tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 27, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
and again, our goal is to do whatever possible to minimize the damage. to help support them through that. this shouldn't have happened. again, this is where there was a failure in government. in terms of people not using common sense enough to prevent this from happening. and identifying it soon enough. >> reporter: a local pediatrician, one of the first to discover the lead in the water here, calls the impact on the children irreversible and multigenerational. >> for those parents that are sitting here today, and wondering, is my kid going to not reach their potential because of this, and that's going to happen to some of these kids. we know that. dr. mona hannah attisha told me that what can be done is that you can minimize the impact through early literature programs, universal preschool, access to healthy foods where say the calcium binds instead of the lead to the child's bones, et cetera, mental health services. she put a price tag on that, governor. and she told me it's going to
cost $100 million just to do that. will you make sure they get $100 million. >> i'm not sure she would know how to put the price tag. i have reviewed recommendations she has made. and a number of those actions we were already working on doing in flint. >> reporter: she has done the analysis. i'm asking you again. $100 million. will you make sure they get that if that's what they need? >> well, we're making sure she get what they need. >> reporter: a 2011 study found water from the flint river would have to be treated with an anti corrosive agent to be safe to drink. to do that, would have only cost $100 a day. but that was never done. >> i was speaking with a young man this morning, and he said to me, they put money over people. and he said, the black lives and the poor white lives weren't worth it. when you look at the numbers, $100 a day, what happened? >> well, that's the failure point. i mean, in terms of cost structures, $100 a day, this is where the huge error was. is people -- there were people
that were subject matter experts in this that didn't believe that needed to be done. that was a huge mistake. that was part of the fundamental mistake of this whole situation. >> reporter: why? money was given -- >> not on that point. >> reporter: priority here over these people? >> this is where the investigations will follow up and all of those -- in terms of the details. and we're cooperating with all of those investigations because i want to find out what went on. i want the facts out there. >> reporter: the kids were being poisoned by the water they were drinking here. the epa knew about it, your spokesmen, your former spokesmen knew about it in july 2015 and sent an e-mail about it. and you didn't declare a state of emergency until january of this year. why did it take so long? >> actually, i learned about it in october. and i took action immediately then, offering filters, working with people on getting water, on doing water testing. again, we needed to do more, though. so as soon as i learned about it, we took dramatic action. the failure was, is people -- >> reporter: was it dramatic action because the mother this morning said to me, no one came
to my house immediately back in october and knocked on the door. >> that's why i said we needed to do more. so at this point in time, all the other efforts weren't as much as i would have liked. and so the point is, now that was the point of calling the national guard out, about making attempts to visit every home in flint. >> reporter: why not just immediately replace all of the lead pipes? >> that's a question you can ask across the country. and the challenge of that is, that's not -- >> reporter: but i'm asking you, because flint -- >> a short project. >> reporter: has had people poisoned. >> that is not a short-term project in terms of ripping up infrastructure, replacing all that. that can take an extended period of time. >> reporter: your former spokesman wrote an e-mail back in july of 2015. here's part of it. i'm frustrated by the water issue in flint. these folks are scared and worried about health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us. you have said, since then, that you knew about that e-mail. and that you were made aware of
that. why not act then? >> the experts came back from both the department of environmental quality and health and human services to say they didn't see a problem with lead in the water or lead in the blood. >> reporter: folks here did. they were getting rashes. >> this is in -- >> reporter: kids were having rashes, the water was -- >> let me finish, poppy. that makes me feel terrible. i wish you would -- have done something different. >> reporter: as this scope of the crisis has grown, residents have rallied, demanding the governor step down. a number of the residents i've spoken with in flint have said ultimately they want accountability. governor, will you resign? >> no. again, i think it's normal that right action is, if you have a problem that happened from people that were -- you are responsible for, you go solve it. >> so poppy, the governor has been subpoenaed this week by attorneys representing citizens of flint in a class action case to release all his e-mails and texts back to 2011.
