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Piers Morgan Live

New Cold War?

Aired March 05, 2014 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. This is Piers Morgan Live.

It may be a new Cold War between Russia and the rest of the world, but it certainly seems like there's no easy way out in the standoff in Ukraine.

Secretary of State John Kerry after meeting with Russian counterpart in Paris today said this.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Russia's violation of Ukraine sovereignty and territory and integrity has actually united the world in support of the Ukrainian people.


MORGAN: And at the same time, the U.S. intelligence officials denied they were caught off guard by Russia's waltz into Crimea.

And Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is following up on her dramatic comments last night comparing Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm not making a comparison, certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.


MORGAN: I'll talk to Nick Kristof about all this in a moment and get into the big debate. Should the U.S. have seen all this coming considering the Russian's history doing exactly this kind of thing before?

And then there's this throwback to the grand old days of propaganda wars.


LIZ WAHL, FORMER RT REPORTER: I'm proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth and that is why after this newscast I'm resigning. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's Liz Wahl, anchor of Russian owned cable channel RT quitting on air today. I'll talk to her and her former colleague Abby Martin who condemned Russian aggression on the air who's kept her job, well for now anyway.




MORGAN: We'll also bring you the stunning story behind this incredible video of a distressed pregnant mother driving straight into the surf in Florida with three of her children on board. I'll speak with the two good Samaritans who saved their lives.

We'll begin tonight with our Big Story and the crisis of conscience since we're playing out live on TV on the Russian owned English Channel RT America. Liz Wahl, an anchor quit on air today two days after Abby Martin shocked the world when she looked directly into the camera condemning Russia's move into the Ukraine.


ABBY MARTIN, HOST OF RT AMERICA'S "BREAKING THE SET": Before we wrap up the show, I wanted to say something from my heart about the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine and Russia's military occupation in Crimea.

Just because I work here for RT it doesn't mean I don't have editorial independence, and I can't stress enough how strongly I am against any state intervention in a sovereign nations affairs. What Russia did is wrong. I literally don't know as much as I should about Ukraine's history or the cultural dynamics of the region, but what I do know is that military intervention is never the answer and I will not sit here and apologize or defend military aggression.

Furthermore, the coverage I have seen in Ukraine has been truly disappointing from all sides of the media spectrum and rife with disinformation. Above of all, my heart goes out to the Ukrainian people who are now wedged as pawns in a middle of a global power chest game. They're the real losers here. All we can do now is hope for a peaceful outcome for a terrible situation and prevent another full blown Cold War between multiple super powers.

Until then, I'll keep telling the truth as I see it.


MORGAN: Abby Martin joins me live now. Welcome, Abby.

Obviously, we're all pretty shocked by what you did and possibly more shocked by Liz Wahl who actually quit on air today. Were you tempted to do what Liz Wahl did and what is your reaction to her decision to actually resign?

MARTIN: I support Liz with whatever decision she wants to make. But for me, I, you know, I knew going into that that I could put my job on the line considering how the corporate media has fired multiple anchors for simply speaking out against the Iraq war.

So, I did know that, you know, going against the editorial line of my network I could put my job on the line. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet.

MORGAN: What kind of pressure have you come under internally if any from management to perhaps rain (ph) back your position or to take other kind of action or have they warned you about your conduct?

MARTIN: Surprisingly, Piers, after I made that statement I mean it goes in line with everything I've been saying for the past couple of years. I'm astonishingly anti-military interventionist and so on the network, I told that same line, I stayed true to my beliefs and my moral compass and management was supportive.

I mean, I talked to my boss today, he said, "We support you." and I told him and I said, you know, if I disagree with something that Russia is doing I will continue to speak out and they give me the editorial freedom to do whatever I want on my show "Breaking the Set" and all I can really speak for is what I do on my show.

MORGAN: I mean, are you concerned about other parts of the programming on RT America? I mean, do you believe that although your show may have that kind of independence and voice that a lot of the other programming doesn't and has drifted in the last week into blatant propaganda.

MARTIN: Piers, no different than every other corporate media station. I mean we're talking about six corporations that control 90 percent of what Americans see, hear and read. The lead up to the Iraq war, parroting (ph) exactly what the establishment said. I mean you could reflect the exact same criticism on all of the corporate media channels.

