flatly denies McCain's charges. Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters -- and I quote -- "Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible."

I will have Senator McCain respond to that in a moment.

Now, all this outrage stems from a wave of news reports about secret operations overseas, including a "New York Times" article last week about U.S. cyber-attacks on the computers Iran uses to run its main nuclear enrichment facilities. The reporter, David Sanger, comes right out and says that his scoop is -- quote -- "based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European, and Israeli officials involved in the program."

Now, some of the information came from current officials working on that program. This is a direct quote from the article. Listen to how Sanger refers to the source -- quote -- "'He was deep into every step in slowing the Iranian program, the diplomacy, the sanctions, every major decision,' a senior administration official said" -- a senior administration official.

And that wasn't the only one. In at least three other recent stories having to do with national security, the source or sources cited were administration officials.

And one of things that McCain is angry about is that White House seems to be ignoring leaks that make the administration look good, while taking a hard line with other government whistle-blowers.

"Keeping Them Honest" in the last four years, under the Obama administration, the Justice Department has prosecuted since cases under the Espionage Act. That's twice as many as all previous administrations combined, all of them. As far as the new leaks are concerned, there have been no calls at all from the White House for an investigation to find the source of the leaks.

Senator McCain , however, is calling for a special investigator to be appointed. David Axelrod, the chief strategist for the Obama reelection campaign, said today -- and I quote -- "We would welcome anybody to look at anything."

I spoke earlier with Senator McCain about the issue.


COOPER: Senator, the White House now says that any claim that these leaks are for political gain, which you and others have said, they say it's grossly irresponsible to make that claim. How do you respond?

MCCAIN: Who benefits? Who's benefited from these leaks?

That's what you always look for. And, obviously, the portrayal of the president as a strong and courageous leader throughout this narrative is what it's all about.

And the second aspect, of course, is that this administration has been blatantly political on all national security issues that I have been observing of. And so I think it's very clear that these leaks came from the White House, people within the White House itself. And these people are very politically oriented.

COOPER: Do you believe that they are authorized by the president, by his inner circle? I mean, do you think this is a plan or do you think this is individuals taking it upon themselves to leak information for whatever reason?

MCCAIN: I have no idea, but I don't think there's any doubt that this is one of the most egregious breaches of national security in recent memory.

The director of national intelligence, General Clapper, said -- and he's been in it for 30 or 40 years, whatever, and he says it's the worst he has ever seen. So this is very serious. So it seems to me, why wouldn't the president -- if it's as egregious and a terrible breach as the director of national intelligence says, why isn't the president calling for a special prosecutor on this?

I mean, there should be an investigation and I think it cries out for a special counsel.

COOPER: Do you think this is something that the FBI can just investigate it on their own, the Justice Department?

MCCAIN: I do not. I think it rises to the level of a requirement for a special counsel, because in the view of director of national intelligence and mine, this is the most egregious breach that we have had in recent memory.

COOPER: And you don't trust the Justice Department to be able to police the White House?

MCCAIN: I'm not so sure it's a matter of trust as it is a matter of what is going to be required.

A special counsel has his own -- his or her own team. They have the investigative powers that are necessary. And so I think it rises to that level of concern.

COOPER: It is kind of perplexing because on the one hand the Obama administration has gone after low-level leakers, whistle-blowers who have released information I guess that doesn't portray the administration well or that they are upset about.

And yet there have been a number of high-level leaks. Do you see a double standard here?

MCCAIN: Well, I think you could draw that conclusion, particularly when you have got a Private Manning who is a private in the Army who they're going after full-bore, as they should , for the WikiLeaks issue and they have gone after a low-level CIA employee. And yet I have heard no real reaction from the administration.

The president has been silent about this. By the way, he has about the massacres in Syria. But it seems to me that every member of the administration, the vice president and the president, should be saying, look, this is a terrible breach of the national security and we have got to take every step necessary to find those people who are guilty of it and make sure it doesn't happen again.

COOPER: So how does -- I mean, what's the next step? How does the presidential prosecutor -- how does that actually happen?

MCCAIN: Well, it would require the appointment by the president, may require some authorization from Congress. We're talking about a sense of the Senate resolution calling for it. But, you know, you can -- it's a matter of some mechanics, but you can get it done.

