Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

White House Fence Jumper; FBI Tracking Americans Back from Syria; Police Narrow Search for Alleged Cop Killer; Tracking a Killer; Inside The NFL's Non-Profit Tax Exempt Status; Inside Liberia's Ebola Crisis; Attorney: Mom in Hot Car Death Case Passed Polygraph

Aired September 22, 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. A lot happening in the hour ahead. We're getting word that airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria could begin at any time. We're going to monitor that.

Also tonight, investigators say the White House fence jumper had 800 rounds of ammo in his car, a pair of hatchets and a run-in with the law that made him a threat to the president.

And later the Hannah Graham and the manhunt for the last person seen with her the night she vanished. He's officially wanted for reckless driving but police have a lot more to ask him about that and how he handles a car.

Plus new questions for Ray Rice's former boss at the Baltimore Ravens. And in fact you might find staggering. The NFL pays no taxes, no taxes by law. The question is, how did that happen? The back story is pretty surprising. We're "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.

We begin with the breaking news. New details about the harm that this man might have been capable of. For starters, Omar Gonzalez did more than jump the fence at the White House. He made it through the front door of the White House. He was armed and he had a troubling recent past that authorities say suggested he may have intended to harm the president. So beefed up security there tonight obviously, also a whole lot of questions.

More now from Jim Acosta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators say they found 800 round of ammunition inside the car of alleged White House intruder 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez Friday night. In less than 20 seconds Gonzalez jumped the fence that runs along Pennsylvania Avenue and raced inside the North Portico entrance to the White House. He was armed with a small knife.

Relatives say he's an Iraq war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. In court prosecutors said Gonzalez has had run-ins with law enforcement before. In July he was arrested by police in Virginia with a sniper rifle and a map circling the White House. In August he was stopped walking around the White House with a hatchet.

Gonzalez entered the White House roughly five minutes after the president and the first family left for Camp David.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Government, the private sector, nonprofits, are going to work together.

ACOSTA: In the Oval Office, meeting with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the president said he still has confidence in the people protecting him.

OBAMA: The Secret Service does a great job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I appreciate it, guys.

OBAMA: I am grateful for the sacrifices they make on my behalf and my family's behalf.

ACOSTA: Still, in light of the critical security lapse, the president received frequent updates on the status of the investigation over the weekend.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: His family lives in the White House. And so he is obviously concerned by the incident that occurred on Friday evening.

ACOSTA: Some key questions at the heart of the internal Secret Service review, where were the trained security dogs in the White House K-9 unit? They weren't deployed. And why was that North Portico door unlocked? A policy that changed immediately.

EARNEST: Secret Service has changed the procedures for insuring that the entrance to the White House is secure.

ACOSTA: With so many visitors to this tourist hot spot, a law enforcement source tells CNN the Secret Service is considering random bag checks of pedestrians around the White House. With ISIS threatening to raise its flag over the White House in this recent image that's under investigation of somebody holding a cell phone showing an ISIS flag on Pennsylvania Avenue, the members of Congress want answers.

REP. MIKE ROGERS, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It's just a matter of the Secret Service upping their game to make sure that they can maintain that every detail matters.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Jim joins now.

Jim, you mentioned that the security dogs, the unlocked door. What about White House snipers? Do we know if at any time they had the intruder in their sights?

ACOSTA: Well, Anderson, if you look at that video, what is essentially White House beauty shot ready cam that is always running that shows this man climbing up the White House steps, going up to that North Portico entrance. And you see a Secret Service agent with his gun drawn pointing at him. They did also have snipers on the roof at that time according to our CNN crew that was here on the scene Friday night.

But, Anderson, I talked to a law enforcement official about this as to why nobody took a shot at this intruder, they simply just don't shoot every person who jumps over the White House fence. It does happen with some frequency, and they don't want to shoot every person that comes over, for obvious reasons. The person might be disturbed. Might not be somebody who is posing a danger to the president. And so that is the reason for that.

But as for the K-9 dogs, I talked to one law enforcement official who said it's just, quote, "inexcusable," that those K-9 dogs were not deployed during this incidence. So that's a key security lapse that they're looking at.

And Anderson, something that's common that we all do in our homes, people who live in big cities, we lock our front doors. That is something that they were not doing on Friday night. As of Friday night, because people come and go out of that North Portico door that's right behind me all the time. It was sort of something that they did on a regular basis. They left it unlocked so people could come and go.

Tonight that door is locked, Anderson. It's going to be locked from now on.

COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Thanks.

ACOSTA: You bet.

