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North Korea Threatens Nuclear Strike; Hunt for Killers in Texas D.A. Murders; Coach Fired after Abuse Video Goes Public; President Pressures Congress On Gun Control; Leno To Leave "Tonight," Fallon To Take Over

Aired April 3, 2013 - 20:00   ET



Good evening, everyone. Breaking news tonight. Fresh nuclear threats from North Korea's young dictator approving an atomic strike on the U.S. Now new American counter moves against any kind of a missile attack. But the question is, are those threats real or just rhetoric? We're live from the region where even a conventional strike could cause mass casualties.

Later, what does Kim Jong-Un's nuclear bluster have to do with the debate back here at home over same-sex marriage and gays in the Boy Scouts? Well, the answer is nothing but a fringe radio host somehow made that strange connection then a respected religious leader, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention with 16 million followers, seemed to agree about that connection.

Tonight I'll ask him, does he really believe North Korea threatening the U.S. might have something to do with gay marriage?

Also, how did a suspected killer and white supremacist slip out of a monitoring bracelet without anybody realizing it until two people were dead. Why was he even out of parole in the first place? We're "Keeping Them Honest" on that. And there's new evidence in his own words about his desire to kill law enforcement officials.

We begin, though, tonight with the breaking news and a deadly serious question. Is North Korea's dictator serious about his latest nuclear threat? And even if he isn't, or can't carry it out, could deadly consequences follow anyway?

The word came late today in fractured English from KCNA, the North Korean state news agency, and I quote, "We formally inform the White House and Pentagon that the ever escalating U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK and its reckless nuclear threat will be smashed by the strong will of all the united service personnel, and people and cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means of the DPRK."

DPRK, of course, is North Korea.

Now the phrase, nuclear strike, means -- that refers to North Korea's nuclear arsenal. And most observers do not believe North Korea has much of one. Nuclear devices, yes, warheads, maybe. Reliable missiles that could carry an atomic device to the U.S., no.

Tonight we have reaction from the White House. It reads in part, and I quote, "We have seen today's statement by North Korea again making unhelpful and unconstructive threats. North Korea should stop its provocative threats and instead concentrate on abiding by its international obligations."

The Pentagon is taking action against missile strikes or conventional attacks that could result in mass casualties. Late today word the U.S. is deploying ground base interceptors like these to Guam. The ones you see here in Hawaii deployed four years ago to counter an earlier threat from North Korea.

That equipment in addition to the floating radar platform being sent toward the Korean Peninsula along with two Navy destroyers carrying radar systems and weaponry designed to shoot down missiles.

Now as we said the Pentagon clearly not taking any chances but again the question remains, how serious should the U.S., should you and the world, take these threats? The North Koreans have become masters of the ham-handed bluff. But even if the nuclear part is bluster, could all the moves and counter moves ignite some kind of conventional war?

Kyung Lah is in Seoul, South Korea, within rocket and artillery range of the North.

How are these start playing in South Korea, Kyung?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not breaking news here. It's breaking news on American channels but certainly not here in Seoul. The reason why is that we're just about an hour's drive from the border, from the DMZ, Anderson.

And this is a country that has for more than a decade heard this threat out of Pyongyang directed to Seoul that we're going to melt you down in a sea of fire. They're used to it. It's like a boy crying wolf. The difference here is the messaging and who it is directed to.

This came out, the statement that you're referring to, came out at 4:00 a.m. Seoul time. South -- North Korea is not speaking to the peninsula. It is speaking directly to America just in time for the evening news. It wants to make sure that this message is heard just like earlier this week when they released that video of its soldiers taking aim at a cutout of a U.S. soldier. All of this trying to make sure that Washington hears that they are certainly responding to what's been happening in this region -- Anderson.

COOPER: And, of course, there are joint military exercises happening between the U.S. and South Korea. Is there any greater concern among South Korean officials, civilian officials, military leaders?

LAH: Absolutely. That -- and also the people. Because what we're seeing, compared to the now good old days of Kim Jong-Il is back then there was, you know, a threat, you'd wait several days, there might be something else. Here this is much more rapid fire, almost daily. There is something that is happening. Some provocative statement, some sort of move by North Korea.

And that's what has South Korean government officials as well as the people here paying more attention. A little more concerned that this may not just be smoke and mirrors and that there could be a trip- up. That South Korea could overreact and that is that conventional warfare, some sort of skirmish on the border that could really suck this in into a bigger sort of conflict -- Anderson.

COOPER: Kyung Lah, I appreciate the reporting.

The question again tonight, what to make of North Korea's threats? Is it just a lot of saber rattling like we've seen before or does the regime's new young leader, Kim Jong-Un, mean business?

