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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Second New York Prison Escapee Captured; Trump's Comments Spark Firestorm; NBC Dumps Trump; Texas County Clerk Will Not Give Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 29, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:03] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, good evening. Thanks for joining us.
They were going to Mexico but not before first taking a man's life. That is what surviving fugitive and cop killer David Sweat is reportedly telling authorities. And that tonight is our breaking news.
He is spilling details from his hospital bed about his now dead partner Richard Matt, their escape from a New York prison. When and why they split up, and who they planned to kill before heading south.
Now, on top of that, prison guard Gene Palmer was in court today answering charges connected to favors he admits in a sworn statement to doing for them inside the Clinton correctional facility in da Dannemora. And the FBI is now investigating possible drug and corruption there.
We got a lot to bring on those threads and more. Late word tonight from the local coroner on Richard Matt and how he looked when the law caught up with him. We start, though, with the time line of David Sweat's takedown in our Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The word came over police radios around 3:20 p.m. gunshots fired. Scores of police raced to the ironically named town of Constable of the Canadian border, there was hope that David Sweat had been captured and fear that police officers or civilians could have been hurt. But one, only one officer was already at the scene. New York state trooper sergeant Jay Cook.
SUPT. JOSEPH D'AMICO, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: As he was driving down the road, he spotted a male who was basically jogging up along the side of the road. He approached him. And as he exited the car the man turned to him, he says, hey, come over here.
TUCHMAN: The male who Sergeant Cook saw was David Sweat. Only about two miles as the crow flies from the Canadian border.
D'AMICO: The male kind of ignored him. Called out to him again. At which time the male turned around, kind of look, you know, what do you want from me? And he recognized him to be David Sweat. TUCHMAN: Sergeant Cook says Sweat took off from the street into this
field. The sergeant chased after him. He was afraid that Sweat would run into the woods and disappear. He fired two shots. And the manhunt was over.
This very rural area has many Amish residents. In the aftermath, vehicles were being searched by police. Including Amish buggies to make sure only residents were allowed back into the area where the capture was made. Gene Burke and Paul Meldrom were visiting an Amish family whose home and barn were adjacent to where Sweat was caught.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the barn here. About 600 feet of the other side of the barn where they apprehended him. If he made it to the end of the field, there is nothing but forest from there to the Canadian border.
TUCHMAN: Across the street from the field lives a family with two children. Michael Doyle heard the gunshots.
MICHAEL DOYLE, RESIDENT: When I heard two shots. Didn't know if one was him or them or, you know, back and forth.
TUCHMAN: He says within three or four minutes. Swarms of police arrived. He took these pictures of the police cars, estimating there were between 40 and 50 vehicles on the rural road with two officers and most of the cars.
DOYLE: They threw their cars in park, they ran out of their cars. Some had guns in hand. Throwing on coats. They were returning through the field. And then the ambulance came in and the field and headed done to where he was shot.
TUCHMAN: You can still see the tire tracks of the vehicles in the wet field. Also, crime tape remains where the field turns into forest which would have been the beginning of Sweat's rut to Canada.
DOYLE: To see all this was overwhelming.
TUCHMAN: Two ambulances is accompanied by police vehicle raced to the nearby hospital. Leading to fears more than one person had been shot. But Sweat was the only person who had been hurt.
In Franklin County where most of the three-week long manhunt was centered there was great relief. 200 residents gathered in front of the county courthouse to show appreciation to law enforcement agents who risked their lives off to find the two escapees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did an amazing job tracking these guys and getting them.
TUCHMAN: Thirteen hundred men and women looking for the killers. But it came done to one man, Sergeant Jay Cook whose alert patrolling on this quiet road put an end to the fears of a region.
COOPER: Gary joins us now.
Close to where just steps away in fact from where David Sweat was shot taken into custody. How long would it have taken Sweat to actually get to Canada from where you are if he hadn't been caught?
TUCHMAN: Well earlier in the evening, Anderson, I took a hike in the woods just to get an idea of the beginning of the journey to Canada. And this is wilderness. I mean, it is a forest. It is not woods. There are no paths whatsoever. Its mosquito infested land. There are holes that you step in that go very deep. So it is very dangerous.
It took me a decent pace. About 15 minutes to go a quarter mile and then 15 minutes to come back. So if you had the desire to go very fast, if you were inmate escaping the law you could probably do a mile in less than an hour. Two miles less than two hours. So when he got to this spot at 3:20 yesterday, that there is no police officer here, yesterday, Sweat could have probably gotten to the unguarded Canadian border by about 5:15 in the afternoon.
