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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

NFL: Tom Brady Hid Evidence, Had Cell Phone Destroyed; Two 14- Year-Old Florida Boys Missing Since Friday; American Dentist Wanted in Death of Cecil the Lion; Joyce Mitchell Pleads Guilty to Aiding Escapees. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 28, 2015 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: New details in her own words about what prison worker Joyce Mitchell confessed to in the days immediately following her arrest. Today she pleaded guilty to helping convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from the maximum security prison where she worked in the Taylor shop. She now faces up to seven years in prison and will be sentenced in September.

Under the deal she made with prosecutors, other charges were dropped. Authorities have said she confessed to giving inmates, Matt and Sweat, tools they used to cut through their cell walls including hacksaw blades smuggled in to prison in frozen hamburger meat. She also had planned to provide a getaway car but got cold feet.

Tonight, though, for the first time we know exactly what she confessed to word for word and our Randi Kaye joins us with the latest.

You looked at some of her confessions, what did she say about her relationship?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, she talked quite a bit about Richard Matt, one of the escapees, and she talked about her sexual relationship with him, Anderson.

COOPER: She admitted she had a sexual relationship. Because she's been telling her husband all this time there was no sexual relationship.

KAYE: Right, in this confession to authorities, she admits she had a sexual relationships with him. And it sounds like from her confession that it started in April of this year. She told the authorities that that's when he grabbed her in the prison Taylor shop where they worked and she was very startled. He came at her with an open mouth and gave her a big open mouth kiss and then she said it progressed from there. At one point she admitted in this confession to giving him oral sex while they were in the prison Taylor shop. And then in the category of you cannot make this stuff up, she says that Richard Matt --

COOPER: Am I going to want to hear this?

KAYE: You are. It is hard to hear. I will admit. She said Richard Matt came to the Taylor shop dressed in a big coat, as she described it. And she said that he had cut a hole in the pocket of the coat and he had left his pants open and he told her to pretend she was giving him a piece of candy and to grab his penis. That's what she told authorities. She did say, though, on a bright note, that he never touched her in her private area.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: OK.

KAYE: I told you, you can't make it up.

COOPER: That's the selling point.

KAYE: I guess so, apparently. It was something she wanted to share.

COOPER: What about other inmate, David Sweat?

KAYE: She did talk about him. She said they didn't have a relationship. She said they were close. But here is the thing, in some of her latest statements to authorities, she said that she would sent these notes through Richard Matt to David Sweat and she described them as the notes were of sexual nature. Then later she tells authorities that she did take some naked photos of herself, including photos of her breasts and of her vagina and she sent those --

COOPER: I could have guessed that part --

KAYE: Through David --

COOPER: Spell that out quote so.

KAYE: I'm quoting her. She gave these photos to Richard Matt to pass on to David Sweat, which is odd because --

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Because she didn't have a relationship with David Sweat but wanted him to have photos of her, apparently. And she said that it's unclear, she doesn't know what the two prisoners did with those photos.

COOPER: What about the alleged plot to kill her husband?

KAYE: She talked about that. She said she was supposed to -- on the day of the escape, she was supposed to give her husband, Lyle Mitchell, who worked in the prison shop with these two guys and with her knew them. She was supported to give him two pills that were supposed to knock him out. Once he was asleep at the house, she was going to meet the two escapees at this power plant that wasn't not far from the prison a few blocks away. She was going to pick them up in the getaway car and then go back to her house, she told authorities, this was the plan and that's when Richard Matt, escapee Richard Matt was going to kill the glitch as she was quoted saying. She said that Richard Matt described Lyle Mitchell as the glitch, I guess, he got in the way or was getting in the way.

COOPER: And she was OK with that? KAYE: Apparently, she was OK with that until she changed her mind

over a Chinese food dinner and she fell back in love with her husband and said she doesn't him to get hurt.

COOPER: The most bizarre thing -

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: No, why leave out the Chinese meal?

KAYE: I know. I don't know why. But she also told authorities that after things quieted down, Richard Matt was going to go off on his own and she was going to stay, as far as the plan goes, she was going to stay with David Sweat, which again is odd because she was having the sexual relationship with Richard Matt and he was going to leave her with David Sweat.

So, what's interesting though is they did ask her why she helped and her quote to the authorities was that she was caught up in the fantasy. She enjoyed the attention and she was excited by a different life.

COOPER: If it wasn't for those dumplings at the Chinese restaurant.

KAYE: Who know where we would be today.

COOPER: Randi, thank you very much, I think. Appreciate you. Yes, I'm glad you had to read that and not me.

Be sure to stay tuned after "360." Tonight, Randi host a really fascinating scenes and special report, "the great prison escape" at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific right here on CNN.

