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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
L.A. Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Will Fight Back; More Than 2,000 firefighters Fighting Blaze in San Diego County; Wildfire Leaves Family Homeless; Custody Battle Over 9-Year-Old Sonya; "No Place To Hide": The Inside Story of Edward Snowden Going Public
Aired May 16, 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.
Tonight, five wildfires burning in Southern California. Thousands of homes in the line of the fire. And for some families, it is already too late.
And also, a heartbreaking ruling to the adapted parents who gave a 9- year-old girl the only home she had ever known who was then send to live with a stranger, her biological father. The question is, did the judge make the right call? The latest on Sonya's story.
We begin tonight, though, with embattled L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling ready for a fight, a fight to keep the team and to not pay up. It is a nearly complete about-face from what he said just five days ago when I sat down and talked to him, the only time in fact he has talked publicly at all. You will hear when he told me in just a moment.
The story cite a source who says Sterling's law sent a letter to the NBA saying he is not going to pay the $2.5 million fine and he rejects the lifetime ban. Those are the consequences the NBA handed down after Sterling's rant was leaked online. But a source says in the letter, Sterling is threatening to sue the NBA f they don't lift those punishment. According to "Sports Illustrated," the letter laid out two defenses for Sterling, one, that he has not violated the NBA constitution and that the NBA violated Sterling's rights to due process, essentially it all happened too fast.
And as I mentioned I spoke with Sterling I that exclusive interview earlier this week and he had a lot to get off his chest. We talked for about an hour and 20 minutes. A good amount of the conversation focus on exactly the issue that is flared up today, namely would he fight to keep control of the Clippers, here, let's listen.
DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: Let me just say that I apologize to the league. People want me to hire a wall of lawyers and them to hire a wall of lawyers and to go to war. I don't think that is the answer.
COOPER: So what are you going to do? STERLING: I think the answer, the league is a good league, all honest people. And I think that whatever they decide that has to be done I think I should work with them and do it.
COOPER: So you don't believe though that the owners would vote to have you removed as owner?
STERLING: I don't think so. I don't think so.
COOPER: If they did, would you fight that in court?
STERLING: We're not there yet. So why should I, you know, address that issue? I don't want to fight with my partners, you know, we all do what we have to do in life. I love them and I respect them and whatever their decision is with regard to the disposition of my terrible words then I have to do it. I think.
COOPER: All indications are from everything that the NBA has said and a number of owners who have spoken publicly it seems like they are going to vote to remove the team from you.
STERLING: Well, I can't do anything about that. But it is up to them to decide.
COOPER: You know your way around a courtroom, though.
STERLING: I know my way around the courtroom very well. But I'm not going to threaten my partners. And they don't threaten me, whatever they think should be done and I think they will use the best judgment in the world. I'll just have to live with that. It is not easy.
COOPER: So you're saying you would not fight it in court?
STERLING: I'm not saying that I wouldn't fight if there was something improper ever. You know brought against me.
COOPER: Is taking away somebody's team, somebody's ownership because of words they said, is that proper? Is there under the rules by your understanding is that proper?
STERLING: I love my partners and I love the NBA. And whatever they do it is not what I think. It is what they think.
COOPER: But there is a path for you to fight their decision, isn't there?
STERLING: Of course. But if you fight with my partners what at the end of the road -- what do I benefit, and especially at my age? If they fight with me and they spend millions and I spend millions -- let's say I win or their win, I just don't know if that is important. I think that in my humble opinion I think when it is time they should maybe give me a chance again.
COOPER: If they don't see it your way and I mean this is not a big hypothetical, this is a very real possibility, if they don't see it your way, they say you have to leave. You can't be the owner, the NBA ban is not enough, you have to give up your ownership would you accept that or would you fight it?
STERLING: It would be hard to accept. I know --
COOPER: You would fight it.
STERLING: I know that the media would like me to say I'm going to fight with the NBA and the NBA is going to fight with me.
COOPER: I don't want you to say anything. I want you to say the truth.
STERLING: I don't think they want for fight. I don't want to fight.
