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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

ISIS Strike Iraqi Cities; Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Heading Home; Congress For Sale; Children At The Border: How They Cross, What Awaits Them

Aired June 12, 2014 - 20:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, thanks for joining us. We begin tonight with breaking news.

The fight for Iraq, a country in chaos as cities continue to fall under the control of radical militants intent on establishing an Islamic state throughout the region. The militants, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS. We'll have more on who they are exactly and what they want in a moment. As for what they're doing right now, it's a violent surge through Iraq threatening the capital of Bagdad and taking the city of Mosul.

State-run television says the Iraqi military has taken back control of the city of Tikrit which had appeared to have fallen just one day ago. U.S. officials called the situation extremely urgent. Here's what President Obama said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My team is working around the clock to identify how we can provide the most effective assistance to them. I don't rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria for that matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The White House spokesperson Jay Carney says the United States is not contemplating ground troops but that airstrikes are being considered. Iraq's military -- carried out its own airstrikes overnight.

Arwa Damon joins me live from Irbil, Iraq, with the latest.

So we have heard ISIS continuing its push through the country. What's the latest you're hearing right now?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, they're still maintaining a very firm grip over the city of Mosul. When it comes to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, they attempted to take that over but they were driven back in that case not by the Iraqi Security Forces, who again by and large abandoned their position, but by the Peshmerga, the Kurdish fighting force. We spent the bulk of our day at one of the border crossings into

northern Iraq. The region of Kurdistan, on the main road that would lead towards Mosul. And there we saw some of the Peshmerga who had gone into the areas around Mosul, managing to recover some of these Iraqi military vehicles that had been abandoned.

We also continued to see a flood of refugees coming to seek safe haven here -- Anderson.

COOPER: A lot of families obviously fleeing cities like Mosul today. You say they were not necessarily fleeing from ISIS?

DAMON: Yes, that is what was quite interesting in speaking to them. Especially at this stage, a few days after ISIS took over Mosul. It is bizarre how they were describing this situation because they would say it was normal. It was fine, yes, the fighters are all out on the streets, there is no real semblance of rule of law. But they said they weren't carrying out mass executions. They were not looting or pillaging, there was running water, they were being supplied with fuel.

It just goes to show you the psyche of the Iraqi population after more than a decade of war for what it is that they find to be important.

Interesting, too, Anderson, was the flow of people going back to Mosul saying that they prefer to live under this relative bizarre stability that has been created in Mosul by ISIS, rather than being under the thumb of the Iraqi Security Forces who they effectively view as being a Shiite force dispatched by the predominantly Shiite government to clamp down on this Sunni population.

Really underscoring the dynamics of all of this. And that is the growing tensions between the Sunni and Shiite populations -- Anderson.

COOPER: So I take it the people you saw going back were Sunni obviously?

DAMON: Yes, they were for the most part, and they were from the Mosul area. Some of them were saying that they even welcomed the ISIS, not viewing them as being terrorists but actually viewing them as being revolutionaries.

This is very much part of this broader battle that we're seeing between the Sunni and Shiite populations here in Iraq. But also the battle grounds in neighboring Syria. And a lot of people will tell you that for the country to be able to move out of this it would require certain political maturity by the part of key Iraqi players that at this stage does not necessarily exist.

COOPER: Right.

DAMON: How has ISIS been able to gain so much control at this stage? Well, Anderson, it's also being supported to a certain degree by other Sunni insurgent groups here.

COOPER: No doubt about that. Arwa Damon, appreciate that. Stay safe.

The end game of ISIS is to set up an Islamic state across the region, impose Sharia law. Something it's already done in some of the towns it controls.

Just a few elements of that, women have to stay inside, cove themselves from head to toe when they do go out, boys and girls are separated at school, music is banned.

Right now we want to take a closer look at the group, ISIS, who they are and what they say they want.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Brutal, well-organized, and well-financed. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, has rapidly morphed into the world's most dangerous jihadist organization. Its methods so extreme al Qaeda itself had disavowed any relationship with it.

The group seized on the power vacuum left by the U.S. withdrawal in Iraq, the continuing Syrian civil war and the hostility between different Muslim groups to grow in influence and bolster its ranks. Becoming a magnet for battle hardened jihadist from around the world.

Its goal is synonymous with its name. To set up an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. And with the treason advances in northern Iraq, that goal appears to be closer.