COOPER: You mentioned Syria. I just want to ask you briefly, reports of another massacre happened there, 78 people killed, many of them women and children. You and I have talked about this a lot over the last 15 months. A lot of people said after the massacre in Houla, the atrocities there, the killing of dozens of children, more than 108 people in total, that was a turning point.

Do you think that was a turning point looking back on it now or do you think it's -- nobody is really doing anything about it still?

MCCAIN: To be frank with you, I think you and I and others had hoped that it would be a turning point.

Just yesterday, the president's spokesperson, Mr. Carney, said he didn't want to militarize the conflict. He didn't want to militarize the conflict with these massacres going on. And the president says nothing. The president of the United States says nothing.

It's just -- it's just shameful. I can't tell you how disappointed I am. You and I have been over there. I wish more people could have had the same experiences that we have had. The rape and torture and murder go on and it just doesn't seem to matter to this administration.

COOPER: Senator McCain, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

MCCAIN: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, Senator McCain outraged over the situation in Syria.

Does the U.S., though, have a responsibility to do something about the fighting there? A CNN/ORC poll found just 33 percent of Americans say yes. That's up from 25 percent in February, while 61 percent say no. That's down 12 percentage over the same time period -- new polls numbers right there.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper..

Former President Bill Clinton is apologizing for what he said about the Bush tax cuts, which prosecute has promised to let expire. It's not the only thing he said that has recently raised some eyebrows among supporters. "Raw Politics" on that ahead.


COOPER: In "Raw Politics": Former President Bill Clinton gave Republicans an unexpected gift during a recent interview with CNBC. He was talking about how lawmakers will likely put off a series of major spending and budget decisions until early next year to avoid putting any more pressure on the economy.

Then he said this about the Bush tax cuts.


QUESTION: So does that mean extending the tax cuts?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think what it means is they will have to extend -- they will probably have to put everything off until early next year. That's probably the best thing to do right now.

But the Republicans don't want to do that unless he agrees to extend the tax cuts permanently, including for upper-income people. And I think the president should do that. That's what they're fighting about. I don't have any problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending levels. They're still pretty low, the government spending levels. But I think they look high because there's a recession.


COOPER: Well, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire January 1. The White House said yesterday it's not going to extend them even temporarily.

Republicans obviously seized on President Clinton's comments, saying he was in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts, putting him at odds with President Obama's position.

In an interview today with our Wolf Blitzer, President Clinton clarified what he meant.

Take a look.


CLINTON: Yes, I'm very sorry about what happened yesterday. It was what -- I thought something had to be done on the fiscal cliff before the election.

Apparently, nothing has to be done until the 1st of the year. So, I think he should just stick with his position and then negotiate with the Republicans when possible.


COOPER: Well, the timing of Clinton's comments is awkward, to say the least, for the Obama campaign. It also comes on the heels of him praising Mitt Romney's career in private equity in a prior CNN interview.

I want to talk about it now with political contributor and former press secretary for George W. Bush Ari Fleischer, also Democratic strategist and Obama pollster Cornell Belcher.

So, Cornell, what about this? There are those kind of conspiracy theorists who say this is President Clinton getting back at President Obama in some way, that they haven't always had the warmest of relationships. Do you think these kind of off-message statements are deliberate or is it just things that come out in conversation?

CORNELL BELCHER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN POLLSTER: Well, I think the president cleared up -- President Clinton cleared up what he was saying today on "THE SITUATION ROOM" and doubled down on the idea that in fact the wealthy are going to have to contribute to long-term bringing down the debt.

I think this is much ado about nothing. I know the press loves President Clinton. He's incredibly popular. Your own CNN polling I think now has him out at 66 percent, which is an incredible number for any politician these days.

But, look, if Republicans want to focus on Bill Clinton, I think Democrats are all in on that, because let's talk about what Clinton actually did. He raised taxes on the wealthy. And he built the economy from the middle out. And guess what happened when he built the economy from the middle out?

All boats raised. Wall Street did well, but also Middle America did well, the same sort of policies that President Clinton -- that President Obama is trying to put in place right now. So we're all in on Republicans looking back at President Clinton and talking about President Clinton, because that's a conversation we want to have.

COOPER: Ari, Cornell mentioned that poll. I just want to show that to our viewers. And he's right about that poll. Two-thirds of the country really like former President Bill Clinton, more than any other living ex-president in the poll.