what's he going to do? >> reporter: at this point, he has not said he will release those. he told me today he is cooperating, that he will comply with the investigation. but he insists at this point that the 2014 and 2015 e-mails, anderson, that he did release, those are sufficient. and he said those are the relevant ones, anderson. >> you pressed him on the dollar figure. do we know at this point how much money michigan ultimately will put toward trying to solve the crisis and helping these kids? so far it's only $28 million allocated. >> reporter: and i'm so glad you asked that. because this is going to cost, according to all the experts, hundreds of millions of dollars. as you said, only $28 million has been allocated. you heard the doctor tell me, you need at least $100 million just to give these kids a fighting chance to counteract the lead poisoning. then the epa says it will cost between 50 and $75 million to replace all the lead pipes here, if they do that. and then you have the millions
and millions of dollars right now that needs to go towards bottled water, et cetera. so you're looking at hundreds of millions of dollars. no idea at this point in time where that's going to come from. i will tell you, though, the governor said to me, time and time again, we will do what is needed. we will make this right. so you've got to hope and think that money is going to come. >> all right. we'll watch. we'll see. poppy harlow, thank you. next, presidential politics. thankfully no lives at stake, only egos or careers. donald trump campaigning in south carolina went on fox news, the network he's feuding with to say he will not take part in the debate tomorrow night. we spoke with bill o'reilly. at times he lectured the candidate on being too self centered and other moments imploring trump to rejoin the debate. >> when the american public elects a president, they elect two tracts. they elect policy and a person. would you say that right now
donald trump, all right, is a person who can let petty things -- and that's what i think this is all about. this petty things, influence him to the extent that he doesn't do what maybe he should do. >> well, let me put it a little differently. i don't like being taken advantage of. in this case i was taken advantage of by fox. i don't like that. now, when i'm representing the country, if i win -- if i'm representing the country as president, i won't let our country, because that's a personality trait. >> will you just consider -- i want you to consider -- all right? think about it. look, i might come back, forgive, go forward, answer the questions, look out for the folks. just want you to consider it. you owe me milk shakes, i'll take them off the ledger if you consider it. >> well, even though you and i had an agreement that you wouldn't ask me that, which we did, i will therefore forget
that you asked me that. but it's not up to me, bill. what they did -- >> you're actually telling the truth there. >> you actually did -- >> you're telling the truth that i said -- >> because i told you up front, i said don't ask me that question. >> this, of course, just the latest battle in his war with fox. amanda carpenter and jeffrey ward, former reagan white house political director, both conservative writers. also christian anderson, columnist for the conservative washington examiner. jeffrey, your quick reaction to what you just heard. >> well, that was amazing. i have to say. they have been friends for decades. so it's very interesting there. and if there was a milk shake bet, i'm pleased to hear that, you know, somebody is going to keep their end of the bargain. but i don't think he's going to reconsider. i would be -- i would be surprised. i mean, at this point he's got this other event scheduled in the same time frame.
so i think it would be impossible. although i must say, it certainly would be a touch of drama if in the middle of this debate he walked on the stage. >> amanda, putting your loyalties for ted cruz aside for a moment. is there an upside in all of this for donald trump? i've heard some of his supporters say, look, he's showing strength. rush limbaugh saying he's going along with this process that is rigged against him or he feels is rigged against him. do you think there's any up side for trump in this? >> yes, there is up side for trump. number one, i think it's disrepresentful to the process, to the voters. donald trump wins by staying in the media. i think he's avoided very real scrutiny in this election by creating controversy every day. we're always talking about, you know, what's he going to do next? and there hasn't been a real vetting process. that has started to begin among conservatives. we saw last week the national review come out with their coalition sort of anti
endorsement the. talk radio has been going knew his support for the bailout stimulus, abortion, et cetera. that vetting is beginning to happen in some circles. and frankly, donald trump doesn't like it. donald trump doesn't like being accountable for his previous statements and beliefs, because this whole thing started when megyn kelly asked him about statements he made about women. that's what he is avoiding, and so he's throwing it a big temper tantrum. we're talking about that, and he doesn't have to answer for previous positions. >> you know, it's so interesting, kristen. nothing that was supposed to -- you know that, critics said would hurt donald trump or pundits said would hurt donald trump so far in this campaign has actually hurt donald trump. why should this be any different tonight? >> the reason this is a gamble for donald trump, there is a risk this cuts at the core attribute he is selling to the american people. the fact that he's a jerk, people already know he's a jerk. that hasn't hurt him at all. the fact that he's not really a conservative, that hasn't hurt him that much up until this point. where he wins voters is by
making the case, look, i'm tough, i'm strong, i'm a winner and i'm going to make america a winner and fight for you. i know when to walk away from a bad deal. he thinks that's the message he's conveying by saying look, i'm not going to the fox debate. but it's been interesting watching cruz and other opponents of trump come after him as this is weakness. there is this hash tag donald duck, that he's ducking the debate. if this goes after trump's core message that he's strong, brave. instead if it begins looking like he's weak and cowardly, that's the reason why this is a gamble for him. >> everyone hold that thought, because i want jeffrey to weigh in on that. we'll have more after a short break and my exclusive interview with a man who went to iran as a scholar and left as a survivor. an american arrested, thrown in prison, kept in solitary confinement, taken off the street and driven directly to this infamous prison in iran. the face of it ahead on the program tonight.