ISIS now controls crucial swaths of territories stretching from the Syrian city of Aleppo all the way to the outskirts of Baghdad. And they threaten to advance in the capital itself.

Formed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, ISIS was originally known as the Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda's affiliate there. It was tasked with creating a sectarian civil war to stabilize the country during the U.S.-led occupation. But its current leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has a larger vision for the group.

Al-Baghdadi assumed control of ISIS in 2010 at the age of 39. A religious scholar who claims to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. His assured leadership and ruthless tactics have inspired thousands and many call him the new Osama bin Laden.

As ISIS has grown it's assumed the responsibility not just of a terrorist group but of a governing power, often providing food and services to the residents in the areas it controls. ISIS rules through fear. Imposing Sharia law and holding public floggings and executions to keep people in check. And with each city it conquers it seems its power and influence grows.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, joining me now is former FBI agent Ali Soufan and former CIA and FBI senior official, Philip Mudd. I appreciate both of you being with us.

Ali, let's start with you. ISIS. How real is the threat from them?

ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI AGENT: I mean, it's pretty real, Anderson. ISIS, as you mentioned in your report, started in al Qaeda in Iraq. And after that it went to Syria. And in Syria they did -- you know, they split from al Qaeda. And the reason of the split is not because of the ruthlessness of ISIS. ISIS is a ruthless organization. Baghdadi is a ruthless guy. But it's basically an ego, a clash of personality between him and Ayman Zawahiri over the control of the affiliates in Syria.

COOPER: Are they able to actually hold a territory, to hold a city like Mosul?

SOUFAN: Well, I don't think they will be able to hold Mosul in the long term in Iraq. They haven't been successful in holding the territory in Syria, Deir ez Zur, Raqqah, different areas that they control.

COOPER: OK.

SOUFAN: And Syria was very significant for ISIS because in Syria they actually changed their strategy from hit-and-run to hit-and-hold. And now because of the experience they gained in Syria they are manipulating and they are leveraging sectarian and tribal divides, especially in the area of the Sunni triangle to move the same, you know, modus operandi into Iraq.

COOPER: Philip, I mean, a lot of fingers have been pointed over this. Some said the U.S. is to blame. They blame the Obama administration, others point to Prime Minister Maliki, others saying Syria, and the lack of U.S. action there.

How do we get here? Where do you see the responsibility for this? I mean, certainly Maliki plays a huge role in this because for years -- the U.S. and others were trying to encourage him to reach out to Sunni groups something he really resisted.

PHILIP MUDD, FORMER SENIOR OFFICIAL, FBI AND CIA: Well, I think we have a real problem assessing this in America because believe it or not we believe that democracy is inherently really good. Let's have a reality check here. When we have a dictatorship in a country that has tremendous religious divides like the Sunni/Shiite divide, the divide with the Kurds in Iraq, and you're transitioning to democracy, in this case you have a winner, that is Nouri al-Maliki, who says I represent the Shia. I don't represent the others.

In this case the transition to democracy isn't working because those win don't represent the minority. We've got a problem here in Iraq. It's not a problem with what the Americans did, it's not a problem with the foreign fighters. It's a problem with the government that does not represent the people.

COOPER: And frankly, I mean, Ali, is there -- the U.S. involvement at all part of the answer? Does -- I mean, there are those who say, well, look, the U.S. wasn't able to do this with 100,000 troops on the ground. They're not going to be able to do it with just some airstrikes. That's just going to antagonize all these different groups.

SOUFAN: I think it's a big mistake to just think of Iraq and think of what happened in Mosul in the last 24 hours. You know, Iraq is an over-spill also of the Syrian civil war.

COOPER: Of Syria.

SOUFAN: And we have to look at the whole entire region and if we want to do anything in Iraq to, you know, help the situation in Iraq, the military option is not -- is not enough. We have to be involved diplomatically, we have to pressure Maliki to be more inclusive.

COOPER: But I mean, the U.S. have been pressuring Maliki to do that since Maliki has been in office. I mean, the whole idea of the surge was to kind of buy sometime for a political solution.

SOUFAN: Well, the surge was (INAUDIBLE). And there is few people who were prime ministers even -- you know, you have Alawi.

COOPER: Right.

SOUFAN: And then you have Alawi -- anyway, but so al-Maliki wasn't the only person who was ruling Iraq, yes, al-Maliki has been inclusive. Maliki has fuelled by most of the Sunnis in Iraq as a Shiite or as a tool for Iran. And we haven't been that involved in the region, period. But I agree with Phil. This issue is not only U.S. problem. This is -- this has to do with Syria, this has to do with Iran.