COOPER: Congressional candidate Dan Bongino knows what it's liked inside that fence. He used to be Secret Service agent. His brother still is. He joins me now.

Now, Dan, this new information, the ammunition in the intruder's car, the hatchets that -- he had previously been caught outside the White House with a hatchet. Previously had a machete in the car as well. And previously he'd been caught with a shotgun and a map with the White House circled and some Masonic temple circled.

The fact that this guy, I mean, had been arrested in the past, charged with possession of a shotgun, a sniper rifle, what do you -- how bad a security lapse is this?

DANIEL BONGINO, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Well, Anderson, unfortunately, there's no putting lipstick on this one. This is really a catastrophic security lapse. And, you know, I want to be clear on this. It wasn't just one or two seemed security measures that failed, uniformed officers, the dogs that you mentioned in your opening segment there, but there are a lot of unseen mechanisms that failed as well. And that's why I think so many active and retired agents who, you know, I've spoken to are so disturbed by about how this happened. COOPER: Can you walk us through what should have happened that didn't

happen? I know you said there are unseen measures and obviously you don't want to discuss those, and that's, you know, fair enough, but what should have happened that we know of?

BONGINO: Well, the dog should have been deployed. We have Belgian Malinois. We don't use German Shepherds. And the dogs are specifically trained to knock those targets down.

And, Anderson, if you've ever seen some of the -- you know, some of these training videos of Malinois or, you know, the police tactics where the dogs hit the man in the chest, it's like getting hit by a man on a motorcycle. It's almost impossible to stay up.

Why the dog wasn't deployed I think is the question that I hope an exhaustive analysis will -- you know, will get to the bottom of that. But that to me is puzzling. Remember there's a handler and the handler ultimately has to deploy the dog. I mean, obviously the dog doesn't walk the grounds by himself. But why the handler chose in this case not to has just about everybody puzzled.

COOPER: I mean, what's terrifying about this is had this guy had a suicide vest on with explosives, he could have gone in the White House and blown up, you know, the Portico.

BONGINO: Exactly. I mean, you just said it. This is frightening because -- you don't know how many -- he was a rather big individual. A suicide vest could have done some significant damage.

And, Anderson, I mean, he could have gotten in there with that -- even that knife and taken a hostage. You know, we're thinking worst case scenario, but even, you know, lesser degrees of threat are a serious problem. If you're in there with a blade to someone's -- you know, someone's throat, whoever it may be, I mean, you've got a very, very serious problem on your hands.

COOPER: I think that, you know, some people would be surprised that he wasn't shot. I guess it's -- I mean, is it up to the Secret Service both uniformed and non-uniformed and snipers to make a judgment call about whether that person is wearing some sort of explosive device or has a backpack that could have an explosive device?

BONGINO: I'm glad you brought that up because this is an important point, and I've gotten this question a lot today. The Secret Service agents and uniformed divisions officers in this case, if you notice there's a guy at the door to the left in the video you're playing now that has his gun drawn. They are subject to the same escalation and use of force guidelines, Anderson, that every other federal agent and law enforcement officer in the country are. They don't have any special powers.

They cannot shoot unless there is an -- you know, imminent threat to themselves or others. That didn't seem to be the case. I know it sounds kind of crazy to some listening, but there -- you know, hand shoot, not feet, not ears, not eyes, there was nothing in his hands, he wasn't vocalizing a threat that we know of, and there was no evidence from printing on his garments or -- of any explosive vest or any weapon underneath his clothing either. And they're trained to look for that stuff.

So you're right. You can't shoot a trespasser. You can't.

COOPER: It's amazing. Obviously, a lot of internal reviews going on since it began.

Appreciate you being with us, Dan Bongino. Thanks very much.

As if that -- as if things weren't already more than a little tense, we also got new information that makes the White House breach even more frightening. Word that some of those hundred or so Americans who went to Syria to fight have now come home, although none is believed to have trained with ISIS that's known, the terror group last night called on any sympathetic American to carry out lone wolf attacks in this country including on civilians.

Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has been monitoring developments. He joins us now.

So a hundred or so Americans. They may not necessarily be linked to ISIS itself but there are plenty of other groups and bad actors inside Syria that they could be connected to, right?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, you have al-Nusra, it's an al Qaeda-tied group, as well as other groups on kind of the range of extremist to moderate because this 100 figure not only does it include fighters who have gone to Syria, it also includes American fighters who have tried to go over there, so just to be clear on that. None with ISIS but possibly with these other extremist groups or even some of the more moderate groups there.

