tv The Situation Room CNN May 29, 2014 2:00pm-3:31pm PDT
structure to last him a generation and he's very much missed and no matter what people say about him, i will never turn my back on a peacemaker. never. >> ben stein, thank you so much. hope you enjoyed the series. you can watch the premier of the cnn series "the sixties" tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." >> jake, happening now, seconds from disaster, come very close. we have details on the latest shocking close call. suing or selling? while donald sterling may be ready to strike back at the nba, his wife has received some serious offers for the l.a. clippers. and hackers exposed. cyberspies creating a fake new site using social media to lure u.s. officials. is iran behind this elaborate scheme? i'm wolf blitzer.
you're in "the situation room." triggered from an explosive report inside the veterans affairs, one after another on capitol hill, democrats are now calling for eric shinseki to resign and he's said to be on thin ice over the failures at his agency. cnn's drew griffith who broke this story will be live and i'll speak with congressman jeff miller. let's bring with our senior white house correspondent jim acosta. jim? >> reporter: wolf, the writing may be on the wall for eric shinseki. the white house declined to say whether shinseki has the confidence of the president. veterans affairs secretary eric shinseki is on thin ice. today, the ice started cracking.
as white house press secretary refused to answer whether president obama had confidence in shinseki who is leading the review of the v.a. scandal. >> how does the run the department if he doesn't have the full confidence of the president? how does he conduct an investigation if he doesn't have -- >> we look forward to the preliminary review that he asked the secretary to provide to them. >> shing second key was placed on probation. >> reporter: if he thinks he has let our veterans down pointing to systemic issues in the system noting in phoenix, 1700 veterans were never put on a waiting list and were likely lost or forgotten. shinseki responded saying, we are redoubling our efforts with commitment and compassion to restore integrity to our
processes to earn veterans' trust. many are calling for shinseki to go. even as the tomorrow republican said he's not so sure. >> the real issue here is the president is the one who should be held accountable. >> reporter: it's no secret the president is loyal to his cabinet. the white house says there's a difference between kathleen seib beel yous during the healthcare.gov fiasco and shinseki. the problems at the v.a. are bigger than a broken website. >> the president believes accountability is important. >> reporter: and the white house is waiting on the v.a. to turn over its initial findings over the audit. it could well determine the fate of eric shinseki. in the last half hour, another democrat has defected over the fate of shinseki. mary landrieu from louisiana wants him to step down, too.
>> let's bring in drew griffith who was the first to report on this scandal. this is not just in phoenix but a few other places and they seem to be expanding. >> reporter: they are expanding. jim mentioned in that report, it's a huge report. 42 different facilities being investigated. the real crisis remains, these veterans to this day waiting far too long for care. the interim report calls it systemic nationwide, yet no real solutions in sight. the white house is still taking this wait and see approach in a very contentious hearing on capitol hill. he couldn't answer a lot of the questions and couldn't answer my question after that hearing, wolf, which is, after ten years, nearly two dozen government reports outlining all of these problems, why hasn't the v.a. done anything to solve them? >> the overall issue, though, is, number one, the v.a. has not listened to the inspector
general for ten years and has not listened to the government accountability office for ten years because if you did, you would have known about these scheduling problems, wait times and inability -- >> drew, let me say that i have knowledge during the course of this hearing that i think v.a. made assumptions that our data were accurate. i think that we assume that the oig and gao information, patient concerns were exceptions rather than rules. i think knowledge that we have perhaps elevated performance majors to goals, that we need to improve that system. >> wolf, dr. lynch went on to say that he, the current administration and general shinseki can lead the v.a. out of this mess and give him a chance. >> drew, stand by for a moment. i want to bring in representative jeff miller. he's the chairman of the house committee on veterans affairs. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. let me get right to a potential criminal issue.
