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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Who Will Own the Clippers?; Interview with Elgin and Elaine Baylor; New Allegations against VA Hospitals Sparked House Investigation ; White House Says President Obama Has "Complete Confidence" In Shinseki; Tornado Strikes Near St. James, Minnesota; Four Found Dead In Fire At Mansion Owned By Former Tennis Pro James Blake; Alleged First Hand Account Of What Happened When 250 Plus Nigerian Girls Who Were Kidnapped At School
Aired May 8, 2014 - 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: Good evening. We begin tonight with breaking news. A powerful storm system with more than 47 million people in its path, from Minnesota to Taxes. There's been at least one confirmed tornado on the ground this evening. And at last check it was barreling towards a major metropolitan area.
Meteorologist Chad Myers joins me now from the CNN Weather Center with the latest.
So 47 million people in the path. What's the latest?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I mean, it's a large area, you go all the way from central Minnesota all the way down to Round Rock, Texas, Anderson. So here we go. This is the area of biggest concern right now, western Minnesota, also parts of Des Moines, and then back down south all the way into Waco and into Round Rock. So the very latest and the biggest cell that I'm concerned about heading to a big area here is Des Moines.
This cell has been coming up from the south with golf-ball sized hail confirmed by law enforcement. Des Moines, make sure the pets, the kids, and you are inside. If you have time to get the cars inside, if you can. But those are the last things you worry about there. Make sure the pets and the kids are inside.
And then for Round Rock, I've been watching this cell back out here in the Hill Country, head toward Round Rock, Austin, maybe even towards Georgetown here, and then along I-35, Waco, you're getting hit with some pretty strong weather.
This isn't a major tornado outbreak night like we had last week, but hail the size of golf balls, wind gusts to 60 or 70 miles per hour, and a few tornadoes especially after dark still make this a dangerous event.
COOPER: All right, we'll continue to follow it throughout the hour. Chad, appreciate it. We'll come back to you if necessary.
More breaking news tonight as the NBA moving ahead with its plan to force disgraced L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team. His estranged wife Shelly maybe trying to hang onto it. An attorney for Shelly Sterling tells CNN she wants to keep her stake in the team and she's been talking with the NBA.
We'll have more on that in a moment. Meanwhile, at least one person thinks there is no way that Donald Sterling can be forced to sell to begin with. That person is Donald Sterling himself. In a new audio recording released by Radaronline, a man who said to be Sterling is speaking on the phone with an identified man. CNN cannot independently confirm this is Donald Sterling but if it is it's the first we've heard from him since he was banned for life by the NBA.
On this recording Sterling says he is not a racist. We'll have more on that later. And seems to lament the fact that everyone jumped to conclusions about him. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: It breaks my heart that Magic Johnson, you know, my -- a guy I -- a guy that I respect so much, wouldn't stand up and say, well, let's get the facts. Let's get him and talk to him. Nobody tried. Nobody from here on, on Beverly Drive and Sunset across from the Beverly Hills Hotel. You know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's -- I mean, they're probably trying to force you to sell it, that's the thing.
STERLING: They don't -- you can't force someone to sell property in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: By the way, we've offered Donald Sterling the opportunity to speak any time he wants. I met with him on Friday. He has not spoken. Other people have met with him as well. The invitation still stands, Mr. Sterling.
As I mentioned, an attorney says that Shelly Sterling wants to keep her stake in the team but her stance on her estranged husband has been kind of all over the place. So where does Shelly Sterling really stand in the middle of this controversy.
Stephanie Elam reports.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She has sent mixed messages from the start. Caught on tape appearing to defend her estranged husband.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: People want to know, Mrs. Sterling, are you a racist? The accusations, are they true?
ROCHELLE STERLING, DONALD STERLING'S FORMER WIFE: Forget it, it is not true. ELAM: Yet also releasing a statement aggressively distancing herself from his comments, saying, quote, I spoke with Commissioner Adam Silver this week to tell him that I fully supported his recent swift and decisive action. All the while Shelly Sterling seemed to be positioning herself to keep the team. In fact she owns it 50-50 with her husband, Donald Sterling, the man whose racist rant has led to him being banned from the NBA for life.
And now we're learning Shelly Sterling claims she didn't understand the question on that infamous tape and that she has no plans to sell her stake in the team. In fact since Donald Sterling's rant went viral Shelly Sterling is the only Sterling we've heard from on the record. Her lawyers have released statements supporting the NBA's ban on Sterling and the league's decision to find a new CEO for the team.
And now we know Shelly Sterling has no plans to sell her stake in the team, her lawyer says she is running without Donald.
