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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Massacre and Deceit in Syria; Developments in the Trayvon Martin Case; Obama Versus Romney on Economy
Aired April 9, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Brooke, thanks very much.
Good evening, everyone. We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest." In just a couple of hours we're going to know for sure whether Syria's dictatorship can keep the promise it made to pull troops and tanks out of towns and cities to take snipers off rooftops. In short to stop killing its own people. And reducing their homes, like this little girl's grandfather's house, to rubble.
"Who did this?" The man in the tape asks. "Bashar," she says, as she stands on what it looks like the remains of -- of a living room judging by the sofa cushions on the floor. Now the girl, we don't know her name, about 2 1/2, 3 years old, is obviously too young to understand what is happening, but she knows enough to say the name. She's been told who's responsible. Bashar al-Assad.
Two weeks ago after ordering and overseeing a yearlong campaign of repression followed by outright carnage, he promised the U.N. to stop. The formal deadline tomorrow morning.
Now back when he agreed to that U.N. troop pullout proposal on March 27th, he toured the streets of Homs. We're showing you two videos side by side, one of his photo-op that day, the dictator. The other, the bombardment that was going on in the hours before he arrived in Homs and after he left, and almost every day since then.
That day when the dictator of Syria was smiling for the cameras, 57 people died, say activists. Today in Homs and across Syria tanks rolled, shells exploded, snipers fired, and at least 145 people died, according to the opposition. In other words, the slaughter goes on.
More than 700 have been killed since Assad announced a cease-fire on April 2nd. Nearly 1100 since he agreed to that U.N. proposal just two weeks ago. This is video claiming to show victims of a mass execution in Homs. According to the opposition one neighborhood there has seen eight straight days of heavy bombardment.
Now parts of the city still, after all this time, being blown to pieces, burned to the ground. In some neighborhoods, the opposition says troops have been looting, randomly killing civilians on the streets, even blowing up an ambulance.
Now as always we can't independently verify the video because independent journalists are kept out of the country and sometimes killed if they are managed to sneak in.
Today, though, there's yet more reason to believe that what you see is real and not what the regime says. A new report from Human Rights Watch titled "In Cold Blood." The money (ph) quote, quote, "Syrian security forces have summarily executed scores and possibly hundreds of civilians and opposition fighters during their intensified offensive on cities and towns since December 2011."
The report is based on interviews with more than 30 eyewitnesses including this man, who watched fellow opposition members massacred in the middle of the city of Idlib.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A shell was dropped precisely on al-Dabil roundabout. There were eight people, sir were killed right away. I was watching through binoculars Six dies right away and two were still alive. They were executed by soldiers on foot. They urinated on them, they shot them, the tanks drove over them and started approaching us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There's video which we're not showing of government troops claiming a human trophy. Mounting a man's body on the front of their tank. And by now you've seen the mangled bodies of tortured kids and people shoved into car trunks. This video months old now. All the rest.
Again, the regime has spent month after month denying it all. They've promised to stop. So far it hasn't and doubts are growing that it will. The U.N. Secretary General's Office says the regime is actually been ramping up violence in advance of the deadline. Over the weekend the regime unilaterally demanded new concessions from opposition forces.
Tonight on "JOHN KING, USA" John asked America's U.N. ambassador the tough question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, ANCHOR, JOHN KING, USA: Let me ask you. Answer the critics who say the United Nations and Kofi Annan have been played. That the death toll has gone up by more than a thousand since he was appointed special envoy, that Assad has simply used this diplomacy as cover to kill more people.
SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Well, I don't think it's a question of the United Nations or Anan being played. I think both in the Security Council and in the secretariat and Annan himself have been very clear eyed about the Syrian government, its motives, and its behavior to date. The question is whether there's still the opportunity, however slim, for there to be a diplomatic resolution to this over-year-long conflict.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Joining us now, CIA -- former CIA officer, Robert Baer, currently his TIME.com's intelligence columnist. Also, Princeton University's Anne-Marie Slaughter. Until recently she was head of Policy Planning at the State Department -- State Department.
Bob, do you think the U.N. has been played?
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: I think Bashar al-Assad has bought time. He knows what he's doing. His intention is the same as it's always been. And that's destroy the opposition. He intends to wipe them out. He's not going to negotiate. He doesn't care what the U.N. wants. Yes, U.S. have been played.
COOPER: Anne-Marie, I mean, is there any reason for anyone in the world, the U.N., the Arab League, Kofi Anna, whoever, to believe what Bashar al-Assad says about doing a cease-fire?
ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, FORMER DIR. OF POLICY PLANNING, STATE DEPARTMENT: Anderson, I agree with Bob. I don't think he's going to stop. I don't think there's any reason any of us should expect him to stop tomorrow. He has broken one promise after another and he will say whatever it takes to give him more chance to keep killing.
COOPER: Bob, you say Kofi Anna can be in Damascus every other day and it won't make any difference.
BAER: Not at all. I mean this regime, we have to go back and look what they're fighting for. They're fighting for their survival. I talked to someone in the regime not long ago and he said about -- they figure about 30 percent of the people support Bashar al-Assad. Not because of him but they're afraid of what the opposition is going to do. And he told me they will hold on until the bitter end until one side is completely won.
COOPER: And Anne-Marie, I mean, is there still a time for resolving this diplomatically?
SLAUGHTER: Well, I think actually the U.S. government and other allies have been right to give it every possible chance for diplomatic resolution. But I do think that time is at an end. I think Kofi Annan did what he could do. He got people on board. But it's going to be clear that that's not going to solve things. And at this point either we're going to have to say we more or less accept the situation we have now where Assad is going to just keep killing or we not only keep tightening economic sanctions, other sanctions, but we start moving toward real -- a real possibility of military action.
COOPER: And Bob, what would that look like, military action? I mean, we're not talking about U.S. boots on the ground certainly. John McCain has talked about international air strikes. There's also, I guess, arming opposition. What do you see as options?
BAER: Well, I think first of all it's key what Anne-Marie was saying is that we're moving to a worse situation as we speak. Unless there's some sort of a miracle that occurs tonight or tomorrow, we're going to see this violence spread. We're going to see it spread more into Lebanon. There was a killing there today in Lebanon. There's been killings in Turkey. A shooting across the border. And once this thing starts to spread beyond Syria's borders, I think it's fairly inevitable we're going to have to use air assets to destroy his armor and take his air assets out of -- out of the air.
COOPER: Anne-Marie, you agree with that?
SLAUGHTER: I do. We're in agreement tonight. But I think there was a shooting across the border into Turkey today. The Syrian army was chasing Free Syrian Army rebels and shot into Turkey. Killed a Turkish policeman. This is going to spread into Turkey, into Lebanon, possibly even into Jordan. And I don't think we're going to have a choice. I think we're going to -- there's going to have to be a military move I still think in conjunction with safe zones that will effectively stop this now or have it spread into a regional conflict.
COOPER: So what would that -- I mean, what would that look like, Anne-Marie? In terms of -- you say air strikes to stop armor and movement of Syrian forces. Would there then also have to be arming of opposition forces?
SLAUGHTER: Well, arming of opposition forces is going on now. There are the Qataris, the Saudis have acknowledged that's what they're doing. The United States is now providing communications and intelligence equipment to allow the Free Syrian Army at least to track the moves of the Syrian army. But I think what would have to happen is not a Libya-style intervention, but actually the declaration of a safe zone at least on the Turkish border.
The Turks have been talking about doing this for six months. And then what you do is create basically a no fly zone, a no drive zone enforced by air support both from the region and probably from NATO.
COOPER: And Bob, you at one point talked about a kill zone as well.
BAER: Well, yes, that's a little bit -- you know -- look. Sending tanks to kill your own people --
SLAUGHTER: That's not what he meant.
BAER: Yes. Exactly. Is going to -- is just going to make the situation worse. And early on, I realized politically we couldn't do it. But keeping those tanks out of the city is very important. Because Bashar al-Assad intends to, as I said, destroy these people and destroy these cities. It's just like his father Hamm in 1982. And it's made the situation worse. And I think we're coming close to having to do something about it.
COOPER: Anne-Marie slaughter, appreciate your time tonight. Robert Baer as well. Thank you.
Let us know what you think up there. We're on Facebook, Google Plus. Follow me on Twitter at Andersoncooper. We'll be tweeting about this tonight as well.
Major developments in the Trayvon Martin case. A big decision about how to conduct the investigation and for the first time the shooter George Zimmerman. He's speaking out. For the first time we are hearing directly from him. You may be surprised what he's asking for. You may not be. We'll tell you what that is in just a moment.
COOPER: Hey, welcome back.
So two big develops tonight in the Trayvon Martin case. First, Florida's special prosecutor, Angela Corey, announced she's going to be conducting investigations to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin without the services of a grand jury which was scheduled to convene tomorrow. And under state law, she can bring charges without a grand jury.
We're going to talk to our legal analyst about what this means, why no grand jury, in just a moment.
