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Will Obama Administration Violate War Powers Act?; Interview With Rep. Dennis Kucinich; Syrians Running For Their Lives; Final Space Shuttle Launch; Obama, Boehner, Kasich to Play Golf; Cone-ing Craze Goes Viral; It's Not Quite "Hello, Dalai," But ; Suspicious Package in San Francisco; Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Judge Denies Motion to Acquit Anthony

Aired June 15, 2011 - 16:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, the Obama administration is being sued. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say America's involvement in Libya is illegal. One of them is Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He joins me live.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four, three, two, one.

BALDWIN (voice-over): The countdown is on, NASA's final shuttle flight 23 days away. I will talk live to the man who will command Atlantis and make history.

For the first time since blood began to spill, CNN goes inside Syria.

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the very edge of this makeshift camp.

BALDWIN: Arwa Damon talks with a young pregnant woman who escapes bullets by crawling on her stomach.

Plus, Rick Perry lights a fire.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: We will take America back.

BALDWIN: As the Texas governor considers a White House run, find out which star Republicans he's meeting with privately in New York.

PERRY: If we don't do it, who will?

BALDWIN: And the royals are coming to America. We now have the itinerary for Catherine and William's visit.


BALDWIN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Hour two, let's get straight to this developing story out of Washington. Here's what we're learning. There is a White House report on Libya, we believe, now being sent to Capitol Hill.

In this report, the Obama administration argues it is not -- is not in violation of the law, does not need congressional approval for continued U.S. involvement in Libya. And, as you have heard, a number of members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, have said that this coming Sunday -- this is the 90-day mark -- the administration is likely to be in violation of the War Powers Act, which mandates congressional approval for wars overseas.

Let's go straight to Capitol Hill.

Joining me now from Washington, Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio.

Congressman, good to see you. Thank you so much for coming on.


BALDWIN: I know you are among this bipartisan group that wants -- you went to federal court. In fact, I have your -- your 36-page suit here. You are listed up here at the top. Not often you see a suit that says vs. Barack Obama and Robert Gates.

You filed a suit against these two men over the U.S. involvement in Libya. But, Congressman, first, we did hear just a short time ago from our White House correspondent Brianna Keilar that the administration's argument is this. They say, we, the U.S., do not have boots on the ground in Libya. U.S. troops are not in imminent danger. They do not need congressional approval for what they're doing now in Libya.

Sir, what say you?

KUCINICH: Well, they can tell it to the judge now, because this is now a matter before the federal court.

Our position is that they're in clear violation of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States and they're in violation of the War Powers Act, and they can't claim that they got authority from NATO or authority from the U.N. to proceed in a war. They can't claim this isn't a war. You know, they can take this case to court, as we did, and now they're going to have to respond.

BALDWIN: So, if the White House is saying no boots on the ground, what are you -- do you know? Do you know of anything further with regard to our involvement in Libya?




BALDWIN: Is the involvement --


BALDWIN: -- further than the White House is letting on?

KUCINICH: I have to ask you. They spent $750 million on this war in Libya. And what's that?

We tell the people of the United States that that's not a war, that it's -- we have -- we can't mince words here. If it looks like a war, it's a war. And so this administration has a responsibility to abide by the Constitution.

In the end, this isn't about personalities, because the Constitution has a personality all of its own. In Article 1, Section 8, the founders put in the hands of Congress the war power. And nothing that this administration says can change that. So they're going to have to go to court now. This is -- this is not just a matter of political debate.

BALDWIN: I understand.

KUCINICH: This is a matter of legal principle -- of legal principle.

BALDWIN: No, I understand, Congressman Kucinich. And you're pointing specifically to the money.

But, if I may, I want to back up and just go back to my question about boots on the ground, again, the White House saying today, no boots on the ground, the U.S. playing a support role.

KUCINICH: This is about the Constitution.

BALDWIN: So, let me just ask you, though. Let me just ask you, do you have some information that perhaps the White House doesn't have with regard to U.S. forces in country?

KUCINICH: That's a silly question. This is --


BALDWIN: Why is that a silly question, sir?

KUCINICH: This isn't about footwear. This is about the Constitution of the United States.


BALDWIN: Sir, I took a look at your -- I took a look at this 36-page suit. And you specifically cite examples of different members within the U.S. saying there are boots on the ground.