Is there any question in your mind that having him out there on the stump for President Obama is a good thing?

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, I think it's a good thing for President Obama. He is popular. He has an appeal still to the independents.

But, you know, Anderson, all these issues are kind of the notable, enjoyable sideshows of politics. Bill Clinton said it. I think he meant it, and then he realized he can't mean it, and so he had to crawl it back. For a wonk like Bill Clinton, who is a master of substance, there's not a chance in the world he thought those tax cuts expired before the election. He knows how the tax codes worked. He knew it expired December 31.

So, give him points for creative fiction in crawling back. But these are always notable. When Rick Perry called Mitt Romney part of vulture capitalism, the Democrats cited it, because it's a Republican saying it about a Republican.

Republicans cite this about Bill Clinton because it is a Democrat saying that Mitt Romney had a stellar business record, which he's not taken back, and also that the Bush tax cuts should be extended. So, I think he committed the foul of speaking the truth and then the Obama campaign punished him for speaking the truth.

COOPER: Cornell, what about that? He had previously said stuff on CNN about Mitt Romney. And then he kind of walked it back today saying on CNN that it would be -- a Romney president -- presidency would be calamitous. Is he off-message? Or do you believe that Ari...

BELCHER: No, he's not off-message. You have to take it -- I mean, President Clinton has been fairly clear.

Mitt Romney is not a -- has not been a job creator. He's created an awful lot of wealth for himself, but he's not been at all a job creator. And, again, if Republicans want to focus on Bill Clinton, I think we Democrats are all in on it, because the same sort of policies of making the -- having the wealthy pay their fair share in order to bring down this debt and growing an economy from the middle out, not from the top-down, is what we saw Bill Clinton do in the '90s.

And now people are looking back on it and sort of favorability, 66 favorability, any incumbent is -- or any politician these days would kill for a 66 percent favorable rating right now. There's a reason why voters are still in love with Bill Clinton, because of the policies that he put in place that grew our economy and grew income for everyone.

COOPER: I want to play that sound bite that I just referenced there.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The other issue that caused the Obama folks some heartburn was when you told Harvey Weinstein that Mitt Romney had a sterling reputation as head of Bain Capital, that he was qualified to be president, this coming after all of their ads, the Obama campaign ads, going after him on his record at Bain Capital.

CLINTON: Look, that's two different things. The -- you can be a successful business person and if you're governor of a state and you're 35 years old and you're born in America, you're, by definition, qualified to be president, right?

The other...

BLITZER: But you suggested his...

CLINTON: The other thing...

BLITZER: -- qualifications were good...


BLITZER: -- as a governor.

CLINTON: But in the same sentence...

BLITZER: That's correct.

CLINTON: -- very cleverly, in the same sentence, I said he shouldn't be elected because his ideas and policies, I don't think, are good for America.

BLITZER: You -- and then you later said it would be calamitous if he were elected. Now that's...

CLINTON: If... BLITZER: -- that's going pretty far.

CLINTON: If he were elected and if he implemented the policies that he's advocating.


COOPER: Ari, how does it work when you have somebody out, whether they're a surrogate or just a supporter? Do they get a call after an interview where they have said something that the White House doesn't like or Mitt Romney doesn't like? How does that work?


FLEISCHER: It works awkwardly.

You bet they get a phone call. I used to make a couple of them myself, yes, because part of the whole operation of running for the president or the White House is message discipline. And you want your surrogates to support the message of the principal. And any time they go off-message, it's embarrassing. It can create controversy. And in this case I think, actually, when we have to deal with the tax cuts in November and December, President Clinton's words are going to be fondly remembered by many other Republicans and probably a number of Democrats too.

But the reason, Anderson, I said that this is a notable sideshow is people base on the basis of the president. They don't vote for the surrogates. The surrogates can be helpful. It fills the debate, but it all comes down to the candidates. And that's why I think President Obama is in trouble because popularity is not transferable.

And that's why he's in so much deep trouble in the electorate because of the state of the economy. But you never want these things to happen. I'm sure as soon as the president said it, Chicago was on the phone and calling Paul Begala and James Carville and others who are close to the president. Maybe even somebody called the president himself.

And President Clinton is very clever. He's smart. He knew he had to rein himself back in, because he was making trouble for the campaign he supports.

COOPER: No doubt he will be out again a lot in the next couple months.

