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JOHN KING, USA

Case Against Ex-IMF Chief in Shambles; Casey Anthony Trial: Prosecutors Zero in on Home Computer

Aired July 1, 2011 - 19:00   ET

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


CANDY CROWLEY, GUEST HOST: Good evening, I'm Candy Crowley sitting in for John King.

We begin tonight with stunning developments in the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He's the former head of the International Monetary Fund who is accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York.

But today, a judge released Strauss-Kahn from house arrest after questions about the credibility of his accuser were raised by prosecutors, not Strauss-Kahn's defense team.

The case has not dismissed, but this afternoon Strauss-Kahn's attorneys did say they expect the charges to be dropped and their client fully exonerated.

CNN's national correspondent Susan Candiotti is in New York with all the developments. So Susan, what are the credibility issues with the alleged victim?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Candy. Well, prosecutors laid it out for the judge in court and in a letter to the defense. They said they turned up troubling outright lies by the maid. Some they said she admitted on her own.

Among them, her story changed about where she was and what she did right after Strauss-Kahn allegedly assaulted her in his hotel suite. At first she said she waited in the hallway until her supervisor came. She later admitted she cleaned another room and came back to DSK's suite before reporting the incident.

The D.A. also says she admitted she lied about a gang rape in a political asylum application since she admitted faking information to the IRS about her dependents and income. They also said she told other lies they did not detail.

But the maid's attorney would have none of it. Outside court he made an impassioned defense of his client's integrity. He went into painful detail about physical injuries she allegedly suffered during an alleged attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNETH THOMPSON, LAWYER FOR ALLEGED VICTIM: The victim from day one has described a violent sexual assault that Dominique Strauss-Kahn committed against her. She has described that sexual assault many times to the prosecutors and to me. She has never once changed a single thing about that account.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: Her attorney also accused the D.A. of being afraid to go forward with the case. Fact is it's possible the felony charges will be dropped down the road. The D.A. says the case is not being dismissed right now. Candy --

CROWLEY: Susan Candiotti, thanks so much. Here to walk us through what happens next, we are joined by two legal experts. Sunny Hostin is a legal contributor for "In Session" on TruTv and Holly Hughes is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.

Holly, let me just put it to you, is this case toast now? Is it done if you have an alleged victim that seems to be sort of a serial liar about some pretty important things?

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely, Candy. It's nice to see you. But the problem here is in this particular kind of case, a sexual assault case, it's really the only case where even though you have DNA, which is the gold standard of evidence, it's still a he said/she said.

Because anyone accused with sexual assault with DNA can say it was consensual. So what does that leave us if we take the scientific evidence out of the mix? It leaves us with two people giving two different versions of the story.

One of them is now proven to be a liar, has admitted that she is a liar on important documents, Candy. We are talking about an application for asylum. We're talking about statements to the IRS and papers filed with them.

So to try and go forward when all you're relying on is he said/she said puts the prosecution in an extremely difficult position. So even though it may have occurred, what we have to think about as lawyers is what can we prove to a jury? Her lies have put her and this state in a very awkward position right now.

CROWLEY: Sunny, awkward but not impossible because even if the alleged victim has lied about a lot of things or misled about a lot of things, some of them having nothing to do with the case, it doesn't mean she wasn't raped.

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: That's right. I mean, it doesn't mean that, but the problem here is that the prosecution would have to put her on the witness stand to prove its case.

If you read the letter they did send to the defense team, it is clear that she has made so many errors in judgment in terms of the stories that she has told, that it would be very, very difficult to put her on the witness stand. She would not be able to withhold really cross-examination. So I think, unfortunately, even if there was a sexual assault here, this case is going nowhere.

CROWLEY: Wow. Holly, the D.A., the defense attorney, rather, for the alleged victim also took what seemed to be pretty personal shots at the district attorney saying the district attorney was afraid to prosecute the case. The tone struck me as pretty harsh. Did it strike you at all as unusual?

HUGHES: Yes. It was a little harsh because again, you have to consider like Sunny and I have both said just because something may have happened does not mean you can prove it in court.

To be completely candid for our viewers what we need to remind them is there is something called Brady material in the law. When the district attorney comes across evidence that is exculpatory, possibly exculpatory or favorable to the defense, they have a legal, moral and ethical obligation to turn it over.

