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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Justice Department to Investigate Possible Leaks; President Obama's Economic Gaffe; Texas Shooter Argues Self-Defense
Aired June 8, 2012 - 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: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.
Good evening, everyone. We begin tonight with breaking news.
We have just learned that Attorney General Eric Holder has assigned two U.S. attorneys to lead investigations into the possible leaking of state secrets, classified information. Pressure had been building over the alleged leaks. Senator John McCain has claimed White House officials leaked information about U.S. counterterrorism efforts overseas to boost Mr. Obama's national security credentials. Some Democrats have agreed.
The leaks resulted in a wave of recent news reports. Well, today, President Obama once again denied the White House deliberately leaked state secrets.
Chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin is joining us now with the breaking news.
So the administration has been feeling -- clearly feeling bipartisan pressure for several days now, Jessica, on these leaks. What do we know?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
Well, look, it's a time-tested Washington strategy. Leak unpleasant news on a Friday night and hope the media is out drinking and too busy to pay attention. But the president also -- I'm joking a little bit, but the president also was under a lot of pressure after his answers at a press conference today when he didn't definitively say whether or not the administration was investigating these leaks.
Here's the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: There are leak investigations going on now, is that what you're saying...
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I'm saying is, is that we consistently, whenever there is classified information that is put out into the public we try to find out where that came from. All right?
Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: Now Anderson, the president -- some on the Hill have, as you say, accused the White House of deliberately leaking the information to make the president look like a strong commander in chief in an election year.
And the White House has emphatically denied that charge. The question is, was anybody in the administration involved in sharing any of this information? And that's what this investigation is helping to get to the bottom of -- Anderson.
COOPER: I mean, clearly, if you read some of these reports, there was this article in "The New York Times" about the program, the computer virus used against Iran. It does quote administration officials, whether or not they were leaking classified information. I guess that's what investigators will look into.
Now, some on Capitol Hill, Senator McCain among them, had called for basically an independent investigation, a special counsel to be appointed. Clearly, the White House is not going down that road. Do you think this is going to satisfy critics on the Hill who say that the White House -- the Justice Department should not be investigating the White House?
YELLIN: Well, there are some who are probably not going to be satisfied.
But this is according to Attorney General Holder standard procedure at this point. And what you have at this stage are two very senior prosecutors who are investigating them. Each is a U.S. attorney.
There's Ronald Machen, who was nominated by President Obama, a Democrat, who is leading one of the investigations. But the other investigation is being led by a man named Rod Rosenstein. And he was appointed by George W. Bush originally. And he actually at one point served with Ken Starr.
You remember him because he helped investigate Whitewater and the Monica Lewinsky affair, so hardly a Democrat, hardly neutral guy -- not somebody you could say is going to be in the president's back pocket. Both are graduates of Harvard Law School, interestingly, because the president was as well.
And Attorney General Eric Holder has said that he has notified members of Congress about this investigation, but will continue to update them, both members of the Intel Committee, Intelligence Committee,and the Judiciary Committee. So that should satisfy some members of Congress who do insist on being kept abreast of these sorts of things, Anderson.
COOPER: You have been covering the White House now for a while. How seriously is the White House taking this? How bad -- how much do they worry about this as having blowback on the president?
YELLIN: Well, look, this administration points out, and it's true, that they take leaks seriously. And they have actually investigated and prosecuted more leakers than other administrations.
COOPER: In fact, in all other administrations combined. They have I think six ongoing cases.
YELLIN: Right, and they take a lot of heat from the left for it, because it's not something that you expect from a Democratic administration.
So, they say they take it seriously. And the president pointed that out today, that he has zero tolerance for this. The thing about these sorts of investigations is, once they start, you never know where they lead and how long they last. So the political implications could be potentially damaging for this administration in an election year.
And I would also finally add this has not been a good week for the president, not just this leak story, but he had disappointing jobs numbers. He had all sorts of political damage with the campaign this week. So, it's just been a tough one for the president. I think he will be glad for the weekend to come, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, and a difficult day.
Jessica, stick around, because we want to talk to you more about that in just a moment.