Ari Fleischer, thanks very much.

Cornell Belcher, as well, thanks.

A freshman congressman makes a baseless accusation, saying that President Obama gives -- quote -- "special waivers" -- those were his words -- to Muslims to avoid TSA screenings. Not true. We're "Keeping Them Honest" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Coming up: an amazing story. She is heading to Harvard in September, but just recently, she had nowhere to call home. We will show you how one high school senior graduating today proved hard work and a community's help can overcome even the longest odds.


COOPER: Does the Obama administration give special waivers to Muslims to exempt them from TSA screenings? Well, of course not.

So why is a member of Congress saying that it does?

Here's Louisiana Republican Jeff Landry on the House floor. The freshman Tea Party member is running for reelection in November in a newly created district that pits him against another Republican incumbent. He has called himself -- or is calling himself the true conservative in that race.

This week, Landry appeared on the "Jay Sekulow Live" radio show for the American Center for Law and Justice founded by evangelical leader Pat Robertson. Landry was making a case against the Obama administration's policy on contraceptive and offered up this reason.


REP. JEFF LANDRY (R), LOUISIANA: I think the biggest problem that a lot of Americans are having is the hypocrisy of this administration. Remember, this is an administration who has no problem granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings.


COOPER: Say what now? That's just not true.

We asked Congressman Landry to come on the program. He declined.

We still wanted some answers, though, so we sent Joe Johns to Capitol Hill to try to track him down and keep him honest.

So, Joe, you finally did catch up with the congressman today after I know a very long day of trying to track him down. What did he actually say?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Congressman Landry says he is being taken out of context because he says he was making a point about health care, not TSA, not Muslims, not airports.

It is true he was on the radio talking about how the administration makes religious accommodations at TSA, so why not do it in health care? But if that was the point he was making, it got completely derailed by the example he used.

That's because TSA regulations on head coverings, specifically, apply to people of all faiths, not just Muslims. Here's what he said when I asked him about it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: You said that Muslims got waivers. What did you mean by that? Do you know something we don't know?

LANDRY: Well, look, obviously, you all want to take my words out of context or you wouldn't be here today.

I wrote an op-ed on this piece back in February. We issued a press release. It has been on our Web site since February. You know, at the end of the day, this administration has made accommodations, OK, for people who are wearing religious -- traditional religious clothing, whether it be Muslims wearing headpieces or not. There have been accommodations made.

And -- but -- and our nation has made accommodations for conscientious objectors in the military. At the end of the day -- and they may be rightfully so, and I don't oppose those measures. But at the end of the day, it seems like we could take that same approach, OK, to Christians and their beliefs when it comes to these HHS mandates.


COOPER: You know, Joe, it drives me nuts when people say this "You have taken me out of context" thing. Let's just play what he said yet again on the radio because he wasn't saying all religious groups. He was saying Muslims, and probably maybe for a reason or maybe that's all he knew at the time.

JOHNS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

COOPER: I just want to play this again so people know we didn't take this out of context. Let's play what he said on the radio show.


LANDRY: I think the biggest problem that a lot of Americans are having is the hypocrisy of this administration. Remember, this is an administration who has no problem granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings.


COOPER: So he's only talking about Muslims here, as if there's some reason that the president has some sort of secret affinity for Muslims, I guess.

JOHNS: Right.

And this is the elephant in the room really. We all know how politics works around this town. The president's critics have found a lot of creative ways, frankly, to get the words Obama and Muslim into the same sentence. But Landry claims he wasn't doing that. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHNS: It doesn't have anything to do with Obama or trying to make him look like a Muslim?

LANDRY: No, come on. No. This has to do with respecting religion. This has to do with rights of conscience. And that's the bottom line.


COOPER: You know, I love it when people say stuff and then refuse to discuss it any further, coming on a show and answer questions about it. And then when you actually do finally track them down, they kind of attack you or blame you for -- as if you have taken something out of context.

Joe, I'm sure it was a long, exhausting day. I appreciate you doing that. Thank you.

JOHNS: Thanks. My pleasure, Anderson.

COOPER: All right.



COOPER: Another "Keeping Them Honest" report tonight. There are new battle lines being drawn in court over, which is the leading Web site for adult services ads. Now, those ads that people run brought in $27 million for the Web site last year, according to the Internet research firm, Aim Group.