I must say the Canadian Mounties and other Canadian authorities on the Quebec side would have done a fine job with this investigation, that there was evidence if Sweat was in Canada. But it is much more complicated dealing with international manhunt or manhunt here in the United States -- Anderson.
[20:05:08] COOPER: Yes. And I talked to somebody you talked to in your piece who was saying that when he crossed over the border to Canada to visit the family on the land where you are now, on the Canadian side there really wasn't a high level of visible law enforcement which there was on the U.S. side. So who knows what might have happened when he crossed over initially at least.
Gary, thank you.
David Sweat's condition upgraded, as we said at the top. So is our picture of exactly what he and Richard Matt had in mind for their escape. Now, we are learning more about their plan, a, and what they did when it came unglued.
Joining from the hospital in Albany where Sweat is recovering and talking, Miguel Marquez.
So what are authorities saying Sweat is telling them?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, giving them pretty solid details about how they carried all this out and what their plans were. And they certainly want to hear from him because he is the best link they have to unravel exactly how they carried off this escape from that prison. Saying their plan a, and there was a lot of questions whether or not it was, was in fact, Joyce Mitchell, prison worker who was going to give them a ride soon as popped up out of the manhole.
Now, they told investigators or Sweat told investigators that their plan was to kill her husband and then go to Mexico hoping to be toasting margaritas basically on the beach in Mexico before any one was wiser. Clearly, that did not work out when she got cold feet. Then scramble for a plan b, spending much of their 22 days in the wilderness. And clearly, not making very good head way. They only got 32 miles away from the prison. So about a mile and a half a day. A snail's pace if you are trying to get away from that many law enforcement - Anderson.
COOPER: And we are learning some new details about what kind of shape Richard Matt was in when he was actually confronted by police. What have you learned?
MARQUEZ: Not as terrible as one might expect. He -- one authority said that he smelled like he was drinking but he also dressed in sort of like a hunter, basically in camouflage gear, heavy boots. They had broken into a cabin. So clearly got ahold of proper clothing for, for the, the environment that they were in. And they were willing to go the whole way.
The coroner said he did have bug bites on him. But, that they weren't as terrible as one might expect. That they weren't as swollen as one might expect. Leading them to believe that perhaps for some period of days they did have cover in some sort of cabin or something appropriate for the elements -- Anderson.
COOPER: Miguel Marquez, appreciate it.
Now, let's go to the next one of the lead searcher, Kevin Mulverhill, a sheriff for Franklin County where the manhunt was focused and where it ended.
Sheriff, appreciate you being with us. You actually saw David Sweat after he was shot. What did he look like? And was he talking? Was he saying anything at that point?
SHERIFF KEVIN MULVERHILL, FRANKLIN COUNTY, NEW YORK: No. I saw him. I was at the hospital when they unloaded him from the ambulance and brought him into the emergency room. He was semiconscious. Eyes were barely open. He wasn't speaking. Had a respirator over his mouth. His chest was covered.
COOPER: What made you, and law enforcement, so sure that he was in, in that area?
MULVERHILL: Well, some of the FBI profilers had said right along that Sweat would try to make an attempt to go north and go towards the border. And I think Major Guess stated on Friday at the press conference that we were casting our nets further north. And we actually started patrols in this area. Late Thursday, early Friday. Even after Matt's shooting. And even we after we have set up the perimeter. We continued those patrols in this area. Just thinking on the possibility that he was, he was really going to try to enter into Canada.
COOPER: It is really fascinating, because in terms of what we understand he is telling law enforcement. Everyone had been wondering if Joyce Mitchell had been plan a, or perhaps a red herring. And seems like she really was plan a. MULVERHILL: Yes, you know for as intelligent as these guys are,
breaking out of maximum security prison. Evading police for three weeks, Joyce Mitchell was plan a.
COOPER: Do you think that Joyce Mitchell and Gene Palmer are as far as this goes in terms helping inside the prison or do you think others are likely to be implicated?
MULVERHILL: I think there is probably going to be others that are implicated that may or may not know that they played a role in this, you know. Some small thing that somebody did for them. You know, when you add those all up its kind of look building a wall, you know. Everybody I think provided a brick so to speak until their plan was complete.
COOPER: And I mean this thing, it is obviously been going on a long time. You, all the law enforcement personnel have been working, you know, in a lot of shifts. Incredibly difficult conditions. Very dangerous, obviously. What does it feel look to know that it is done?
MULVERHILL: What a sense of relief. You know, I was in the forward operating base when we got the call that, you know, Sergeant Cook was down here and had fired some shots and the subject was down. I was just a tremendous relief that went through, just tremendous relief went through the forward operating base. You know, couple hoots and hollers, handshakes, pats on the backs, big smiles, and just really huge relief for the community.
