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Violent Weather Warnings; Shocking New Details about Killing Spree; Deadline for Donald Sterling Set for Tomorrow

Aired May 26, 2014 - 17:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, HOST: Happening now, new massacre details. We are learning how the killer's father raced desperately to try to head off the rampage, as the father of a victim goes public with grief and outrage at politicians for yet another American massacre.


RICHARD MARTINEZ, FATHER OF CHRIS MARTINEZ: Those gutless bastards have done nothing. And my son died because of it. It's outrageous. It's absolutely outrageous.


KEILAR: All out battle -- a day after a billionaire candy tycoon wins the presidential election with pledges of peace, Ukraine troops and separatists step up their bitter fighting.

And the bidding begins as a critical day looms for Donald Sterling.

Is his wife already fielding offers for the LA Clippers?

Wolf Blitzer is off today.

I'm Brianna Keilar.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: And we have breaking news right now. A tornado watch for Corpus Christi, Texas and beyond. Also, violent weather warnings for the Houston area.

Let's go live now to Karen Maginnis.

She's in the CNN Severe Weather Center.

What's the latest -- Karen?

KAREN MAGINNIS, ATS METEOROLOGIST: Brianna, we have a very dynamic and dangerous situation taking place across a good portion of Texas, including these coastal areas, also West Central Texas. We'll focus in on that region, all the way from Corpus Christie down toward Houston. This is where the watch goes in effect until 9:00. That is local time.

One particular cell moving off toward the northeast very strong. Already some reports of damage associated with this. This line just to the southwest of Houston, in the area right around Wharton and Roseburg. Well, we've seen some trees fall down on homes, also windows that have been blown out of homes, as well.

This is expected to move off toward the northeast at just about 20 miles an hour. Included in that is the fact that there's very heavy rain associated with this. So if a tornado does touch, down more than likely it is going to be rain wrapped. All across Texas, especially central and southern reaches, we do have flash flood warnings and flash flood watches out.

Now, remember, this is severe weather season. A warning, a tornado warning or a severe thunderstorm warning means that the situation is particularly dangerous. A watch means conditions are favorable.

But we're already seeing some thunderstorms erupt and produce some very small tornadoes in West Texas, just to the north of Midland, Texas. So be aware. Listen to your weather radar -- or radio for information, because this is going to be a very dynamic situation as we go into the evening hours, erupting all the way from Lubbock to Midland to San Antonio, Houston. Those are the areas that are most in danger tonight -- Brianna.

KEILAR: And do we have any idea just how long this is going to be in effect?

MAGINNIS: Well, we have those watches that are in effect until 9:00 p.m.. It's possible that they will continue or extend those across this region, right along the Gulf Coast region from Galveston and Corpus Christie into Houston and then across this Lubbock and Midland area. But those are the two regions until about mid-evening hours, as I mentioned, 9:00 local time. But as I also mentioned, that could be extended as we go into the evening, if those thunderstorms really start to ramp up.

KEILAR: Is there any danger of folks being outside for barbecues and these things popping up rather quickly?

MAGINNIS: Yes, Brianna, that is key, because this is a holiday. People are spending their time outdoors. They're probably not focused on the weather, though I daresay, to the south and to the west of Houston, you are -- you couldn't but help be noticing what's going on there right now, because the wind is kicking up, the rain is coming down. We've had some reports in some areas of between two and almost five inches of rainfall in just a very short period of time.

So not a great holiday to be celebrating outdoors, especially if you live in this coastal area or West Central Texas -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Karen Maginnis, you'll be following that. We'll be checking in with you.

Thanks so much.

And now to shocking new details about the California killing spree in which a young man stabbed and shot six people to death before taking his own life, YouTube threats and a ranting manifesto about the killer's twisted world. There were warnings and there was intervention.

So why couldn't the massacre be stopped?

Our correspondents and analysts are standing by with full coverage of this story.

And we begin with CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown -- Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hello there, Brianna.