For months now we've been reporting on the push to shut down the ads where officials in various states say that underage girls are sold for sex. And the numbers are really staggering. There's been at least 50 cases in 22 states of people charged with trafficking underaged girls for sex on

Plus, the country's 51 attorneys general, 19 U.S. senators, 600 religious leaders, more than 50 NGOs in a petition with more than 230,000 signatures are all calling on Village Voice Media Holdings which owns Backpage to shut down the ads immediately.

The Web site, though, they're not backing down. Backpage, their attorney Liz McDougal insists they do nothing wrong. Look at what happened when CNN's Deborah Feyerick confronted Ms. McDougal in a recent report that aired on 360.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How would you feel, for example, I mean, as a mother, if you saw an ad like this or an ad like this or -- I mean, this girl, she says she's 19. If you saw your daughter in this -- like this.

LIZ MCDOUGAL, ATTORNEY FOR VILLAGE VOICE MEDIA HOLDINGS: I would be horrified. And I am -- I'm horrified for those mothers. And my heart goes out to those mothers and to their daughters who are victims of exploitation.

FEYERICK: Am I wrong? Isn't prostitution simply illegal?

MCDOUGAL: Prostitution is illegal, and we don't permit illegal activity on the Web site.

FEYERICK: But what are they selling? What are they selling?

MCDOUGAL: We have -- there are legal adult entertainment services.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: I mean, if you ever looked at, you know what is being sold on that site.

The attorney for, Liz McDougal, she is talking about shutting down the adult services section. She says that's not the answer. In fact, she claims that Backpage actually helps in the fight against child prostitution, because it keeps sex traffickers in one place, making it easier for law enforcement to find them.

Now in an interview that I did with her, McDougal said one of the biggest allies is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They said they -- she says they work together.

But "Keeping Them Honest," when we asked that organization if they supported Backpage, the answer was an emphatic no. Listen to what the head of the group, Ernie Allen, told me.


COOPER: They portray themselves as the sheriffs of the Internet and that they're all about, you know, stopping illegal activity. Do you buy that?

ERNIE ALLEN, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: I don't. What is happening is that the Internet has become the primary resource, the information clearinghouse for the purchase of children for sex. And for illegal prostitution.

COOPER: So while shutting down would not end child trafficking and no one is making that argument, do you think it would be a step in the right direction?

ALLEN: I certainly do.


COOPER: Well, the state of Washington agrees. It passed a law that's set to take effect today that would require Backpage to verify the ages of the people advertising in the adult services section.

But Backpage challenged the law, and at the last minute, a federal judge has issued a 14-day temporary restraining order against its enforcement.

Now, I spoke earlier today to Washington state attorney general Rob McKenna.


COOPER: Mr. Attorney General, the lawyer for said that this law violates, among other things, the First Amendment and that it's so broadly written that virtually any Web site that allows users to post their own content could face criminal charges. Essentially, that it would be a big blow to the Internet as we know it. What's your response to that?

ROB MCKENNA, ATTORNEY GENERAL, WASHINGTON STATE: This law is actually very narrowly tailored. It's designed to get at ads for adult services, as they're called. We're talking about ads for prostitution. And it's designed to prevent children from being advertised online with the publisher's participation.

So actually, since most people don't publish ads for prostitution and certainly don't publish ads for prostitution involving minors, this is not broad and will not affect most Web sites.

COOPER: What's interesting about Backpage is that they claim they're part of the solution. They claim they're the sheriffs of the Internet. And that, if they shut down their site, that these people are just going to, you know, gravitate to other sites that don't have any kind of sense of responsibility. What's your take to that?

MCKENNA: Well, of course, Backpage wants to continue making, you know, 20 million to $30 million a year for its owners, Village Voice Media.

COOPER: And that's what this is about for you? You believe that's what...

MCKENNA: For them -- yes, for them it's clearly what's motivating them. Because other Web sites like Craigslist have moved ahead already to take down their adult services section to put into effect policies against ads for escort services and prostitution. They police their Web site now and find -- when they find ads, they take them down.

Google does the same thing. So do other responsible Internet Web sites. They look for the ads. Some of them may slip through. But as soon as they're found, they're taken down.

Backpage is openly soliciting ads from pimps and prostitutes and encouraging them to place their ads with them.