KUCINICH: I don't know where you're coming from, but we initiated a war against Libya. There's no question about that.

And that's indisputable. And to say, well, just because we don't have boots on the ground, it's not a war, huh? I mean, there's bombing that's occurred. We have had planes over there. We have got ships offshore that have been -- that launched attacks.

You cannot claim -- you can't claim this that isn't a war.


BALDWIN: Sir, I'm not claiming that at all. I am just simply reporting what the White House did and getting your perspective.


KUCINICH: Well, I hope so.

BALDWIN: But, since we are, Congressman Kucinich, let me ask you this. We were talking earlier about Pakistan. We know there were drone strikes, two today, number 36 and 34 for the year. Also, there are ongoing strikes against militants in Yemen, as you know.

To your mind, is the White House then also in violation in those countries?

KUCINICH: Listen, I called for a vote last year on the issue of Pakistan. And you could expect there will be some further questions raised about Yemen.

You can't just say because they're robot planes that might be operated from someplace in the states that it doesn't mean there's a war. The fact that there's a separation from the technology and the person doesn't mean that, if you took the person out, the robot plane would suddenly work. It doesn't. You need a person and the plane.

BALDWIN: Are we in violation there? Are we in violation of the War Powers Resolution there?


KUCINICH: That's a question that we ought to talk to members of Congress about.

And I'm -- certainly, I'm focusing now on Libya. The issues are very powerful. That's the issue that's in court. And that's the issue we're proceeding.

And, frankly, again, to the White House, tell it to the judge at this point, because that's where we're at. We're in court.

BALDWIN: Well, what is it that you are asking the court to do?

KUCINICH: To declare that the war in Libya is illegal and to order the White House to stop, period. It's in violation of the Constitution -- and to get an order that says that Article 1, Section 8 clearly has put in the hands of the Congress the determination as to whether or not to take this country into war. It was never intended to be an executive who could make that decision unilaterally.

BALDWIN: Congressman Dennis Kucinich, sir, I appreciate it very much.

KUCINICH: Thank you.

BALDWIN: If it's interesting, if it's happening right now, you're about to see it rapid-fire. Let's go.

Officials in Pakistan have arrested a person who rented that safe house to the CIA before Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden. Authorities in Pakistan have also detained people suspected of giving information to the CIA before the raid on bin Laden's compound. The case is just the latest example of a deepening, strained relationship between Washington and Islamabad.

Alleged racial profiling in a major U.S. airport, have you heard about this? A federal report says screeners singled out Mexican and Dominican passengers for nearly two years at Newark Liberty International Airport. And screeners referred to some of their colleagues as Mexican hunters. The TSA says they do not permit racial profiling and its policies were overstepped.

In Wisconsin, the law that curbs the collective bargaining rights of most of the state's employees are back in action today. The state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to set aside a lower court's ruling which had placed a permanent injunction against the law. You recognize her? Most people know Joss Stone for her songs, right, as seen in this music video, and her acting career, both of which have landed her in the top five biggest earning females in the United Kingdom. But, today, reports say she was the target of an alleged murder/robbery plot. Two men reportedly are in custody after being arrested near the singer's home. Police say they found swords, rope, a body bag, and maps of where Stone lives in the men's car.

A welcome home to the crew of the USS Carl Vinson. The carrier pulled into its home port in San Diego today. You remember the Carl Vinson is the ship where the U.S. Navy held the burial at sea for Osama bin Laden just last month.


BALDWIN: Now this:


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I am slipping (INAUDIBLE) I will lose myself and I will die. We all go down to the kitchen and we sneak the kitchen on our stomach.

DAMON: You have to sneak into the kitchen on your stomach?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes, every day.


BALDWIN: That is Arwa Damon doing some impressive reporting there inside of Syria. She speaking with a pregnant woman concerned for her life, terrified to show her face. She is hiding out there along the border. And she says one person could make the massacre stop right now.

This is brand-new video. It has not been shown. Arwa Damon is live near the border. That is next.

Also, Angelina Jolie has now filled out an application hoping to get near Syria this week. Find out whether it was accepted and who the actress wants to speak with.

Stay right there.


BALDWIN: In Syria, the deadly crackdown by the government has driven thousands of refugees to the Turkish border, trying to stem the growing tide. The Turkish prime minister met with a special Syrian envoy today.