But the fact that they have come home is worrisome. And this gets at the very core of the fear of U.S. officials, and that is what happens when these many hundreds of foreign fighters including both Americans and Europeans, when they come home, do they attempt to carry out violence here? And this shows you that there is a path back.

And remember, Anderson, it's not just the Americans they're concerned about. They're also concerned about Europeans because they have visa- free travel to the U.S. They can get back here on their passports as well.

COOPER: So -- and how confident are officials that they know who these people are, where they are?

SCIUTTO: Well, CNN spoke to Jae Johnson today, the secretary of Homeland Security. Wolf Blitzer spoke to him. He described it as saying that he has confidence that they have -- that they know who these fighters are. You know, and that confidence means that they have, for some of them, probably a full list of identification details, names, serial numbers, et cetera, and others that might have contacts for them, IDs, aliases, et cetera. So it doesn't mean they know exactly who everyone is and where they

are but they have good confidence that they know who they are and they can track them. But, you know, Anderson, that's not a foolproof process. There are a lot of guys to track. And these people move around a lot. This is a free country. It's a very difficult job for intelligence to keep tabs on them.

COOPER: And obviously, adding to the concern, ISIS is now being very explicit in calling for lone wolf style attacks against the United States and others.

SCIUTTO: They have. This latest call of many disturbing calls and videos from ISIS is particularly so because it calls on ISIS supporters to really carry out violence in any way they can imagine. It says make Americans and Europeans and French and others who are taking part particularly in the campaign, in the military campaign against ISIS, make them so that they don't feel safe in their homes.

And it says take any opportunity. Blow up vehicles on roads. Carry out beheadings, attack people in their homes, take their children. Really saying do whatever you can. Don't wait for orders from home base. Don't wait for a plan. Carry out violence in any way you can.

And we got a sample of that, Anderson, with this plot that was foiled in Australia last week. These weren't veterans of fighting in Australia -- fighting in Syria with ISIS. These are just supporters there who have apparently, you know, devolved a plot to carry out beheadings in the streets in Australia.

This is the kind of thing they're worried about in many ways just as much as they are returning fighters.

COOPER: Right.

SCIUTTO: It's lone wolf attacks home from sympathizers.

COOPER: And that's probably maybe even a great threat because these are people who are not on anybody's radar. I mean, you look at Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter, you know, was ideologically motivated, had watched Internet videos, tried to reach out to Anwar al-Awlaki. He didn't need to be traveling overseas. He just basically got radicalized watching the Internet.

SCIUTTO: Exactly. Or the Boston bombers as well, right?

COOPER: Yes.

SCIUTTO: You know, one who did travel, you know, over to areas in the Middle East, but not his brother and they were inspired.

COOPER: Yes.

SCIUTTO: They read "Inspire" magazine. They got the idea for how to build a bomb. This is a big word.

COOPER: Yes, no doubt. Jim Sciutto, thanks very much.

As always make sure you set your DVR, you can watch us whenever you'd like.

COOPER: Coming up next, we have more breaking news in the search for Hannah Graham and the growing focus on a man that she was seen with the night she vanished. We'll show you the surveillance video. Police say they're closing in.

Also in another case, that alleged cop killer in the Pennsylvania woods. They believe they're closing in. We'll tell you about what could be a key discovery in the manhunt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Crime and Punishment" tonight. The search goes on for missing college student Hannah Graham. It now includes a manhunt of sorts as well. Police in Charlottesville, Virginia, today put out a wanted poster with this man's face on it. His name is Jesse Matthew who at the moment is only wanted for reckless driving but is clearly of greater interest to authorities. They believe he is the man on this surveillance cam video which Graham -- the last person seen with her the night before or the night the University of Virginia sophomore vanished more than a week ago.

Now yesterday her father pleaded for help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN GRAHAM, FATHER OF HANNAH GRAHAM: Did you see Hannah? Did anybody see Hannah? Did you see Hannah? Did you see Hannah? Who saw Hannah? Somebody did. Please, please, please, if you have anything, however insignificant you think it may be, call the police tip line with anything that just might help us to bring Hannah home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's Hannah Graham's dad. A horrible place for a father to be.

Joining us now with the latest, CNN's Jean Casarez.

So what do we know about Jesse Matthew and whatever connection he may have to Hannah's disappearance?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, here's what I've learned. He grew up in this area, he went to high school in this area, he has a lot of friends in this area. He's a patient technician in the operating room at University Hospital which is affiliated with the University of Virginia.