If they don't, they're in trouble. So Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney when his investigators turned up this thing, did what he was required to do under the law. He disclosed that information to Strauss-Kahn's attorneys.

I understand that the victim's attorney is very upset making these bold statements against the D.A., but he was between a rock and a hard place, Candy. He had to turn it over legally. That's the stance he finds himself in based on what the victim did, not what the D.A. did.

CROWLEY: Well, Sunny, what do you make of the D.A.'s behavior? Because he did seem to so fully embrace this case at the beginning. I think we can have a long discussion about why they didn't sort of look into some other things before they so fully embraced it. But nonetheless, it really does look like he may be dropping it. Do you sense that?

HOSTIN: I do sense that, but let's face it. When he was faced with this decision whether or not to go forward, you had what appeared to be a very credible witness, what appeared to be a very quick report, which lends her story some credibility, and a defendant who was about to leave the country.

In a situation like that, you do have to make the tough call. She also testified in front of the grand jury, a grand jury indicted him. At that time, I think they did what was the right thing to do. but they continued their investigation, which is what they are supposed to do.

In looking into her background when they had the time to do so, they uncovered all these things. I think the district attorney certainly has done the right thing by believing her at first, presenting her story to a grand jury. That is what the process is.

Then continuing the investigation, they found that there were some real credibility problems and turned it over, as Holly mentioned, to the defense, which is what they are required to do.

So the district attorney has acted above board within the law. I think they actually should be commended because it's something to find something out like this after you have already indicted someone and come forward and basically admit that something has gone amiss.

CROWLEY: It is something and something really surprising. Sunny Hostin and Holly Hughes, thank you both so much for your expertise.

The case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being followed very closely in France. At one point Strauss-Kahn was considered a strong candidate to be the president of France.

But even more than that, many people in France were quite frankly outraged at the treatment he has received from the U.S. justice system and American media.

We want to talk more about this with French television one correspondent, Guillaume Debre also in New York. So first of all, thank you so much for being here. How are these developments playing out in France? What is the initial take there?

GUILLAUME DEBRE, FRENCH TELEVISION CORRESPONDENT: Well, the French thinks they've been taken for a ride. In the beginning they were shell shocked about the accusation. He was paraded and handcuffed, something we don't do in France.

He was accused of all these crimes. He was indicted very quickly. He went to Riker's Island and then little by little we started believing what we, "The New York Times", you guys, CNN was telling them.

It's that, you know, we can't find dirt on her. Her past seems to be immaculate and we didn't find anything so they started believing that he actually did what he was accused of doing.

Then at that moment, the justice system comes and said, you know what, the whole story is fake, parts of it she lied. So they're not really understanding and they're a bit shock again about this system. They don't understand the American justice system again.

CROWLEY: Guillaume, probably a lot of Americans would argue it is the justice system at work with the prosecutor saying, look, here is some stuff we didn't know.

But let me ask you, both our previous experts said it's quite possible that these charges will go away. Let's assume for a moment and they haven't gone away, the charges still stand.

But let's assume for a moment they do go away. What does this mean for Strauss-Kahn's presidential ambitions in France?

DEBRE: Well, it changes everything. He comes back to the race. I'm not sure. The timing is complex to him because he is not with the IMF anymore. He could go back to France and say, you know what, I am the victim of a system that's unjust. He could claim, you know, go back to the race, but there are other players in the game in the Socialist, the left wing games that have taken his place. So he could go back in the game.

Could he be a contender against a President Nicolas Sarkozy who is not loved by the French people? Maybe, but he needs to play very delicately. The other thing, there is a civil case pending, hasn't started. That he needs to solve whether he makes a deal with the victim. So he still has problems.

So it's not yet sure that he will come back in the race. Don't count him out yet. He could face the primaries and try to challenge President Sarkozy.

CROWLEY: Guillaume Debre, stranger things certainly have happened. Thank you so much for your input tonight. It's good to see you.

Coming up, 10 years after September 11th, a man with an invalid boarding pass and improper I.D. can still get on a plane? Congressman Peter King on what needs to be done to keep America safe this fourth of July weekend.