PIERCE O'DONNELL, ROCHELLE STERLING'S ATTORNEY: They have been estranged and not living together for over a year, OK? And while they share business, you know, business properties he is out of the team, has nothing to do with it. And she's the owner in charge.
ELAM: In fact, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, deliberately or no not, did leave the window open for Shelly to make a play to keep the team. Complicating the matter, the Sterlings own the Clippers through a family trust. Her lawyer says they are in talks with the NBA.
ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: This ruling applies specifically to Donald Sterling and Donald Sterling's conduct only.
ELAM (on camera): And just to be clear when things settle down she sees her role as an owner but less involved in the day-to-day.
O'DONNELL: A passive owner, not involved in management, not involved in deciding what the trades are. But just retaining for now a 50 percent interest that she spent three decades nurturing. She was there in the dark days and she's now in the brighter days loving this team and hoping they can win in the next round in the playoffs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fact of the matter is, you cannot separate Donald Sterling from Shelly Sterling. Anything Shelly Sterling still makes from the Clippers will go to Donald Sterling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you're Miss Shelly from the Health Department?
R. STERLING: Yes, sir.
ELAM (voice-over): Her behavior may also be a factor. In this video from a former tenant, Shelly Sterling is caught on video posing as a health inspector. And in a 2009 deposition, a former tenant of the Sterlings' testified that Shelly Sterling called him a black MF.
O'DONNELL: Those were depositions, they're one-sided. Nobody has asked for her position. I will state it categorically. She has never, ever engaged in discrimination based on race, sex, orientation, anything like that. Number one. Number two, Mrs. Sterling and her husband were sued. They never have been found by a court to have engaged in discriminatory housing practices. Some cases were settled by the insurance companies. Mrs. Sterling is a wonderful woman.
ELAM: But even though those cases were settled the court of public opinion may still find her guilty by association and make her fight for the team even harder.
Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.
COOPER: Our CNN legal analysts join me now, former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin, criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin.
Jeff, you heard it from Donald Sterling. You can't force someone to sell property in America. Many expected it sounds like he's not going down without a fight. You think the contract with the NBA doesn't appear to have much legal room in this, still?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: He is gone. I mean, I just don't think there is any chance in the world that he can hold onto this team.
COOPER: What about her?
TOOBIN: Well, that is a little more complicated. I have to say I may be wavering in that. I had a conversation today with Pierce O'Donnell. And it's quite clear that she, through her lawyer, is throwing her husband under the bus. It's like fine, NBA, take half the franchise, but look, what did I do? Don't take -- don't take the franchise from me.
I still think she loses at the end of the day because their interests are so bound up together. And the Sterling name is so toxic to the business of the NBA that I think the NBA would be within their rights in taking both -- in forcing both of them to sell. But I do acknowledge her situation is a closer question.
COOPER: It is interesting, Sunny, because, I mean, she's saying well, look, he is my estranged husband. She is having dinner with the guy on Sunday and she's yelling at the paparazzi, he is not a racist.
There are a lot of people including Elgin Baylor who I spoke with, and we're going to have more of that interview tonight, who says look, if you allow her to maintain ownership Donald Sterling could still, you know, exercise leadership over the team or ownership of the team through her.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, a lot of people are saying she's just a straw person. But she's making it loud and clear that she isn't. That she's 50 percent owner and I'm glad that Jeffrey Toobin admitted that I've been right all along, that Shelly --
Shelly Sterling is a real player here, Jeff, as you've just admitted. And I think the fact that she is 50 percent owner makes a big deal. I don't think that the NBA is going to be able to just rip the team away from Shelly Sterling. And I actually still disagree with Jeff, and now that you know that I've been right on one thing maybe you will agree with me on this, that I think the NBA doesn't have a clear-cut way of ousting Donald Sterling.
COOPER: Mark --
HOSTIN: I think it's going to be a big fight.
COOPER: Mark, what about that? I mean, you doubted that anyone will be able to force Shelly Sterling to sell her stake in the team.
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There is no way that Shelly Sterling is going to be forced to sell this team. California law is clear. The -- she's got community -- a community property interest. They're not going to be able to do it. That community property interest is already in several cases in the past couple of years, withstood fraud allegations, withstood allegations of trying to transfer to defraud creditors. It's just not going to happen.
And what you heard from Pierce O'Donnell is exactly what they're going to try to do here. They're going to say she's going to be a passive owner of 50 percent. They're probably going to try to marginalize Donald by my guess will be very shortly you'll see that they filed for divorce. When that happens the family law court is going to take jurisdiction over this.