COOPER: But you're saying you wouldn't accept it. So the only alternative is a fight.
STERLING: Well, settling sometimes is better than fighting. And maybe I have to settle for whatever they want to do.
COOPER: Do you think the punishment that the NBA handed down, the $2.5 million fine, not having any business dealings is that fair or is that unfair?
STERLING: Well, I think it is a little bit harsh, you know. But, what is the league supposed to do? They're in a storm. And a stupid owner has created all of these problems. They have to show that they're not going to stand for that. The league won't stand for that. They won't stand for racism, I'm telling you. And I did it. So is it harsh? Of course it is harsh. But it's not like -- I don't deserve -- I thought they were going to do more.
COOPER: What did you think they were going to do?
STERLING: I don't know. I just thought that -- I'm embarrassed that I would cause them so much grief.
COOPER: You say it is a little harsh. Is it fair?
STERLING: Well I don't know if it is fair. I mean, maybe it's fair. I mean, for all the aggravation, all the embarrassment, all the humiliation I caused them, maybe it is fair?
COOPER: On question, lawyers are now trying to figure out is, does Donald Sterling have a legal leg to stand on as he tries to keep his stake on the Clippers.
Joining me now are CNN legal analysts, former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin, Ric Bucher, the NBA analyst for "the Bleacher Report" and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeff, hiring an anti-trust lawyer. What do you make of that?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Game on. I mean, this is what we expected from the beginning. He is at least going to start a fight. I mean, I think basically this threat of litigation is part of the negotiation.
COOPER: How so?
TOOBIN: Well, the idea is there are a lot of people who want to buy this franchise. And he is going to say no, no, no, I'm not selling. And in fact, I have this great legal claim that is going to allow me to keep the team. And that will leave the suitors to say oh, no, no, we'll pay you even more to resolve this thing. So basically I think it is to jack up the price. If it somehow winds up in court, the NBA is going to win and Sterling is going for lose anyway. But he is going to sell the team, I think, before this is all got --
COOPER: It is interesting, though Sunny, because according to the "Sports Illustrated" that Sterling's lawyer is claiming that his due process rights were violated. But it didn't he sign on to what the NBA agreement is?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He did. I mean, I think that certainly is the weaker of the arguments. I think his anti-trust argument is actually quite strong. But I disagree with Jeff. I think it is more than trying to jack up the price. I think it is more than tactical. We know this guy likes to sue people. He likes to fight. I don't think he has anything to lose. He is 80-years-old. He is already a billionaire. I think it is game on and I'm going to sue. I don't care how much you're going to pay me. This is about my team. That is a lot about ego. I mean, what kind of guy owns the NBA franchise, right? He is that guy with a big ego that wants to be at the game. That wants to sort of slap backs of the players. That wants to be in the thick of it. He is in the twilight of his life and he is going all in.
COOPER: Ric, do you think this is about money, or what do you think it is about?
RIC BUCHER, NBA ANALYST, THE BLEACHER REPORT: No, Donald Sterling has a reputation. I just talked to one of his former coaches earlier today. And he says look he has never sold anything in his life. And he is not about to start now. His conversation with you in terms of I'll do what the other owners asked me to do was the idea that yes, I'll pay a fine or I'll take some sort of punishment. But I'm not taking banishment, you're not kicking me out of the club. Because this Clippers team, particularly since they moved out of the staples center has been essentially a gold mine for him. And it is essentially funded all of his real state holding for because I am told now that he owns more property in the state of California than anybody else alive. He has never sold any property and is looking to hold onto this clipper's franchise.
And if they're going to try to kick him out for what he said then I would expect that it is going to get very dirty. And he is going to point the finger at other owners, as well. And I was just reminded by somebody by text about something that George Shin who is the former owner, former owner of the Charlotte, the Hornets, Bobcats, George Shin, according to one of the cheer leaders of the team, had used the n-word in reference to one of his players. And so, I'm sure that Donald and his lawyers are going to look at that and say yes, OK, well, wait a minute. Yes, what I said was wrong. It was bad. But you didn't try to expel George Shin out of the league for what he said. Now you're going to try to do that to me?
