tv The Situation Room CNN October 23, 2013 2:00pm-3:31pm PDT
if you can't wait until christmas, check out this new ben & jerry's flavor kaufled scotchy scotch scotch, dedicated to the legend's favorite cocktail. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i turn you over to wolf bliltser in "the situation room." jake thanks very much. the white house faces the challenge of repairing the obama care website. what can it do about repairing the president's image? a 14-year-old boy charged with murder after a young math teacher is found dead in the woods behind her school. and a day after america's spy chief denies intercepting millions of french calls, germany says the u.s. may have been monitoring the cell phone of its leader. how awkward was today's phone call between president obama and the german chancellor, angela america snell i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
we'll have the latest on the murder of a young massachusetts teacher. we'll speak exclusively to a classmate of the alleged killer. fist the to the white house and new developments on damage control. more than three weeks after launching the website, the administration is launching an urgent operation to fix it but also fix the damage the president has suffered in the rollout of his sigts project. the critics will take the spotlight tomorrow when the first gop-led house hearing gets under way. our chief congressional correspondent dana bash is standing by. let's begin with our senior white house correspondent brianna keilar over at the white house. briann brian brianna? >> reporter: a lot of tech experts suggest erasing healthcare.gov and starring fresh. i asked jay carney about that today. it was fascinating. he didn't rule it out, although right now the administration is
focused on fixes of the current website that includes increasing bandwidth as well as making changes to the structure of the web site and to the search database. rewriting 100 million lines of code. that's what some experts think government contractors are facing trying to fix healthcare.g healthcare.gov. some suggest scrapping the entire site and trying again. >> is that under consideration? >> we have tech teams working on the existing system so our belief is we are making fixes to the existing system. >> reporter: the white house is not ruling out starting all over and not batting down experts' opinions that it could be several months before the federal website to purchase obama care is fully functional. >> look at this. two years. that's a really long time. is that out of the realm of possibility? >> again, what an outside computer expert might guesstimate about what the end of a process would look like is obviously based on a lot of
assumption. >> reporter: the white house is in full damage control mode as the federal portal to the president's signature health care reform program floupders. posting this new video on youtube to show how everyday americans were able to register or sign up for health insurance. >> down at the bottom of the page there was a bar that said having trouble logging in. it told me to clear my browsing history, clear my cache and clear my cookies, what were those were. it gave me the instructions on how to do it. once i did that i went back onto the computer and it failed right straight through, no problems at all. >> now if you're wondering about the people in that video, two of them signed up for insurance using their state websites, their state exchange, which have fared better than healthcare.gov, the federal website. the one person who did use healthcare.gov, wolf, we're told was able to register but she hasn't completed the process. >> brianna keilar at the white house, thanks very much.
this just coming in to cnn. we're learning a top contractor from the obama care website is saying basically don't blame us. that will be a highlight of tomorrow's house hearing as republicans pounce on the website fiasco and try to move the take advantage of the obama administration's political problems. democrats are worried as well. our chief congressional correspondent dana bash is up on capitol hill and has new information that's just coming in. first of all, dana, what are you learning about what the contractors' testimony tomorrow is going to be? >> reporter: four contractors will be represented tomorrow, but one of them, cgi, which helped develop the software for the website, said in testimony prepared for that hearing they've had eight required technical reviews prior to going live on october 1st and also that they followed a rigorous and formal process that is customary for such a large process like this. the other thing they are going to testify is that unfortunately
in systems this complex with so many concurrent users it is not unusual to discover problems once a system goes live. saying they did what they needed to do, passed the tests they need to, but sometimes with something this big involving this many people, sometimes things don't go right. i think you can expect to hear from members in both parties that's an understatement. >> certainly is. the democratic senator jeanne shaheen sent a letter to president obama urging him to extend the deadline for the individual mandate, the requirement to purchase the health insurance. are you hearing from other democrats on this sensitive subject? >> reporter: we are, and this is really indicative of just how sensitive this is politically, especially for democrats who are up for re-election next year, like jeanne shaheen. two other democrats have formally said they agree with her, that it is important to delay the enrollment deadline. one of them is mark begich of alaska, the other mark pryor of alaska. not just that, wolf.
i spoke just before coming won you to a top democratic strategist saying based on conversations with targeted democrats, expect more of them to come out and endorse the this idea because they're being encouraged not just to sit back and wait to be asked by reporters or by constituents but to be active, proactive in saying that they think things need to be fixed and there needs to be fairness in there. one other thing beyond the 2014 clash of those running for re-election, another democrat, senator joe manchin, not up for re-election but somebody quite conservative as a democrat. he is going to release or unveil legislation when the senate comes back into session next week to delay that penalty or fee that people will have to pay if they don't get health care by next year. that penalty is $95 or 1% of a family's income, whichever is greater. he's going to say that should be delayed for a year. so far a spokesman for manchin says no other democrats or
republicans are on that but expect that could change as well. >> bill nelson of florida issued a statement saying somebody should be fired. they did issue that statement. what about republicans? what are they saying? >> republicans are very interesting. they are being encouraged by the house speaker in a private meeting this morning not to focus on this website, saying this website is likely to get fixed, that these problems and signing up are likely to get fixed, but to focus on the broader substantial issues that they believe occur and are out there with obama care spop that is what republicans are being encouraged to do and probably will hear that even though the hearing tomorrow is going to be really technical, focused on this website. do not be spried if you hear republicans and even some democrats, but especially republicans use their opportunity, use the platform as they're known to do to talk more broadly about the obama care law. >> i'm sure they will. dana, thank you. can the white house fix the damage to obama care?