Turkish officials have also confirmed that they will allow actress Angelina Jolie to visit those refugee camps this coming Friday. Jolie will be heading there as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency.

CNN's Arwa Damon was able to visit some of those refugee camps on the Syrian side of the border this week -- impressive, impressive reporting from her.

She is now joining me live.

And, Arwa, we heard just a moment ago you were talking with a woman. She didn't want to show her face. She's a pregnant woman who has fled for her life. Tell me about her.

DAMON: That's right, Brooke. And she asked that we call her Nora. This is not her real name, and she does not want to be identified in any way whatsoever because she was that terrified of retribution.

But she was from the coastal city of Latakia. And she was telling us that what she witnessed was so horrific that she felt she had to leave where she was from or else she would most certainly die.

And here is just one example of what she saw just in front of her house.


"NORA," SYRIAN REFUGEE: Every day when we have a protester in the street, military and the army come to them and kill them in front of our eyes.

DAMON: Did you see that?

"NORA": Our house, we had a window and the window shooting the window was fire. If I'm sitting under the window, I will lose myself and I will die. We all go down to the kitchen and we snake to the kitchen on our stomach.

DAMON: You had to sneak into the kitchen on your stomach?

"NORA": Yes. Yes.


DAMON: And, Brooke, following that incident, she was telling us that what she saw was actually even more horrific. A lawyer who she knew, she says, was shot for no apparent reason. She is telling us that he was not partaking in the demonstration, he was simply going to his sister when he was gunned down. And she has this horrific image of the blood seeping out of the side of the vehicle where he was killed in her head.

And after all of that, after been having been forced to flee her house, this is the one question she has to ask.


"NORA": Why are (INAUDIBLE) killing us and killing our brothers and sisters and take them to the prisons? Why? I just want to ask him this question.


DAMON: And that is what she wants to know from Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. And I have to say, Brooke, we have heard that same question repeated over and over again from the number of the refugees we have been talking to.

BALDWIN: Perhaps she's one of those refugees who Angelina Jolie hopes to meet. As we mentioned, she did get permission to visit some of those camps later in the week.

And, Arwa, do we think the fact she is there, she will be there, will her exposure -- will it help at all?

DAMON: Look, Brooke, at this stage, any sort of increased exposure to this ongoing crisis in Syria is going to most certainly help. The fact that Angelina Jolie is going to be allowed access to these refugee camps most certainly is going to help shed light on their plight because the media has effectively been barred from entering these camps and speaking to these individuals.

An activist will tell you that the more people out there talking to them, the more people that hear about all of the horrors they have suffered inside the country, that is only going to further benefit their cause.

Activists have been incredibly frustrated by the fact that it most certainly would seem as if the international community is at least divided over what course of action it should be taking when it comes to Syria. They're incredibly frustrated by the fact that the United Nations has been incapable of passing a resolution. And so most certainly, the hope is this type of a visit will help shed more light on what they say is most certainly a crisis.

BALDWIN: Anything can help. And we appreciate you shedding light on the stories there, getting inside of Syria for us.

Arwa Damon, appreciate it.

Back here at home, he is getting ready to make history. A front-row seat to an event future generations will read about. Coming up, the man leading the final shuttle into space will join me live. I'll ask him about how he's preparing and what he thinks about the future of NASA and space travel.

Commander Chris Ferguson -- I'm so excited about this -- he's standing by. Don't miss this conversation, folks. We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: Well, NASA is getting ready for the end of an era. The last ever space shuttle mission is set to launch next month, July 8th, 11:26 in the morning. I know you'll be watching CNN. I will be there. I am thrilled to be at Kennedy Space Center when that happens, this historic moment. The Space Shuttle Atlantis will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station and supplies and spare parts.

And guess who I get to talk to? The commander of the Atlantis, Chris Ferguson. He will be in charge of that 33rd and final mission, and he's good enough to join me from Houston, Texas.

Chris, how in the world does it feel like to be part of history? To be ending this 30-year history of space shuttles?

CHRIS FERGUSON, COMMANDER, STS-135: Boy, I'll tell you, Brooke. Every once in a while I'll wake up and pinch myself. I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to be a part of it, as does our entire crew of four. Of course, there's plenty of qualified folks in our office who could do something like this, but we're just lucky enough to be the ones involved in this mission.

