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White House Meeting Ends with No Deal; Motorcycle Mayhem: Inside The Attack; Hannah Anderson Speaks Of Kidnapping Ordeal; Veronica's Dad Drops Legal Custody Battle

Aired October 10, 2013 - 20:00   ET



Good evening, everyone.

Well, now, at least they are talking and that's the breaking news. And they are still talking, congressional Republicans and President Obama. The question is, what are they saying behind closed doors about the raising the debt limit and reopening the government? Negotiations ended today at the White House with Republicans slipping out the back way, saying nothing, avoiding cameras and no appearance either by President Obama.

The talks began with the possible Republican offer for a six-week extension of the debt ceiling but no end to the shutdown. Wall Street loved it. The Dow jumping more than 300 points, conservative lawmakers signaled they would accept it. So did right-wing pundits. Driving Republicans toward a deal perhaps public opinion turning against the GOP. A new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll just out tonight showing the damage, 31 percent blamed the president for the shutdown, 53 percent blamed Republicans, that's a 22-point margin.

So Republicans went to the White House under pressure to cut a deal and apparently they came up against a president who seemed to be trying to drive a hard bargain, and they are still bargaining.

Dana Bash, Jim Acosta, joining us now. I want to start with Dana at the capitol.

So what do we know about this? The first real by bipartisan talks. After one meeting things do sound relatively positive, right?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And they're certainly more positive than they have been in sometime. Our understanding is that it was a pretty tense and intense meeting, at least at the beginning, but at the end of the hour and a half, they seem to understand each other and the need to work together and they are doing so all night.

Listen to what Republican Congressman Pete Sessions who I just spoke with moments ago said in describing the meeting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. PETE SESSIONS (R), TEXAS: Tonight two groups of people who probably have not worked very well with each other in the past and it showed, and that's how I would characterize our clashes, if you would use that word. We're re-learning how to work together tonight. It was very important for us to do that.

And by the time we got to where we needed to get, I think both sides agreed that the needs of the American people were more important.


BASH: Now the heart of what they're working on right now and staff is still here and probably will be late into the night, Anderson, is what the president demanded in this meeting, which is not just to talk about raising the debt ceiling but talk about opening the government, reopening the government, and how the two sides can get there, so what they are discussing, again, here what they are working on is the conditions that both sides might agree to to reopening the government. That's the issue we're told that the president forced in this meeting.

COOPER: So the president doesn't want just the debt ceiling dealt with --

BASH: That's right.

COOPER: -- and shutdown continues. He wants it both done.

BASH: That's exactly right. And, you know, at the beginning of the meeting it sounds like that was something that the Republicans were resisting but by the end, as one lawmaker told me, it took us a while to get there but we finally got there. So now, obviously, the devil is in the details, they're trying to figure out what the sort of sweet spot is to sell this to both Democrats and Republicans.

The idea of reopening the government and, you know, both sides have said everything is on the table, whether that means Obamacare, which is what started this whole showdown and shutdown, we'll see what happens.

COOPER: The fact that they didn't run out and talk to cameras right after the meeting, that seems to be a good sign, frankly.

I want to bring in Jim Acosta who's at the White House.

So you've been in touch with White House officials. What -- what are you learning more about this meeting, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as Dana and you were just saying, I mean, the president did go into this meeting with the intent, according to White House officials, to not only talk about that short-term increase in the nation's debt ceiling, but also about reopening the government. So it's not a surprise that the president was trying to strike a pretty hard line there during that meeting on that subject, but what we are hearing from White House officials is that yes, there were no deals made but that the talks continue and that they will continue tonight between the White House and House Republicans.

And surprise, surprise, Anderson, Vice President Joe Biden who has been instrumental in the past in averting a lot of these fiscal cliffs and crisis and abysses in the past, he is still here at the White House and that is probably a good sign, as well.

One thing that we do want to point out, though, Anderson, I did talk to a White House official who noted that they still want to know what John Boehner can do with his own caucus. They said, you know, House Speaker John Boehner still has to go to his caucus, sell it to his caucus and then come back, and in the words of this one White House official I spoke to, they view that process as fairly mysterious. So they are cautiously optimistic but they know they're not out of the woods yet.

COOPER: I want to talk to some folks who were at the meeting.

Dana and Jim, thanks.