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four days until the iowa caucuses and a day until the republican debate and all bets are off. all expectations of what this was supposed to look like, how it would play out are no longer valid and makes for great conversation. jeffrey, we heard from christian before the break saying essentially that there is a danger for donald trump in that he's going to end up looking weak from this. do you think that is a real danger? >> no. no, i don't. you know, rush limbaugh had the best analysis today, and he
wasn't taking sides. he doesn't do that. doing analysis that basically said what donald trump is doing is breaking all political convention, political formula, and everybody else can't figure out how to deal with it. this is his strength. and this is why he is so popular out there in america. this is why his poll numbers are so high. this is what people are crying for. they want somebody who is going to go in there and overturn everything and start over again. and, you know, obey the rules, obey the constitution, but not all of these sort of political rules that are just sort of ephemeral and layered over every discussion we have. you can't say this because of political correctness, you can't do this. you know, we've lost on a krom any bus bill or illegal immigration but we call it a win. he's going to speak very bluntly. they know he's fearless, they see it this way. not for a second are they going to believe that donald trump is weak on this. >> let's play some of what limbaugh said today. >> this is what it looks like.
when some guy stands up to the rules and the game and says, screw yours, i'm looking out for me first. that's all this is. and you can say whatever you want, but i am not dumb. i'm not going to give you the gun and the bullet, and stand still. you want to hit me, come get me. but i'm not going to put myself in your line of fire. >> so i mean, amanda, to that point, how do cruz and others deal with trump tomorrow night? we heard cruz earlier this evening, we played some sound from a live event he was in, in the last hour where he was kind of trying to use humor, essentially saying if something, you know, doesn't show up for a job interview, they get fired. >> well, here's my concern. yes, donald trump is breaking all the rules. yes, he's standing up for himself. but to what end? what is he doing with all the attention on himself? you know, today -- scared the daylights out of me. bernie sanders, a known socialist, was standing outside
of the white house talking about how great his campaign was going. but no one talked about that, because we're all talking about donald trump. we're all debating whether megyn kelly is a bimbo. donald trump has generated a lot of attention for himself. he's not using it for a good end. he needs to talk about where we're taking the country. instead we are just debating donald trump's bad attitude and for that it's not good for the republican party. and i can't get behind these crazy tactics. >> just for the record, we are not debating whether megyn kelly is -- is that word. >> but people are. >> i understand what you're saying. i just want to be on the record on that one. >> thank you. i appreciate that, anderson. >> it's not like donald trump is taking tomorrow night off. he says he's going to be fund raising, focusing on veterans' issues. does that give him some pushback when people criticize him? and i guess the flip side of that, can he be criticize as using veterans to kind of deflect, you know, negative
effort against him? >> remember that donald trump has a complicated relationship, putting it as politely as i can with veterans, given that one of the big controversies of the campaign, when he came out and insulted prisoners of war. you know, and got into that spat with john mccain. the thing to remember about donald trump is if you look at his poll numbers, going back to the early summer when he first began saying he might run for president, is his numbers have only dipped twice. and both of those times his numbers have dipped, it was moments when he was out of the headlines, either because things were happening on capitol hill with speaker boehner, leading into speaker ryan. or it was because something had happened in another debate that had taken the spotlight off of him. the rise of carly fiorina, general versus marco rubio in the cnbc debate. those are the only two moments when trump's numbers have not been going up. so he knows that being out of the headlines is a big problem for him. that being on that debate stage with audiologist all of his other competitors makes him one of equals, part of the mix. and so by stepping out and doing his own event, it's in a way
potentially very savvy that he's trying to create headlines for himself, away from the rest of the field, because being in the headlines is the oxygen he needs for his campaign to survive. >> and his shadow is by not being at the debate maybe even loomed larger over the debate himself. next, our media gurus weigh in on the debate with megyn kelly and fox news and bill o'reilly tonight. brand in america.heartburn i hope you like it spicy! get complete protection with the purple pill. the new leader in frequent heartburn. that's nexium level protection. technology entire countries w if they could ever catch you.