Investigators are going through the items right now that they took from a search of Elliot Rodger's mother's house looking for any other clues that might indicate what made him finally snap. And we've been talking to a close family friend, of the Rodger family. And he tells us that Elliot has been struggling with mental health issues since he was a child.

But it was not until Friday, this friend says, that there was any indication he was going to hurt someone.


BROWN (voice-over): CNN has learned Elliot Rodger's father was racing from LA to Santa Barbara in a frantic search for his son when a source says he heard a news report on the radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to a witness, there was a black colored BMW with a white occupant, a male in a white shirt.

BROWN: Someone driving a black BMW just like the one his son drove was on a shooting rampage in Santa Barbara.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired! Shots fired!

BROWN: Police say the 22-year-old Santa Barbara college student was shooting at will, exacting the revenge he'd been planning, police say, for at least a year.

ELLIOT RODGER: You do deserve it, just for a crime of living a better life than me.

BROWN: Rodger taped this chilling YouTube video titled, "Retribution," before killing six people and injuring 13 others Friday night.

RODGER: I've wanted a girlfriend. I've wanted sex. I've wanted love, affection, adoration. But you think I'm unworthy of it. That's a crime that can never be forgiven. BROWN: Rodger also outlined his deadly plans in a manifesto obtained by CNN affiliate KEYT. Lucky Radley is mentioned in the 137- page document. He grew up just a few doors down from roger.

LUCKY RADLEY, FRIEND OF SHOOTER: The Elliot Rodger I knew, he was just a -- really a quiet, a quiet guy. He never said any words. He was just -- he was just really there. He didn't say much. I don't remember him saying anything. It was -- he only spoke when he was spoken to.

BROWN: A family friend, Simon Astaire (ph), says Rodger sent his diatribe to a couple dozen people, including his mother and father and therapist, just moments before terrorizing the UC Santa Barbara campus. On Sunday, the ATF and county sheriff's office searched his mother's home.

Astaire says Rodger's now feel a, quote, "pivotal moment" was missed last month. Six police officers conducted a well-being check on Rodger in April after his mother discovered other videos he posted online documenting his, quote, "loneliness and misery." But the officers say they found nothing alarming during their check.

In his manifesto, Rodger discusses his devastating fear that police discovered his plan. "I would have been thrown in jail, denied of a chance to exact revenge on my enemies. I can't imagine a hell darker than that," he wrote.


BROWN: And Astaire says Rodger had been visiting therapists on and off since he was eight years old, and in high school, practically daily. And right before his killing spree, Rodger was seeing two therapists, we're told. Astaire describing him as reserved to a daunting degree. But Astaire also says the 22-year-old didn't appear to have violent tendencies and never expressed any fascinations with guns -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Pamela, thank you so much.

Now, five people wounded in the rampage are still being treated at a local hospital. All of the dead were students at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

This killing started in Elliot Rodger's own apartment, where he stabbed to death his two roommates, George Chen and George Chen and Cheng Yuan Hong, along with a third young man, Weihan David Wang. The two women shot dead by Rodger were sorority sisters. Katherine Cooper and Veronika Weiss were gunned down outside a sorority house. The sixth victim, Christopher Martinez, was shot and killed while getting a sandwich at a deli.

The father of the last young victim that I mentioned has gone public with his grief and his outrage.

He spoke with CNN national correspondent, Kyung Lah.

And she's joining us now -- I mean, Kyung, the only way you can describe how he -- it is heartbreaking to hear what this man says.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's unimaginable, especially if you are a parent. And what he wants to say is he is acutely aware that there is only a brief period of time that people are actually going to care about what he says. He says he's going to take advantage of it. He wants people to know he is not alone. There are six sets of parents affected here, countless others when you consider the number of mass shootings that have happened in recent years.

And this is what is driving him as he goes before news cameras.


MARTINEZ: Our son, Christopher Martinez, and six others are dead.

LAH: It was an extraordinary moment when you walked into the news conference.

MARTINEZ: They talk about gun rights.

What about Chris' right to live?