Missouri Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner was in the meeting this afternoon. She joins us now.

Congresswoman, thanks so much for talking to us. We're going to bring in John King in just a moment, but you told our Dana Bash the White House meeting was very productive. You said, quote, "took awhile to get there but we had a very good conversation."

What did you mean by that? Can you describe what it was like?

REP. ANN WAGNER (R), MISSOURI: Well, it was a very useful discussion, and the first time that we really sat down in a frank and open way with 18 Republican leaders from the House with the president, the vice president and secretary of Treasury, Secretary Lew, to talk about a path forward here, and it was a good dialogue.

It was a dialogue about the debt ceiling and making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States of America is sound and so we put a temporary extension on the debt ceiling.

We talked also, I must say, about the budget and how we move forward, and covering big issues that are important to us. We had obviously Chairman Camp to talk about tax reform, we had -- we also had Paul Ryan there, Congressman Ryan, to talk about budget issues.

So we want to talk about entitlement reform, tax reform, things to jump start this government. That was on the table along with making sure that we end the shutdown of this government and get America back to work.

COOPER: Is it still a position of House Republicans that the Affordable Care Act has to be -- that that has to be on the negotiating table as well in order to end the shutdown?

WAGNER: You know, we haven't taken anything on or off the table and, frankly, the president talked about the Affordable Care Act and leaving that on the table also. So what was good and productive and useful about this was that discussions are beginning immediately in a -- with a sense of urgency, I think, and principle.

And both chains have gone back to talk to their respective teams and are working through the night, through the weekend until we get the job done and make sure that this government opens, make sure that our debt ceiling is extended on a temporary basis while we negotiate the bigger issues that Americans care greatly and deeply about, having to deal with our debt and such.

COOPER: The president has always said he's willing to talk about the Affordable Care Act down the road but not, in his words, you know, with a gun to your head or being held hostage. Is it your understanding that that position of his is any different now that in order to end the shutdown he would be willing in the immediate? I mean, to get the government open again, to do something on the Affordable Care Act? Or is he still talking about it as being something down the road?

WAGNER: Well, we talked about ratcheting down the rhetoric and how important it is that discussions about guns to head or anarchists or, you know, default need to be taken off the table. And need to be brought down on all sides of this discussion. That's important for the American people. Fear-mongering is not right. This is about doing our jobs and getting back to work and getting America back to work.

And I would say negotiating-wise, there is nothing on or off the table here. And we're working through the night, again, useful conversation and one that was entered into, I'd say, honestly, Anderson, in good faith by all, by both the White House and certainly by House Republicans.

COOPER: I want to bring in chief national correspondent John King because I know he has some questions for you, as well -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Congresswoman, we first met when you were chairwoman of the Missouri Republican Party and a successful chairwoman. If you look at the "Wall Street Journal" poll out tonight, Republicans just 24 percent favorable opinion of the Republican Party, just 21 percent, a favorable opinion of the Tea Party. Both of those are all-time lows.

Put on your chairwoman hat. There are a lot of your current state chairs when you called them who think shutting down the government over a fight they know, that you know, you can't win, defunding Obamacare was not only counterproductive but politically foolish. Do you agree?

WAGNER: Well, you know, we needed to have this discussion. The American people --

KING: But to shut down the government to have that discussion?

WAGNER: No -- well, we're not looking at polls, I have to tell you, John. This is not about polls. This is about governance and about coming together to get things down. And I'll tell you, House Republicans don't want to shut down the government. We're the ones sending funding mechanisms over to the Senate day after day after day after day, and probably by the end of the this week funded about half of the continuing resolution.

So this is important work that we're doing. Now it seems to be dying at the feet of Harry Reid at the moment in the Senate but we continue to fund the government and will continue to do the work I'm hopeful --

KING: But -- but, Congresswoman, the president did win reelection, Obamacare was litigated in that election.

Let me ask it this way, for children watching tonight, maybe high school students, maybe elementary school students who are looking in their civics books, trying to find out why does it work this way? You have 35 members of Congress and this is a rough, rough estimate, but about 35 to 40 members of the House, five or six members of the Senate in the Republican Party. Why should fewer than 10 percent of the Congress get to essentially stop the works?

