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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Delaware Senatorial Candidate Christine O'Donnell Under Fire; Connecticut Home Invasion Trial Continues; Interview With Trace Adkins

Aired September 17, 2010 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for watching.

Tonight: the Texas lawmaker who told us that the threat from so- called terror babies is real and that former government agents could back it up. Now, weeks later, no evidence from her, but plenty of complaints that we blindsided her with questions she was unprepared for. Blindsided, her word. Well, you have got the tape, so you can judge for yourself. We will show it to you. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also tonight, "Raw Politics." Tea Party sensation Christine O'Donnell, she is warning her supporters against smears from the media, but she could soon be facing questions not from reporters, but federal prosecutors. We will explain why ahead.

And later, "Crime & Punishment." The other night, our Jeffrey Toobin called it the most heinous crime he's known, the Connecticut home invasion murders that left a mother and her two daughters dead and two men on trial for their lives. Tonight, who are the accused?

We begin, though, "Keeping Them Honest" with a Texas lawmaker who continues to spread fear about so-called terror babies and is now attacking this program for asking her for proof.

Now, in case you haven't heard the terror baby theory, it's a belief that pregnant Middle Eastern women are coming here on tourist visas, having babies who, under the 14th Amendment, get automatic citizenship, then bringing those babies back to the Middle East, so they can be raised as terrorists, who, 20 years from now, will then return to America and attack us.

Now, the theory has been put forward by two Texas lawmakers who claim they have heard about it from former FBI officials.

Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican congressman, talked about it this summer on the House floor. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: They wouldn't even have to pay anything for the baby. And then they would return back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists. And then, one day 20, 30 years down the road, they could be sent in to help destroy our way of life, because they figured out how stupid we are being in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, he never offered any actual proof. And we had Congressman Gohmert on this program and repeatedly asked him for proof. And, basically, he just kind of yelled at me and said I was attacking him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOHMERT: You're going to keep me honest? You tell the world that you've got an FBI statement. You bring on a retired FBI -- a former supervisor, and he says, "We were not aware of any credible report that this was going on"?

I brought it to the attention of America for this reason. It was here -- I'm a former judge, and I know...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Did you bring it to the attention of the FBI? Did you call the FBI? That's my question.

GOHMERT: She first brought in my attention on the -- I -- she brought it to my attention on an airplane, having flown together, and she brought that to my attention.

That's why I was talking to the retired FBI agent about it. And, so, having talked to him, no, I didn't talk to them, because the point is...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, it went on like that.

By the way, he's still not offered any proof about what these ex -- allegedly, these ex-FBI officials told him or any evidence that this is actually happening.

We, of course, called the FBI. They said they know nothing about this. And a former high-ranking FBI official who worked throughout the Middle East for years came on this program to say the whole idea was ridiculous, that terrorists have little trouble recruiting grown Americans. They don't need to create "Manchurian Candidates."

He also told us this is in -- in all his time in the Middle East, the FBI never got any reports about this.

OK. Tonight, though, we focus on the other Texas lawmaker making these claims. She's a Texas state representative. Her name is Debbie Riddle. She, in fact, was the one who first brought the idea to our attention when we had her booked on the show to talk about illegal immigration and the 14th Amendment.

Now, I hadn't heard of Louie Gohmert's claims yet when I interviewed Debbie Riddle on August 10. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Representative Riddle, you told my producer that pregnant women are coming here as tourists, having babies, and then going back home -- quote -- "with the nefarious purpose of turning them into little terrorists, who will then come back to the U.S. and do us harm." You said it's part of an organized terrorist element and could cost us lives. Where did you hear that?

DEBBIE RIDDLE (R), TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: That is information that is coming to my office from former FBI officials.

COOPER: What former FBI officials -- I mean, what evidence is there of some sort of long-term plot to have American babies born here and then become terrorists -- raised as terrorists overseas and then come back here?

RIDDLE: Well, at this point, I don't have the hard evidence right here in front of me.

However, this is something that is being talked about by various members of Congress. This is being looked into. This is an issue with not only folks coming across our southern border, with what is called anchor babies, and coming over for the entitlement programs and for that sort of thing, but I think that this is a lot more sinister issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, for days after that interview, we followed up with Riddle's office trying to get some evidence, but they never did back up her statements.

Now, we assumed Debbie Riddle wouldn't repeat her unproven claim. So, we were surprised to learn today that not only is Debbie Riddle still publicly saying this terror phenomenon is happening; she's now claiming that we ambushed her and were unfair to her on television.

Now, I got to tell you, I really try to be fair to all my guests. So, we decided to check her latest claims against the facts. Here's part of what we said about my interview with her at a forum this week run by "The Texas Tribune."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDLE: Oh, man. Does anybody know what getting blindsided means?

(LAUGHTER)

RIDDLE: Yes.