And the prosecution rests. Nancy Grace on what's next in the Casey Anthony trial.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Now to the story that has everyone talking. How on earth did a man board a plane and fly from New York to L.A., allegedly with an improper boarding pass and insufficient I.D.?

Somehow he got past TSA agents and airline personnel. He is charged with being a stowaway and appeared today at a hearing in Los Angeles.

CNN's Sandra Endo is there. Sandra, I understand there was concern and I don't mean this in a funny sort of way, but there's concern over whether he is a flight risk.

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Candy. That is what federal prosecutors laid out today in front of the judge, asking the judge not to grant bail. They say the Olajide Noibi, the 24-year-old Nigerian-American who they alleged is a stowaway is a flight risk because he has no ties to Los Angeles. He has family in Georgia and Michigan, and also in his homeland of Nigeria.

But also they argue that he is a possible risk to the community using other people's identity, Candy, to get onboard aircraft as you mentioned other people's boarding passes. That is what they laid out in court today.

The defense lawyer on the other hand says this is a guy who comes from a respectable family. That essentially all he did was steal a $500 flight and that he is embarrassed actually by this whole situation. But of course, the prosecution says despite not posing a terror threat, Candy, that when it comes to security, especially in the age after 9/11, this is a very serious matter.

It seems like the judge agreed because he did not set bail saying that there is not enough information about this guy to really know where he comes from and the stability of all his claims, Candy.

CROWLEY: Sandra Endo, thanks so much. A serious issue as well as a curious for anyone has ever watched their driver's license be examined with a flashlight.

Nonetheless, earlier today, I spoke with Congressman Peter King of New York, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee for his reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: It is absolutely indefensible. Ten years after September 11th to have everything go wrong and still have him get past TSA and then have him get on the plane with a boarding pass for the wrong flight number for the wrong date, and again TSA, the main responsibility here is with TSA.

It's 101 that the same name on the I.D. should be the same as what's on the boarding pass. The fact that the boarding pass was from the previous day, the fact that the names were totally different. The fact as you said his passport had been reported lost, you had all these flags should have gone off and again, it's just basic.

I could have seen if it was a forged I.D. You could say maybe the guy wasn't sophisticated enough to spot it, but the names were different. I don't know what else he needed to see. So this was a glaring mistake. It's inexcusable.

And then to have that compounded at the plane when he was able to get on the plane with the wrong boarding pass makes absolutely no sense. I've never seen a case with so many unanswered questions. Also could have had serious implications.

Now whether or not he was doing this as a lark, whether or not he's got mental problems or whether or not he was testing the system, I don't know. Again, it's not reassuring as we are coming up towards September 11th.

CROWLEY: As a normal person that goes through security all the time where they take out a flashlight and look at your driver's license, in my case Maryland driver's license, where they are constantly doing this, is there any explanation -- it seems they do that for everyone.

I find this, and I think most people say I go through so much just to get to my plane. Here a basic thing was overlooked. What does it tell you about the TSA system?

KING: Well, it certainly shows in this case it broke down. I'm an admirer of John Pistole who's the director. He's done an outstanding job with the FBI. I have defended TSA in the past when I thought they were unfairly attacked, but in this case, it's indefensible.

I sent a letter to John Pistole demanding a full investigation, asking him to report back to Homeland Security Committee by July 8th to give as full briefing. We have to have answers how it happened, why it happened, to make sure it's never going to happen again.

Also as to what action will be taken against the screener. This can't be defended. I agree with you. Every week, I travel to Reagan Airport. About a year ago, the guy at the counter gave me a mixed boarding pass and ticket.

When I got to the plane, I couldn't get on. So here I am a ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee and I was kept off a flight because they couldn't get it figured out in time.

Here is a guy with the wrong boarding pass, wrong I.D., wrong date, wrong plane and he just sailed right through, went from JFK to Los Angeles. It's inexcusable and to me, it just can't be defended and they have to -- TSA has to take serious action.

CROWLEY: In your mind if it is what we are told it is. If all the fact as we know them bear out, what needs to happen?

KING: I would take severe action against that employee. I would believe that the TSA has to implement new training programs, have regiments, have much more inspections going on, having people from the administration monitoring what's happening.

Let these employees know that they really are being watched. I mean, this can't be allowed to happen. We are talking about life and death here. We're not talking about somebody having a cup of coffee when nobody is looking.