LAH: Very unexpected.

Why did you do that?

MARTINEZ: To honor the memory of my son. To make it try to mean something. That's why I'm here. If there's all these things in the media about the shooter and there's nothing about the victims, then it sends the wrong message. And the people need to understand that real people died here.

LAH: Chris Martinez was just 20 years old, an English major at UCSB. He went to the Ivy Deli Mart to get a snack Friday night when the gunman opened fire. The boy who loved sports as a child dreamed of being a lawyer like his father.

MARTINEZ: He's our only child. And he died on Friday. I'm 61 years old now. I'll never have another child. And he's gone.

You're sitting out there safe in your family room with your children safely around you, and I'm telling you, they walk out on that street, it can happen. It's happened far too many times now.

LAH: Yes. I don't know how many mass shootings I've covered. I don't know how many parents I've interviewed, who have been in the position you've been in.

How do you make that difference?

How do you, as one parent, make that difference?

MARTINEZ: I can anticipate that the NRA and some of the gun people are going to be saying it's the rants of the grieving father. He's just emotional and we shouldn't be listening to him. But in fairness to me, I think I can be both emotional and rational at the same time.

LAH (voice-over): Martinez is a veteran, has owned guns, but wants to know why a mentally unstable man legally owned three semiautomatic handguns and hundreds of rounds.

MARTINEZ: Where is the leadership?

Where is the fricking politicians that will stand up and say, we need to do this, we're going to do something?

Those gutless bastards have done nothing. And my son died because of it. It's outrageous. It's absolutely outrageous.

LAH: He's talking about Newtown, Connecticut, 20 children, six adults gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary. President Obama pushed for tougher federal gun control laws, expanded background checks, that failed in the Senate, despite huge public support.

MARTINEZ: My kid died because nobody responded to what occurred at Sandy Hook. Those parents lost little kids. It's bad enough that I lost my 20-year-old, but I had 20 years with my son. That's all I'll ever have, but those people lost their children at six and seven years old.

How do you think they feel?

And who's talking to them now?

Who's doing anything for them now?


LAH: He says that Sandy Hook was not enough to spark the national conversation. He's not sure if his son's death will be enough to start it, but he says it has to happen. There has to be a real conversation, real action about the state of mental health and the proliferation of guns in America -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Kyung Lah, thank you so much.

And let's go ahead now and dig deeper on this with CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes.

He's a former FBI assistant director.

And also, his daughter survived the Virginia Tech massacre. She was on the same floor in a dorm where two of her classmate did not.

And Sarah Clements, a high school senior in Newtown, Connecticut.

Her mother is a teacher who survived the Sandy Hook massacre.

I want to start with you, Sarah.

Just as you listen to Mr. Martinez, what is your reaction?

SARAH CLEMENTS, FOUNDER, JUNIOR NEWTOWN ACTION ALLIANCE: Well, first of all, thank you for having me.

And my reaction is that he's right. Mr. Martinez, we stand with you in Newtown. And there are millions of other families and survivors who have lost loved ones to gun violence, whose loved ones and friends have been murdered. And what you've said in the last couple of days is exactly correct and it is exactly how we feel.

The six people who were murdered at UCSB this weekend were all students. This is a young people's issue. Millennials, my generation, is the most disproportionately affected generation by gun violence in America. If we don't take action, if we don't rise above the gun lobby, if we don't take action today, then we'll continue seeing massacres. We ask every time after, how did this happen, how did this happen?

And it's because we continue to stay silent. Silence is not going to save lives.

KEILAR: And, Tom, as you listen to him, I mean you must have been in the position in 2007 of realizing, you know, that things could have even gone differently for you as a father.

As you're listening, knowing that, what is your reaction to that?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's complete empathy to the highest degree. Just -- I can only imagine what that would have been like and how close, you know, having the same situation happen.

KEILAR: And it's -- I think speak to this in terms of being a law enforcement expert. And I see some parallels here with Virginia Tech, too. There were warning signs. There were multiple contacts with police that we're learning about. The parents had tremendous concern, obviously, for this man's mental health from the time that he was young.