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for all binge watchers. movie geeks. sports freaks. x1 from xfinity will change the way you experience tv. in the election year, presidential politics, candidates go toe-to-toe with each other all of the time. what we don't often see is a candidate railing so hard against a journalist or magazine or microphone or other foes of donald trump. in some cases merely by existing. the bizarre vendetta that trump is wielding against megyn kelly and fox news took another strange turn tonight when he went on fox news. here's what he said on bill o'reilly's show a short time ago. >> the terrorists are going to come at you and it's going to be personal. they're going to do everything they can to diminish you. and you hope, as president, you have to rise above that, all right, and do what's best for the country.
and this exposition that we're talking about today, people are going to say, you know, trump, he's just too self absorbed to be president. >> there's got to be something because you set the all time record in cable history and so did cnn. >> they want to know you. they want to know you. >> that's fine, and a lot of people do know me. >> you're not giving them the opportunity to know them as much as they would like. >> i'm not walking away. >> joining me now, senior reporter for media and politics, dylan buyers and ryan stelter, host of reliable sources. donald trump not backing down to o'reilly, who is basically kind of admonishing but almost pleading with him. >> an extraordinary rallying effort and trump is not giving one inch. this is all about a paradynamic between these two men and this campaign and network. they should be natural allies, talking about the gop front rub
runner. and to see trump coming out extraordinary.giving one inch is >> dylan, fox has cancelled interviews with trump before this campaign. why has this interview moved forward after all he's said and tweeted about the network and megyn kelly the last day or so? >> well, two reasons, i think. and you're absolutely right, anderson, that fox news has cancelled interviews with trump before, although that's not the way donald trump would spin it. but two reasons here. one, fox news is declaring that it is still going to treat donald trump fairly, that it will have a podium for him on stage, if he wants to show up at the debate. and in the same vein, it will have a chair for him if he wants to sit down for an interview. but there is a second calculation here, as well. and that calculation is obviously ratings. we're on the eve of this debate, this has become the sort of most highly anticipated moment in the 2016 campaign so far. if you're fox news, if you're bill o'reilly, why aren't you going to take that interview?
why would you give that interview to another network? >> it's interesting -- brian, trump has been publicly reigniting this feud with megyn kelly. you know, kind of in the run up to this. and privately, at least according to fox news, his campaign manager was making threats to actually get her removed. and they released a statement, fox saying in part, the campaign manager was warned not to level any more threats but continued to do so. we can't give into terrorizations toward any of our employees. he obviously denies making any kind of threats. >> right. >> i mean, was -- do you think trump was looking for a buy way get out of this debate? >> there were times tonight in his o'reilly interview where trump does refer to the high number of debates. six debates so far. he commented about how at some point we have to stop debating and do other things. however, he says he enjoys the debates he was up for. so two different stories here. i think there might be some truth in both. certainly some of trump's rivals believe he was trying to avoid the debate. cruz is calling trump gentle
donald, poking fun that way. i'm sure we'll hear more tomorrow night as candidates try to take up some of the oxygen that trump won't be taking up in the room. >> dylan, who do you think has more to lose here, trump or fox news? >> that's the million dollar question, right? donald trump's gamble here is that he is bigger than the fox news network, that he can drive the media story tomorrow night, and that he'll get a lot of turnout, and he won't lose supporters. now, of course, fox news is a cherished network among many republicans and many conservatives. but you know, there's a growing trend here happening, and it's part of the larger civil war taking place on the right. i have spoken to a lot of conservatives, sort of die hard conservatives, talk radio folks here in iowa, who don't feel that fox news sort of adequately represents their views. they don't feel like fox news has been a fair home to donald trump or a candidate like ted cruz. and so that has sort of enabled donald trump to sort of take this risk and make the gam bit
that he can actually convince these conservative voters to go over to his show instead of the fox news show. >> interesting. dylan buyer, great to have you on the program, brian stelter. hillary clinton counting on strong support from women to help her clinch the nomination. does she have a trust problem? randi kaye talks to a group of women in iowa who did not mince words. when emergency room doctors choose an otc pain reliever for their patients muscle, back and joint pain. the medicine in advil is their #1 choice. nothing is stronger on tough pain than advil. relief doesn't get any better than this. advil. performance... ...reimagined. style... ...reinvented.