You could have a planeful of people getting killed because a person makes an obvious mistake. Listen, there's always going to be mistakes made and you could have a forged I.D., and somehow the screener may miss it, but when you have an obvious one of the wrong name, wrong date, wrong boarding pass and that is not picked up, that is a terrible sign.

It encourages the enemy. It's not reassuring to the American people. Part of the way our system works, is expected to work is a deterrent to the enemy. They have to believe it's impossible to breakthrough it. They see something like this. It encourages the enemy to try.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you a broader picture as we head into this July 4th weekend. That is the materials that came out of Osama Bin Laden's home in Pakistan.

There was evidence as late as February 2010 Bin Laden wanted strikes in the U.S., particularly around symbolic holidays. Are you overly concerned or more concerned than you usually would be about this weekend or are you feeling reasonably steady that this looks like a weekend that we are well prepared for?

KING: I would almost say all of the above. I do feel reasonably secure because we have increased security as far as alerting local governments, alerting the private sector. There is no doubt we do know al Qaeda was talking more about attacking the U.S. on symbolic dates.

Also in the lead up to 9/11, the tenth anniversary of September 11th, we know that they are considering, trying to plan attacks. Having said that, I'm not aware of any particular attack being planned right now. We do know they are looking for symbolism. They want to do something dramatic before September 11th.

Obviously, fourth of July would be a prime time for that. So everyone has been alerted to be on extra guard, to be much more careful. Because of that, I feel reasonably secure. This is a dangerous world. Al Qaeda is a dangerous enemy and we can never let our guard down.

They are waiting for the weekend or week day, any time when we don't let your guard down. When we are having a barbecue on fourth of July, they are plotting somewhere to kill us. If it's not the fourth of July, it's another date. These people never stop. They are evil and they want to kill us.

CROWLEY: A sobering assessment of where we are in our world right now. Congressman Peter King, Homeland Security Chairman. Thank you so much for your time. Have a safe and happy holiday.

KING: You too, Candy. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Up next, the latest headlines including another royal wedding. Is the presidential race well on its way to an expected billion dollar price tag? We'll get the latest on who has the most campaign cash.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Welcome back. If you're just joining us, here's the latest news you need to know right now.

In a major ruling today, a federal appeals court overturned the state of Michigan's ban on preferential treatment of race and gender in college admission. This issue could wind up before the Supreme Court.

NFL star quarterback Michael Vick has signed a product endorsement agreement with Nike. This is a major rebound for Vick whose career was sidelined when he spent 20 months in prison for running a dog-fighting operation.

Long-time bachelor Prince Albert of Monaco married fiance Charlene in Woodstock in a civil ceremony today. A religious ceremony will be held tomorrow. The Casey Anthony Trial hits the homestretch. HLN's Nancy Grace joins us next to give us a preview of what's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Prosecutors in the Casey Anthony murder trial in Orlando rested their case this afternoon. Closing arguments are set for Sunday.

Before resting, prosecutors focused on a family home computer and who exactly used it to search for information about chloroform. Prosecutors accuse Anthony of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee and using chloroform in the process.

CNN's Martin Savidge is covering the trial. Martin, what can you tell us about what happened in court today?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Candy. Well, it was a pretty interesting day. Had a mixed bag of things. First of all, it started with the defense and the prosecution arguing this morning over what witnesses and what evidence could be admitted during the rebuttal phase of the prosecution's case.

At one point, it got so severe, the judge actually had to call what he said an indefinite recess. Oh, my goodness, this could go on a long time.

Well, about 1:30 in the afternoon, apparently, the differences had been resolved and then the prosecution went forward with its rebuttal, called a number of very interesting witnesses made some significant points. And then they rested.

And what came next was three motions by the defense for acquittal. Number one, they moved, they said there was some inappropriate video that had been entered as evidence. The judge wasn't buying that. He said no.

Then, they argued on a previous ruling regarding the death penalty in Florida. The judge is taking that under advisement. And then, basically, they said, look, the prosecution did not make its case. They haven't proved this was capital murder. The judge listened carefully and then said, no, sorry, this is, in fact, going to the jury that.

So, that was today, Candy.

CROWLEY: And they tried to undermine Casey Anthony's mother, right, who said, hey, listen, I'm the one that who that search. How good of a job did they do?