So, you know, I can only speak for my show. I stayed true to my moral compass but RT toast of perspective of the Russian foreign policy just as the entire corporate media apparatus, toast of perspective of the U.S. establishment.

MORGAN: What is your specific criticism about the way RT America has covered this crisis?

MARTIN: You know, I just saw the higher media apparatus was covering it. I mean, RT was covering it in a different way that I didn't agree with, and then I saw the corporate media coverage almost wanting to revive the Cold War. I mean, I felt like people were egging on Obama to attack militarily.

I mean, it's insane living in a time where we have corporate media actually supporting military intervention and action against Russia. I mean, this is no joke here. We got to really take a step back and think about how we can do things peacefully and diplomatically and not continue to warmonger and fearmonger the American people about what's going on.

MORGAN: And tell me this, I mean, you've -- in the clip we played at the start when you made your dramatic statement, you conceded you weren't an expert in what is going on in Ukraine or indeed in Ukraine itself.

I presume now you probably come up to speed pretty quickly given all the attention that you've had. What do you think with all your experience in broadcasting on RT America is the correct way for this crisis to be resolved?

MARTIN: I hope it resolves diplomatically, Piers, you know, you could imagine the last couple of days that have been pretty hectic, I hadn't really been able to keep up with the day to day but I just hope for a peaceful outcome with no more military aggression, I hope the military aggression scaled back and I hope we can see a peaceful outcome.

But I think that the real question that should be asked is why do I have to work for RT to tell the truth about corporations and the U.S. government? I mean, seriously, you guys will be holding to advertisers that you cannot criticize and that's why I work for a station that I can criticize ...

MORGAN: Well, hang on, hang on ...


MORGAN: I'm free to say what the hell I like ...


MORGAN: ... no one's ever told me I can't criticize appetizers or corporate entity. That conversation has never happened in the three years I've been on air in CNN.

MARTIN: Fair enough, Piers, but I think a lot of people deal with self-censorship all across the media spectrum.

MORGAN: I certainly don't. That's probably one of my problems.

Anyway, Abby Martin, good to talk to you. I want to read a statement, this is to CNN from RT about your particular situation saying, "RT journalists and hosts are free to express their own opinions, which is what Abby Martin did in her program "Breaking the Set" on Monday. She's not been reprimanded for doing so, something that she herself confirmed in her program the following evening."

Abby, thank you very much indeed.

I want to turn now to Liz Wahl and her job as a new reporter with the Russian owned RT America until she shockingly quit on air earlier today. She joins me now.

Liz Wahl, I want to read to you one of the top what RT is saying about you they said, "When a journalist disagrees with the editorial position of his or her organization, the usual course of action is to address those grievances with the editor, and , if they cannot be resolved to quit like a professional. But when someone makes a big public show of a personal decision, it is nothing more than a self- promotional stunt. We wish Liz the best of luck on her chosen path."

What is reaction to that?

WAHL: Well, Piers, that's the first time I saw their reaction. I was wondering what their reaction would be and actually I've had some hesitations. I feared what measures they would take against me, what retaliatory measures they would take against me.

But at the end of the day, Piers, like I said earlier on Anderson show, I believe in the truth trying to seek the truth and disseminating the truth and what's become very clear especially in the face of this crisis with Crimea is that the objective of RT has been to promote Putinist propaganda, to promote the conflict as Putin wants us to see and to bash the U.S. and make it look like we're the bad guys.

I had mentioned earlier, you know, personal reasons why I felt morally inclined to say something and to resign and that is because I mean my grandparents they were refugees, they came to America to seek a better life, had my grandmother not bribed the guard with money and brandy she would have been killed and I -- my dad ended up because of this joining the military. My mother in the Philippines, I have family over there, and I see how lucky I am to live in this country because I see the conditions that they're subjected to. I have family members who know what the daily grind of poverty is likened and I feel lucky to live in this country.

MORGAN: OK. Let me jump in.

WAHL: And to be on a network ...

MORGAN: Liz, let me jump in a moment.