That is the argument, I believe, that he is going to try to present. And I dare say that is only one example. Donald Sterling having been in the league for a long time, I'm sure he has other things to pull out of his pocket.
TOOBIN: Best defense is a good offense. And certainly, Mr. Bucher, his very good lawyer will be doing this. But, you know, this is the NBA's candy store. And they are going to control who gets to play and who gets to own and Sterling will be gone.
COOPER: The things he said in this interview will they be used against him?
TOOBIN: Absolutely, absolutely. That is the icing on the cake. That makes the case against him even stronger. His disparaging of Magic Johnson. But they have had enough, of the original disclosures. And he is going to be gone.
COOPER: Everybody, stay with us. We are going to take a break. We are going to talk more on the other side. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, Donald Sterling, it seems is gearing up for a fight. As we reported, the source says his lawyer sent a letter to the NBA threatening to sue the league if it doesn't lift the lifetime ban and the two and a half million fine. And one of the key is to what seems like it is going to be a big showdown is something contained in the NBA constitution, specifically article 13-d. With the three-fourths vote the board of governors can terminate the ownership if the owner quote fails or refuses to fulfill its contractual obligations to the association, its members, players or any other third party in any way to affect the association adversely. Sterling, the NBA content violated that agreement when he said this to V. Stiviano.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: It bothers me a lot that you want to promo, broadcast that you are associating with black people. Do you have to?
V. STIVIANO, DONALD STERLING'S EX-GIRLFRIEND: You associate with black people.
STERLING: I'm not you and you're not me. You're supposed to be a delicate wife or delicate Latino girl. If you don't feed, don't go to my games. Don't bring black people and don't come.
STIVIANO: Do you know you have a whole team that is black that plays for you?
STERLING: You just, do I know? I support them and have given them food and clothes and cars and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have -- who makes the game? Do I make the game or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners that created the league?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That audio is from TMZ and dead spin. And when I spoke to Donald Sterling, he apologized, but repeatedly said he was not a racist, he was just jealous. And if there is going to be a protracted fight he may not have done himself any favors and what he then went on to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: That is one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful they will help their people. And some of the African-Americans -- maybe I'll get in trouble again. They don't want to help anybody.
COOPER: Do you think that is a problem in America? Racism?
STERLING: I don't think so, I think it is better than any other place in the world.
COOPER: You don't see it as a big problem here?
STERLING: I don't see it. I'm not, you know, an African-American. You know, take Judaism and I don't think the Jews have any problem. I mean, there are a couple of people that -- they killed that are Jews coming out of a synagogue and you remember all that? But in general, I think America handles everything well. Do you think there is a lot of prejudice here?
COOPER: I think there is -- yes, I think there are prejudices everywhere. But I do think there are different forms, there is institutional forms of prejudice. And then there is stuff that people -- biases that people have in their hearts.
STERLING: I don't know. In the legal profession, a guy comes in and he is a lawyer I respect him. If he has done it and worked hard. And I wouldn't think he was any different than a white lawyer. I think America has worked well with that. Maybe not as well as the African- Americans would like. But, you know, I'm a Jew. I watch what is going on with us, too. I think it is better than it has ever been. Doesn't mean there is not you know, anti-Semitism. There is a lot of it, especially in the south. But it doesn't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, joining me again, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin, Ric Bucher, NBA analyst from "the Bleacher Report" and CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
So Jeff, as we understand, the NBA is expected not to focus not on the content of what Sterling said but the impact that it had. Explain that, what the difference is. TOOBIN: Well, the NBA will not assert that, you know, they are moral arbiters of what you can and cannot say. They will say that we have an association that deals with players and if what you said created such a reaction by the players who will revolt and the sponsors, all of which will have dire financial implications for the league we have to get rid of you. I think that is an argument that will win.
COOPER: But Sunny, I mean, to Sterling's words seems to be focusing on more on what was said rather than the impact it had.
HOSTIN: Yes. I mean, the issue is, is this really conduct? Is what he said conduct because when you look at the NBA constitution I think it is vague. And when you have something that is vague what do you do? You need a court to interpret it. You need someone to sort of step in. And that is why, I think, we're going to end up in court.