The -- when Anderson Cooper's office called my office and asked if I would come on, it was regarding illegal immigration and women coming across our southern border for the sole intent of giving birth here, so that the children would be little American citizens. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, that's her first complaint, that we said we were going to ask about one thing, then decided to ask about another.

Now, the truth is, we did talk in the interview about illegal immigration and so-called anchor babies and tourist babies and women coming here to give birth illegally. In fact, that was the part of -- that was part of the interview -- the second part of the interview. And you can check the transcript.

I did ask her first, though, about her statements on what we called terror babies, because it was completely unproven, and the only reason we knew of her belief, we knew about this whole phenomena, this claim, is because what Ms. Riddle herself told my producer, Jack Gray, before the program.

You see, on programs like this, on all TV shows, if possible, before a guest comes on, a producer pre-interviews the guest. They do it over the phone. And they take notes.

Now, these are Jack Gray's notes from the phone conversation. He types them as she speaks them. And while they may not be word for word, they're very accurate.

Here's what Ms. Riddle told Jack Gray. She said -- quote -- "We have" -- well, not quote -- it's not word for word, so I can't directly quote her -- but she said: We have two problems with babies born to illegal immigrants. We have women who sneak across the border illegally with the intent to give birth to children here, so that they could become little American citizens, which is exactly the phrase she used this week on the stage in Texas.

The other problem, she says, in her words, is tourism babies. We have women from Middle Eastern countries, she says, even China, who come over here, overstay their visas, and have their babies here, and then take their babies home with the nefarious -- again, her word -- nefarious purpose of turning them into little terrorists who will then come back to the U.S. and do us harm.

And she concluded by telling Jack, it's part of an organized terrorist element and could cost us lives.

Now, Ms. Riddle seems to have a completely different recollection of her conversation with Jack Gray.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDLE: And then, right at the end of the conversation, he said, do you know anything about these tourism babies? And I said, well, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terrorism babies?

RIDDLE: No, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tourism.

RIDDLE: Tourism babies. Terror babies was not my term. That was their term they made up, I guess, before we went on the air.

But he said, do you know anything about these tourism babies, women that come over on a tourist visa? And I said, yes, I'm familiar with it. I refer to it as vacation babies, because they come over ostensibly on a vacation.

And he said, how do you know about it?

And I said, well, I have got some friends, retired FBI folks. We have talked about it. And then there's been some things on TV.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, she says she said vacation babies, not tourism babies. Fair enough.

She and Jack had in fact been talking about women coming here, some of them on tourist visas, specifically to have babies who would become American citizens. But it was she who brought up the terror angle. She brought it up out of the blue.

I had never heard of it. Jack Gray had never heard of it. He didn't mention anything about it to her because he never heard about it. In fact none of us even -- or I didn't know that Louie Gohmert had talked about it before Ms. Riddle came on.

She goes further now, though, claiming that she was not used to being on TV, even though she's been in this office now for many years, and that we asked her about terror babies, and she didn't understand what we were talking about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDLE: When you are stuck in a room, a -- something about half the size of this stage, you are sitting there with this background, and there's no monitor, no TV. You can't see any body language. There's nothing you can see. All you are looking at is a black box and a thing stuck in your ear.

And then, all of a sudden, they are coming on with this terror baby thing, which I had never heard. It was like, what? And to be quite honest, it's a little bit like walking into a boxing ring and getting slammed in the face the first thing. And it takes you a minute to kind of get...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

RIDDLE: ... your footing and get your equilibrium back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: All right, remember, she's been a politician for years. She was booked on this program to debate with a Democratic lawmaker in Texas. So, she's certainly prepared or should have been prepared for tough questions.

And, again, she's the one who first mentioned to us this entire concept of future terrorist children.

Now, I can understand why she's now spinning a story and trying to look like a victim of a bully during the interview. She clearly was not expecting to be asked for proof of the claim that she made. She's probably used to making this claim and no one calling her on it. We did.

That's my job, to hold public officials accountable. Too often, I think we let them get away with stuff that -- saying stuff on TV that the facts don't support.

And, in that interview, she didn't have any facts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDLE: All of these issues, we need to look at, because this is a critical, critical issue for all of the American -- American public.

COOPER: But you have no actual evidence?

RIDDLE: Other than that coming from former FBI folks.

COOPER: Can you tell us who these former FBI folks are, and what evidence they have or what evidence they have shown you?

RIDDLE: At this point, I'm not going to reveal that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, she's never revealed that on or off the record to us, never let -- never -- never let us speak to any of these people, nor have Louie Gohmert.

We soon moved on in that interview to other issues related to illegal immigration and the 14th Amendment.

Now Ms. Riddle says she asked a local expert about the terror baby theory, though she doesn't use that term.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDLE: Dr. Addicott with Saint Mary university, he's an expert. He is the only one -- I think the only law professor in the nation that has -- has the facility that they teach -- What is it called? -- terror law.