COOPER: Right.

SOUFAN: This has to do with Saudi Arabia. This has to do with the escalating tension all over the region, all over the Middle East. Between Sunnis and Shiite. And this has to do with the choice that Middle Eastern people have today. Especially Arab and Muslim people, a choice between either you're going to live under a dictatorship or Islamic extremism.

COOPER: And, Philip, I mean, the whole idea of the Iraqi army, which was flooded with money and training from the United States, given a lot of equipment was that it would be a nationalizing force for Sunni and Shiite, but from a lot of reports, it seems like Sunni have basically, you know, given up. A lot of the Shiite even are taking off the uniforms and running away.

MUDD: Yes, I think that we've got to take a chill pill here. Look, when I was at CI, we had catastrophes and attacks in Indonesia, in Somalia, in Yemen, in Saudi Arabia, in Iraq, now in Nigeria. We had attacks in Madrid. In London. Every time one of these happens we're so short-sighted in this country we fail to step back and say, what is the context? This dog has not hunted yet. This story is not over. They took some territory. Not all the locals support them. Not all the tribal support them. There are differences among the insurgents especially in Syria.

It looks like the security forces stood up a bit today.

COOPER: Right.

MUDD: So before we write this off we better look at all the elements of this and assess this a little more completely before we go breathless.

COOPER: And Ali, you're saying Baghdad is not going to fall?

SOUFAN: I don't believe so. I think the threat will be contained. I think there is a lot of different factors that will prevent ISIS to spread its -- control and power over the region. And I think you're going to see the Kuwaitis getting involved, the Saudis getting involved, not only the Iranians but Sunni and Shia. Because everybody realizes that ISIS is not only a threat against Shiite regimes.

COOPER: Right. Originally.

SOUFAN: But it's also against moderate Sunnis regimes.

COOPER: Ali Soufan, it's great to have you. Philip Mudd, great to have you on the program. Thank you very much.

A quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR so you can watch 360 whenever you like.

Coming up, more breaking news, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, on his way back to the United States, set to arrive just hours from now. What's next for Bergdahl and what insight we can get from newly released letters he wrote while he was held captive by the Taliban. Those have been released.

Also ahead, Congress for sale. The corrupting influence of big bucks on Capitol Hill, where the most powerful positions come with huge price tags. We're looking into where the money is coming from and where it's going. "Keeping Them Honest" tonight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, we have more breaking news tonight, news that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's family and friends have been waiting to hear for five long years. Right now he is on his way back to the United States. He's left the military hospital in Germany where he's been since his release. Scheduled to arrive in the United States about five hours from now at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

And he's going to start the next phase in the process of re- integrating back into the life he knew before he was held captive by the Taliban. We're learning more about that captivity and why he disappeared in 2009 from letters that Bergdahl himself wrote home. We're going to have more on that in a moment but first our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto joins me from Washington.

So what do we know about the condition that Bergdahl is in now and why officials felt tonight was the time to bring him back?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I'll tell you, the military has been very tightlipped about his condition. They consider it a private matter. What we've been hearing is he's been improving every day. But I'll tell you speaking to experts the trip home is a jarring, traumatic experience, if he wasn't ready for it they wouldn't have him on the plane now. So that says that he's improved to the point that he can handle this next step.

COOPER: There is a very specific plan in place covering everything from the people with him in the air, I understand, to what his routine is going to be once he's here, right?

SCIUTTO: It's incredible, and I just learned this as we looked into this. But they've been practicing for this since the moment he disappeared five years ago. There is a team literally of hundreds involved, they practice every six months during the time of his five years of captivity. Everybody down to even the two pilots flying the plane prepared for this. And then when he lands a whole support network, doctors, psychiatrists, chaplain, public affairs specialist, even a financial specialist, all the things that he might need in terms of coming back into his old life after five years away.

COOPER: I assume all that means that the U.S. military has not, you know, interrogated him or asked him questions about why it was or the circumstances of his disappearance. Do we know? Has he talked to his family yet? Do we know when he'll see his family or is that still open?