Second big development. The shooter George Zimmerman is speaking out. He's set up a Web site called TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com. On it is a statement, and I quote, "On Sunday February 26th, I was involved in a life-altering event which led me to become the subject of intense media coverage. As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately my entire life."
He goes on to say, "This Web site's sole purpose is to ensure my supporters they are receiving my full attention without any intermediaries."
Zimmerman also includes a PayPal link for donations and he says he cannot vouch for other Web sites claiming, he says, to be raising money on his behalf.
Let's talk about this now to react to that and today's decision to forego a grand jury, we're joined by the Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump.
Mr. Crump, thanks for being with us. You made it clear you didn't really want this case to go to the grand jury, saying before that a grand jury is, quote, "bad." What do you -- what did you mean by that? And what do you make of the decision not to have the grand jury now?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, Anderson, we've always believed that convening a grand jury was passing the buck. We thought from day one as we've always believed there was enough evidence there to simply arrest George Zimmerman. We were not asking that he be convicted, but a simple arrest. And over the last 42 days as evidence has unfolded, we think there's a plethora of evidence to simply affect probable cause to arrest George Zimmerman.
He would still have his day in court. He can argue whatever legal claims he wants. But an arrest -- the parents are only asking for simple justice. Nothing more, nothing less, Anderson. If that was your child or anybody child in this world, they would want the person who killed their unarmed teenager to be arrested.
COOPER: When we talked a couple of weeks ago, I think it was, maybe two weeks ago now, you said you were -- you didn't have confidence that he would be arrested. Are you -- are you confident now he will be arrested? Or -- what's your read on this now?
CRUMP: Well, I felt if it would have went to a grand jury, that caused us a lot of concern. Anderson, we as the lead attorney for the family and all our legal team, we're extensions of our clients in a lot of ways. They have a lot of faith. And they're trying to have patience. And they are wanting to believe in the system that it's going to do right by them.
CRUMP: And so they are wanting to believe that an arrest is going to be made. In talking with the special prosecutor, they say they're doing a thorough job of the investigation. And we're believing them. Sybrina and Tracy, they are trying to believe, or follow their heart in the system.
COOPER: Right. As I said, we heard from George Zimmerman for the first time today on this Web site that we verified is an official Web site of George Zimmerman. He's basically asking for donations saying he's going to, quote, "Ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment." There's an American flag in the background.
How do you respond -- what are your thoughts on the Web site and what he has to say on it?
CRUMP: Well, I say this, Anderson. If the situation was reversed, Trayvon Martin would have been arrested day one, hour one. George Zimmerman has been free for 42 days and I think very simply put, we believe he should have been arrested and put into jail. And then if he bonded out, he could do whatever he wanted to do.
But this situation with this Web site now and everything is a luxury that Trayvon Martin doesn't have and we believe he never would have had. And it's one of those things that his parents want George Zimmerman to have his day in court. They are good people. And they want everything to be fair. But in being fair, they think that George Zimmerman, the killer of their son, should be arrested just as if it was reversed, Mr. Cooper.
COOPER: Two sources told WFTB today that they think George Zimmerman will be arrested this week. Have you been given any indication to back that up?
CRUMP: Well, Miss Corey has said that her and her staff are doing a thorough investigation. And we look at her not impounding the grand jury as a positive thing. Because that means she either feels she's going to have enough evidence gathered from her investigation to effect -- to wait probable cause to arrest the killer of this unarmed teen, Trayvon Martin.
CRUMP: Who if you -- it's just the whole world is saying Trayvon was unarmed. Zimmerman was the person who pursued him from all objective evidence. Don't take my word for it. It's what you see in that video and what you hear on those 911 tapes. And the phone log records of his girlfriend.
It connects the dots, Anderson. There's more than enough evidence to just arrest him.
COOPER: Mr. Crump, I appreciate your time. Benjamin Crump, thank you.
Want to bring in our legal team now tonight. Criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeffrey, why would a prosecutor decide not go forward with the grand jury?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is the normal way cases proceed in Florida. There are two ways you can go. You can go -- basically the prosecutor deciding to bring charges. That's the way it works most of the time in Florida. Or you can go to a grand jury which is used only for especially complex cases.
I think the prosecutor deserves a lot of credit. In these high- profile cases the prosecutors always get in trouble when they try to do something special. This is the routine way to go. This puts all the pressure on her. She doesn't have to -- she can't pass the buck to a grand jury. It's all on her. But this is the responsible decision she made.