And why they're interested in him? They believe that he was the last person that was with Hannah.. Why? Because they haven't heard anything else. Anderson, I'm right here. This is the outdoor pedestrian mall where

Hannah was a week ago Friday night. And right at this intersection is where she and Jesse allegedly walked together -- and if you look down that pedestrian walkway, that's the restaurant that they went into. So you can see when the police chief says there were so many people here -- look at all the people at this restaurant that's so close.

That's why he's asking anybody to come forward that saw them because this is a place that's just filled with people, you can imagine, on a Friday night.

COOPER: And I know I talked to the chief. And we're going to play that in our next hour, in the 9:00 hour on 360, he said they've gotten as many as a thousand tips so far which is certainly a good sign.

I know you spoke with some family and friends of this person of interest. What did they have to say?

CASAREZ: Well, they say that Jesse's lawyer has told them that they cannot comment, but I -- I spoke with someone today at the house and I said, you know, we want to hear from you because a young man's life is at stake here also. And they agreed with me. And you could see the emotion within his family.

His friends that I've talked to, they say that he's a really nice guy. They don't want to come on camera and talk, but they say that he's a quiet person, that he's a person that helps people, doesn't hurt people, and they're really shocked.

COOPER: Well, clearly police are on the lookout for him.

Jean, appreciate the update.

A quick program note, as I mentioned, we're going to speak Police Chief Longo in our second hour tonight. He's, fair to say, quite passionate about this case. We'll get the latest on the case and where it now stands.

Meantime, two states to the north, authorities in northeast Pennsylvania say that they have narrowed the search area for alleged cop killer Eric Frein. They say he's still somewhere out in the woods, territory that he knows well, and he's armed, still with a scope hunting rifle.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers have joined the search for him. Hunters have been told to stay away. Local schools today were canceled.

Alexandra Field is on the scene. She joins us now.

What's the latest?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Eric Frein has evaded capture for 10 days. But in the last 24 hours we really have seen the search efforts for him intensify. Well, hundreds of officers have been out here. There are still more officers coming from the neighboring states of New Jersey and New York.

You've got a number of different agencies all working together. Their search focused in the wooded area behind me. They have been targeting just a few square miles near Frein's family home, but they say that they have been able to now shrink that search area. They say that they are confident that Frein is close by and they are optimistic that they're going to capture him.

This is based on the fact that they've received several credible tips, they say, in the last 24 hours about reported sightings of Frein. They do believe he's still armed and dangerous, though.

And, Anderson, that's what they really need to take into account in this effort. They've had Medevac choppers above, they've had ambulances out on the ground. They want to make sure that when officers go in and try and locate the suspect, that they're safe, that they are protected, that they don't have the kind of incident which prompted this manhunt.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, so dangerous for them to be, you know, out in the woods where this guy could be laying in wait for them.

Over the weekend police did find some items that they believe are related to Frein, right?

FIELD: That's right. And that's why they've been able to sort of tell the public that they are so confident he's in this area. They found an AK-47, Anderson. They also found ammunition. They believe that both of those items along with few others were left following the shooting at the state police barracks 10 days ago. So that has indicated to them that they are very much on his trail.

They're telling people in this area that they really need to remain vigilant. There was a shelter in place order in effect while these searches have been under way. Right now that order is lifted, but people are being kept out of their homes when it's necessary to block roads. And everyone is being told look, if you can be inside your house, just stay inside your house. And you really do not want to wander outside in the dark out into the woods tonight.

COOPER: All right. Alexandra, thanks very much. Appreciate the update.

The fact that 400 law officers and countless civilians have yet to locate Eric Frein should not surprise anyone who's spent time outdoors. Certainly doesn't surprise the man you're about to meet. He knows what kind of patience a manhunt like this requires, he knows from experience and he knows from success as well.

Gary Tuchman now on the life and work of a tracker.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are hundreds of thousands of acres in the wilderness of the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, and places like this are where fugitives often gravitate.

Patrick Patten knows that firsthand.

PATRICK PATTEN, FOUNDER, TACTICAL WOODLANDS OPERATION SCHOOL: To be a master tracker, you have to -- you have to really enjoy the woods and it has to be in your blood.

TUCHMAN: Patten was the lead tracker in the ultimately successful five-year search for Eric Rudolph, the so-called Atlanta Olympic Park bomber. Rudolph was found right in this area. And Patten returns here with us to give us our own tracking lesson. Footprints have been left for us. Our pretend fugitive has a size 11 to 12 shoe.

PATTEN: This rod that we teach is measured from the toe of one shoe to the heel of the other shoe. And this is approximately 20 1/2 inches.

TUCHMAN: You follow footprints as long as you can.