I mean, no one wants to -- I don't think people are really comfortable with the thought police. I don't think people are comfortable with the taking of somebody's property, even a franchise property because of somebody's views, because of what somebody said.
And I think they really are going to confront that. There is no precedent for this. This is unprecedented in sports law. We just got the chance to see the NBA constitution. This was something that hidden from the public.
TOOBIN: Comfortable? They are comfortable with throwing Donald Sterling's behind out of this league. That is overwhelmingly the sentiment. At least on the part of the players and as far as I can tell, the sponsors. And the general public by and large seems evenly divided. But the people who matter want him out.
COOPER: Ric, you say legal officials are going to have a hard time proving that there has been and likely will be a financial burden on the league if Sterling continues to own the Clippers, why is that? I mean, if the sponsors continue to walk if he retains ownership.
BUCHER: Yes. Well, first of all, we need to see the players walk first. They had a great opportunity when this first came out not to play a playoff game or to it is boycott at least a game to demonstrate see, the league can show.
Look, these guys will not play for Donald Sterling under these conditions. They did not. The best they did was turned all of their gear inside out before the game. OK, it was a statement, how strong a statement. I don't know that anybody is going to look at that and say well they refused to work. They simply made a symbolistic gesture as far as their disapproval.
So ultimately, I don't see how necessarily they're going to be able to look at this. Or if they do, let's say, they say you know what? Sponsors have walked away and it is a result of what you had to say then Donald Sterling again is going to come with other evidence. There have been other things done and said that have done damage to the image of the league. And I'm sure that Donald will look at those and say well, you didn't chase them out of the league. Yes, I'm willing to pay a fine. Yes, I'm willing to be suspended. But you're going to take my team away from me when I can show you other precedents, other situations in which you didn't come anywhere close to that sort of measure.
TOOBIN: Rachel Nichols had an interesting interview with Lebron James who, you know, is the leading NBA player today. And he said look, we are watching what the NBA is doing. And as long as the NBA is making a good faith effort to try to get rid of Donald Sterling we're going to keep playing. We understand that there is a legal system. We understand that he may fight it in court but as long as the NBA is trying we're going to keep playing. And frankly I any that is a very sensible attitude on the part of Lebron and the whole league. And I think that is the approach they will take.
HOSTIN: And I don't think it is fair to put this on the shoulders of the players. Again, these are men playing at have worked their entire towards this goal. They are playing at the highest level of their sport. Should they have to boycott and not make any money and open themselves up to this kind of exposure because of what is going on with Donald Sterling? I don't think that is going to happen.
COOPER: Yes, and fascinating.
Jeffrey, Sunny, thanks very much. Ric, great to have you on. Thanks.
We'll have more on the latest moves by Donald Sterling. And stay tuned. At the top of the hour we are going to show you much more on the interview with Donald Sterling. And also Magic Johnson's response to what Sterling said in a Special Report 9:00 eastern time here on CNN. I hope you join us from that.
Up next, a live update on the fires raging from San Diego County. Thousands of homes still threatened tonight. Several left in ruins. We'll talk to one couple now homeless because of the flames.
Also ahead, an update on the battle over Sonya, the 9-year-old girl taken away from her adoptive parents who were in court today fighting to try to get her back. She is now living with her biological father, a man she never met until he took her after her adoption was overturned. What the judge decided today when we continue.
COOPER: Thousands of homes are still in danger tonight with wildfire destroying at least 31 square miles in the San Diego area. More than 2,000 firefighters are fighting the blaze. This gives you a sense of they are up against. This is time apps video, the most active fire, the coco's fire in Escondido and San Marcos. The smoke clouds growing bigger and bigger you see them there. More than 3,000 acres have burned with only 10 percent containment. It is a very tough fight, a 176,000 evacuation notices are in effect. And there s suspicion that some of the fires maybe arson. One man faces arson charges in connection with the small fire. Each fire can move very quickly. It is a very fluid and very dangerous situation.