Another "Keeping Them Honest" report now. president Obama really gave Republicans what some are calling a gift when he said this at the Friday press briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The private sector is doing fine.
Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don't have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in -- in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, Republicans were quick to pounce on those first five words that the president said. "The private sector is doing fine."
Within hours, they surfaced in a Republican National Committee Web ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The private sector is doing fine. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Mitt Romney and other leading Republicans also jumped on President Obama's use of those words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He said the private sector is doing fine. He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that out of touch?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, Mr. President, I used to run a small business. Mr. President, take it from me. The private sector is not doing well.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: We just listened to the president say that the private sector is doing fine. And my question would be to the president, are you kidding? Did he see the job numbers come out last week?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Romney also attacked President Obama for calling for more stimulus money to hire state and local government workers. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Democrats quickly jumped on Mitt Romney for specifying firemen, policemen and teachers as workers we don't need more of. By the way, in Wisconsin, we should point out, Governor Walker specifically kept firefighters and police from seeing the same cuts many others in the public sector face.
Now, as for President Obama, the White House clearly aware that saying the private sector is doing fine was giving ammunition to the president's opponents and the president later clarified his remarks. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The economy is not doing fine. There are too many people out of work. The housing market is still weak and too many homes underwater.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: To be fair, when the president took office, the economy was in the basement. It's true. More than four million jobs were created since he took office.
You can decide for yourself how much credit he should get. It's also true that private sector corporate profits are at an all-time high, according to government reports.
But "Keeping Them Honest," here are some other facts. Last month, the private sector added just 82,000 jobs, far fewer than was expected and less than the 87,000 in April and the 147,000 in March. Job growth is slowing down and unemployment rose to 8.2 percent last month.
A lot to talk about.
Joining me now once again, CNN chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin and political contributors Paul Begala and Ari Fleischer.
COOPER: So, Jessica, the president says the private sector is doing fine, then comes out later clarifies the remarks. How big of a gaffe do you think this is for the president?
YELLIN: Well, Anderson, remember when John McCain said in the 2008 election the fundamentals of the economy are strong and then candidate Obama hammered him mercilessly for it, saying he was out of touch and he rode that all the way to the victory.
It's not going to be that kind of level of gaffe, because President Obama hasn't demonstrated repeated instances of being totally out of touch. What it's done is gotten him off message. This press conference was intended to let the president take the offensive, to let him say that it's the Republicans in Congress who are responsible for these jobs -- the disappointing jobs numbers we just saw and he was trying to get the Republicans in Congress to take action on his jobs bill.
COOPER: The president's critics say that the president is out of touch and that this is another example of that. Do you think it's similar to that John McCain comment?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it's about a 2.0 on the McCain Richter scale of gaffes, Anderson.
It was clearly a mistake. We know that because he went in and cleaned it up. He's created -- he hasn't -- the American economy and the private sector has created 4.3 million jobs in the last 27 months, since the recession ended. That's not good enough. But it's an awful lot better than in the last recession in the last Republican presidency, the last presidency we have had.
In a similar period, we only created about 1.7 million jobs. Now, I can't remember the name of that guy, but he was a terrible president, the Republican before president, just dreadful.
So he's got an argument to make. What's interesting is Mitt Romney answered it with a gaffe of his own. He attacked President Obama for saying we need more teachers, cops and firefighters. COOPER: Ari, I want to go to you know. We will get to what Mitt Romney said afterward. But let's just focus first on what President Obama said.
I mean, do you give him a pass on this or do you think this is a sign that he's out of touch?
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, I think the only difference between this and what John McCain said is President Obama has the advantage of having said it in June, when fewer people are watching. John McCain said it in September or October, when it was in the middle of an intense campaign.
But I think the bigger trouble here not so much in touch, out of touch, as much as it is an ongoing pattern of dismissiveness of the private sector. The president basically said, oh, those rich people, they are just doing fine. He just seems to have that lifelong approach from the days of his being a community organizer to being a state senator to being the president.
COOPER: Ari, couldn't you also interpret it as private sector is making record profits right now, so he's saying they're doing fine. It's the public sector where government can actually do something do in the short term?
FLEISCHER: But, Anderson, that's also part of the president's misunderstanding of how the private sector works.