That's what he teaches. And I visited with him at length on several occasions and asked him, do you think that I'm just nuts? Or is this a possibility?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

RIDDLE: And -- and even Dr. Addicott says that this is something that he thinks is serious, and we need to look into.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Again, FBI says it's not happening. They have no idea about it. Former FBI officials tell us the same thing.

We also called Dr. Addicott. He's never heard of any actual evidence of this phenomenon happening. He said, yes, it is possible it could happen. But given the timeline of 20 or so years to raise a terrorist from birth, he told us that it's at the bottom of his list of terror concerns.

He also said we he wouldn't make fun of someone who is concerned about it. And I think that's really an important point.

I'm not making fun of Debbie Riddle or Louie Gohmert. I'm not attacking them. They are both public officials. And I have respect for them and their positions.

But my job is to ask people for facts. Republicans, Democrats, it doesn't matter. If a person is spreading fear and falsehood, it's my job to call them on that. If they are calling for legislation based on a rumor or a story they have heard and can't back up with facts, that's important for all of us to know. Facts matter. The truth matters.

Ms. Riddle, who seems like a perfectly nice person, can go on all she -- on all the stages she wants now, and play the victim, and say I tricked her, but the bottom line is, she still has no evidence, and she shouldn't pretend that she does.

Let us know what you think. Join the live chat at AC360.com.

Up next: She rocked the primaries and defeated her Republican rival. Now Delaware's Christine O'Donnell faces her conservative fans, but also some new questions about campaign finances. We will talk to one woman whose group wants a criminal investigation.

Later: country superstar Trace Adkins on what he thinks conservative voters want.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRACE ADKINS, MUSICIAN: These people don't want compromise. They don't want their conservative leaders to reach across the aisle and work with the other party. They want them to leer across the aisle and give them the finger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, in just a few days, Delaware's Republican senatorial nominee, Christine O'Donnell, has been from virtual unknown, to campaign sensation, to Sarah Palin-style political celebrity. She spoke this afternoon to the Values Voters Summit in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), DELAWARE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Will they attack us? Yes. Will they smear our backgrounds and distort our records? Undoubtedly. Will they lie about us, harass our families, name-call and try to intimidate us? They will. There's nothing safe about it. But is it worth it?

CROWD: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

O'DONNELL: Well, let me ask you, is freedom worth it?

CROWD: Yes.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

O'DONNELL: Is America worth it?

CROWD: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

O'DONNELL: Are those unalienable rights worth a little alienation from the beltway popular crowd?

CROWD: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

O'DONNELL: I say, yes, yes, 1,000 times yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, she's talking about smears and distortions. And, certainly, a lot of liberals in the media are going after her, making fun of her, attacking her.

All we care about, though, tonight are facts. There's nothing partisan about it. We have done a lot of segments on allegations against Democrats, Charlie Rangel, recently about Eddie Bernice Johnson, and other Republicans as well.

So, with that said, we learned today that a nonpartisan group, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, are calling for the U.S. attorney in Delaware to launch a criminal investigation into Ms. O'Donnell's finances.

I want to bring in Melanie Sloan, who is the group's executive director.

So, why are you calling for a criminal investigation? MELANIE SLOAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: We went through Ms. O'Donnell's campaign finance records. And we're talking to one of her former campaign aides, someone you in fact had on last night, David Keegan.

And it turns out Ms. O'Donnell has treated her campaign funds like they are her very own personal piggy bank. She's used that money to pay things like her rent, her gas, meals, and even a bowling outing. And that's just flat-out illegal.

COOPER: But, I mean, we had the checks on the program last night. And it's a couple hundred dollars here, a couple hundred dollars there. Does it really amount to much of anything?

SLOAN: Well, by our count, it amounts to well over $20,000 in 2009 and 2010. And that's just the funds that we can look at and look at as clearly illegal.

The fact is, the Federal Election Commission needs to do an audit to find out all of the expenses that Ms. O'Donnell has claimed as campaign related, because it may well be that most them aren't.

For example, in 2009, Ms. O'Donnell wasn't a candidate for anything, yet she had numerous campaign expenses, things like travel and gas, and yet she had no actual campaign.

COOPER: We called, obviously, her spokesperson for comment. We didn't get a response back from them. And we haven't heard back from them yet. Obviously, we still continue to welcome that.

What is the likelihood -- I mean, what happens -- you have called for an investigation. What does that actually mean? What is the next step? And how long -- if the U.S. attorney decided to do this, how long would something like that take?

SLOAN: Well, it's hard to say. We are going to be sending him a letter on Monday. And we're filing a complaint there and with the Federal Election Commission.