PATTEN: See how fresh it looks? And here's your disturbance right in here.

TUCHMAN: A tracker can even tell when the bad guy is getting weary and may be easier to catch.

PATTEN: As you can see here, the fugitive looks like they may be getting tired. They're starting to drag their foot.

TUCHMAN: Figuring out the stride keeps you going in the right direction even when the prints start to fade.

PATTEN: That's our right. So where is our left going to be? 18 to 21 inches. Where do you think it is out there?

TUCHMAN (on camera): Here?

PATTEN: You like it right here?

TUCHMAN: Yes.

PATTEN: By that?

TUCHMAN: Yes.

PATTEN: This is our next right?

TUCHMAN: Yes.

PATTEN: OK. Very good.

TUCHMAN: I think left's here.

PATTEN: Very good.

TUCHMAN: Yes.

PATTEN: So you finding them.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): When prints disappear there are many other things to look for -- disrupted vegetation, rocks, litter. They're all telling clues known as signs.

(On camera): The signs that are found on a track commission are rarely dramatic. Instead they're like pieces of a puzzle. This is truly a science.

PATTEN: See that leaf right here? How it's turned up?

TUCHMAN: Yes.

PATTEN: Is that the normal of everything else around here?

TUCHMAN: No, it's different.

PATTEN: OK. That's probably our fugitive right there.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Even branches could give a fugitive away.

PATTEN: It is not where it's supposed to be. That's where it's supposed to be. It hangs like that. But when I walk through it or the fugitive walks through it, it sticks back like that.

TUCHMAN (on camera): On the other side of the tree.

PATTEN: On the other side of the tree, which is great because that confirms everything else you know.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Ultimately that trail takes us down to the Nantahala River. Patten tests me.

PATTEN: Is that a right or a left, Gary?

TUCHMAN (on camera): Left.

PATTEN: OK.

TUCHMAN: And it makes sense because why would he walk in the water if he doesn't have to, right?

PATTEN: Right.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Our trail goes cold, which is what trackers deal with all the time. But even on a cold trail, trackers can never be too vigilant when searching for dangerous criminals.

PATTEN: So here we are, Gary. And it look like we've lost our fugitive. So we use a hand signal like this in tactical situations because we don't want to make noise. Stealth is our ally.

TUCHMAN: It can be a long, tedious process, something a tracker must be willing to deal with.

PATTEN: Patience is truly a virtue for a tracker. TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, in the Nantahala National Forest, North

Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It's amazing. All the things he can see.

A quick reminder, you can find more on that story and many others at CNN.com tonight.

Up next, Ray Rice's old boss goes on camera, comes under fire as well.

Plus, how do you feel about the feel that the league that mishandled the Rice affair and others that pays its commissioners tens of millions of dollars a year pays absolutely no taxes. Were you aware of that? No taxes at all. We're "Keeping Them Honest" on that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. Today, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens denied allegations that there was, as ESPN put it, purposely misdirection in the way the team handled the Ray Rice scandal. Rice as you know was suspended after a video was released of him punching his then-fiancee in a casino elevator knocking her out.

An extensive ESPN article has come out saying after that incident Ravens executives including the owner, Steve Bisciotti, for leniency for Rice in the judicial system and within the NFL. Here's what the owner said about that article today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BISCIOTTI, OWNER, BALTIMORE RAVENS: Almost everything in there is anonymous, but it's clear from the subject matter that there's -- it's Ray's attorney, it's Ray's agent and it's Ray's friends. And, you know, they are building a case for reinstatement.

And the best way to build a case for reinstatement is to make everybody else look like they're lying. So their accusations didn't jive with what we knew was fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The NFL is struggling with scandal after scandal obviously concerning domestic violence. But tonight, we want to focus on another aspect to the way the league does business. And it is a business, a $10 billion business.

So how is it that the National Football League is considered a non- profit organization? Its front office gets a pretty big gift from U.S. taxpayers. The teams pay taxes, the league itself does not.

The history of how that happened is fascinating and maybe infuriating depending on how you look at it. Drew Griffin tonight is keeping them honest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It began with a deal, not on the field but in Washington, 1966, the newly merged NFL/AFL needed antitrust law protection and tax-exempt status. And two powerful Louisiana politicians wanted a team for New Orleans.

NFL's long-time powerful commissioner, Pete Rozelle, went to work. On November 8th, stuck into a bill concerning investment credit and accelerated depreciation, were these few lines about football leagues, tax exempt status and exclusion from antitrust laws.