COOPER: Mark, Mark, how much does public pressure play in a case like this? I mean does it have -- what kind of effect does it have on a prosecutor?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it always has an effect on a prosecutor and I couldn't agree more with Mr. Crump and with Jeff in two ways. Part of this decision to not go to a grand jury, normally when you go to a grand jury, anything the prosecutor asks for, they get.
I think in this case this would be the one exception where you have seen, I think, the split in public opinion and generally the people who sit in a grand jury are more conservative and less of color. I think there was always the possibility that if she went to a grand jury, they would have returned no bill which is like lightning striking.
And here I think Jeff's right. She's taken responsibility for it. And ultimately I think this increases the odds dramatically that Zimmerman is going to get arrested. COOPER: Jeff -- I'm sorry. You think it is increasing the odds that he's going to get arrested?
GERAGOS: Yes. I think that when she says we're not going to go to the grand jury which is the usual thing. Normally in Florida just like here in California, in the state court system, they rarely use the grand jury. I think that going to the grand jury in this case could have been a real problem. You could have had a grand jury that would have rejected and returned a no bill. I think here this is -- this is a pretty good sign of also combined with the statement that's attributed to her, that an arrest is imminent.
COOPER: Jeff, I've been reading some comments on Twitter about this case tonight after I tweeted some stuff. And people are saying look, it's outrageous that George Zimmerman would be asking for money. And that this is the first we've heard from him. Anybody who's involved in a legal battle like this is going to be counseled, do not be make public statements, do not be giving interviews.
TOOBIN: Right. I mean I can't say I blame him for putting up this Web site. Especially since there are people allegedly raising money in his name which his a completely phony operation. Now he writes is -- you know, is very bland, he's not making any statements really one way or another that can be used against him.
I mean, obviously, it's -- there's something a little distasteful. I mean we all know he caused the death of Trayvon Martin. You know, whether it was a crime or not is obviously what we're talking about. But, you know, he is incurring enormous legal fees and I --
COOPER: Not going to be able to work.
TOOBIN: Yes. So I don't --
COOPER: Who's going to hire him and --
COOPER: Right. Mark, if a client you were defending came to you and said they wanted to start a Web site like this, what would you tell them to do?
GERAGOS: I'd said talk to my tech guy, let's get it up immediately. I've done it. I've done it on multiple occasions. You know, far be it for anybody -- I think it's -- there's an irony here. People always say let's let the free market work. If he can't afford to pay lawyers, and the lawyers don't want to do it pro bono, they're going to have a public defender.
I've got a client right now who's got a Web site up. And you know, frankly it saves the taxpayers money. And I don't see that there's anything wrong with it. You know, Scooter Libby who had tremendous resources at his disposal used a Web site as well. COOPER: Mark, I admire your strain for not mentioning your client's Web site.
TOOBIN: I thought the same thing. Boy.
GERAGOS: I was going to say -- I was going to say it but I thought it would be a shameless plug.
COOPER: Well, that's tremendous restrain on your part. It's fascinating.
So, Mark, you think -- you think an arrest is likely -- Jeff --
TOOBIN: I actually would not draw that conclusion. I mean I think this doesn't make it more or less likely. I think this is just the normal course. You know, this prosecutor has access to evidence that we don't have. She --
COOPER: We should point out for the record there's a lot we do not know.
TOOBIN: Exactly. I mean, you know, the key evidence in this case is what happened after he called 911 and when the shots were fired. We don't know if there are eyewitnesses to that. She has access to knocking on every door. Forensic reports. And we don't know that. And I just don't feel comfortable making a prediction in the absence of having all that important evidence.
COOPER: Yes. Admirable.
GERAGOS: See, I don't have any --
COOPER: Yes, Mark?
GERAGOS: I don't have any problem making that prediction. And the reason for it is that if they wanted to reject this case, the easy thing to do and actually frankly the passing-the-buck thing to do is to go in front of a grand jury and you know what your grand jury is going to go and you just kind of lay it off on them and let them reject it.
TOOBIN: There's no --
GERAGOS: I think to some degree it's easier this way to not have to be exposed to that.
TOOBIN: There's no question that grand juries have been used by that way by prosecutors in the past as a way of -- sort of disposing of cases. But I'm not -- I don't know that's happening in here.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, thank you. Mark Geragos, always good to have you on. Political battles heating up tonight over which party is more in touch with Americans' economic pain. Meantime the Gingrich campaign is signaling for the first time publicly that it really sees the writing on the wall. We're going to talk "Raw Politics". James Carville joins us ahead in just a moment.
