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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
President Obama Honors JFK; JFK's Historic Reach; Is JFK Conservative?; Representative Trey Radel On Cocaine Bust: "I've Hit Bottom, I Need Help"; Sources: Lawmaker Stabbed More Than 10 Times; Missouri Executes White Supremacist Serial Killer; FAA To check Overweight Pilots For Sleep Apnea; An 85-Year-Old American Tourist Detained In North Korea For More Than Three Weeks; Bodies Of Missing California Family Found Murdered, Buried In Shallow Graves; Report: Zimmerman's Girlfriend Says He's Depressed, Suicidal
Aired November 20, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks.
Good evening, everyone.
Just moments ago, President Obama wrapped up remarks honoring America's latest recipients to the Presidential Medal of Freedom and President John F. Kennedy who created the award 50 years ago. They include former President Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Chicago Cub legend, Ernie Banks, among the original honorees, playwright Thornton Wilder, and Polaroid inventor Edwin Land. That ceremony was held by President Johnson two weeks after the killing of the president in Dallas.
Tonight, 50 years later, President Obama paid tribute to JFK and the vision he had for this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a legacy of a man who could have retreated to a life of luxury and ease, but who chose to live a life in the arena, sailing sometimes against the wind, sometimes with it. And that's why 50 years later, John F. Kennedy stands for posterity as he did in life. Young and bold and daring.
And he stays with us in our imagination, not because he left us too soon but because he embodied the character of the people that he led. Resilient, resolute, fearless and fun-loving, defiant in the face of impossible odds, and most of all determined to make the world anew. Not settling for what is but rather for what might be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Earlier the Obamas and Clintons laid a wreath at President Kennedy's grave. It was their first joint appearance since that campaign tell-all put a strain on their relationship.
With us, chief national correspondent John King.
John, it really was a full day honoring the former president. JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was, and a chance for President Obama, if you will, to only to take part in this little reflection on history, a tribute to the slain, late president, John F. Kennedy, but also to step away, let's be honest, from his political problems of the moment -- 37 percent approval rating, all of the fighting over Obamacare.
You have a president right now, a key moment in his second term who's spending almost every waking hour defending the signature achievement or the signature achievement of his first term.
So, Anderson, you know, sometimes if you talk to Bill Clinton, if you talk to George W. Bush at their low moments in office, they say sometimes it's good to be president. To have these ceremonial events where you get to step up, where you get to give a big picture speech, and perhaps it will just help this president of the United States -- it's not a political statement but just reset the clock a little bit.
COOPER: It's also quite a remarkable scene. I don't recall ever really seeing a current president, a former president, a potential future presidential candidate, certainly all together honoring the memory of a former president.
KING: It is a fascinating moment, and to go there to this site, this historic site where you have the former president, you also have Bobby Kennedy, you have Senator Ted Kennedy, the three brothers, and Jackie Kennedy, the former first lady buried at this wonderful, beautiful site just outside of Washington --
COOPER: And they are there also with Ethel Kennedy also.
KING: There, you see Ethel there as they go up the stairs. And, you know, Bill Clinton has that iconic photo, the brief meeting with John F. Kennedy at a Boy's Nation event back when Bill Clinton was a young man. And Bill Clinton always loved that photo, always used it in his political campaigns. Always tried to make the personal connection.
President Obama, of course, was a young man when all this happened. His wife was actually born after President Kennedy was assassinated but the Kennedys were critical to him. Remember, in 2008 when Senator Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy endorsed, that was when the Clinton-Obama race was still at logger head and a big question mark.
So both of these presidents that you see right there, Clinton and Obama, have a connection to the Kennedy family that has been important to them politically and they thought it was important to do this today.
COOPER: And I've heard you say that over the last half century or so, the political history of the U.S. in many ways is the history of Kennedy family.
KING: Well, if you just look back, if you think about it, you know, we always talk about expectations of the moment. Well, when Jack Kennedy ran for the presidency, it wasn't supposed to be him, it was supposed to have been his older brother Joe who was killed in the war. Then after Jack Kennedy was assassinated the torch passed to Bobby Kennedy. He was assassinated.
Ted Kennedy, you know, ran for president, never quite made it, but you'd have to say from a legislative perspective, and the Republicans who served with him don't disagree with this, the most accomplished legislatively United States senator in any of our lifetime, the lifetime of anybody watching the program tonight.