GERAGOS: And whatever the NBA thinks they're going to do the family law court, they're going to have to drive through the family law court judge. So this idea that they're somehow -- that Jeff is wavering, I don't know what he's wavering on. But there's not going to be any waver. There's going to be a family law judge who's going to be driving this train. And at the end of the day what it'll end up happening my prediction is, the other 50 percent will be sold to some group that the NBA approves of.
They'll put in a -- they'll put into place some kind of an agreement where Shelly Sterling has nothing but a passive role as basically a silent investor. And that's how they're going to navigate this. And the NBA will approve of whatever the new ownership control group.
COOPER: It's interesting, Jeff, because publicly Shelly Sterling has been sort of distancing herself and her -- Donald Sterling's daughter's husband who's on -- who works for the team. Donald Sterling's son-in-law. He's also has been distancing himself. He works for the team but he's been calling, saying, you know, racism has no place in the NBA. The comments are horrific. As has Donald Sterling's daughter, his wife, which again it just seems like all the other members of the family want to hold onto this thing, Jeff.
TOOBIN: Yes. That's true, but what I think Mark and Sunny are neglecting is that this is not just a dispute about whether the Sterlings are good people. This is a contract. This is a contract that gives certain --
HOSTIN: A very tricky one.
TOOBIN: Can I finish? That give certain rights to the NBA.
TOOBIN: That I think trumps their rights. And I think that's where --
GERAGOS: Right. It doesn't trump -- it doesn't trump the family law code sections in law here in California. I'm not in California. But in California it doesn't trump it. And that is the problem you've got, Jeff. They can take whatever action they want. And I agree with you. Donald Sterling, it's not economically feasible. The sponsors aren't going to stick around if he's there. They can grind him, grin him, pound him into the ground, and at a certain point the Sterling family will rally around and tell him you've got to extricate yourself in this.
And I'm telling you, Pierce O'Donnell, just in that package that Stephanie did, gave the kind of pathway that the NBA is going to take. They're going to get him out, they're going to bring in a new ownership group that's going to be in control and she's going to be a passive investor because there's no other way the NBA is going to be able to do this in less than two years.
HOSTIN: We agree, Mark Geragos. We agree.
GERAGOS: I know. Shocking.
COOPER: And it certainly seems, Sunny, that Adam Silver left that door open by --
HOSTIN: He really did, and everyone was talking about what a decisive person he was, how he handled the situation correctly. But I said from the very beginning when he said this only applies to Donald Sterling, I thought that was his major misstep.
COOPER: It will be interesting to see how the players react to this. We'll see.
Jeff Toobin, Mark Geragos, Sunny Hostin, thanks.
A quick reminder, make sure you set your DVRs so you can always watch 360 whenever you want. Coming up, more from this newly released audio that RadarOnline says is Donald Sterling. It certainly sounds like him. On the new recording, Sterling says he's not a racist. And the several reasons why he can't possibly be a racist.
Let's hear what do you think of them, up next.
Also later breaking news on the story we've been covering for months in the program. Veterans dying while waiting for care in this country at V.A. hospitals. No one has been held accountable so far. It looks like someone is finally paying attention. Drew Griffin has the latest on that ahead.
COOPER: I'm back to breaking news and the L.A. Clippers. And attorney for Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling's allegedly estranged wife, says she wants to keep her 50 percent stake in the team. Meanwhile, RadarOnline has new audio recordings said to be of Donald Sterling, denying he's a racist.
Again, CNN can't independently confirm it's Sterling speaking on the phone with an unidentified man. Here's more of those tapes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: Y You think I'm a racist? You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody? You don't think that. You know I'm not a racist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got the -- I mean, when I heard the --
STERLING: I can't hear you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about --
STERLING: You know --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I heard that tape, though, that tape I heard.
STERLING: I grew up in east L.A., east L.A., you die to get out of there. I got out of east L.A. I was the president of the high school there. I mean -- and I'm a Jew. 50 percent of the people there were black and 40 percent were Hispanic. I mean, how could you think I'm a racist? Knowing me all these years? How can you be in this business and be racist? Do you think I tell the coach to get white players? Or to get the best player he can get?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I spoke in an exclusive interview with someone who's more familiar than most with how Donald Sterling ran his basketball team. NBA Hall of Famer, Elgin Baylor was a longtime executive with the Clippers who sued Sterling alleging decades-long racist behavior. I sat down with him and his wife Elaine.
COOPER: In your lawsuit you said that he had a plantation mentality. Do you still believe that?
ELGIN BAYLOR, 11-TIME NBA ALL-STAR: I do. I believe the same. Of course. I don't think he's changed.