[20:10:03] COOPER: Is there something - I mean, I assume, sort of after-action reports will be done, in terms of the actual manhunt, do you think there are things you can learn from this manhunt that could be applied down the road in the future, whether in this area or elsewhere?
MULVERHILL: Sure, every time that we had a search like this, you know the state police went through the Bucky Phillips search, number of years ago. You know, we learned things from that. And we applied those here. And there are things we have learned here, we'll sit done as a group, and have discussion. And there are things that we did really well, but we know there are things that we can do better.
COOPER: Sheriff Mulverhill, congratulations. And the best to all those involved in this incredible manhunt. Thank you very much.
Coming up next we, have more late details tonight about what we briefly mentioned at the top of the program. The FBI has now started investigating possible corruption at Dannemora including a heroin ring inside the prison. We'll bring you up to speed on that.
And why NBC told Donald Trump essentially "you're fired." What the presidential candidate has to say about it. And of course, he certain three has a lot to say about it.
[20:14:39] COOPER: Well, the breaking news tonight, captured fugitive David Sweat talking to authorities from his hospital bed. His condition upgraded. Now, one of his reportedly self-confessed enablers, prison guard Gene Palmer was in court today. That's him heading to court. The state police has sworn statement from him detailing the favors he did for Sweat and Richard Matt. However, the local district attorney Andrew Wylie says that Sweat has told authorities palm were was not involved in the actual escape plan.
That said, his alleged actions plus all the reports of numerous security lapses and guard sleeping on the job does make you wonder what exactly was going on inside that prison. And you would not be alone in asking that question.
State investigators have been at the Clinton correctional facility since last week as you may know. And today, we learned that the FBI has launched a probe of its own. Details on that now from our justice correspondent Evan Perez who joins us from Washington.
So this FBI probe, what do we know about it?
[20:15:33] EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it does appear this prison was a dysfunctional place. The FBI is investigating possible criminal activity inside the Clinton correctional facility including heroin trafficking.
Now, investigators want to know whether the two former fugitive, Richard Matt and David Sweat were working with guards as part of the drug ring. Now, law enforcement officials tell CNN that some of the prison employees who have been interviewed have described widespread availability of heroin at the prison and role of employees getting the drugs inside.
Now, we know that Matt and Sweat had a lot of freedom inside this prison. And the question now is -- was there alleged involvement in some of the criminal activity part of the reason for that freedom, Anderson.
COOPER: And do we know if either Joyce Mitchell or Gene Palmer are suspected of being involved in, in this heroin ring or other illegal activity?
PEREZ: Well, you know, that's one of the big concerns here, the FBI has already identified a couple of prison employees other than Mitchell and Palmer. And so the question -- the suggestion here is problems run much deeper than just those two people who have now been arrested and charged, Anderson. We should say that the New York state inspector general is doing its own investigation into security and other lapses that led to the escapes.
COOPER: Evan Perez, fascinating development. Thank you.
To Plattsburg, New York now where prison guard Gene Palmer and his new lawyer went very briefly before a judge. Also there was CNN's Jean Casarez who joins us.
So, it seems like it was a very fast proceeding. What happened? Take us through it. JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was fast. I think the biggest
thing was to actually see Gene Palmer, we hadn't see him before. He did not enter a plea in this court. And his attorney said that they are waiving any more appearances.
This is a very small court. This is justice court. So now, they are now going to go to county court. And district attorney Wylie said that he will be convening a grand jury and taking this to a grand jury. Maybe not up until a month from now because he does have a new attorney. And he wants to allow him to have time to learn the case.
COOPER: What was Palmer's demeanor like during the hearing? Because we are seeing him obviously, you know, reporters asking him questions on the way in. He is not saying anything. He looks rather stoic. What about inside?
CASAREZ: It is a good word, stoic, you know. I sat right behind him. And he seemed frozen in court. He seemed distressed. He seemed uncomfortable. And he just seemed very scared to tell you the truth.
He didn't speak to anyone except to the judge when he had to say a few words. And he signed the waiver to go into the larger court. But when he arrived, the media here absolutely surrounded him asking him every question, he didn't respond to anything. And when court was over, he just drove away.
But these are very serious felonies. Because they're alleging that he brought tools from the outside to the inside four different times for Matt and Sweat. Seemingly so they could fix their electric box right on the other side of their cell in the catwalk. The same area that they happened to get the hole and escape from. And then also, that he allegedly burned and buried paintings that they made for him after they escaped from prison.
COOPER: And what if anything is the DA saying about whether or not other prison employees could be charged with helping these guys escape? Is he saying anything?