We have more breaking news. Donald Trump on the defensive and this time speaking out about not one of his own statements but someone else's. As the front-runner in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination, people are paying, obviously, very close attention not only to what he says, but also to what his representatives say. One of those representatives apologized today for saying that by definition, quote, "you cannot rape your spouse."

The rapid question is Michael Cohen, special council to Donald Trump and executive vice president of the Trump organization. He was on this program last night speaking in support of Trump on other issues. Shortly after we went off the air, this story broke on "Daily Beast" quoting his assertion that you cannot rape your spouse, an assertion that is not true. Why Cohen even said it in the first place is a very convoluted story involving Donald Trump's first marriage, a divorce and in a decades old deposition. And tonight, the Trump campaign finds itself distancing itself and defending itself.

CNN's senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[20:05:34] JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Donald Trump's presidential campaign has weathered one storm after another.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists.

ZELENY: But a new controversy over offensive language is suddenly hitting far closer to home. Tonight, as he keeps riding high in the polls, his team is trying to clean up yet another set of comments. This time it's has nothing to do with illegal immigration, but Trump's own long time marriage. His long time council and spokesman Michael Cohen is under fire for telling "the Daily Beast," you cannot rape your spouse. Those five words set off a firestorm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Stunning response, a decades old allegations against Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump's campaign is issuing a strong response this morning.

ZELENY: Cohen made the comment while trying to keep "the Daily Beast" from reprising 1989 allegation made Trump's first wife, Ivana. In their divorce proceedings, she allegedly said Trump once forced her to have sex against her will, a statement she later recanted.

Today, Cohen back tracked saying in my moment of shock and anger I made an inarticulate comment which I do not believe and which I apologize for entirely. Marital rape is again the law in all 50 states.

The Trump campaign, famously unapologetic, quickly distanced itself from Cohen who has been one of the most prominent faces of Trump's candidacy. Trump's campaign manager told CNN Michael Cohen is a corporate employee and is not affiliated with the campaign in any way.

In the middle of it all, Ivana Trump issued a statement of her own saying their divorce was a time of very high tension. But she add, I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Donald Trump.

ZELENY: All this, with only a week to go before the first Republican presidential debate as Trump's standings soar. Tonight, a new poll of New Hampshire voters shows Trump is on top of all GOP candidates with twice the support of his nearest rival, Jeb Bush.

BRUCE BLODGETT, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: He is doing well because he is speaking his mind. Because he is a breath of fresh air. People, you know, he is not like all the other politicians who have focus groups and who tell them what to say and how to say and exactly what words to use.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Jeff joins us.

Now, I mean, it seem so far, none of these controversy that's have popped up around Trump have really had any effect on his poll numbers certainly.

ZELENY: I mean, Anderson, you're right. This is the unconventional campaign with really few rules from the normal playbook here. The voters we talked to today in New Hampshire say they think that Trump is a breath of fresh air. They think he is really a nonpolitician and they want to hear more what he has to say. He is leading in the poll in New Hampshire. The big test, Anderson, is that next week of that first Republican presidential debate.

COOPER: Yes, Jeff, appreciate it. Thanks.

ZELENY: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, as we mentioned, Donald Trump himself is defending Michael Cohen. At the same time, he said he does not agree with what he said about marital rape. Here's what he said in an interview with Don Lemon just a few hours ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Do you still stand by Michael Cohen?

TRUMP: No, you have to understand, Michael was extremely angry because he knew it never took place. He knew this Web site was considered a joke, considered a joke. And he was very angry and maybe he didn't even understand the question. But no, I don't. I disagreed with him. In fact, when I read it I disagreed. I didn't know if he said it or who knows if he said. Because frankly, I'm not sure they reported it accurately, anyway. But assuming he said it, no, I disagree with that.

LEMON: But you STILL - I mean, you are not fire him or get rid of him?

TRUMP: No, I'm not. He was very angry because they issued a false story to get publicity for themselves and to try to make themselves relevant which they're not. People have been fired all over the place from that one and others are failing, too, as you know, in that world. A lot of them are failing but this one is a particularly bad one. A lot of money was spent on it and it was a disaster. And he knew that. And he said to him, you know, you're doing the wrong thing. You do you this, you're doing wrong thing.

So what happened is he probably got angry. No, I disagree with it. In fact, when I first saw it, I said, wow, it is, you know, something I disagree with. But that's the way it is. And you know, he is speaking for himself. He's not speaking for me, obviously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Joining me now, former Reagan White House political director Jeffrey Lord, who is a contributing editor of "American Spectator," CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist who supports Jeb Bush and advises other GOP candidates and CNN political commentator, Donna Bazile, a Democratic strategist and vice chair of the DNC voter project.