do you believe bureaucrats over at the department of veterans affairs and facilities around the country were deliberately, deliberately fudging some of the numbers so that they might qualify for bonuses? >> i do. in fact, that's why i wrote the attorney general this morning and asked him to launch an investigation into the activities that have occurred. it's well over 40 facilities that are under investigation. >> that sounds to me like a crime, potentially. you want the fbi, department of justice to get involved and start a criminal investigation? >> i do. and interestingly enough, last night during our late-night hearing on the floor of the house of representatives, we're doing the commerce state and justice appropriation bill and we had an amendment. in fact, that pluses up the fbi budget by a million dollars in order for them to start this investigation. >> have you notified, have you called eric holder, the attorney
general, written to him and said, please investigate? >> yes. i wrote a letter this morning. i made the comment yesterday when i called for secretary shinseki's resignation. i said i was going to talk to eric holder. i did so by later to date. it would be interesting to see. so far he's been pretty much hands off but i think the facts are too many now for them to look the other way. >> congressman, drew is with us. he's got a question for you. >> so much of this is rooted in the fact that the v.a. for a long time has not listened to just about anybody about its management, didn't listen to the inspector general for years, didn't listen to the government of accountability office and frankly has not listened to or responded to your committee for the last year, maybe year and a half now. since this most recent crisis began in phoenix, has there been any more open communication between you, your staff, and the minority side of your committee
and either the white house or the v.a. administration on all of these problems? >> well, first of all, the minority staff and majority staff work very well together. there is no daylight between the two of us as we go forward in trying to fix the problem. but i will tell you, since our hearing on the 9th of april in regards to these wait times and the deaths that occurred while waiting, they have gone v.a., themselves have gone into a bunker mode and we are not getting calls or contacts from anybody and what little bit of information they are providing to us is from very low level individuals. in fact, i'm sure you recognize last night as we talk about the lack of progress of getting the subpoena filled, we have no information under secretary john mooney whose job it is to be e tthe
liason. >> you want him to resign, right? >> i do. >> what about the acting secretary, that person is sloan gibson. do you have confidence he can do a better job? >> i've known sloan gibson for a number of years, ever since he started running the uso, which is an outstanding organization. i think that he has organizational skills that, in fact, could help the department of veteran affairs get out of the problem that they are new but it's much larger than whoever is in the position of secretary. it is the bureaucracy itself that thinks they are more important than the veterans that they serve. i can tell you, the people that go to work every day mostly at the line level are doing the right thing. but the bureaucrats, at the middle, that i've been warning the secretary about for years are not telling you the truth. they will not give you the bad news. they will only give you the good news and, unfortunately, things have come to pass that we, in
fact, anticipated were the secretary. >> if he does resign and sloan gibson becomes the acting secretary, would you support he becoming the secretary if the president were to nominate him to be secretary of veterans affairs? >> i will support whoever the president puts in that position. i have told secretary shinseki time and time again, we don't want to be an adversary. we want to be a partner in trying to solve the problems that exist at the v.a. but there seems to be animosity between the v.a. and congress and they have a debating society and, finally, people are paying attention and we're able to shine a light on really the arrogance of this administration and certainly the v.a. and the fact that congress has been trying to provide the oversight and they will not respond. >> there are some suggesting, mr. chairman, that the v.a., as we know it, may be beyond prepare. it's time to start thinking
about privatizing at least elements of the veterans administration. would you support that? >> i think it is time to look at giving veterans a choice, of being able to go outside of the system. what i want to reassure the veterans service organization out there is that we're not talking about trying to dismantle the entire v.a. system because v.a. provides care and expertise in areas that nobody else does. traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress, spinal cord injury. there are people that experience in combat and serving in the military that nobody else can treat. the v.a. does that well. but what we're seeing is increased number of people coming into the system overwhelming the system and it's not a matter of v.a. not having the dollars because they are going to carry over a billion dollars or half a billion dollars this year anyway. they have the dollars there to have already sent these people out to non-v.a. health care and that is the answer to the
immediate problem thatti exists today and it's many, many other installations around this country. >> we have one final question from drew who wrote this whole story. go ahead, drew. >> congressman, have you been able to discover conclusiveliy that the manipulation is tied to bonuses? was there a financial gain to gaining the system? >> that's what people suspect and certainly what i suspect. why else would somebody work so hard to manipulate the numbers to create not one, two, but maybe three lists at different facilities, to make it appear that they are keeping their numbers to the 14-day level that v.a. tries to ascribe to. the problem that exists out there, and i think dr. lynch admitted so in the meeting last night, where he said we have lost our compass. we do not think that the goal that we set was used properly and people, again, went in,
found a way to gain the system and the criminality part comes in where they were able to create their own self-worth by getting bonuses and also by getting new jobs or getting promoted. >> jeff miller is the chairman of the house veterans affairs committee. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> i want to thank drew as well for the excellent reporting that he's been doing. just ahead, we have exclusive new details as donald sterling gets ready for legal battle with the nba. i'll speak live this hour with donald sterling's attorney in los angeles. hackers, meanwhile, create a fake website to lure officials in the united states and around the world. is iran behind this complicated scheme? that's coming up next.