CASAREZ: You know he is sort of ambivalent on his answer. Because a week ago at this very courthouse, there was press conference and he said that they expected no other charges from any other prison employees.
Now, this morning on CNN he said there is an investigation, we are looking to see if there are more charges. And I asked him that very question when he came out of court today. His response to me was, no comment.
COOPER: All right. Well obviously we'll be watching. Jean Casarez. Appreciate your reporting.
Coming up next, an up close look at the physical clues to how Sweat and Matt lived on the run. Forensic evidence that ultimately helped authorities close in on them.
Plus, the state officials who are blocking this. Resisting the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage. And the high level state officials who are actually encouraging them. They say they have the constitution behind them. The question is do they really? Some legal advice ahead from our Jeffrey Toobin.
[20:23:34] COOPER: David Sweat's escaped from the Clinton correctional facility ended like his partner's did in gunfire, began, of course, with help. Now, how it transpired the week after week is told in a trail of clues left behind. That is certainly a story in itself.
More on that now from our Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the run in the great north woods, the two inmates had to live off their wits and the land. Unable to move freely on the roads or in towns where everyone was on the lookout.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK: These are two dangerous individuals.
FOREMAN: So what kept them ahead of the chase? First they had maps showing just how close they were to the Canadian border and to cabins, barns, remote houses, dozens of places where they might find supplies.
Second, camouflage clothing. When or how they obtained it is a mystery but it could have made it harder for ground patrol to spot them.
Third, pepper. Yes, pepper.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You go in there, you give me a chili powder, and pepper and curry, and the like, lot of it, alright?
FOREMAN: Just this cool Hand Luke used pepper in the movie to confound tracking dog, early on police dogs appear to have a strong trail going on these inmates, but then inexplicably lost it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that possibly these two males were using pepper to throw the scent off of the dogs that were tracking them.
FOREMAN: Fourth the inmates obtained a 20-gauge shot gun. One more thing to make officers move extra cautiously in their pursuit.
NBC News obtained these images of a rustic cabin which police say contained signs of intruders, a pair of prison issue underwear and DNA from the two inmates.
[20:25:14] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are numerous items we recovered from the cabin.
FOREMAN: Officials say as the inmates broke into other places the net tightened. Soon Richard Matt was shot and killed. And by the time David Sweat was shot and captured, police say all he had to sustain himself was a pack of pop tarts.
Tom Foreman, CNN.
COOPER: Let's dig deeper in all this with forensic scientist and CNN contributor, Lawrence Kobolinsky of the John Jay College of criminal justice, and joins me here. Also, Chris Swecker, a former FBI assistant director who led the investigation in search for Eric Robert Rudolph.
So Chris, the fact that these guys were able to get their hands on camouflaged clothing, didn't really have a huge amount of insect bites, didn't have swelling, seems like they might have been spending a fair amount of their time inside some of these cabins?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Yes, it does. I mean, they did a great job of foraging making their way hopping cabin to cabin apparently. Because I read about at least, three cabins, by my counts, three cabins that they went into. And there are probably well stocked. And that's where they got the equipment, that's where they got the maps possibly.
COOPER: Doctor Kobilinsky, this whole notion of pepper as a way to throw off the scent from dogs does that really work?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well if you watch Cool-hand Luke, yes, you think it works. I think that for the most part, pepper - it is a myth that really doesn't work the way people think it does. But if you have a high enough concentration. I think it will irritate the eyes, the nose, the throat, and I think it will throw a dog off. If the dog wants to walk around the pepper and kind of regain the scent it can do that. But, I certainly think in the right concentration it will throw the dog off.
COOPER: And I mean, the question is, were they hoarding pepper inside the prison that they brought with them. Is this something they found in cabins, and how much would they really have?
KOBILINSKY: Well, all of this is possible. And after all, the dogs didn't do the job they thought they would.
COOPER: Because it rained so often, does that throw dogs off?
KOBILINSKY: Rain could have an adverse effect. The wind, direction of the wind can throw the dog off. The dogs are amazing. They can smell things a thousand times better than a human being.
COOPER: A thousand times.
KOBILINSKY: They have five billion receptors in the nose. They're amazing creatures but still you can throw them off.
COOPER: Chris, it's interesting after successfully eluding law enforcement for two weeks, that Sweat was found just walking through a wide open field, I mean, is that -- does that surprise you? Or is that the kind of mistake that fugitives usually end up making at some point?
SWECKER: Well it surprised me because we heard representations and very confident ones from the search leader that they had him, they had him inside a perimeter. They didn't know where he was.
COOPER: But Friday night they were talking about the perimeter.
SWECKER: Very much. It turns out though, they, he very smartly separated earlier. And he was making his way north. And apparently Matt had had enough. And the psychopath that he was, he was willing to take on law enforcement in a more direct fashion. And Sweat was smarter. He was trying to work his way through.