We're saying that Ms. O'Donnell committed the crime of conversion by abusing her campaign funds for personal use. She made false statements on the forms she filed with the Federal Election Commission when she lied about some of her campaign expenditures.

And then she likely committed tax evasion by failing to declare the income from the campaign funds as personal income, since she used it for personal expenses. So, the U.S. attorney should start investigating. The FEC should investigate. But this could all take many months. And it won't be resolved before Ms. O'Donnell faces the voters in November.

COOPER: And to those of her supporters who no doubt will say, well, look, this is just a smear, this is just, you know, a liberal group from Washington trying to, you know, tarnish her because she's now, you know, in the running? SLOAN: Well, CREW's track record is clear. We're nonpartisan. We were on your show within the past couple of weeks talking about Eddie Bernice Johnson's problems, just for example. And we have certainly been out in front on Charlie Rangel's Maxine Waters'.

So, we look at both sides. We're just...

COOPER: You actually called for Charlie Rangel to step down.

SLOAN: Yes. We have called on him to resign.

We're about right and wrong, and not about black or white, Republican or Democrat. And it is flat-out wrong for a candidate for the U.S. Senate to be stealing her campaign funds and using them for personal use. And you don't have to just take CREW's word for it.

You have her former campaign aide, a self-described conservative, who is the one who brought this to our attention and who supplied an affidavit for us talking about, for example, the times in 2009 when she used campaign funds to pay her rent to this campaign aide's nephew, who bought her house in 2008, when it was about to be foreclosed upon.

COOPER: Even if the U.S. attorney in Delaware, though, believes this -- there's cause here for an investigation, that's a tough call for them to be investigating somebody. I mean, it looks political, no matter how you slice it.

SLOAN: Well, David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware, was in the U.S. attorney's office during the Bush administration. So, he's not, by any stretch of the administration, an Obama appointee.

And whether or not it looks political, it is up to the Department of Justice to keep our elected officials honest, to keep our candidates honest. And this goes to the very heart of our democracy. Everybody has to follow the same rules, Ms. O'Donnell included.

COOPER: Melanie Sloan, it's a fascinating time we're living in. I will continue -- we will continue to follow it. Thanks for being on. Appreciate it.

SLOAN: Thanks.

COOPER: Up next: rescuers striking pay dirt in a race to give miners in Chile a safe way out of their hole in the ground. We have got some welcome progress report to -- to bring to you from -- from the front line of this thing.

And later, "Crime & Punishment": the chilling video, a mom panicked, withdrawing $15,000 from a bank to pay the men holding her family hostage. This is the last time we saw this woman alive. We reported on this story last night -- new details tonight, a closer look at the alleged home invasion killers and what you should do in case something, a home invasion, happens to you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Good news to report on those trapped miners.

The rescuers in Chile who have been desperately trying to free the men, the 33 men who have been trapped underground now for a month- and-a-half, they made some real progress today. A bore hole dug by one of the emergency drills at the site actually reached the miners.

But, unfortunately, rescuers are still a long way from bringing them to the surface, because the hole actually needs to be widened in order to bring the men up, and that is not easy.

Karl Penhaul is in Chile this with "360 Dispatch."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to explain to you why this is significant, but why, of course, we can't shout victory just yet.

The plan B drill -- and you will remember that three drills are in place now trying to reach the miners from different angles -- now, the Plan B drill started drilling at two weeks ago. It already had an eight-centimeter bore hole to go down. That's what an eight- centimeter bore hole looks like.

And the Plan B drill was using that as a pilot hole. And that hole has now been widened. It's been widened to around 26, 28 centimeters. That is what 26, 28 centimeters looks like, and, of course, not yet wide enough to pull a man up through.

And so the challenge now in the coming days and weeks is to widen that hole to something that looks more like this, a hole that is around 66 to 70 centimeters wide. They will then put a cage in that. And then the miners will be pulled up in that cage.

Now, you will appreciate that, even at that width, it is a bit of a squeeze, but, nevertheless, the rescuers believe that all the miners will be able to fit in that kind of hole.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Amazing. We are going to continue to follow that.

We're also following some other important stories tonight.

Isha Sesay joins us with a 360 bulletin -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the parents of a Washington woman are as baffled as everyone. They say they don't know why their daughter, Bethany Storro, threw acid on her own face and then claimed that someone attacked her. The parents apologized for their daughter and said she will get counseling.

London police arrested six people today on suspicion of terrorism. Local news reports said the arrests were linked to a potential threat against Pope Benedict XVI, who is in London on a state visit. But police refused to confirm those reports.

Natalee Holloway's mother met this week with Joran van der Sloot, the young man long suspected in her daughter's disappearance in Aruba five years ago now. According to their attorneys, the meeting was brief and took place at a prison in Peru where van der Sloot is charged with the murder of a Peruvian woman.