BALDWIN: Now, a lot of kids have big, big dreams of going into space. I was one of them, I was recently at Space Camp over in Huntsville, Alabama. And we have a picture. I know you don't have a monitor, you can't see this. They were good enough to give me my own NASA flight suit and I'm standing by a group of kids.

And my question to you, Chris, is this. With the space shuttle program ending, no specific post-spacecraft plans yet, what do you say to a child who comes up to you and says, Mr. Ferguson, I want to be just want to be just like you? What's your answer?

FERGUSON: Well, there's going to be plenty of opportunities out there, Brooke. You know, just because the space shuttle's ending, doesn't mean that human space flight is ending. We are sending astronauts, four astronauts -- U.S. astronauts per year go up to the International Space Station. They go up on Russian Soyuz rockets, but they're still astronauts, they go up there and they spend six months in space.

And then, of course, we're developing commercial rockets. Four commercial partners are working -- they're vying for NASA's business to transport astronauts to lower Earth orbit. There's plenty of opportunities out there.

BALDWIN: OK, so tell the kids they can still dream big.

Let me ask you about the rollout. There's all this NASA terminology. The rollout, this is when you take the shuttle from the VAB, the vehicle assembly building, to the seaside launch pad. I know that at this particular time they allowed, you know, all the crowds to watch. Many, many space shuttle employees in attendance.

What was that moment like?

FERGUSON: I'll tell you, Brooke, that was the first time I'd ever been there to watch a rollout, and I'm disappointed it took me so long to get there.

There were thousands of people who had come to watch this vehicle roll out. It was in the evening, so it was dark. The spotlights were out. The large doors to the vehicle assembly building opened. And out just comes this absolutely beautiful vehicle. Even though it's 30 years old, it is still absolutely -- it's quite the sight for eyes for anyone. It's stellar, it's multi-colored. And they have a spotlights flashing on it.

And, of course, not only is it just there, but it's rolling along at about a mile per hour heading out to the launch pad. We even had the opportunity to ride onboard what they call the MLP, the mobile launch platform, while it made half mile of its journey out to the seaside pad.

BALDWIN: Quickly, I know I lose you in about 40 seconds.

Tell me about the morning of launch. Do you have any morning rituals? What's for breakfast?

FERGUSON: Well, usually the night before, they'll ask us what we want to have for breakfast. Some people have the traditional steak and eggs like astronauts like to have in the morning, other people are more health conscious and they'll have yogurt.

The mornings are a busy time. We wake up about six hours or seven hours before launch. Some get some exercise in, it's the first -- or the last opportunity to do that for about two weeks.

And also, it gives us a chance to, perhaps, you know, I don't want to say dehydrate a bit, but you spend about two and half hours on your back and it's nice not to have to go to the bathroom that day.

But launch morning is always a very exciting time, and we're looking forward to July 8th. We're rolling out.

BALDWIN: We're looking forward to it right along with you. We'll be thinking of you, your crew of four. Chris Ferguson, my thanks to you.

And I just want to remind everyone watching here, Chris tweets. His entire crew of four will be tweeting. I'll make sure I tweet there their Twitter handles. It's pretty fascinating to follow these astronauts on Twitter in space.

Parts of the world getting a front-row seat to a gorgeous lunar eclipse. Take a look at this. This is actually from our camera at our Abu Dhabi bureau. This is the first full eclipse this year. This is when the Earth's shadow completely covers the moon. And it ended a short time ago lasting about 100 minutes. We're told it's the longest one in more than a decade. And obviously, none of us in North America will get to see it.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talked to Piers Morgan and said he will not run for president -- we've heard that before, right? -- at least not in 2012. That's what we got out of the interview. And also the Republican's family got pretty candid when asked, why not.



MARY PAT CHRISTIE, WIFE OF N.J. GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: We have, as you know, a large family, four children, at really pretty crucial ages in their development. And a lot of moving parts in this family, so I think as a team we all decided it probably wasn't the right time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think for us personally as a family and for him it would be the best idea.

PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": I understand your kid sister being scared of the White House. But you have already measured out the Lincoln Room, haven't you? I mean, come on. How cool would that be? Imagine the chicks. Hey, you want to swing by the White House for a cocktail? Don't tell me you haven't thought about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I've definitely thought of that.