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just four days to go until the iowa caucuses. not much time left to close the deal with voters. talking democrats now. the latest cnn/orc poll shows bernie sanders with an eight-point lead in iowa over hillary clinton. and take a look at this. from a recent quinnipiac poll among caucus goers, 66% say they trust hillary clinton, while 93% said they trust bernie sanders. 27-point difference that adds up to a trust gap for secretary clinton. those numbers are consistent with what randi kaye heard in iowa when she talked to democratic women about whether clinton has their vote. >> hi, how are you? good! >> we have pinot noir and a
sauvignon blanc. >> reporter: a mix of pampering and politics. this networking group of democratic women called women who wine gathered here to drink and dish about hillary clinton. >> i'm glad that there is a woman present in the race. i just wish it was a different woman. >> reporter: chris hartline prefers bernie sanders over clinton, mainly because mrs. clinton voted in favor of the iraq war. she calls clinton morally bankrupt. does she come off as sincere to you? >> no, i think her moral compass is skewed. >> reporter: trust is a big problem for hillary clinton among this group. >> i really like bernie. i like his personality. >> reporter: and what don't you like about her? >> my heart and intuition is just not trusting. what she is about. >> reporter: still, for some, her record is enough to get their vote. >> yeah. >> i look at all the amazing things she has done, she has
helped children, always advocated for women. she has advocated for health care. >> reporter: what draws you to her? >> yeah, i think for me it's her history in fighting for the issues that i care about. >> oh, that's nice! >> reporter: issues like pay equity, women's health and women's reproductive rights. and for clinton supporters here, it is not just about electing a woman president. >> is it important to you to see a woman as president? >> well, it would be lovely. >> reporter: is that why you would support her? >> no, uh-uh. i have -- i hold too strongly to my philosophical, you know, beliefs. >> reporter: mrs. clinton also loses points among this group for how she handled her husband's affair with monica lewinsky. old news? not to this woman who calls clinton a sellout. >> if my husband would have done anything like that, i would have -- he would have been out of there. and she stayed in, and i think she stayed in for a reason. because she wanted to be where
she is right now. >> reporter: and as a woman, that bothers you. >> yeah, it does. >> reporter: it may bother some, but others consider clinton battle-tested and see that as a good thing. >> she's been through a lot. do i think she is a saint? no, i don't think she's a saint. but i think that she's had very adverse situations where there probably wasn't an easy right answer and i think she has always done the very best she could and i think she has always cared about her causes and people in general. >> reporter: even those here who don't like hillary clinton think she was a good secretary of state. and strong on the world stage. they just don't want her to be president. >> she likes to say on day one she'll be ready to be president, based on her experience. is that important to you? >> yes. that is important to me. >> reporter: not enough to say -- >> not enough to say that i will vote for her. not yet. >> randi, did it seem like the headlines, the scandals that have dogged hillary clinton and bill clinton over the years,
rightly or wrongly, had an impact on how these people feel about her? >> reporter: absolutely, anderson. i asked them all about benghazi, i asked them all about the questions about hillary clinton's private e-mail server. and many of them told me they just didn't think she was transparent about those cases. one woman told me she thinks hillary clinton believes that she simply is above the law, and that doesn't sit so well with her. even as you mention, those older scandals with monica lewinsky or jennifer flowers, a lot of women really believe that hillary clinton worked to discredit monica lewinsky and other women and don't believe she is fighting for women as she promises on the campaign trail. but, anderson, having said that, i asked them, would you vote for hillary clinton if she is the nominee and they all said absolutely. >> randi, thanks very much. joining me now, cnn chief political analyst, gloria borger and david yepson of southern illinois university, and former political reporter from the des moines register. gloria, the fact that secretary clinton is still making the kind
of pragmatic experience based argument for a candidacy that she made back in '08 and didn't seem to be working with some women voters or doesn't seem to be, how big a problem is that? >> reporter: look, i think it is a problem. if you go back to 2008 and the democratic primaries then, she barely won a majority of women then against barack obama. now she has got a real problem, because she has a real gap with men. and so she has to make up for it with women. and you see bernie sanders doing really well, particularly with those younger women. she does very well with women over 50, and he does well with young women. and that's a problem for her. so that's why we see her talking an awful lot about pay equity. i was with her this morning at a campaign event. and she really hit those women's pay issues and childcare, and children's health issues that she's been talking about for a
long time to appeal to women voters to get them out here. >> david, in terms of trustworthiness, has clinton dealt with that sufficiently enough. we heard about it now in randi's piece and the other night during the cnn town hall, a young voter saying his friends think she's dishonest. and he said it right to her face. >> i think that's a big problem for secretary clinton. i saw that here in 2008, the trustworthiness, the candor. i just think she has a real problem with both men and women on that trustworthiness issue. >> and gloria, when it comes to -- i mean, monica lewinsky, for instance. it's interesting to hear that women voters, whether or not they agree with how clinton handled it, actually still think about that as an issue almost two decades later. >> i think there's a lot of clinton fatigue that if hillary clinton is the nominee, is going to come back. i don't think monica lewinsky among democratic women is going to be a huge issue. but i do think, if you get into