Ana, you're a Trump critic. You got into it a dust up with Michael Cohen on this program last night before the "Daily Beast" published these comments. How much, though, should it really matter what some adviser or surrogate, not the candidate himself, says? Because Donald Trump has said, look. I disagree with Cohen and what he said.

[20:10:22] ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it matters a lot particularly in a case like this. They have a longstanding relationship. They are very close. This guy was speaking on behalf of Donald Trump until today. He came on the air on CNN a bunch of times. Basically a Trump spokesman for the campaign, which by the way may have been violating election rules but we can talk about that later.

So I think it is a very serious issue. Because often, as I said to him last night, often staffers are a very accurate reflection of the principle. And it talks about the culture that principle creates. And this guy is a thug with a law degree and a billionaire boss.

COOPER: Jeffrey, when the Republican Party did that so-called autopsy after 2012 to see what it needed to improve on, I mean, one of the takeaways they believe they need to improve on was minority voters and women voters. I'm wondering do you think this matters what a spokesperson or an adviser said or a surrogate.

JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, politically speaking, I don't think this matters in truth. Because, you know, Michael Cohen isn't on the ballot. Donald Trump disagrees with him. But if it does matter, let's just turn this around a little bit. Hillary Clinton's number one spokesman is Bill Clinton who has had a charge of rape from NBC News by (INAUDIBLE). He has certainly not retracted it. So if you go down this road here, I mean, I would think the last thing the Clinton campaign and Democrats want to get into.

COOPER: Donna, go ahead.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, sorry, I understand every time that Donald Trump gets in trouble you try on look for a Democrat or someone else to try to wash away the stain. But look, the truth is, Mr. Cohen is a practicing attorney in the state of New York in 2015. And he didn't know that this is a crime. There is no longer - there was no marital exception anymore. That was outlawed back in 1984. By 1993, all 50 states and the District of Columbia, for a practicing attorney not to know that. So yes, it is troubling.

COOPER: You know, Jeffrey, I keep coming back to the issue of whether or not, is he presidential? And you know, you bring up Ronald Reagan a lot. And because some of the criticisms made again Donald Trump are also made against Reagan. Some of the pooh-poohing of his record. His back ground. But Reagan for whatever his critics said about him, you know, obviously most people in the country, enough people in the country saw him as presidential material as he could be president of the United States. He could communicate the gravitas of that office. Do you think Donald Trump can do that? Needs to change to do that? Because it seems like a lot of his appeal is that he is not a politician. That his -- you know, his supporters say he is telling it like it is whether or not that is the case.

LORD: You know, I think that this is something that you evolve into as a candidate. But I would say this, Anderson. Historically speaking, we have seen almost from the beginning of the presidency itself, the country tires of a certain presidential style and then next person in is totally the opposite. I don't just mean in their political views but their stylistic reviews.

And so, you get, you know, an Andrew Jackson, who is a rough and ready and blunt spoken general, replacing the Harvard educated uptight that John Quinsy Adams (ph) all the way through Reagan replacing Carter, Obama replacing Bush, Kennedy replacing Eisenhower.

So I think what we're seeing here is Donald Trump is the anti-Obama style wise. And you know, if people like it, over time I think that they will think it is presidential -- sure.

COOPER: Ana, do you --

LORD: Harry Truman was thought not to be presidential.

BRAZILE: I don't think he is anti-the Obama. I think he is anti- Washington, anti-politician, but I don't think he is necessarily anti- President Obama.

LORD: Stylistically, Donna.

COOPER: Do you think, Ana, that Donald Trump can go all the way or do you - I mean, as - you look, you are supporter of Jeb Bush. You advice other candidates, as you look at this, do you think this is going to someway flame out, that it is going to say something that gets him in trouble. He is going to not know specifics during a debate. How do you see this actually playing it out? Because you don't seem all that worried, Ana, for someone who is not a supporter of Trump.

NAVARRO: I mean, no. I'm not biting my acrylic nails off. That part is true. I think Donald Trump is going to play out however he wants plays out. He has totally got the money for it. I'm not sure that's a question you're not better off asking a psychiatrist. Not a political analyst. I will tell you, I think it is a very tiring process. It is a very rigorous process. He is learning about the scrutiny that comes with running for president particularly when you are the front-runner.

And you know, I think there are points when Donald Trump might be in Laredo, Texas, 98-degree heat walking through the border thinking to himself, you know, maybe I could be at the Hamptons playing golf. So I don't know how it is going to end. I think it is entirely up to Donald Trump.

[20:15:33] BRAZILE: You know what, Anderson? At the end of the day, the vote will decide. Remember, Rick Santorum caught fire but he wasn't on the ballot. Newt Gingrich caught fire and he didn't have delegate. So, it is all about organization. You can catch fire right down the summer of 2015. But by the cold winter night, I can tell you, there may not be one person standing up saying I support Donald Trump.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: Well, Donna, Rick Santorum and Newt ran out of money. They had debt by the end of it. You know, the difference here is that Donald Trump can sell finance, so, as long as he wants to.