WAGNER: They are not stopping the works. We're listening to our constituents and we're doing the work that's important for us back home. We care a great deal about what happens in the future and not shutting down the government, making sure that this $17 trillion in debt is dealt with, and that we do big picture things and big issues. And that was a lot of what the discussion was tonight. Talking about how we move into entitlement reform, tax reform, growth mechanisms.

You know, what I think about my district in St. Louis, Missouri, I think about that single mother of two who's trying to make it to the 15th and 30th of the month. I think about that small business owner that's worried about health care and the fact that maybe the exchanges aren't even working for them right now, or about the costs are going up.

I worry about that elderly couple that looks at the debt and wonders if the American dream is going to be there for their -- for their grandchildren. This is what's on our minds. We went with a good faith effort. I think we're coming together. I was -- I thought, again, very useful and productive conversation. But this isn't about polls or punditry. This about governing and getting things done.

COOPER: Congresswoman, you said that, you know, a small group of House Republicans didn't shut -- didn't, you know, stop down the works, but the government was shut down. I mean. people have been furloughed, 800,000 people aren't getting a paycheck, so in that sense, I mean, it has stopped the works.

WAGNER: Well, you know, I would say that frankly the Democrats and the Senate have been a major portion of the -- of the government shutdown but at the end of the day, this isn't about assigning blame. This is -- this is about us doing our jobs on behalf of the American people and coming together to govern, and that's certainly why I'm here.

I'm a new freshman. I've been here eight or nine months and the dysfunction is wrong, and it's not solution based. It's not moving things forward but tonight I must say we're pleased that the president would sit down finally with us and begin to talk in a useful and constructive and good faith fashion.

COOPER: Congresswoman Wagner, appreciate you being on. John King, stay with us. We want to continue the conversation after the break. The rest of the panel joins us as well.

Let me know what you think about this. Follow me on Twitter at andersoncooper.

Also tonight, one of the few voices of reason in all this, the Senate's chaplain. We'll ask him about the tough talk he's been dishing out every morning to 100 squabbling lawmakers and why he's doing it.


DR. BARRY BLACK, U.S. SENATE CHAPLAIN: The thought that a delay in death benefits would add weight to what, in my opinion, is already unspeakable grief, was just more than I could take.



COOPER: Welcome back. Our breaking news, the talks continuing between the White House and congressional Republicans. And early evening meeting at the White House ending with no deal on either averting a debt ceiling breach or re-opening the government. That and new polling, get this, by a 60-35 margin Americans saying they'd vote out the entire Congress if they could.

Plenty to talk about with John King, chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, and former U.S. comptroller general, David Walker. He's what you call a deficit hawk. Currently he's CEO of the Comeback America Initiative.

John, some pretty significant developments on a potential deal tonight. What do you make of all this? I mean, do you -- do you see the House Republicans going along with this idea of separating or working on both the debt ceiling as well as the shutdown?

KING: A great majority and especially the leadership, Anderson, are saying tonight we'll reopen the government and we'll drop defunding Obamacare and we'll get something on the debt ceiling, we'll get negotiations on tax reform, we'll get negotiations on entitlement, and we will hope the Senate makes some changes to Obamacare.

Remember, a lot of conservative Democrats in the Senate up for election next year so maybe they'll means test Obamacare. Maybe they'll take away that tax on medical devices but they're not going to repeal, they're not going to defund it. And so essentially the House Republicans are looking for the exit ramp here. Because they realize they're paying a political price.

COOPER: Gloria, you say the Republicans are clearly giving in.


COOPER: But they're trying to find a fig leaf. What do you mean?

BORGER: Yes, they are. I mean I think what you're hearing with all of the positive talk that we just heard from the congresswoman before, how it was a great meeting with the president, suddenly we're going to negotiate, that they're looking at the polls. They're saying that this has been a complete unmitigated disaster for them.

In that same poll that you just referenced, 70 percent of the American public said that Republicans have put their own political interest above the national interest. This is really, really difficult. You look at that poll. Who's to blame for this? Republicans in Congress, 53 percent. So, you know, they're really suffering under this.

So what they're looking, as John says, is an exit ramp. I say a fig leaf and it's the same thing. And they originally just wanted to do half of this. They've said, all right, we're going to keep our fight on Obamacare but we're going to raise the debt ceiling because that's really difficult. And then the Democrats in the Senate and Republicans in the Senate said to House Republicans, you can't do that. And I think they have decided they actually can't after they have looked at these polls.