It is I think very similar to Eric Robert Rudolph. And it was just good policing by a lone officer that caught him. It was out of an area out of an area of focus. They were not focused as much in that area as the perimeter that they had defined.
COOPER: Chris, it is amazing when you think about, I mean, how kind of relatively close he was to Canada. I mean, he was not far from a very heavily wooded, forested area, our Gary Tuchman is saying it is not even a place that has trails and stuff, it is that dense. And from there uninterrupted all the way to the border.
SWECKER: Yes, he may have been a little bit careless. Maybe more than a little careless when he looked out and didn't see these, you know, this huge presence of law enforcement in the search teams. I think maybe he felt like he could make a sprint to the border. It wasn't that far. Had the maps to tell him that. And so, he took a chance. And I think probably fatigue was a factor as well. You get to where you can't think clearly.
COOPER: Doctor Kobilinsky, is there a way for authorities to tell how long ago a DNA sample was left? I assume with rotted food there is. If there is bugs or things like that.
KOBILINSKY: Unfortunately, just looking at the DNA itself, you can't really tell. You can't tell when it was deposited. Yes, you are right, if let's say it comes from saliva from the bite of an apple, you could sense from the apple how old the apple is. That will give you some idea. But from DNA alone, you cannot tell when it was deposited.
COOPER: And in terms of testing it, I mean, we talked about this before, but it is interesting to me how, you know, often times a crime has been over here while DNA won't be available for two weeks. You are saying it can actually be done within --
KOBILINSKY: Within 90 days - 90 minutes.
COOPER: Ninety minutes.
KOBILINSKY: That's right. I think a lot of credit goes to the crime lab to do this kind of work. They prioritized it. They work nonstop. Got the results very quickly. That's the state of the art nowadays.
COOPER: Chris, in terms of them splitting up? Did that surprise you? I mean we talked in the past couple of weeks, about how often, you know, they stay together while they can use each other, while there is a benefit to it. Did it surprise you that they seemed to have separated a couple of days previously?
SHWECKER: Not surprising. I mean these people are more -- they're can concerned about themselves. They're narcissistic. It was not like one was going to be a hero and take care of the other one. That's not their makeup. So, when Sweat realized that Matt was a burden, he took off in the other direction. Not that surprising, Anderson.
COOPER: It would be fascinating to hear details of, I mean how that conversation actually took place. You know, was it amicable. Was it just taking off? It will be interesting to see how much he actually reveals. Chris Shwecker, I appreciate you being with us. Lawrence Kobilinsky as well.
Coming up, NBC dumps Trump. The network cuts ties with Donald Trump after he called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers. Trump says NBC is weak and trying to be politically correct and that he's telling it like it is.
Also ahead, celebration and wedding bell throughout the nation after the Supreme Court's landmark decision. But not everywhere. We will take you to a town in Texas where the county clerk is refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
COOPER: Well, on the show "The Apprentice," obviously, Donald Trump is the one who fires people. Today, though, he was on the receiving end of that message. NBC Universal under growing pressure from Hispanic groups, dumped Trump today over remarks he made about illegal immigration when he declared his presidential run.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP: They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists and some I assume are good people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: These remarks sparked a firestorm of sorts. And true to form, Trump is not backing down. Athena Jones has the latest.
TRUMP: I'd say, am I so bad? ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: NBC Universal has cut its ties with Donald Trump citing his derogatory statements calling Mexican immigrants rapists, drug dealers and criminals.
TRUMP: Somebody has to come out and tell it like it is.
JONES: The real estate mogul stood by those comments before a packed house in Chicago. Quoting a report by Fusion, owned by Spanish language channel Univision and ABC.
TRUMP: They think it is like Mother Teresa is coming across the border, OK. This one says, 80 percent of Central American women and girls are raped crossing into the United States. Well, I said drug dealers. I said killers. And I said rapists.
JONES: NBC says it will no longer air the Miss USA or Miss Universe pageants partly owned by Trump following a similar step by Univision, which also dumped the event. Trump is threatening to sue.
TRUMP: I will be suing Univision, maybe I will be suing NBC too.
JONES: NBC was facing growing pressure to respond with more than 200,000 people signing on to a petition on Change.org calling on the company to dump Trump. And angry protesters denouncing him outside the Chicago event.
The reality star and now presidential candidate had already planned to give up his hit show "The Apprentice." Amid the controversy, Trump has been surging in the Republican polls, up to second place in the first primary state of New Hampshire. Oozing confidence in classic Trump style he touted the latest cnnwmur poll.