MORGAN: I want to just play the viewers the moment that you quit live on air then I'll come back to you with the specific question about what you just said.



WAHL: Personally I can not be a part of network funded by the Russian government that white washes the actions of Putin. I'm proud to be an American and believe disseminating the truth and that is why after this newscast I'm resigning.


MORGAN: Just a few ask earlier that was. Now, I think my reaction would be what something to be in react to what you did, which is if you feel this strongly and you've cited your family history and so on. Why would join RT American to start with? Given the -- it has got a history of being pretty favorable towards Putin, you know, it's got a lot of government support that he's enjoyed over the years. Obviously, Putin's behavior now is not dissimilar to the Russian activities in Georgia or in other places over the last few decades.

Why if you feel so strongly about what they're doing right now would you want to work for that organization in the first place?

WAHL: Well, that's a very good question. And I think I didn't now exactly the extent of the propaganda that is if this machine, I thought, you know, that the Cold War was over and maybe I didn't realize that I -- there would be this much of an infringement on the editorial, on -- adds much pressure, I get there was expecting that, I tried to make the most of the situation. I'm not saying that I haven't done work that I'm not proud of doing. I've absolutely worked on stories that I think are important and I try to use my platform to work on stories and pitch stories that are important. I think management new that I wasn't very comfortable when it came to some of the more extreme ends of the things. I've been contemplating quitting for along time especially into ...

MORGAN: Did you think -- let me ask you this. Do you think that Abby Martin given her position on all this should also resign?

WAHL: I don't. I can't speak for Abby Martin. I can say that I respect here. She's very outspoken. She's an outspoken human. She ...

MORGAN: Well, I'm not asking you to speak for her. I'm just saying is your personal opinion given the scale of propaganda that you believe RT America has been pumping out. Should she act on a point of principle and do what you've done, just your opinion not hers.

WAHL: Honestly, I don't want to say what Abby should or shouldn't do. The thing is that Abby speaks her mind and her show doesn't experience that much editorial control because she's very outspoken and she's very -- the views -- I don't know if you checked out her show before, but it happened to be a narrative ...


WAHL: ... that RT likes. So, for her and I respect her, I respect Abby ...


WAHL: ... I respect her convictions and I don't want to ...


WAHL: ... speak for her at all. MORGAN: Liz Wahl. OK. Thank you for joining me. I appreciate it.

And someone (inaudible) and reporting in Russia is my guest now Nick Kristof, the Columnist in New York Times joining me to shed light on all this.

Nick Kristof, what do you make of these two RT America broadcasters? One, making you big statement Abby Martin, the other Liz Wahl actually resigning on air, what is your view journalistically on what they've done?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Well, admire their outspokenness but, you know, at the end of the day RT is a Russian propaganda arm and I don't think its going to matter very much to the geopolitical consequences here that they do lead anymore than if a, you know, American voice of America, Russian reporter was to quit because of their disagreements with American policy, you know.

At the end of the day, I think the really difficult problem here is that its not that people are abandoning Putin so much, but that he remains very popular within Russia with 66 percent popularity and the -- in television in particular saying that Putin has been very successful at squashing within Russia.

So, you know, I admire those who fight against the system, who resist whether they be here at RT or those incredibly brave Russian newspaper reporters, reporting on corruption at the risk of their lives in Moscow, but I think it's kind of side show.

MORGAN: Yeah. Well, lets get to the main show after the break which is what is going on right now in the Ukraine and in Crimea.

I want to talk to you particularly about Hillary Clinton comparing what is going on to what Hitler was doing in build of World War II whether do you think that's a fair analogy or not?


CLINTON: Now this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back on the '30s. All the Germans that were, you know, the Ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, you know, Hitler kept saying they're not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that's what's gotten everybody so nervous.


MORGAN: We'll be back after the break with your reaction to that, Nick.



MORGAN: Back with me Kristof and his thoughts on Hillary Clinton's backtrack today or lack thereof. Nick, what do you make of Hillary Clinton's attempt to draw some kind of analogy between the activities of Hitler in the build of World War II and what Vladimir Putin is now doing offering passports to Russian speakers in Crimea zone?