COOPER: Do you believe he is a racist?
ELAINE BAYLOR, WIFE OF ELGIN BAYLOR: Yes, because he is holding onto that for some reason. You see, his exposure does not fit with what he is saying. He wants to feel -- and he is holding on to those beliefs for some reason.
COOPER: I understand at one point he -- during the lawsuit you said that he had also said that he would like the idea of having all black players and a white coach.
ELGIN BAYLOR: A white coach, southern white coach.
COOPER: Sorry. Explain -- what else did he say?
ELGIN BAYLOR: Well, he said that he would like to have a southern white coach.
ELAINE BAYLOR: And black players. He said black players --
ELGIN BAYLOR: Coaching these black players. He would have a southern --
COOPER: Why would he want that?
ELGIN BAYLOR: Well, I guess they would be intimidated by the coach.
COOPER: When you told him you thought that was racist, what did he say?
ELGIN BAYLOR: Well, he said that's the way I feel. And each time I would question him about it, he'd say racist remarks, and that's it. He would say well, that's the way I feel.
COOPER: When you heard that the NAACP -- I mean, I think your case was in 2008 and 2009.
ELAINE BAYLOR: 2009.
COOPER: 2009, the NAACP actually honored Donald Sterling that very year and they were going to do it again.
ELGIN BAYLOR: Yes.
COOPER: What did you think about that?
ELGIN BAYLOR: You know, I am not a vindictive person or anything like that, but I just thought it was in poor taste. Really poor taste. And you know, I guess the money meant more than, you know, loyalty.
ELAINE BAYLOR: I think Thurgood Marshall is spinning in his grave.
ELAINE BAYLOR: Shameful.
COOPER: Joining me now live is CNN political commentator and "New York Times" op-ed columnist Charles Blow and back with us, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin.
Charles, it's interesting on that new tape. I mean, that clearly -- we can't officially confirm it's Sterling, but I mean, that sounds like Sterling, I've met with him on Friday. It's certainly sounds like (INAUDIBLE).
It's interesting he said, I'm not a racist. I didn't want -- I wasn't hiring white players, I wanted the best players. It's interesting when you hear Elgin Baylor who worked for him for 22 years, saying well, actually he wanted to hire black players and a white southern coach. When you hear somebody in his position saying I'm not a racist, what do you make of it?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, first of all, it's a fascinating kind of sociological exploration here because it is not at all at odds for a person's own view of themselves not to line up with the broader culture's view, particularly when it comes to issues of race. So a person can say, of course, you know, I may have said this, but -- you know, he said on the first tape it's just part of the culture that I'm part of. I'm bending myself to kind of meet the culture. And it's not my fault. And I'm just kind of making myself fit in.
And it is completely possible that he does not view himself as a racist, although those comments on the first tape are -- unambiguously racist. And -- but I think we end up trying to have a rational conversation about something that is inherently irrational. Racism is irrational. It is an affliction. You can't make it make sense because it's loopy. And, you know, people try to have all of these kind of defenses, things that they think immunize themselves because they say well, I grew up around people.
COOPER: I'm Jewish.
BLOW: I'm -- I'm familiar --
HOSTIN: I have black friends.
BLOW: I'm part of an aggrieved group so I can't, you know, be a part of -- trying to aggrieve another group. None of that is true. Anyone can have bias. Any of us can have biases.
COOPER: Everybody has biases. I mean --
BLOW: Yes. Yes. And how do you deal with that? And can you understand it? Can you recognize it in yourself and deal with those biases? And if he can't recognize that what he said on the first tape were racist remarks, that is a problem of Donald. It is a sickness. If that is him on the second tape, saying you know me, you know I'm not that guy even though you'd heard what I said on that first tape, that is a problem.
HOSTIN: But even surprising, I mean, Anderson, I remember when we did the racist and justice panel after the Trayvon Martin case. You yourself said you've interviewed so many people, even people from the KKK, and no one has ever admitted --
COOPER: No one ever said they're racist.
HOSTIN: -- I'm a racist.
COOPER: I mean, I literally have interviewed white supremacist and skinheads and Neo-Nazis, none of them say they're racist.
HOSTIN: They're never going to say that.
COOPER: They just love white people.
HOSTIN: Exactly. So I think to your point, what's so fascinating is, he probably doesn't realized that his views are so askew. That he is a racist. He probably feels that it's cultural. That some of the things that he says --
COOPER: Well, now --
BLOW: But also the very meaning of the word is dying.
HOSTIN: Yes. Yes.