The reason so many corporations are sitting on their cash is because they're so worried about Obamacare and its impact on their bottom line, the tax hikes that are scheduled to go in place on January 1, and the president's overall anti-business, anti-corporate environment.
People are worried more taxes, more regulations are coming down on them, so they're being cautious and sitting on their cash.
YELLIN: Anderson, in point of fact, it was said inartfully, but what he meant to say is that the part of the economy where jobs are being added most -- where jobs are being lost is the part where government can make the most difference.
It's an argument against austerity. And he is saying it's astonishing to him that Congress won't do something to help government add more teachers' jobs, add more police officers, add more firefighters. This is about a fundamental difference about the role of government. He does not believe in austerity at this time, while Republicans do. And he's saying Republicans should do something to add more jobs.
FLEISCHER: But, Jessica, that's not what he said.
COOPER: Ari, go ahead.
FLEISCHER: That's just not what he said.
(CROSSTALK) YELLIN: It's what he believes and it is what he said. He said it inartfully, no doubt. I mean, it was a gaffe, but we have heard him say it many, many times. Ari, you have heard him say it.
FLEISCHER: I have heard him be very dismissive of the private sector many times and I think that's the same remarks he was making today.
FLEISCHER: That's one of the fundamental drags on the economy. That's one of the reasons his policies aren't working. His policies and his rhetoric are suppressing job creators in this country who fear what's next.
COOPER: So, Paul, then to Romney's point, Romney makes this statement which I'm wondering if he's going to now clarify that a few hours from now, because he comes forward and says the president's talking about hiring more teachers and policemen and firemen. We need to be cutting government. That's the message we learned in Wisconsin, that the American taxpayers want.
It's rare -- do you think that was a gaffe or do you think that was just kind of politically incorrect honesty? Because it's rare that -- people talk about cutting government, but rarely do they specify, you know, teachers and firemen and -- or at least firemen and -- firefighters and policemen.
BEGALA: Right. It could be that Romney is just being consistent.
When he was in business, he laid off private sector workers. Now he wants to be president and he wants to lay off public sector workers. And he did say -- he finished that quote -- and I want to read it exactly. He said: "It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."
That's a really interesting notion, that fewer cops, fewer teachers, fewer firefighters will help the American people. He would be better as a rhetorician if he left it to government in the abstract, as you suggest, and not just to specifically teachers and cops and firefighters.
If I had as many mansions as Mitt Romney did, I would want a lot of firefighters out there. I mean, I don't want any ill to happen to any of his many mansions, but he benefits from firefighters more than most of us.
COOPER: Ari, this was obviously a gift to the Democrats, who wanted to get the focus off what President Obama said earlier today, but do you think this was a gaffe on Mitt Romney's part or do you think he's right?
FLEISCHER: It would have been stronger of course if he had said it just about the government workers, but that was his point. He said more workers. He didn't say fewer or less, or he's going to fire, as Paul is inventing. He said more.
And the issue here is, as Jessica pointed out, philosophical. President Obama believes that the way you grow our economy is by having the government find more reasons to hire more people. Mitt Romney believes the way you grow the economy is by having a private sector thrive so it can hire more people. I think that's the philosophical difference what came out today between what the president said and what Mitt Romney said and at the end of the day, Mitt Romney ends up a huge winner as a result of this.
COOPER: Paul, do you think Mitt Romney ends up the winner today?
BEGALA: No. I think that -- first off, it's June and it is just a wash.
But the argument is going to be this. Whose side are you on? Right? And both of these guys have their elitist streaks. Sometimes, the president can be very professorial and I think that ends to be off- putting. Sometimes, like always, Mitt Romney can have this sort of Marie Antoinette syndrome where he seems to insult working people, like he did today, teachers, cops and firefighters.
COOPER: Paul, by the way, I love that your big insult of the president is that he's professorial, and Mitt Romney, he's Marie Antoinette.
BEGALA: Yes. Well, I'm a public school guy. I'm a state school guy.
COOPER: Really equal there though on the criticism.
COOPER: But go on, Paul.
BEGALA: He can -- the president can be a little ethereal at times. It's true.
