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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Gaza Crisis Complicates as Israel Continues to Strike in Gaza; Political Fallout in Washington; U.N. Calls for Ceasefire in MH Flight 17 Site in Ukraine; Veterans' Access, Choice and Accountability Act Formed to solve VA Problems including Corruption; MH Flight 17 Crash Site Still Unsecured 11 Days After Crash; Sexual Predator Dead in a New York City Shootout
Aired July 28, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN AC 360 HOST: That -- the some of the aftermath video that again given the darkness its hard to tell but you're seeing the smoke coming off a very large building a downtown in central Gaza City. Hamas for is part firing rockets into Israel today. Both sides taking aim at America's point man in the search for a way out, Secretary of State John Kerry. He is under verbal fire so is the White House.
So why don't you talk about especially the human cost. Five Israeli soldiers killed today. Hamas hitting Gaza so reportedly was the house of Hamas' leader in Gaza. No casualties reported there. At least 10 Palestinian civilians killed today at a Gaza refugee camp.
A hospital where so many of the wounded have been taken coming under fire as well unclear from whom, Karl Penhaul is in Gaza City getting a good look at the latest explosions. Sarah Sidner is monitoring late developments for us from Jerusalem. Karl, let's start with you. What's the latest that you are seeing and hearing just in the last hour?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and excuse me if I have to break off at anytime, Anderson. There are explosions rocking the area around where we have offices. The last explosions went in to a building less than 500 yards where we are now. That is the Hama's ran LX radio station. Three air strikes went in on that building, huge explosions there. Those air strikes come after several hours of the Israeli military dropping illumination flares around this area which was giving at the drones up in the sky a time to look and time to hunt for targets on this moonless night and then this bombardment coming in.
You heard just as you bringing us in the sound of what was a huge explosion that sounded as if that came from an F16 fighter bomber, a bomb dropped on LX radio station. That sent a building where we are reverberating each time that happens for precautions we do have to hit the ground, hit the ground very quickly.
We've already taken the windows out of this side of the building. OK, Anderson this is what I was talking about, another very large explosion going on in the very near vicinity. Again if you give two seconds I'm going to look out and I can't tell you exactly where that was. But if any my colleagues have got information in the next few moments I will let you know, but another huge explosion going on in the vicinity of our officer in Central Gaza right now. That fits the pattern of what has been going on for about the last 20 minutes or so.
Just as I was explaining and just as you saw there because the explosions are going on so close and because we believe these bombs to be so large we have to take cover. We have a solid wall behind us. For precautions, sake we have taken out the glass windows and their frames here to that the shock waves don't send chard's of glass into the building. But we do have to hit the ground because those bombs could send shrapnel fragments coming within -- into the office if that happens.
What -- I'm just going to stand by the window now and maybe get our cameraman Joe Sheffer to zoom in a little bit on that scene. But now...
COOPER: And Karl you can't just...
PENHAUL: ... the area is being illuminated once again.
COOPER: And Karl, you can't just explain to our viewers...
PENHAUL: Go ahead, Anderson.
COOPER: ... you receive the area now illuminated that I -- we assume that's from an illumination of flare. Can you explain the sort of the process, the illumination flares come first often than you hear a drone circling overhead and then perhaps artillery or F16 fighters?
PENHAUL: Absolutely. And that is what is going on because in this part of Gaza City the power is now out. It's been out for some time now. That illumination that you can see is coming from Israeli illumination rounds high in the sky shedding light. And if I keep quiet for a second you maybe can hear the Israeli drones above. Those drones of course are equipped with cameras, high resolution cameras. And they are hunting for targets down on the ground here in Central Gaza.
It's a moon less night tonight. There is no moon that is why they have to put the illumination rounds into the sky so that even the infrared cameras or the kind of visual technology those drones have can find some targets on the ground.
Once they find a target tonight artillery strikes and air strikes are being called in very quickly. And so that strike that you heard just now just as we were on air that fits the pattern with what we have seen in the course of the last hour or so. That large white building you are now seeing that is the building that houses Hamas ran radio LX that has taken three air strikes within the last half hour or so.