COOPER: Gloria, you're so cynical.


COOPER: You heard the congresswoman saying they don't look at polls and you know politicians don't look at polls.

BORGER: I know. And they -- and they never look at polls.


BORGER: But I tell you what, if I were looking at these polls, I'd be panicked.

COOPER: David, what do you make of this? I mean, it does seem that Obamacare is not really part of these discussions. I mean, the congresswoman was saying, well, nothing is on or off the table, but what do you make of it?

DAVID WALKER, FORMER U.S. COMPTROLLER GENERAL: Well, I think it's not on the table right now. I think frankly what the president ought to think about doing with regard to the Affordable Care Act is that he ought to use executive powers to not enforce the penalties associated with the individual mandate for a year. He's basically done the same thing on the employer's side. That way it's a reasonable approach. Frankly, you can't reach an agreement unless you're talking. This is the first time that they've talked face-to-face. That's a positive thing. In my personal view, people are spending too much time pointing fingers at who should be blamed, and not enough time on how you solve the problem.

And I tell you what I think a bridge strategy is. You extend -- you have a CR, you have a short-term debt ceiling delay. I would say at least eight weeks because we do have holidays coming up. You agree that there is going to be substantive discussions to reduce spending at least equal to the increase in the debt ceiling, put tax expenditures in the category with your X spending, but mandatory spending on the table.

You agree you're going to discuss a goal on debt to GDP that we're going to start to work to over time. Those I think would be substantive. Those would be attractive to both sides. That would be meaningful progress and that's what we need.

COOPER: So -- John, so what happens to all the House Republicans, those, you know, 20 or 30 or so who basically ran on defunding the Affordable Care Act, who've been raising money all this time on it, sending out newsletters about it, if that's off the table?


KING: Well, that --

WALKER: Well, it's time to get real.

COOPER: It's time to get real.


BORGER: Right.

KING: It's a great -- it's a great question for those members, Anderson, but most of those members were never going to vote to raise the debt ceiling. They've said that in their campaigns. Most of them will probably vote no anyway. The question is, how many? Can Speaker Boehner convince some of them? Maybe a third of them or half of them in the House to be with him, and he'll lose some of those votes.

But that'll be the key test when you get there, but that is the conversation tonight because the president said, he said, I'll have those conversations with you. And it's possible, if David is right, the Republicans could actually come out of this with some policy victories. But the question is how high of a political price so they can get to those conversations and they won't even get to those conversations unless they agree to reopen the government and drop the whole idea of attaching something to change Obamacare to reopening the government.

BORGER: You know, this is really in a way up to the speaker right now. He's given these members of the hell-no caucus all the rope they need and they probably hung themselves but I think there is a feeling among other Republicans that they don't want the entire party to be dragged down because of this political strategy that didn't work, that these people were promising something that they knew at the very beginning they could never deliver.

So I think right now the speaker and his leadership are trying to decide what can we do, should we have a vote where we don't get a majority of Republicans with us, or how can we convince a majority to come with us and allow those people to go their own way if that's what -- if that's what they need to do and if that's what they're intent on doing?

So I think it's a really -- you know, it's a leadership moment, again, for the speaker of the House.

COOPER: And, David, I know we keep hearing this October 17th date from the Treasury Department from when we would default on the debt without an extension by Congress. You say that's misleading. The real date is essentially Halloween, trick or treat.

WALKER: Well, the October 17th date was an estimate and they -- it's moved a little bit. What I'm saying is, is that if you don't do something about the debt ceiling, that's really what's most important. If you don't do something about that, you could be in a situation where Social Security benefits and other social insurance program benefits don't go out on time on November 1.

That is clearly unacceptable politically. Frankly, the only reason that we got Social Security reform in 1983 is because the benefits wouldn't go out on time. We're in a different situation today than we were then but the political unacceptability of that is still the same.

COOPER: But bottom line, on this, day 10, the end of day 10, for folks who want a deal, this is the closest we've been in all these 10 days, right?

WALKER: It's progress. There's no question about it.


COOPER: OK. Good news. Something we can have a drink on that tonight.

John, Gloria, David Walker, thank you.

Now in case you're still looking for a lonely voice of reason in all this, I give you now a lonely voice of reason.