But Romney, if it's about the out of touch thing, like I say, neither of them are like Joe Biden, who is actually I think really great on middle-class kind of cred.
But if it's about who you would rather like hang out with, I don't think Romney is going to succeed there.
COOPER: All right. It's been a fascinating day.
Paul Begala, Ari Fleischer, thank you.
Jessica Yellin, as well, thanks.
COOPER: Well, let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. What do you think about the president's remarks, about Mitt Romney's remarks today? Let us know.
There are new and important images out of Syria tonight, video you will not see anywhere else of a doctor and his staff of volunteers risking their lives to save civilians and others in a city under siege. We're going to show you what they're up against. The images speak truth to all the lies coming from Bashar al-Assad and his regime -- a CNN exclusive next.
COOPER: Hey, welcome back, the latest on Syria now.
We have gotten some video that we're going to show you in a moment. It was taken by a journalist named Robert King, who has risked his life to bring it to you. And the video shows you really in a way we haven't seen before the horror, the everyday horror that people in some parts of Syria are facing.
Now, we have cut down the video, because some of it is so gruesome, we didn't even think we could show it to you. It shows kids who have been cut apart, blown open by shelling, shot by snipers.
Now, we want you to see this video because, for all of the talk and all the statistics and all the debates over what, if anything, can and should be done to stop the slaughter in Syria, this is the reality, men and women and children dying.
Some of them are fighters, yes. Some of them are simply kids, some simply people who have demonstrated for freedom. In Homs today, more shelling by government forces, at least 40 people killed across Syria in the last 24 hours alone, according to activists. That of course follows the alleged killing of 78 people earlier this week, mostly women and children, which, of course, followed the alleged killing of more than a hundred people two weeks ago in Houla, again, mostly women and children.
Of course, the dictator, Bashar al-Assad, denies all of this, blames the recent bloodshed on terrorists. He also says his forces don't kill civilians. They're just fighting terrorists.
There are concerns of course about rising involvement by jihadists in the fighting in Syria, but this fight began with peaceful protests, not -- it wasn't begun by jihadists and not by terrorists, but by regular Syrians who had had enough. They began demonstrating 15 months ago, calling simply for reforms. Their peaceful protests were met with bullets and batons, tear gas and tanks.
And the bloodshed has become such a daily occurrence, that many no longer want to even pay attention to it. Many people don't even cover it anymore. And I understand that, but we ask you to just pay attention for just a few minutes tonight, because the only thing worse I think than children being murdered is children being murdered and no one stopping to even pay attention, to learn their names or to learn the stories or the loss that their families feel.
These images taken by photojournalist Robert King, who has repeatedly risked his life to document the truth of what's happening right now in Syria. These images were taken in a makeshift clinic in the city in al-Qusayr in Homs province, a place under siege for months.
Very few supplies get into this clinic, and as a result, people who are injured and sick, but might be saved, those people are dying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Dr. Kasen (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Kasen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm working in the hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This regime is a terrorist regime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doctor, what has happened here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, the army of Assad. You see this child? They are a terrorist?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They cannot go to any hospital in Syria. They will kill the wounded.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even the children?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even the children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are every day very busy. If not -- wounded, we have more patients.
Look at this child. Is he a terrorist or a fighter? Why they shooting him? (INAUDIBLE) They see he is not a fighter, not old man, not young man. He's a 6 year only with severe injury in stomach and the liver and the kidney. What he did for this, our regime? The sniper, I think he see this is the child. Why is he shooting him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will he survive?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think God will help us and him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hospital just got hit by a rocket. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cannot stay in the same place for a long time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why can't you stay in the same place? Why do you have to keep relocating your hospital?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they will bomb it, attack it, and they will try to catch us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you worried for your own life?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. If I will die when I help people, it is good for me, because I am a doctor. I must to -- help people, especially in this very catastrophic time.
After the revolution, before the revolution, during the revolution, I will help people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Life and death in a makeshift clinic in Syria, those images taken by Robert King, again, who has risked his life to shoot that video.
I spoke to him earlier today from inside Syria.
COOPER: The video that you have taken in this field hospital is probably some of the most -- I don't even know the adjective to -- I mean, horrific video that I have seen. And it really gives you a sense of just the chaos in these makeshift clinics and the struggle that these doctors are going under.