Gary Tuchman is there. And Gary, before I go I want to remind viewers of what you found yourself in the middle of just yesterday in San Marcos. Let's state a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The flames and the winds spread the ashes and embers and that is what makes the fire spread. This area right here, ten minutes ago, nothing at all. Now we're seeing the smoke and the flame start to form. It is very likely that within the next couple of hours this tree, this vegetation will be gone.
The fire is getting bigger. It is moving closer to us and moving closer to the houses in the neighborhood. The firefighters we're talking to are getting quite concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And Gary is back there today. It is devastated. We saw the house on fire there yesterday. We could only see it in the distance.
You're at the house now. What does it look like?
TUCHMAN: Yesterday, Anderson, the flames were about 30 feet tall where I'm standing right now. We were watching it and hoping that nobody was in this house. And yes, fortunately the family did evacuate. They are safe but this is what happened.
This house is so incinerated that there are no personal belongings left. And the ground is still white-hot. This block is in top of the hill, about 500 feet above San Marcos. And this is almost like a tornado, in the sense that we cover tornadoes. You have houses that are destroyed, but then next to it the house might be fine.
The house behind us has not been touched whatsoever. But here you see the smoke coming from the bottom. There are literally orange flames under the ground. Firefighters were just here about 30 minutes ago trying to cool it off but it is still very hot.
The good news right now, Anderson, is that the winds have died down considerably. It is still quite windy. However, it was much less windy yesterday, it was much less humid yesterday. And it was 15 degrees hotter.
So, it was a very devastating today. Still today there are at least a dozen homes in the area that have been destroyed. It is not known what the exact count is, but we do know many homes have been destroyed here in the northern part of the San Diego County.
COOPER: What do we expect in the next few days?
TUCHMAN: Yes. What we are hopeful for, Anderson, is that the worst is over. Tomorrow -- let me start with yesterday. Yesterday, the high where I'm standing was 99 degrees. The humidity was in the single digitals. Today it has been about 84, the humidity up to 40 percent. Tomorrow, Sunday and Monday, it is supposed to be in the upper 60s, low 70s, that is typical weather for San Diego County. Humidity levels are supposed to be seasonal. And they are hoping that this weekend is a much easier Saturday and Sunday than Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and today, Friday.
COOPER: Yes. Let's hope. So Gary, appreciate it. So far, at least eight homes and apartment complex have all done up in flames. (INAUDIBLE) or one couple who have lost their home. They rented a hill top house with an amazing view. It is now in ruins. They join me tonight. Stan and Amanda, first of all, I'm so sorry for what you're going through. What do you do when something like that happens?
STAN SEKERKE, LOST HOME IN SAN MARCOS FIRE: Well, we kind of do -- the way we did before this happened is you rebuild and move on. The way we got to the nice house in the first place. It won't be easy, but it is what is needed to go on.
COOPER: I want to show people where your house used to be. I mean, is everything gone? Did everything inside it get destroyed?
STAN SEKERKE: All the way down. We went and visited the site yesterday. And there was nothing, so I imagine it must have been really hot to metal the metal and what have you. But it was just all gone.
COOPER: And Amanda, I understand you were actually at the house when the fire started moving in. How did you know it was time to get out of there?
AMANDA SEKERKE, LOST HOME IN SAN MARCOS FIRE: Well, I didn't. We had been watching earlier fires. And I was just at home in the house with the kids. And got a call from my husband that he was coming up the hill and noticed just a little bit of smoke. He said get the kids in the car. And we need to get out of here before that picks up.
COOPER: Were you able to take anything with you?
AMANDA SEKERKE: I got the kids in the car. I grabbed diapers and wipes, buckled everybody in and waited for my husband to pull in the driveway. And went from there. We got our animals, our dog, our two cats.
COOPER: Things like photographs or documents?
STAN SEKERKE: No time for that. Because being where we lived, the firefighters actually were not there. When I saw the fire, my concern was it would jump the hill where the wind was blowing and come get us where we really only have one way out up in that area.
COOPER: How are your kids deal wiling with this, how are they holding up? You have another child on the way I understand. How are they holding up?