BALDWIN: Piers, asking about chicks, come on.

Governor Chris Christie did, however, weigh in on the current race among Republicans. And in fact, he didn't seem too impressed by the current field.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: None of them have emerged, in my mind yet, as the best option. When one of them do, I'll say it publicly, but I'm not ready to do that yet because I don't think any of them have yet distinguished themselves.


BALDWIN: So what does Chris Christie think of Texas Governor Rick Perry who is thinking about making a run for the White House? The two are in New York City.

And did you hear about the other high-profile Republican Perry is also meeting with today? Jessica Yellin is standing by. She is next.


BALDWIN: Time now for your CNN = Politics update. Let's go to Jessica Yellin with the latest news hot off the ticker. And Jess, we know it's been a couple of days since Mitt Romney scored some points. You saw him New Hampshire for the big GOP CNN debate on Monday. Now, some people are saying he's let his victory go to his head. True?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is not the kind of press a presidential candidate wants to get in New Hampshire. After the debate, one of the state's big papers, "The Union Leader" had an op-ed that called Mitt Romney, quote, "highfalutin and haughty." It said, that, quote "Governor, you won a debate, not an election."

They said this because of his behavior not because of the debate, but because of what he did after the debate. He was doing some meet and greet. And while mingling with voters at one event, he said that - he made a reference saying, oh, I'll probably be back in about four years, and when I come back, I'll be surrounded by a larger group, including some Secret Service. Obviously suggesting he would be president then.

And then at another event, he asked people to be sure to get out and vote for him in November. Obviously, they have to do a first vote in the primary before they could vote for him if he's going to be the nominee. The point is, they said "Granite staters" - this is a quote - "prefer hardworking and humble to highfalutin and haughty."

Ouch. I'm sure the point was taken.

Turning the page to another would-be candidate, Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and ambassador to China. We all know he is going to get in the race next week. Well, he has released a pre-announcement video building up to his announcement, and it's one of those off-the-wall kooky kind of ads on the Web. Has him driving across some mountain landscape -- I think we have some video of it. He looks a little like Evil Knievel. He's in a random --

BALDWIN: There he is. Very Evil Knievel -ish.

YELLIN: Right? And I think it comes up with the words saying he did not become famous for his band Wizard. A little kooky, a little zany. Making sure you know he's not your average politician, right? Going for a different kind of image and a different kind of message.

And what does that make us do? It makes us tune in to see a little more of him.

BALDWIN: It does, indeed. It worked.

YELLIN: Well, maybe not because of these two things or in light of them -- maybe it's no surprise then that governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is saying he hasn't quite seen anyone pop as the obvious choice for Republican presidential nominee quite yet. You played that sound of him a little bit earlier. He has met today with Rudy Giuliani, who is another potential contender in this whole scenario. He has made sounds as though he might privately want to run, too.

Bottom line with Chris Christie is in this whole scenario, he's a king maker, someone everybody's going to court for an endorsement. Those close to Christie have made it clear to us that he does not plan to endorse, at least in the early days. He will hold that back, waiting to see. He might not endorse until a nominee is picked.

BALDWIN: The king maker he is. Jessica Yellin, thank you so much.

There is brand-new evidence now suggesting that specific laws in your state could be saving your life, and it involves cancer. That is ahead.

Plus, it is finally here. The royal couple's itinerary for their trip to the U.S. In fact, Catherine, did you know, has never been here before. So, what do you do when you're visiting the red, white, and blue for the very first time? We'll find out next.


BALDWIN: More smoke-free laws could save thousands of lives. And the royal couple releases their itinerary. Time to play "Reporter Roulette." And first up is senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. The American Cancer Society has a new report that says getting some states to toughen anti-smoking laws will save lives. Makes sense.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We're always trying to save lives, right? And this is actually relatively easy way to do it.

So, let me illustrate this for you. There are 22 states that have really tough anti-smoking laws. OK, so we're going to show them to you in a sec. So, those have tough anti-smoking laws. The 27 states that don't, if they adopted them, save lives, save money.

BALDWIN: That simple?

COHEN: That simple.

BALDWIN: How many lives are we talking?