KRISTOF: Well, you know, in a very narrow sense there was an accuracy to that and then of course in 1938 when Hitler sees that date in London kind of the first act of World War II to act of ledge (ph) at World War II then he did it on the ground that he was protecting Ethnic Germans.

But, so there some mile parallel there, but of course the largest significant to this date in England is that it led to the invasion of Poland, the invasion of France to unleashing a World War. And I don't think anybody thinks that Putin is about unleashing a new World War by seizing Crimea. It, you know, there is some possibility that it will get worst in Eastern Ukraine, but this is not the first act of a World War.

MORGAN: And you've got connections to Ukraine. Your father grew up in Western Ukraine. It was to the family village. You're in Ukraine yourself in 2004 during the Orange Revolution. Let me ask you this question which I read I think at a New York Times letter today which is putting aside the military action that's going on this week has outraged everybody.

Is there a good common sense argument for saying that Crimea and indeed Eastern Ukraine ought to be part of Russia?

KRISTOF: Only in a sense that the Crimeans and many Eastern Ukrainians are Russian speaker -- to Russia that have a cultural background, they tend to look eastward. While in the west, everybody looks over to Poland, they are Ukrainian speakers.

And so, you know, there is that divide but even if there is this kind of divide, then that's not an excuse for one country to march across and seize the territory of another. And one of the problems that Putin is going to face in the case of Crimea is that it doesn't have a land border with Russia and its electricity and its water come from Ukraine. So it's not a very sustainable independent state led.

MORGAN: Right. But if you put yourself into the head Vladimir Putin like, except for both of us, probably quite a hard thing to do.

But imagine that we have for a moment, you're looking at him and he's looking at one of his key allies, in his eyes a democratically elected leader has been forced out by a sort of, you know, undercover plot probably an agent and better in his eyes by, you know, people in Europe and the Americans and so on. This is how Putin is thinking and that in his head I guess justifies the actions that he believes he's taken.

Do you have any empathy with him as a leader viewing it in that way not withstanding the fact that he's been quite thuggish about the way he's got it bad dealing with it. KRISTOF: I mean, I guess if I were his adviser I would say, "Look Vladimir, yes, it would be a terrible tragedy if we were to lose Ukraine" you know, our -- part of our ancestral origins as Russian people, a buffer between us and the west, buffer between us and NATO.

But if we go ahead and seize Crimea, this will be bad for Russia. This is bad for our own interest. We will have to be subsidizing Crimea forever. We will be propelling Ukraine into the arms of the west just as surely as Russia now propelled Czechoslovakia into the arms of the west eventually by invading in 1968.

So this is not good for our international reputation, it's not good for our economy and is not good for our own interest.

MORGAN: OK. But we know that Putin is not a stupid man and he's been in charge of Russia for a long time now. He might do reckless things but he's not a stupid man, if anyone say that.

KRISTOF: He's not stupid, but he does have his own kind of sources -- his own world view does tend to be rather different from those of other people. The source has been ...

MORGAN: Right. Right. And we know that, you know, in 2005 he made this big speech saying that the disintegration of the Soviet Union was one of the great catastrophes in modern times. And so, clearly in the back of his mind he still I guess feels very beleaguered by what happened there. But he's not stupid and he will not I suspect want to escalate this into any great military conflict really of any great substance.

So how does this do you think end?

KRISTOF: I think that the risk, I mean the great risk here of course has been that Russian troops would march across into eastern Ukraine into cities like Donetsk and you would have a war there.

And I think that as time goes on, that risk is easing. So I think the most likely scenario is that in this case, it will not happen which is Russian forces withdrawing from Crimea and international observers going out and I think that's quite unlikely.

I think the worst case is also quite unlikely which would be a war in Eastern Ukraine. I think that the most likely scenario is that Russian troops will remain in Crimea that there will be some kind of a referendum there that will elect to have perhaps independence that maybe more likely a great deal of our economy.

I think it's so useful for Putin to have them vote in Ukrainian elections. He doesn't want to lose those voters to help change the wins of Ukraine. And that this will be a long-term standoff, you know, the same -- you had something similar in Moldova where you had a Russian backed partition of the transitory (ph) area. And so I don't think this is going to be resolved any time soon.