COOPER: In "Raw Politics" this week it is all about which presidential candidate truly feels your pain. President Obama's team is rolling out an ambitious plan to cut loopholes and effectively raise taxes on the richest Americans and they say opponents of the idea including Republican Mitt Romney are out-of-touch with ordinary voters.
The Romney campaign says it's Obama is out of touch. According to White House's efforts to address Friday's jobs report. In response to senior White House adviser David Plouffe's claim that the overall trajectory the economy is heading in the right direction, the Romney camp released this statement today.
Quote, "After Friday's disappointing jobs report, the White House is trying to spin the nearly 23 million Americans struggling to find work as a good thing."
Now Democrats in turn are again accusing Republicans of playing politics with the economic recovery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: We've got a ways to go. We need to keep pushing. But what's really bothersome to me, Candy, is that it almost seems like my Republicans colleagues in Congress and Mitt Romney are rooting for economic failure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So both sides trying to paint the others out of touch or indifferent to ordinary Americans' plain. Earlier I talked about it all with Democratic strategist James Carville and Republican strategist Rich Galen.
COOPER: James, the Obama and Romney campaigns basically admit they're making the same argument about each other. That they -- they're out of touch. That the other is out of touch and they don't feel the pain of ordinary Americans. Does this kind of argument still resonate with voters?
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I think it does. And also I'm not sure -- I think Obama could be -- would seem a little aloof. But I think that's Romney's biggest problem. And I'm not sure why Romney wants to bring this issue front and center because he's not had a good primary when it comes to, like, connecting with ordinary people. But the truth of the matter is neither one of these guys are like a Clinton about "I feel your pain" kind of politician. It's not.
COOPER: Rich, it's going to boil down, though, to independents and how they interpret this argument, though, right?
RICH GALEN, FORMER GINGRICH PRESS SECRETARY: Yes. And I think that, you know, the Obama people are pretty smart. I mean they -- my guess is they are planning a campaign for -- in an economy where this is as good as it gets. Either it's going to be worse or no bitter -- not much bitterness because if it's a lot bitter then their problems sort of go away.
So they're planning for a campaign that really does turn on, to use a Clintonian or a -- yes, a Clintonian phrase, I feel your pain, which as James says neither one of these guys is very good at, I don't think either one believes.
COOPER: James, can the Obama campaign keep this from being a referendum on Obama?
CARVILLE: Well, I mean, first of all, they're just not going to -- they're not going to say, do you like this economy or not, because we know the answer to that. Do you want to go back to the economy we had before? And that Romney is doubling down and trickle down. That Romney wants to get more taxes to wealthy people, who didn't want to get out of Iraq, you know, he favors cutting programs that favor the middle class, sure. Who wouldn't want that sort of comparison?
COOPER: Rich, I want to play something that your former boss, Newt Gingrich had to say yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have to be realistic. Given the size of the organization, given the number of primaries he's won, he is far and away the most likely Republican nominee. If he does get to 1,144 delegates, I'll support him. I'll do anything I can this fall to help him defeat Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's a very different Newt Gingrich than the one that vowed to fight all the way to Tampa. Isn't it?
GALEN: Yes, two things have happened in the past week. One, Newt lost to Ron Paul in all three elections last Tuesday night, number one.
Number two, he is now in fourth place in the public polling behind Ron Paul. And thirdly, I thought about this overnight. You know, the Center for Health Transformation is his held think tank went out of business last week.
COOPER: Declared bankruptcy.
GALEN: Yes. I think -- I really think that that affected Newt because he had a lot in that. He worked very hard for that. I'm not saying he thinks it's his fault, but to a great degree if he had still been there, that would still be going.
So I think all these things sort of weigh on him and he's sort of said OK, enough already. I'm going to be a Romney guy and let's get on with this.
COOPER: So James, I mean, could this be a sign that the post primary healing process in the Republican Party may not be as difficult to pull off as Democrats hope to would be or expected it?
CARVILLE: Well, I think that everybody, most Democrats -- repair their relationship with Gingrich and Santorum. Large constituents within the Republican Party that are still unenthusiastic about Mitt Romney.
I don't think that Speaker Gingrich or Santorum or Paul will be able to bring him on without action on the part of Romney. He's got the work cut out for him.
By the way, I really agree with Rich. I mean, Newt has put a lot on the line, lost a lot in doing this. But it's something he always wanted to do. I guess in the end he went out and did it, but it's great personal and financial cost to him to do it.
COOPER: But James, doesn't he also gain a lot? I mean, just in terms of future speaking fees, I imagine he is much more valuable now on the speaker circuit where he makes a lot of money.