That large explosion that you heard when I was just standing there in front of the camera and had to take cover we don't know where that was coming from just yet. We believe it was coming from just west of our building perhaps 500 yards from our building as well. And so within a radius of about 500 yards of where we are now multiple air strikes going in with very large ordinance, Anderson.
COOPER: You know, Karl it's really interesting we're seeing the building again. Your camera is on the left hand side of the screen. For our viewers, both of these are live images. You see that building off in a distance sort of briefly illuminated by illumination flares. The view on the right is from a different camera from Reuters that are at slightly different location. We're hearing ambulances coming.
And, Karl, if memory serves me the last time I was there during this situation during shelling in Gaza City that very same building that you saw being hit a short time ago that we're seeing there on the right hand side of our screen I think I saw that building being hit on the third floor. I think two missiles were put into either side of that building in that conflict I remember running down there and seeing people being brought out.
So it just gives you a sense of the repetitive nature of this at the same building if I'm correct. And I think I'm about 90 percent correct here that it is the same building because there's not a lot of tall buildings like that. The repetitive nature of this that the same building would be struck each time there is military action like this.
PENHAUL: Your memory in fact does serve you very well, Anderson. In fact I was talking to one of the CNN team who is with us this time around as well, he was pointing out exactly the same as you are mentioning that very same building that you saw being hit back 2012 hit on the third floor in November 2012. That is the same building that has taken three strikes tonight.
We certainly saw one of those strikes going in on the roof starting what appeared to be a small fire difficult from our vantage point to tell where the other the strikes were in terms of what floors were hit. But from about the 14th or 15th floor up apparently certainly all the windows have been blown out. And earlier on you were taking the live picture as ambulances and fire cruise are rushed to that building. And from our vantage point as we could see more than 12 people I would guess are running across the road to get into those emergency vehicles.
So there definitely were people in that building at that time. But LX radio did not appear to be on air. And this is problem. We are talking about Gaza City. The Israeli military in the course of the afternoon warn people living Northern Gaza to evacuate here to Gaza City. No indication until those illumination flares started to pour on Central Gaza City that the Israeli military were planning strikes here, Anderson.
COOPER: Sarah Sidner in Jerusalem. We're also going to say with Karl's image on the left hand side of your screen. What are you hearing Sarah from sources in Israel about the military action happening in Gaza tonight? Having a problem not hearing...
SARAH SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRECPONDENT: ... they are about to do as you might imagine. But in Israel sirens did go off about a couple of hours ago in Southern Israeli cities as Ashdod, Tele Aviv, Rishon LeZion. We do know that are three rockets that came over one of them blown out of the sky by the Iron Dome. But people of course scared on this side and more blood shed on both sides of the border.
Messages from both Gaza and Israel signaling to the world that we may now be in for a very protracted Israeli-Gaza war more than 1085 people in Gaza dead, 51 people in Israel including 48 soldiers, two civilians killed on this side.
And as mentioned Israel -- as you mentioned, Anderson , 5 Israeli soldiers died today according to the IDF. Four soldiers killed in a mortar attack a mortar fell right in the middle of a military installation in Southern Israel. We got to mention this because the Prime Minister came out and talked to his people today.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out, very strong statement today in a televised statement. He said that his people must be prepared for a lengthy campaign. It gives you some idea of what we are looking at. If you were in 2012 -- I was here along with you in both Israel and Gaza and you know how this goes. The bombing starts, the rocket start or the rocket starts then the air strike start and it just goes back and forth, terrified civilians on both sides, people dying. This is going on and on and on.
There is a real appetite here though when Israeli's are polled 87 percent support Netanyahu's campaign especially after soldiers, so many of them have been killed, Anderson.
COOPER: Sarah, I want to show our viewers images that we are just getting. We were just able to get them of we saw that building that Karl was talking about -- the building LX radio was hit a short time ago three separate strikes on that building. I believe this its video showing the second of those strikes. Let's watch.
I'm seeing it for the first time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) skies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right. So you got a sense there on top floor it was -- that's the same building that I was talking about with Karl when we were there back in 2012 seeing being hit on the third floor now the targets certainly seem to be on the top of that building. Perhaps broadcast tower well I shouldn't assume what it is. But clearly at least that's the second strike near the top of the building. There was also a third strike.