In the long run though, I think that you know, Ukraine is the end of a flourishing western oriented economy like Poland and just as Ukrainians today look to Poland with all and want to be like them. I think someday Russians are going to look to a thriving Ukraine and want to be like Ukrainians.

MORGAN: A follow-up question that we had this debate last time in the show about why so many Americans hate Russia and what it stands for and see Vladimir Putin as a hateful figure. And whether that really is A, accurate that it should be demonized in a way that he's been demonized in America, and whether it's helpful generally that that is the way he is portrayed.

KRISTOF: I think he deserves a lot of criticism frankly and the way he's dealt with minorities, the way he's dealt with the gay community, the way he dealt with Chechnya, the way he's dealt with Syria, you know, the international community. I think he deserves an awful lot of program (ph) even before what happened in Ukraine.

On your second point though, I think there is real danger when we demonize leaders, when we draw lines between us and them because the instinct is to cut off communication with them. And I think at the end of the day it's, you know, it's more important to talk to our enemies than to our friends.

And I hope that we will manage to stand up to Putin and criticize him sharply and impose sanctions but still keep those -- communications open not just because if we need them in the case of the Ukraine but, you know, Syrians are going to be dying because we are less able to work with Moscow on resolving the crisis in Syria. We are going to be less likely to get a deal in Iran because of this crisis and so on and so on.

MORGAN: Yeah, and I was very struck by again, we played it again last night, my conversation with President Clinton about this when he said that he actually in a room one on one with Putin. He trusted him completely because he never went back on his word to Bill Clinton when it was just the two of them and they did a deal.

But he said at the same time what you have to not do was then come out and expose Putin to embarrassment at home with his people by being too overtly critical. And I think that's where at the moment people have to be quite careful because if you go to the beast as they see him, then that could be very self defeating.

KRISTOF: Yes, and there is this broader problem that Putin has quite successfully replaced communism as the glue of the Soviet Union with nationalism as the glue of Russia. And that has allowed him to marginalize many of his opponents and to turn his critics into enemies of the Russian state. And, you know, he is much more popular in Russia than President Obama is in the United States according to the opinion polls.

MORGAN: Right.

KRISTOF: It makes him a difficult antagonist to deal with.

MORGAN: Nick Kristof great to talk to you. Thank you very much indeed. KRISTOF: My pleasure, Piers.

MORGAN: Wasn't it the case of the sneaky Russians or should the U.S. have seen all this coming? We'll debate that next.

Plus, later, the truly miraculous story of a distressed mother who drove her car straight into the ocean. I'll talk with the good Samaritans who saved her and her children.



HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: And as for President Putin, I know we are dealing with a tough guy with a thin skin. I know that his political vision is of a greater Russia. I said when I was still secretary that his goal is to re-sovietize Russia's periphery.


MORGAN: Russian aggression is exactly been used to those who consider the history of Russia. So the big question, should we have all seen this coming especially after supporting the overthrow of the Ukrainian leader?

And joining me now is Stephen Walt, Professor of International Affairs at Harvard and P.J. Crowley, Former Assistant Secretary of State of Public Affairs under President Obama. Welcome to both of you.

Stephen Walt, why are we all professing to be so stunned by all this when it's absolutely predictable and it did entirely in keeping with the way Russia has behaved for the last three or four decades.

STEPHEN WALT, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, HARVARD: Well, I think we shouldn't be surprised and we in particular shouldn't be surprised that Putin reacted as he did. After -- first of all, 20 years in which the United States and its NATO allies have been steadily moving NATO eastward, deploying ballistic missile defenses there. And we've particularly shouldn't be surprised when we saw what happened in Georgia in 2008. When Georgia began provoking Russia and Putin responded very aggressively.

They've made it very clear all along that there was a limit to how far they wanted to see western influence moved in their -- what they regard as their backyard. And as Ukraine began to unravel, we should have been anticipating a rather forceful Russian response.