ANDY DELANEY, SPORTS ATTORNEY: Pete Rozelle was a forward looking guy. I can't imagine what that two lines there -- maybe it's three is worth today.

GRIFFIN: Louisiana got its team, the New Orleans Saints. And year after year NFL teams get to write off all the dues they pay to the NFL to run the business. Each team paying around $10 million, $325 million last year alone as a write-off.

Andy Delany, a Vermont lawyer, has researched and written about that deal and says non-profit tax status for the NFL is hard to justify.

DELANEY: I don't think anything they're doing is illegal, but it's certainly not within the spirit of the traditional non-profit. Non- profits don't have directors with salaries north of 40 million. It's big business and my theory really is that they should call it that.

GRIFFIN: But try as you might for reform for an end of tax breaks for anything regarding the NFL, legislation will most likely get benched.

(on camera): That's because when it comes to fending off legislation keeping lawmakers out of its business, the NFL has drafted its own defensive frontline. A strong team of powerful Washington lobbyists, many of whom conveniently located just blocks from the White House in one of the most powerful lobbying firms in this city.

SHEILA KRUMHOLZ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: They're spending a million dollars a year over the last seven or eight years. So they're doing a considerable amount of lobbying investing in kind of the Washington game through lobbying and campaign contributions as well.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The heart of the NFL's lobbying team is centered right here, 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue is the home of the NFL's Washington office and the law firm Covington and Burling.

Between the two, there are a half dozen NFL lobbyists here. The law firm employs the former NFL commissioner, Paul Tagliabue. And the NFL just hired a former deputy assistant to President Obama, who will now head the NFL's D.C. operations.

Sheila Krumholz with the Center for Responsive Politics says the NFL's 20 or so lobbyists are all pro.

KRUMHOLZ: Almost all of which are former government employees, former hill staffers, so they have good access by buying the help of people who know how to navigate Congress.

GRIFFIN: Why so many lobbyists for the National Football League?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea. I think that's a question that ought to go to them.

GRIFFIN: Senator Tom Coburn who has railed against the tax-free status of the NFL, the PGA, the National Hockey League and other sports leagues, has introduced a bill to get rid of the tax breaks. His pro sports act, he says, would save taxpayers millions.

SENATOR TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: Ten million or so. Probably $110 million over the next ten years, but the point is why should they have that? Every dollar that's not paid in taxes by that league office is a dollar that everybody in your state's actually having to make up for. So it's stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. It's reverse Robin Hood is what it is.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Another NFL outrage.

GRIFFIN: The NFL swamped with multiple scandals these days could only offer us a written statement on its non-profit status, no interview, but the league defends paying no taxes at the front office because every dollar of income that is earned in the National Football League.

The league writes, from game tickets, television rights fees, jersey sales and national sponsorships is subject to tax. None of this income is shielded. Adding there is one small part of the NFL unrelated to all this business activity that is tax exempt, the NFL League Office.

And that office, says the NFL, is a trade association. It administrates and organizes the games, hires referees, sets rules and pays for its commissioners' huge salary. In other words, says Coburn, the front office runs the business of the NFL. He says business should be taxed.

COBURN: The individual owner and the teams should pay taxes. We're not going after them. But what they do is put all this confluence of money into the league office and do that as a non-profit, which means they're not paying taxes like every other business that would be in a trade business like they are.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So are all pro sports leagues non-profits?

GRIFFIN: No, Major League Baseball, gave up its tax exempt status in 2007, several years ago. The NBA never had it. Both of those leagues seem to be making plenty of money. It seems to water down the NFL's argument that it would somehow be harmed if this tax status changed.

COOPER: But in reality with all the firepower that the NFL has in Washington, the league's tax exempt status is probably not in any real jeopardy, right? GRIFFIN: Senator Coburn introduced his pro sports act just a little more than one year ago. It was read into the record, sent to a finance committee and has never been heard of again. In sports speak, it's been benched, zero chance of playing in D.C.

COOPER: Fascinating. Drew Griffin, thanks very much.

GRIFFIN: Thanks.

COOPER: All right, just ahead, you see the horrifying scenes from Liberia. We do not think you've seen a report like we're going to show you next. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is there. We urge you to watch what's happening. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Before we even say what those numbers are, we also got a look today at the people, the lives behind those numbers. It's tough to see. We urge you to watch to understand what people are dealing with in the infected areas in West Africa.

The numbers, more than 2,800 people have now died from Ebola in West Africa and more than 5,800 are believed to have been infected. The agency has warned that the number of cases could double every three weeks.

As I said, today we saw it firsthand from our reporter on the ground in one of the hardest hit counties in Liberia. Senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, arrived just after the U.N. called for global response to the crisis.