COOPER: So, I mean, they claim that, you know, they do all sorts of enforcement. They said they have lots of letters from local law enforcement agencies who praise them for -- for, you know, being proactive and being reactive.

MCKENNA: Well, as your own investigation revealed recently, law enforcement does not support Backpage as an ally. They're not -- they don't view Backpage as part of the solution. They're actually helping to create the problem by facilitating these transactions. So, you know, your research corresponds to what I found from talking to law enforcement from around the country.

COOPER: One of things that I don't understand, and we asked the folks at Backpage about this, is that if they really wanted to check the age of the people involved who are advertising on their site, regardless of even whether or not they were, you know, having escort sites, but just to check the ages, they could set up a local office in the various cities that they operate in, have customers come in, in person, with an I.D., verify that the person posting the ad is actually an adult.

I talked to the lawyer for, Liz McDougal, about that and I just want to play for you and for our viewers some of what she said.


MCDOUGAL: That is something that we've been exploring for months and are continuing to explore. When you're talking about the Internet, it's...

COOPER: What does that mean, continuing to explore, though? I mean, you guys have been in business for a very long period of time. There have been plenty of people who have wanted you to do this before. This isn't the first time you ever considered this idea. So why not just be able to say, "Yes, we're going to do this"? I know it's cost you money, but if that's the right thing to do.

MCDOUGAL: Money is not the issue. The issue is how do you functionally implement this?

If you have any understanding of how the Internet works, it's a practical impossibility in the Internet realm.


COOPER: Now, I'm clearly not an Internet expert, but I'm not an idiot. And I mean, you can open up a local office. Clearly, to me, it seems to be this is an issue of money.

MCKENNA: Well, for that matter, they don't even have to open their own office. They can contract that work out, just like some Web sites contract out other verification procedures to outside parties who, you know, monitor their site for them.

So they could use local -- local agents to represent them who are reputable who could then, you know, take the I.D. from someone who comes in and wants to place the ad.

And by the way, we know from interviewing these young girls who are being trafficked that many times they're forced by their pimps, by their traffickers, to place the ads themselves. And they've been having the girls use gift cards like, you know, a Visa gift card, for example, in order to get around identification requirements.

So you have to have an in-person verification system to prevent bad guys from working around your rules. But of course, Backpage doesn't really have such rules now.

COOPER: Attorney General McKenna, I appreciate your being on the show. Thank you.

MCKENNA: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, a programming note. CNN's Fareed Zakaria has a new primetime special this Sunday looking at what's wrong with the American immigration system and how to fix it. Here's a sneak preview, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighing in.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: You look at the danger of the current approach we have to immigration as quite substantial economically.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR OF NEW YORK: It's the biggest economic issue facing this country.

ZAKARIA: Just look at the nation's Fortune 500 companies. More than 200 of them were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants, including Google, Yahoo and Intel.


COOPER: Fareed says we're kicking those immigrants out; we're not allowing them here in the first place. Fareed looks at -- for answers on how to fix the U.S. immigration policy. It's "Global Lessons: The GPS Road Map for Making Immigration Work," Sunday, 8 p.m., 11:00 p.m. Eastern right here, obviously, on CNN.

It took more than just straight "A's" and a load of honors for one graduating senior to earn her spot at Harvard this autumn. This is a story that's really going to amaze you and inspire you. It isn't often we find someone like this young woman, Dawn Loggins. We're going to tell you why she had to work harder than anyone else in her high school to pick up that diploma today and head to Harvard.


COOPER: We're usually doing different, much different stories about than the one we're about to show you tonight. When we heard about this story, we really wanted to cover it today. Because we really think it's going to inspire you.

Today is graduation day in Lawndale, North Carolina. And you can forgive the crowd at Burns High School for saving their loudest applause for one particular student. It is not a stretch to say that Dawn Loggins worked harder for that diploma than any of her classmates. Not only is she graduating with straight "A's" and landed a spot in Harvard's freshman class this fall, but she did it all the while conquering more adversity than many of us will see over the course of our entire lifetimes.

Martin Savidge has her story.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While other teens still sleep, Dawn Loggins is in the hallways, classrooms and bathrooms of Burns High School, where she's a senior and janitor. Each morning she cleans the rooms where she'll later return to learn.

DAWN LOGGINS, GRADUATING SENIOR: But that myself should be the root and father of many kings.