SAVIDGE: Well, they did a very good job on that because what they did was that mom said I'm the one on the home computer. They showed that mom was at work. They had the work records, the computer records that show mom is on a computer at the office, not at home. She couldn't be in two places at once. And this is what it did. It planted the seed of premeditation into the jury's mind that Casey thought about this, neck breaking, chloroform. And right at the moment now the jury is getting ready to go off and deliberate, it was a very strong finish for the prosecution.

CROWLEY: Martin Savidge in Orlando, what a story. Thanks so much.

Let's turn now to Nancy Grace, host of HLN's "Nancy Grace."

So, the whole day it seems to me was spent by prosecutors trying to prove Casey Anthony's mom lied on the stand to protect her. Did it work?

NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN'S "NANCY GRACE": Well, you're absolutely right, Candy. Thank you for having me.

Yes, Candy. I'm here outside the Orlando courthouse here in Orange County. And today, the state absolutely struck back against the defense, after the defense puts up a 13-day defense, a lot of testimony. They brought in a lot of family testimony. All together, the Anthony family took the stand 19 times, Candy.

And what we saw today was the state bringing on Ginteva, a national corporation listed on NASDAQ. That is who Cindy Anthony works for -- records to absolutely refute Cindy Anthony's testimony that she -- and I've got the quote here for you -- "If those searches were made, I made them." She was asked directly, specifically, about the day the deadly computer searches were made how to make chloroform, to break necks, ruptured spleen, turning household items into weapons, Candy. They gave her precise minutes the searches were made. And she says under oath, if those searches were made, I did it. I was home that day.

Well, today the state brings in the record keeper from Ginteva to show Cindy was working at her computer. It is password sensitive. In fact, she was updating patients' histories in her computer at those exact times. Which -- bottom line -- tot mom and her defense attorney Jose Baez set her own mother up for perjury charges.

CROWLEY: I was going to ask you that, that sort of would seem to come next and there's nothing quite so brutal as facts. And it now seems to me that perhaps going into what will be final arguments -- you tell me -- who has the edge going into this? You've watched this trial. In the end, the last moments count, don't they?

GRACE: Yes, they really do, because it's funny how it works that way, Candy. You go through weeks and weeks of trial. You want to get the last word into the jury because it will be ringing in their ears when they go out to the jury room to deliberate. In this case, the state has the burden. They have the choice of starting opening statements. The defense in the middle and the state at the end.

Or as they often do, they reserve the opening/closing argument and save it all for the end, so they will have the final strong word to the defense. What we've seen now, Cindy Anthony was one of the best witnesses for the state. So, they don't want to destroy her. They want her for the credibility of their own case.

But what we have seen -- and this is how it would strike me as a juror, tot mom used her mother, set her up for perjury to take the rap, blamed her father of sexual abuse. And as George Anthony cried on the stand, tot mom smirked. And her brother Lee claiming he also sexually molested her and then they never asked Lee about that when they finally put him on the stand. They used every Anthony family member to tot mom's benefit, and to their detriment.

That's how it would strike me as a juror.

CROWLEY: Closing arguments are Sunday. Help us -- tell us about juries. Help us read this jury. You see so much of people saying, well, if they come in quickly, that means it's a decision of guilty, or if they take a long time it means it's going to be not guilty. So, help us with those sorts of statements we hear al the time on TV and elsewhere.

GRACE: Yes. Well, let me throw a technical legal phrase at you, Candy.

CROWLEY: OK.

GRACE: All that is complete B.S., all right? Because I tried somewhere over 100 cases and I've heard all that, too. And I've had juries out for a long time and juries out for an hour or so.

I remember one night, Candy -- this is right down the street from CNN Center -- we kept a jury out until midnight. At about 10 to 12:00, I walked in from my office and said, hey, let's order them a pizza for Pete's sake. And right then, we heard the buzzer ring that they had a verdict.

Now, this is a jury much like that. It's July 4th weekend. They want this to be over. So, unless you've got a hang up in there which may be juror number four, I don't think it's going to take them days on end to come back with a verdict.

If they come back with murder one, they'll go straight into a penalty phase which is like a mini trial. It will be the same jury that will determine whether she gets life or the death penalty.