Obviously, a lot of the people wounded are men who are involved in the fighting or Free Syrian Army. But we're seeing -- you're seeing so many children. Have you seen children who are actually shot by snipers, directly targeted? Or are most of them just unintended victims of shelling?
ROBERT KING, WAR PHOTOGRAPHER: No, I have seen at least two to three children that have been directly targeted by snipers.
COOPER: I remember being in Sarajevo doing the siege in Sarajevo. And over the years, people would get angry after a while of reporters who had taken pictures for years, and yet they felt like nothing was actually changing. Do people there feel like the world has abandoned them?
KING: There are just not that many journalists here anymore, where, in Sarajevo, there was a lot more journalists, a lot more coverage.
Now, in this war, the reaction is the same. There's a lack of response. The difference is that there is real -- no international media presence. And, in some regards, you're it, Anderson. I mean, you're the only one that I'm aware of that's continually broadcasting these war crimes from this area. And I'm not saying it just because I'm speaking with you. I can't even move my pictures. It's amazing.
COOPER: I think the thing -- and you and I talked about this the last time -- none of us can pretend that we don't know what was happening. None of us can say, well, I didn't know. I didn't know how bad it was, because you are there and because activists have trained their cell phone cameras on this. We know what is happening there.
I watched the entire -- all the video that you shot. We have shown three or four minutes of it. I watched all 10 minutes of it. And it's -- I mean, I have seen a lot of stuff, and I have never seen such -- you know, children with their guts hanging out, with very little medical care that -- to treat them.
I don't know what more people need to see in order to be roused into some sort of reaction.
KING: I can't believe it. The Syrian people don't want military intervention from NATO. They would like NATO to bomb the Syrian positions. But they don't want boots on the ground. They would like weapons to conduct a fair fight. The doctors would like to be able to honor their oath and they would like to have proper supplies to save lives.
COOPER: Bad things happen all the time. And I think it's one thing to be -- to have -- to be murdered and to be killed in a conflict. And that's horrible enough. It's another to have the world know about it and see it and still turn away and to not even know the names of those who have died, to not even hear their stories or pay attention to their suffering.
And it seems like that's what's happening right now. People are aware of what's happening, but the world is not paying attention.
KING: No, the world is a very complacent place right now. The lack of curiosity, concern, for their fellow humans is appalling.
COOPER: You're risking your life to give these people a voice and to try to tell their story. And I thank you for that. And I thank you for talking with us tonight and sharing your pictures with us.
KING: Thank you so much, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, we hope he remains safe. A lot of journalists have died covering this.
A victory for 9/11 responders to tell you about coming up -- the federal government agreeing to expand the list of illnesses it will pay for, illness afflicting so many of them. We have the update ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: A Texas man on trial in the shooting death of his neighbor claims self-defense, that he was standing his ground in the face of fear. He recorded the entire confrontation. We're going to show it to you. You can decide for yourself who's right.
COOPER: We're following other stories tonight. Susan Hendricks has a "360 News Bulletin" -- Susan
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have a 360 follow, good news for the first responders following the September 11 attack and became sick. The federal government has agreed to add certain cancers to the list of illnesses that will be covered by government insurance programs.
The CDC says that 14 people in six states have been sickened with a strain of E. coli in the last few months alone. And one toddler may have died because of it in Louisiana. Nearly all of the illnesses were reported across the south. The cause of the outbreak is still unknown.
Take a look at this. Excavations in Bulgaria have unearthed tombs of people who were apparently suspected vampires. Two skeletons show that the deceased were stabbed through the heart with an iron rod.
HENDRICKS: These tombs are about 700 years old, Anderson, drawing tourists now to Bulgaria to see it for themselves.
COOPER: That's cool. Interesting. Susan, thanks.
Time now for "The Shot." Father/daughter dances always special. This one has gone viral on YouTube with nearly a million hits. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This is Mike Hanley and his daughter Jessica showing off their moves, surprising guests at her -- at her bat mitzvah. Goes on for about five minutes long. Yes.
HENDRICKS: You know he's the most popular dad in the room there.