President Obama announced new steps to help lead the fight including sending U.S. troops to Liberia to help plan and build treatment centers filled with beds that are so desperately needed. Here's what Elizabeth found.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside this ambulance, three Ebola patients including a teenager. All of them denied entry to one of Monrovia's overcrowded Ebola treatment centers.

The ambulance weaves through traffic trying desperately to get care where it's been promised, the city's newest Ebola hospital opened just hours before, the Island Clinic.

But when we arrive with the ambulance, we find the hospital not ready. The patients in the ambulance we followed are strong enough to walk in, but there are ambulances already here carrying patients who are too weak to enter the hospital on their own.

Two patients stay curled up in a ball. These men can't move either. We're told he's not wearing clothes below the waist because of the intense diarrhea caused by Ebola. Try to come down and walk a little, a worker tells the man. I'm too tired, he says. Then summoning up his energy, he tries. For now, he's left where he falls.

This little boy tries to walk in, too, but then he collapses as well. Get up and go inside, workers tell him. You'll only get food if you go inside. Another worker says let him rest and they agree that's best for now.

The workers tell us staff inside is suiting up in their protective gear so they can carry the patients in. The Island Clinic is supported by the Liberian government and the World Health Organization. We showed our video to Peter Graff with the WHO. His first reaction?

PETER GRAFF, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: It's horrible. I think what the lesson is here that people still come too late. They're already very sick. That's when you get scenes like this. Much better to come when you feel the first signs of symptoms and get yourself tested.

COHEN (on camera): Many people do try to get there earlier and they're turned away over and over.

GRAFF: That's why I'm so glad that we now opened this clinic.

COHEN: I mean, the hospital was open.

GRAFF: Very good question. I don't have the answer. Yes, they should have.

COHEN: Graff says perhaps the hospital became overwhelmed. Almost all of the 120 beds were already filled within the first day.

GRAFF: This is shocking. I mean, and of course, this is exactly what we should try to do in the future. It's horrible.

COHEN: This is something you're going to check on?

GRAFF: Of course, I will, immediately.

COHEN (voice-over): When we left the hospital, the boy and the man were still on the ground, the symptom of a system overwhelmed and a new hospital apparently unprepared.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Just so disturbing. Elizabeth joins me live from Liberia. Were they unprepared? Were they overwhelmed? Do we know?

COHEN: Really, Anderson, there's no reason that they should have been surprised by this. People here know that there are hundreds of Ebola patients in Monrovia who don't have a place to go. They have a shortage of 700 beds.

We ourselves have witnessed these ambulances running around the city trying to look for a place to put people to no avail. So they knew that they were going to get inundated. It's not clear to me.

It wasn't clear to the gentleman from the World Health Organization why they didn't have people in protective suits ready to come out and take these Ebola patients who can't walk in because a lot are so weak that they can't walk in. It's really unclear what happened yesterday.

COOPER: Elizabeth, be careful. Thank you.

Up next, her young son died in a hot car and her husband is facing murder charges. Leanna Harris remains under scrutiny, but is hoping to clear her name of new polygraph test. The results and my inclusive with her attorney next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. The Georgia man who is accused of killing his toddler by leaving him in a hot car this summer will be back in court this week. Justin Ross Harris is charged with eight counts including murder.

His attorney says Harris left his son, Cooper, in the car by accident. Prosecutors say both Harris and Cooper's mother, Leanna Harris, had searched online for how hot a car has to be to kill a child.

The mom is not charged with anything, but she took a polygraph anyway. It was not court sanctioned and was administered by a private company. But her attorney says that she passed that polygraph.

I spoke with him a short time ago in a 360 exclusive.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: First of all, how is your client holding up? One thing to lose a child and then to have this entire legal battle and her husband facing possibly the death penalty.

LAWRENCE ZIMMERMAN, LAWYER FOR LEANNA HARRIS: She is holding up as best as any human being can. She's strong, but she's very scared. She has lost a child. She's lost her husband and she's waiting to see how this whole thing plays out, but it's very scary for her.

COOPER: She still supports her husband. She believes he's innocent.

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, she believes it was an accident. There's no doubt in her mind.

COOPER: No doubt at all. Has she always been supportive of her husband?

ZIMMERMAN: She's always thought it was an accident. She's never had a doubt. She's never voiced a doubt to me.

COOPER: Even when things came out in court about him and his private life, she didn't waver?

ZIMMERMAN: No, she didn't waver because she always knew and she saw the relationship that he had with their child, Cooper, and he was always a great dad. She never saw anything different.