CROWLEY: Wow. The reason I love talking to you, Nancy, is you do not mince words ever. Thank you so much. Host of HLN's "Nancy Grace," I really appreciate your time.

GRACE: Hey, thank you, Candy.

CROWLEY: Up next, a deadly day in Syria. CNN goes inside the anti-government demonstrations.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: It is absolutely clear that the Syrian government is running out of time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking today during a visit to Lithuania about another day of deadly violence across Syria. According to reports, 24 people were killed in protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. CNN is the only U.S. network on the ground in Syria. And, today, for the first time, we have the only video of anti-government demonstrations that we were able to shoot ourselves.

CNN's Hala Gorani is in Damascus, joining me now. Hala, just tell me what the stat us is now, what went on today?

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there were very large demonstrations across the country, Candy, that we can say for sure. We can't put a number on that. It's always difficult to put a number on demonstrations. But the images coming from Hama are quite remarkable, at least tens of thousands of people. Activists are saying hundreds of thousands.

What this means for the regime, Candy, is that more than three months into the unrest in this country, demonstrators are still pouring out on to the streets despite the fact there are real risks associated with protesting. Hama is the particularly interesting. It is a site of a massacre in 1982 during the regime of the father of the current president, Bashar al-Assad. And the military and security forces have essentially withdrawn from the city center.

And the smaller military presence is encouraging, it seems, people to come out on to the streets. And some are saying this is perhaps the defining moment for the opposition and the government. Will it be more tolerant of dissent or will more crackdowns come the way down the line, Candy?

CROWLEY: In fact, some people have compared the main square in Hama to Tahrir Square in Cairo, which really became the place where freedom started.

Do people in Syria, are they looking for that same kind of outcome? Do they truly believe they can overthrow this regime?

GORANI: That's a very interesting question. I've been in touch with activists often online. They're a little bit too scared to speak to us in person.

And the young secular activists talk about Tahrir Square a lot. They say, "We want to demonstrate. We want to protest, but we don't want the protest to start at the mosque." Many of these protests start at mosques and demonstrators pour out on to the sites and it becomes a bigger movement.

They want their other Tahrir Square and are afraid they might not get it in this country.

The opposition is very complex in Syria. It's a little bit different from what we saw in Egypt. It was more of a middle class, secular tech-savvy youth movement.

Here, you have a little bit of everything. You have those motivated by the clerics. You have those who are young who want a transition to democracy. You want those who want the fall of the regime. You want the intellectuals who are willing to discuss things within the framework of the authoritarian system.

So, really, one thing we know for sure is that the opposition is not united. And perhaps, it hasn't reached the tipping point where it's strong enough to make a dent in the regime of Bashar al-Assad -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Our thanks to Hala Gorani in Damascus.

Joining us now for more perspective, former presidential adviser and CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen.

David, we heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton say again today that President Assad is running out of time to open up a dialogue. Do you see -- this is the first time we've heard that either -- do you see these pushes from the United States making any difference in the performance of the Syrian government?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I'm not sure they are making a difference yet in the performance of the government. But, clearly, the United States is hardening its position now against the Assad regime. There were calls for reform from the American government for a long time, saying basically he had a choice of reform or go.

And, now, increasingly, Secretary Clinton is arguing he's not reforming. That leaves only one option.

There is also a gathering sense, I think, in Washington that maybe Turkey will step in before this is over. The Turks have more influence in Syria than we do. And Erdogan, the leader of Turkey, were to say Assad has to go that, would have a big devastating impact on Assad.

So, I do think right now there is a sense in Washington that not only is Assad not going to reform, but that the opposition is toughening up. Yes, it's not united, but it's persistent, isn't it, every Friday. And soon, not far away in August comes Ramadan. And as the saying goes, during Ramadan in August, every day is a Friday.

CROWLEY: You know, David, I realize that these sort of repeated warnings from the U.S. give heart to the protestors, send signals to our allies in the region. But I wonder if there is any down side to repeated warnings that don't have an "or else" to them.

GERGEN: That's an interesting question, Candy. My sense of what's been reported coming out of the State Department, is they are reluctant to get specific to absolutely say Assad must go, simply because they do not think they have the capacity to get him out of there. And they don't want the United States looking like a paper tiger with regard to Syria.