SCIUTTO: As for his family we're told that he hasn't talked to them. What we do know about the process back home -- well, in San Antonio, where he is going the family would have been sent there before his arrival, staying in a hotel. Like accommodation nearby with quick access to him for when he is ready. But I'm also told that that first meeting, normally -- particularly for people who've been in captivity for so long might be just 15 or 20 minutes on the first day. Like everything, everything is parceled out, and given him, you know, as he can handle it, as he goes along.

COOPER: Yes, I talked to other people who have held hostage who said they got about 20 minutes or 30 minutes with their families, and they said frankly, even that was almost overwhelming for them.

SCIUTTO: Absolutely.

COOPER: Jim Sciutto, thanks very much.

For the first time, as I said, we are learning from Bergdahl himself about his captivity and how he was feeling when he left his unit in Afghanistan. It's not the full picture by any means. Now as you know, Bergdahl has not spoken publicly since his release. But we are getting some insight from two letters that he wrote home while he was being held captive. "The Daily Beast" says they got copies of the two letters from sources in touched with the Taliban and that U.S. and Western officials confirmed they are authentic. In the letters Bergdahl asked the United States government to reserve

judgment about his case. To wait for all the evidence to come in about why he left.

Randi Kaye reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is dated March 23rd 2013, sent from Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl to his parents home back in Idaho. In it, Bergdahl seems to hint at why he walked away from his unit back in 2009. In the letter, Bergdahl writes, "Leadership was lacking if not nonexistent. The conditions were bad and looked to be getting worse for the men that were actually the ones risking their lives from attack."

"Daily Beast" contributor Kimberly Dozier got the letters from her contacts inside the Taliban.

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE DAILY BEAST: Everything is misspelled. So it's hard to know, did he dictate these for someone else to write for him? Was he even allowed to hold the pen? Was he saying what the Taliban told him to say?

KAYE: In that same letter, Bergdahl also references an investigation perhaps into his disappearance. Writing, "If this letter makes it to the USA, tell those involved in the investigation that there are more sides to the situation."

He signs that letter on an upbeat note, writing, 'Things well, take care. Keep powder dry. Miss ID," meaning Idaho, then his name.

Bergdahl's first letter to his parents dated November 27th, 2012 includes this drawing of a paw print at the end. Officials tell the "Daily Beast" that's a sign his letter is authentic.

DOZIER: Apparently that's something he used to do with letters home from Afghanistan.

KAYE (on camera): In that 2012 letter, Bergdahl understandably seems confused about where he is. The letters return address reads "Afghanistan War Prison." Officials say that he had been held in Pakistan. Also interesting, some of the lines are blocked out. It's unclear who did that or why. "The Daily Beast" reports that's how the letters arrive at Bergdahl's parents home.

(Voice-over): The 2012 letter is more positive. Bergdahl writing, "I am as well as can be here. I am given food and drink." In this letter, though, he rambles about faith and the universe. "Just because we cannot understand the master equation does not mean it is not there." Adding, "Math is God's code for this universe and beyond. I miss you all."

DOZIER: It starts logically but then it transitions into something that's very hard to read and very hard to understand. Was he just taking advantage of the chance he had to spend as much time as possible writing without being held in the cage?

KAYE: Perhaps, or maybe he was simply holding onto a lifeline, desperate to get home.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, joining me now live is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Rohde who was in Afghanistan reporting for "The New York Times" when he was kidnapped by the Taliban and held for seven months. He finally was able to escape.

I was wondering about your reaction to these letters obtained by "The Daily Beast."

DAVID ROHDE, KIDNAPPED BY THE TALIBAN, HELD FOR 7 MONTHS: They're very familiar. I mean, I exchanged letters with my wife when

I was in captivity.

COOPER: So that was allowed by your captors.

ROHDE: Yes. They trust the International Red Cross because some of the Taliban have been held actually in prison in Afghanistan and the Red Cross took messages to these Taliban families. So the problem with the letters, and I think they're completely authentic, is that as Bowe Bergdahl is writing them he's got Taliban guards watching every word. You know, he's writing and they clearly make copies of them.

COOPER: And that's exactly what happened with you. They were watching.

ROHDE: Yes. So he's essentially writing this note under duress. Like he doesn't want to write anything that's somehow going to anger his captors. This thing where he said he's in Afghanistan. I'm sure that's a lie. They always told me that in phone calls and videos I was supposed to say I was Afghanistan. They were hiding the fact that we were actually in Pakistan.

COOPER: In Pakistan.

ROHDE: And so these are important letters but I don't think it is the full story of why he left the base.