COHEN: We're talking lot of lives. Talking almost 700,000 lives and over -- not a million, it's more than that. Over -- yes, over $1 million over a five-year period. So, that is a lot of lives and a lot of money. More than 700,000 lives, more than $1 billion to be saved.

BALDWIN: So given the savings, how do the laws work?

COHEN: Well, the laws, what they do is put cigarette taxes, you know, they put higher taxes on cigarettes. And then they also say, all right, no smoking in restaurants, no smoking in workplaces --

BALDWIN: Like New York, no smoking in the park.

COHEN: Right. Exactly, exactly. So if more states did that, lives will be saved.

BALDWIN: OK. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you, ma'am.

Next on "Reporter Roulette," Max Foster in London with details on the just-released itinerary for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's big visit to the U.S. Max, to you.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, this really will be a whirlwind weekend for the duke and duchess. She's never even been to the United States before. They'll take in everything from a big-black tie dinner with Hollywood A-listers, to a visit to Skid Row with young homeless people.

Prince William will also be playing in a charity polo match. And tickets currently on sale A V.I.P. ticket to watch the match for $4,000 in Santa Barbara, that is.

Now, Prince William will be making a big keynote speech in front of some war veterans from Afghanistan and bereaved families, as well. But Catherine won't be making any speeches or won't be doing any interviews. She's still not confident, we're told, about public speaking.

A small entourage will be traveling with the couple, just seven. Catherine will have an assistant to help her with dressing but also her hairdresser, the one who helped her with the royal wedding. We're told this is a visit about promoting UK interests, not about meeting celebrities.



BALDWIN: Max Foster for me in London. Max, thank you. And that is your "Reporter Roulette" for today.

First, now this. Many of Newt Gingrich's advisers abruptly quit his campaign. We told you about that last week. But now some are questioning his charity and how he's spending money. In fact, many of them say he has crossed the line.

Well, Gingrich is now responding. And can you guess who he's blaming? That's next.

CNN has just gotten a hold of John Edwards' mug shots a couple weeks after the feds indicated the former presidential candidate -- indicted the former presidential candidate - on charges that he used campaign cash to pay off his mistress. Want you to take a look at this. We're going to show you the second picture, the mug shot in which he's looking straight at the camera after the break.


BALDWIN: When John Edwards was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month, he had to pose for mug shots. And here they are. We just got these in this afternoon. Take a look, the smiling former senator posing for the U.S. Marshal Service in North Carolina. CNN just got these through FOIA, Freedom of Information Act request. Edwards pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and campaign law violations.

And now to some "Political Pop." Former House speaker Newt Gingrich had a pretty good performance at the Republican debate in New Hampshire this week here on CNN. But now that he's back on the campaign trail, he is back in some political turmoil.

Let's go to Joe Johns here with the latest news from the "Politcal Pop." And Joe, walk me through some of these allegations. And also, how is Gingrich responding?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hey, you know, it feels a lot like when Newt Gingrich was the speaker of the House. You know, I spoke to one former staffer the other day who said there were three words his communications people absolutely dreaded to hear. "Newt made news." Meaning they were going to be scrambling around. It could mean anything at all. So, check this out. Just like the old days, he's got people following him around, shouting questions at him, trying to get a comment. Listen to this.


QUESTION: -- charity you founded.


QUESTION: $200,000 to your for-profit company. Sir? Sir? Do you mind answering our questions? Sir?

GINGRICH: Fine. Just give me one second.


JOHNS: All right. So there you go. I mean, you heard the question. It's one of the many stories flying around there. The upshot is, the former speaker says he hasn't done anything wrong, obviously.

The biggest hurdle former speaker Newt Gingrich has is losing a bunch of staffers who left him all at once. This comes right after he and his wife Calista returned from a vacation, shall we call it, curiously timed to the Greek Isles. And when he got asked about it on the radio more recently, the former speaker made it sound like this breakup with all the staffers was more philosophical than anything else. Take a listen.


GINGRICH: Well, it's just a falsehood.


BALDWIN: Hmm. Short and sweet.

JOHNS: Oh, OK. I think we got the short version there. I don't know what that was. Anyway --

BALDWIN: Paraphrase, my friend. Paraphrase.

JOHNS: Right, right. Bottom line is, he's taken the high road, essentially. He says, look, I wanted to go because my guys, my consultants or whatever were telling me I need to do attack ads, and the only person I wanted to attack was President Obama.