TRUMP: There is a CNN poll that just came out. And they have interesting categories. Who is the best on terrorism? That's a pretty important subject? Trump right at the top. Who is the best on handling international trade? Like not even close. Trump is like almost double anybody else, right? That's incredible.
JONES: As for the man besting him in that poll, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Trump says he is a nice guy who can't win in 2016.
TRUMP: Believe me, he will never, ever in a million years bring ...
COOPER: All right. Let's talk about it. Athena Jones joins me now along with television critic and author Bill Carter and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Athena, the news conference where Trump addressed this, what was it like? Pretty contentious, I understand?
JONES: It was quite contentious. It was in a small, very crowded room. And about half of the questions, more than half of the questions actually were about these comments he made, these controversial comments that are now cost him this relationship with NBC. And with Univision. So, it was very contentious. Several other journalists were actually shouting at Mr. Trump. So, it seemed as though there was certainly some folks there who took his comments very personally. I should mention that before the event there were people protesting outside, chanting, about his hate speech. What they called his hate speech. And saying that, that NBC should dump Trump, which, of course NBC did do in the end. One person even had a Donald Trump pinata.
I should tell you, though, that Donald Trump was very, very defiant. He is not backing down. He is really doubling down. And he even blasted NBC. And he said, he blasted them for standing behind "lying Brian Williams," but not behind "people that tell it like it is. As unpleasant as that may be. So, he really sees himself as a truth teller, Anderson.
COOPER: Bill, this is not the first time, obviously, Donald Trump has said things like this or things, which are controversial. He had the whole thing about President Obama and the birth certificate. He claimed to send investigators to Hawaii, which he never really proved. NBC kept him around after all those comments. Why dump him now? Is it ratings? Is it the fact that he is a presidential candidate? Is that all the difference?
BILL CARTER, TELEVISION CRITIC AND AUTHOR: Well, I think those are the two big things. Obviously, if you are running for president, everything you say now is magnified, hugely magnified. But also, you know, the run of Trump as a huge success for them has not continued. He is still a success, I guess. And they would like to keep his show. But given this kind of comments and the fact that he is now going to be running for office means he wouldn't be on the air anyway for them.
CARTER: They have to take the show off the air any way. I think it is convenient for them, much more convenient for them now to step away from him. You are right, that all the comments that he was making about President Obama you think would have drawn some level of reaction from them. But it didn't. Because that was just Donald being Donald. I think it's the way they thought in those days. Now he is Donald being presidential candidate. That's a big difference.
COOPER: And Bill, NBC wasn't actually quick to make the decision. It has been several days since he made the comments. I mean, I am wondering is it Univision's decision that forced NBC's hand? And they're keeping "The Apprentice," but they are just getting a different host. Is that right?
CARTER: Well, that's what they're saying. I don't know if that is going to work. Maybe they tried Martha Stewart, it didn't work. Look, I think they were obviously boxed in by the fact that Univision made this decision. And there was huge pressure on them from social media, et cetera. And I think they were generally uncomfortable. They have been uncomfortable before with things that Mr. Trump has said. This is what he does. And they liked it for a long time. Because he is excellent at drawing publicity and attention. He's very good at that. He's very skillful at that. But this is a different ball game. Now, he's running for office. He's saying thing that are extremely controversial, you know, to try to, you know, enhance his standing in the Republican primaries. And that's an inconvenience for them. And I think they finally said we have to do something about it.
COOPER: So, Jeff, legally, he says he's going to sue Univision, he's going to sue perhaps, NBC. Likely?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It depends.
COOPER: I don't know if he can sue anybody.
TOOBIN: Well, yeah, but it depends on one thing. Which is the contract. This is - it's not just, you know, a judge is not going to look at who is right and who is wrong. A judge is going to say, well, what does the contract say between all these parties. And what are the provisions that allow NBC and Univision to drop Trump? Now, most of the time in the entertainment business there are provisions that allow talent to be dropped if they do something that embarrasses the company. What that is, is often up for debate. And that's where a lawsuit can come from. But the one place where he might have a, a hook for a lawsuit, is like I'm Donald Trump. What did you expect me to say? This is why he is famous. Because he says outrageous things. So, the idea that he could be fired for saying outrageous things is maybe something that he could work with.
COOPER: Bill, does he have ownership in "The Apprentice"? Or is he just the paid host?
CARTER: He does not have ownership in "The Apprentice." He has ownership in the beauty pageants which they've also separated from. I think that would be the area where he would pursue some sort of legal action. But I think one thing Jeffrey said, which is certainly true in the entertainment world, relationships are severed for all kinds of reasons. Usually called creative differences. And clearly they're going to say there is a creative difference here in terms of what he can - what image he has, et cetera. And they're uncomfortable with it. I don't know of many lawsuits in the entertainment world that have ever been successful.