And yet these dots either -- is it not that they can't be connected but nothing can be done about it?

What's going on?

FUENTES: Well, that's right. And the frustration Mr. Martinez expressed here is a frustration we should all have. And that is that there has been nothing learned from incident after incident. We've had mental health issues. The shooter at Virginia Tech had been judged by a judge as mentally ill, but that didn't prevent him from legally buying the two guns in a Roanoke, Virginia gun shop.

No laws have been changed in Virginia. Nothing has been changed. Nothing has been changed with health care. The frustration of Mr. Martinez about the guns, there's not even a debate about handguns. We can't even get anything changed about assault rifles. So we're not stopping people from having military grade assault rifles, like Sandy Hook Elementary School. There's no discussion about guns.

And as far as the mental health, you know, where are we with mental health? Mental health means revamping the system. That means making an investment. That means expenditure. That means federal spending. Well, that's a no-go. We're not going to increase the budget, the deficit. We'll hear all of those arguments.

And probably the final argument that we'll come out with is that the NRA, I'm sure, is going to recommend that all the sorority girls should be armed and everybody on campus at Santa Barbara should be armed and everybody everywhere. That was the recommendation last time. Let's arm our teachers. Let's -- you know, the only thing to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.

KEILAR: And Sarah, I mean, you heard Tom talking about gun laws not changing. You know that. I mean, Connecticut has obviously tightened its gun laws. Some states have. But even in the aftermath of Newtown, there was a complete inability to change anything when it came to gun laws federally. Do you think, you know, knowing in your heart of hearts, do you think that anything changes in the wake of this at UCSB?

CLEMENTS: I actually would like to provide some optimism in light of this horror and in these dark days. There actually was a lot of -- there have been small victories, actually, that have occurred in the last year and a half or so after 12/14 that likely would not have occurred. It does still stand as a turning point.

For example, we had the director of the ATF appointed for the first time in seven years. We had politicians run and win elections with gun reform on their platform. And we had states like Connecticut and Colorado and California and many others adopt comprehensive, commonsense gun reform packages.

Actually, when you look at California, which is where the shooting happened this weekend, although the strict gun laws in California obviously didn't deter what happened from happening, they also didn't allow the killer to obtain an assault rifle and 50-round ammunition magazines. So obviously, it didn't stop what happened from happening, but the steps that we took after 12/14 did deter -- you know, what happened could have been much worse.

KEILAR: Yes. Some optimism there but still a lot of frustration. Sarah, thank you to you.

Tom, thank you so much for talking.

CLEMENTS: Yes, I'd -- we are -- I would like to say that we are in the -- we are moving forward in the right direction, but we're still in the first mile of this marathon.

KEILAR: And it is slow when it comes to mental health and -- and issues with guns. Sarah, thanks so much.

Tom, thanks for being with us and talking about this.

CLEMENTS: Thank you.

KEILAR: Next, intense new fighting breaking out in Ukraine, even as the country's new president-elect talks of peace. We'll be taking you there live.

And the White House accidentally outs the CIA chief in Afghanistan as the president meets with troops there. How damaging is this leak?


KEILAR: A billionaire candy tycoon known as the Chocolate King will be Ukraine's next president. But even before the votes are all counted from the weekend election, the promises to work for peace have been overshadowed by a new round of bloody fighting.

Let's go live now to CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto. He is in Kiev -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, tonight Ukraine is a country of deep contrast. You have the excitement, the hope here in Kiev, the capital in the western part of the country, contrasting with real fear, fear for their lives in the eastern part of the country.

The peace, the calm here after this election on Sunday here in Kiev and the west contrasting with a major anti-terror operation under way around the Donetsk Airport. We're hearing still of loud explosions overnight. That violence continuing into the night.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): Ukrainians voted but the election could not extinguish the violence. Today, the airport in Donetsk under armed assault by pro-Russian militants. Ukrainian forces responding with attack helicopters.