As Kyung mentioned, we've threatening images out of North Korea, troops taking target practice at a cartoonist drawing of an American soldier, or unleashing a pack of German Shepherds on a South Korean effigy, all designed for public consumption and intimidation.

On the other hand, images like this one released by North Korea last month don't exactly help its credibility. Purportedly shows a recent military exercise, turns out the image was apparently Photoshopped to make it look more like more hover craft took part than actually did. Some news agencies picked it up before realizing it was fake. The propaganda North Korea is notorious for makes it hard to judge these latest threats sometimes.

In 2008 Christiane Amanpour was in North Korea, reporting on the closure of the nuclear reactor that North Korea is now vowing to restart. She joins me now, so does Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of the forthcoming book, "Foreign Policy Begins at Home."

Christiane, is this just bluster?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think you can say it's just bluster. It is a pattern that they've used before. It's very much more virulent than it has been before and people are concerned about not just a miscalculation but pushing these young leaders back to war with no way to get off.

There is no meaningful negotiation for some reason. The United States does not believe in negotiating with North Korea. Here the political system says that if you negotiate, it means you reward. Obviously that is wrong. People should negotiate. It's not happening. So the United States is relying on China, and what can China do, we don't know yet.

I spoke to a nuclear scientist, the last one who was in there, who said that he does not believe this regime is suicidal. On the other hand, again, what about miscalculation. I spoke to the U.N. South Korean ambassador who said we're worried, we're not panicked, we're worried, because this is an especially virulent form of the usual threats that come out of North Korea. COOPER: Though we have heard these threats before, Richard.

RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: These are a little bit different, more directly aimed at the United States. There is the nuclear dimension. Ironically enough, what it might do more than anything else, Anderson, is persuade a majority of the people in South Korea and Japan that the time has come for them to start thinking about whether they need independent nuclear deterrents of their own. We're beginning to see writing and speaking about that in both countries. This was a taboo not long ago.

This might get China's attention. I actually think China is key here. Probably half to two-thirds of North Korea's trade travels through China. The last thing China wants is a war on the peninsula because China knows that the next door on the peninsula will be the last war. It will end with the end of North Korea. You will have a unified peninsula. This peninsula will have its capital in Seoul, that will be part of the American strategic orbit.

For China, this means further encirclement, it's a strategic disaster. So the real question is whether China will take this bluster seriously and use the leverage it denies it has but in fact it has to get the North Koreans to pull back.

Because Christiane is exactly right and your report from Seoul is exactly right. I don't think we're going to see a premeditated attack by the North. I really don't believe that for a second. But the chance of some kind of an incident now when -- when both sides are on such alert, you have so much emotion, so much political attention, that any skirmish now could very quickly escalate. There is not even rudimentary crisis control. That's the thing to worry about.

COOPER: There is -- I mean, there's financial incentive for the North to deescalate this because, I mean, with spring coming, the harvest is coming, they've got to get troops. They use their military to harvest the fields. Without that, their people go hungry.

AMANPOUR: Well, a lot of what they do, analysts say, is to get stuff out. Extortion. To get stuff. Aid, fuel, money. All of that. And --

COOPER: And that's the pattern we've seen in the past. Make a threat, then extort.

AMANPOUR: Well, yes. Well, exactly. And also the pattern has erupted during April. I mean, look, this is the month, the whole month, where these joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States are going on. This could be going on for a whole month, this tension. Plus it's Kim Il-Sung's 101st birthday, on April 15th, the founder of the Kim dynasty, and who knows what rhetoric is going to come out then.

Kaesong, this industrial complex which is often a bellwether of how things are going.

COOPER: That's a complex that both North Koreans and South Korean work at together. It's one of the few kind of joint operations going on.

AMANPOUR: Correct. And they're talking about closing it. And, you know, this brings about half a billion dollars worth of money to North Korea each year and it employs about 90,000 North Koreans. So you know --

COOPER: Right. They've actually shut down the border to South Korean workers who are going to be coming to the factory today, which they have done -- they've done before in the past.

Kyung, you have more on that, correct? How long is that going to be closed for, do we know?

LAH: Absolutely. We are -- well, from what we gather, and let's be very clear here. What North Korea is saying is that the workers cannot come in. South Koreans cannot come in because this is on North Korean territory. They are allowing South Korean workers to leave. The latest word we have from the government and they should be entering at this point right now is that so far they have not been allowed to gain entry.

And this is something that we need to pay attention to because we talk about these words. We're all talking about what North Korea says. This is something North Korea is doing. North Korea is willing to cut off its nose in spite of its face. Because this is a place where they make so much money, 50,000 North Koreans are employed here. They work side by side with South Koreans, the only place where North and South Koreans work together, and they're willing to risk it. All of that money coming into the country, just to make a point.