COOPER: There's no doubt. We wish her a happy bat mitzvah.
Coming up, a serious story that raises a lot of questions. A man films himself, videotapes himself in his neighbor's driveway and then opens fire while he's on the phone with 911. He was the only one armed. He's claiming self-defense. It's basically a stand-your- ground case. You can watch for yourself and judge for yourself next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Welcome back. The massacre at Fort Hood killed 13 people, injured dozens more. Today the judge delayed the hearing because the suspect violated military rules. Details when we continue.
COOPER: In tonight's "Crime & Punishment," ever since George Zimmerman shot and killed Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the so-called stand your ground laws have been under increased scrutiny. Well, the case of Raul Rodriguez in Texas is another example.
The retired firefighter is on trial for the shooting of an elementary schoolteacher in the victim's own driveway. Rodriguez claimed self- defense under the state's law that permits deadly force when someone believes they're in danger.
Now the confrontation was over a noise complaint. Basically his neighbor was having a party. Texas law does allow people to protect themselves outside their homes if they feel their lives are threatened. But Rodriguez was the only one armed, and prosecutors said he used specific buzz words during the confrontation to make sure he'd have a case. So does he have a case?
We're going to put that question to our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, in a moment. What makes this so different is the entire thing was videotaped by Rodriguez, even the shooting. Here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (VOICE-OVER): When Raul Rodriguez showed up at his neighbor's house to complain about noise from a loud party, he was armed, not just with a gun, but a flashlight, a cell phone connected to 911 operators. And a video camera.
RAUL RODRIGUEZ, ON TRIAL FOR SHOOTING: That was more than 85 decibels. I'm 200 feet away.
KAYE: It was May 2010, and the retired firefighter had been calling Harris County police all night, complaining about a rowdy party. Frustrated, he confronts his neighbor, Kelly Danaher, and some of his buddies on the driveway.
RODRIGUEZ: Will you turn that down, please?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you?
RODRIGUEZ: I live over here. Turn it down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, don't go hollering at me, buddy.
KAYE: The video lasts about 20 minutes. Over and over you hear Rodriguez tell the men to stop or he'll shoot.
RODRIGUEZ: I ain't going nowhere. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you're going somewhere.
RODRIGUEZ: You need to stop right there. Don't come any closer, please. I said stop. I said stop right now or I will shoot you. Stop! Get back!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up, Kelly.
RODRIGUEZ: I'm in fear for my life. Y'all are drunk, get away from me!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The men at Danaher's house appear unarmed, but still, Rodriguez, who has a license to carry a concealed weapon, repeatedly tells the 911 operator he fears for his life.
RODRIGUEZ: It's just me against everybody. I've got a -- I've got -- look, there's about 15 people here. Look, I'm in fear for my life now. That's why I drew my weapon. I'm in fear for my life. Please help me now. They're going to kill me. Oh Jesus, they're going to kill me. I smell liquor.
KAYE: The men shout at Rodriguez, and Rodriguez tells police the partygoers want to quote, "beat me down."
RODRIGUEZ: And so I'm running the video camera right now, and I'm talking to you. And I'm scared to death here.
KAYE: At some point one of the men seems to hint at getting his own weapon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I go in that house and I come back, don't think I won't be equal to you, baby.
RODRIGUEZ: OK, they're going to escalate this. They're talking about getting something to shoot me with. I'm going to have to defend myself. I'm going to have to defend myself.
KAYE (on camera): While it may seem a bit odd to bring a gun to resolve a noise complaint, Rodriguez still may be able to defend himself using Texas' version of the stand-your-ground law, known as the Castle (ph) Doctrine. It says a person can use force if that person feels as though his or her life is in danger.
So what happens in the next few moments on that video is key. Rodriguez uses very specific language, phrases like, "I'm standing my ground," and "my life is in danger." Listen closely.
RODRIGUEZ: It's about to get out of hand, sir. Please help me. Please help me, sir. My life is in danger now. He's about to -- he says he's going to go in the house and he's going to come out. He's going to be more than equal to me. Now I'm standing my ground here. Now these people are going to try to kill me.
KAYE (voice-over): Then suddenly shots fired.