a general election, particularly if you have a republican nominee, like a donald trump, for example, who is not shy about raising it. rand paul hasn't been shy about raising that issue. that the whole clinton issue could come back to haunt her, and to haunt bill clinton, particularly with, you know, republican voters. >> david, to that point. does bill clinton out on the campaign trail then complicate things? >> i think he does a little bit. i mean, he brings back the past. and i think voters are wanting to look to the future. bill clinton can help turn out voters for his wife. but, you know, innen era where people crave authenticity, you go to a bernie sanders rally, and you look at all the young people there. young women. and what you realize is that they are -- they have a chance to support someone who could be the first woman president of the united states, and they're opting to support grumpy, rumpled man called bernie sanders. and the fact is, it has a lot to
do with authenticity, and clinton's trustworthiness problem is a problem with younger voters. >> gloria -- >> but you know -- if hillary clinton were to become the nominee, i think that her problem with women would be with suburban, married women. that she's generally kind of had a problem with. but i think that those younger women who now are attending towards bernie sanders, would go right back to hillary clinton, to a degree. because they would have to choose between a republican party that perhaps many of them are alienated from, and a democrat. and then in the end, you know, you can't underestimate the factor of just electing a woman president. and in the end, it's hard to say standing right here in des moines how that would affect women voters heading into an
election. it's just really hard to know right now. >> yeah. gloria borger, thank you very much. david yepsen, as well. ahead, my exclusive interview with an american man captured and held in a prison in iran for 41 days. he was a student in iran, studying the language. dark days he had, many in solitary confinement in that prison after they told him he would never leave. he tells me how he got through it, next. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple veggie dish ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple dinner ever? heart healthy california walnuts. great tasting, heart healthy california walnuts.
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now my exclusive interview with an american man who was held for more than a month in a notorious iranian prison and was just released a week and a half ago. his name is matt extra victimic. in a world dominated by partisan politics, it's a breath of fresh air to bring it to you. matt was in iran studying farsi for a few months, was walking on the street, going to buy his ticket home, when three men arrested him. took him to prison and told him he was never going to leave. he was there for 41 days in solitary confinement for 29 of them. now he's readjusting to life back here in america. i spoke with matthew about his time in captivity, how he got through it, and how he's doing now. here's part one of our conversation. first of all, why did you go to iran? >> i thought it would be
fantastic to be a student again in iran, studying farsi and really kind of sinking my teeth into what's going on here as a country that so many people are trying to piece together. maybe i could go there, and study farsi and see. >> so when did you realize you were in trouble? >> so it's a very odd thing. you're standing there, you know, on the street, their main street, in tehran, and you're reading the newspaper. i'm a farsi student, i want to practice my farsi as often as possible, working on reading and writing in particular. and you're reading, you know, these headlines that just get progressively more xenophobic and more specifically anti-american but also just generally anti foreign. and that was particularly -- you know, you're always sitting there wondering, and with the other foreign students too. does this mean me? >> so you were arrested on the street reading the paper? >> i was arrested on the street walking down the street on my way to buy my ticket to come
home. three people -- yeah, in an unmarked hyundai sonata, came up, feet from the dorm i was staying in at tehran university. are you matthew. yes. in the car you go, 15 minute drive to prison. >> directly to prison. >> straight there. and i couldn't help but notice that it was a very busy day. it was not the only hyundai sonata getting checked. >> what happened then inside the prison. >> inside the prison, and within an hour of standing on the street, walking down the street, very excited to buy my ticket to go home, i feel like i've checked the box on tehran, it's been great, i learned some things and now it's time to go home and see the family for christmas. i'm sitting in an interrogation cell in the second floor of a specific building, used by the intelligence services in iran. and their very first sentence to
me was do you know jason rezian. and everybody knows that name. and they were pacing behind me, the prayer beads clicking in his hand and he said he's never leaving and neither are you. and that's when it starts to hit you. you're actually in evin prison. and it takes days to accept the reality that i'm in prison, i'm a prisoner. >> were they accusing you to your face? >> absolutely. i was accused of trying to overthrow the -- personally, the iranian government. i was accused of having access to bank accounts with millions of dollars and knowing the locations of weapons, caches. and when i pointed out to them that the entire -- the tools i had available to me to accomplish this deed which i would say would be fairly difficult consisted of some farsi textbooks that i had purchased in iran, a newspaper,
some flash cards and some pens, you know, they said, well, it's not our plan, it's yours. >> and where were you -- were you in isolation this whole time? solitary confinement? >> yep, o o. >> were you in isolation the entire time, in solitary confinement? >> yes, the first room you're placed in is solitary confinement. it's 8 feet at one point and had 12 feet tall at another point. i'm over 6 feet tall and i could touch all the side of my walls at one point. and there's a very thin carpet over a concrete floor. that was my home and that was my home for 29 days.