COOPER: But, Richard, again, I mean, just in terms of what they actually have militarily, they don't have -- I mean they can -- they've released this photo showing a map of -- you know, their patterns for an atomic attack in the U.S. They don't have the capabilities to launch an atomic missile -- warhead to the United States.

HAASS: Absolutely not. What they probably have is a half dozen to a dozen warheads, some of which, at most, might be able to go on short-range missiles so it's a threat to South Korea, to Japan, to the 28,500 American troops. In South Korea, all that. Again, what I think a lot of this about, if you look at the past with North Korea, is this type of stuff is often the prelude to negotiations.

What they're trying to do is raise the ante and what they're hoping is the United States and South Korea fall for the bait, and essentially say OK, we're so relieved you won't launch a war, that we will agree to this and relieve of sanctions. We'll do this economically.

What Bob Gates said when he was secretary of defense, and I think the administration is right, and this might be the one area we disagree, it's we have to stop rewarding North Korea for this kind of stuff. We have bought this horse from them many times before. We ought to cut it out. We just ought to hang tough. He has to now --


COOPER: So discussions would be rewarding --

AMANPOUR: You know, I mean, come on. Diplomacy is created precisely to bridge the difference with your enemies. It doesn't mean rewarding your adversaries.

HAASS: That's not what I'm saying.

AMANPOUR: It means talking about what the future is. And you know, because the scientists who went in in 2010 came out and said this is the two-track, the second-track talks with North Korea that actually the North was ready to give up its fuel rods, to sell them to the United States and they took this back to the Obama administration and these scientists say they were met with a great big silence.

So this plant could have been closed down. And the scientists say that it can now be -- be put back online within six months to a year.

HAASS: Two things about diplomacy, just to be clear. One is we should not pay for talking. If we're going to go to talks, it ought to be simply we go to talks. Second of all, we should have no illusions. North Korea is a poor, poor state. It has one thing going for it. It has nuclear weapons and a lot of artillery shells. They're not going to give up.

The only reason we're having this conversation on the air is this is what North Korea can do. It can get our attention.

COOPER: Right.

HAASS: If we think that through negotiations and diplomacy we are going to see the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

AMANPOUR: No, but you're not -- precisely.

HAASS: We are not. We shouldn't kid ourselves.

AMANPOUR: And they're saying that.

HAASS: Diplomacy is not going to solve this problem.

AMANPOUR: They're saying that but there has to be some kind of diplomacy to make sure it doesn't get worse.

COOPER: Richard Haass, Christiane Amanpour, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Kyung Lah as well, in Seoul.

Let us know what you think, follow me on Twitter right now at Anderson Cooper. I'll be tweeting tonight.

Ahead, an arrest in the killing of a Texas D.A. and his wife. But as you'll see, not the arrest authorities are looking for. Is the case going cold? I'll talk to Jeffrey Toobin and John Miller from CBS about that. Later, a basketball coach's explosive temper and bigoted outbursts that got him fired. Now he's talking. You'll hear what he's got to say when 360 continues.


COOPER: "Crime and Punishment" and an arrest today in connection with a killing of a Kauffman County, Texas, district attorney and his wife. Now sadly, though, any connection to the crime appears incidental. The killer or killers remain at large. And most importantly, the chill that this and two other killings have sent through the criminal justice community that is now tangible.

We're going to talk about that shortly with Jeff Toobin, himself a former federal prosecutor, and John Miller who's worked in local and federal law enforcement, is now at CBS.

First the latest from Kaufman, Texas, and Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If law enforcement is anywhere close to solving the case of the murdered district attorney, his wife, and his assistant prosecutor, nobody is saying.

LT. JUSTIN LEWIS, KAUFMAN COUNTY, TEXAS SHERIFF'S OFFICE: I'm not going to discuss anything about the evidence that's been found due to the ongoing nature of our investigation.

TUCHMAN: The Kaufman County Sheriff's Office and the FBI are staying very tight-lipped about virtually everything in these investigations, including the evidence. Although we saw deputies checking on tire tracks and skid marks about a block away from the home of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia.

Deputies did announce an arrest but it was for something else. Nick Morales charged with making a terroristic threat and is being held on a $1 million bond.

LEWIS: During the course of the investigation in the murders of Mike and Cynthia McLelland, a threat against the safety of a county official was received. The threat was then investigated, leading to the arrest of Mr. Morales at a location in Kaufman County.

TUCHMAN: Regarding the mysterious killings, though, no arrests yet. Authorities telling us groups ranging from the Aryan Brotherhood to drug cartels are being investigated and that nobody should focus entirely at any one group or individual.