Karl, you know, one of the things I noticed there the times I've been there or during these conflicts is people EMS workers, local journalist rush into a building to try to find people after its been struck. But that's an extraordinarily dangerous thing given that often there are multiple strikes in a single target back to back or a few seconds or minutes apart.
PENHAUL: Yes, absolutely. And that is why I believe we saw a very cautious move by ambulance cruise and fire cruise. Initially they did drive towards that building. But I did notice they stopped possible a 100 yards short. Of course that would have still placed them well in the shrapnel field if there had been another explosion luckily there wasn't. But we have seen that again and again of people getting in harms way to try and rescue people and themselves falling victims. That could have easily happened there tonight as you say, Anderson.
COOPER: And Karl you said there had been a Mosque -- a Hamas ran mosque that been hit or shortly before we went on air. That's very close to your location as well, correct?
PENHAUL: Absolutely. That was the Al-Amin Mosque. That is in Western Gaza City. Now Western Gaza City you'll remember is that part of Gaza City down by the beach, down by the coast of Gaza so not very far away from here we are now either. It's a Hamas ran mosque and of course throughout the duration of this current confrontation the Israeli military have been accusing Gaza's militants of using mosques and other buildings as weapons dumps, very unclear though weather anything was in fact being stored in the Al-Amin Mosque. But certainly tonight with those illuminations flares going up, being sent up by the Israeli military.
And that is what is allowing the drones to look around. Maybe they saw something. Maybe they had a suspicion or maybe they said this belongs to Hamas. We're going to destroy it anyway. That certainly seems to be the case with LX radio station because at the time that it was hit just a short while ago with three bombs or artillery rounds then it was not broadcasting anything on air at that time as far as I understand, Anderson.
COOPER: Karl, Sarah Sidener both be careful. We'll continue checking with you throughout this hour. You know I just want to show if you are just joining us a strike that occurred a few minutes ago and you just get a sense of how close things are in Central Gaza. This was a strike. We're not sure what the target was or what was actually hit. But watch, this happened live on air.
OK, that was the strike on the top of the LX radio building. There's another strike I was talking about in which Karl ducked. And we'll show that you a little bit later on. A lot more talk about as we continue.
Next the political fall out in Washington, also why Israel could be planning for a long campaign as Sara Sidener mentioned in the Gaza and we look inside the organization the fighting, a look inside Hamas
COOPER: Welcome back to Breaking News Tonight. Israel continues to strike in Gaza seen as Karl Penhaul on camera when an explosion hit nearby. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENHAUL: And very quickly, we've already taken the windows out of this side of the building. OK, Anderson this is what I was talking about, another very large explosion going on in the very near vicinity. Again, if you give me two seconds, I'm going to look out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We now know it's the Gaza Ministry of Finance that was hit. It's actually on the opposite side of where Karl was. But what you saw was the reflection of the blast on buildings and then the delayed sound of the explosion which was what made Karl duck.
Three large explosions you see as well at Hamas ran radio station behind Karl. Hamas and the homes of Hamas officials have also been hit. Secretary of State John Kerry back in Washington after week and the region with little to show for it. He's catching plenty of heat for handling in the middle-- of the peace mission in Israel and so was the Obama administration.
Let's dig deeper tonight into whether that criticism is warranted with Senior Political Analyst David Gergen and Aaron David Miller, distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and author of the "End of Greatness: Why America can't have and doesn't want another Great President".
Aaron, you called President Obama in terms of his Middle East policy America's Goldilocks President saying that he is could desperately trying to find an approach to the region that is neither too hot nor too cold. What do you mean by that?
AARON DAVID MILLER, SCHOLAR WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Well, you know, the reality for the President, he's stuck in a region, a broke and angry, dysfunction region. We can't lead. We have interests, allies and enemies there but we can transform it. So if you can't lead the region you can't fundamentally fix it.
You have one choice. I call it transaction. You try to find what is doable and what isn't, what is feasible and what is not and what is important to United States and what isn't and you look for the middle ground. The problem the president is faces is that in his region of extremes, I'm not so sure there is middle ground.