TOOBIN: That's true.
CARTER: ... based on the fact that they have done something with the talent and they decided he is just not what they want anymore.
TOOBIN: The talent almost always loses in these circumstances. Often it ends with some kind of settlement. The talent gets some money to go away. I think Trump is enjoying as always, the attention and the controversy. Whether ...
COOPER: You're so cynical.
TOOBIN: Oh, you know what? I just - I should really be much more naive about how decent and good Donald Trump is. But perhaps I just am not. I think he probably will not wind up filing an actual lawsuit. And if he does, it will probably just sort of peter out. But, you know, he is where he wants to be on television.
COOPER: Athena, I understand, Trump was asked about who he goes to for advice when giving speeches. What did he say? JONES: Well, this was interesting. A lot of us tried to get a lot of
questions in. And producer, CNN producer Betsey Klein asked him who did he go to for advice generally? And he said I like to sort of think for myself. But you know, who is very good at advice, my wife. He's talking about Melania and you know, who else? Ivanka. Ivanka is his daughter, Ivanka Trump. So, interesting that he brings up two family members as people that he seeks, that he looks to for advice, in addition to himself. He didn't mention any other experts or friends. So, that was interesting. Anderson.
TOOBIN: The only experts have the last name Trump apparently.
COOPER: How about that?
COOPER: How about that?
Jeff Toobin, thank you very much. Bill Carter, great to have you on. Athena Jones as well. Jeff is going to stick around. We have more legal issues to address. The celebrations of the Supreme Court's decision, legalizing marriage for everyone, are barely over, and the backlash has already begun among some. We'll take you to a county in Texas that is refusing to give same-sex couples marriage licenses and talk, even talk about whether they're actually allowed to do that in that county. Next.
COOPER: Well, just days after the landmark Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, there is Texas-size resistance, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, issued a statement saying the Supreme Court manufactured a right that "simply does not exist." He says county clerks can refuse to give same-sex couples marriage licenses on the grounds of religious freedom, and that he'll protect them. "It is important to know that any clerk who wishes to defend their religious objections and who chooses not to issue licenses may well face litigation and or a fine, but numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs in many cases on a pro bono basis and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights.
We asked Attorney General Paxton to come on the program. He declined. Meanwhile, some county clerks in Texas are taking his advice and say, they won't give marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite what the Supreme Court says. One of those clerks is in Hood County. CNN's Ryan Nobles joins us from Granbury, Texas with more.
So, I know you tried to talk to this county clerk. What happened?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Anderson. Katie Lang is the county clerk here in Hood County, Texas. She's among a pretty large group of country clerks who said they weren't going to issue licenses to same-sex couples looking to get married.
NOBLES: So, we came here to Granbury to find out why. We went into her office. We spoke with her receptionist. She says she wasn't granting any interviews. So, we waited for her to leave for the day and this is what happened.
NOBLES: Hi, Ms. Lang. How are you? Ryan Nobles from CNN. I was just hoping you could provide us some clarity as to how your county is going to handle the same sex ruling from the Supreme Court.
KATIE LANG, HOOD COUNTY CLERK: I already gave my interview. So, I don't really want to talk to you guys right now.
NOBLES: Well, you are a public official, ma'am. Can you just explain to me? There is a lot of people who don't have the clarity as to exactly how your county is going to handle this. Could you explain that to us?
LANG: I already gave an interview. And I have ...
NOBLES: You didn't give an interview to us, ma'am.
LANG: I know.
NOBLES: Are you not going to issue the licenses then?
LANG: I am going to post something on my website. So, you can read about it tomorrow. OK. Thank you.
NOBLES: So, you can't tell us one way or the other whether or not the county is going to do it then?
LANG: Thank you, I appreciate it.
NOBLES: Thank you.
COOPER: Wow. So, a public official will not even explain her public position despite her position of authority and people in that county now just have to wait until she decides to post this on her website?
NOBLES: That's what it appears, Anderson. She did not give us any clarity as to what is going to be in that statement tomorrow morning. The interview she's talking about we believe, is with the Fort Worth Star telegram, where she said that she believes she has the right through the First Amendment to deny these licenses based on the guidance provided to her by the attorney general.
We talked to a constitutional law professor from the University of Texas today, and he said that it is not quite that simple. That perhaps there is some guidance within what the attorney general is saying to individuals within the office, but not the entire office itself. And he said that the best evidence of that is that while the attorney general says he is going to publicly help these county clerks, he is not going to specifically represent them himself, but instead hand them off to lawyers that will do it for free. But I guess, same-sex couples here, and we should point out that Ms. Lang has not received any requests from same-sex couples as of yet. We'll have to wait and see what she says on that website tomorrow.