And caught on tape in Florida, police say a father screaming at children on a school bus for picking on his daughter who suffers from cerebral palsy. The man was arrested and faces disorderly conduct charges. Police say he should have called them instead -- Anderson, a bad situation all the way around.

COOPER: Yes, God, a tough situation. I mean, wow. Hard to handle.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Isha, we will talk to you in about 20 more minutes for some more updates.

Still ahead, though: the home invasion horror in Connecticut that left three family members dead -- tonight, new incites on the men accused of the killings. It's tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report. We have got some fascinating information about their background and what led up to this horrific, horrific crime.

Also tonight, country superstar Trace Adkins joins us. He talks about a lot of things, politics, Sarah Palin, and whether she can become the next president of the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADKINS: No. Sorry. I love her to death, but I just don't think that she's -- I don't think she can win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A lot more to say in tonight's "Big 360 Interview" with Trace -- just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is not backing down. Just today she announced she'll run for re-election in November as a write-in candidate.

Obviously, you know, she lost the Republican nomination in Alaska's primary to Joe Miller, a candidate backed by the Tea Party and Sarah Palin.

When told of Murkowski's decision, the leader of the Tea Party Express says the senator doesn't get it. The voters were given a choice in the primary and chose Murkowski's opponent.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin, whose endorsements have been helping candidates win, was in Des Moines, Iowa, tonight rallying conservatives ahead of election day. She spoke at the Iowa Republican Party's Ronald Reagan Dinner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: If I were in hierarchy of leadership in the GOP to rally the troops, you know what I'd say? I'd say, "OK, folks. We've got 46 days to go."

I'd say, "DeMint, you're awesome. We need you down south. Mitt, go west. G.W., we need you to raise funds. Kristol, Krauthammer, you've got to go east. Alveda, Rush, go deep, go anywhere, everywhere. People are listening. Hannity, Levin, Beck, Michelle, Laura, Tammy, all y'all, we need everybody working together. Prater, Sol (ph)" -- I'm going to get in trouble for missing some names, so I better stop.

"And Karl. Karl, go to -- here. You can come to Iowa." And Karl Rove and the other leaders, who will see the light and realize that these are the -- this is the normal, hardworking patriotic Americans who are say, "No, enough is enough. We want to turn this around, and we want to get back to those time-tested truths that are right for America."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That was Sarah Palin earlier tonight.

Country superstar Trace Adkins has a couple of things to say about Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and politics, and a lot of other things. I spoke with him earlier for "The Big 360 Interview."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So Trace, what do you make of the success the Tea Party has had in the primaries this week with Christine O'Donnell beating the GOP candidate in Delaware?

TRACE ADKINS, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: What do I make of it? I think there are a lot of conservatives in this country that are really frustrated, and they're really teed off. And I don't think it has anything to do with Christine O'Donnell. I don't know Christine O'Donnell. But I know that Mike Castle was a moderate, and he got held accountable for some of those votes that he's made recently.

And that's going to be the story, I think, that's going to repeat itself over and over again. And I don't really think it matters which party you belong to. It's a bad year to be an incumbent. People are frustrated. People are angry. And they're going to hold -- if you have any ties to Washington, D.C., you need to cut them now.

COOPER: You said in the past that, if there was a viable third party in this country, you'd seriously consider joining it. I mean, do you thing the Tea Party movement fills that void? Do you think that is -- could become a viable third party? ADKINS: Not yet. I think it's just -- it is a movement. It's a lot of that have finally found a vehicle through which to vent some frustrations. But I don't really -- it's leaderless.

COOPER: My question about the Tea Party and what I -- I'm not sure about is, what happens as more -- as they sort of link themselves to more and more candidates, and those candidates get in governing positions?

You know, it's one thing to be angry about stuff and be critical of it. To actually be in those positions, then have to make sort of leadership positions and the kind of compromises, you know, people in government make all the time to get things actually done. Does that fracture it? Does that fracture the movement? Or are they able to stay unified? Are they able to continue growing and get stronger? And I don't know the answer to that.

ADKINS: Well, I don't think anybody does. But I do believe this, though. I think that compromise is what's costing some of those Republicans their jobs.

These people don't want compromise. They don't want their conservative leaders to reach across the aisle and work with the other party. They want them to leer across the aisle and give them the finger. They don't -- they don't -- that's what -- that's why these people are being voted out.

COOPER: Yes. You -- Sarah Palin was the keynote speaker tonight at Iowa's Republican -- Republican Party, the Ronald Reagan dinner there. Do you expect to see her run for president in 2012? Do you think she'll run?

ADKINS: I hope not.

COOPER: Why?

ADKINS: I hope not. I just -- I don't know. I just don't -- she can't win. She's become a punch line.

COOPER: You don't think there are enough people beyond the core group of supporters who would vote for her for president?