RODRIGUEZ: Look I'm not losing with these people anymore. I'm just going to tell them to stay back. They're drunk.
KAYE: And that's where the video ends. But we know the shooting continued. Three of the partygoers are shot. Two survive. But Kelly Danaher, the young father and elementary schoolteacher hosting the party, is dead.
Raul Rodriguez says he's not guilty of murder. And he's hoping this grainy video will prove he acted in self-defense and never planned to kill.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: So Rodriguez's attorney says the video that we just saw proves his client was acting in self-defense. I mean, does he have a case?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he can make the argument. I don't think it does. First of all, it's just one of the craziest videos I've ever seen. Because he is mouthing the words that have been legally applied under that statute.
We're familiar with the stand your ground law in Florida because of the Trayvon Martin case. This is the Castle Law, a similar law in Texas, which is like a man's home is his castle.
First of all, he's not at his home. He's several doors down. Rodriguez goes and initiates this confrontation.
COOPER: And initiates it with a cell-phone camera, or video camera, a gun and a flashlight. He is -- he's documenting the entire thing.
TOOBIN: He's documenting the entire thing.
Now his attorney is saying, well, why would he document it if it proves his guilt? I mean, I think some people just do stupid things. And I think that's one reason why he did it.
But I think more importantly, you know, just because you say you're in fear and just because you say you're defending yourself doesn't mean that a jury is going to believe that's actually the case.
COOPER: Does this have parallels to the Trayvon Martin case?
TOOBIN: I think it does. Because the law is similar. Now, obviously, the facts are quite different. And most importantly, we don't have a video of the confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin.
TOOBIN: Here, when most importantly, you see a guy with his hands up. And that, I think, is highly significant in terms of who's the aggressor here. COOPER: I mean, he arrived at this guy's house with the gun and with the camera, as we said. And with the flashlight. Before this law, the Castle Law in Texas, the stand your law, would that have been premeditated murder?
TOOBIN: I don't think it would have been premeditated, but I think his self-defense claim would have been just totally preposterous.
It is true that people claiming self-defense do a lot better now under the stand-your-ground or Castle Laws. But they don't always get acquitted. And I think this situation is so egregious that -- and particularly because he's not at his own house.
COOPER: He could have retreated to his own house.
TOOBIN: He could have retreated with great ease. He never could have not initiated the conversation in the first place.
And remember, what causes this all is a noisy party. So it's not exactly a life-threatening situation where you need to bring a gun in the first place. So I think all the surrounding circumstances make a weak defense for Rodriguez.
COOPER: So you think -- you don't think he has a case?
TOOBIN: It sure doesn't seem that way to me. But you know, you're talking about a jury. If juries are really -- want to embrace the notion of self-defense, he could get acquitted.
COOPER: We're going to watch it. It's fascinating. Jeff, thanks.
Let me know what you think. You think it was self-defense? Let me know on Twitter, @AndersonCooper.
Hunting down suspected child pornographers and rescuing their victims. That's next on the program.
HENDRICKS: Anderson is back in a moment. I'm Susan Hendricks with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."
Eighteen victims of child pornography are safe tonight. They were rescued during a series of raids led by federal agents who arrested 190 people throughout the U.S. and several other countries, as well.
A military judge delayed a pretrial hearing for Major Nidal Hassan because of the suspect's beard, a violation of military grooming standards. Hassan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding dozens more during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in 2009. His court- martial is scheduled for August.
The charity auction for lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett ends tonight. Bidding on eBay has topped $500,000. It could go much higher, though, in the final minutes. Last year's winner shelled out more than $2 million to dine with Buffett. And disappointing news. Triple crown hopeful I'll Have Another is out of tomorrow's Belmont Stakes and will never race again. The winner of this year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes has a leg injury, and sadly, the colt's career is over.
Hand it back to Anderson.
COOPER: A programming note to tell you about. CNN's Fareed Zakaria, he's got a new primetime special. It's going to air this Sunday, looking at what's wrong with the American immigration system and how to try to fix it.