You know, we've had enough problems trying to get Gadhafi to go. But I, right now, I think the United States is in a waiting game, trying to toughen sanctions, harden up the rhetoric, seeing if others will join and recognizing that these protestors are not going away. You know, a lot of people got killed today. There are going to be more protestors next Friday.

CROWLEY: You heard Hala report that today, what looked like a turning point in Syria. Is this a moment where you as presidential advisor to President Obama that you would say, you need to take advantage of this and how would he do it?

GERGEN: I think, again, the best thing the president can do is not make a lot of public pronouncements and beat his chest because that runs all the risks we just spoke about. I think quiet diplomacy here to try to get a ring of countries around Assad to tighten the noose, to encourage the Turks to take a tougher position, to make sure the Europeans try to isolate Assad and make it clear his days are numbered.

I do think he's tattering. And just as in Libya, I think what we see in both Libya now and Syria is regimes that are on the edge and may well fall here in a matter of weeks.

CROWLEY: CNN senior political analyst David Gergen -- thank you so much.

GERGEN: Thank you.

CROWLEY: Up next, personal finance expert Suze Orman with advice about your financial future.

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CROWLEY: But midnight last night was a key moment for the 2012 race for the White House. It marked the end for a quarterly period of fundraising for candidates, including President Obama. The campaigns much report by July 15th how much money they raised. And because the Republican field is so large, the news may not be good for many GOP candidates.

Jeff Zeleny is a national political correspondent for "The New York Times."

Jeff, thank you for being with us tonight.

You've looked at some of the fundraising numbers. So, who gets the lead here? What's the most interesting story?

JEFF ZELENY, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Candy, without a doubt to me, the leader in the fundraising pack is Mitt Romney. No surprise at all. He's really been spending almost every day, several times a day over the last three months, raising money in all corners of the country. He's going to come in around $20 million or so, which, of course, is a good number. But it's perhaps not as big of a number that's they were hoping to really solidify themselves as a front- runner.

You know, perhaps three or four weeks ago, some of his advisors were not dissuading reporters from, you know, a $30 million figure or even more than that. They are coming in at $20 million. So, they are saying it's really harder to raise money than they had hoped.

But, by and large, they outpace everyone else in the field pretty substantially.

CROWLEY: Or do you take that or do they take that as a sign of Republicans not yet quite into it or a sign of a weakness on Romney's part?

ZELENY: Of course, the Romney people will say, you know, it's because of this economy, it's because of this Obama economy that people aren't writing as big a checks as they used to. I'm not sure about that. The economy is probably not hurting some of those people who are writing checks in the first place.

The contributors we talked to, there's still, (a), sense of fatigue from last year, the midnight elections, but more than that, some fundraisers and donors are not sure who they're with. They still are not thrilled at the field. They're still wondering if others are going to get in the race, like Texas Governor Rick Perry, for example, you know, and perhaps some others.

So, I think that a lot of fundraisers and bundlers are sitting on the sidelines still wondering if someone else coming in or if not, they're not quite sure yet who they're with.

CROWLEY: Is there a sidebar story. We expected that Romney, even though he maybe have underperformed a bit, is there a sidebar story , a someone who over-performed or under-performed even if their numbers are lower?

ZELENY: I think Michelle Bachmann's fundraising number, which we don't know exactly what she's going to have. But, boy, she could sure raise money when she was a member of Congress running for her House seat last year, raised some $13 million, more than any other member of Congress.

So, I'm going to be watching to see if she's able to do that in a presidential campaign as well. She raised her money in very small chunks in monthly chunks actually, $25 a month throughout the whole year. If she's able to do, we'll have sort of a Howard Dean-like phenomenon in terms of a lot of money.

But in terms of other people, there weren't that many bright sides for people with the exception of maybe Ron Paul from Texas. He's also able to raise a lot of in small chunks.

CROWLEY: And let me just turn to the president. They had a $60 million fundraising goal for this quarter. We still don't know if they reached it. It's my experience they don't set those goals unless they are sure they're going to reach them.

But, nonetheless, are we getting any sense of whether they are getting those small donations that they put so much stake in, the kind of shows that the president has this sort of very broad support?