ADKINS: No. Sorry. I love her to death, but I just don't think that she's -- I don't think she can win.

COOPER: I know you've spoken out about the -- the whole mosque situation here in New York, the idea of building it near Ground Zero. You said it's a slap in the face.

Donald Trump, who you were on "Celebrity Apprentice," he came up with a solution, basically offering to buy the site himself. Do you think that would have been a -- do you think that's a good idea? Have someone come in, buy the site with some sort of deal that, you know, they'd build it somewhere else?

ADKINS: Well, was Trump going to build some kind of -- something that -- where they would worship him? Is that what he was going to do?

COOPER: I'm sure he would slap his name on it.

ADKINS: Knowing him, that's what he'd want.

COOPER: He would definitely slap his name on it.

ADKINS: That's what he wanted to do with it. Yes.

COOPER: That's what you learn...

ADKINS: He's always working -- he's always working that angle, man.

COOPER: Yes. That's what you learn by seeing him up close. I'm surprised he didn't slap his name on you somewhere.

ADKINS: He does. He does.

COOPER: You have...

ADKINS: I had a No. 1 -- my album -- my album was No. 1 a few weeks ago, and -- and he took credit for it. But that's good. That's all right.

COOPER: Did he really?

ADKINS: Yes. Sure he did.

COOPER: Trace, it's always good to have you on. Trace Adkins, thank you very much.

ADKINS: All right. It was my pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Really interesting guy. By the way, his new album, which he mentioned, is called "Cowboys Back in Town."

Programming note. Last week when we were doing a segment on the Florida Koran-burning controversy, I said that some of the victims of the attack on the World Trade Center were Muslim because, as has been widely reported, many were.

I mentioned some of those victims by name. But it turns out one in particular, a man by the name of Gary Shamay, was not Muslim. His family called us and asked us to set the record straight. So we are.

We learned a bit about Gary in the process. He was at the World Trade Center working as a computer programmer when the planes hit. People close to him say Gary had an amazing heart and could make friends with almost anybody. His warmth, his compassion and eagerness to learn is most missed by his surviving family, his dad, a brother and two half-brothers.

To them and to you, we truly regret our error, and I'm deeply, deeply sorry.

Up next, worried about his, quote, "criminal demon," those words in a letter from prison written by the -- well, one of the men accused of an unthinkable crime, a home invasion in Connecticut. The details on this ahead. What we now know about these two alleged killers.

Plus, what police are demanding from the pastor who called off that Koran burning when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We've been following the trial in Connecticut of one of the most disturbing crimes that we've seen in a long while. Two ex- cons accused of a home invasion that ended with the brutal murder of a Connecticut mother and her two daughters.

This is the video that is so chilling. It shows Jennifer Hawke- Petit scared, panicked, drawing $15,000 from a bank. She told the teller that two men were holding her family hostage, and one of them was waiting outside for her in the car. The bank teller called police.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a lady who is in our bank right now who says that her husband and children are being held at their house. The people are in a car outside the bank. She is getting $15,000 to bring out to them. That if the police are told, they will kill the children and the husband.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Police went to the house. Didn't move in, though, for more than 30 minutes. They watched the house. Nothing seemed unusual from the outside. We now, of course, know that inside a nightmare was unfolding. Mr. Petit was beaten with a baseball bat, then tied up in the basement. He survived. His wife was raped and strangled to death. One of his daughters also assaulted, and then the house was lit on fire. Both girls apparently died from the smoke.

Both men are on trial for their lives and face the death penalty. And tonight we asked Randi Kaye to investigate the accused: who they were and how they allegedly could have done such horrific things. Here's tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A hint of violence. A disturbing prediction of what might come, buried in this letter from prison.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "I need someone like you who knows a little about my past to keep me grounded in the future when my criminal demon start to wander."

KAYE: Joshua Komisarjevsky, now accused of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Haley and Michaela, was worried about his criminal demon. Days after the attack, we interviewed this woman, who told us she was a close friend. She asked us not to show her face but shared the letter she says he sent her from prison years before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Prison was a hard pill for me to swallow. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't get angry. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel the pain of being taken from my daughter."

KAYE: He writes about his dreams of becoming a real-estate developer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "My daughter needs me, and I can't accomplish my goals when I'm locked up."

KAYE: But now Komisarjevsky is back behind bars, awaiting trial on charges, including sexual assault and murder. He and his co- defendant, Steven Hayes, could get the death penalty. They've pleaded not guilty.

Komisarjevsky's attorney says the men had originally confessed, hoping to cut a deal for life in prison, but prosecutors didn't bite.

Police say Komisarjevsky followed Mrs. Hawke-Petit and one of her daughters home from the grocery store in July 2007 and chose them as his next victims. If that's true, and these men did kill the three family members, it doesn't fit their M.O.