SAVIDGE: Then comes seven hours of advanced placement classes and honors classes. Then two more hours of dumping trash and picking up after her classmates.

LOGGINS: I don't mind cleaning because if you have to wade through trash to get to your desk, you're not going to have an environment that encourages learning.

SAVIDGE: Finally, she tackles homework till 2 a.m.

Besides being dedicated, school officials knew something else about Dawn. Life at home wasn't exactly perfect. There were the eviction notices. The family moved. A lot. Burns High was Dawn's fourth school since eighth grade.

When she asked about candles, her boss realized the teen was living in a house with no electricity.

JUNE BARRETT, BURNS HIGH SCHOOL: She came to me and she said, "I need something to be able to do my homework by."

I said, "OK, we'll get you some candles. We'll take care of that."

SAVIDGE: There was also no water.

LOGGINS: We'd get the water jugs and fill them up at the park, like using the spigots in the bathroom. And we'd use that to, like, flush the toilet and cook with. Things like that.

SAVIDGE: It got worse. Last year, when Dawn tried calling home from summer school in Raleigh, the phone was disconnected. Her mother and stepfather had moved again. This time, leaving her behind.

LOGGINS: I never expected my parents to just leave.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Yes. You were homeless?

LOGGINS: Yes. SAVIDGE (voice-over): Dawn would crash a few days on a couch here, or a night or two on the floor there. But still cleaning and still keeping up her grades.

LOGGINS: I think what motivates me is the fact that, when I was younger, I was able to -- to look at all the bad choices, at the neglect and the drug abuse. And I was not going to have to ask myself, "Am I going to buy food this month or am I going to pay rent?"

SAVIDGE (on camera): What makes this story so amazing isn't just Dawn Loggins; it's what this school, it's what the community did. You see, the moment it was realized that Dawn was abandoned and homeless, she should have been turned over to the state, the Department of Social Services. That didn't happen. That didn't happen on purpose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We kind of took it upon ourselves to become her village.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): So teachers and staffers made sure she was clothed and fed and had a place to live.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people are nice though. We have good people here. You know? It's a nice community.

SAVIDGE: And it didn't end there. That same village was now out to get her to college. And not just any college. Harvard.

History teacher Larry Gardner wrote the recommendation letter and simply told Dawn's story.

LARRY GARDNER, HISTORY TEACHER: "This young lady has, unlike most of us, known hunger. She's known abuse and neglect. She's known homelessness and filth. Yet, she's risen above it all to become such an outstanding young lady."

SAVIDGE: Months passed. Thick acceptance letters arrived from state schools, but nothing from Cambridge. Then one day, a thin envelope with the Harvard seal arrived.

GARDNER: "I'm delighted to report that the admissions committee has asked me to inform you that you will be admitted to the Harvard college class of 2016."

LOGGINS: I didn't jump up and down, and I didn't cry, anything like that. But it did get the largest reaction out of any of my -- my acceptance letters. I sort of did, did this, like (INHALING BREATH).

SAVIDGE: Not only was she accepted, but her tuition and housing would be paid for.

GARDNER: Kind of teared up, because this is a young lady who -- when I first met her and had her brother in class, they were living in a home without electricity, without running water. They were showering at a local park.

AARON ALLEN, BURNS HIGH PRINCIPAL: She's not let her circumstances hold her back. And that's going to -- she's going to be that symbol that you're able to achieve, meet your milestones, meet your goals, no matter what.

SAVIDGE: And that's how Dawn loggings went from homeless to Harvard.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Lawndale, North Carolina.


COOPER: What an incredible young woman. She's going to have a bright future ahead of her wow.

SESAY: What a young lady.

COOPER: Wow. Amazing.

SESAY: Really hard to believe. And she's so composed, as well.

COOPER: Yes. I love that her reaction was just like her -- it was like covering her mouth. Incredibly hard work. Wow.

SESAY: Yes. Very much. Wishing her the best.

COOPER: Yes. What have you got for us?

SESAY: How about some more headlines, bring us -- let's bring our viewers up to speed.

Police are gathering evidence against the main suspect in the 1979 murder of Etan Patz. Officers removed a computer hard drive, a pair of satchels, among other items from the home of Pedro Hernandez. Authorities say he confessed to strangling the boy and throwing his body away in a trash bag.