our chief political analyst gloria borger is joining us with new information. what are you learning? >> reporter: well, dennis mcdonough, the white house chief of staff, kathleen sebelius met today with insurance industry executives over at the white house. and the read i got from the source in the room, wolf, was very clear, which was that the white house said to them, look, we need to use your expertise so please help us solve the problem. i'm told that it was a really productive meeting, wolf, that the white house took notes on what the insurance industry executives had to say. after all, theyed a a lot of experience in dealing with online users with insurance, and that the industry came there and said, look, we're all very preoccupied with the front end of this, logging on to this, getting on. we need to also talk about the back end, because by the time the information gets to them, sometimes it's been muddled and unclear, and so they're trying to work together to figure out a way to make sure that the information that is then give on
the insurance companies is, in fact, accurate so they can sign people up more quickly. will they be able to do it within the next few weeks? the answer is really uncertain. >> listen to what the president said the other day when the government reopened from the partial government shutdown. let me play this clip. >> we hear all the time about how government is the problem. well, turns out we rely on it in a whole lot of ways. so let's work together to make government work better. instead of treating it like an enor purposely making it work worse. >> gloria, focusing on those words, in the current context, what do you see? >> reporter: well, you know, talk about stepping on your own message, well, after the government shutdown, public opinion of government was going up, public opinion of obama care was going up. then you have this website fiasco and republicans can now
say, well, if the government can't manage a website, how is it going to be able to run your health care? i think that is why the republican house leadership doesn't want people to focus on the website per se, but they want to use it as a way to take a turn and say, look, government can't manage something this big, and this of course has been the president's problem all along dating back to the beginning of health care reform. but it does give republicans an opportunity to talk about health care unrelated to the government shutdown, to talk about the problems with it again and give them more credibility because it's not attached to shutting down the government. so this is a huge problem for the president going forward right now. >> yeah. they're now at week four of all of this. i know the administration is trying to get ahead of some of these problems but there are lots of questions that will need answers. >> there are. look, wolf, they are trying to change a tire on a car that's
going 50 miles an hour. it's not easy. right? but the american public is asking questions and they haven't been as transparent as they should have been. they're now saying they're going to brief journalism every day about the progress they're making. but the public wants to know if there were glitches early on in the testing, why did that go ahead with this? why wasn't is president told about this? they want to know why this happened. they want to know when it's going to end. and they want to know, as dana was talking about earlier, are they going to get penalized if they don't get health insurance within the time frame we now have? so i think the american public wants to get answers from the administration that has always said that it's very transparent. and they haven't seen that yet. >> transparency very important. all right, gloria, thank you. up next, did the u.s. spy on germany's leader, angela america
snell an embarrassing phone call today between president obama and chancellor merkel. we'll have details. and a bloody mystery in massachusetts. a 14-year-old boy is now charged with the murder of a popular young teacher. details coming up. [ male announcer ] who loves social networking as much as you? identity thieves. they can find your personal information and do some serious damage. like your birthday or your mother's maiden name. you need a new friend. lifelock. we scour billions of data points every day, and if we discover that any of your personal information is misused... lifelock is there. call us at 1-800-lifelock or go to lifelock.com today. just by talking to a helmet. it grabbed the patient's record before we even picked him up.
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to danvers, massachusetts, now, and the first pictures we're getting of a 14-year-old student charged with murder. after a young math teacher was found dead in the woods behind the school where she was shot. the shocking incident forced the district to close today as thourszs attempt to get answers. we'll have an interview of a classmate of the alleged killer, but first don lemon is on the scene for us, getting new information. what happened here, don? what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, you said shocking. it truly is shocking. the new information is just in the complaint here, the criminal complaint and the police report. here's what it says specifically. it says that a juvenile student that attends danvers high school, which is right behind me, assaulted and subsequently
murdered colleen ritzer, that 24-year-old teacher, and dispoed of her body near the high school grounds. >> philip chism by way of arrest. >> reporter: this is the face of an accused killer. >> the defendant before the court is 14. >> reporter: investigators in massachusetts alleged 14-year-old philip chism killed popular 24-year-old math teacher colleen ritzer at danvers high school, where she taught and where he was a student. >> he's quiet, just kept to himself. he was new to this society, but he was a good kid. didn't seem anything bad, like nothing out of the ordinary, just a quiet, normal kid. >> reporter: students and family members say ritzer loved being a teacher. at times sending out homework assignments over twitter, facebook, and her blog. >> wonderful lady. couldn't say enough about her. she was obvious the teacher to go the extra mile for students. >> reporter: so why would anyone, let alone a student, want to kill her, allegedly dumping her body in the woods behind her own school?