One of the hottest issues is the impact immigrants have on America's labor market. Fareed sat down with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, who is also a co- architect of Arizona's staunch immigration law. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: What about whole industries like in California, agriculture and parts of the southwest, construction, that do rely on these workers, and that don't find it easy to replace them? It hasn't been easy to find American citizens who were willing to pick fruit in 110-degree weather.
KRIS KOBACH, KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE: Replace them at what cost? The employers will never say, "Well, we tried raising wages by $5 an hour. And then we found American" -- they don't do that. If you raised the wages...
ZAKARIA: Wouldn't make those businesses uncompetitive?
KOBACH: no. Not if all businesses are -- in that industry are facing an equal increase in the cost of labor.
ZAKARIA: But the real competition is from abroad.
KOBACH: Not so much in, I think, in agriculture.
ZAKARIA: Sure it is.
KOBACH: Less of a -- less of a factor.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: It's fair to say that Americans would do virtually any job. You'll always find somebody.
Unfortunately, the customers who are going to pay for those workers aren't going to pay those prices. So it's a ridiculous argument to make. You cannot pay somebody to pick peaches so much that the peaches cost $10 a piece.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Fareed looks for answers on how to fix the immigration policy in the U.S. That's "Global Lessons: The GPS Road Map for Making Immigration Work," Sunday, 8 p.m. Also 11 p.m. Eastern on CNN.
Tonight the RidicuList coming up, and I'm adding myself. Next.
COOPER: Time for "The RidicuList." And tonight, I'm adding myself. That's right, me. I'm on "The RidicuList" yet again.
Now, if you're watching the program last night, you might have noticed I had an embarrassing little moment. I'm going to play it for you now, and I want you to keep in mind, I'm the star of the show. The buck stops with me. So if anyone is to blame, if anyone should be reprimanded, it's the crew.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So here at this point this the show we're usually doing much different -- much different -- much more different. What? Oh, hey, sorry. Didn't realize we were on the air.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes, I didn't even know what to say. Did you notice the look of terror go through my eyes? We actually have a freeze frame. Here I am at the precise moment I realized I was live on the air.
My face is locked in a look of confusion which then morphs into a look of fear.
Now, like I said, I'm choosing to blame the crew, mostly because I don't have a good excuse. No one was distracting me. I wasn't very tired. I certainly wasn't drunk. At least no more than usual. I will say, in my defense, when it comes to bloopers, I'm in some pretty good company.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so pale.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're on air.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today snow is crippling much of the Washington low lands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What's weird about that is I don't even know what language they're speaking. She's like "I so pale" and the other one is just like "Just yaba." I don't know; I didn't understand what they said.
Anyway, I love her. The show must go on.
By the way, it is not just news anchors who are prone to awkward moments in front of the cameras. This is one of my favorites. Take a look at the young woman behind me the newscaster who realizes she's on camera and then tries to hide, stop, drop and roll. That is my kind of co-worker.
It's not just people who don't realize they're on camera. Sometimes the show is moving along and things just, well, kind of happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I got knocked up last night. Well, not literally. But I got the movie "Knocked Up."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The movie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The movie "Knocked Up."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get many spankings as a kid?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a kid, no. No, wait.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait a minute, wait a minute! Wait a minute.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not what I meant.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: I know who likes chocolate. Our Zain Verjee likes chocolate, one of our -- oh, nice melons behind you there.
JOHN ROBERTS, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: Oh, no. Whoa. Whoa.
PHILLIPS: Whoops. I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes. Zain Verjee and her melons, weekdays on CNN.
Anyway, look, I've given it some thought. Last night was my fault. I should have been paying attention to the crew. So now the question is, what do I need to do to make things right? Do I need to say it was the worst moment ever on CNN? Fine, I can do that. I'll step up and I will say it. There has never in the history of this network never been anything more embarrassing or bizarre.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANCHEZ, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: I'm about to receive 50,000 volts of electricity. Do it. Oh! Oh! Stop. Oh. It hurts! It's painful. But no one's dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: No one's dead. I forgot about that moment.
I'm not sure anything can beat that moment. Even me not realizing I was on the air last night for a brief second.
But again, I apologize to our viewers and appreciate your understanding my little slip up. And I thank you for not tasing me on "The RidicuList." That's a particularly unattractive picture right there.
That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.