Ukraine's president-elect, Petro Poroshenko, known as the Chocolate King here, declared that his first priority in office would be getting Russia to stop the bloodshed.

PETRO POROSHENKO, PRESIDENT-ELECT, UKRAINE: Stopping the war and bringing the peace to the whole Ukraine, bringing stability on the eastern part of Ukraine. That would be impossible without participation of Russian representative.

SCIUTTO: Despite the violence, international observers led by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright declared Sunday's election largely free and fair. Strong turnout in the west and center of Ukraine, they said, outweighed paltry turnout in the violence- plagued east.

Traveling there through checkpoints manned by pro-Russian separatists, we found the militants with free rein. Election materials sat burning outside polling places, and local police looked less than interested in chasing the guilty parties. (on camera): Who came here to burn the ballots and materials outside?

So who gave this order?

(voice-over): A representative of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic was more than willing to claim credit, showing me papers ordering the closure of the polling stations here.

Then, under a statue of Lenin and waving Russian flags, their supporters cheered a new Russia -- Nova Rusia, they called it -- independent of the government in Kiev and closer to neighboring Moscow.

(on camera): Tell me what you think of tomorrow's elections?

OLEG CARYOV, SEPARATIST LEADER (through translator): I think they are illegal, but it's not important what I think. It's important what the people of Donetsk and Ukrask (ph) Republican think, and they think this election is illegal, too.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): A division in the east that has U.S. and European officials facing a dilemma.

(on camera): Can Ukraine have a credible, legitimate, national election with very low turnout in the east?

GEOFFREY PYATT, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Well, again, it's important to remember that the people who were denied their franchise in the east were denied because of violence committed by individuals, apparently with support coming from Russia. And then we've got to work closely -- Brussels, the United States, Berlin, Paris, London -- to keep pressure on Russia.


SCIUTTO: A remarkable show of force, really, in these last three days here by pro-Russian militants. They were able to virtually shut down the election in those two eastern provinces. Really 10 to 20 percent turnout possible. Most of the election stations closed down.

And now able in the last 24 hours to shut down a major airport in Donetsk.

And you can see this new leader of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, in effect delivering a challenge to Moscow, saying that one of his other priorities is greater integration with the E.U. Remember, it was disagreement over that that led to those initial protests here, in Migan (ph) and Kiev, lots of violence, lots of players, including Russia involved and had a stake in that. If he pursues that goal very quickly, how will Russia respond? To be honest, a lot of open questions. It's hard to see how this country gets stable very quickly.

KEILAR: Sure is. Jim Sciutto, really appreciate that. He's in Kiev. And you can also join Jim now for a Twitter chat on the elections and the violence in Ukraine. Just tweet your questions using #JiminUkraine, and he will be answering those for the next 30 minutes.

I want to go ahead now and bring in Daniel Baer. He is the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He's joining us now from Vienna.

Thanks so much, Ambassador, for being with us. Really appreciate it. And also your teams helped monitor these elections. Can you talk a little bit about what they say in the east, and we just heard some of Jim's report describing that. But tell us about some of the things that they saw and what that means for this election.

DANIEL BAER, U.S. AMBASSADOR ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE: That's right. The OSCE had over 1,100 people observing these elections. There have actually been 100 people on the ground for the last three months observing the lead-up to the erections, the pre-election environment, and then they were fanned out -- those were fanned out across the country. They were joined by a thousand more for election day.

And what they found, as they reported at their press conference today, was that the elections met international standards, that with the exception of the areas, the discrete areas in the east where armed groups have terrorized the local population, that the elections proceeded according to plan. In fact, they assessed that 98 percent of the polling places where they observed were positively assessed.

I think it's important, also following on Jim's report, Jim has been obviously the eyes and ears on the ground there and doing a lot of great reporting for the last several weeks. But it's important to draw the distinction, when we talk about the east, we're actually talking about two specific districts in the east out of 24 in the country where there are some parts of those districts that have been under the control of these violent groups.