>> i think that their sense of security starts to become shattered, you know, and they all just said this is danvers, this is danvers, doesn't happen here. >> reporter: the discovery of colleen ritzer's body was a surprise sending to what started tuesday night as a hunt for chism, a high school soccer player who'd gone missing. meanwhile, ritzer's family had called police that night to say she was missing too. >> as a result of that report, danvers police initiated a search for the teacher and discovered blood in the second-floor bathroom at danvers high school. >> -- did kill and murder -- >> reporter: the teen was found in a nearby town on tuesday. according to court documents, investigators learned from an interview with chism and video surveillance at the school that he had assaulted and then murdered ritzer. in an adult criminal court, the teen's attorney argued he should be treated as a juvenile. >> in this case, the defendant wishes to have services to evaluate him. i think the case speaks for itself. >> reporter: that decision was
not made today. he will be held without bail at a county jail facing a murder charge. as a community struggles to answer the question why. and of course today they would not give a cause of death, and they don't know exactly why only saying that they have to be careful what they're putting out because not much was entered into the record today and there was no bail set for today. but again, he will be tried as an adult, woman, and still they don't know why, but we are learning today that he was indeed a student in ms. ritzer's class. >> he was one of her student, not just a student in the high school there. he was actually one of her students. >> reporter: yes. yes. students in the school was saying he was definitely in her class, yeah. >> don lemon on the scene for us in massachusetts outside boston. don, thank you very much. i was just reading through this statement, this criminal
complaint, statement of facts. based on his statements and the corroborating evidence found at multiple scenes at the danvers high school and surrounding wooded area of the juvenile was subsequently placed into custody and booked for murder. it was learned from an interview of the juvenile suspect and video surveillance, footage recovered at the scene, that the juvenile student that atenlds danvers high school assaulted and subsequently murdered colleen ritzer and disposed of her body near the high school grounds. those are statements coming from this statement of fact in this criminal complaint. joining us now is arianna edwards, a classmate of the alleged killer. arianna, this must be so shocking for you and for everyone there. how are you doing, first of all? are you okay? >> yeah. i'm all right. >> now, did you know this young man? >> i'm just, like, shocked, obviously. >> like all of us are. >> i didn't know him, like, personally, like that well, but he was in my english class, and he, like, worked with me on a
group and projects. he just seemed, like, quiet and reserved but seemed normal other than that. he made jokes still. if you talked to him, he would talk to you but he wouldn't really start conversations, like, often. >> did he have friends? >> he did have friends. he wasn't, like, too friendly, though. he, like, only had certain friends. he wasn't, like, outgoing to everyone. like in classes he would only talk to, like, a select few people and he was new, too, so, like, he didn't have, like, the, like amount of friends as everyone else. >> now, he was a new student. he only moved to the area recently. right? >> yes, he did. >> and so he was -- >> he was from tennessee. >> he was a good athlete, he was on the jv soccer team.righ >>t. >> so when you heard about this, what was your immediate reaction? >> well, first i found out that he was missing and, like, this is last night, and i was, like,
shocked by that, because i, like, was why would he go missing? did he get kidnapped or run away? everyone was, like, praying for him to find him. once i found out in the morning, like, there was a homicide, wondering who was connected, that's the reason we didn't have school because of a homicide, then i was, like, really shocked that it was him-like i wouldn't have suspected it at all. i was, like -- like people say it's always the quiet ones, though, so, like, maybe that's why, like, it could have been, like if he had troubles at home or something. but he was nice so i didn't, like, suspect that much. >> and arianna, you saw him at class yesterday. did everything seem normal? >> it really did. everyone -- everything seemed, like, completely normal to me. i was, like -- he was, like, doing a project, and we were just, like, getting along fine, all talking to each other in our group, and he didn't seem something was wrong with him or anything. just seemed completely fine. >> did you know the teacher,
colleen ritzer? i did not have her and i didn't know her well, but he acted like normal towards, like, our english teacher and everything, and nothing seemed like off about it. >> i know your mom is there with you. what's it like in the area right now? how are folks reacting? >> people are, like, reacting like shocked, obviously, like this doesn't happen in danvers, like it's, like, really, like, just surprising to everyone that's happening in our, like, small town and, like, that's something like this would happen here. everyone is just, like, shocked and like we're all mourning the loss of a really great teacher. everyone, like, loved her. >> arianna edwards, good luck to you. good luck to everyone over there. what a shocking story indeed. thank you so much for joining us and sharing some thoughts. >> you're welcome. >> coming up, the health secretary kathleen sebelius on the ropes over the obama care rollout. how she got there. we'll also hear from a former
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as the stras goes into urgent damage control to salvage the obama care rollout, kathleen sebelius is on the hot seat. how did she get there? brian todd taking a closer look. >> reporter: kathleen sebelius hitched her wagon to health care reform early on. it's seen as a big reason she got this job, and now she's in if fight of her political career to keep it. she says this is the most important work she's ever done in her life, but kathleen sebelius is on the ropes as she tries to carry it out. in an exclusive interview with cnn's dr. sanjay gupta, president obama's health and human services secretary secretary repeatedly dodged questions about the rollout of obama care. >> how many people have signed up? >> we'll be doing what we've done with every other program.