BRAZILE: Remember they had sugar daddies, and Donald Trump is the ultimate sugar daddy.

LORD: That's right.

COOPER: We'll leave it on the sugar daddy.

I do want to point out that former President Clinton's attorney he has denied that rape claim all along, just for accuracy sake.

Jeffrey Lord, great to have you on. Donna Brazile, good conversation. Ana Navarro, thanks.

Well, coming up, the first debate, a little over a week away, the candidate feels it has to be paired down to the top ten. You know that. We are going to take a look at how that is going to happen next. Unless something incredibly drama happens in the polls in the next few days, as frontrunner, Donald Trump will definitely be on that debate stage. Most likely front and center. Hear what he told our Don Lemon about how he is preparing when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:19:40] COOPER: The first Republican presidential debate happens next Thursday in Cleveland. But with more than a dozen candidates, it is going to be very difficult to get them all on the stage. One week from today, the candidates will be pared down as the top ten contender.

Tom Foreman tonight has more on how it works - Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you took all 16 candidates, Anderson, you put them on stage and gave them one hour to talk, everybody gets less than four minutes. That's why it is being cut down to just ten lecterns and that means six people have to be booted out.

So who gets to stay? It is based on math. If you're in the top ten in the polls, you are in. If not, you've out. So how do we calculate it? Let's take a look at CNN's poll of polls where we take several recent popular polls that we know are solid when we average them. And if you look at that, you can see that three candidates her are in double digits - Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. They will all certainly be in.

Behind them you get Marco Rubio, Randal Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, all at six percent. They are likely to be in. But then you have nine people who are duking it out for just three spots. Some of them have slightly better numbers than the other, but nonetheless, this is a difficult battle going on down here.

And if you don't make this cut, it really hurts your campaign. It makes it harder to raise money. Harder to get media attention. Harder to be seen as a serious candidate. So that's why they very much need to be in here.

But let's say that it was based on our poll, not on whatever formula FOX is going to use because we don't really know which polls they're relying on. Based on the poll of polls alone, this is what you would wind up with. Donald Trump, we are starting with here because he has the highest numbers. And then down the scale, if you go to the last tenth spot where we actually have three people who are tied, Anderson. But this is far from set in stone at this point.

[20:21:31] COOPER: And when the ten have been chosen, how do they decide who stands at which lectern?

FOREMAN: Well, there may be some haggling over that. Because after all, if you think about it, if you're in the middle of this group here, every time the camera goes back and forth, you are going to be seen more. You're in a better position to interrupt people and to make your point. But this will generally be mathematical as well. Those with the best poll number will get positions in the middle of the stage, the prime real estate. Everybody out toward the edges is where the number are falling off. So, if you want to know where somebody stands in the polls, just look at where they stand on the stage -- Anderson.

COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.

Joining me now, CNN chief national correspondent John King and anchor of the "Inside Politics."

So John, the candidates who will likely not make the top ten. They're certainly downplaying the importance of the debate. I guess, what else can they are going to do? But regardless what they are saying publically, they want and need to make it in to that main debate state next Thursday night. I mean, I don't know, this is probably one of the most widely anticipated debates certainly in a primary season for a long time.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is no question. Not, it may turn into a circus and those who don't make it, Anderson, may say, I'm glad I was not there.

But we have watched how this played out in the 2012 cycle when Herman Cane has his moment. Michelle Bachmann had her moment. Almost everybody in the Republican field had their moment and it was in large part because of the debate performance. Well, there are fewer debates this time. So a fewer opportunities on get your name out there.

And so, those lesson on candidates -- you're right. What else can they say except I didn't make the cat, oh, well, you know, I see you in the next debate. I will keep working at it. And there's no reason to believe that somebody who doesn't make it won't be in a later debate, won't move up in stature and doesn't have a chance to win the nomination.

But with all the eyes turned on this debate, which is a defining moment for Donald Trump and the defining moment for the others, no question. If you're in this race, you want to be on that stage.

COOPER: I want to play what Donald Trump said about his debate preparation or lack of it in an interview that is going to be on it at 10:00 tonight with Don Lemon. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Donald, you're going to be up on that stage. You're going to have a time where you're up against the other candidates. Are you preparing? Do you have a debate coach? Are you ready for this?

TRUMP: I am what I am. I mean, bit debate coach. Look, Romney had a debate coach. Obama had a debate coach. Frankly, I thought Obama was terrible but Romney got worse and worse every time there was a debate. And by the time they had the third debate he was catastrophic. I don't know what happened to him.