COOPER: The "Washington Post" also published some writings of his that also kind of give a peak at his -- at some of the issues he's been having.

ROHDE: Yes. There was -- they were very sad, they were these writings as he's on the deployment that he's sort of increasingly, you know, disenchanted. Some of those letters don't make sense. And was he struggling, you know, at that point with mental health issues, did he have some kind of mental breakdown as he walked off the base? We don't know.

Again, to be fair to the members of his unit, you know, he may have simply deserted. But it's troubling when you see these letters and that his mental state seems to be --

COOPER: And even in these letters "The Daily Beast" got, the sort of rambling nature of it, I mean, it does sort of go off on this tangent that don't really make sense.

ROHDE: And to be honest, I mean, you -- when you write these letters, when I wrote my letters in captivity, I didn't know if I was going to survive. I thought this letter was maybe the last thing I could get to my family. And you're trying to kind of offer them some solace. I told my family more or less, you know, videos I made and the last notes was, none of this is your fault. I made this decision to go to this interview. You know, move on with your lives. So he's --

COOPER: You were really trying to send the message that if this was it you wanted it to become a positive last message?

ROHDE: Yes. Yes, and so again, you know, who knows what he is trying to communicate. He's clearly struggling, you know, as maybe hanging onto a thread, you know, as Randi Kaye said. So it is a very -- it's a really desperate situation.

COOPER: Right. Again, until -- I mean, the bottom line is until we really hear from him and until investigators in the military hear from him or even question him, there is a lot we simply don't know.

ROHDE: Yes.

COOPER: For you the trip back to the United States, how significant was that? I mean, there is getting out of captivity.

ROHDE: Yes.

COOPER: There's getting medical attention but actually coming back to the United States.

ROHDE: I mean, it's a big change. It's a joyous thing, I mean, and again, as we talked about, I was held one tenth of the time he was. And I was never in this military system. I flew from Bagram to Dubai, met my wife and my brother. I took a commercial flight back to JFK airport in New York and --

COOPER: Must have been surreal.

ROHDE: And went to -- well, to be honest --

COOPER: Even in the Dubai airport with all the, like, gold for sale.

ROHDE: Well, the stories that I -- you know, we don't know. But I'm telling you, Bowe Bergdahl, my guess, is elated as he flies home right now. I got home. I went to the apartment building I live in with my wife, and I kissed the sidewalk in front of the building, my wife actually (INAUDIBLE) and said, honey, you know, this is New York.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Is anyone on the street like, what's going on? ROHDE: Well --

COOPER: Well, it's New York. People just walk by.

ROHDE: Exactly. But, you know, he's elated to be home. He has many questions to answer but I just think he is at the beginning of a very long, long --

COOPER: Yes.

ROHDE: Difficult process.

COOPER: David Rohde, good to have you on as always. Thank you so much.

ROHDE: Thank you.

COOPER: As always you can find more in the story and other at CNN.com.

Just ahead, Congress for sale. Drew Griffin showing just how much money the most powerful people in Congress are expected to raise for their parties if they want the job, if they want to keep power. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Plus, we'll talk to the principal of Columbine High School, finally retiring after fulfilling the promise he made 15 years ago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Hey, welcome back. Eric Cantor's landslide loss in Virginia's Republican primary is proof that money doesn't guarantee a victory. Certainly, Dave Brat, the little known college professor who trounced the House majority leader spent about $122,000, on his entire campaign. Cantor's campaign spent more than that on just food, $168,000 at steakhouses along to wine and dine donors.

According to the web site Open Secrets Cantor outspent Brat by a ratio of almost 41 to 1. After Cantor's loss, Republican consultant lobbyist, Jeff Burton told "Politico" and I quote, "I think the party is going definitely going to be losing one of its top two fundraisers in the House.

He says only John Boehner, the House speaker, raises more money than Cantor. Keeping them honest, that is no accident and Drew Griffin tonight drills down on what it takes to land the plum jobs on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a chilly march evening in Washington and a rite of spring for the Republican Party is about to take place. A strong wind whips the valets, but nothing can stop the parade of money walking into the National Building Museum. This invitation only gala for the National Republican Congressional Committee has just one goal. Every Republican member of Congress is expected to bring a pile of cash for the party. Where do they get it? Mostly lobbyists, of course, special interests, people and businesses who want to buy influence in Washington. And find, so willing members of Congress whose party bosses demand they take that money.