>> would you consider resigning over this? >> i think my job is to get this fully implemented and to get the website working right. >> reporter: she knows how to navigate tumultuous political waters. daughter-in-law of a former republican congressman from kansas, and wife of a federal judge. >> i think she learned a great deal from that and i think it has served her very well. >> reporter: the this isn't her first health care battle. as governor of kansas, sebelius, a catholic, drew the wrath of the church for vetoing a restrictive anti-abortion bill, tried to expand health care coverage through cigarette taxes. she sought to bring premiums down but critics say she drove insurers out of the state by regulating them too much. >> they felt like they were in a position where it was not profitable to do business in kansas. so it limited our choices for health care providers. >> reporter: ron pollack, a close ally, says see bell yus'
focus was to put consumers above others. where with the pressure on her comes criticism of her management style. how she has a manager? >> she's an extraordinary manager. she not only is smart and very thoughtful but also has a listening style that i think is very important for this position. >> reporter: pollack thinks sebelius will survive all of this, but she e has already lost a personal ally from the other side of the aisle. kansas republican senator pat roberts, a longtime family friend, who actually worked for sebelius' father-in-law was among the first in congress to call for her resignation. wolf? >> brian, you've dug a lit sbool why roberts may have done that. >> reporter: that's right. sebelius' allies say roberts did it because he's got a tea party-supported opponent in his primary for re-election, that he's playing to tea party voters in kansas. roberts denies that's the
reason. the last straw for him was when she went on a public speaking tour after the rollout as one of the roberts aides told me, quote, as the ship was sinking, and that really did it for him. but that kind of gives you an insight into the political fight she's in in washington and in her home state. >> in her home state of kansas. brian, thank you. this just coming in to cnn, an obama care contractor says a last-minute change caused the problems, a lot of the problems with the health care website. let's get some insight from clay johnson. he's the ceo of a firm called the department of better technology, a former member of the obama technology team. clay, thanks very much for coming in. >> great to be here. thanks for having me. >> this contractor says one of the problems was a late decision to force people to actually register, put all sorts of information in before they could go around and do some shopping, window shopping as it's called for possible programs, possible packages, and this last-minute changed caused this blunder in effect to happen. what do you make of that?
>> well, i think it's yet again evidence that the department of health and human services secretary picked the wrong set of vendors to work on a project like this. i think any small business that's done professional services and technology as these two having clients that make last-minute decisions and develop technology, that works around that. i think cgi federal should have been able to hand that will. when we have these debates over known how many lines of code are inside healthcare.gov, it's crazy because that's indicative of they're measuring the wrong thing. software that's written well should have less lines of code in it than software that's written poorly, which has lots of lines of code in it. >> you wrote this the other day, healthcare.gov got this way not because of incompetence or sloppiness of an an individual vendor but because of a deeply ingrained and malignant cancer eating away at the federal government's ability to provide effective online services.
explain what you mean by a malignant cancer. >> well, the way the government buys technology, otherwise known as procurement, is profoundly broken. what it does is it guarantees the work goes to the people who have the best attorneys, not the people who have the best programmers. i think if the republicans in congress were at the least bit interested in fiscal responsibility, they'd be worried about the billions of dollars that we spend going to large contractors to provide subpar work. 96% of i.t. projects in the federal government fail if they're greater than $10 million. that seems to me like a place to look for prudent fiscal responsibility. >> can the current website be fixed or should they just throw it away and start from scratch? >> i sure hope so. i mean, i got -- >> you sure hope what? >> i sure hope it can be fixed. i got a letter from aetna just yesterday saying that my health
insurance rates were going down by $300 a month because of the affordable care act, and i sure would like to shop around on it. i think it can be fixed. it's just going to take some time. but they've already i think made some good motions. they've brought in some presidential innovation fellows. i was a former one last year. they know what they're doing and i have a lot of confidence they'll be able to shake this thing up. >> the white house released a video today of what are called real people explaining their experiences with the website. let me play a little clip. >> have patience with the system. you know, take your time. >> don't worry. it's really easy. >> it told me to clear my browsing history, clear my cache and clear my cookies, whatever those were. gave me the instructions on how to do it and once i did that i went back onto the computer and it sailed right straight through, no problems at all. >> those states that have their own website, they seem to be doing a lot better than the national system, if you will.