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he was interrogated often. his strength is remarkable. here's part two of our conversation. >> at some point said you were released from solitary? >> yes money. >> -- yes. >> and you met other prisoners? >> yes. and that part was terrific. >> do you know why you were taken out of solitary? >> i think that is standard operating procedure. they spend approximately 30 days from what i understand ripping your life apart. you're in an isolated environment, they're trying to understand, build their case. >> when did you know you were going to be released? >> i had no idea was going to be released until the minute i was in an suv with diplomatic plates surrounded by foreigners who were saying next stop is the airport. one app hour befo but an hour before i was raeela
w -- released was probably the most dangerous time for me. i was violently pulled out of my cell, you make a lot of turns that are designed to disorient you, you go downstairs. and i could not believe what i was looking at. i'll looking a tt a pitch black room with a chair with a spotlight, a white esheet enext to the cam are. i sit down. my interrogator walks in. i have no idea what they're about to film. the man operating the camera has a surgical mask on. i'm sitting there, spotlight on me, and they say matthew, matt, this is your last chance. admit why you are here. admit you are here to overthrow
the government. admit that you work for the u.s. government, admit it, admit the truth. and, you know, this was a particularly proud moment for me. i con tem plated it. they said do you need time to think? i said yes. >> they said we'll give you a few minutes but this is your last offer. this is the last chance. we've been very nice to you thus far. and i believe what they're sayi saying. they come back into the room. i look right into the camera and i said "i say everything i have to say" and i stand up and turn my back to the camera. you have the meta cognition going, your inner critic, going matt, what are you doing? what are you doing? this could be a very bad decision. they kept sapinying, well, you' made a very bad decision now, throw me up against the wall, i
stay there for several minutes and i'm rushed back to my cell. lunch son the ground. i eat lunch for a few minutes before another guard comes back and says collect all your things. so you only collect all your things if you are leaving or being relowe katcated. you go left towards the exit, you go right, you're going deep are into the prison toward solitary confinement ecells and what else. i stop. my heart racing. my eninner critic is racing harr than ever, you're about to reap what you sew. and i go left.
i very hurriedly was given my eclothes, blindfold on, put in a car, car makes a few cars and that's what p when i see a sight i'll never forget, two swiss diplomats, one of them said, "matthew, we'll go now, get in the middle seat" and a car took off at a hundred miles an hour to the airport. >> if someone else was considering going to iran to be a tourist or to study like you did, what would you advise? >> i wouldn't advise ethis to go. i don't think the time is ready for you to go. i think there was a window and then i think traditional, modern, iranian politics got in the way of that window and i would not enkourlg people to go to iran. >> i'm glad you're back. >> it's fantastic to be back.
>> thank you very much for talking to us. >> absolutely. >> matt told me the first thieng did when he got home to boston was going to his favorite burger place and is looking forward to seeing the latest "star wars" movie. cnn tonight with don lemon starts now. >> he were we go, trump versus o'reilly. >> i don't like being taken advantage of. in this case was being taken advantage of by fox. i don't like that. >> the republican front-runner trumps fox news as only he can. >> i just don't like being used. when they issued that tweet or whatever it was that fox issued, i guess it was like -- >> donald, i got it. >> here's the question. is it all part of a clever