Republicans on this one night raised $15 million. The fundraising goals are clearly posted inside the office of the Republican's congressional campaign. This recent photo of the list shows the more power you have the more money you owe.

PETER SCHWEIZER, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY INSTITUTE: The theory is the more powerful the committee the more senior your position, the more ability you have to extract money from people.

GRIFFIN: Author Peter Schweitzer says it is why he named his newest book on Washington "Extortion."

(on camera): To be a ranking member of a committee, to be on a sub- committee, A, B, C, D, like you said, it all has a price.

SCHWEIZER: It is a pay to play system, which is very troubling. It says if you have this position or want this position here is the amount of money you have to raise. If you don't want to raise quite that much, there are other items on the menu. That is very troubling because if anything speaks to our system being for sale, that is the most powerful indictment.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): NRCC spokesperson only pointed out Democrats do this, too. That is an understatement. The morning after the March Republican dinner, New York Democrat Charlie Rangel is getting dropped off at yet another routine breakfast fundraiser on Washington's northwest side. Rangel has won every general election he has been in since 1970 with more than 80 percent of the vote.

For 14 years, not even a Democrat challenged him in a primary. Although he is in a tough primary battle this year, for the better part of four decades he has had almost no competition, yet he has raised and spent more than $24 million.

(on camera): So many years you have had absolutely no opposition. What do you guys do with the money that you raise for these fundraisers and campaigns when you don't have anybody to run against?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably help other candidates.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Handing out money to fellow colleagues to congressional campaign economies to party political action committees, critics like Peter Schweizer contend it is how members of Congress gain power and yes, buy votes. And it is why, needed or not they keep raising it. Case in point, Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate raising money, it sucks, it is awful. The worst thing you can do.

GRIFFIN: McGovern has run unopposed in five of his last elections. When he has had an opponent, he has trounced him in the ballot box and out-spent him 10 to 1. Yet, despite his hatred for doing it, McGovern has raised and spent nearly $10 million since first being elected. His top donors? Lawyers, law firms and lobbyists, he may say he hates it, but it has not stopped him. McGovern even helped fundraisers inside the homes of lobbyists including his former chief of staff.

(on camera): If there was one guy who could say no to the special interest, no to the lobbyists, get out of my office, it would be you.

REPRESENTATIVE JAMES MCGOVERN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, first of all I think my record is one that reflects I'm not a pawn of special interests?

GRIFFIN: But the cycle continues, you keep raising the money, when you don't need it I assume you give it to other people. You could have bank rolled it and kept it in a war chest for yourself and been able to tell -- these lobbyists go away.

MCGOVERN: Yes, but you know -- I mean, I raised the money, and you know -- because I don't know what is coming at me. If I don't need it I give it to other candidates.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): This election cycle, McGovern is expected to pay $250,000 to the Democratic Party. As a rising party star, he will raise and give away much more than that.

(on camera): And regardless of what either party says about getting rid of special interests this system is built in by them. This is their system.

SCHWEIZER: That is right, you know, either party says they're opposed to special interests, they have designed the system to reinforce and in a sense finance themselves based off of special interests. You couldn't design a better system to enhance the interlocking relationships between politics and special interest than this pay to play system of so-called party dues that governs what happens in the House of Representatives.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: You know, it is so fascinating to see this stuff. It seems like no one is really talking about changing it, drew, which is essentially the pay to play system.

GRIFFIN: Not at all. They mostly don't want to talk about this. When they do they blame it on the system that is in place in Washington, Anderson. This is what they have to do, that is what they all tell us. What they forget to mention is they created the system. You have to bring money to the party if you want to play with that party.

COOPER: An outsider though did just upset a major party boss in the Republican side with almost no money.

GRIFFIN: Yes, it is going to be interesting to watch. Eric Cantor, he got beat and his money didn't help him. That is true, Anderson, but if Dave Brat gets elected now in the general election and gets to Washington, he is going to learn how the game is really played. Critics contend if Dave Brat doesn't get in line and raise money, the Republican Party has the power to effectively make him powerless. Same can be said about the Democrats.

COOPER: And just ahead, 15 years ago the principal of Columbine High School made a promise to see his school and it's students through the dark days after the massacre there. He kept that promise. I'll talk to him ahead. He is retiring now.