One such individual is this man, Eric Williams. A former justice of the peace in Kaufman County. Convicted of stealing computer monitors from the courthouse. This is surveillance video from the courthouse of Williams that was used during his criminal trial. Murder victims like McLelland and Mark Hasse were leading his prosecution. Dallas TV station KXAS did an interview with Williams on Tuesday. Three days after he allowed police investigating the murders to test him for gun residue.

ERIC WILLIAMS, FORMER KAUFMAN COUNTY JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: I've cooperated with law enforcement. I certainly wish them the best in bringing justice for this -- just incredibly egregious act.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Eric Williams lives in this house only about a mile away from the courthouse where the prosecutors worked. Authorities say they are not describing him as a suspect, not describing him as a person of interest. But one law enforcement official briefed on the progress of the investigation says he is an angle they are looking at.

(Voice-over): Williams' lawyer told me over the phone his client is innocent, that he's a diabetic who cannot even walk very well now. Authorities do say he passed some tests looking for the gun residue. For now, the investigation into the murders goes on. In a county still living in fear.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Kaufman, Texas.


COOPER: Well, the fear that Gary spoke of has already played out in a federal prosecutor's decision to pull out of a racketeering case against this group, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman citing security concerns in an e-mail to defense attorneys in the case. The "Dallas Morning News" reports that a prosecutor from Washington will now take over. That and all the rest.

Plenty to talk about with CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, formerly of the FBI and LAPD. Also senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin.

John, what do you make of where this investigation is?

JOHN MILLER, CBS NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: I think you've got two big themes here. One is the Aryan Brotherhood, which is kind of the big conspiracy theme, which is turning into, as the investigation progresses, the less likely scenario. And two is the person who had some grudge against that district attorney's office and particularly against those two men. The district attorney and his deputy.

COOPER: Any evidence that you're hearing that it's connected to the killing in Colorado?

MILLER: They ran all the traps on that through the Colorado authorities, Denver FBI, Houston FBI, the Texas prison people and their intelligence back and forth, and found no connection.

COOPER: Jeff, what does it tell you, that -- I mean, this is a major deal. You have law enforcement personnel being killed. If they can't come up with the criminals in this, that's pretty serious. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's very serious. But you do have a limited but large number of possible suspects. Because you can just look at people who had interactions with this Kaufman County D.A.'s Office. Now Kaufman County is not that big. And so the universe of people with an obvious grudge, you can really chase down all of them, especially when you've got the resources that are being thrown at this investigation.

That's probably going to take some time. So the fact that there hasn't been an arrest yet, that doesn't lead me to conclude that there will never be an arrest. But certainly the obvious targets have been looked at and at least certainly haven't been anything done yet.

COOPER: And yet, I mean, if it's not this Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, you now have the situation where another prosecutor has actually recused himself from a case prosecuting the Aryan Brotherhood.

MILLER: This is --

COOPER: That's huge.

MILLER: Stunning and almost unheard of. And there are ways to do it. Jay Hileman, who's the assistant U.S. attorney who recused himself as a professional prosecutor, very -- looked on very well in the office. And I think where that went off the rails is he was put under the protection of United States Marshals. And I think that it wasn't a threat so much. You were an assistant U.S. attorney. Prosecutors get used to that.

It was the effect that the protective detail, the presence, this looming threat, the news of other prosecutors being killed, the connection that was being made, particularly in the media to the Aryan Brotherhood. The pressure on his family that I think he went to the boss and said, maybe it's time for somebody else to take this case on.

Where it went wrong is he sent an e-mail to 34 defense lawyers, notifying them of that, and it leaked to the media.

TOOBIN: But this is really unusual. I mean, John and I both know -- assistant U.S. attorneys who were under protection for a long time, the late Charles Rose, a friend of both of ours, you know, lived with this sort of thing for -- I mean, it was I think over a year. It's sort of what you sign up for when you are an AUSA. So I think those of us who have been inside the world are a little shocked that he would do this at this time.

We don't know the details so you don't want to make judgments. But it is -- it certainly was troubling to both of us.

MILLER: I think you want to -- you want to look at why it's troubling, which is not that some other AUSA can't pick up the case and drive it forward. A couple of people stepped up already and said we'll move ahead with this. It's because the signal it sends to a group like the Aryan Brotherhood is your threats have worked, the system has cracked. COOPER: Right. It's exactly what they want.

MILLER: And, you know, in a case where they may have nothing to do with the murder of these two district attorneys, the Colorado prisons chief, you know, the jury is still out on that. But in a case like that, it elevates their street credibility in a way that's disproportionate to reality.

COOPER: Even reporting on is difficult. Because I remember going out in L.A., reporting on gangs there, and gang cops in L.A. were very loathe to use the names of gangs because they didn't want to give them more street cred, even reporting and kind of talking about this group in Texas gives them probably exactly what they want, which is, you know, in their eyes, street cred.