why is there this difference? >> well, because of scale. you have 34 34 states that are not participating, that didn't build their own exchange so, that means the federal government had to build an exchange for 34 states. that's a lot bigger of a number than that was i think originally anticipated when the affordable care act passed and when the dollars promoted for this website were assigned. and so i think what happened is there are a lot more people that are using this website than were originally intended. now, do i think that, you know, if people clear the cache on their browsers and all the bugs in the website will go away? no. i think the contractors here did a sloppy job. i think every time they try to defend themselves they come up with another excuse that actually provides more evidence that they don't actually understand what it is that they're doing and, you know, i would like to see them replaced with people who know what they're doing who can work at a fraction of the cost. if you look at healthcare.gov
the front page and all that stuff before apply now, before you click on the button that says apply now, that all works fine. but that wasn't built by the contractors who built the sort of exchange part of the website, which is really too bad. >> too bad indeed. clay johnson, thanks very much. >> great to be here. thanks, wolf. just ahead, a potentially dangerous blast at a u.s. nuclear launch center. it isn't the first. and the german chancellor's uncomfortable conversation with president obama today about whether the united states has been tapping her cell phone. ♪
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talk about awkward and embarrassing, germany's leader called the white house to find out if u.s. intelligence has been listening in on her cell phone. let's bring in our chief national security correspondent jim shoe coe towe joining us from washington. what are you hearing from your sources about this very sensitive story? wolf, it's serious enough that the german chance la angela merkel called president obama personally to raise this issue. we're told by the white house he assured her the u.s. is not monitoring and will not mon ter her communications. the white house interestingly though did not specify if such monitoring had not taken place in the past. as with other cases like this with u.s. allies, the white house makes a point that other countries spy on the u.s. this is just how things are done. but officials also go on to say that they are reviewing the policy to get a better balance
between security concerns and privacy concerns. >> you know, jim, this is obviously damaging. there's been a whole series of allegations not only involving germany but france, mexico. this is a key relationship, though, a personal relationship between the president of the united states and the german chancellor, angela merkel. >> no question. clearly a problem. as you mention it's affected virtually all of our close allies -- germany, france, the uk, brazil. it is partly a public relations problem. there's been tremendous public outrage in these countries when these revelations have happened. but it also has to be an issue for those relationships with the leaders. the german chancellor does not call the american president unless it's an issue. when we were at the u.n. general assembly in new york a couple weeks ago you'll remember that the brazilian president made this monitoring, this subject of her address to the general assembly. that doesn't happen if it's not an issue. it is true that countries spy on each other. it may be in this case simply ta what the nsa did is on a different scale so widespread that it has become at least
something of an issue with the u.s. and even some soft its closest countries and allies. >> a sensitive subject. i don't think it's going to go away. thanks very much, jim sciutto reporting. when we come back, a potentially blast at a u.s. nuclear missile launch center. it isn't the first time. and a major warning for dog and cat owners after hundreds of deaths and illnesses from pet trooets.
oscar-winning actress susan sarandon and her daughter have come to watch one of heffer international's four programs in action. >> heffer international figured out a very efficient way to spend your money, by having a sponsor an animal for a family that gives them help for a year to make sure they know how to nurture that animal and when that animal has offspring, they pass that on. the feeling of pride and satisfaction of being able to tap into something as valuable as that gift to another person is as important as filling their bellies. >> reporter: they believe empowering women is the key to ending world hunger and poverty. >> the families that i was fortunate enough to visit in cambodia. it's certainly a testament to the power of women. they are the glue, the bonds, the community together. it shows me just how much we can accomplish when as women we recognize our ability, our voice, and the fact that we can
spreading the good word about idaho potatoes and raising money for meals on wheels. but we'd really like our truck back, so if you see it, let us know, would you? thanks. what? once again, the u.s. air force is dealing with sloppy and potentially dangerous behavior by its nuclear weapons unit, the latest involving missiles at an underground asylum. barbara, not the first time. what happened this time? >> reporter: another embarrassment for the air force, wolf. let me take you to the map. one location these are nuclear weapons facilities at both location earlier this year. it's now been revealed
underground crews at command centers violated the rules. they are two-man crews. if one of them is on an authorized sleep break, the blast door to the underground command center is supposed to be shut tight. in two cases one of the two members was asleep, the door was open. now, the air force says there was no real security risk, because there's multiple layers of security up top, on the surface, on the ground, there are fences, armed guards, sensors, all of that. there are protections in the nuclear launch codes, but after everything that's happened recently, including a top general fired, this is not the embarrassment that the air force needs. >> so who was punished here, barbara? >> both launch crews did get punished. two members were fined. docked their pay, letters of reprimand. one of the commander is now facing a discharge for it, an indication of the problems here, and it is air force's
embarrassment, the real question perhaps, is what else is going on that the air force may not even know about. let's take a closer look at some of the other stories we're monitoring in "the situation room" right now. the fda is warning pet owners to be ware of jerky treats after one of the most mysterious brought graex. 3600 dogs and ten cats that have gotten six over the past six year. most of the treats were made in china. owners are being -- owner aren'ted being advised to stop feeding the treats to their pets, just to watch them closely. for the first time, prosecutors in the boston marathon bombing case are confirming that the slain suspect tamer lynn tsarnaev was accused of -- back in 2011. sources informed, is a tsarnaev was involved, but it wasn't
until this week that the detail was confirmed. the allegations cam from a friend -- this is first on cnn from our justice reporter evan perez, sources close to the attorney general, holder says he plans to stay in office well into next year, this after four years of very tense run-ins with clashes with some of the president's top advisers, led some to believe he was on his way out. the first ever sitting cabinet member to be held in contempt. over the fast and furious gun sting. coming up in the next half hour, our dr. sanjay gupta hard-hitting interview with secretary kathleen sebelius. be shall you are to tweet us from wes for him, be sure to use the #sitroom. the royal baby makes a rare public appearance. jeanne moos is next. sfx: oil gushing out of pipe.