ZELENY: They definitely hope they're going to get those small donations. And they were trying every gimmick. You know, have dinner with the president, have dinner with the vice president. You know, buy a bumper sticker. Buy t-shirt. All these raffles and contests.

You know, the people in Chicago are really being creative. One of the reasons they want these small donation it's because, (a), it's a sign of support, but it also brings down the average contribution size. Some of these people are writing checks for, you know, some $38,000 for the joint committee between the president's re-elect and Democratic National Committee contribution so they are trying to even this out.

But I'm with you. I think they wouldn't have set the $60 million if they didn't reach it. I'm not sure if they'll hit $80 million or not, but somewhere between , you know, $60 million and $70 million probably.

But those small donations are the people that they are, are the most concerned about the enthusiasm among these most fervent supporters who were so with him last time.

I think that if you talk to anybody at the Chicago headquarters, they will candidly say that they have some work to do on that score.

CROWLEY: I want to ask you something about Michele Bachmann, simply because CNN Wolf Blitzer had an interview with Bill Clinton, where he was complimentary about Romney and about Governor Huntsman. But he also said about Michel Bachmann. "I think she comes off as real. I don't agree with a lot of her things, but she's a compelling public figure."

You were out there when she announced. How did she come across to you and how did she interact with that crowd?

ZELENY: I think you're right, Candy, and I think the former president is right. She does come across as real.

And she's such an in the moment politician. A lot of other people who are running are former governors. She's a current member of Congress. And the difference with that is, that means she's in the fight.

She was on the front lines of the mid-term election fight last year, the front lines of the Tea Party movement. And she does sound real and not like your average politician.

You know, I think she's a great summer time candidate, Republicans are enthused to hear her sort of brand of medicine, her tough medicine against the Democrats and in some cases, the Republican Party.

But, you know, I think that we'll have to see if she can do more than that, to see if she can win the nomination.

CROWLEY: "New York Times" national political correspondent, Jeff Zeleny -- I will see you on trail, Jeff. Thanks.

ZELENY: Candy, thanks.

CROWLEY: If Governor Rick Perry runs for the GOP presidential nomination, he will have quite a talking point. "TIME" magazine quotes the Federal Reserve bank of Dallas is saying that Texas has created more jobs than any other state since the end of the recession in 2009, 37 percent of all new American jobs.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Austin tonight.

Ed, most of these states struggling with unemployment. What makes Texas different?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it depends on who you talk to. But I think even in Democratic and Republican circles here in the state, they kind of credit the low cost doing business and also this state has just been able to whether the economic storm better than most. It wasn't hard hit by the real estate crisis and that sort of thing. Unemployment here has remained below the national average even though it's still higher than most people would like to see it.

But take that combination into effect and I think that's why you see a lot of people on both side of the political aisle saying that's why Texas has been able to whether this storm.

CROWLEY: Ed, I want to play you something that's going to be on our program on Sunday, where we're doing a lot of talk about the American Dream, one of them having a solid job and the other having a solid retirement. Take listen to Suze Orman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUZE ORMAN, FINANCIAL EXPERT: You used to hear people say all the time I want to work until I'm 60. Maybe I'll retire when I'm 62 and then start to collect social security. Now, the probability and even the possibility, Candy, of them being able to retire at 59 1/2, 62 is nil. Most people are going to have to work, if they have a job, that's a whole other story, but they are is going to have work until they are about 67 or 70 simply to be able to get by.

So, it's really, really, really sad that that American Dream has changed dramatically by about seven years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Ed, you travel all over Texas, covering all manner of things, they have a good job record there. But do you sense that even in a place that's creating jobs, the American Dream seems a little out of -- more out of reach than it used to?

LAVANDERA: You know, that's a good question. First of all, that's the most depressing sound bite I could ever imagine hearing on a Friday night after a long workweek. But, you know, we've spent the week travel, started out in south Texas made our way up to Austin and, you really get the sense, talking to people endlessly about how things are. Yes, they feel like they're going to have to be working a long time and a lot of people don't mind that necessarily. I think you hear a lot of people say, I don't -- I wouldn't know what to do if I did retire.

But at the same time, I think there's a difference between working because you want to work and working because you have to work.

CROWLEY: Ed, I'm sorry to depress you. Have a Happy Fourth nonetheless.

That is all from us tonight.

"IN THE ARENA" starts right now.