COOPER: So what does -- what happens now? Is she able to see her husband?

ZIMMERMAN: She can go to the jail and she can see him and she does when she's in town. And she can talk on the telephone and those calls are monitored by the jails. They can't have conversations that are personal as far as how you are doing, talk about emotions.

COOPER: Because they know people are listening in.

ZIMMERMAN: Right. Nothing nefarious, but you can't talk about intimate details of their life.

COOPER: Have you talked to her about the possibility of him facing the death penalty?

ZIMMERMAN: We've chatted about that. We spoke about it today because this week the District Attorney's Office is going to announce whether they'll seek the death penalty. She really is trying to take things one day at a time.

It's hard for her to fathom because she believes it was an accident. She believes that deep down in her heart. Her friends and family believe that. She can't then put that together and think that they're then going to move for the death penalty for something that they all think is an accident.

COOPER: Does she want to be in court? Does she want to follow this day by day in process in the courtroom?

ZIMMERMAN: Sure. She'd like to be present whenever he's in court. The District Attorney's Office has sent her a letter because she's considered a victim by the D.A.'s office. They sent her a letter asking if she wants to be in court when he's arraigned. If they have hearings, whether she'll be there or not.

COOPER: It's interesting that the state considers her a victim. Does she consider herself a victim?

ZIMMERMAN: She doesn't think she's a victim of a crime. She thinks she's the victim of a tragic consequence, tragic accident.

COOPER: She's a mother who lost her child.

ZIMMERMAN: A mother who lost her child.

COOPER: Since you're representing her, were you concern at all that she would be in some way being accused?

ZIMMERMAN: I'm always concerned with any client being accused because you have the police investigating, there's been all these crazy things in social media, some media outlets, not you, have said some things that have been uncouth.

And so of course, I'm always concerned. I think at this point I would be very shocked if they decided to now charge her since they've already indicted the husband.

COOPER: You haven't gotten any indication that they were considering charges or that they would actually --

ZIMMERMAN: They haven't said one way or the other if she's even a suspect, a target or even if they're planning on charging her.

COOPER: You did have her take a polygraph test.

ZIMMERMAN: I did.

COOPER: That was something that you guys decided to do that was privately performed by your person.

ZIMMERMAN: Daniel Sesnowski, very well known, 30 years doing polygraph.

COOPER: Why did you want her to did a polygraph, it's not something admissible in court? It's not something you could down the road.

ZIMMERMAN: If the District Attorney's Office ever came to me and wanted to know if she ever took one or if it would help as a negotiating tool if later on they were trying to press her and try to charge her.

COOPER: What were the results of that?

ZIMMERMAN: According to Mr. Sesnowski, she passed three relevant questions.

COOPER: Pertaining to --

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, did you know that your husband was planning on doing this? Were you ever aware? Did you have any involvement?

COOPER: You deal with a lot of people facing very tough circumstances, facing the loss of their livelihood, their freedom. Overall how do you think she's doing?

ZIMMERMAN: I think she's doing really well. I couldn't imagine being in her position. I'm not so sure I'd ever be as strong as her losing a child. I have a child, too. I look at her. She is a pillar of strength.

COOPER: Thank you so much for being with us.

ZIMMERMAN: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Just ahead, another live hour of 360 including breaking news in the search for University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham. The FBI now involved in the case.

We'll talk to the police chief. They now have a wanted poster out, a person they're seeking in connection with Graham's disappearance. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF TIMOTHY LONGO, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA POLICE: I believe that Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the earth. Let me say that again. I believe Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the earth! Because it's been a week, and we can't find her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's the Charlottesville police chief, Chief Longo. My interview with him when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for watching this special extended edition of 360. Top of the hour, breaking news in the search for missing college student, Hannah Graham. The FBI now taking a role.

Also police in Charlottesville, Virginia today put out a wanted poster with this man's face on it. At the moment, he's only wanted for reckless driving, but he's clearly of greater interest to authorities.

In a moment you'll have my interview with Charlottesville's police chief, but first the latest from Jean Casarez.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As police go into the second week of the search for Hannah Graham, the investigation is focusing on Jesse Matthew who police believe is the last person to be seen with the University of Virginia sophomore.

LONGO: We want to talk to him. We want to talk about his interaction with a sweet young girl that we can't find because he was with her.

CASAREZ: Today, police issued this wanted poster.

LONGO: It's important we talk to Jesse Matthew for very obvious reasons, but it's also important that if he and Hannah parted ways on this mall, we need to know that as well.