CARVILLE: You know, I'm on that circuit myself. I think he was doing pretty well before. Again, I think he was making money from some of his other organizations.
He's probably lost a lot. I think he's $4.5 million into personal debt. It would have to speak for a long time to make up with this cost, I suspect.
GALEN: Yes, he said he was making $65,000 a speech, which is a hundred times what I make.
COOPER: Rich, we'll see what we can do about that.
COOPER: Rich Galen, thank you. James Carville, thanks.
CARVILLE: Thank you. You bet.
COOPER: Well, sad news, legendary journalist, as you know, Mike Wallace who's known for tough questions, competitive drive, inspired generations of young journalists passed away this weekend.
Just ahead, we're going to look back at his life, his legacy. And we're going to talk to Lesley Stahl, Mike colleague from "60 Minutes" about her memories of Mike Wallace.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: The world of journalism lost one of its greatest investigative reporters this weekend. Mike Wallace died Saturday night just a month shy of his 94th birthday.
Not very many people live up to the accolade legendary, but Mike Wallace certainly did. He set the bar for generations of us. In a moment I'll talk to Mike "60 Minutes" Lesley Stahl, but first a look back at some of his remarkable career.
COOPER (voice-over): He was known for his tough questions.
MIKE WALLACE: I'm not sitting in judgment. I'm simply asking a question.
COOPER: A feared interviewer described even by friends and colleagues as relentless, driven, and competitive beyond belief.
WALLACE: You haven't answered the question, Mr. President.
COOPER: His aggressive interview style made Mike Wallace one of the most well known and respected journalists of our time. Born in Myron Wallace on May 9th, 1918 in Brookline, Massachusetts, he later traded the name Myron for Mike.
After graduating from college in 1939, Wallace began his career in radio in Michigan before landing a series of television jobs in Chicago.
WALLACE: Ladies and gentlemen, let us meet Professor Ludwig Von Integrity.
COOPER: Wallace found success in New York City with an interview show called "Night Beat," which then went national as the "Mike Wallace Interview" on ABC.
WALLACE: I think you will agree a good many people hated your husband. They even hated you.
COOPER: Wallace had also explored acting, hosted a game show, and appeared in commercials decided to devote his career to journalism after the death of his son in 1962, a way to honor his son's memory.
He was hired by CBS News in 1963 as a correspondent. Five years later, CBS launched "60 Minutes" with Mike Wallace as one of its primary correspondents.
WALLACE: There's been recent talk of style and charisma. Have you given no thought to this aspect of campaigning and of leading?
COOPER: During the Watergate scandal, Wallace won recognition for his interrogation of White House staffers including this interview with Nixon's right hand man, John Ehrlichman.
WALLACE: Perjury, plans to audit tax returns, bogus opinion polls, plans to fire bomb a building, conspiracy to obstruct justice, all of this by the law and order administration of Richard Nixon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a question in there somewhere?
COOPER: Audiences began to tune into "60 Minutes" to watch Wallace's interviews. Before long, he became a household name. During the Iran hostage crisis in 1979, Wallace confronted the Ayatollah Khomeini.
WALLACE: President Sadat of Egypt, a devoutly religious man. A Muslim says that what you are doing now is quote, "a disgrace to Islam." And he calls you imam, forgive me, his words not mine, a lunatic.
COOPER: Khomeini answered by correctly predicting Sadat's assassination. Wallace also pioneered the so-called ambush interview presenting unsuspecting interviewees with evidence of their wrong doing.
WALLACE: Now if selling phony university degrees was a hazardous occupation, hanging one on your office wall when "60 Minutes" walk in could be downright embarrassing. You're not a medical doctor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not.
COOPER: Wallace's style was sometimes unpopular with viewers. Fans protested this emotional interview with Barbara Streisand in 1991.
WALLACE: You know what your mother told me about her relationship with you.
BARBARA STREISAND: What?
WALLACE: She says you haven't got time to be close to anyone. Quote and --
STREISAND: She said to anyone or did she say to her?
WALLACE: That's your own mom. Even know mom's judgment stings.
STREISAND: You like this. That 40 million people have to see me, like do this.
COOPER: But Mike Wallace never backed down.
WALLACE: There was no talk about steroids.
COOPER: He continued on with "60 Minutes" for some 40 years until his last broadcast in 2008. He always wanted to be known as a tough reporter who was also fair. He also wanted to get the story first. This is what he told "The New York Times" in 2006.
WALLACE: I had probably not necessarily undeserved reputation of being a prick, of stealing stories from my colleagues. I mean, it's just competition. Get the story. Get it first.