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sfx: birds chirping sfx: birds chirping a picture perfect royal scene for pring george's kristinening. all real and no look alikes. here's jeanne moos. >> reporter: for once handsome prince harry kissing hits grandmother the queen was just the opening act for the new star, 3-month-old prince george, who was carried into the royal chapel by his dad. there was a whole lot of jiggling going on, as prince william displayed his son. even the royal guard. seemed to be jiggling after the baptism being carried out business hi moss, prince george seemed sedate, a lot more than
this prince george, who kept spitting up, as he posed to pictures, picture of the queen taking his picture, and prince william taking his diaper, and kate, william and george wait a minute, the palace would never release these. >> i found about five or six different prince georges. >> alison jackson is know for her celebrity look alike photos. she's been having a field day with the royals. >> this prince william, there is only one of him, and he is fantastic. he realy is. i have about five kate look alikes. >> alison using an 82-year-old wall of energy to play the queen. the photographer says they photos aren't about the royals. they're about us, how we feel about the famous. obsession, world gone crazy with celebrity. >> we should have known something was amiss when we sauce prince william and catherine posed half naked.
there's something intimate about these fake photos, dirt on the soul of the prince's foot dangling out of the tub. of course, the actual royals don't comment on things like this. >> i hope they find it amusing. >> she'sing doing this for a decade posing look alikes from david beckham to kim kardashian, kanye west and their baby north west. allison is currently in l.a. shopping for more look alikes. >> anybody that looks like miley cyrus, that would be fantastic. >> she sells the queen diapering the royal baby on a tote bag, the prince doing diaper duty on a t-shirt. then there's this. what is we call that thing? >> well, a milk man -- >> fits for a prince. you be the judge of how align this look alook likes. jeanne moos, cnn, new york.
we're getting breaking news into "the situation room." the murder conviction of a kennedy family cousin has been drown oy and a new trial is ordered. he was foiled guilty of the 1975 death of a teenager, the long and stunning decision today, though, the state judge ruled that the original trial lawyers failed to effectively represent him. skakel is about halfway through his prison sentence. he -- let's go to ashleigh banfield. what else are you learning? >> reporter: this is one of the most famous cases in this area. he's been battling this conviction for over the -- he's tried everything to get this conviction thrown out. today it finally happened. hi appellate lawyer argued that
the original defense wasn't good enough. the judge agreed, in fact a pretty scathing ruling that the judge handed down. you the state procured -- lacks reliability. the constitutional right to adequate representation cannot be overshadowed by the enconvenience of financial and emotional costs of the new trial. what this means, wolf, is that without question there will be an effort to appeal this decision. here's where it's complicated. if the prosecute owes that will be 'pealing this, because the prosecutors ultimately ended up defending the defense lawyer, if that makes sense. if there's a new trial in 18 monies to two years, all of this evidence, about four years old, and a lot of these witnesses,
that is always very complicated. he also is likely to apply for -- as early as this thursday. michael skakel could walk out of a connecticut prison, having been serves roughly ten -- about halfway through a 20 to life prison, but he could walk out a free man effectively awaiting a new trial. i guarantee you this. prosecutors would never let this go untried. this is wonderful those cases they will retry. if they don't, i'll eat my words, but it's just so high profile. >> is he going to be released -- or will he remain in prison? >> that's always up to the judge. bond is not punishment. bond is just to make sure you're around to be retried. i think there's a big case to be made he's already serving a decade in prison, he's well known, famous in his own right
at this time -- so anything can happened happen, but this can't be overstated however significant this, that these appellate lawyers were able to secure this. but, listen, retrying both case is not for the faint of hard. witnesses can die, lots of -- you know, he's --i. to this our senior legal analyst who covered that trial, a long time ago. what, he's serving 20 years to life. he's been in prison for ten years. i assume he would have been eligible for parole at some point. give us your analysis of what's likely to happen right now. >> first, wolf, if i can just say how absolutely stunning this decision is, remember, michael
was represented by mickey sherman, a very well-known lawyer in connecticut, a frequent guest on cnn for a significant periods of time, i sat through that trial. i didn't think mickey sherman did a particularly good job, but it is normally very, very difficult to have a conviction overturned on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel, that he won on that claim is completely astonishing to me, and given all the avenues he had for appeal, this was one that i thought was one of the weakest. so i am certain that the prosecutors here will appeal this decision to the connecticut -- through the appellate process, so i'm not sure that the last word has been said on the case. >> so what you're saying is there may not be a new trial if there's a different decision by a higher court? >> correct.