I have to be myself, Don. And if it's not good enough, that's OK. I'll have, you know, I'll go on to other things. I'll ride into the sunset and do some more buildings and create some more jobs. And that's OK. I'm doing this because I want to make America great again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: There is quoting Popeye, I am what I am. But it is interesting because - I mean, that's probably his strength that he is just extemporaneous that he - to his supporters tells it like it is. If he was suddenly reading policy books, he might kind of try to over think things and people would say he is not being authentic.

The downside of it, of course, is that he can't really get into specifics too much. Although, with the kind of time each candidate is going to have, the low amount of time in this debate with so many candidates, I'm not sure how many specifics you can get into.

KING: And so, Anderson, you've been on the stage with many candidates before. It is very difficult.

I think, look. Number one, throw out all the rules. We've tried to apply our expectations, our rules from past campaigns to Donald Trump and so far we've been almost universally wrong. Remember, you know he insults next Mexican immigrant that will hurt him. He insults John McCain. That will hurt him. Well, that hasn't proven to be true so far. At least with his slice of voters which is a crowded field is a big enough slice to voters to be the driving force in the Republican race.

So we have to watch how this plays out. How the other candidates react to him? How many of the other candidates will directly challenge him is one of the big question going into this debate. I do think, you know, Mr. Donald Trump, even his new humble there. Well, if it works out, it doesn't, otherwise, I will go out (INAUDIBLE). This newly humble south from Donald Trump is part of a more calculated politician we've heard in the last week or so and that's smart on his part.

The question for me is this. At what the point do Republican voters, we know he is a good entertainer, we know he is fabulous communicator. At what point do they close their eyes and say, is he a president? Can I see him on a debate stage against Hillary Clinton?

Will it be the first debate? Will that come down the road? I don't think we can answer that. But I do think how he performs and how he answer if he asked about his flip-flops, if he is asked about his refusal to provide specifics. You asked him about John McCain. He was asked what to do about the 11 million undocumented. His refusal part to get very specific, will he be asked to do that, either by the moderate or his rivals in the debate, it will be interesting to watch how he responds.

[20:26:01] COOPER: It is going to be fascinating. John King, thanks very much.

Well, up next, there is more breaking news tonight. The NFL reveal that patriots quarterback Tom Brady had his phone destroyed along nearly 10,000 texts so deflate gate investigators couldn't access it. We will talk it over with CNN sports anchor, Rachel Nichols, and our legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:15] COOPER: More breaking news tonight in the scandal involving the New England Patriots that became known as Deflategate. The NFL has upheld the four-game suspension for quarterback Tom Brady for his role in deflating game balls saying there is new information that Brady tried to hide evidence including telling his assistant to destroy his cell phone. That phone contained nearly 10,000 text messages. And Brady used it at the time that the alleged funny business with the footballs happened.

Brady's attorney, said, quote, "Neither Tom nor The Patriots did anything wrong and the NFL has no evidence that anything inappropriate occurred. The appeal process was a sham in the Commissioner rubber- stamping his own decision."

Joining me now is CNN's sports anchor Rachel Nichols and CNN's legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

So the NFL, Rachel, is saying he destroyed not only the phone but the simcard as well on the same day that he was supposed to go talk to investigators.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, this is reading like a bad mystery novel, right? And they're saying that Tom Brady in the four- month period, that's really at issue here, was using a cell phone that had about 10,000 text messages on it. That is the phone that he asked an assistant to destroy and the simcard as well.

I don't know if this is a spot in the Tom Brady-Giselle entourage, cell phone destroyer.

COOPER: Well, he said this is something he does regularly.

NICHOLS: Tom Brady claimed this is something he does regularly. So, hey, maybe someone, this is part of their official duties. Maybe people go through their trash and he says that privacy is of utmost importance to them.

But the NFL's issue with this is that he was aware that the investigator wanted his electronic records on the day that he destroyed the phone. And also, in earlier, older phone was made available to them. So the NFL is saying, hey, if you have the older phone, why don't you have this phone if you're just destroying all your phones if it's so important to keep your privacy.

COOPER: Interesting. Jeff, what do you make of this? I mean, if it goes to court, could the text messages he retrieved, would they be admissible?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Sure. I just think Tom Brady is making an ass of himself by pushing this thing further and further. I mean, this is totally incriminating. It is a fairytale that he destroyed this phone on the day of his interview because of some regular procedure he had. He destroyed the phone any reasonable inference would hold, because he didn't want the investigators to see what was on the phone.

Now, look, I don't think this is the world's most important controversy. And I don't even think it was that big a deal that he deflated the balls or that he directed they be deflated. But instead of just coming clean and saying, look, I wanted to win and, you know, I thought it was going to be towards the bottom end of the legal range for the balls, he has turned this into World War III and he just looks worse and worse. The only reason this whole text message thing came out, the destroying the phone came out, is because he pushed the appeal. The NFL wouldn't have known that if he hasn't appeal.