You have any number of problems Iraq, Syria, Israel, Hamas and Gaza is the poster child for this and the broader is really Palestinian conflict which don't have comprehensive solutions in my judgment right now. They have outcomes and what you try to do I suspect, if you can't transform and find this comprehensive solutions you look for outcomes that in fact might position you later to solve problems but he's looked for that middle ground between risk readiness and risk aversion. And frankly, in this region it's really hard to find the center.
COOPER: David, what do you think of that? And also, what do you think of the criticism by many in Shirland (ph) is really government of Secretary Kerry and most recent his ceasefire proposal?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think Aaron is absolutely right. That the President had has extremely good intention here. He has saw the middle ground. But the result have not, I think bore in food has he hoped. Now, if they left and stand to it (ph) as (inaudible) former Democratic.
Secretary of State said yesterday -- to put it simply the world is a mess. And a lot of this effort are failing and I think was particularly distressing this evening is relations between the United States and Israel had fallen into a low point. I can't remember a time when -- there's been so much acrimony coming from Israel and a unanimous rejection of a peace proposal from American Secretary State, a unanimous rejection by the Israeli cabinet and then, a savaging of our secretary of state and Israeli press. I think a lot of them American feel that it's unfair that John Kerry has been trying very hard to be anonymous broker. But that is not away it's been interpret those right now, Anderson, as you know.
COOPER: I mean, Aaron, when the Israel talks now it's continually about a demilitarized Gaza is that realistic?
MILLER: In my view no. I mean, not that it, you know, in galaxy far, far away that the big -- best solution of Gaza will be take all the high trajectory weapons away close in all the tunnel. And then, hope in Gaza up. So, you trade the militarization for economic reconstruction. Maybe Gaza would emerge not necessarily like Singapore but it would be lot of bread automatically the problem is that that's in a galaxy far, far away.
Hamas is not going to demilitarize. If it does it would fundamentally transform itself into something else it will become just another Palestinian, frankly, dysfunctional faction that can't govern. So, the only alternative if the Israelis want -- what they say is to fundamentally disarm Hamas by force. That will require reoccupation of Gaza. Six months of effort and probably the kind of damage and numbers of deaths to innocent Palestinian civilians that would make that enterprise literally unsustainable.
So the Israelis raised demilitarization. Hamas wants complete recovery for Gaza neither side is going to get want they want. My final point, Anderson, I think is this. You simply have insufficient urgency on the part of the two primary combatants right now to warrant a deescalation. They're not -- Israelis are not done. And Hamas beliefs that the pictures on TV means that it's winning. They've kill three times the number of IDF soldiers then in the two previous operations combine. And they're surviving. So, unless the two parties are willing to deescalate and that point will come. No mediation frankly is going to fix.
COOPER: But David, they're not just surviving right now. I mean it seems like they are in the better position almost in the Palestinian authorities seems weakened by all of this in the eyes of many Palestinians, you know.
GERGEN: Had there been a deal along the alliance of the Egyptians but forward than you could have brought the PLO which was anticipated back into Gaza. And they would be running at Hamas. I think it becomes extraordinary - his point is we - it affects -- solidify the whole of Hamas on power and Gaza over the last week or so. And the headliners are winning on both sides. There is really moderate in the cabinet. It been overwritten now by the extremist. So you got both sides turned into the extreme that makes it much, much difficult.
COOPER: Now, let see what happen to David Gergen, Aaron David Miller great conversation. Thank you. There will be a lot more to talk about tonight.
Next one Israel could be planning for along campaign in Gaza.
COOPER: The breaking news tonight a number of very large explosions hurting Gaza tonight if you been watching. You heard the live on air. Israel hitting the Hamas radio station on Hamasan mosque, the homes of Hamas officials, the air strike and the growing possibility, I'm going to extended campaign on the ground. And Israel a general sing the long campaign define in the wipe out tunnels almost complete. Wolf Blitzer got to tour one of those tunnels today. I spoke earlier tonight about that and is really worrying with the Mr. Netanyahu's chief spokesman Mark Regev.