So the Kennedy family has been with this country politically and has been at the forefront, whether it's civil rights, whether it's gay rights. President Obama mentioned in that brief speech tonight, Ted Kennedy's fight for affordable health care.
So it is hard if you look back at the political history, Jack Kennedy served in the Cold War days, you still had Ted Kennedy in the post 9/11 days. Of course, and you have a young congressman Kennedy now after a brief respite, there's again a Kennedy in the United States Congress, and now a Caroline Kennedy as ambassador.
So it is still in some ways, as fewer of them with us, sadly, but is still the royal family of American politics.
COOPER: And I want to talk more about that when we come back. We're going to talk -- be joined also by historian Douglas Brinkley to talk about the Kennedy legacy, including the controversial argument that one history writer had, that JFK should not be seen as a fallen liberal icon.
First, though, I have mentioned Friday will mark the day that 50 years ago President Kennedy was assassinated, 50 years that have changed perspectives, caused controversies and spawned countless theories about what happened on that day. Those 50 years do not blunt the impact the nation felt when it learned its leader had been shot. The moments were raw, obviously, and they still resonate today.
Here is an excerpt from the program "The Assassination of President Kennedy".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT CARO, AUTHOR, THE PASSAGE OF POWER: If it's a conspiracy, not only the president was hit, the governor was hit, who knows if the next shot would have been for Lyndon Johnson? Johnson's car pulls into the emergency bay at Parkland Hospital. Four agents reach in and they grab Johnson and pull him out, and start to run him down one corridor around looking for a safe place.
DAN RATHER, FORMER CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Mr. Johnson, his whereabouts are being kept secret for security reasons. If anyone knows where Mr. Johnson is, it is not us at this moment.
LAWRENCE WRIGHT, AUTHOR, IN THE NEW WORLD: There was a signal moment in our cultural history, suddenly it occurred to us the right thing to do is to turn on television. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The reports continue to come in, but in a confused and fragmentary fashion.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: President Kennedy has been given a blood transfusion (INAUDIBLE) that live in Dallas in an effort to save his life.
WRIGHT: It was odd because there were no commercials. It was just a continuous experience.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The two priests have now entered the emergency room at Parkland hospital where he rests after the assassination attempt, which now was about a half hour ago.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What are your feelings right now, ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am absolutely shocked, stunned. We have the same birthday and I am just crazy about him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who would want to shoot the president? What did he do? I mean, he's been doing so much for the country. Somebody (INAUDIBLE) and shoots him?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A flash from Dallas, two priests who were with President Kennedy say he is dead on bullet wounds. This is the latest information we have from Dallas.
I will repeat with the greatest regret. Two priests who were with President Kennedy say he has died of bullet wounds.
BOB HUFFAKER, TV REPORTER: Malcolm Kilduff, the assistant press secretary, was filling in for the regular press secretary, and then he had to draw himself up to give the most fateful announcement that a press secretary might have ever had to give.
ROBERT MACNEIL, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: All the cameras were rolling and I remembered he put his fingers like this on the desk and press very hard to stop his hands trembling.
MALCOLM KILDUFF, ASSISTANT PRESS SECRETARY: President John F. Kennedy died in approximately 1:00 Central Standard Time today, here in Dallas, he died of gunshot wound in the brain. I have no other detail regarding the assassination of the President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people standing here are stunned just as all of us are beyond belief that the President of the United States is dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All over the world, people are going to remember all their lives what they were doing when they first heard that President Kennedy had been killed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The crowds are standing around in silence and sorrow in the rain. The strange thing is you don't even notice it's raining. And if you do notice, you don't care.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just can't believe it. I feel like someone in my own family is -- is dead. I just can't believe it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a breeze. You don't know what's going on. Why? Why did it happen? Who would have done such a thing is the question?
RATHER: In the first minutes and hours, chaos and confusion was radiating out from the scene itself. It's very pervasive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secret Service agents felt the gun fires from an automatic weapon fired possibly from a grassy knoll.
MACNEIL: I saw some police run up this grass. I thought they're chasing the gunman. I ran with them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They report here that the attempted assassins we now hear was a man and a woman.