MORGAN: And P.J. Crowley, is Vladimir Putin as big a devil in all of this as many in America, and indeed Europe, would like to portray him, or does he have a point in terms of wanting in his eyes to protect the interest of Russian speaking people in Crimea and so on, you know, the argument his putting forward. Does he have any merit in terms of the Russian national interest and how about (ph) anybody else is?

P.J. CROWLEY, PROF., GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, certainly as Stephen said, I agree that the Russia has a keen interest in Ukraine. Over its history, it's always had a buffer. That buffer has been reduced from the Cold War, you know, to Ukraine. I think Putin is a brutally rationale actor. The dilemma is that he has a high pain threshold and he's probably is willing to pay a higher praise than his -- in Russia's long term interests, you know, to have his way in the future of Ukraine.

MORGAN: Stephen Walt, was America a bit too quick to support the anti-government protesters? And the reason I asked that is, if you look at someone like Egypt, for example, it's very easy to back the new horse without really being sure what that new horse is going to do and then regret it later.

WALT: I think that's right. And the issue in Russia of course is that Ukraine is right next door. As P.J. said, it's always been considered a vital interest for them. And when we began to lean even only indirectly or tacitly in favor of the demonstrators, this was bound to be seen as Russia as another case of the United States trying to incorporate an area that they regard as part of their sphere of interest, an area that is ultimately much more important to them than it is to us.

MORGAN: P.J. Crowley, you know, Vladimir Putin said yesterday that, you know, I see hypocrisy from the Americans. They march around going into Iraq and Afghanistan, Libya, wherever they fancy it (ph), whenever it suits their national interest, what is wrong with me doing what I'm doing to defend my country's national interest? Is he right, is their a charge of hypocrisy there which can be met with facts?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, up to a point, what Vladimir Putin has done is reestablished leverage over a revolution in Ukraine that was spinning beyond, you know, his control and beyond his comfort level. I don't necessarily, you know, obviously, you know, some concerns about the level of a force they used in Crimea. But up to the point at which we are -- we find our selves -- I found -- I find these actions concerning, but not necessarily, overly, you know, provocative.

The real question is what happens now? I think that while Ukraine is a buffer, nonetheless, Ukraine has the right to, you know, look west if it wants to, look east if it wants to. I think there's a way of managing this so that Ukraine can have an economy that is oriented towards the west. Obviously, one of the sharp, you know, areas of disagreement would be if Ukraine were to follow through with an invitation to join NATO. That obviously was put aside under Yanukovych, you know, Ukraine is not aligned at the present time.

And where Ukraine goes in the future depends to a large extend to what Putin does. If he serves Russia's interest up to a point, fair enough. If he goes beyond that, I think he's at risk of going beyond that. One thing he has done so far is to dramatically unify, you know, Ukrainian public opinion. They have a lot people that were supporting Yanukovych who are now standing up for Ukrainian sovereignty.

MORGAN: Stephen Walt, I did point and raised earlier with Nick Kristoff, which I think, is quite interesting argument to at least put out there which is if you take aside, the military action has gone almost enraged everybody. Is there not a pretty coherent argument, geographically, politically, economically, socially in terms of the welfare of the people that Crimea and Eastern Ukraine should actually be merged back into Russia?

WALT: I think that taking, you know, tearing apart any country is an unpredictable business. And they don't usually divide very neatly. So, I think, one of the things we want to try and do is prevent that from happening and certainly not escalate this to the point where Putin starts to feel like dismembering Ukraine is the best option. Crimea itself is a little bit of a special case because it's small, because it's only been part of Ukraine since the early 1950's, because its population is about 60 percent Russian.

You could perhaps imagine Russia retaining control of Crimea for quite sometime. But I think going further than that would be to escalate this, you know, one more step, and that's one of things we should be trying to avoid. If we want to avoid that, if we want to try and manage this and gradually deescalate it, we're going to have to think very seriously about providing Russia with some guarantee -- that the thing they most opposed namely Ukraine joining NATO, the U.S. led alliance system that we may have to provide some guarantees that that's not going to happen. That they may not have a pro-soviet leader or pro-Russian leader, rather, in Kiev, but they're not going to have an anti-Russian leader there either. That Ukraine will be effectively neutral for quite sometime. I think that may be the way forward to try and resolve this matter.