BLACK: Have mercy upon us, oh, God, and save us from the madness. Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable. Remove the burdens of those who are the collateral damage of this government shutdown transforming negatives into positives as you work for the good of those who love you. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That is Senate Chaplain Barry Black over the course of the shutdown. He's turned the morning prayer into a quiet provocation, gently prodding the conscience of each and every member.

For him it's not a question of Democrat or Republican, right and wrong. I spoke to him earlier today.


COOPER: Dr. Black, yesterday spurred on by the debt benefits not being paid to military families, you had some harsh words for your -- congregants in the Senate, saying it's time for our lawmakers to say enough is enough, and you'd actually initially written a different prayer.

What made you change it?

BLACK: Well, I am a retired Navy chaplain. I spent 27 years in the United States Navy and serving in the United States Marine Corps as well. I have on scores of occasions had to go to the next of kin to inform some mother, some wife, that their loved one had been killed in action. I know the incomprehensible grief that can ensue after that kind of notification.

So the thought that a delay in death benefits would add weight to what, in my opinion, is already unspeakable grief, was just more than I could take, and so it was basically a passionate plea. It was not attempting to scold anyone. It was certainly not attempting to be harsh, but it was attempting to give a wakeup call and to say enough is enough.

COOPER: Last week, you said, and I quote, "Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable."

Why do you think it's been such a challenge for lawmakers to be reasonable over the course of the last few weeks?

BLACK: Well, I think sometimes you play the political game of dueling talking points, and you mouth rhetoric that you really haven't internalized. You just basically giving the party line. And many times you'll say things that are intended to sound reasonable but the affect is not there in you.

COOPER: I interview people all the time who are trying to stick to talking points and I sometimes wonder, do you really believe what you are saying? Do some of these people really believe the words they are saying, or is this just something that's poll tested or, you know, good for reelection? Do you -- does that frustrate you?

BLACK: There is a bible verse, Jeremiah 17:9 that says the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked what could know it, and I know the personal civil war that goes on inside of me.

So I'm very simple sympathetic with human nature. And I think that our lawmakers are many times doing the best they can but there is the element of game in politics many times. I just think that sometimes the stakes are too high to play the game.

COOPER: Is it hard for you to sort of look at this without choosing sides?

BLACK: It's not that difficult at all when you know these people, when you have been serving them for more than a decade to appreciate the patriotism and the fervor, and the passion for faith that so many of them have on both sides of the aisle.

COOPER: Dr. Barry Black, appreciate you being on. Thank you.

BLACK: It's my honor.


COOPER: For the story go to

Just ahead -- by the way, I just tweeted a question. I'm curious, you can answer me on Twitter at andersoncooper. But does anyone believe when a politician says they don't look at polls? I would like to hear from you.

Signing up for Obamacare is one big mess. The federal Web site, even supporters of the Affordable Care Act say so. We asked the White House how this could happen, why is it so messed up? You'll hear their answer ahead.

Also the biker who shot the video with his helmet cam. This video hasn't been charged in the attack on an SUV driver and his family. I want to talk to his lawyer coming up.


COOPER: More on breaking news, talks continue tonight between the White House and House Republicans on the table raising the debt ceiling and reopening the government. It started when Republicans tried to defund Obamacare. The government shutdown on October 1st, the same day the Obamacare web site opened for business.

Where at the site, where a patient would be calling for first aid basically and stat, if you try to log on chances are you experienced slow connections speeds and error messages that prevent you from enrolling. A key software component crashed, outside analyst had said poorly written codes and out of date applications are a big part of the problem.

More than eight million people have visited the site, but the Obama administration isn't actually releasing enrollment numbers until November. That leaves the rest of us in the dark leaving us wondering how Obamacare, the affordable care act is doing.

CNN's Brian Todd has been looking into message. Brian, it's incomprehensible to me that the rollout of this administration's signature piece of legislation has been such an incredible mess. You tried to get answers from the president's point man on the issue. Was he able to give you any?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He gave us some answers, Anderson, but danced around some other questions. He said basically that they acknowledged that there are problems and said this is not acceptable, all the glitches, people getting booted off, et cetera, and that they have people working 24/7 to try to fix these problems so I followed up with this question.


TODD: Many argued you had many months to get this booted up and perfect it, why then still so many problems?