So, Newt Gingrich taking the high road. Who knew?


Story No. 2. We have a little bit of a golf summit. Why does everything have to be a summit, first of all? But there's going to be a golf summit. We'll finally be seeing Speaker Boehner and President Obama -- JOHNS: yes.

BALDWIN: Taking to the links--

JOHNS: Wait, and that's not all. I mean, for true political junkies, there can't really be any more important golf match than this one, President Obama, Vice President Biden, House Speaker John Boehner, and Ohio Governor John Kasich. How did he get in there?

Well, he was a big budget hawk when he was on Capitol Hill. Press Secretary Jay Carney says the president is not exactly talking trash about this match and there's a reason.

The reason is, he's not favored to win. So he talked a little bit about this thing at the briefing today with one of our colleagues kind of instigating.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he doing any trash talking in advance of Sunday or is he going to let his golf do the talking?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I have heard no trash talking from the president on this. You know, I think it's fair to say that the president enjoys golf and plays it when he can, but I don't think he would say that he is an expert golfer.

And I hear the speaker of the House is quite good as well as the governor of Ohio, but don't take my word for it. I think there are -- I'm not a golfer, but there are ways to measure this.


JOHNS: Actually, best golf match in the area this weekend is the U.S. open out of Potomac, Maryland, for the record that's for golf fans.

BALDWIN: Right, of course, but ought to be a fly in that golf cart, Joe Johns.

JOHNS: Yes. They've got to talk budget.

BALDWIN: Come back Monday. We'll see who wins. Thank you so much, sir. Appreciate it.

And do you remember, I don't know, it was two months ago, we told you about how people are planking. It was some fad on the internet, people posting pictures of themselves lying face down in unusual places like on top of a car.

Well, guess what? There's a new craze online. Wait until you see what people are doing at drive-thrus. And here's a hint for you, it involves ice cream. The video is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: Remember when we talked about planking sometime ago. It's an internet fad where people posting pictures of themselves lying face down in unusual places? It was big in Australia.

Well, now we have a new phrase for you. Have you heard of coning? This is the latest fad, it's gone viral. So follow me, coning is when you order an ice cream like this guy just did at the drive-thru, but when you're served, you pick it up from the ice cream side instead of the cone end.

OK, this one too a hit in Australia and some cases spreading worldwide. It's a little bit messy, but each to their "cone."

We've all had that moment telling a joke that's falls a little flat. Some of us realize this right away. Others have a hard time letting it go.

What I'm about to show you, it illustrates the latter. I want you to watch this exchange. This is between an Australian television anchor and the Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, watch.


KARL STEFANOVIC, NINE NEWS ANCHOR: I don't mean to be disrespectful in any way, shape, or form. But I have a joke for you that my son told me that he said you would laugh at even though it's about you. Can I tell it to you? Can I tell you the joke?


STEFANOVIC: I don't want you to feel like I'm disrespecting you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no. Yes, I am a human being.

STEFANOVIC: The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop --


STEFANOVIC: Pizza. Yes, pizza shop and says, can you make me one with everything?


STEFANOVIC: Do you know what I mean? Can you make me one with everything?


STEFANOVI: I knew that wouldn't work.


BALDWIN: Awkward. Afterward, the anchor tweeted this. Just interviewed the Dalai Lama, he is one chilled out dude. Told him a gag he didn't get, so embarrassed. Yes, just a little bit. Let's check in with Wolf Blitzer who I've been watching out of the corner of my eye shaking his head over the joke.

WOLF BLITZER, THE SITUATION ROOM: I don't get the ice cream. Why take the ice cream and put the cone --

BALDWIN: Back on the coning. I don't get it either. I'm not hip like that either. It's perfectly good ice cream cone. I'm a huge ice cream fan. Why waste it like that?

BLITZER: That's gross, really.

BALDWIN: It is gross. What do you have coming up, Wolf Blitzer?

BLITZER: I loved your interview with Dennis Kucinich, by the way, the top -- it got a little lively there, didn't it, Brooke?

BALDWIN: It did, indeed.

BLITZER: I say that because I want to set the stage. Coming up in the next hour, Barney Frank, the Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, he's joining us.