Palestenian general, General Amos, told "The New York Times" the Hamas tunnels were in his verse collapsing in front of his eyes. When the tunnels are destroyed, is that the end to this operation in Gaza?
MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER: Well, obviously we have to deal with the tunnels because they are a very real strategic threat to our country for all these reasons. You kind of have a situation with terrorists in Gaza can infiltrate your country pop up. On our side of the frontier we've weapons, we've explosive, and kidnap people, or murder people -- you can't have people you in the Southern part of Israel who are living in constant fear, you know what, terrorist walking into the house.
So we have to deal with the tunnels. It will take away longer. But we have to not only destroy all the existing tunnels. We have to make sure that new ones aren't built.
COOPER: Well, I mean how do you above doing that, I mean it's wanting to destroy existing tunnels to ensure that new ones aren't built. There's no way to do that unless you have a maintained permanent presence I would think.
REGEV: Well, it's a challenge. And the reason we got to do it is because you don't want to have situation where we have another Gaza war 16 months for now. I mean, I think everyone understands that we don't want to go through all these over again after a year, after a year from now. And so, it's important as we move out of this that we deal with the very serious and challenging issue of demoralizing Gaza.
If some men goes to Gaza, it should be to build house and kindergarten schools. It shouldn't be elf engulfed build by Hamas to build this murder tunnels. If money is going to Gaza for the people of Gaza should actually reach the people of Gaza. It shouldn't be self engulfed by Hamas to pay for rockets and explosives that are fired at Israel.
In other words, I think demilitarization of Gaza has to be part of the end game agenda. And the truth is, Anderson, it's a Palestinian commitment. It's a signed Palestinian commitment that Gaza should be demilitarizing its time -- the international community made sure that that commitment was implemented.
COOPER: The attack today on the Al-Shifa Hospital and the Al-Shati Refugee Camp, the Palestinians were saying the Israeli defense forces are responsible for those strikes. What do you say?
REGEV: Well, they -- It's ludicrous. In fact tonight, we did a briefing in Tel Aviv and the chief of staff of the Israeli army actually brought pictures, photographs to show that this was a grad rocket that was , they had a malfunction, it fell short and it landed on their own people.
It's not the first time we've seen this sort of thing happen with -- Palestinian ordinance (ph) has killed Palestinian civilians. There's no doubt about that.
COOPER: Secretary of State Kerry has laid a ceasefire proposal which included an easing of the blockade of Gaza something that you out right rejected. We understand members of your government including your prime minister very disappointed in that proposal. Why is that?
REGEV: If you recall, Anderson, you probably covered the story at that time that nine years ago we pulled out of the Gaza Strip. We took down all the settlements and we pull back to the international frontier, the 67 lines, and we signed an agreement through then Secretary of the State Condoleezza Rice. There was supposed to be, you know, gates in the fence and we were supposed to have open trade and we were supposed to have commerce and tourism and the idea was to have a cooperative peaceful relationship with Gaza.
When Hamas took over and started firing rockets into Israel obviously all that changed. The people of Gaza can come to us and say we want no more relationship if rockets are being fired from Gaza to Israel, if they're to kill us. So the restrictions are function of the violence If the violence ends and my prime minister said that today, if we see a sustained period of quiet, of course, we're willing to talk about easing restrictions. We have done nothing against the people of Gaza. If the violence stops, many things that that today impossible become possible.
COOPER: And Mark Regev , I appreciate your time. Thank you.
REGEV: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: As always, you can find more on the story at cnn.com and others. Just ahead, the war zone in eastern Ukraine with the crash site of Flight 17 remains unsecured and unreachable because the fighting they tried to get there today. I'll talk to member of investigative team and he'll talk about why they weren't able to get to the site.
COOPER: You're looking at the scene in Gaza, these images from writers (ph) illumination flares over central Gaza. We have seen these flares going all night as well as a night in which we've seen a number. I've heard a number of large explosions. I've heard Nick Paton Walsh -- his report in the last hour from Ukraine, the crash site of Flight 17 is still unsecured 11 days after the plane was shutdown with the war zone in the eastern Ukraine.
Investigators are unable to reach it. They tried today because of the heavy fighting nearby, they couldn't get there. So that U.N. human rights chief said it could be the scene of a war crime. It's not just a crime scene though. There are human remains still there. We know that for a fact.