BLOW: That our discussions about it have become so heated, so bitter, so entangled that the meaning of the word "racist" is dying because no one can agree on what it even means anymore. Now if you bring up the idea that race is part of a discussion then you become the racist for bringing it up.
HOSTIN: You're a race baiter, which is what I'm always called on Twitter and person.
BLOW: And so we're in a real strange place as a society where we can't even discuss this issue that kind of touches so many of our lives.
BLOW: Because to do so makes you toxic. HOSTIN: You become a race-baiter, which is fascinating.
COOPER: It's also interesting that we haven't heard publicly any form of apology, any form of --
HOSTIN: Well, he hasn't disavowed what he said. Because I really believe, as so many people that, you know, we've come across, they do not believe that their views are racist. And I really believe he probably truly believes he is not a racist.
COOPER: I think he would actually do himself a favor by speaking publicly and just talking about his thought process or whatever it is rather than have this drip and drip and drip of tapes coming out and you know, this woman V. Stiviano out there talking about him. I mean, she says he's just from another generation that he's not racist. When you hear someone say well, I'm just from a different generation, what do you think?
HOSTIN: I think that's a sorry excuse. I mean, I hear that all the time. That it's generational and that racism is something of the past and that in fact the new generations don't have the same sort of racial stereotypes. That is just not true. And I think recently when you have affirmative action being sort of stricken, right, by the Supreme Court, Justice Sotomayor and her dissent was just so poetic when she said race matters and my colleagues' refusal to admit that it still matters is really, really troubling.
COOPER: The thing -- why Donald Sterling clearly, you know, a smart man, a good business man, is allowing V. Stiviano to be his voice to the world.
HOSTIN: It's shocking.
COOPER: I mean, allowing her to be the one who makes all these public comments and him not saying anything?
BLOW: No, I think that part may be a sort of generational. That he's not quite getting that you have to get out for anything. But I do think that generational part becomes a poisonous thing. I mean, I have heard so many people after this come out say, well, I've heard people at, you know, Thanksgiving, uncle or whatever, or grandpa, so and so said something a little bit off color, and everybody cringed. But no one said anything.
That is exactly how this gets passed down because not only is there -- is there an adult there not saying anything? There are kids at that table who are absorbing the fact that now this is submerged and it is not --
COOPER: All right, Charles Blow, good to have you on. Sunny Hostin, as well.
As always, you can find out more on the story at CNN.com. Up next, breaking news on the investigation to the VA health care system. A system that's supposed to be providing the best health care possible to the men and women who fought for this country. Well, Drew Griffin is uncovering more details about another hospital allegedly fledging their books. And word today Washington is listening. An important story you'll only see here.
Plus, more on the breaking weather news. We're tracking the powerful storm system stretching from Minnesota to Texas tonight. Millions in harm's way.
COOPER: New developments in the health care scandal that's rocking the Department of Veterans Affairs and raising questions about how much the VA Secretary Eric Shinseki knew. Two veterans group and three Republican senators have called for him to resign.
Our Drew Griffin has been leading the reporting of the story for the past six months, breaking new information that sparked congressional investigations. CNN's investigation found as many as 40 veterans died at a Phoenix VA hospital. That's according to a doctor who used to work there. And according to sources many of those veterans were on a secret waiting lists to hide long delays for medical care.
No one at the top has been held accountable for all of this, we should add. That might be about to change.
Drew Griffin joins me now.
So, Drew, you're in Texas working the story but there was a lot of action in Washington today. What happened?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Two big movements, the first one, the House Veterans Affairs Committee voted unanimously basically that they've had enough waiting for information on that secret list out in Phoenix, Anderson. They have subpoenaed all e- mails and communications between Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki and his staff, concerning that secret list in Phoenix. He has until May 19th to produce those documents to the House.
Secondly, just about at the moment that vote was taking place Eric Shinseki ordered a national review of all VA facilities nationwide to determine in face to face audits just how long these vets are waiting and to see what the problems are. So two big developments there in Washington -- Anderson.
COOPER: As we mentioned, you're in Texas tonight and I understand you talked to somebody that has other troubling details about another hospital.
GRIFFIN: Yes, and we can report tonight there is a brand-new investigation at yet another V.A. hospital and this again involves cooking the books. Allegations of cooking the books and making vets wait for care.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): San Antonio Texas is the latest location where investigators from the V.A.'s Office of the Inspector General are on the ground, trying to determine if managers at this sprawling V.A. hospital were trying to hide the fact veterans had been waiting months to get care and if any veterans died as a result.