DAVID SIMAS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY SENIOR ADVISOR FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND STRATEGY: We went through a testing period and during the testing period, you identify problems, create a punch list, fix those things and the president said from the beginning, with a site like this there would be glitches, but let's understand why there was the initial problem.

We had 250,000 concurrent users at one time. I mean, just for perspective in a given month has 5 million unique visitors. This in the first three days had 8.6 million unique visitors, which speaks to the demand.


TODD: They essentially acknowledged they were not quite ready for all of that demand especially in that three-day period -- Anderson.

COOPER: First of all, any kind of rollout like this you're supposed to anticipate for the highest volume of visitors possible and it clearly goes beyond just unique visitors. I know you spoke with people that said this is a sloppy setup and I spoke to someone that said kind of the front end, the actual web site stuff that people see and the back end, there were multiple contracting companies involved and seems like they weren't communicating or coordinating.

TODD: It seems that way, Anderson, and as you've mentioned we talked to experts that they help corporations design major web sites. He says this was sloppy. That is inefficient. He says it doesn't work at the most basic levels so I asked basically, who signed off on this.


TODD: If you don't want to tell me who signed off, can you tell me if that person had any experience designing a web application or managing one or any experience at all?

SIMAS: Brian, there is a team that worked on this night and day, put together a web site called and in three days, 8.6 million people went through. Identifying problems, working through those problems, are going to fix the problems.


COOPER: The other thing that they can't give you a figure how many people have actually now signed up, I don't buy. I don't believe that, you know, and what they are promoting is we had all these unique visitors, but actually signing up, actually creating accounts and can't give numbers, I don't buy they don't have the numbers. What do they recommend for people trying to sign up for days now? What's their advice?

TODD: Their advice is if you're frustrated, keep going back and call the help center. I tried to log in today, I couldn't. You got six months to sign for this. They really hit home that message. It's frustrating now. They acknowledge that, but you got six months to sign up for this so keep going back.

COOPER: Brian Todd, appreciate it. Thanks.

TODD: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: I don't get why they say they can't release numbers. It doesn't make sense to me.

Up next, what was going through the mind of the biker that shot the video of the confrontation of the other bikers and the SUV, a one- on-one with his lawyer ahead.

Also breaking news tonight, NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, receives an award for what he did. Former CIA analyst tells us what Snowden's life is like in Russia tonight.


COOPER: Welcome back. The seventh motorcyclist accused of involvement in the beating of the driver of an SUV here in New York City appeared in court today. The 31-year-old James Coon pleaded not guilty to charges of gang assault, assault and criminal mischief. He was released after posting $200,000 bond.

So far six bikers are facing assault charges, which are felonies and as we reported one is an undercover police detective who was off duty riding that day with his fellow bikers. Prosecutors say he is caught on video actively participating in the attack on the SUV driver and his family.

One biker not been charged and likely won't, according to his attorney, is Kevin Bresloff, the man that shot this video with his helmet cam with the go pro. Andrew Vecere is his attorney.

COOPER: Why did you client start to videotape?

ANDREW VECERE, ATTORNEY FOR KEVIN BRESLOFF: From speaking to my client he believes he saw a water bottle come out of the sunroof or the top of the Range Rover.

COOPER: So he thinks he saw somebody in the Ranger Rover, the SUV throw a water bottle?

VECERE: Correct.

COOPER: So the six minutes that this tape lasts for the and vehicle drives off and ultimately the vehicle turns off on to a city street, all that time your client is believing this is a hit-and-run driver trying to get away?

VECERE: Yes, he believes I saw an initial hit-and-run. I watched another motorcycle rider literally be sucked under the SUV as it pulled off from a spot and his intention was the police are called, someone just got run over by a car. They are going to get there. I'll hand them my camera and they can sort it out.

COOPER: Some call this motorcycle group a gang, enthusiasts. Does he know the other motorcyclist he's riding with?

VECERE: He did not know, still doesn't know them, any of the other motorcyclists that are seen in the video.

COOPER: When everything comes to a stop, the driver has turned off the highway, he's surrounded, and the tape suddenly ends. The go pro is shut off. Does your client shut it off? How does it stop recording?

VECERE: I know how improvable it sounds, but the battery stopped. It stopped working. It has a limited life.

COOPER: There are some people that believe he turned it off so as not to have evidence of a beating that, you know, to not get involved in something.