Investigators have seen it. I talked to them. The U.N. has repeatedly called for ceasefire to allow investigators to do their work safely. That has not happened. At least 13 people were killed in fighting yesterday about 30 miles from the crash site. Team investigators as they said tried again today to reach that crash site, they had to turn back Michael Bociurkiw is the spokesman for he OSCE and he's part of the team that have to turn around today. He joins me tonight.
Michael, for the second day in a row, you and the international team monitors had to turn around on your way to the crash site. Can you walk us through what happened?
MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, SPOKESMAN OSCE: Sure. Well, today, Anderson, we've got a fairly early start and, you know, it was the biggest contention ever that we attempted to take out there not only 12 of my colleagues from the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine but also more than 50 experts from the Netherlands and from Australia.
The road, two thirds of the way was very, very good, no delays and then as we were nearing the end of that territory that the rebels control, we had to stop. We held there for about 45 minutes and then we heard some loud explosions. Kind of an assessment was taken and decision was taken by our group along with the Australians and the Dutch not to proceed.
It just wasn't deemed safe and this happened as assurance that had -- assurances had been received earlier from the rebel's side from the Ukrainian side to cease hostilities while we enter that zone. We don't know who broke that agreement but the point is someone did and it just wasn't safe enough for us to go further today.
COOPER: You know, it's really extraordinary that, you know, this side is still not secure 11 days after the crash and again I know this is a huge priority for you. I keep coming back to this. There are still human remains out there all this time that we don't even know about. For you, is the number one priority securing those remains?
BOCIURKIW: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we know -- what made it, Anderson, particularly frustrating for us today is that we know that the Dutch and the Australians have the, not only the authority but the equipment to carefully retrieve these remains protect them with the dignity that it should and to start that long transfer back to the Netherlands. They are even bringing equipment in as we speak of, you know, equipment for refrigeration that kind of stuff so that this process can happen.
COOPER: Well, and I think that barriers repeating because that's really the first time now this has happened that there's actually kind of a -- the possibility in place for the retrieval of these remains because in, you know, even at the end of the last week when we were talking there still wasn't the capabilities of dealing with the remains that you were finding very time you went out there.
So you're now saying you have people from Netherlands, from Australia who actually have equipment and the possibility is coming for refrigeration and would be actually able to help repatriate these remains. That would be hugely significant and gives again just renewed urgency for you and the others to be able to get out there. I also understand there's an additional impact site that you're trying to get to which hasn't even been looked at.
BOCIURKIW: That's correct, Anderson. You may recall we talk last time about a huge piece of fuselage that was concealed in a heavily weighted area. And actually, you know, a few meters or 100 meters away from is what used to be a chicken farm, believe it or not and it's a series of buildings. And long distance observation that we did revealed that there is bits of fuselage between those buildings, on top of those buildings, and there's also a possibility of course of more human remains there.
So everyday that passes that we're not at that site, you know, is more vulnerable to manmade and natural type of interventions. And I don't know if you can hear behind me, Anderson, but we're now in Donetsk City a far bit away and you can hear motors (ph) going off. So that indicates the insecurity of this area.
COOPER: Are you going to try again tomorrow to get out of the site and do you have any conference to be able to?
BOCIURKIW: Yes. We feel actually quite confident right now, Anderson. Today, in Kiev our Chief Monitor Ambassador Apakan held high-level toxicity (ph) with the Ukrainian site also with high-level officials from the Netherlands and Australia. And as we speak right now, few floors below me, our Deputy Chief Monitor has meeting with the rebels side and again reiterating that we need to get out there in a secure environment and that is nobody's interest that our mission does not take place tomorrow.
COOPER: Michael Bociurkiw, I appreciate with you and all the others are doing there. Be careful. Thank you.
BOCIURKIW: My pleasure. Thank you.
COOPER: It's just tough work indeed. Coming up next, keeping it modest. CNN's Drew Griffin has been pressing the VA for answers about dying veterans, secret waiting list and more, breaking story after story.