What's amazing, I think -- one of the amazing stories out of yesterday's election, was that even in those two districts, thousands of people came out to vote. Yes, the turnout was low in Donetsk. The latest figure I saw was 15 percent and only about 900 out of the 1,300 polling places were able to open. But the turnout of 15 percent for those 900 polling places puts it largely in line with the rest of the country, which shows just how many people would have voted if they could have voted, if they hadn't been prevented by these violent groups.

KEILAR: Yes. And Ambassador Baer, the judgment of these elections being largely free and fair is significant, because the west had said that it would, and the U.S. had said it would enact tougher sanctions if that didn't happen. Does that mean that we shouldn't expect to see any consequences because of this judgment of these elections being largely free and fair?

BAER: Look, I think, you know, the OSCE is the gold standard in international election observation. It includes Russia and Ukraine as participating states. So obviously, it's a broad tent. It's a great step forward for Ukraine. Ukraine had, you know, even before the votes were tallied, we knew that Ukrainians had won yesterday's election because they came out in their millions and picked a new president and turned the page towards the future.

I think there's a lot of work ahead and that means there's a lot of work ahead for Mr. Poroshenko and his government. A lot of work ahead for the Ukrainian people in holding their government accountable and working together and coming together to work for a better and stronger Ukraine.

And obviously, Russian's actions continue to be destructive and destabilizing. We heard from Jim's report about the new violence in Donetsk, armed groups taking over the airport there. Yesterday, lots of reports about Chechens coming across the border from Russia, openly admitting that they had come across the border from Russia heavily armed. And Russia needs to play a constructive role in the future, too.


D. BAER: And I think we will continue to apply both pressure and support in getting them to play that role.

KEILAR: A long road for sure. Ambassador Baer, thanks for joining us.

And coming up, the identity of a top CIA official in Afghanistan that was supposed to be a secret, obviously. So why did the White House let the spy's name slip out?

And as Donald Sterling faces a deadline from the NBA, his wife already may be fielding offers for the L.A. Clippers.

You're in the SITUATION ROOM.


KEILAR: America today is pausing to remember its fallen, those who have died serving their nation. Hours after returning from an unannounced visit from troops in Afghanistan, President Obama laid a wreath at Arlington memorial cemetery and he spoke of continuing challenges abroad and the scandal facing war veterans at home.

CNN's senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta has details.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On this day of remembrance at Arlington National cemetery, President Obama paid tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives and offered a war-weary nation closure.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're at a pivotal moment. Our troops are coming home. By the end of this year, our war in Afghanistan will finally come to an end.


ACOSTA: But with the embattled veterans affairs secretary, Eric Shinseki looking on, the president could not avoid the un-finish business at hand, fixing the long lines in cover-ups at the VA.

OBAMA: We must do more to keep faith with our veterans and their families and ensure they get the care and benefits and opportunities that they earned and that they deserved.

ACOSTA: Mr. Obama's remarks came just hours after returning from a top secret whirlwind trip to Afghanistan where he warned that Al Qaeda may be on its heels in that part of the world but not everywhere.

OBAMA: In other parts of the world, Al Qaeda affiliates are evolving and imposed serious threat. We're going to have to stay strong and we are going to have to stay vigilant.

ACOSTA: It was a brief sneak preview of the speech that the president will deliver Wednesday at west point where he will answer his critics who charge his foreign policy has become too cautious in responding to Syria's civil war and Russia's involvement in Ukraine, a (INAUDIBLE) he defended last month.

OBAMA: It avoids errors, you hit singles, doubles every once in a while, we may be able to hit a home run but we steadily advance the interests of the American people.

ACOSTA: But all of that will come after this Memorial Day, when the nation's political discourse can be set aside to honor those who defend it.

OBAMA: Everything that we hold precious in this country was made possible by Americans who gave their all.