MACNEIL: I got to the top, looked around, a policeman went over the fence so I went over the fence, too. There was nothing there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The television newsman said that he looked up just after the shot was fired then saw a rifle being withdrawn from a fifth or sixth floor window.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was originally thought that the shots came from in here. And now it's believed that the shots came from this building here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see police officers running back toward the Texas School Book Depository building, they are going to continue searching in that building for the -- with the assassin of the president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Central downtown Dallas is in a virtual state of siege. They are combing the floors of the Texas School Book Depository Building in an effort to find the suspected assassin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the building on the sixth floor we found an area near a window that is supposedly been blocked by boxes of books and also the three spent shells that apparently been fired from a rifle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crime Lab Lieutenant J.C. Day just came out of that building with a British .303 rifle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a 7.65 Mauser.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A high powered army or Japanese rifle of 25 caliber.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 3030 rifle. RATHER: Much of the first things you hear are going to be wrong. And to some degree, you will constantly trying to separate out what seem to be a fact.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Dallas, a Dallas policeman just a short while ago was shot and killed while chasing a suspect.
HUFFAKER: J.D. Tippit, a good experienced police officer, was shot three times in the chest in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Then the manager of the shoe store saw the suspect walked into the Texas Theater.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone has been arrested in one of the downtown theaters. They don't know if it was the man who shot the policeman or the person who actually shot President Kennedy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They suddenly jumped this man and started to drag him out of the theater. Hustled him up to the car as the crowd broke and started to maul the police officers and grab this man trying to run with him. They shouted murderer and the officers hustled him into the car and ran away just as fast as they could.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It brings it all back, very real. Follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper, tweet us using hash tag 360.
Next, we're going to have more on the life and legacy of JFK. It wasn't just a young Bill Clinton who met him and shook his hand as a young man. We'll tell you about another handshake. You're going to meet someone else who on that fateful day in Texas shook the president's hand. That handshake made a 50-year impression.
Also, should President Kennedy be remembered as a conservative, not a liberal? You're going to meet the historian who says yes.
Later, the congressman who was caught with cocaine. His day in court today, his journey into rehab and charges he may be getting off easy because of who he is.
COOPER: We're talking about the legacy of John F. Kennedy as president and the intriguing fact that so many people, Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative alike, all claim pieces of that legacy as their own.
You saw President Obama honoring President Kennedy just a short time ago tonight. In this next portion of his remarks you can see why JFK's tough minded brand of political action has bipartisan appeal for so many.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: That unbending belief that the power to make great a nation is found in its people and in their freedom. That was his philosophy. That is his legacy. And it's the legacy told in villages around the world that have clean water or a new school, and a steady friend in the United States, thanks to the volunteers of the Peace Corps.
It's the legacy found in the courage of all who serve under our proud flag willing like President Kennedy himself to pay any price and bear any burden for the survival and success of our liberty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that's from President Kennedy's inaugural. And it still inspires people of all political stripes. So did meeting the president. You saw this at the top of the program. It is remarkable that perhaps only Bill Clinton knew it at the time, a handshake that he says really sparks his life of public service. He will go on, of course, to be a center-left politician.
A young Roger Williams would become a Tea Party conservative but he, too, says that shaking President Kennedy's hand and hearing him talk helped shape his political destiny.
Dana Bash reports.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roger Williams was a 14-year-old boy in Latin class when he learned John Kennedy was assassinated.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The president of the United States is dead.
REP. ROGER WILLIAMS (R), TEXAS: Principal came into our class and whispered something in Mr. Henning's ear and Mr. Henning put his -- he didn't say anything to us. He put his head on the desk and started crying.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: One word to describe the picture here, and that's grief.
BASH: It was a scene students experienced all across the country but for Williams it was different. He had just met the president that morning.
WILLIAMS: I couldn't fathom it, frankly, because I just seen him an hour and a half ago.
BASH: His father was a car dealer in Fort Worth, Texas, where the president started out the day he was killed. Williams' dad told the local congressman he would supply cars for the president's motorcade but only in one condition.
WILLIAMS: That he said the only thing I ask for, Congressman, is that my wife and my son can meet the president.
BASH: And that's exactly what happened at the Texas hotel after what turned out to be the final speech of JFK's life. JOHN F. KENNEDY, U.S. PRESIDENT: This is a very dangerous and uncertain world. We would like to live as we once lived, but history will not permit it.
BASH: No one took William's picture with Kennedy but it's emblazoned in his memory.
WILLIAMS: All of a sudden here came Mrs. Kennedy. She came around the corner in that pink dress and she shook my mother's hand, and she shook my hand and stood right next to me and then here came the president. And the president had a cigar in his mouth and he took a puff out of the cigar and put it in the sand urn and came around the corner and I remember what kind of shoes he had on.