The allegations came from this clerk who works in the hospital's medical administrative services and is speaking publicly for the first time. Brian turner says his job is to help veterans secure appointments. He says he was told to fudge the numbers. He was to meet the V.A.'s own national timeline goal for setting appointments.
That goal, no more than 14 days from what a veteran wants an appointment, called the desired date. The problem, he says, the appointment deadlines cannot be met so he says he was instructed to simply schedule the appointment months and months in advance while making a note that this is the veteran's desired date.
BRIAN TURNER, VA SCHEDULING CLERK: What they're saying and what we were instructed was that the -- they're not saying fudge, there is no secret wait list. But what they have done is just come out and say zero out that date. There was a report the following day, if somebody had a wait period that was longer than 14 days. The standard is one to 14 days within the time line of a desired date.
GRIFFIN: Regardless of when the appointment took place?
GRIFFIN: So it could be three months and look like 14 days?
TURNER: It could look like no dates --
GRIFFIN: So fudging the books --
TURNER: I would call it that, you would call it that. The V.A. doesn't call it that. They call it zeroing out.
GRIFFIN: Zeroing out.
(voice-over): In a statement to CNN, the V.A.'s public affairs office says Turner's allegations were investigated and that based on our internal fact-finding conducted April 25th through April 28th, we found the claims by this employee were not substantiated. But Turner questions just how much fact finding went on. He says no one asked him about his allegations and in fact, he says when he began e-mailing his concerns to other staff members he was told to stop it.
TURNER: They set me up the very next day.
GRIFFIN (on camera): The very next day.
TURNER: The very next morning I was called into an office and told not the e-mail another person. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Turner, an Army veteran himself has asked for whistle-blower protection and has become a witness in an investigation now being conducted by the VA's Office of Inspector General. The investigation focusing on delayed care, alleged falsification of records, and possible medical harm to the veterans of the San Antonio, Texas, V.A. Hospital.
COOPER: It is worth mentioning, Drew, nobody at the senior leadership at the V.A. has been held accountable for this, or any of the stories that you've uncovered. Plus they will not even talk to you after six months of request, I think I know the answer, but any luck on that front today?
GRIFFIN: No, again, no response to our requests. A new request this morning, no response to that interview request -- Anderson.
COOPER: The fudging of numbers, and again, that is our term. It sounds so similar to what -- I mean, the V.A. is doing their own internal review of this. You have been bringing story after story to life for six months, now, do we know why it is taking them so long?
GRIFFIN: You know, the question number one, if I could interview Eric Shinseki or anybody else at the V.A., this has been going on internally, Anderson, for years. The Government Accountability office has been reporting to the VA for years they have a problem. The Inspector General's Office, in 2012, in the Texas area found them cooking the books. I don't understand why suddenly now there is going to be a view other than to say that this is some kind of cover for the fact that he is now going to have to be brought in, he, meaning Eric Shinseki and his e-mails are going to have to be brought into the House Veterans Affairs Committee by subpoena.
COOPER: Also, you reported earlier today that the V.A. in Washington now is asking for a nationwide review of wait times. That is not something that is just done in realtime always, like the V.A. in Washington doesn't know where the wait times are in the various states. You would think that is something they could just have easy access to.
GRIFFIN: Well, as we reported a couple of nights ago on your show, Anderson, where the GAL report says the data is so unreliable that nobody in the V.A. could possibly know what these wait times are, and you have all of these different offices all across the country trying to make this 14-day appointment scheduling, which is impossible we are told. You would get a lot of creative accounting. I think that would about as sympathetic I could give, but as this guy says, it is plain old cooking the books. That's what it is.
COOPER: And the president remains supportive of Shinseki, right publicly?
GRIFFIN: Yes, once again today, one of his spokesperson says he stands by full faith and confidence that Eric Shinseki is doing the job.
COOPER: What is amazing, the guy, Shinseki is a long, distinguished military career, he is ducking and weaving from sitting down with you and having an interview. He has done interviews with others who have not done as much on the story as you have. Why don't they just sit down and be as transparent as possible? It is amazing to me. Plus, they have dozens of PR people running around that place. I don't know what they're doing all day. Drew, thank you, we'll keep at it.
Just ahead an update on the powerful storm system with more than 47 million people in its path. At least one tornado so far touching down in Minnesota, plus a Florida mansion, belonging to a top tennis player going up in flames, after an explosion, four bodies were found inside the ashes. And tonight the mystery is deepening.