(on camera) Neither suspect has ever been arrested for murder before, though they are hardly strangers to crime. In fact, between the two of them, they've been arrested nearly 50 times.

On Hayes' rap sheet, 27 arrests, including illegal possession of a firearm, burglary and forgery. Komisarjevsky's past is just as ugly: 20 arrests for burglary and larceny. Police say he sometimes used night vision goggles.

(voice-over) Both have served time in prison. But it was here at the Silliman (ph) Halfway House in Hartford, Connecticut, where they first met. They were roommates for four months. If they did do it, though, what might have driven them to sexually assault and strangle Jennifer Hawke-Petit and leave her two beautiful daughters to die in a fire they had set?

Forensic psychiatrist Helen Morrison has studied cases like this.

HELEN MORRISON, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: It appears that both of them were really consumed with rage at the unfairness of their lives, so to speak.

KAYE: Hayes, who is 47, lived on and off with his mother. He reportedly started drinking at 11 and dropped out of high school at 16. Newspaper reports say he has two children. He worked as a cook.

(on camera) Komisarjevsky's upbringing was far more privileged. He was adopted as an infant. His grandfather was a leading Russian theatrical director and the son of a princess. His grandmother, a well-known modern dancer.

A family friend told us his parents, born-again Christians, had trouble controlling him.

(voice-over) His friend told us that, just five days before the murders, Komisarjevsky was distraught over a breakup.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was really, really depressed.

KAYE: She said, if he did kill Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her girls, something snapped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He put the terror into these poor girls' hearts. He was the person that they spent their last hours in fear for their lives. And he left them to burn.

KAYE: A senseless act not even a history of crime can explain.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It's everyone's nightmare, of course, a home invasion. We want to examine both the police response but also what any of us should do in a similar situation.

Joining me now is Wally Zeins, a former New York Police Department hostage negotiator. Thanks very much. You were a hostage negotiate for, what, 20-some years?

WALLY ZEINS, FORMER NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR: Twenty-two years.

COOPER: Twenty-two years.

First of all, the police response. Ms. Petit had said at the bank that everything was OK. Had she said, "They're going to harm our family," you think the police might have been more...

ZEINS: That would have created an exigent circumstance where the police would have been told by their supervisor that "We have a crime in progress. We've got to move in now. There are life-threatening situations taking place."

COOPER: But as it was, is they thought everything is OK inside. They basically set up a perimeter and just kind of watched.

ZEINS: Right. You know, the name of the game is to set up a perimeter in a sense of cover and containment. Once you have that, you wait for the hostage negotiator, because you want -- that's the professional. That's the person that's going to get in there and start the dialogue between the hostage taker and the hostage.

COOPER: And we don't know if this small town, Cheshire, Connecticut. We don't know if they had a hostage negotiating team or had to call in one.

But when you look at that video of her at the bank, she did the right thing in telling the teller that this was going on?

ZEINS: Absolutely. She did everything right. She really did.

COOPER: Yes.

ZEINS: And, you know, the bank, they called 911, and they did say that she wasn't -- there was no harm taking place at the -- you know, at the time.

COOPER: Right.

ZEINS: But the police, you know, there's a chain of command. As a quasi military factor there that police have to listen to...

COOPER: Right. The captain on scene said don't go in. Set up this perimeter.

ZEINS: Right.

COOPER: What should -- I mean, you're watching this story you can't help but think, what would I do in this situation if someone bursts into my house and had my family. What should somebody do? What do you do?

ZEINS: There are a few things. One, first of all, you have to be patient. You have to also know it's going to take awhile. You have to understand that the first 10 to 30 minutes in a hostage situation is what we call panic reaction. That's where the hostage taker is getting organized. The hostages are getting organized. The police are responding. You have cover and containment. Everyone, it's fight or flight. So that's the toughest time. That's where most injuries or deaths happen.

The other thing, if you're taken hostage, let the hostage-taker know that you're on medication or you have a medical condition.

COOPER: Why?

ZEINS: Because they don't want a sick hostage. They don't want -- a sick hostage is the worst thing in the world.

COOPER: You know, in movies if you see their face, then you think, "Well, they're going to kill me." I mean, should you try not to look at them? Is that...?

ZEINS: No, you can look at them, but don't be -- don't be aggressive. Don't talk to them. You treat the hostage taker like royalty. The name of the game is he's in control, and he's the boss or she's the boss. And you listen.

Be observant. Be able to look around at what the place looks like. Look at the description of the hostage taker. Keep in mind, you may have to talk on the telephone to the police. And what you should always do is give yes and no answers to the police. Don't go into statements, because you don't know if it's multiple people in this situation that one of the hostages next to you could be also a hostage taker that's in there.

COOPER: You also say if you have something on your person that might set them off like a religious, you know, object, or a foreign passport, try to get rid of it.