He had black cap toe shoes, which men still wear today, and he shook my mother's hand, and he came to me and shook my hand and did not let it go, and looked back at my mother and said it's a pleasure to meet your son.
BASH: Little did Williams know then he would become one of the last people Kennedy would ever meet.
WILLIAMS: I literally was the last person to shake his hand as he left that hotel room -- I mean, that hotel that day.
BASH: Now Williams is a member of Congress and credits his encounters with JFK that fateful days 50 years ago with his interest in public service.
WILLIAMS: It's hard to describe. It sometimes gets emotional. It eventually empowered me to do something for my country. The idea that I'm here today in the United States Congress, a lot of it started on that day.
BASH: But unlike the liberal JFK, Williams is a conservative, a GOP House freshman elected with help from the Tea Party. Still, he argues his ideals are a lot like Kennedy's, especially his belief in America as the greatest country on earth.
WILLIAMS: He touched my heart and soul and I'm of a generation where I really believe that on that moment, on that moment the world changed.
BASH: Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.
COOPER: It's fascinating, imagine being a young boy shaking the hand of the president who then goes on to be assassinated about an hour later.
So where does JFK fit on the political spectrum?
Back with John King. We're joined as well by Rice University presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, and Ira Stoll, he's the author or the thought-provoking controversial revisionist history titled simply "JFK Conservative."
John, what do you think it is about JFK that still fascinates so many people, you know, 50 years -- 50 years on?
KING: The what ifs. What if he had finished his term? Where would the civil rights debate have gone? It was President Johnson that picked up that mantle. A lot of people say, what would have happened to Vietnam? Would Jack Kennedy, the World War II veteran, been more hesitant and less -- much more reluctant, excuse me, to escalate into Vietnam? So I think the mythology and the what ifs, the unanswered questions of what would have happened during the presidency are part of it.
But on the liberal conservative debate, Anderson, remember, it wasn't that long ago. You don't hear it as much now because we had a two- term Clinton presidency. We're in the middle of a two-term Democratic Obama presidency. But you did hear a lot of times Republicans would criticize Democrats saying I just want to lower taxes like Jack Kennedy did. Ronald Reagan used to use that line. So that Jack Kennedy is not a liberal at least when it comes to taxes or national security, it's not a new part of our debate.
COOPER: , Well, Ira, you've been writing about this. We know obviously Kennedy had a profound influence on Democrats. They claim him as a -- kind of a beacon of liberalism. You -- your take is different. You say Kennedy was actually conservative. Explain that.
IRA STOLL, AUTHOR, "JFK, CONSERVATIVE": That's right. My argument in the book is that by the standards of both of his time and ours, Kennedy was a conservative and it's the tax cutting that you talked about before, it's the military buildup, even the Peace Corps and the moon shot can be looked at in the Cold War context.
COOPER: You call him a "theo-con."
STOLL: Kennedy pointed to the -- yes, Kennedy was deeply religious and he saw the Cold War as a battle between America and the godless tyranny of the Soviet Union? He actually used that term, godless tyranny.
COOPER: Doug, what do you make of this, Kennedy is a conservative argument?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I don't buy it. I don't think he was a conservative or a liberal. He was a moderate Democrat who, you know, on many issues, showed a great deal of restraint if you really go back to the Cuba missile crisis. The military establishment wanted Kennedy to bomb the sites in Cuba and you see the restraint of Kennedy saying no.
In Berlin, the military establishment of his day was saying this is the challenge, you can't let them build the wall. Kennedy let them build the wall and used rhetoric to use -- and used the wall as a symbol against totalitarianism but didn't leap to war. And in things like the environment. I mean, here's Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," the most controversial book of 1962 and Kennedy backs her action and goes after polluters and the DDT, the pesticides industry. And he also has a nuclear test ban treaty.
Eisenhower and Republicans in the 1950s were testing nuclear weapons constantly and Kennedy said no, I have public health concerns. So something like environmentalism and regulating industries of today really is born out of Kennedy's new frontier.
COOPER: Ira, what about that?
STOLL: Well, I write about the Cuban missile crisis in my book. In fact, liberals within administration were telling Kennedy to do nothing. They argued that Americans would be just as dead if missiles were launched at us from Cuba as if they were launched from Russia.
Adlai Stevenson at the U.N. was telling Kennedy to just leave the missiles there. Kennedy sent the Navy out to impose a quarantine. That was nuclear brinksmanship. Same with the Berlin crisis. The issue was that the Russians wanted to take over all of Berlin, not just the Soviet sector, and Kennedy sent tanks in to stop that.