COOPER: First of all, when you heard the news that Mike had passed, what went through your mind?
LESLEY STAHL, CBS NEWS: I thought, you know, I've known he's been sick. I've known that this was going to happen and I was still shocked. Now, that was yesterday. So I've thought about almost nothing since. And I've been smiling because I've been remembering Mike and I really liked him. He brought me to "60 Minutes".
COOPER: He brought you there?
STAHL: He brought me there, himself, and he went to bat for me. He brought me there. Then he kind of mentored me sort of. You'll love this. Here's a story. He calls me into his office one day.
He says the real secret, Lesley, is asking the really tough question that the public thinks you'll never ask, but when you ask it, you can't be embarrassed. You can't be timid.
You just have to ask it with total ease as if it's the most natural thing to do because if you're embarrassed about it, the audience will feel it. He said, you need to work on this.
COOPER: He was one of the first people who really greeted me when I started at "60 Minutes" too. And I remember he called me kid. And it was so thrilling that he would even acknowledge me and talk to me.
Later I did some stuff for an organization he was working with to raise money for folks with depression and suicide awareness and stuff. He also had this other side of being intensely competitive. I never really saw that because I kind of knew him toward the latter years.
STAHL: You saw it on television.
COOPER: I saw it on television certainly.
STAHL: But he was who he was.
COOPER: The folks, though, who work at "60 Minutes" were on the CBS morning show today with Charlie Rose. And I want to play some of what they said and have you speak.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were neighbors for 37 years -- 38 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meaning his office was next to your office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next door. And there were a couple of years in there which we didn't talk to each other. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You and Mike did not speak?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We communicated through other people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Mike -- how do I put this? Mike would steal stories.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would he steal stories?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. And I always thought that the worst thing than losing the story to Mike was actually getting a story from Mike on the rare occasion that it happened because the retribution would last for six years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Was it really -- would he really steal stories?
STAHL: He stole one from me.
STAHL: Barbara Streisand.
COOPER: He stole the Barbara Streisand --
STAHL: He did. I always thought if I stopped talking to him, he wouldn't know that I wasn't talking to him.
COOPER: How did he steal a story? He would hear you might be working on it?
STAHL: Yes. I was telling someone in the recording studio and he was there. He was waiting to get in to do his recording and he ran off. And then next thing I knew she had agreed to do it with him. I guess he called her.
STAHL: That'll teach her.
COOPER: Well, it's interesting. When I got to "60," I was surprised because even when you print out a document, a lot of times on AP, will go over to the printer to get it and make sure no one else sees it. Is that just a --
STAHL: No, it was just Mike. But you know, we're telling that story. I loved him. I totally loved him and I was -- I laughed. I laughed after about two weeks.
COOPER: Right, but he and Don Hewitt used to have fight. I mean, there used to be fights at "60 Minutes" like screaming match, isn't there? STAHL: Yes. They didn't talk at each other. They yelled at each other. But only occasionally did it get so bad that they weren't really talking with each over and you began to worry about the future of the show.
That happened over the tobacco story. Mostly they were yelling over the content of the piece and they cared. It really was a measure of the commitment they both had to getting it right. There's still a lot of fighting that goes on at "60 Minutes" over the content.
COOPER: That's what makes it such a great program.
STAHL: I loved it. It was high energy. It was commitment. It was integrity. It was all of those things.
COOPER: He was very public about his battles of depression and even a suicide attempt he talked about publicly. Worked along with Mary Wallace to raise money and raise awareness. And I did a number of interviews with him on the subject. Was that something you saw? Was that something you were aware of in the work place?
STAHL: Well, I wasn't aware of him being depressed in the work place. He was too much of an outgoing guy's guy. I never really sensed that myself.
But when he went public with his depression, it was early. It was before anyone else of his level ever did that. It was part of the man's fearlessness and courage. I mean, everything he did demonstrated fearlessness.
And that was huge in how many people he helped by going public and saying if the toughest guy in America has this disease, which people thought was a sign of weakness, had all different kinds of stigmas. If he could have it, then I'm OK admitting I have it. It was an enormous thing for him to have done publicly.
COOPER: Do -- one of the other things that Morley Safer said today on the CBS show was that despite all his fearlessness, Mike was unsure of himself in some ways maybe as a residue of having done entertainment stuff years before.
STAHL: I have to say I never saw that.
COOPER: You never saw that?
STAHL: No. Not for a second. I did see a boyishness or almost like a teenage boy quality in him that would pop out.