Plus, Gary Tuchman is at the southern border with new details about the flood of children entering the U.S. on their own and many of them traveling from Central America.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Reynolds High School in Oregon and Seattle Pacific University are now part of the club no school wants to join. Two of their own were honored this week at a Seattle Mariners game. Emilio Hoffman was gunned down in his school's locker room Tuesday, five days after Paul Lee was shot dead on his campus. Emilio is 14, Paul was 19. Their deaths came 15 years after the Columbine massacre, the first school shooting to unfold live on television, the gunman killed 13 people and then himself.

Frank Deangelis was there and made a promise to stay until every child who wanted to graduate from Columbine High School did. It has taken a while, but his work is finally done. He is retiring. He joins me tonight.

You know, Frank, just in the last few weeks there have been several school shootings. I'm wondering what goes through your mind every time you hear that another one has happened.

FRANK DEANGELIS, RETIRING PRINCIPAL OF COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL: Unfortunately, it takes me back, anyone in the Columbine community back to where we were over almost 15 years ago and even though it is a different school, a different state sometimes, a different country we relive what we experienced 15 years. We're re-traumatized.

COOPER: President Obama spoke about the shootings earlier this week saying that the United States is the only developed country where this happens. And no other country would put up with this essentially calling for support at gun control laws. To you is that where the solution lies, stronger gun control laws? How do you see it?

DEANGELIS: What I really believe in my heart and I get asked this question every time there is a school shooting and I know the politicians will argue that point. But what I think we need to do is spend money on these kids who are struggling, mental health situations. They don't come out of their mother's womb hating. And we need to identify what is causing this hatred in their hearts.

When I look at the pictures with these killers in a very early age whether they are playing in their soccer uniform, how can they turn into these cold-hearted killers or these psychopaths? We need to identify what is happening so they don't go out and carry on what they're doing, as far back as Columbine.

COOPER: Do you think back to the day of the killings at Columbine?

DEANGELIS: I think the most difficult thing for me is when on that horrific day I ran out of my office right into the gunfire and that is something that will remain with me for the rest of my life. And what made it even more difficult is finding out that if Dave Sanders, my dear friend, did not come up the stair case at the time he did I probably would have been dead.

So I immediately got help and one of the things that he has been able to help me through is to re-program my mind that when I walk out of my office, I no longer see that day, kids lying in blood. I had to re- program and now I am envisioning what they kids did when they were alive.

COOPER: And I know you want people to think about hope and the community of Columbine overcoming the tragedy when they think of Columbine?

DEANGELIS: Correct, and unfortunately when you hear the name "Columbine" it is symbolic with tragedy and I know, even though it's been 15 years. Students in our school today, some were not born, they said Mr. D., when you go out and talk please tell them Columbine is not a bad high school. We cannot relive what happened that day. We lost so many of our loved ones. There were so many people who were impacted. But it also symbolizes the hope that 85 percent of our students go on to college.

COOPER: I want to bring up some video from your last school assembly. I know you always planned to kind of make it something very memorable and it certainly is, I just want them to take a look. I have never seen a school administrator do something like that in an assembly. Explain what you were thinking.

DEANGELIS: I am scared to death of heights. I went up, and all of a sudden the lift goes back and there was no turning back. And I'm flying. And the kids are loving it and when I came back down the theme was you have to believe in yourself. And as much as you may fear something in your life sometimes you have to look fear in the face. And if you believe others will believe. So it tied in very well.

COOPER: I am a big believer in plunging into things you are scared of the most and you certainly did that. So Frank Deangelis, it's a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much.

DEANGELIS: My pleasure, thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: We wish him the best.

Up next, it's being called the humanitarian crisis right in our border. Hundreds of unaccompanied kids crossing the border from Mexico every single day. The numbers are staggering. It's almost how surprising, how easily they are getting in.

Plus, in the streets of the World Cup kicks off in Brazil. Police using force to hold back protesters.

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COOPER: Tonight we're taking a closer look at what President Obama is calling a humanitarian crisis on our American border. He is not the only one calling it a crisis, at least 400 kids are crossing the border every single day, on their own without a parent, most of them are from Central America and they're overwhelming the facilities where they are taken once they are here in the U.S.

They are the human face of the nation that divides the country and Congress. We're not focusing on the politics. We are drilling down on how they got here and what happens to them. Gary Tuchman is near the border in Arizona -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the influx of children and mothers and their children from Central America to the United States is not slowing down. But we find that many of them are taking a pit stop in Northern Mexico just before they cross over into the United States. They are taking the pit stops at the migrant shelters that have been set up for many years, but they are particularly busy now.