ACOSTA: But the White House has another headache to deal with and that is the naming, the accidental naming of the top intelligence operatives stationed in Afghanistan. It happened at a print pool report that went out to 6,000 journalists because of a mistake made by White House press officials. Privately administration officials they are very concerned about this operative's safety but for right now the White House and CIA are not commenting -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Jim Acosta, thank you so much.

And let's bring now CNN national security analyst and former CIA officer Bob Baer along with CNN political commentator Ryan Lizza who is also the Washington correspondent for "the New Yorker."

Bob, I'm going to ask you in just a moment about the danger this poses.

But first, Ryan, you just spoken with the reporter who put out this -- the name of this station chief. How did this happen?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he was a pool reporter on air force one. It is a small group of reporters who travels with the president, as you know. And he basically asked for the names of the folks who were briefing the president at Bagram air force base in Afghanistan. A White House press person went to the military and asked for that list. A military person sent it back to the White House with a note saying this is for the pool. In other words, this is for public distribution. Gave it to the press. The press then wrote up a report with that and other information, sent it back to the White House --

KEILAR: As is customary.

LIZZA: As is customary.

KEILAR: To be sent out so the White House saw it before.

LIZZA: And the White House pushes the final send button. These are, you know, frankly the White House aides that you to say are low-level people. And the question is, how did that name get on the military list.


LIZZA: That was sent to the White House, that was sent to the reporter and then to 6,000 e-mails.

KEILAR: That is a good question.

And Bob, we want to talk about the real effects of this. You worked for the CIA. You served in many dangerous places. You heard Jim's report, there is concern for the safety of this person but also what is the greater danger here?

ROBERT BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Brianna, I think they are going to have to pull him out, now that he's been identified publicly. The Taliban probably didn't his name before but they will now. They will focus on attempting assassinate him and I think it's as a matter of fact that they are going to pull him out of Afghanistan. It will affect his career over the long term, too.

KEILAR: And what about those around him, anyone who may have been affiliated with him but without knowing his status, perhaps it didn't raises much as a red flag for the Taliban?

R. BAER: Well, exactly. I mean, you know, they are going to be able to look at him, his cover and the people around him they are going to look like they are CIA, too and they may have to take a whole unit out. It depends on the situation out there. But this is a serious breach of security and the problem is White House staffers and some of the military don't understand the significance of cover and what it means for the CIA.

KEILAR: It is certainly a big deal.

And to you, Ryan, as we see President Obama going to West Point talking about foreign policy, what does he need to do?

LIZZA: Well, it's really tricky because a lot of the criticism that is coming at him right now is coming from the right. It is coming from people who want him more forward facing, more aggressive foreign policy, frankly. And it all started with his switch in Syria, when he backed off on the threat in Syria. That's become one of the main criticisms in this president from more hawkish Republicans.

I don't think Obama wants to be backed into a corner and argue that hello, he is hawkish. I think he has this fine line of being where a lot of American people are which is less interventionists than America has been for a while, but also not being painted into this corner of someone who has withdrawn from this wider world.

KEILAR: All right, we will be waiting to see what comes to that.

Ryan Lizza and Bob Baer, thank you so much to both of you for being with us.

Now, next, the NBA wants a response from Donald Sterling by tomorrow. Does he have anything to say about the racist comments that could cost him the Clippers?

Plus, severe weather on this Memorial Day. Some people are under a tornado warning. We'll have those details ahead.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The NBA has one more week to tighten its case against the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. The league will vote next Tuesday to force Donald Sterling and his wife Shelly to sell the team after his racist comments stirred outrage from coast to coast. And he has until tomorrow to respond to accusations that those comments damaged the league.

Let's go now to CNN's Rachel Nichols. She's in Miami.

So, Rachel, what are we expecting to happen here?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN HOST, UNGUARDED WITH RACHEL NICHOLS: You know, who knows. It seems to really depend on what side of the bed Donald Sterling, his wife Shelly and their various lawyers wake up on. Because they have changed their tune over and over again throughout this whole process.