More than 2,000 former NFL players are suing the league for failing to address the neurological risks associated with playing football. Now, this suit consolidates some 80 similar cases already making their way through the courts. The NFL says it has long made players' safety a priority.

Anderson, a wild scene caught on camera in Canada. A convenience store owner using a can of hair spray to turn the tables on a pair of knife-wielding robbers. When one man made another attempt at the cash register, the owner pushed him over the counter. You see him there. And literally gave him a spanking. Yes.


SESAY: Not something you see every day. Yes.

COOPER: Who's that lady? There's some other person just gets involved. Wow.

SESAY: Everybody is giving a little bit of a whooping there.

COOPER: Wow. Unbelievable.

SESAY: Yes. One guy was arrested. The other one did a runner.

COOPER: Did a runner. Is that what you call it in England?

SESAY: That's what we say, so a runner.


SESAY: It's when you leg it. You're totally confused.

COOPER: I've just got to move on. I don't know what you're talking about. I don't understand a word coming out of your mouth.

Time for "The Shot," a little boy leaving a world of silence with his new cochlear ear implants. He hears his mother's voice for the first time. You've got to see this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Cooper. Hi, Cooper. Hi, Cooper.


SESAY: Oh. Beautiful.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Cooper. Hi, baby.


COOPER: Amazing. He's happy. That's cochlear implants. I mispronounce (ph) them all the time.

He's had the implants for about eight months now. His mom says his speech is really coming along. We certainly wish him the best.


COOPER: Just incredible.

SESAY: Great pictures.

COOPER: Coming up next, "The RidicuList." Parents, be proud of your kids, but not too loud about it. It could land you in jail. "The RidicuList" coming up.


COOPER: Oh, time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight we're adding some folks we are calling enthusiasm haters.

You see, there have been two stories in the news this week about families getting in trouble for cheering at high-school graduations. You heard me correctly. Cheering. Not at the library, not at church, but at high-school graduations, events that tend to be, you know, pretty exciting and cheerful.

One incident was in South Carolina, where the mother of a graduate was actually arrested.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm thinking in my mind, you know, I'm going to cheer because, you know, I went through too much to get her to this point. I can't show my excitement? I can't cheer? I can't applaud and let her know, you know, yes, I'm so proud of you? Like all the other years when people graduate.


COOPER: Well, the superintendent says that cheering detracts from the dignity of the ceremony. He adds that parents were warned not to make noise, and for much of the graduation you could hear a pin drop.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were family members in the audience, both Mr. Brown and eyewitness, to the fact that, when their child graduated, in obedience to the instructions that were given by the principal of the school, they stood up and they did this. They didn't yell. They just did this.


COOPER: The superintendent says that silent hand motion is a way to thank the almighty. Obviously, nothing wrong with that.

But is verbal cheering really such a bad thing? Apparently so. At least according to school officials in Mount Healthy, Ohio. They're withholding the diploma of this young man, Anthony Cornist. He's a star football player. He received a letter from the school saying he would not get his diploma until he or his family completed 20 hours of community service as punishment for excessive cheering at graduation.

Anthony's mom says he's being wrongly punished, and they're going to appeal the decision. The superintendent at Mount Healthy says that parents were warned and that cheering takes away from other graduates.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Had I not said to the people who were calling names stop, the succeeding child's name would not have been heard.


COOPER: Look, I get it. You've got a lot of names to read. I know it's a tough job, but you know what? You wait for the cheering to subside and then you read the next name. Is that so difficult? I hate to think that cheering at a graduation should be a road block to someone moving ahead with their life. Maybe even becoming rich and famous.


OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA MOGUL: Spellman! Woo! Woo! Woo! Woo!


COOPER: That's right, try telling Oprah not to cheer at your graduation.

Maybe the schools are just trying to impart some decorum to their students. Who knows? Perhaps with a subdued, understated graduation, they can go on to the subdued, understated profession like, for example, serving as a state legislator.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not the American way. These damn bills that come out of here all the damn time! Come out here at the last second, and I've got to try to figure out how to vote for my people! You should be ashamed of yourselves.


COOPER: OK. Bad example.

All I know is that a little enthusiasm never hurt anyone: not at work, not at school and certainly not a graduation. So cheer on your sons and daughters to be proud of what they've accomplished. Just try not to get arrested, because the enthusiasm haters are out in force on "The RidicuList."

And that's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.