COOPER: His smile that would break out -- I watched old interviews of his -- was just amazing.
STAHL: Amazing and so there was this little boy in there. He would let it pop out. I never saw any sense of lack of self- confidence in Mike Wallace in anything.
I loved the stories he did that weren't with heads of states and crooks and so forth where he would just be smitten with Shirley MacLaine or have a crush on Tina Turner and let you see it.
And he really loved Vladimir Horowitz and let you see it. I thought he just was a guy and everything was out there. I am who I am. I'm honest in everything I do.
COOPER: I also think to have the career and the longevity he had in this business was extraordinary. He was working until he was 88.
STAHL: Eighty eight.
COOPER: Yes, I just think that's extraordinary.
STAHL: When he started "60 Minutes" with Don Hewitt, and the two of them created, he was 50.
COOPER: Wow. That's amazing.
STAHL: Of course, he'd already had a career in showbiz. He was an actor in radio and commercials. And you know, his son died in Greece and he turned -- he changed.
COOPER: That was really for him a major turning point. He decided after that -- his son had been doing writing. I remember him saying that he felt his son might become a reporter. He wanted to kind of be the reporter that his son would never be.
STAHL: He wanted to become a serious person who made a mark and he did. And he changed enormously and devoted himself to this.
COOPER: He at the same time was a remarkable performer. I don't mean that in a derogatory way. In addition to being a journalist, he would have a pause in a sentence. I don't know. It was so effective.
STAHL: It was brilliant. And I remember Hewitt saying to me, watch Mike. Watch Mike. Ed Bradley had a little bit of that, too, by the way.
COOPER: I think I was trying to remember the last time I saw him. It may have been in the halls of "60 Minutes." That's the way I want to remember him in the halls of "60 Minutes." He helped make that broadcast and it helped make him.
STAHL: He created it with Don Hewitt. He decided that it was going to be serious journalism. It was going to make a difference. He created it in his voice.
You know, all of his talents represent "60 Minutes." Then he stayed long enough to make sure we all got it right and that it would live in his image in a way.
STAHL: And it has.
COOPER: It has. And as a broadcast, it's never been more relevant. It's as relevant today as it was, you know, back in his heyday.
STAHL: Well, you know, our new boss, for both of us, he worked under Mike Wallace too and Don Hewitt. He, too, knew he was going to carry it on. He wasn't going to let it fade or soften.
COOPER: Mike's voice is very still alive in that broadcast.
STAHL: Totally. If only we could be as good as he was.
COOPER: Lesley, thank you.
COOPER: True indeed if we could only be as good. Lesley Stahl, thank you. Mike Wallace, thank you. Here's Piers Morgan with a look of what's coming up on his show tonight -- Piers.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN'S "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Thanks, Anderson. Tonight, a busy show, much more on the Trayvon Martin case including the question everyone is now asking. Is an arrest coming any day soon?
Plus why Mark Zuckerberg is paying a billion dollars for this company. And the last man, the legacy of "60 Minutes", a brilliant reporter, Mike Wallace.
Plus America's angriest man, Lewis Black. You'll never know what he's going to say. You just know it.
A man named Bubba wins golf's most prestigious tournament. That and more at 9. Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Piers, thanks very much. And now to a shocking video that's causing outrage online, man beaten, robbed, stripped naked. Police get a break in the case when video of the attack was posted online. This happened in Baltimore. Details ahead.
COOPER: Following a number of stories tonight. Let's check in with Isha with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, prosecutors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are looking into whether two suspects in the shooting of five African-Americans should be charged with hate crimes.
Today, a judge ordered Jake England and Alvin Watts were to be held on more than $9 million bond each. They were arrested on murder and other charges in the shootings, which left three people dead and two wounded.
Jury selection has started in Chicago in the murder trial of the man charged with killing three of singer, Jennifer Hudson's family members. William Balfour is accused of killing Hudson's mother, brother and nephew. Balfour is the estranged husband of Jennifer Hudson's sister. Police in Baltimore are asking for help identifying the people in a YouTube video showing a tourist being beaten, stripped, and robbed on St. Patrick's Day. Police have identified one suspect, but he is not in custody yet.
And Anderson, one of the record breaking Mega Millions lottery winners has come forward in Maryland, but has chosen to stay anonymous. Three winning tickets were sold in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois, each worth more than $218 million. That would buy me a lot of chocolate and shoes.
COOPER: Those are the two priorities?
COOPER: All right, Isha thanks. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Hey, no time for the "RidicuList" tonight. That's it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10:00 Eastern.
"PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.