Now, House and Senate leaders struck a deal in a bills reform to reform the troubled agency. Drew, joins me with details ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back. Keeping it modest on Capitol Hill today -- action on a bill that could begin to fix the trouble of VA Health System. Leaders of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee announced an agreement to move forward on the Veterans' Access, Choice and Accountability Act, that's what they're calling it. It's a rare bipartisan agreement. It comes after months of reporting by CNN on secret wait list at VA hospitals and veterans dying waiting for care.
Scandals are already force to resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and several senior leaders of VA have been force in retirement or remove from their jobs outright.
Our Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin first broke his story on this program. He's been reporting hard on problems of the VA for the better part of 18 months starting with the daily outbreak of legionnaire's disease in a Pittsburg VA Hospital. And throughout his reporting, he got nothing but push back in denials from the VA starting with his -- this first report. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey are you? Drew Griffin with CNN. I should say...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) VA police.
GRIFFIN: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. If this is not been approved by our Public Affairs Office, I cannot allow you on property.
GRIFFIN: I'm calling Public Affairs right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
GRIFFIN: You want to call them and see if they'll come on now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I cannot technically call them. Can you take the camera back across street with authorization please?
GRIFFIN: Hold on. I'm going to phone with them right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After get again reaching only in message machine, the officer told us to leave.
GRIFFIN: Who told you to kick us out of here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's our policy actually.
GRIFFIN: Your policy? We can't stand on United States government land with the camera?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without legitimate purpose over here.
GRIFFIN: Well, I've got legitimate purpose. I'm trying to find out why these patients died.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Drew joins me now. So the bill to fix this whole mess obviously still needs to get out of committee pass both House and the Congress, what exactly would it do?
GRIFFIN: Well, Anderson it's basically an emergency bill at a cost of $17 billion dollars to handle the immediate problems that the VA and at least begin to take a crack in solving a longer term systemic management issues that created this mess in the first place. But here is what it does. It sets aside $10 billion to allow veterans who have either been waiting too long for care at the VA or for those who live too far away, they can now go outside of the VA system. You can get treatment in the private sector.
Those $5 billion, the higher more doctors and medical staff for the VA and the VA can now go out and lease 27 new medical facilities that they'd say they need to get more space to treat the vets and finally though this has been tried before at several times. It requires the VA Health System to update this antiquated appointment scheduling system that they've been using for decades.
COOPER: It's only -- and it sounds like a lot of money but it's not enough -- I mean, not in money wasn't the problem in the first place, was it?
GRIFFIN: That is what is a little misleading about all these Anderson. Money has not been a problem at the VA. In fact, the Department of Veterans Affairs has gotten just about every dime it is asked for over the last several years. This was -- and remains a management problem and how the money has been mismanaged.
So, this amount to a $17 billion mandate (ph) to immediately end this wait lists it's a good thing. It comes with a lot of compromise trying to fix longer term problems. One of the compromising points is that Senator Bernie Sanders, the Head of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee finally realizes that Senior Managers at the VA were not telling the truth that there was a lot of incompetence and he is relented on this point allowing more timely firings at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN.BERNIE SANDERS, (D) VERMONT: We have all been outraged by the distortion of veterans (ph) so forth. This bill contains language which will allow the Secretary to fire people immediately who are doing -- who are underperforming or lying. It gives number 21 day period of appeal without pay during that period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Anderson, as far as we know to this day no one has been fired at the VA and the managers and the directors who been on leave even those accuse of lying about secret lists and wait times remain at home, getting paid. Anderson. COOPER: Amazing. Drew, thanks for the reporting as always.
Up next breaking news on the shootout here in New York City involving suspected sexual predator who is just featured on CNN's, "Behind with John Walsh". We'll talk to John coming up.
COOPER: Welcome back more breaking news. The hunt is over for our suspected sex offender after shootout with officers in New York City today. Gun fire rang out in the middle of Manhattan's Greenwich Village. The fugitive was cornered after he was feature on CNN, "The Hunt with John Walsh", authority say New York police detective, two U.S. marshals were wounded during the attempt of arrest.