but in the meantime t. i do think he is very likely to get out on bail. you know, the two issues, you know, that come up with bail -- are you a danger to the community? are you likely to flee? i think his lawyers will be able to make a good case that michael skakel is a good bail risk. so i think at least in the meantime while this legal process goes forward, michael skakel is likely to be released on bail. is he technically innocent right now? >> well, he is now presumed innocent. he has been ordered to have a new trial. so he is now in the position of someone who has been charged, who has not yet been convicted. so he is now in the position of someone who is awaiting trial. it is such a shocking development, because this case was brilliantly litigated by the prosecutors in this case, led by a prosecutor named jonathan
benedict. it was a very old case, 10, 11 years ago. now it is going to be very difficult to try him again, so that's why the prosecutors, i think, are going to do everything in their power to get this conviction reinstated without having to go back to court. >> ashleigh, remind our viewers what he was convicted of doing to this young woman, martha moxley. >> reporter: well, martha moxley was a friend and neighbor. back on -- i think it was october 30th, 1975, it was a halloween party. he and his brother had been part of this halloween party. it was really michael's brother thomas who had i believe the last to be seen with martha moxley. in any case, the next day she was dead. her body was found in the family's backyard, either beneath or close to a tree. her pants and her underwear had been pulled down, but she hadn't been sexually assaulted. what was found near her body,
whether it was a broken or bits and pieces of a golf club. that was determined to be a weapon, because the cause of death was bludgeoning, and it happened to be a golf club they could trace back to michael skakel's home. there's a lot of conflicting evidence in the case, but a -- there were a couple students who had testified they overheard michael confessing. let's not forget, this is 40 years ago, and when jeffrey said it was an -- you can't understate how significant it is to look at that evident from ten years ago, try and reinstate it against. from a crime from four decades ago. it's going to be very tough. over the years p. some of those appeals sounded extraordinarily legitimate, very powerful, and to have infective counsel works?
it's rare. i have only covered one prominent case of this working. this would be the second. jeffrey, as you say, this is pretty extraordinary. how unusual is it for a judge to make a decision that bad lawyers resulted in this conviction? >> wolf, i cannot overestimate how unusual this is. you know, under supreme court precedent, the lawyer doesn't have to do a bad job. what the supreme court has said is you have to be the equivalent of having no lawyer at all. that's what it takes to get a conviction overturned on the basis of ineffective assistance. it almost never happens. i have never frankly heard of it happening with a high-profile lawyer like mickey sherman being involved. as i say, i don't think mickey sherman did the greatest job in the world, and i want to study this very long, 136-page opinion more carefully, but the idea
that this was constitutionally defective legal assistance strikes me as, as very unlikely. you know, just an illustration of how old this case is, it was really brought back to life by the work of dominick dunne, the "vanity fair" writer who covered this case. he now in the interim has died. i would not be surprised if other people involved in this case have died. that's what happened when you try to try a case decades after the events in question. the ate judge in connecticut, thomas bishop, he wrote this, the key line -- although defense counsel's errors of judgment and execution are not the fault of the state, a defendant's constitutional right to adequate representation cannot be overshadowed by the inconvenient and financial and emotional cost of a new trial. that's the key sentence, jeffrey, isn't it?
>> it certainly is, and you can imagine the tremendous frustration of the prosecutors here, because they're not accused of doing anything wrong. they're not accused of violating michael skakel's rights. they couldn't defenses kay's well as prosecuted, yet here they are put in the position of retrying the case because of the incompetent alleged by the judge of mickey sherman. it is a maddening position for prosecutors to be in, to say nothing of michael skakel -- of martha moxley's family, who suffered for so many years with this case. for them to have to relive this case because of the mickey sherman's incompetent is a really, really bitter pill. ashleigh, are we getting any reaction yet from the prosecutors, the current defense attorneys representing michael skakel? >> reporter: i have reached out to mickey sherman, someone i
personally know well from my years in this business. i have not heard back from him yet. i have nod had any word from prosecutors yet, and of course courts are closed now. i want to underscore something that justice said about how unusual it is to get affective counsel. the only other high profile one i ever saw is because the defense attorney phet on the sort and admitted he was ineffective. so this is -- it's remarkable story, a remarkable sight by the man on your screen who has battled this for the better part of his adult life. jeffrey, before i wrap this up, give me a final thought. >> this will contribute to a certain degree of cynicism about the legal sim. here you have a very wealthy defendant hiring a high profile defense attorney who loses the
case and yet somehow he constrives to get the conviction overturned on the base of the incompetent of that lawyer. that is something that is so unusual that i think people will have a rather cynical view of at least this example of the legal system in action. the reason this case generated so much attention, let's not kid ourselves, he's the nephew of robert and ethyl kennedy. how you did that play into this trial? >> reporter: clearly it became a high-profile trial because of this because of connection to camelot, ethyl kennedy is robert kennedy's widow, and michael skakel is her nephew. so there is that connection. and they were prominent. this was a very wealthy neighborhood. the moxleys were neighbors that didn't live far from the
skakels. so clearly it had all of the evidence of a dominick dunne mystery, which is why his story ended up with so much attention as well. i can tell you, wolf, i'm getting some of the early comments from the state attorney in bridgeport, where is where this is being litigated. the state attorney says he does plan to appeal. he told reports, via associated press, he does plan to appeal it. the poor prosecutors, they got a conviction, and here they are being punished effectively, they were the ones who took on the defense of the defense lawyer. so the prosecutors defend defended the defense lawyer, and they would like to appeal the decision that was just made against the defense lawyers. so it's a bit complicated, but follow the bouncing ball. if they can have this thrown out and the original conviction stand, there wouldn't be any kind of new trial t. 18 months
to two years down the road. we'll see what happens on appeal. this is going to a -- may go to a higher cord. there may be a new trial. ashleigh, stand by, jeffrey toobin, stand by. we'll have more of the stoish coming in. we'll continue our coverage. plus all the day's other important news. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." waffle bars... fancy robes... seems every hotel has something to love... so join the loyalty program that lets you earn free nights in any of them. plus, for a limited time, members can win a free night every day. only at hotels.com [ male announcer ] when we built the cadillac ats from the ground up to be the world's best sport sedan...