On the environmentalists stuff, I mean, I've been up at the JFK Library looking at these oral histories. The Kennedy aide said maybe Kennedy cared about the Cape Code National Seashore, but beyond that he wasn't really interested in environmentalism. The EPA didn't even start until the Nixon administration.
COOPER: Doug, it is interesting how sort of people of all political persuasions can see something in Kennedy that resonates with them. And we just heard from that Tea Party congressman who was so influenced by that handshake as a young man with Kennedy, though, his -- though, you know, much of his politics are -- are very different.
BRINKLEY: For the reason I said, Anderson. He wasn't a liberal or conservative. He was down the middle. And that's where most of the American people are. I mean, Kennedy, the problem that people often talk about the Kennedys and yes, compared to Ted Kennedy who was a hyper liberal, John F. Kennedy does look conservative.
And Bobby Kennedy was quite conservative in '62. He changes and by '68 he's fighting the war on poverty, he's meeting Cesar Chavez. So the liberalism in the Kennedy family comes from Bobby and Ted Kennedy. John F. Kennedy is a pragmatic, cold warrior, but somebody who had liberal instincts when he needed to.
COOPER: John, what do you make of this debate?
KING: Well, I think it's a debate that you have because our times have changed so much and when you think about that label, when Bill Clinton was the Democratic president after Walter Mondale lost 49 states, he said he wanted to be a different kind of Democrat.
And so parties changed. The conservative movement has gone through several changes from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan, to now when you see the Tea Party. There are some things Ronald Reagan did the Tea Party members would call liberal.
So I think part of it is as the times change and as different political movements become ascendant, you look back at prior political leaders and you try to put them into the context and the language of today and today's politics are quite messy. So I don't think it's quite fair to anybody, anybody in history to take from today's mess and look back and try to find them a place.
COOPER: Doug, what do you think is the legacy of -- I mean, what do you think he will be most remembered for in, say, another 50 years?
BRINKLEY: Well, I like to think of going to the moon. I mean, what a big moment in American history that 1969, we lived up to the promise and Neil Armstrong goes to the moon. We planted an American flag. Incidentally that cost taxpayers about $250 billion. If you want to talk about big government and yes, it was done to be a race with the Soviet Union, but Kennedy believed in government.
He was a student of Franklin Roosevelt's new deal and he would have probably embraced a lot of what happened in the great society of Lyndon Johnson, Medicaid, Medicare, civil rights legislation that Kennedy was fighting for. You know, on the environmental front, he was pushing for the Wilderness Act, which Johnson signed since '64 but Kennedy had signed on to it as early 1957.
All over the country we have wilderness areas today. But I would put space and going to the moon as being what people are going to remember 100 years from now about Kennedy.
COOPER: It's an interesting discussion to have. Doug Brinkley, appreciate it. Ira Stoll. As well. Great to have you on the program.
John King, as always, thanks.
For more on the story, of course, you go to CNN.com.
Just ahead tonight, some new details about the undercover drug bust that netted this man, a U.S. congressman. We're going to tell you how the sting went down and the sentence that he's going to serve.
Plus breaking news tonight. An American family's nightmare, an 85- year-old California man. That man dragged off his plane as he was about to leave North Korea. That was three weeks ago. I'll talk to his son ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back, Trey Radel is a freshman U.S. congressman from Florida. He pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession. He faced a possible sentence of up to 180 days in prison, but got a year in probation instead. Now his arrest in October only seems like yesterday when the charges were actually filed.
Over the last few weeks, his lawyer haves been cutting a deal with federal prosecutors in a statement yesterday, Radel apologized saying that he struggles with alcoholism. He's only been in Washington for just over ten months, apparently long enough to establish drug connections. He was busted during a string operation after a dealer basically ratted him out. Joe Johns has details.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Saying nothing, the Florida congressman headed in to face his charges, his guilty plea weeks after Trey Radel was caught in a sting operation in late October. The Drug Enforcement Administration setting him up after learning about his illegal activities from an arrested drug dealer.
A law enforcement source said they met here at Circo Restaurant on Dupont Circle in the heart of Washington, D.C. Radel told the men he had drugs back at his apartment and invited them over and they declined. But the undercover officer did say he had drugs to sell. They agreed on a price, came out here on the street and when the cocaine changed hands that's when the federal agents approached the congressman.