This video from our play wcbash (ph) and some of the wounded officers, the gun is picked up of the ground unclear if that was the officer's gun or one of the officer's gun or the suspects. The dead suspect of Charles Mozdir police say he was armed with the revolver 20X around of ammunition. The former wedding photographer have been on the run for more than two years accused of sexually molesting the sons of two friends in California. Police got tips on his location after John Walsh profile the case on July 28th on CNN. And again last night here is that part of that report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My son sat me down and he said, "Mama, I have something to tell you."
And said, what is that? And he said, "I don't know if I should because he promised me I won't say anything at that moment. My heart just sank.
And he proceeded to tell me that. Charlie had touched him inappropriately and how he did it.
When he finished telling me, I was physically sick and I had to call his father and told him he need to come home right now, we need to talk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though Melissa (ph) was in the same bed, not only in the same house or in the same room but in the same king size bed, he hold back the sheets and proceeded to play with our sons private parts. And he tried to explain to our son that it was normal what he was doing to him that his parents were going to be upset with him if he told them but it was normal for, you know, friends to do that, that it was normal for him to know about how to masturbate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We both listen to the story and we both wanted to make sure that we weren't accusing one our best friend has something so horrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's heartbreaking and sickening. John Walsh joins me now live with more in the case and surprising outcome and this is just incredible. You profile this guy two weeks ago and again Sunday night and here he is hiding to planes site. I walk by this place where he was apprehended everyday going to get breakfast.
JOHN WALSH, CNN THE HUNT SHOW HOST: He was hiding and plane site and it was a week ago as our second show that we profile this guy the (inaudible) Molesters" and then CNN rerun the show at 8:00 before we go on at night. And we had gotten a couple good tips last week and that they had zeroed in on New York City but the mark...
COOPER: Keep saying New York City?
WALSH: Absolutely, and the village and, you know, and over Manhattan. And one of the tips mentioned the dog. He went on to run with his dog. And, you know, I've got a -- first I've going to say to those three heroic cops and they're all in good shape in New York City...
COOPER: You're right.
WALSH: ... yet the detective had the worst gun shot wound and was in surgery all afternoon but these guys take their lives in their own -- in their lives in their own hands everyday. And -- but they're all going to be good but he was hiding in plane site and the tips were right.
We got a couple more tips Sunday night when the show re-aired and the Marshalls zeroed in on address and he shot first. We know that he had a -- we thought he had a couple guns with him and the biggest thing is what a relief for the family not only for their incredible courage to go forward. And press charges against him -- but when he ran, when he jump his bond he's room mate had said, that he had told them may times he was going to come back and kill the father for going to the police. So, it's tough ending but for the family it's a good end.
COOPER: It's amazing though, I mean in your broadcast, it's on the details. I mean some of the some of the details -- you mention the dog, you talk about his dog in the piece and sure enough it was tip about, you know, that spark some probably, somebody thinks, "Yeah, that's the guy with the dog than I see in the neighborhood."
WALSH: Combination (ph) of the 1200 guys I called on the 25 years of doing "Americas the Most Wanted". It always seen to be the minutia, but it really reaffirms my beliefs that people don't want to be vigilantes. They want to get involved and do the right thing. I given the chance to remain anonymous and they did they make those calls.
COOPER: Did you find a lot of these guys end up in the big city like New York in big city? I mean you would think that being some isolated area in the woods or something but they the come to a city wide.
WALSH: What never seize to amaze me is that they hide in plane site. And a big cities a good place because you can give work of the books, they don't have to show an ID, your social security number. So, he had working with surviving and right in the middle in Manhattan.
COOPER: It's kind of feel good.
WALSH: It's wonderful. Again, reaffirms my belief that the public wants to help catch these guys and this hero caps did a great job.
COOPER: And again, I mean, I'm just so proud to CNN that they're really get you here and to be part of this. And John, thank you very much for what you doing.
WALSH: I'm proud to be here Anderson.
COOPER: Incredible. Also, reminder the absolute of The Hunt featuring the search for this suspect it's going to air tonight at 11pm Eastern right here on CNN. That does it for this edition of 360 there's been a lot going on, I appreciate you joining us for this two hours air coverage of course continuous from the Middle East and all throughout the world in Eastern Ukraine, "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now.