VECERE: I can state with 100 percent certainty that is not what happened. It's unfortunate that the battery died. Luckily, there are other video accounts of what happened after his tape stopped.

COOPER: So what did he do then? Did he wait for police?

VECERE: He froze, panicked and then eventually everything was broken up, it settled down, it happened very quickly. This isn't something that happened over a 15 to 20-minute period. This was 20 seconds, 30 seconds.

COOPER: The actual final --

VECERE: The actual final -- correct. The actual final altercation might have lasted 30 seconds and he doesn't know where he is. He sees someone, they are going and everyone sort of disbursed.

COOPER: One natural question is why didn't he call police?

VECERE: Panicked way in over his head.

COOPER: The police have been to his house.


COOPER: Have they taken his computer or things like that?

VECERE: They took his computer equipment, external towers, every electronic device that can store something.

COOPER: Is he cooperating with police?

VECERE: Absolutely.

COOPER: And there is no indication that he would be charged with anything at this point.

VECERE: He is not charged with anything and I do not anticipate him being charged with any crime with anything that happened on that day.

COOPER: Your client is not talking publicly, is there a reason for that?

VECERE: H's already been characterized throughout Long Island, the city, the nation that he's this thug and gang member. He's not.

COOPER: So you're concern as his attorney is you put him out for interviews, his face is associated with this and people --

VECERE: Correct.

COOPER: No matter what people think, it just makes it worse?

VECERE: No one looks at -- everyone has an opinion after looking at this video. The majority of the people I run into, the bikers are animals. I would have run them over. I would have shot them. That's a horrible statement about our society. Don't judge people just at a first glance.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, our criminal defense attorney has been on the program and arguing repeatedly, look, you have so many different people, everybody saw this from a different vantage point, has a different thing in their mind and you can't make it as if this group of motorcyclist was acting all of one mind. It's not like they were in communication with each other and plotting this, this is just a number of people, dozens of people reacting in different ways.

VECERE: I'm encouraging people the police have mountains of evidence. Let them complete a thorough investigation. Let the district attorney bring the appropriate charges based on the evidence. Don't rush to judgment until all the facts are in. That's my entire problem with the way people are dealing with this. They are very quick to jump to conclusions. They don't know the people that were on the ride. Some people are probably bad. There are other people that are very good. Just because you're a motorcycle rider doesn't make you a criminal.

COOPER: Andrew, thank you very much.

VECERE: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, breaking news that may surprise some U.S. intelligence community and anger some. Edward Snowden is honored for leaking American secrets and more surprising, the award was given by retired CIA officers. One that spent the evening with Edward Snowden in Russia. We'll find out what his life is like now.

Also ahead Hanna Anderson talks about being kidnapped by a friend and how he wanted her to play Russian roulette.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight, we're hearing from someone who met very recently with Edward Snowden in Moscow. To some the former NSA contractor is a criminal, trader, fugitive from the United States held up in Russia charged by U.S. officials with espionage for leaking secrets about the government surveillance tactics.

To some he's a hero, courageous whistle blower and been honored at a group of former U.S. intelligence officers who gave him an award out of ceremony in Moscow. The award is from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity and Intelligence named for a late CIA analyst.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern is in Russia at a ceremony just spent the evening with Ed Snowden and I talked with him on the phone.


COOPER: How is Ed Snowden doing?

RAY MCGOVERN, FORMER CIA ANALYST (via telephone): He's doing quite well. We were seeing he's not only physically well, but his moral seems to be uncommonly high for someone in that circumstance.

COOPER: He really hasn't been seen publicly at all. Does he seem nervous? Is he looking over his shoulder, or does he seem comfortable?

MCGOVERN: The most remarkable thing, he's a fellow, young fellow that made peace with the situation. He has the notion he did the right thing. When you come right down to it, he didn't intend to end up in Russia, that's clear. But if you're looking for a safe place away from drone strikes and SEAL Six teams, I couldn't conceive of a safer place for him to be than in Russia.

COOPER: You spent a number of hours with him. I understand you had dinner with him. Did he express any concerns for safety at all?

MCGOVERN: None at all. You know, he -- he said at the outset that he would be bold, but right now he seems to be in a secure place and attended to by his hosts, the Russian government and looks like he has a reasonably good life.