MILLER: Right. And I mean I think that's happened here, especially with this withdrawal.

TOOBIN: And it was not publicly announced when judges or prosecutors had protection. I mean, that was certainly the rule that I knew about, that I knew about judges, I knew about prosecutors had protection, but we didn't make a big deal of it, because we didn't want to give the satisfaction to the people who were the perceived threat that they had disrupted lives, even without doing anything.

COOPER: Right.

MILLER: Now on the other hand, that district attorney's office in Kaufman County, you've got the building under protection, you've got the D.A. being guarded. That certainly makes perfect sense because someone clearly has targeted that office and the people in it.

COOPER: It's incredible. John, thank you so much. John Miller. Jeff Toobin, as well. Thanks.

Well, Rutgers' head basketball coach has been fired after a video surfaced showing him physically abusing players and using anti-gay slurs at them. Up next, what the coach is saying about all that now.

Also ahead Louisville basketball guard Kevin Ware speaks out for the first time since breaking his leg badly during a game. He talks about whether he'll play basketball again and whether he has watched that gruesome video of his injury.


COOPER: Welcome back. The head basketball coach at Rutgers University is out. And even he admits there is no excuse for his behavior. Mike Rice was fired today after this ESPN video went viral, showing him physically and verbally abusing players during practices.

Now in a moment, you'll hear exactly what he said to some of them. The video is obviously shocking. Tonight many are asking why wasn't Rice fired months ago when at least one of his bosses first saw that video back in November? The question is what happened then? Well, rice was given a three-game suspension, a $75,000 fine and a ticket to anger management classes. That was before the rest of the world saw this video.

Here is Mary Snow.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One day after this video went viral --


SNOW: Rutgers' basketball coach, Mike Rice, was fired. But there are calls for the university to do more. Rutgers' officials were aware of its existence since November. Rice is seen shoving and kicking players, throwing balls at their heads and can be heard using homophobic slurs.


SNOW: The state-run university came under pressure after ESPN made the video public Tuesday. Even New Jersey's governor spoke out. By Wednesday morning, Rice was dismissed.

RICE: Can't say anything right now, except I'm sorry. And there will never be a time where I'm going to use any of that as an excuse, or there will be any excuse. I've let so many people down. My players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans, my family, who is sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact that their father is -- was an embarrassment to them.

SNOW (voice-over): On campus, students want more answers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Action should have been taken earlier and there should be a zero tolerance policy for things like that.

SNOW: Athletic Director Tim Pernetti who decided not to fire Rice last year, said in a statement, I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. His statement is not satisfying critics, including New Jersey civil rights organization "Garden State Equality." Its executive director came to campus, demanding answers about why action wasn't taken sooner.

TROY STEVENSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GARDEN STATE EQUALITY: If there is some reason that they were hiding this information to protect the reputation of the university, I think he should resign immediately, and if he doesn't, he should be fired.

SNOW: There are also questions about university President Robert Barche, in his role in approving Rice's punishment last year. In a statement, Barche said he had only seen the video a day ago. This is what his athletic director told WFAN Tuesday. TIM PERNETTI, RUTGERS DIRECTOR OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS: I was aware of the tape when I handed down the suspension at the end of December.

MIKE FRANCESA, WFAN RADIO HOST: Did your president see this tape?


SNOW: When asked about that, a university spokesman said Pernetti meant the president only viewed it Tuesday. One New Jersey lawmaker says questions still need to be answered.

SHEILA OLIVER (D), NEW JERSEY ASSEMBLY SPEAKER: I want to call the hierarchy of Rutgers University down to the State House and conduct an investigatory kind of a hearing. I want to know if any of those student athletes ever went to the athletic director and complained about Coach Rice.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's interesting, Mary. He was repeatedly calling them anti-gay slurs. This is Rutgers University where, of course, a gay student, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide, and gained national headlines.

The coach has been fired. As you pointed in your piece though, other people in the administration knew about the behavior and seemed to do nothing. What do school officials say about that?

SNOW: You know, Anderson, we tried to felt some answers today and we reached out to both the athletic director and the university president here on campus today. And we were told they weren't being made available for any interviews. So there are a lot of questions that still remain unanswered.

COOPER: All right, we'll keep trying, Mary. Appreciate it. Let's get caught up on other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, University of Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware is speaking out for the first time since he broke his leg during a game over the weekend. In an interview with CNN, Ware says he will play basketball again, but knows that patience is key as he recovers. He says he hasn't seen the tape of his injury.


KEVIN WARE, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE: I don't want to see the video. I don't plan on ever seeing the video. I kind of feel like it would just put me in a mental state where I don't need to be.