(voice-over): The price Radel paid for the drugs $260. After the charges were revealed, Radel tweeted I'm profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son and the people of Southwest Florida. I struggle with a disease on alcoholism and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice.
REPRESENTATIVE TREY RADEL (R), FLORIDA: Look, in my short time here, I love what I do.
JOHNS: He's developed a reputation as a man who likes to let loose. Talking points memo circulated pictures of Radel drinking and living large. He's been called a hip-hop conservative who according to the "Christian Post" web site, the Public Enemy's song "Fight the Power" to explain how he feels about dealing with Congress.
The Republican House leadership was careful saying Radel needs to focus on his family and get better. But he is sure to get hit hard from the other side. Melanie Sloan of the left leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said he needs to go.
MELANIE SLOAN, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: Trey Radel needs to resign right away. He committed a crime. Members of Congress swear to uphold the law, not break them.
COOPER: Joe Johns joins us now from Washington. Is it true that Representative Radel was one of the Republicans who voted for drug testing on food stamp recipients on a bill that passed this September? That would seem hypocritical.
JOHNS: Yes, Anderson, it is true. Congressman Radel did support that provision. It's an amendment to the farm bill to allow states to give drug tests to applicants for food stamps and after his arrest, he finds himself under attack for having one standard for himself and another standard for Americans who need food stamps. The House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested Radel's arrest could humanize this issue for some in an interview with "Buzz Feed."
COOPER: All right, we'll see if he gets the help he needs. Joe, thanks very much. There is a lot more happening tonight. Susan Hendricks has a 360 Bulletin -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, sources tell CNN that Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds was stabbed more than ten times by his 24-year-old son who then killed himself. The tragedy happened just hours after the senator tried to get psychiatric help for his son under an emergency custody order. Gus Deeds was reportedly released when no beds could be found for him, but tonight, three area hospitals tell CNN they did have beds available on Monday night.
A 360 follow, White Supremacist and serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin was executed this morning in Missouri. That's after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for it. Franklin killed up to 22 people in the late '70s targeting Jews and African-Americans, among his victims, "Hustler" publisher Larry Flynt who survived, but would never walk again. Flynt tried unsuccessfully to stop Franklin's execution because he's against the death penalty.
The FAA is requiring all over weight pilots, air traffic controllers to be tested for sleep disorders. This move comes after several reports of pilots falling asleep at the job -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Susan, thanks very much.
Up next, breaking news, an 85-year-old American tourist was dragged off a plane and detained in North Korea for more than three weeks. He is still being detained. I'm going to speak to his son next.
And also later tonight, a murder mystery, a family missing for almost four years found buried in shallow graves in the California desert. Question about the strange way they disappeared and who might have killed them when we continue.
COOPER: Breaking news tonight, an 85-year-old American tourist who we have learned has been detained in North Korea for more than three weeks now. In a moment, I am going to speak with the son of Meril Newman who says his father arranged a trip with a travel agent had all right visas, but was escorted off a plane just before he was about to leave the country.
This is the second American who has been held by the North Korean government in the last year. Kenneth Bay was arrested this time last year and sentenced to 15 years hard labor. You may remember we spoke with Kenneth's sister. He is still being held. His family fighting for his release and now the Newman family is in a similar flight.
Jeff Newman joins me now on the phone. Jeff, thank you so much for talking with us. I can't imagine how worried you are about your dad. Explain what he was doing in North Korea.
JEFF NEWMAN, FATHER DETAINED IN NORTH KOREA (via telephone): He went on a trip with another traveling companion, another resident from the retirement home where he lives, and went through a reputable tour company and arranged a private tour, two tourist, my father and another gentleman and they were accompanied on their nine-day trip with two North Korean guides the entire trip.
COOPER: Do you know why he wanted to go to North Korea?
NEWMAN: A couple things. He's a curious cat, and he's had a long- standing and tremendously respectful interest in the Korean culture and the Korean people, and in like, the World War II vets who have had an interest in going back to Normandy. My dad wanted to go back to the northern part of the peninsula. He had been to the southern part of the peninsula before and this was a life-long dream of his.
COOPER: I love you said your dad is a curious cat and at 85 living out these dreams and traveling around the world. You got word about this. Have you heard anything from the North Koreans about why he was taken off this plane and why they are holding him?
NEWMAN: We haven't heard anything. We worked through the State Department from the day that he was supposed to depart, initially through the contact was made by his traveling companion to the U.S. embassy in Beijing. That started the diplomatic wheels turning, but we've heard nothing.