SCHULTZ: Stephen Walt and P.J. Crowley, thank you both very much indeed.

Coming up, would you run into a burning building or dive off a moving boat to save a life? You never quite know what you will do in that kind of situation. But my next guest did exactly that. Their miraculous story and it's all caught in video, coming next.


MORGAN: And another revived pregnant woman drives the SUV straight in the ocean and they turn to beach Florida. Inside the car have three children, age nine, 10, and three. That's when my next guest runs straight into the choppy ocean waters and rescued the entire family one by one.

Well, joining me now are those heroes, Tim Tesseneer and Stacy Robinson. Welcome to both of you. And first of all, congratulations on saving the lives of all these people, and in particular, the poor children. Let me start with you, if I may, Tim. You were driving with your wife along the shore. What did you see?

TIM TESSENEER, RESCUED CHILDREN FROM DROWNING: I just seen the van riding in the water and we knew that was a red flag, went off the back, you know, because it's illegal, and we could hear the kids start to scream and we thought we heard one just calling for help, and we listened. Well, we heard them and we heard them plainly screaming for help, and I just drew my vehicle and park, and just took off running just nonstop not until I can get there, won't thinking about nothing but saving those kids.

MORGAN: And when you got to the car, what did you find there?

TESSENEER: One kid was on the back seat with his arms out crying. And one kid was on the mother's lap like wrestling her for the steering wheel, trying to steer her away from the ocean. Trying to turn it away back up the sand and as you -- we've kept telling her, you know, Stacy and I was like, man we got to get out of this ocean, you know, you can go to jail, the police are coming. We can hear sirens. And she looked at us with this blank look and it was just scary. She just said, "We're fine, we're going to be OK" or something to that. And she looked back out the wind shield and she just made to left turn and just like dove into the ocean with the van, and you know, we still -- we got to get them -- kids out. And one of the kid in the back seat screamed out, you know, "Please, help us. Our mommy's trying to kill us."

MORGAN: Stacy, let me turn to you. You were actually the first person who actually reached the children. What were you thinking was going on here? Do you think it was an accident or were you aware quite quickly this was quite deliberate that this mother, it was clearly -- fairly deranged at that time had deliberately driven the SUV into the ocean?

STACY ROBINSON, RESCUED CHILDREN FROM DROWNING: After she made that turn, I figured it had become deliberate because we -- again, me and Tim was trying to gear off out of the water and she got far away from us and now to -- we couldn't test the van and (inaudible) and she shut off towards the deeper area. And from there we knew it was serious. It was deliberate.

MORGAN: And what was the mother's condition when -- you almost see, your first thought was to save these kids, but what state was the mother in and what was she saying to you?

ROBINSON: She was just saying and was -- pass that they were OK. She just kept repeating that they were OK and they were fine. And from there, I was telling her that you have to get out of the water. The kids are scared. The police are coming. You're not supposed to be in the water. And her response was "I'm OK. We're OK. We're OK." And from there that's when she shut off into the water.

MORGAN: Stacy, do you believe that if you and Tim haven't taken the very quick action you took, given the conditions of the ocean, do you think those kids would have died?

ROBINSON: It's possible. It's possible, I believe, they probably would have has a good chance.

MORGAN: Well, you guys showed extraordinarily heroism speed. Let me come back to you Tim. It turns out there was a very complicated back story to this that this woman was pregnant. She had been behaving quite irrationally apparently early in the day. Concerned people who knew her called the police say that she, I think, talk to her and concluded that she was OK, that she wasn't feeling either homicidal or suicidal. But clearly, she was pretty on hinge to do what she did. Were you aware at all afterwards, did the police tell you about all that had gone on early in the day?

TESSENEER: No. I just found that out about the police being in her residence just a couple hours ago. Had news crews in my house all day, and I just found that out. Like two hours before I came down here to do this interview, that the police was in her house two hours prior to this and evaluated her, and let her go. And then two hours later, she drives her kids into the Atlantic Ocean.

MORGAN: It does seem quite extraordinary that should happen. Let's take a short break. When we come back, Stacy, I want to talk to you about what these kids said to you as you carried them out of the ocean. They must have been incredibly grateful to both of you. But what they actually said to you.