Remember at the beginning, Donald Sterling just thought this was going to all blow over, was telling friends he didn't have to do anything. Then he goes on TV with Anderson Cooper, he apologizes and says he doesn't need to sue or litigate this at all, that he and his partners can work that out. And while those words were still hanging in the air, he goes and hire a lawyer, an anti-trust lawyer, so a real serious heavy gun.

Meanwhile, his wife Shelly also has hired her lawyer. She's threatening to haul the other owners into court to depose them about their private lives. Sterling's lawyer -- Donald, he tells the NBA in a letter that his client isn't paying the $2.5 million and there's no way they're participating in this.

And then all of a sudden in yet another change of direction, a few days ago the Sterling's leaked stories that in fact Donald has agreed to let Shelly supervise the selling, the voluntary sale of the team except the one reported meeting she had is with the potential owner who is known to want to move the basketball to Seattle, which the NBA is not going to allow to have happened.

So it's really just seems to be farcical at this point but the NBA is the one in control. They are going to proceed no matter what Donald and Shelly do tomorrow. If they answer this charge, if they don't answer this charge, the NBA is going to proceed with this process.

KEILAR: So is that all that we know about potential bidders here?

NICHOLS: Well, you know, then if the NBA does strip the Sterlings of the team, and there is this process. So tomorrow is when the Sterlings have to basically answer the charges the NBA has given to them. They can choose not to answer the charges. That's their -- that's their prerogative, or they can send over a bunch of legal papers sort of stating their case. But either way, in about a week we will see the Board of Governors hearing and vote. And we certainly expect at that point their ownership to be stripped from them.

The NBA then would take over ownership of the team and when that happens, then it would begin this bidding process. And it seems to be there are so many very, very, very, very rich people --


NICHOLS: -- who want to take this over. We were talking about a billion dollars a week or two ago. Now it seems that number, the asking price for this team might start at $1.5 billion and go up to $2 billion. And there are even more people putting their hats in the ring. We heard about Oprah Winfrey, Larry Ellison, and David Geffin. That's a big power group. Grant Hill threw his hat in the ring the other day with another very billionaire ownership group.


NICHOLS: Yao Ming has said he wants part of the team. Magic Johnson.

I don't know, Brianna, do you want the team?

KEILAR: I know. I just can't afford it.

Rachel Nichols, maybe we can go in together. And we'll see about that.


Thanks, Rachel, so much.

NICHOLS: We can work something out.

KEILAR: Yes, definitely. And just ahead, severe thunderstorms and flash flood warnings across parts of the south. The forecast, next.


KEILAR: We have breaking news. Dramatic flooding across parts of Texas. There are numerous alerts.

Karen Maginnis is in the CNN Severe Weather Center to update us -- Karen.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And Brianna, we have just a number of areas that are seeing severe weather. Two tornado watches in effect. This one encompasses about four million people. The one across west Texas encompasses about 800,000. So a washout not just with the heavy downpours, but because there is violent weather associated with these heavy downpours, you could experience rain- wrapped tornadoes. That means you're not going to see it heading your direction.

So if a warning is issued and you're anywhere to the west or to the southwest of Houston, Texas, over the next several hours please be aware, a very dangerous situation breaking out there.

A tornado warning to the northwest of Corpus Christi. We had some reports of damage there. Stay tuned to your television or radio for the latest alerts -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, this is gaining strength there from a watch now to a warning for Karen, we know you'll be watching. Thank you.

And we want to remind you about a special show coming soon to CNN. It's a new series from executive producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. "The Sixties." You can watch or set your DVR for the premier. That's Thursday night at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific only here on CNN.

Coming up, we are awaiting key information on the missing Malaysian airliner even as the hunt for Flight 370 faces a critical turning point, ahead.


KEILAR: Happening now, airport battle. Government forces launch a massive offensive against armed militants. Is it a sign Ukraine is heading toward collapse?

And turning point. The search for Malaysia Flight 370 reaches a critical juncture. So why could efforts to find the missing plane possibly be put on hold for months?