COOPER: Right. But, Rachel, I mean, Brady's agent and lawyer are saying that this whole thing is a sham. What else is he been saying?

NICHOLS: The NFL Players Association, which is part of this process, backing Tom Brady went so far as to say that this whole cell phone controversy is just a smokescreen. In fact, they said this is, quote, "A new low even for the NFL." That they are throwing this cell phone data out here to sort of inflame the public.

When they say the primary issue is still that Roger Goodell's office is the one who convicted Tom Brady. That Roger Goodell heard the appeal of Tom Brady, even though Roger Goodell was called as a witness in the appeal that he was the judge of. So they are about to go to court on this. And that is what they are going on file on, that procedure. Not did he or did he not destroy the cell phone or even did he or did he not deflate the footballs? COOPER: And, Jeff, the NFL has asked the federal court to confirm the suspension, right?

TOOBIN: Right. The NFL Players Union has always been the most incompetent of all the big professional unions. And if they didn't like this procedure where Goodell reviews his own decision, they should not have agreed to a collective bargaining agreement which allows Goodell to review his own agreement.

I mean it just seems to me that they ought to take their medicine. They could have diffused this controversy from the very beginning by simply admitting what they did. Instead, they're turning this into World War III. The patriots, the union and Brady himself. And they keep losing.

NICHOLS: So we're going to keep going with this, because this is now in the courts. And the NFL has indeed filed a claim that they are confirming their suspension in New York. And the reason they did that is because New York, they feel is going to be more management friendly to the NFL. Minnesota, where the NFL PA intends to file its court case, well, they're known as being more labor friendly. So now we're going to go argue over that for the next few months.

COOPER: It will go on and on. Rachel, thank you. Jeff Toobin, as well.

Still ahead, the two teens missing off the coast of Florida. They've got a few things working in their favor including warm water. How long can anyone beat back hypothermia, exhaustion, dehydration after days in the open ocean? We'll talk about that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The time is of the essence in the search for two Florida 14- year-old boys who had been missing since Friday. Their capsized boat was found on Sunday and the Coast Guard says at this time of year, someone can survive four, maybe five days in the warm waters off Florida.

I spoke to the moms of Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos last night on the program. They are not giving up hope. Not by a long shot. Martin Savidge now has more on the search and survival at sea.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Coast Guard has been searching an area the size of West Virginia and today says time is running out.

CAPT. MARK FEDOR, U.S. COAST GUARD (via telephone): We're going into our fifth day of searching. And we don't know if they have any flotation devices with them. We've been searching very hard, very dedicated to the effort, we want to find them. But with each -- as time passes, the possibility of finding them decreases. And at some point, we will have to suspend our search efforts.

SAVIDGE: But there have been cases where people have survived. Sometime miraculously.

FRANK JORDAN, FATHER OF LOUIS JORDAN: You're a very strong guy. This is a very strong man.

SAVIDGE: Louis Jordan left South Carolina in January for a fishing trip. His boat was damaged when it encountered a storm and rolled repeatedly in the waves. He lost his rudder, masts and radios. He had little food and water so he was forced to drink rain and eat whatever he could catch.

[20:40:15] After 66 days, he is finally rescued by a passing cargo ship. He credits his strong faith in getting him through.

LOUIS JORDAN, RESCUED AT SEA: I had the Holy Bible. I read the Holy Bible front and back.

SAVIDGE: In late 2012, Jose Alvarenga and Ezequiel Cordoba left the Pacific Coast of Mexico for a day of fishing and they, too, ran into bad weather. That knocked out their motor and radios. After being at drift at sea for a month, Alvarenga said that Cordoba lost hope and stopped eating, he eventually died, leaving Alvarenga alone on a 24- foot boat.

JOSE SALVADOR ALVARENGA, CASTAWAY (through translator): When I didn't have water, food, I gave up and I grabbed a knife. I tried to kill myself.

SAVIDGE: But not everyone has had the benefit of a boat. In January, former Miami Dolphin football player Rob Konrad was fishing off Southern Florida when a wave knocked him into the ocean, he was left without a lifejacket. The boat, which was set on autopilot, sailed off leaving him behind. He knew that the only way he was going to survive was by swimming nine miles to shore.

ROB KONRAD, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Look, I've got two beautiful daughters. I was getting to shore.

SAVIDGE: Over the next 16 hours, he pushed on. And around 4:30 the next morning, Konrad said he heard waves crashing on the beach.

KONRAD: I could see the lights getting closer and closer. And at that point, you can't not make it, right?

SAVIDGE: How they got into trouble varies from story to story. But the one thing they all had was the will to survive. Something the families of these two missing boys are sure they have, too.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Jupiter, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And you got a lot of experience on the water as well.