HENDRICKS: He also says he appreciates all the support he's been getting.

President Obama is putting more pressure on Congress to pass tougher gun laws, specifically background checks for criminals. In a speech today in Colorado, he called for an honest debate instead of just rhetoric saying there can be stricter laws that protect Americans while at the same time protecting the second amendment.

And it's official. Jay Leno will step down as host of "The Tonight Show" in the spring of 2014, ending a 22-year run. He will be replaced by Jimmy Fallon, currently the host of NBC's "Late Night." As part of this big change, NBC also announced that "The Tonight Show" is returning to New York -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, thanks very much, Susan.

Does the influential president of the Southern Baptist Convention really believe that the debate over same-sex marriage is somehow connected to North Korea threatening the United States? I'll ask him on the program.

Also later, have the voters of South Carolina forgiven their former governor who quit his job after admitting to an affair with a woman from Argentina. The latest on Mark Sanford, he could be headed to Washington, the woman, who is now his fiancee.


COOPER: As we said at the top of the program, North Korea is making new threats tonight, diplomats and government officials are watching the situation closely. The U.S. is taking some defensive steps.

In the meantime, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Fred Luter, surprised a lot of people when he weighed in on North Korea's threats to bomb the U.S. In a recent interview, he was asked by a Christian radio host if those threats by North Korea might somehow be connected to the ongoing debate in the United States over same-sex marriage and gays in the boy scouts.

That God might be punishing Americans for their, quote, "slide into immorality." That's what the radio host asked. Here's how Pastor Luter answered on that show.


PASTOR FRED LUTER JR., PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: It could be a possibility, man. I'm not that strong in prophecy, but I would not be surprised if there is not a connection there. Simply because of the fact we have seen it happen in scripture before.

So I would not be surprised that at the time when we are debating same-sex marriage, at a time where we're debating whether or not we should have gays leading the Boy Scout movement, I don't think it's just a coincidence there are men in Asia.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Keep in mind, the Southern Baptist Convention has more than 16 million members and a lot of people listen to what Pastor Luter has to say. We invited him to come on the program and to his credit, he agreed. I asked if he stood by what he said in that radio interview. Listen.


COOPER: Pastor Luter, appreciate you being on the show. You recently told a conservative radio host that there could be a connection between North Korea threatening the U.S. and a debate here over gay marriage and the boy scouts. What do you see as a connection?

LUTER: Well, that was really, Anderson -- his view on it. As a matter of fact, he mentioned that, he saw that connection. And I say, man, I'm not strong in prophecy, I don't see that. It's possible if you say it is, but I don't see it. I don't think there's any connection about what the guy is doing in North Korea and what's happening here in America with gays, none at all.

COOPER: But that's actually not what you said and I have the recording of what you said. It was the Rick Weils radio show. And he said while Supreme Court is hearing these arguments on same-sex marriage, in Asia a crazy man in possession of nuclear weapons, Kim Jong-Un is saying -- openly saying I ordered our military to open targets on Hawaii, Guam, the mainland U.S.

And then he raised a question. He said you've got this happening over here and you've got this happening over there, could the two be connected. Could our slide in immorality be what is unleashing this mad man in Asia to punish us. You said -- I just want to play it.

LUTER: It could be a possibility, man. I'm not that strong in prophecy, but I would not be surprised that there's not a connection there. Simply because of the fact we've seen it happen in scripture before. So I would not be surprised that at the time when we are debating same-sex marriage.

At a time when we are debating whether or not we should have gays leading the boy scout movement, I don't think it's just a coincidence that there are madmen in Asia saying the things he's saying.

COOPER: So you're saying you wouldn't be surprised about a connection and you say you don't think it's a coincidence North Korea is doing this at a time when we're debating gay marriage and gays in the boy scouts.

LUTER: I think I was talking about the reference he was making. I think I was talking about the scripture I was talking about was the situation in Sodom and Gomorrah because of that activity. But I was not connecting it with here in North America.

COOPER: So just for the record, you see no connection between what's happening in North Korea -- because in the past, North Korea has threatened the United States many of times when there hasn't been a debate over gay marriage. But you're saying categorically there is no connection.

LUTER: No connection. I think already in America we don't need any mad men in North Korea to make things worse for us.

COOPER: One other quote I want to ask you about. Wiles said to you if the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right what are the ramifications for this nation?

You said, I would hate to think of it and talked about Sodom and Gomorrah, it would be like America is pointing its finger at God and saying, I know what your word says God. I know what the scripture says. We want to be our own king and we want to do things our own way.

The last time a nation did that, they were destroyed. Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed. I see things getting worse because of our decisions we made, getting farther away from God and God's word. It does sound like you're saying that Sodom and Gomorrah would be the result.