COOPER: Let's get the latest on our breaking news tonight. One confirmed touching down near St. James, Minnesota, as a powerful storm system rips across the country with more than 47 million people in its path. Meteorologist, Chad Myers, is live from the weather center with the latest. So we just saw the video. Is there a chance there could be more in that area?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I do believe so there is one more storm heading to Minneapolis and how that number, 47 million got so high today is because we do have big cities. The bigger cities, Des Moines, Kansas City, all the way back down to Texas. So when we add the swath up here to people, it was bigger, the numbers are higher than we had the last couple of days, last couple of storms.
Here is Kelly Williamson from Severe Studios, still some threatening skies here. This is Kansas not as worried about that storm as I am here. This storm here moving into about Temple, Texas, right there. I believe the back side of that storm is rotating. We'll move across I-35. Nothing is worse than if you are driving on the interstate and a tornado hits you because you have no control.
We saw that when we saw those storms that moved through parts of Little Rock yesterday or last week. Here we go, this is the storm I'm still worried about for Minnesota. We had a storm down here. There are the tornadoes there from a couple of hours ago, moved to Minneapolis and it died. It has rained a lot of the day in Minneapolis.
It's cooler in Minneapolis, I'm not sure that this storm here as it moves towards Minnetonka, towards Plymouth, if you're in those areas, even a chance of hail and wind. At least 50 or 60 miles an hour can always do damage. Get the pets and yourself and the kids inside.
COOPER: All right, Chad, appreciate it. Thanks. A deadly mystery revealing itself and the charred remains of a Tampa mansion owned by one of the world's top tennis players. Investigators trying to figure out exactly what went on inside the house and the hours leading up to a huge explosion. Police found four bodies in the ashes after the flames died down. Tonight, there are new details. Randi Kaye reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An explosion before dawn and then a call to 911 at 5:45 a.m.
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: My God, the flames are so bad. I was walking my dogs and the house just exploded.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 OPERATOR: Calm down and take a deep breath.
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: It was just horrible.
KAYE: A 6,000 square foot mansion burning to the ground, owned by one of the top tennis players in the world, James Blake.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 OPERATOR: OK, do you see flames?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: The House is filled with flames, Ma'am.
KAYE: It would be hours before the firefighters can put the flames out and investigators can get inside.
COLONEL DONNA LUSCZYNSKI, HILLSBOROUGH CO., FLORIDA SHERIFF'S OFFICE: We have discovered two males and two females in the residence. However, we have not been able to positively identify the bodies.
KAYE: A family of four. Renting the home from James Blake for the last two years. The parents are found in their bedroom. The teenage children in their own rooms. The victims are believed to be Darren Campbell, his wife, Kim, their teenage daughter, Megan, and their son, Colin. A horrific scene.
LUZCZYNSKI: What I can confirm to you is all four individuals were shot.
KAYE: Late today, investigators also revealing this.
LUZCZYNSKI: A firearm was recovered in the residence that was registered to Mr. Campbell.
KAYE (on camera): But that raises more questions about the victims' cause of death. Were the victims already dead before the fire? And what about the fireworks found throughout the home. The sheriff's department says the fire was intentionally set. So were the fireworks used to start it? And if so what accelerant?
(voice-over): Authorities say James Blake was out of state when the fire broke out and was contacted by phone. This is video believed to be of Blake's tenant, Campbell purchasing fireworks in Tampa on Sunday. The sheriff's office says he bought a very large amount of fireworks just days before the fire. Also, that same day he purchased several gas cans at a home improvement store. Those who knew the family are distraught, including one teen who was with them the night before the fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was really good friends with his son. He doesn't do anything wrong, ever and the daughter is just beautiful. The parents were great people. Just so bad -- that this happened. KAYE: With all the damage from the flames and the water used to put them out, it could take days for the medical examiner to officially id the bodies. Likely much longer to figure out who did this given that authorities say they are not looking for a suspect. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: It is interesting they're not looking for a suspect.
Up next, new information about where the terrorist group, Boko Haram, may have taken hundreds of kidnapped school girls and why officials say the girls are being split into smaller groups.
COOPER: Welcome back, the U.S. is beefing up its personnel in Nigeria. Several members of the U.S. military are expected on the ground in just hours to try to help for the search of more than 150 groups kidnapped by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, a group that kidnapped the girls in protest of them getting an education. Tonight, there are new concerns about the girls. U.S. officials believe they have been separated, making it harder to find them.
Just this week, one of their leaders said he would sell the girls that they should get married. Tonight, there was an attack on the group, more than was first reported. Witnesses say there were at least 100 people in the attack and some of the victims were burned alive. More on the crisis. We have new video, Vlad, of an alleged kidnapping of what some of the girls experienced. What can you tell us about it?