AMANDA SEKERKE: Yes, I'm 20 weeks along with our fifth. Another boy. Our kids have been really strong so far. Our twin boys are two and a half years old. Then we have two daughters, as well, who are nearly six and nine. And they have been really strong.
COOPER: Do you have a place to stay?
STAN SEKERKE: Yes, we -- we end up -- we got a hotel room for a few days just to get some kind of stability and you know, structure for the children. And we'll go from there. It is really not a rule book on this one. So really try to resources, I believe that are there with the Red Cross and FEMA. And see how that pans out.
COOPER: Well, Stan and Amanda, I'm so sorry for what you're going through and I'm so glad you were able to get everybody out safely and your pets out, as well. And I just wish you the best moving forward. Thank you so much.
STAN SEKERKE: Thank you, guys.
AMANDA SEKERKE: Thank you very much.
COOPER: All right, stay strong, take care.
Well, some of the wildfires sparked terrifying firenados. They're firewalls, pillars that can be just as dangerous as tornadoes in a lot of different ways. Let's check in now with Tom Foreman for a look at how these firenados form.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson, as you know one of the most dangerous things for a land firefighter is where the weather and winds are unstable. Where one moment they can push a fire in one direction, the other, a different direction. How does all that come together to create one of these fire whirls or fire tornadoes as people like to call them?
Essentially what happens is a fire burns into a hot bed of fuel. So it may be at 1500, 2200 degrees temperature. That would not be uncommon and then a colder air mass comes overhead and all the heat is drawn up toward that colder area. The cold air and the hot air hit each other just like they do in a tornado and they start swirling. And that starts drawing in more combustible gases and as they rise they burst into flames.
It tightens and swirls even tighter. Now this is going around 20 to 30, 40 miles an hour in terms of its rotation. That is nothing like a real tornado, which would be 200, 300 miles depending on what you're talking about, which part of the storm. Nonetheless this can be dangerous because this thing can go horizontal and start shooting out across the ground.
And in doing this it can be like a blow torch of thousands of degrees, obvious danger to any firefighter there. But even if it burns straight up in the air, remember along with those gases being drawn in or little bits of plants. They also burn into flames there and get thrown out and get carried by the wind so much that other fires can then be started behind anyone who is too close to the firenado, or the fire whirl.
And imagine that happening in a big circle all the way around them. It can happen. That is why they can wind up being trapped. And that is why, Anderson, these things have to be taken very seriously and kept at arm's length no matter how fascinating they are -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's incredible. Tom, thanks very much.
Up next, a 360 follow on the bitter custody battle over 9-year-old, Sonya. There was a court hearing today in Tennessee involving her birth father and her adoptive parents, we'll tell you what happened.
Also tonight, big changes to the Veterans Affairs Department amid the growing scandal about the care after V.A. hospitals.
COOPER: A 360 follow to a story we reported last night. The custody battle for a 9-year-old girl named Sonya. Before the age of 2, she went to live with a couple who eventually adopted her. They were the only parents that Sonya ever knew until January when a state judge ordered that she be returned to her biological father. Her adoptive parents, Dave and Kim Hodgin were forced to turn Sonya over to a man who was a stranger to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Sonya is crying her eyes out, just screaming bloody murder. Saying please dad, don't make me go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she took her bags, that is the last time we've seen her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Here's what happened, Sonya's birth father, John McCaul, is a convicted criminal. Under Tennessee law, his parental rights will automatically terminated when he was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison. But his sentence was later reduced in a plea deal, allowing McCaul to re-assert those rights. So he fought Sonya's adoption and got it reversed. The last time the Hodgins spoke to Sonya was just after she was given to McCaul. Here is what she told them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM: Tell me how bad is the house?
SONYA: Dirt everywhere. I think there's even mold. He didn't have no clean water.
KIM: No clean water, no drinking water.
SONYA: It's just so -- it's so dirty. There is dirt all over it. There's cigarettes everywhere.
KIM: Is he being nice to you?
SONYA: Yes. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That recording she pointed out was made one day after she was taken. Now a hearing was held today before the same judge who granted John McCaul custody of Sonya. Randi Kaye joins us with that. So what happened?