ZEINS: Try to get rid of it. And, remember, you know, if they are going to come in, the police are going to come in and make any -- what we call a dynamic entry, stay low. Hit the ground. And if you're thinking of escaping, think twice.

COOPER: You don't think you should try to escape?

ZEINS: Absolutely not.

COOPER: Really? Why?

ZEINS: Well, because, one, it creates a problem. When I say don't escape, I'm talking about if you're in the same room with the hostage taker. As in the tragedy in Connecticut, the father was in the basement, and no one was there, and...

COOPER: He was able to get out.

ZEINS: ... he was able to get out.

COOPER: Because in his getting out is what first alerted them that there was a problem, because the next-door neighbor called the police because he heard the husband injured, calling for help.

ZEINS: Right. Correct. Correct. But it's, you know, it's -- hostage situations, you know, the name of the game is they change so fast. They can be going great, and all of a sudden, in a nanosecond, everything changes. It can change for the better or change for the worse.

COOPER: It is such a fascinating career. I'd love to hear more about your career. Maybe some other time. Wally Zeins, I appreciate you being on.

ZEINS: Thank you.

COOPER: Thank you so much.

Still ahead, the pastor who threatened to burn Korans on the anniversary of 9/11 will pay for his actions, literally. We'll explain that, ahead.

Plus, Oprah Winfrey, move over. We'll tell you who's the -- apparently, the new queen of daytime TV. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: All right. Let's get a quick update on some of the headlines. Isha Sesay joins us with another "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, BP now says the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico could be completely sealed by Saturday. Late last night, workers were able to intersect a relief well with the blown-out well. With pressure no longer an issue, they're now able to pump cement in to permanently plug the leak.

The city of Gainesville, Florida, plans to fine Pastor Terry Jones for security expenses after his threat to burn Korans on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The estimated price tag? More than $180,000.

President Obama has named Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren as the person in charge of getting the government's new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau going. The office was her idea. She will report to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

And Anderson, for the first time since 2000, "Oprah" is not the top-rated show in daytime TV. That honor now belongs to "Judge Judy." This last season, "Judge Judy" averaged 6.5 million viewers, beating "Oprah" by 600,000 viewers on average.

Did you know she's a 67-year-old grandmother with about 11 grandkids?

COOPER: Yes. The whole judge show concept, I don't really get very much. To me, I mean, Oprah is, you know, an amazing -- amazing person. So I don't care that her ratings have dropped a little bit. She's still queen of television in my book.

SESAY: What I will say is that Judge Judy is working at 67 and at that age, I hope to be doing pottery or something. Not exactly work. But that's just me.

COOPER: She holds another honor, Judge Judy does. She is tonight's "Shot." I don't know if you've seen this online. A new wave of videos starring her has gone viral. The title says it all. It's called "Half-speed Judge Judy." It's basically Judge Judy shows at half speed. And it's a whole new way of looking at the program. This is from YouTube. Slo-Mo Judge Judy takes on the case of the broken toilet.

SESAY: Oh, right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All parties in the matter of Reed vs. Law step forward, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suing her former friend for breaking her toilet, when she sat on it.

JUDGE JUDY SHEINDLIN, "JUDGE JUDY": Toilets break. I had one just break at my apartment last week. It cost me $650 to put in a new toilet. You'd think I went around to try to find the last person who sat on it? Stupid. Grow up. That's all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: "Half-Speed Judge Judy." I just watched it. I think it's so funny. There's a bunch of them online.

SESAY: I think it's fabulous. Judge Judy in a whole new light. And that...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got Us Thinking.

COOPER: Uh-oh.

SESAY: Oh, yes it did. It's Friday night. And we thought, hmm, what would Anderson look like if we did the same thing to him? See for yourself.

COOPER: I see.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: She has no -- a lot of money in the coffers and more is going to be pouring in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I sound like I'm holding someone hostage and, like, I'm trying to alter my voice.

SESAY: You sound like Darth Vader.

COOPER: Yes. Yes. That's not a good -- Judge Judy is funny. I don't know why I'm not funny at half speed.

SESAY: You're funny, Anderson.

COOPER: You think I am?

SESAY: Yes. We just need to work on it.

COOPER: Are you laughing with me or laughing at me?

SESAY: Oh. Always with you, of course.

COOPER: I hear you're going to be off like two weeks. Where are you going?

SESAY: I am off to Lagos, Nigeria, for CNN International. But I'll be back. Don't worry, I'll bring you a present.

COOPER: OK. Have a great time.

SESAY: You can send me an e-mail.

COOPER: Have a great time in Lagos, and we look forward to your return.

SESAY: Thanks, Anderson. See you soon.

COOPER: All right. A lot more at the top of the hour. Serious stuff. Keeping a lawmaker honest about her claims about pregnant women coming here to give birth to future terrorists. We'll explain ahead.