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when victims found that their facebook friends were actually their enemies. the hackers used social networks to spy on high-ranking u.s. and israeli officials. a new report by a private cybersecurity firm claims that those hackers are based in iran. >> while it's low sophistication technically, it's one of the most elaborate social media techniques to date. >> reporter: here's how it works. there's a bogus online news site, news on air. sometimes they use real reporters' names and bios and strike up relationships with friends and colleagues of their target on social media sites like facebook and linkedin to connect with the target. once target is made, they establish credibility.
over time, they lure the target to a fake website where they steal their passwords and other credentials. in all, the report found more than 2,000 connections made by the hackers over the past three years, including a four-star u.s. admiral, british and saudi officials, journalists and lawmakers. none of them are named. they appear to be after national security intelligence. but what information the hackers took is unclear. >> there's no smoking g gun pointing to official iranian involvement. >> do you think the iranian government was involved here? >> we can't say for sure. what we can say is, based on who was targeted, the type of information they were going after, the infrastructure that was used and where it's registered in tehran and a number of other indicators that we believe there are links to iranian actors here. >> and wolf, facebook says that it was made aware of this fake
campaign when some of its subscribers talked about suspicious activity from some so-called friends and have removed all of those profiles from this fake news website. the fbi and state departments say that they are aware of the report, not commenting on it directly but they are aware that hackers from iran have used social media networking sites in the past to gain information about targets in the u.s., including u.s. officials, wolf. >> elise labott, thank you for that report. when we come back, we're learning new information about what donald sterling plans to do in his battle against the nba. maxwell bleacher is here in "the situation room" and is getting ready to discuss. plus, another deadly midair crash averted. why does this keep happening? hispan that's coming up later.
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about donald sterling's plans following the infamous public remarks. his lawyer, maxwell bleacher, there he is. we'll speak with him in a moment. first, our brian todd is working his sources. he's joining us with the breaking details. brian, what are you learning? >> wolf, things are moving very fast tonight. sources tell us all of the bids are in for the l.a. clippers and they come from very powerful, well-known, high-stakes investors. but while that plays out in the camp of donald sterling's estranged wife shelly, the embattled owner seems to be bracing for a fight. he's seriously suing the nba over ifs efforts to throw him out. >> do you think it's fair, donald? >> reporter: while no decision has been made, his sources say that his lawyer could go out there and get it. >> you have pretrial discovery. and you've got all sorts of
skeletons coming out on both sides. >> reporter: as donald sterling seems to be hunkering down, a fast-paced and increasingly competitive bidding war is under way for his team, the l.a. clippers, all led by his estranged wife shelly sterling. 1 to $2 billion has been submitted. >> a lot of people have come out and expressed interest and there's been a lot of reports. >> reporter: sources say at least three groups or individuals have made what the nba would consider serious offers. among them, steve ballmer and grant hill also wants to buy the team. his sources say about $1.2 billion. but the third bid may make the biggest splash. it's from a group of moguls,
including larry ellison, oprah winfrey, and others. the goal is for some sort of sale agreement for the clippers to be done before tuesday. so a scheduled nba owners' vote to kick sterling out would not be necessary. if the sale didn't go through -- >> then it's not the sterlings controlling the sale. anybody with any property would argue that they have the best potential outcomes if they are the ones controlling the sale. >> and this sale will inevitably shatters records no matter when and how it happens. the last team sold was the milwaukee bucks. the sale of the l.a. clippers shaping up to be maybe three or four times that amount. >> is the nba saying anything about a potential donald sterling lawsuit against the nba or are they saying anything about the bidding war going on? >> we have asked and we've gotten no response from the nba so far to the possible lawsuit. the nba is also not commenting
officially on the bidding but a source tells us behind the scenes the league is consulting closely with shelly sterling on this bidding process on the sales process. adam silver said to be pretty much involved. >> i'm sure he is. brian todd reporting for us. donald sterling's attorney maxwell bleacher is joining us now live. thank you very much for coming in. where does it stand right now, from your client's perspective? does it look like there's going to be a sale, that meeting next tuesday will not be necessary? or are you going up with a legal war against the nba? >> first, it's my pleasure to join you and we thank you for the opportunity to express our point of view. the answer is, the league on tuesday has a giatine over sterling's head. they will confiscate him team illegally and if they don't want a lawsuit challenging that
conduct, they need to let us know before tuesday. >> but what if the team is sold before tuesday? shelly sterling is moving very expeditiously to avert any kind of legal battle to sell the team and then everyone can simply move on. >> we don't think the team can be sold without mr. sterling's consent. mr. sterling is not going to consent unless the nba does something about the illegal charges they have filed against him and so far we've heard nothing to indicate that will occur. >> what do you want the nba to do to avert that kind of legal challenge? >> we have a laundry list. i don't want to publish it on tv without giving the league an opportunity to review it first, if they are interested. but among other things, they have seriously invaded his right of privacy for which he's
entitled to damages. they've caused him to spend lots of money for lawyers and lawyers fees and they dangmaged his reputation. all falsely because no matter what he said regardless of what he said to his girlfriend in his living room and of which is a confidential conversation that he did not consent to be recorded and under the state of california, she did not say he ever consented to this recording, which he has said is that in the past they have made recordings. but she's not said that she disclosed or that he consented to the recording of this particular conversation in which she goated and taunted him saying that she's going to bring four gorgeous black people to the games to sit in the box with her. >> but listen to what your
client told anderson cooper himself in taking responsibility for his racist comments that were recorded and played, as all of us know. listen to this. >> i'm responsible. i want to apologize to my partners. i have 29 partners in the league that is a wonderful league. i respect them and i love every owner. every owner knows me. i love the commissioner and i think that whatever they decide that has to be done, i think i should work with them and do it. >> all right. that's what he told anderson cooper. you heard it yourself. it sounds like whatever they decide to do, next tuesday, the 29 other owners, he wants to go along with it. >> he doesn't want to go along with it. he's been very gracious in reaching out to the league to see if there's some accommodation that is possible.