Joining me is maritime safety consultant and cargo ship captain, Jim Staples. Captain Staples, the Coast Guard officials say people can survive in these waters this time of year for about four or five days. Do you think that is still possible?

JIM STAPLES, MARITIME SAFETY CONSULTANT: Oh, absolutely. We still want to be optimistic that these 14-year-olds are still alive today. Absolutely, they can probably stay four or five days. So long as they have some time of flotation device that's going to help them stay afloat.

COOPER: And that's critical. Because, I mean, even in 80-degree water, you can still get hypothermia over time.

STAPLES: Oh, absolutely. We're looking, every day, they're losing their body heat. They're using up a lot of their energy. If they know any survival tactics at all like to get into fetal position or huddling together, to stay warm together, to try to keep that body core temperature as close to normal as possible is going to help them stay in longer. A lot more than they would in, if they didn't know any type of survival skills at all.

COOPER: How difficult is it for Coast Guard officials to try and spot two people in the water? If they're not on the boat or next to the boat because we know the boat itself was found.

STAPLES: Yes, well, we've heard the term needle in a haystack and that's so true. They're probably looking for something about the size of a soccer ball with two kids. So it is very, very difficult, especially from the air. It's going to be extremely difficult. Depending on what type of search patterns they're doing.

As you can see, we're searching a very, very large area. They have the Gulf Stream to contend with that's going to carry them quite quickly rather than staying closer to the boat. So it's a very, very difficult operation that the United States Coast Guard is doing.

COOPER: And just to give the audience some takeaway here, if anybody ever finds themselves in a situation where their boats capsize or in the water, the first thing is to try to stay with the boat itself, correct?

STAPLES: Absolutely. Try and stay with that boat. So, you know, with them not being with the boat, you saw how quickly they found the boat. The other thing they can do is buying survival equipment that will help, helping to find them very quickly with the GPS signals.

Hopefully, they had a cooler with them that might have had some water bottles. So they may be drinking it very slowly and keeping that lasting as long as they can. So there's always a possibility that these kids are still alive today. And hopefully they'll be found soon.

COOPER: Yes, we've seen remarkable survival stories out on the water. Captain Staples, thank you so much.

STAPLES: Thank you, Anderson. COOPER: Well, still ahead tonight, international outrage over the death of a beloved lion, allegedly lured from its protected area in Zimbabwe, and killed by an American dentist eager to take home another trophy head. Tonight, he is wanted by local police.

Plus, closer to home. A mysterious big cat, possibly a lion, is on the loose in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. People are on edge. Officials -- well, the question here tonight is, are they any closer to actually capturing it? We'll talk about that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:48:51] COOPER: Tonight, growing outrage over the killing of an African lion by an American dentist. The lion, this video of him, is a 13-year-old male known as Cecil. He lived in a national park in Zimbabwe where he was apprized and a popular attraction.

He was also being studied by researchers in Britain and wore a tracking collar. Dr. Walker Palmer, the Minnesota dentist, who killed Cecil is an avid big game hunter and reportedly paid $50,000 to hunt him down. He is accused, along with his guides, of luring the lion out of a protected area in order to kill him. Now according to local officials, two local men have been arrested and police are said to be looking for Dr. Palmer.

David McKenzie joins me now with the latest.

So what exactly happened on this hunting trip?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the details are still coming in. But it is alleged that, Walter Palmer, this dentist from Minnesota was in Zimbabwe, on the border region of this park. And that him and the guides lured or baited this lion, this iconic lion, Cecil, from the national park, out of the park and then shot him with a crossbow. But that crossbow didn't kill the lion outright. They tracked, according to conservation officials, that lion for 40 hours and then killed with it with a weapon of some kind. And then they severed the head as a trophy.

[20:50:09] Now the officials say that they are looking for this individual from the U.S. who allegedly killed this lion. And they say it was both illegal and horribly tragic because it was a huge tourist draw for the country and certainly at the very least unethical to bring a lion outside of a reserve like this and to kill it.

COOPER: What else do we know about this American hunter, Walter Palmer? And I guess, I mean, could he face charges in Zimbabwe?

MCKENZIE: Well, he could face charges. The chief of police in Zimbabwe say they are searching for him. It is unclear exactly where he is right now. Now Walt Palmer is in his 50s. He is a dentist. He is a well-known hunter in those circles and posted several pictures of himself with big game that he hunted with a crossbow in the past.

So certainly this is not the first time he's doing this kind of high profile hunt. They say they are looking for him. His whereabouts are unknown, as I say. And two of the professional hunters who are on that trip with him have been detained and they're going to face court charges tomorrow in Zimbabwe.

COOPER: And he -- Walter Palmer put out a statement. What did he say?