MORGAN: I'm back with Tim Tesseneer and Stacy Robinson who rescued all three children from a car that drove into the ocean in Daytona Beach driven by a mother who was clearly deranged. Also joining me now, Dr. Xavier Amador, a psychologist. Welcome to you Dr. Xavier. Welcome, but wait one second, let me talk to Stacy Robinson, one of the two heroes here who rescued these children. As you were carrying them out Stacy, what were the kids saying to you when you're back -- got back to the beach and were safe.

ROBINSON: Well, they just keep screaming that they had their little sister in the car seat still and they needed help. They wanted their sister safe as well and that's when I told Tim that there was another baby in the car and that's where he took off and a couple of life guards came and they rescued the child from the car seat as well.

MORGAN: Let me bring in Dr. Xavier Amador. Dr. Amador we've had stories like this before, mothers who have for whatever reason being mentally unbalanced or disturbed, and they have tried to kill their children or killed their children and some have been very notorious cases. What do you think has gone on here and what would make a mother do this?

I'm not sure. I think we've -- I don't think we have the right connection there with Dr. Amador. I'm going to move back to Tim Tesseneer. Tim, I'm sorry, we couldn't get a hold of Dr. Amador, maybe a technical fault. Let me ask you Tim, when you got to the baby who was still strapped in, did you feel at any stage of this that you were not going to be able to get the baby out in time? I mean, how rough was the ocean where you were?

TESSENEER: By this point, the ocean had pulled the van out a little further and the van was rocking pretty good like a boat. When Stacy hollered back at me and I also heard the kids hollering over his shoulder "Get our baby. The baby is in the car seat." There's a lifeguard already down there with me, so I just relayed the message to the lifeguard and he delved in through the driver's window and went through the front seats and got the baby out and passed the baby onto another lifeguard and that lifeguard had to be sort of rescued himself. In the video, you can see that he had -- he pulled out the back of the SUV. It was scary.


TESSENEER: The water was so rough, so windy, I mean, just threw that van around like it was nothing.

MORGAN: Absolutely terrifying and thank God that you guys were there to save a much bigger catastrophe. Dr. Amador, I think we may have connection with you now. Can you hear me?

No. We don't. I'm going to abandon all hope unfortunately. Stacy Robinson, do you guys intend to go and visit these children again? Have you had any more contact with them since you really save their lives?

ROBINSON: Well, if it's possible, I would like to. Yeah, I would really like to do that.

MORGAN: Do you feel -- do you feel a hero?

ROBINSON: Yeah, to an extent. I have siblings their age. So it was like a big brother. The big brother came right in me, so you can say -- so I...

MORGAN: Now, I could...

ROBINSON: ... I did what I had to do.

MORGAN: Yeah. And you did an amazing thing. And Tim Tesseneer, did you feel or do you feel now, do you feel a hero for what you did?

TESSENEER: No, everybody's asking me that today, not really a hero. I'm just glad that we were there. I'm glad Stacy was there the right time and I was there. We're there for a purpose at that particular moment and it all turned out for the good, you know, the kids were safe and I hope the mother gets the treatment she needs or whatever. I just -- I love to see the kids again. Stacy's a lot closer than I am. You know, I mean, Stacy's been in touched all day today on Facebook and we exchanged cellphone numbers. So, we love to meet back up with the kids, you know, make sure they're OK in the future.

MORGAN: That would be a great thing. Well listen, Tim and Stacy, thank you so much for joining me for this interview tonight and you are heroes to me and I'm sure everybody else watching. And those kids, I think, owe their lives to you in your speedy action and it's like great question, isn't it? When you're in that position, do you do it or not and you guys didn't hesitate. You just raced straight it and potentially risking your own lives in the rough ocean and I'm incredibly grateful to you in behalf of everyone watching and I'm sure the family and everyone connected with those children. So thank you very much indeed.

ROBINSON: Thank you. MORGAN: And thank you also to Dr. Xavier Amador. It would have been a brilliant interview. He's always a great interviewee. Unfortunately, we'll never make.

We'll be right back.


MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts now.