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: It was a bad day, Anderson, bottom line for the Hodgins, the adoptive parents. They went to court for two things. They had filed a motion to try and get the judge to vacate the order which sent Sonya back to Nebraska to be with her biological father. So they wanted that order vacated and they also wanted visitation rights for Sonya.
He rejected the order. He said that Sonya will remain in Nebraska at least for now with her biological dad. He did not rule on the visitation. He said he is going to review that. So it was a very emotional day for Kim and Dave Hodgin, very emotional for everybody really involved in this case. This is what, Dave Hodgin, the adoptive father had to say after court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE HODGIN, SONYA'S ADOPTIVE FATHER: What has happened in this court today is devastating for Sonya. Sonya doesn't deserve the pain that this court and DCS has given her. And we will never stop. That is what they have appeals court for and beyond that. We'll never stop, ever, ever until we get our daughter safe back home in Dixon, Tennessee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The daughter does have a legal representative in the state who said that she wants to stay with her biological father. But the adoptive parents have not been able to talk to her so they don't believe it. What is the next step?
KAYE: The last call is the one we listened to from January 30th. The next step right after court today the family's attorneys appealed to the higher circuit court. They want a best hearing. They say the judge made the ruling and sent her back to the father. They want the ruling to happen in this higher court. One interesting note is the Nashville attorney who worked on helping re-tool Tennessee's adoption law.
And he has come out and talked about this case and said the juvenile judge who ruled on the case should have had a best interest hearing for Sonya. He said this judge made an error in not having the best interest hearing. He said the law requires it. And so the Hodgins are listening to it and will make sure as far as they can that Sonya has that hearing.
COOPER: And the little girl really didn't know her biological father?
KAYE: No, she was 9 years old when it happened. She had been living with them for about seven or eight years. And had one phone call with her father that lasted 12 minutes. He had been in and out of prison and didn't really have a lot of time for her. But he did fight for her and got her back. But the child protective services has been defending his side and they spoke after court, as well, today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB JOHNSON, SPOKESMAN FOR DCS: He has been as far as we can tell, a good father. He has fought for his daughter. He doesn't have a perfect record. He is not a boy scout. But he has done everything the state of Tennessee has asked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: So both sides go back to court next month, juvenile court, to handle the motion that they were working on today. And then so far no date has been set yet for the higher court. The circuit court that will hear that appeal. And possibly hold that best interest hearing.
COOPER: Difficult case. Thank you very much, Randi.
You're watching a number of other stories tonight as well -- Randi.
KAYE: I certainly am. We have a 360 follow now on the V.A. hospital scandal. Dr. Robert Petzel, the undersecretary of Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs has resigned a day after speaking at the hearing on patient care and wait times. Petzel was scheduled to retire sometime later this year.
And 360 follow, this one from the Georgia, the body of Shirley Durman was found in the river. She was abducted two weeks ago, authorities believe, when her husband was beheaded in their home.
And this is from the summer of 1937 at the Major League Baseball all- star game. The eight-second clip is from the archives. FDR was paralyzed by polio in 1921, and tried to hide his disability from the public.
And it was Barbara Walters said farewell to "The View," ahead of her retirement from ABC news. She shattered the glass ceiling for female journalists and dozens of women reporters from Oprah to Joan London, they were all on hand to thank her. Barbara had this message for the audience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS: From the bottom of my heart to all of you with whom I have worked and to all of you who have watched and been at my side for so many years, I can say thank you, thank you, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Amazing career, we wish her the best.
KAYE: I don't think she is done yet.
COOPER: I have no doubt she is not done yet. Randi, thank you very much. Ahead tonight on AC360, my conversation with Anthony Bourdain, we'll preview his program, which this weekend, he looks at the food and traditions in the Mississippi Delta.
Also ahead, I'll talk to journalist, Glenn Greenwald, about his new book, "The Behind The Scenes Look at Edward Snowden," going public that surveillance video from the NSA.