i parental apparently we're not headed in that direction. what needs to be observed is that this conversation was a private conversation in september of 2013 between mr. sterling and his girlfriend. she did not tell him it was being recorded. under california law, that recording cannot be used for any purpose in any proceeding except for impeachment. now, the league has said in writing to me that that tape recording is the sole basis of the claims against mr. sterling. so the sole basis of their claims is an illegally obtained recording which, under california law, cannot be offered in evidence. so they have no case. they have no case secondarily because mr. sterling did not breach any rule. he's entitled to say what he wants in the privacy -- >> mr. bleacher, i just want to
be precise, you heard him say to anderson cooper that he accepts responsibility, he apologizes to his owners, he loves the league. he is accepting responsibility for the blunders that were recorded in that racist rant. >> he's accepting responsibility that he made a mistake. he's not consenting to the league confiscating his property which you can now see is worth more than $1 billion. he's not contenting to paying a $2.5 million fine or to be banished from the stadium for the rest of his life. these are draconian remedies that exceed anything that anyone has ever done in any professional sport. and what is the basis of it? an illegal recording that cannot be used. >> let's go through the specific points. when you say an illegal recording, she says, v. stiviano, that he authorized her
to record things for archival purse purposes and we're told that she was not alone during that conversation. her sister was there as well. it wasn't simply a private conversation between donald sterling and v. stiviano. that's the argument on the other side. >> as far as other recordings, yes, they did make recordings for business purposes. this was a purely personal conversation. i describe it and i think correctly as a lover's quarrel between v. -- >> was her sister there during some of those recordings? >> her sister was on the premises but not in the room when the conversation took place. as far as we know. there is no evidence that the sister overheard or participated in the conversation and mrs. stiviano has not said that nor has the sister come forward. so as far as we're concerned, it was a lover's quarrel. >> let me play a clip of what he
was recorded saying because it is awful. everybody who heard it was grimacing when they heard it. i'll play this clip. listen to this. >> there is no negativity. i love everybody. i'm just saying, on instagram you don't have to have yourself walking with black people. you could do anything. but don't put them on instagram for the world to see so they have to call me. and don't bring them to my games. okay? >> how does he explain that kind of talk? it's so ugly. >> wolf, the problem with playing clips is they are clips. if you played the entire conversation you would see and anybody listening to it would see that she taunted him. she induced him to get angry four times in the conversation he said basically, v., i've had
enough of this. let's stop this conversation. he didn't want it to continue and she taunted him. maybe it was a setup. i don't know if it was a setup or not but certainly you pick out the very climax of the time that she got him angry and say that represents his views. it doesn't. it doesn't represent his views. he's not a racist. he's had five black head coaches. he had a 22-year association with elgin baylor as his director of operations. 22 years with that man. he's given huge sums of money to black charities, including the united negro fund. he has given money to the inner city people so they can see his games. there isn't any record in the entire 30 years he's owned this team of racism entering into the conduct and operation of the team. it's just a phony charge. they know it's a phony charge. >> mr. bleacher, i hear what you're saying.