And we are in a migrant shelter today in Nogales, Mexico where we didn't see small children, but we saw some older teenagers. We saw some others and what's being done there. There are no moral judgements or value judgements. They get food. They get water. They get other provisions. They get some spiritual help. While they were there, they were planning on how to get into the United States illegally.

As we speak many of them may be on their way right now. There is also medical help. There is a nurse who comes in his station wagon and is retrofitted as an ambulance. While we were there he was giving treatment to a man, a young man who has a serious cut on his hand from reaching on barbed wire on top of the border fence while he was trying to climb over.

He did not successfully get over the fence. Most people when they try to get into the United States illegally, they try to avoid the barbed wire. It is easy to do because there are many place to go.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: It is easy to illegally come into this country from Mexico to the United States if you know where you're going or you know the right people. This is the border fence, typically, you see the huge border walls near the city that you can't climb over. You can't go through, but what the illegal immigrants do, they come to areas like this. We are in the middle of nowhere right now.

It's a little village called Oakhill, Arizona and this is what the border fence looks like here. There is some barbed wire, but all you have to do when you are on the Mexican side is take a little walk. No wire here, as you can see, this is one of the many areas where the influx of children has been coming through. Right over here there is another water bottle up here and really all

you need to do. It doesn't matter if you're old, young, sick or well, one foot here and in Mexico. The border patrol gets angry if you go on the other side, even if you're a reporter. But it is easy to do, 25 miles of wilderness, once you get here, most people have arrangements made to get past here through the cities of the United States.

(END VOICETAPE)

TUCHMAN: The fact is most of these people hire coyotes, human smugglers to get across the area to find these areas. They pay a mother about $3,000 a head, and if a mother is taking her baby, it is 6,000, and it doesn't come with a money back guarantee.

COOPER: Is there an estimate how many kids are going to be apprehended this year trying to illegally cross the border?

TUCHMAN: The government is guessing, Anderson, up to 90,000 children will be apprehended at the border. That's compared to 30,000 last year. That doesn't even include the ones who turned themselves in. There are other children who get in, who are wondering around the United States today without being apprehended.

COOPER: Ninety thousand, that's incredible. Gary, thanks very much.

Up next, protest in Brazil, the World Cup getting underway there, tear gas on the streets are reported got caught up in the crackdown.

Plus, what an off duty police officer did when a driver crashed into a gas station. The situation caught on video.

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COOPER: The ten-part CNN original series, "The Sixties" continues in just a few minutes, tonight's episode focuses on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The investigation led by the Warren Commission and the conspiracy theories, some of which still thrive more than 50 years later. Here is preview.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole world is swerved because of his loss.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America was a different place on the day before John F. Kennedy was killed. The assassination changed the trajectory of the sixties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember November the 22nd, as long as I live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lee Oswald is arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill the president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I have not been charged with that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lee Harvey Oswald has been shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Information concerning the cause of the death of your president has been withheld from you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The story has been suppressed. Witnesses have been killed. We have a right to know who killed our president and why he died.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Stay tuned for the original series, "The Sixties" at 9 Eastern and Pacific Time tonight. Now we look at some of the other stories we are following. Susan Hendricks has the 360 vote.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, police are still searching for the suspect who attacked two priests at Catholic Church last night in Phoenix, Arizona, one priest was killed, the other critically wounded.

In Brazil, protesters clashed with police in the streets of Sao Paulo, just before the World Cup got under way. Demonstrators are outrage the spent $11 billion for the tournament instead of low-income housing, schools and hospitals. CNN reporter, Shasta Darlington, got caught up in the crackdown. She was hit in the arm, take a look.

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SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is pushing back, as you can see, got to go. Hit in my arm.

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HENDRICKS: A scare, but she is OK. Her producer was hit, as well, but they are OK.

In White Plains, New York, an off duty state police officer is called a hero for doing this, pulling a man from his burning car after a crash into a gas station last week. That's according to our affiliate, News 12 West Chester. The man survived. He blacked out just before that crash.

And here is a thrilling way to celebrate, turning 90, former President George Herbert Walker-Bush, doing a skydive in Maine. It is the same way that he celebrated turning 75, 80, 85, and now 90.

COOPER: Susan, thanks very much. That does it for us tonight. We'll see you again at 11 p.m. Eastern, another edition of 360. I hope you join us with that. CNN original series, "THE SIXTIES" starts now.