COOPER: I know his traveling companion was allowed to leave and he's the one that alerted authorities once he landed in Beijing. I understand there was a discussion the day before your dad was to leave about his service. Do you know anything about that?
NEWMAN: What I've heard is from his traveling companion, who wasn't in the meeting, but what we understand is my dad is one of two tour guides who was with the tourist the entire time went to a meeting where there were one or two other Korean authorities. The Korean War was discussed and my dad's role in the service, and the meeting concluded. I understand that my dad was a bit bothered, but really didn't go into any detail with his traveling companion.
They went to dinner. It was Friday night. Next morning, they got up, checked out of the hotel, went to the airport, got on the plane, apparently 5 minutes before they were ready to depart, an authority came on the plane. Looked at my dad, asked to see my dad's passport and he was asked to leave the plane.
COOPER: Well, Jeff, I know you've been trying through the Swedish embassy, which has representation there to get your dad medication because he has a heart condition, which you're concerned about. He didn't travel with enough medication to stay this long. You don't know if the North Koreans have passed on the medication that the Swedish were able to get to him. We'll follow this and wish your dad the best and you the best and we'll continue to talk with you. Thank you.
NEWMAN: Thank you.
COOPER: All right, stay strong. Up next, "Crime and Punishment," a California family found murdered buried in shallow graves in the desert. There is so much mystery surrounding their disappearance. We are going to have the latest on this next.
Later, is George Zimmerman suicidally depressed? New insight into his mental state in the wake of his latest arrest.
COOPER: In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, the case of a missing family. Now a murder case that is drenched in mystery the whole way through. It's been nearly four years since a California couple and their two kids went missing. A mystery onto itself, but one that got even more confounding as investigators started looking into the disappearance. Now the bodies of the entire family have been found, but so many questions are still unanswered. Randi Kaye tonight investigates.
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the California desert just north of Victorville, a gruesome discovery by a motorcycle rider, two shallow graves, inside two adults and two small children. After noticing human bones in the dirt, the rider calls the San Bernardino County Sheriff.
(on camera): The sheriff's department is stumped. Who is this family, and why would anyone murder them including their two small children? And why bury them here in the middle of the California desert? An investigator with the coroner's office reaches out to the Justice Department asking them to check their records for any missing family of four. It isn't long before the Justice Department tells investigators here to look at the McStay family case.
(voice-over): This is Joseph McStay, his wife Summer and their two little boys, Jeonie and Joseph Jr. Nearly four years ago, February 4th, 2010 they vanished from their home in Fall Brooke, California, north of San Diego. Fifteen days after the McStays disappeared, investigators enter the home for the first time. There are no signs of forced entry, and nothing seems to be missing, that is, except the family.
Inside investigators find a puzzling scene. Bowls of popcorn in front of the television, eggs on the counter with a banana, outside another surprise, the McStay's dog tied up in the yard. Did the family leave in a hurry thinking they would be back or was it something more sinister? Did someone perhaps they know and trust force them to leave?
(on camera): Do you believe there is any possibility the home and the scene inside the home was staged?
JAN CALDWELL, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: That's one theory and of course, we've looked at that. We don't see anything like that. We don't have any hard evidence to indicate that, but we keep that in the back of our mind.
KAYE (voice-over): Adding to the mystery, it appears the family had no plans to run away. Summer McStay was making plans for her sister to visit and the couple just spent $4,000 on brand-new flooring in the home. Investigators don't find any unusual withdrawals or deposits in the bank accounts, either.
(on camera): A neighbor security camera catches the family's Isuzu trooper driving away from the McStay's home at 7:47 p.m. the night they disappeared. Four days later it is towed from the parking lot of a strip mall here at the San Isidro border crossing, just an hour's drive south of the family's home.
(voice-over): The vehicle offers few clues, the only fingerprints on it match the McStays. So why park at the border? Had the family run off to Mexico? On surveillance video from the border crossing, investigators are shocked to find what appears to be a family of four matching the McStay's description crossing into Mexico the very same day their vehicle was towed.
That video is just another piece of the puzzle. Another addition to this massive case file, which holds tips from Indiana to Burbank to Baja, California. A waiter in Mexico says he served them dinner. A bartender is sure they ordered cocktails nothing checks out.
CALDWELL: That is certainly part of the huge puzzle. What happened here? Was that part staged? Did they actually cross into Mexico? We still think that there is a strong possibility that they did. When did they come back? Were they under duress? I mean, these are all questions that we want to find out.