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we're learning more details not only about what the girls went through not only the night when they escaped the attackers, but on the other night where personnel carriers wielding RPGs, people who tried to escape, mowed down, people trying to hide in their shops burned alive. This is what one girl claims happened the night she was kidnapped. Take a listen.
Anderson, this is just one of the lucky ones, still, 230-plus girls still hiding.
COOPER: And the senior officials sell CNN that some of the girls have been split up. That will obviously make the search more difficult.
DUTHIERS: That is right, the parents in Chibok tell us they saw a convoy filled with girls, leading into Nigeria and into Cameroon. And now with the 200 girls that Boko Haram probably split them up, and they could be in Chad or Niger. That echoes of what the United States is saying -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's amazing how they seemed to be able to operate with impunity in that region in Nigeria and there have been more public high profile calls for U.S. involvement. I know, the U.S. military is scheduled to arrive in Nigeria. What is the plan once they arrive on the ground? Do we know? DUTHIERS: Now we know that there are already 11 U.S. military personnel on the ground, already in Nigeria. Another seven more scheduled to arrive. All in all, we're looking at 50 to 60 U.S. personnel here to help with reconnaissance. They will help with hostage negotiators. It will be needed, Anderson, to make up for lost time. Many people are saying it is about time that other countries take a look at what is happening in Nigeria. Many families we spoke to said it is not going to be easy to make up for that lost time -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, a lot of time has gone by. Vlad, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Let's get caught up with some of the other stories we are following. Susan Hendricks has the 360 Bulletin.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a Dallas judge granted the state's motion to reinstate all sex offender conditions on the probation of an admitted rapist. Last month, a different judge drew widespread outrage when she sentenced 20-year-old Sir Young to 45 days in jail and issued unusually lenient probation terms. She later said she based it in part on the 14-year-old victim's sexual history.
The CEO of the company that owned the South Korean ferry that sank last month has been arrested and faces several charges including negligence. He told reporters he committed a crime that can only be repaid with his life. The death toll has climbed to 272 with 32 others still missing.
HENDRICKS: And the circus is back on tonight with a few changes after nine Ringling brothers performers were injured in an accident last weekend in Providence. Missing in Hartford tonight is what's called the hair hang out which failed when the clip broke sending the group plummeting 30 feet to the ground as you see in the video.
And a report of a firenado in Missouri, the woman who took a photo says the fire was burning off his field and the winds created the fire twister. The local fire chief couldn't confirm it, but with the incredible winds and high heat.
COOPER: Susan, thanks very much. The "Ridiculist" is next, stick around.
COOPER: Time for "The Ridiculist." Tonight, we're adding the serial pooper, that is right. It's a mystery unfolding down in Houston and tonight authorities are hoping surveillance footage will help squeeze out a culprit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The man seen in these surveillance pictures is someone deputies are looking for. He is accused of committing a strange crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A strange crime indeed and a most unwelcome reminder of the old slogan, everything is bigger in Texas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say he has repeatedly been going to the bathroom in people's front yards, leaving behind a stinky mess for homeowners to clean up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Love the surveillance video. Now, look, I know this is not the most pleasant of topics and I'm sorry to dump it on you, but as you can see it got the attention of the local news, at least Houston's number two priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is definitely not a nice thing to do to people, going to the bathroom in their driveway is not nice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our neighborhood. Whatever people may think should go on around here, pooping is not OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It is not OK, people. It is good to see the residents are keeping a sense of humor about it, but can't blame them for being steaming mad. With this story, just when you think you're done you realize there is still a little bit more left to go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you look closely in the upper left-hand corner, these white things are pieces of paper towel, one homeowner says he brings them along to clean himself up then leaves them behind on the sidewalk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean, really, come on, now. Like the local rock star he has become, when the mystery man is done with his performance he drops the mike and exits stage right. Except in this case, the mike is covered with well, you know what.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want a dog doing this, so why would we want a human pooping?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Good point, ma'am, there is an attorney out there who specializes in this type of situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So remember, you wouldn't let a person do this to your yard. So don't let some egg-sucking dog do it, call me, wade blazing game or my brother, duck, for a free consultation, and we'll get you justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: As for the crappy neighbor in Houston, I'm going to appeal to his sense of civic pride and tell him exactly what Lou Dobbs told me one unfortunate Labor Day back in the '90s. "Please stop pooping on the lawn, Cooper." That's what he said to me.
Meantime, be sure to flush twice on the ridiculous.
That does it for us. We'll see you again at 11:00 p.m. Eastern tonight for another edition of 360. I hope you join us. "CNN TONIGHT" starts now.