COOPER: Ryan Nobles, I appreciate it. There are a lot of questions, certainly, about whether a clerk like that lady, Katie Lang, in Texas can do this. And where this is going to end up? Back with us is CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
So, can she do that? Can she just say, it's against my religious beliefs to issue marriage license, even though the Supreme Court said it is the law of the land.
TOOBIN: She can't do it if she stops the whole county from issuing marriage licenses. Now, if she makes other officials in her office available to, to conduct those, the ceremonies, then I think she personally could refuse to do it. But Hood County is part of Texas. Texas is part of the United States. After the decision last week same-sex marriage is the law of the land in all 50 states. And they have to comply.
COOPER: So, can, I mean I guess, where does the role of a public official and a private citizen, where does that -- where is that line? Because can somebody at the DMV say well I don't like gay people. They're violating my religious beliefs, I am not going to issue them a driver's license?
TOOBIN: I mean that appears to be the position that the attorney general of Texas is taking that individuals have that right. I don't think -- the courts would recognize it in those circumstances. I think perhaps in a marriage situation the judge, a judge might allow an individual to excuse him or herself. But for a whole county, no way.
COOPER: We should also just point out this is not churches being forced to marry gay people against their teachings. This is, this is the county. This is the state.
TOOBIN: That's right. That's right.
COOPER: This is a completely secular office.
TOOBIN: And another way of thinking about this whole issue is that, you know, in 1967, the Supreme Court said, that interracial marriages had to be allowed. And the justification.
COOPER: And they were based on equal protection.
TOOBIN: It's very same. I mean the Loving decision, the 1960 - is cited repeatedly in Justice Kennedy's opinion last week. And a lot of the same justifications were used for banning interracial marriage. That God didn't intend for the races to marry. And there was a lot of objection. In fact, public opinion polls were more opposed to interracial marriage than they are opposed to same-sex marriage today. But the court was very clear that this is now the law of the land. And people had to comply.
COOPER: Well, I mean using that argument though, could then based on what the Texas attorney general said, could, if that woman decided she didn't like interracial marriages, and there is - obviously she has not taken that position, but if a public official says I don't like interracial marriages, it goes against my religious beliefs and my reading the bible, can I ignore the Supreme Court ruling on this?
TOOBIN: Ted Cruz was asked that exact question today by Savannah Guthrie on the "Today" show. And he ducked it.
COOPER: Well, of course.
TOOBIN: Because it's exactly a parallel situation. And they don't want - the opponents of the Supreme Court decision don't want to answer that question because interracial marriage is now so accepted in our society and so recognized as something that only, you know, really bigoted people oppose. They don't want to draw the parallel. But the parallel is precise.
COOPER: It's precise because the ruling by the Supreme Court back in '67, in Loving v. Virginia, it's the same idea, it was used to justify the Supreme Court ruling this time.
COOPER: Equal protection under the law.
TOOBIN: Equal protection of this, 14th Amendment. And the idea that the state is different from a private individual and is different from a church. You know, one thing that is very - you know, is very clear. And Justice Kennedy went out of his way to say this. Is that no state can force a church to marry two men or marry two women. Churches have absolute discretion to decide who can conduct, who can be married under their auspices. But the state is very different. You know, marriage is a set of rights you get from the state. It gets you tax rights. It gets you rights for custody. It gets you rights to visit people in the hospital. And that is something that -- is -- is the state has to abide by the 14TH Amendment.
COOPER: So, how does this get worked out? Does this just end up going back to the Supreme Court?
TOOBIN: Well, if there are actually counties, entire counties that refuse to conduct these weddings, it will go into federal court. And I don't think the Supreme Court would waste its time on this. There is no question that a federal court, even in the most conservative jurisdiction in light of the Supreme Court opinion on this exact subject.
COOPER: It's interesting to hear from the Attorney General, though, who clearly, clearly is playing politics whatever his personal beliefs are. He is clearly playing politics. Because he's saying, well, look, I am not actually going to defend, I'm not actually going to pay your court costs.
TOOBIN: But I am rooting for you.
COOPER: But I am rooting for you. That's the base - he put out basically a meaningless statement.
TOOBIN: Yeah, that's right, right.
COOPER: All right. Moral support.
Jeff Toobin. Thank you very much. Live coverage continues next hour. Much more on tonight's breaking news. More details on David Sweat's takedown. We'll hear from someone who was nearby during the final tense moments of the fugitive's capture. We'll figure out just how close he was to Canada. All that ahead.