LUTER: It's not only with gay marriage. I think a whole lot of decisions we're making in America, all of the babies we're killing as a result of abortion, the racism problem we have in America, the crime problem that we have in America with guys going into movie theatres and shooting people, going to political rallies and shooting people.

It's a combination. Anderson, it is not just the situation with the gay marriage. It's a number of things that our nation is embracing and that we cannot deny that a lot of the things that are happening in America are results -- consequences of those decisions.

COOPER: But you really think two people loving each other and wanting to get married to each other is equivalent to somebody going to movie theatre and killing some people?

LUTER: No, I'm not --

COOPER: That -- all of that is sort of a kind leading to --

LUTER: No, I did not say that. I did not say that at all. The problem that I have with this upcoming Supreme Court decision is that we are trying to redefine marriage. We are trying to redefine marriage.

From a biblical standpoint, marriage is between one man and one woman. If gay people, whether they want to be two men or two women, if they want to do -- have -- do a union, just don't call it marriage. Marriage is defined in the bible as a man and woman.

COOPER: But this isn't a church -- we're talking about a civil marriage, from the state. Why should --

LUTER: It's not now. But I promise you, if this thing passes, they're going to come knocking on church doors and saying this is the law of the land. You all need to do this and that's when there is going to be a problem. COOPER: But that's not the case. Churches would not be forced to marry people --

LUTER: Not now. Not now, Anderson, but I promise you, brother. It's going to happen sooner or later if we keep allowing these things like this to go and happen because of the fact that we're trying to now redefine what marriage is.

COOPER: So on the comments you made about North Korea, do you feel like you misspoke, that --

LUTER: Yes --

COOPER: You went back on that program and he said the same question would you say point blank, absolutely no connection?

LUTER: Yes, that was misspoken. That was misunderstood and it's not what I meant. I it not mean that at all and I'm glad we can clear it up on your show, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, Pastor Fred Luter, I appreciate you being on and clearing it up. Thank you.

LUTER: Thank you, man. Appreciate the opportunity.


COOPER: Let us know what you think. I'm on Twitter right now @andersoncooper.

Up next, new information about the man who is believed to have murdered Colorado Prison Chief Tom Clements. That's Tom Clements right there. Could he have been stopped from committing that and other crimes and what role did sloppy administrative work play?

And you remember former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford who quit his job after admitting to an affair. Well, last night, he won the GOP primary for a House seat. He also did something else.

He introduced the world to the one-time mystery woman who is now his fiancee. She is going to be on his right. We'll tell you who she is and show the video coming up.


COOPER: New and telling details tonight in the murder of two men, including Tom Clements, the Colorado chief of prisons. Until now, the motive for the suspect in the murder was murky.

Tonight his hatred is coming to focus as is the outrage over his mistaken release on parole and fouled up electronic monitoring in the days before he allegedly killed two people, shot several more and died in a hail of police gunfire. The latest now from our Martin Savidge.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: While Evan Ebel was serving time for armed robbery, prison disciplinary document show he was anything, but a model prisoner, several times threatening to harm or kill prison authorities.

In November 2006, this report describes Ebel striking a staff member. The note said threatened to kill staff member and family. In 2005, this report described another chilling account of Ebel's rage, telling a staff member he would kill her if he ever saw her on the streets and that he would make her beg for her life.

This new information on his violent behavior, combined with the revelation a clerical error let Ebel being released four years early. It only added to the anger and anguish of victims' families.

Katherine Leon is the widow of the first person Ebel is suspended of killing, Nathan Leon.

KATHERINE ANN LEON, WIFE OF NATE LEON: Clerical error is not going to bring my husband back, not going to bring Tom Clements back. Not going to bring my children's father back. How do I tell my 4- year-olds? Daddy was murdered because of a clerical error.

SAVIDGE: In addition to that mistake, documents obtained by CNN show it took Colorado authorities five days to realize a paroled Ebel had disabled his ankle monitor and fled. Beginning what investigators say was a deadly crime spree that ended in a Texas shootout.

At 7:20 a.m., March 14th, Ebel makes his daily call to parole officials. Eight hours later, the tamper alarm goes off on his ankle monitor. Instead of investigating, the monitoring service sends Ebel a message to schedule a repair.

March 15th, Ebel fails to call parole officials or make a repair appointment. March 16th, still no sign of Ebel, not until March 17th did the monitoring company notify parole officials Ebel had failed to come in to have his ankle monitor repaired.

It's the same day authorities believe Leon was murdered. March 18th, prison officials contacted Ebel's family to inquire about his whereabouts. The next day police search his home and determine he left in a hurry or has gone into hiding.