COOPER: Does he have minders, people with him, security personnel? Does he speak Russian? How blended in is he?

MCGOVERN: Good question. He is learning Russian, and he's a quick read. I know Russian and I got a little chance to see how far he's come. Sure, he's closely protected because there is a premium on finding out exactly where he is.

COOPER: Did he give an indication of what is next for him?

MCGOVERN: Well, what is next for him is learning Russia -- Russian and trying to assimilate into that culture. He, of course, still loves America. He very much wants to be accepted back, but he realized that it may be awhile. But he takes complete heart from is that his worst fear has been assuaged. His worst fear, the worst thing that could happen, I do this, risk my life, liberty and future and nothing happens.

COOPER: And finally, Ray, did you get the sense he has much freedom of movement? Is he able to walk down the street? Is he able to go out without security or go out just on his own? Did you get any sense of that?

MCGOVERN: He didn't explicitly, but he has security with him. There are places you can go and people you can see in various ways. He did not complain of being hemmed in or sitting alone at the computer every day and he looked remarkably well. I was afraid he wouldn't, he looks remarkably fit.

COOPER: Ray McGovern, appreciate your time. Thank you, Ray.

MCGOVERN: Most welcome.


COOPER: Well, there is a lot more happening tonight. Susan Hendricks is here with the 360 bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, 16-year-old Hanna Anderson is talking more about the horrific ordeal she went through. She's the California teen kidnapped in August by a family friend James DiMaggio and taken to Idaho after he killed her mother and brother. On NBC's "Today" show Hanna described what happened when DiMaggio told her at his house he was abducting her.


HANNAH ANDERSON: When we got into the house after he told me the plan, he made me play Russian roulette with him sitting on the couch.


ANDERSON: Yes, and when it was my turn, I started crying and like was freaking out.


HENDRICKS: Hanna was rescued in Idaho by FBI agent who shot and killed DiMaggio.

Ohio officials say two prison guards watching Ariel Castro did not perform rounds and may have falsified their logs. They are now on leave. It is believed the Cleveland kidnapper hanged himself, but investigators now say it's possible he died of auto erotic asphyxiation.

The biological father of the 4-year-old girl once known as Baby Veronica says he is giving up his legal battle for custody. Dustin Brown fought to regain custody under the Indian child welfare act. Last month Veronica was returned to the parents that adopted her as a baby, as you know, you've been following this story.

COOPER: Susan, thanks very much. Appreciate it. Up next, the top ten heroes of 2013 and how you can help pick the "CNN Hero of the Year."


COOPER: Big day here at CNN, we announced the Top Ten Heroes of 2013, ten everyday people changing the world in extraordinary ways. Each person will automatically receive a $50,000 grant to help them continue their work and each has a shot of being named "CNN Hero of the Year" and that person will win an additional $250,000.

You to help decide who the winner is, online voting is underway. You can vote once a day every day. Whoever is named "CNN Hero of the Year" will get an additional $250,000. Tonight, we want to introduce you to the ten contenders.


COOPER (voice-over): Dale Beatty lost his legs in Iraq and is helping provide homes to disabled veterans. Dr. Laura Stachel uses solar power to help health care workers deliver babies safely and Danielle Gletow, she is a fairy godmother for foster children making their often simple wishes come true.

Kakenya Ntaiya opened the first primary school for girls in her Kenyan village. Tawanda Jones provides disciple and inspiration to children in one of the nation's poorest cities and Chad Pregrackie is keeping America's rivers clean by removing garbage from waterways across the U.S., Stella Pyfrom poured her savings into a mobile computer lab that serves low income children and adults.

Richard Nares lost his son to leukemia and now is helping low income children get to cancer treatments. Dr. George Bwelle traveled into jungles every weekend bringing free surgery to those in need and Robin Emmons provides fresh produce to underserved residents in her community.


COOPER: In December we'll honor the top ten heroes you met and announce the "CNN Hero of the Year. It air December 1st at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Get busy and vote and cast ballots for your favorite top ten heroes. You can vote once a day, every day through November 17th until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Share your votes on Facebook and Twitter, as well.

That's it for us, join us an hour from now at 10 p.m. Eastern for our new panel discussion show "AC360 LATER" and check out the live web cast before AC360 later, starts in 15 minutes. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.