MCKENZIE: Well, he said the following, Anderson. "To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted. I had no idea the lion that I took down was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on expertise from my local professional guide."

He did say he regretted what happened. But it looks like in a way that he is passing the buck on to the professionals. And this might not be the first time he's run into trouble, Anderson.

Court documents that we've uncovered show that a person of the same name, roughly the same age, from the same place, was in fact under federal charges in a case where he killed a black bear and then lied to authorities. So it could be that there's some kind of pattern here. We tried to reach out to his lawyer. We could not get comment. And certainly he's gone to ground other than the statement that he's put out, but it is causing outrage here in Africa and of course around the world.

COOPER: All right, David McKenzie, appreciate it. Thanks. We'll continue to follow that.

Back here in the United States, another hunt for a big cat is making news in Milwaukee, no less. It may be a lion. No one knows for certain. This grainy image, the only known video of the animal, obviously, it doesn't really clear much up at all. Whatever it is, it is apparently still on the loose tonight and making a lot of people very nervous. They may not know what they're looking for but a serious hunt is underway.

Ryan Young has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was sitting there and I couldn't move. And I thought, what am I looking at?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A mysterious and potentially dangerous creature on the loose in Milwaukee. What police have described as a lion-like animal has been seen lurking the streets of this Wisconsin City. Known more for its cheese and breweries than fugitive lions. For the past week, making multiple appearances and eluding police.

CHIEF EDWARD FLYNN, MILWAUKEE POLICE: We're treating it seriously. We've got a number of people out there looking.

YOUNG: The supposed big cat has become a big sensation on the Internet. Even trending on Twitter. All the while, keeping residents on the edge. KELLY BROOKS, MILWAUKEE RESIDENT: Well, I picked up my shovel. I'm not sure what my shovel was going to do but I was going to give them the best I could.

YOUNG: The hunt for the mystery cat all began last Monday on the east side of the city. When what seemed to be a large animal was spotted stalking in a backyard. This grainy cell phone footage capturing the moment.

BROOKS: It was the neighbor saying, hey, Kelly, don't go out in your backyard because there's a large animal in your backyard and it looks like it's a lion. I said, well, OK. I'll just go out and tell that lion to get out of my backyard.

YOUNG: Since then, 14 more sightings over the weekend in various parts of the city by residents with police on Saturday, coordinating a large scale search in a ravine near north 31st street on the city's north side. After many saw the mysterious cat on the prowl.

CAROLYN LOVE, MILWAUKEE RESIDENT: We saw him. Me and my daughter saw him sitting there.

YOUNG: With the Milwaukee zoo stating all their cats have been accounted for. The question still remains. What exactly has been roaming these streets and why haven't officials been able to identify it?

KAREN SPARAPANI, MILWAUKEE AREA DOMESTIC ANIMAL CONTROL COMMISSION: We're focusing more on the likelihood that it is an exotic large cat, could be an African lion. Whatever it is, it's large. We have seen tracks and now we're going after it. Basically a large escaped pet.

YOUNG: An African lion potentially kept as a pet in a state notably lacks on laws about keeping exotic animals.

And for those in the city that still don't believe?

LOVE: People have been seeing it all over town. And you don't think, OK, if it was a lion, they would have caught him. He is real.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Ryan joins us.

Have there been any new sightings?

LOVE: No new sightings so far, but a lot of interest, I can say.

[20:55:00] Just on the other side of our truck here, there is at least 10 to 15 kids who are hanging out on those bridge. The last place where a lot of people said they saw the lion. Just walking over here near source of water. So you can understand there is that curiosity on whether or not people really saw a lion or something else. But the people who saw it, they definitely think they saw a big cat.

All right. Ryan, thanks very much. Just ahead, more of our breaking news at the top of the hour. Seamstress Joyce Mitchell in her own words describing her relationship with the inmates she helped bust out of prison. The details. And she's now admitting sexual relationship with at least one of them. More on that coming from her confession ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We want to recap our breaking news from the top of the broadcast. Documents obtained by CNN show that in the days following her arrest, prison worker Joyce Mitchell confessed performing oral sex on Richard Matt, one of the inmates she helped escape from the Clinton Correction Facility.

As you may remember she denied to her husband all along that there was any sexual relationship. She also apparently told investigators that she took photographs of herself and wrote notes of a sexual nature for Matt to give to the other prisoner, David Sweat. Today she pleaded guilty to helping convicted murderers escape. She now faces up to seven years in prison.

Now over the next hour, Randi Kaye reports on the case. She's going to go in depth on exactly what we know that occurred in the months before the prison break and during the manhunt. She'll also be answering your questions live on Twitter. Tweet at AC360 using the #PrisonBreakNY.

Randi's special report "THE GREAT PRISON ESCAPE" starts now.