They begin the process of revoking his parole. That night Clements is shot to death at his home outside Colorado Springs. March 20th, the State Department of Corrections issues a warrant for Ebel's arrest, citing parole violations.


COOPER: It's amazing, Martin, they just said, something is wrong with this ankle monitoring thing and didn't alert parole authorities for days. There seems to have been a lot of red flags concerning this guy's behavior including a letter he wrote. What have you learned about the letter? SAVIDGE: Yes, there certainly do seem to be a lot of red flags. This letter was one that apparently had been confiscated by the Department of Corrections in which it appears that Ebel is fantasizing about murder. He was writing to a friend on the outside.

He was talking about how he claims the guards mistreated him and how he handled it. And he said, quote, "I just fantasize about catching them out on the bricks and subjecting them to vicious torture and eventual murder." Authorities now believe that those fantasies actually were turned into the real thing -- Anderson.

COOPER: It is such a horrible, horrible crime. Martin, appreciate it. One programming note, tomorrow night only on this program, I'll speak with Tom Clements' widow, Lisa, in her first television interview since the murder of her husband. Again, that's tomorrow night 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here. I hope you join us.

Let's get the latest on some other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks back with the "360 Bulletin."

HENDRICKS: Anderson, a double victory of sorts for South Carolina's former governor, Mark Sanford. Last night, he won a GOP primary runoff for his old congressional seat. Remember that four years ago, he quit as governor after admitting to an affair with a woman who is now his fiancee. And as you see, she was prominently by his side yesterday. Today on CNN, Sanford spoke about the fallout from his very public affair.


MARK SANFORD, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: I think there are too many people in politics who think they know it all. And I think that they project this whole image of perfection, that, you know, the perfect family, the perfect person, the perfect this. The reality is none of us are perfect.


HENDRICKS: Take a look here. More than 100 firefighters are battling this, a massive fire at a 40-story apartment building in the capital of the Russian Republic of Chechnya. Officials say no one was living in the building at that time. The state-run news agency says dozens of people, possibly workers, were evacuated. No injuries reported and no word yet on what caused that fire.

And more trouble for the disabled cruise ship Carnival "Triumph," which was stuck at sea for four days after an engine fire in February. Today high winds caused the ship to break loose from its dock in Mobile, Alabama where it's being repaired. The winds also caused a guard shack to blow into the river. One worker is reported missing -- Anderson.

COOPER: Terrible. Thanks very much, Susan. Coming up, "The Ridiculist," find out who is on it tonight. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." And tonight we are adding every single network on television, except "E!" because they were the broadcasting visionaries who took one look at Ryan Lochte and saw the potential for reality TV gold.

You remember Ryan Lochte, of course, the American swimming star. His incredible performance at the London Olympics was unforgettable for all those who watched, but of course, especially for Lochte himself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got like two golds and two bronze. I don't even remember what I got at the Olympics.


COOPER: Yes, the Ryan Lochte reality show is almost upon us and judging by the trailers "E!" has put out so far, what would Ryan Lochte do promises to be riveting full of Olympic-size high jinx and a new word for us all to incorporate into our vocabulary.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lochte for president jyah!


COOPER: I've been practicing all day. Pay attention because everyone is soon going to be saying this within moments of the show in a few weeks. I guarantee it. The dude tsunami is coming, people, and there is nothing you can do about it Jyah!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's spelled j-e-a-h. It's boring. You have to really put that emphasis on that j.


COOPER: Jyah! I've been practicing. Hang on, did he say emfatins?


UNDENTIFIED MALE: You have to really put that emfatens on that j, the j and e. And then the "AH" kind of just flows. So you say jyah! That's how you do it.


COOPER: This is the trailer for the show. Ryan Lochte is so much more than just a creative linguist, also a trail blazer of fashion. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the first things that really brought me out in the fashion world. The Lochte shoe! I want everyone to be in my shoes walking Ryan Lochte. Ryan Lochte is walking everywhere. I want that edge.

What is the Lochte edge? You know I've never been asked that question, what is the Lochte edge and I honestly have no idea. It's --


COOPER: I want to work on that. The trailer also teaches us that Ryan will also be looking for love and that the part of the skeptic will be played quite definitely by Ryan's sister, Kristen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going on a date tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just met her last night.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At a bar? That's good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She liked my smile.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ryan is a little naive when it comes to women maybe not a little, maybe a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kristen is always right and I hate that.


COOPER: Yes, man. I hate that too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't duplicate. Just recipitate.


COOPER: Bring an umbrella, people, because there is a 100 percent chance of recipitation when this show hits the air, April 21st.

That does it for us. We'll see you again another 360 at 11:00 p.m. Eastern tonight, 8:00 p.m. on the west coast. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.