We're talking about a whole lot of stuff. But wait, Brooke, and I want you to wait because when he starts talking about his former governor, the former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, you're going to be surprised. I'll leave it like that at what he says.

Barney Frank is always, always outspoken, but wait until you hear what he says about arguably the front runner right now in the Republican presidential nomination. That's coming up in just a little while in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Got all the day's news, as well.

BALDWIN: That was a good tease, wolf. I will keep watching. You've piqued my interest. Thank you very much. We'll see you in eight minutes, sir.

By this time tomorrow, Casey Anthony's defense will open its case and we are getting word that a surprise witness may take the stand.

Also, did you see the look Anthony gave to her mother after Cindy Anthony mouthed the words "I love you?" Sunny Hostin is on the case. You've got to see this video. That is next.


BALDWIN: All right, quickly here, we've gotten these pictures. This is from our San Francisco affiliate KGO. You see some of these guys getting suited. Why are they there?

Well, apparently there's been report of a suspicious package at the federal building in San Francisco. So they're getting suited up. The bomb squad going to check it out and see if it is anything harmful or nefarious or none of the above. We'll stay on it, make some phone calls and let you know.

The prosecution rests in the death penalty trial of Casey Anthony. That Florida mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

The defense starts tomorrow morning. Sunny Hostin is on the case. And Sunny, the defense tried this morning to get the judge to acquit Casey Anthony, motion denied. Was the motion even worth trying? Why do that?

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: Absolutely. I mean, they always are made at the end of a prosecution's case. It's called a motion for judgment of acquittal.

If you don't make it, Brooke, you sort of leave yourself open to a challenge by the defendant by your client that you were ineffective.

And so, no question about it, they should've made it, but it's never ever really granted because the evidence is looked at in the light most favorable to the government. That's the standard for judging that motion.

So we all knew he wasn't going to grant it, but we also all knew the defense was going to make the motion.

BALDWIN: The defense, Sunny, also added a witness to their list. Who is this Vasco Thompson?

HOSTIN: This is the big news of the day actually, Brooke. The defense yesterday filed a motion disclosing that they intended to call this new witness. They wanted to depose him. His name is Vasco Thompson. I'm looking at his record here in my hand. He's been convicted of kidnapping.

The defense alleges that he spent 10 years in prison for that. Now, of course, now that's a big deal because one of the theories that have always floated around is that Caylee Anthony was kidnapped.

What's also interesting is that they alleged that George Anthony was in contact with this person four times. Four phone calls on July 14th, 2008 just two days before Caylee Anthony was reported as missing.

Now George Anthony's attorney, Mark Litman (ph) issued a statement. I also have that, he says, Mr. Anthony does not know Vasco Thompson, does not recall speaking to him, does not recall calling him and does not recall ever receiving phone calls from him.

So obviously a very big discrepancy when the defense here is saying that they have George Anthony's cell phone records. So I think this is going to be one of the big issues we're going to hear about tomorrow in court.

BALDWIN: OK, so Vasco Thompson and then this is something a lot of folks on our team were talking about today. There was this odd exchange between Casey Anthony and her mother, Cindy, yesterday. What happened?

HOSTIN: Well, if we have the video. We saw Cindy Anthony on the witness stand after her testimony, which she was a little bit evasive. She mouthed 4the words "I love you." those words.

Casey Anthony, on the other hand, just sort of, I don't know, her reaction was very odd. She just kind of -- didn't really do much. So yes, everyone is thinking that was really very interesting.

Cindy Anthony trying to reach out to her daughter, was she trying to help her with her evasive answers? Who knows?

BALDWIN: We're midpoint in the trial. As you've said, the defense begins tomorrow. Twenty seconds, when could the jury decide on this case?

HOSTIN: Well, the judge has instructed the jury, Brooke, that this case could be in their hands in two weeks. So the end of June is very possible that the jury will be deliberating on Casey Anthony's fate.

BALDWIN: Sunny Hostin, thank you so much. We'll check back in with you and on this trial tomorrow, a new day for them. Thank you.

And also, quickly, coming up tomorrow, parents, your kids probably know who this is, Selena Gomez. She will be joining me in studio. Do not miss that.

And now, thank you so much for watching me. I'm going to turn things over to my colleague, Wolf Blitzer, "THE SITUATION ROOM" starts right now.