KAYE: And now after nearly four years, the answers maybe closer than ever. Within days of finding the remains in the desert graves, they are identified as Joseph and Summer McStay and their two little boys. Investigators say they were murdered, but it's unclear how nor do they know who killed them. Late today, Mike McStay came to see his brother's shallow grave for the first time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see how this is sunken down? It gives you cover from the road. Someone had to know the area, had to know you needed a four-wheel drive.
KAYE: This man wrote a book about the McStay case. He's long doubted cartels are to blame.
RICK BAKER, AUTHOR, "NO GOOD-BYES": Cartel hit doesn't work this way. The graves were only 2 feet deep, Joseph and Summer were in one grave, very shallow grave, only 50 feet off the main road. A cartel kills an entire family, buries them, they will never be found. This was amaturish.
KAYE: Mike McStay just wants to know who did it and wants them to pay.
MIKE MCSTAY, JOSEPH MCSTAY'S BROTHER: You guys are cowards and all of America is coming after you, and you're going to find you, and we're going to prosecute you, and I'm going to be there every step of the way, and I'm going to be there when it's -- when you meet your fate.
COOPER: Randi Kaye joins me from Victorville, California. So what are investigators saying about the homicide investigation?
KAYE: Anderson, this case is now being handled by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The good news, if there is any, in a horrible case like this is that they do now have a crime scene. They have clues. They have evidence. They will go through that. We don't know exactly what they found here in the desert a little ways behind me, but we know there was a weapon involved, there was something buried in the shallow graves with them.
We're not getting clarification on that yet, either. But at least the sheriff has something to go on. I can tell you though that this sheriff's department is not going to be relying on that theory that this family ran away to Mexico. You saw the grainy footage of a family that matched their description crossing into Mexico.
They will crack this case wide open, start from the beginning. They will talk to friends, family, business associates, anybody that they can. The last time they have been through this, they interviewed 300 people and will go back through that, Anderson, and hopefully find answers this time around.
COOPER: It's been so long. It's incredible. Randi, appreciate the reporting, thanks. We'll continue to follow that.
Up next, new and troubling questions about George Zimmerman's state of mind these days.
COOPER: Tonight new details about George Zimmerman's possible state of mind in the weeks just before his arrest on Monday and charges he assaulted his girlfriend, he posted bail yesterday. It turns out long before she called 911 on him she was talking to our local affiliate about how just despondent Zimmerman had become. Here's Alina Machado.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Depressed and suicidal is how George Zimmerman's girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe allegedly described the 30-year-old to CNN affiliate WKMG in a series of texts messages and phone calls over the course of several weeks during the negotiation for an interview. WKMG is reporting Scheibe told them Zimmerman, quote, "Spiralled into a very deep depression" in the months after his acquittal spending quote, "days in bed refusing to get up and refusing to take his medication."
But when CNN made contact with Scheibe's mother, Hope Mason, she told us in a text message those reports were, quote, "lies." Adding quote, "It's the media. It's all hearsay until she speaks publicly. That's what it is." On Monday, Scheibe called police and accused of Zimmerman threatening her with a gun and pushing her out of her Apopka Florida home during an argument.
Police arrested Zimmerman and Monday night while he sat in a jail cell, his wife Shelley used the opportunity to serve him with divorce papers. A judge set Zimmerman's bond at $9,000 and told him to stay away from Scheibe and firearms. The judge also ordered Zimmerman to wear a monitoring device and stay in Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the look of he seemed very despondent. I took it upon my initiative to say, let me do something nice.
MACHADO: Frank Tappy, a former neighbor an paid just under a thousand dollars to help Zimmerman post bond. Hours later, Zimmerman walked out of the correctional facility with a bail bonds man.
(on camera): Did you have any contact after you posted the bond with Zimmerman?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
MACHADO: He didn't call to thank you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I know he's grateful.
MACHADO: Samantha declined an interview and Zimmerman's location is unknown. He's not commented on the allegations published. The Department of Justice has not made a decision whether to file federal rights charges against George Zimmerman in the connection of the shooting death with Trayvon Martin, but officials said a decision could come soon -- Anderson/
COOPER: Alina, thanks. That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.
PIERS MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Tonight, the n-word strikes again. Racist graffiti on a Massachusetts high school football player's home, allegations of bullying, now the rest of the season, is cancelled. I'll talk exclusively to the parents of the 13-year-old boy the one who is targeted.