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out there in the world, so we do everything we can to be there for them when they need us. plus, you could save hundreds when you switch, up to $423. call... today. liberty mutual insurance -- responsibility. what's your policy? we're following breaking news in connecticut, that murder conviction of a kennedy family cousin has now been completely thrown out. a new trial has been ordered. michael skakel, who was found guilty of the 1975 death of a connecticut teenager d. the state judge ruled the original trial lawyers failed to effectively represent him. we'll have that and the day's other news right after this. life with crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis is a daily game of "what if's". what if my abdominal pain and cramps end our night
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trial ordered. he's serving a 20 years to life sentence, ten years already in jail, but now there will be a new trial presumably. >> reporter: presumably. i wouldn't even use the word "presumably." i don't think i've ever met a prosecutor who would turn her back on a tree trial based on how high profile and how significant this case is. the appellate decision wolf, was 136 pages. it is long and thick and full of details. i'm just tugging through it right now. i can tell you at least a couple of the reasons that the judge determined that michael skakel's counsel was ineffective was because of an allegation skakel made that his lawyer hadn't tracked down the appropriate witnesses. and also that his lawyer perhaps had erred in selecting jurors.
cases condition won or lost in jury selection. the other thing is if you're talksing about tracking down witnesses, it's been 40 years, four decades, and in a retrial two years from now, if it was difficult to track down witnesses, it's going to be really hard to find thousands witnesses now. whenever you have cases that are decades old, there are myriad chances that many witnesses are dead, many witnesses have failing memories or perhaps too old to remember details, evidence disappears and corods, and sometimes isn't kept. it can just be misplaced. >> we've got to wrap it up, ashleigh. stand by. we'll continue the cover later,
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saudi arabia's spy chief has reportedly promised a major shift in the country's relationship with the united states. our chief national security correspondent jim scuitto reports. >> reporter: it wasn't long ago that the saudi king was latchishing president obama with gifts, but now saudi officials have only blistering criticism instead, lasting u.s. outreach to iran and its failure to attack syria. >> the current charade of international control over bashir's chemical arsenal would be funny if it were not so blatant listen perfidious and
designed not only to give mr. obama an opportunity to back down, but also to help assad to butcher his people. >> reporter: when we asked about the tirade, they played it down, saying their private conversations have been more civil. >> you can bet that king abdullah would not let this commentary get out unless he approved it. >> we work very closely with the king and fassel and others. that's not going to change. >> still the public comments exposed sharp disagreements on virtually every u.s. policy, nuclear talks with iran. and the latest peace efforts between israel and the palestinians. some call the outrage unacceptable, citing the costly investment of american blood and treasure to shared interests in -- to u.s. ships policing the persian gulf, saudi arabia's
economic lifeline to the world. >> it's american blood being spilled. where he spent triance and now the saudis are irritated because of the possibility of -- with iran? >> there are those very nervous that if this rift rose, it would damage both countries. >> a hugely important issue. thanks very much, jim. let's get to the other big story, the continued fallout over obama care. dr. sanjay gupta spoke inclusively to the person at the center of the storm. sanjay is here with us. let me play a clip from your excellent bur view. >> thank you. do you know when he first knew that there was a problem? >> i think it became clear, the first couple days. >> before that, though, there was no concern at that point within the white house or hhs?
>> i think we talked about having testing going forward. >> there's a time -- there's a deadline, pressure is really enormous, they have to fix this if young people are going to sign up. >> i think there's a psychological component as well as pragmatic. the psychological is one that has to do with people sitting on the iffens about this. they weren't sure, and this may have eroded some of their confidence. also this idea that, look, if it's been so cumbersome to sign up, can you penalize people for not having done so? thatfuls something i got at, because there's an individual mandate. if the process was so arduous, how will that play out? >> did you get the sense the administration might be hope to delaying it? >> i asked that question a few different ways. the first time she said, i don't think that's the right question
to be asking right now, at no point did she say was it off the table completely. as you know s. wolf, it's very hard for a lot of this program to work without this individual manda mandate. because you're not getting people coming into the system to help defrayed these costs. >> now they'll be testifying before this house commit key, saying there were major flaws, for example, you have to register and provide this sensitive information just to do some window shopping, when it shou should. she again was dismissed with this, within a few weeks of the roll jot they added a feature that someone had to register. the concern is, and you'll hear this from some of the investigator, was this done to prevent comparison shopping? was it done to mask premiums as well? you're going to hear about that. >> much more on "ark 360."
sanjay, thank you so much. that's it for me. thank you very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "crossfire" starts right now. but some people still aren't buying it. >> the whole threat of oel obama care continuing to hang over our economy like a wet blanket. >> on the left van jones. on the right newt gingrich. what's the best strategy for selling obama care? is there a plan b? tonight on "crossfire."