COOPER: Anthony Bourdain off in travels all over the world, and in this week's "PARTS UNKNOWN" he is stateside, looking at the traditional foods of the Mississippi Delta. I have a connection there, my dad was born there. It's great to talk to him about what he discovered. Our conversation is tonight's "American Journey."
COOPER: You went to the Mississippi Delta. My family comes from Mississippi. My dad's side of the family were farmers there. Why did you go there?
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, "PARTS UNKNOWN": I like to challenge the misconceptions, during a world and time where Mississippi was looked down on, and looked at contempt and derision. It was the place where, I grew up thinking Mississippi. They shot Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda there, I'm not going there. They're all racists and hicks, but it is such a deeper story. So when you're -- when you grow up with a prejudice like that it is increasingly interesting to me to challenge that.
COOPER: In the wake of Katrina I went to Biloxi, to Mary Mahoney's, it has been there a long time. And the owner came out and said, welcome back, Anderson, you were here with your father when you were 7 or 8 years old. He showed me the table where I sat with my dad. There is something about Mississippi that -- I don't know, there is a memory there. There is a history there.
BOURDAIN: It is beautiful. Physically, it is a beautiful place. And look, I like going to a place where I sort of blunder about, a Yankee that surely has nothing to learn from.
COOPER: How was the food?
BOURDAIN: It is great.
COOPER: I was down there, and somebody said everything is covered in sugar and fried.
BOURDAIN: That is not true also, where did the food that we call southern down home food? Where did that come from? Who created that food? What we're calling southern food on TV? How is that different? Is -- is it the real thing or a mutation? The traditional, southern cooking in its pure form and over time was a very different and often healthier thing.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Tastes good. Catch Anthony Bourdain, "PARTS UNKNOWN," this Sunday right here on CNN.
Coming up, what would it be like to live your life like a real-life spy novel in the past few years? My interview with Glenn Greenwald, and the challenges ahead.
COOPER: Glenn Greenwald is out with a new book about his experiences with Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the National Security Agency he became famous last year when he fled to Hongkong with a stash of documents detailing the extensive surveillance operations the NSA was doing all over the world. The book is called "No Place To Hide." It is a fascinating read. I spoke to Glenn earlier.
COOPER: The book itself "No Place To Hide" is great on a lot of different levels. One, obviously it is an important story for anybody concerned about privacy and you know, journalism. It is a great read. But even for people who are not interested on that level, it is a great read. Reads like a detective story, which is what you have been living for the past couple of years.
GLENN GREENWALD, AUTHOR, "NO PLACE TO HIDE": Yes, really, it felt like this very intense spy film. And what I wanted to do was take people through what it was like to have gone through that in part so that they could know the decisions on how the reporting was done, whether they agree with what was done. But also to give insight to this remarkable insight to this story, a 29-year-old who know knowingly his life, or to steal, but simply to inform the fellow citizens. It is a remarkable human story, I think we all should think about what leads somebody to take those steps but also the spy craft --
COOPER: Right, spy craft that you yourself have to kind of adopt. Not having your cell phone present when you're talking to your colleague, either having to remove the battery which you're unable to do or bring the phone to another room because of concern like tracking by government officials.
GREENWALD: I have not been able to use my phone for over a year, except just the most banal logistics.
COOPER: Is that true, really?
GREENWALD: Yes, my phone has been compromised. The British government has made it clear they have read e-mailings. So when you work on this story that is this sensitive involving govern governments all over the world you have to take very extreme precautions to safeguard the materials and your own communications that you are just not used to doing.
COOPER: And you're not even sure he is legit, he is giving you encryption software -- he has to walk you through it. GREENWALD: And one of the things that changed for the better, I know people back then, even journalists, were contacting me about documents and talking to Snowden, I would say you have to install the encryption. I think people have come to realize the importance, especially if you're like a lawyer or journalist, or human rights activist. People who need confidentiality in their communications but even everybody. Who take steps to make private anything they would want to invade.
COOPER: Great to have you.
COOPER: That was just a portion of my interview with Glenn, you can see more on our web site at AC360.come. Our special report, "Sex, Lies, and Basketball" starts right now.