but then on anderson cooper's show, he then goes on to rant and say awful things about someone who is beloved, not only in the nba but across america. we're talking about magic johnson. this is what he said not when he was being taunted, if you will by anderson cooper but simply in a response from anderson. listen to this. >> here is a man who -- i don't know if i say this. he acts so holy. he made love to every girl in every city in america and he had aids. what kind of a guy goes to every city and has sex with every girl and then catches hiv. is that someone that we want to respect? i think he should be ashamed of himself. i think he should go into the background. but what does he do for black people? he doesn't do anything? >> should an nba owner be saying
these things on worldwide television -- not just domestic television -- worldwide television about magic johnson? >> mr. sterling is entitled to his views about magic johnson and they don't have to conform with your views or my views. the fact that he doesn't like magic johnson or doesn't have respect for him does not entitled the national basketball association to confiscate his team, fine him and ban him for life. those are draconian remedies. no sport has ever imposed remedies like that for a man expressing his personal opinion, however reprehensible the rest of us may think that those opinions are, this is still the united states of america. and what we should be concerned about is kareem abdul jabbar said. what we should be concerned about is these people sneaking in her living room and using this conversation to try to throw him out of the basketball league. that's more shameful than what he said.
>> all right. i want you to stand by, mr. bleacher, because we have more to discuss. i want to take a quick break. i also want to get into whether or not the nba's constitution and donald sterling has abided by the nba constitution for 33 years, whether the nba constitution actually allows donald sterling to be kicked out of the nba. i take prilosec otc each morning for my frequent heartburn.
thanks very much for continuing this conversation. let's talk about something you said. you said that the nba wants to -- i believe the word you used was confiscate the l.a. clippers. the nba says if donald sterling wants to sell the team, he could walk away with a billion or $2 billion. that's not exactly confiscation and they are going to let him walk away with a ton of money. what's wrong with that? >> the only reason he's talking about selling the team, which he had no interest in selling and subjecting themselves to capital gains tax of 3 to $5 million is because the league is going to confiscate the team there would be no capital gains tax, too. the league has got him over a barrel. sell, pay $500 million to the
government, or we'll take the team away from you. >> yeah, but he still walks away with $1.5 billion even after paying 20% capital gains. what's wrong with that? >> is everything about money? is there no dignity left? is the man to be subjected to false charges of him being a racist and the basis of evidence which they snuck out of somebody's living room in violation of law? i mean, where are we examining him and not examining what they did? what they did is reprehensible. in my language, it stinks. it stinks for them to go into someone's living room and steal a private conversation between two levels? what is right about that? >> the nba didn't do that, mr. blecher. that came out on a different website. they published that. they released that.
the nba did not make that audiotape public. >> the nba -- the nba is using it, as their lawyer said to me, the sole basis of the prosecution against them. they could have said, because they are lawyers and they know this, they could have said this evidence is illegal and we don't touch it or approve or condemn what mr. sterling said but there is no legal basis for us to use this illegal evidence against him. >> all right. speaking of the law, jeffrey toobin, our senior legal analyst -- hold on a second. he's got a legal question, lawyer to lawyer, you're a good lawyer, he's a good lawyer. listen to this question and then you can respond. >> mr. blecher, advertisers fled. they said the players will not
play for donald sterling. isn't that precisely the kind of loss that article 13 of the constitution of the nba is the basis for taking away a team? >> it probably is. but let me tell you, mr. sterling has been thrown out of his office. he's had no contact with the sponsors. he doesn't know the allegations of the sponsors. and if you think most of the players are going to give up 2, 5, $10 million because of mr. sterling's remarks made in 2013 and stop playing, i think you've got another guess coming. i think it's an idle threat. >> so what you're saying, those sponsors only came back when the nba said they were going to take away the franchise. if donald sterling is there, the nba loses money. and isn't that a good basis to take away a team? >> but they only left because
the nba made these untrue charges based on illegal evidence. if the nba would have done what i think they should have done and to say we're rejecting the use of this illegally used evidence and not violating charges, no response sor would have left in the first place. so why are we patting on the back because they created this crisis. and they created it for a reason and some day, when we get into discovery, maybe we'll know what that reason is. but this is not -- this is not a normal thing for the nba to do to somebody who has been a loyal member for 33 years and who has been an -- >> so you're saying this is the nba's fault, not donald sterling's fault? >> no. i didn't say that. i said donald sterling should not have said these things and they should have never been disclosed and once disclosed the nba should have said this is
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what would it take assuming shelly sterling, donald sterling's wife reaches a deal to sell the team? there's a purchase agreement. specifically as far as you can tell us, what would it take the nba to resolve this with donald sterling and let the sale go through? >> i'm is not going to give you a laundry list, but i told you some of the things that are troubling him. very troubled by the invasion of privacy. he's very troubled by the racist charges that have been made against him after 33 years of history, evidencing very close relationship and close support of the black african-american community. and he wants to be -- he wants to be vindicated. he doesn't want his tombstone to say here lies donald sterling racist. and the nba has the power to make that right. and that's what he wants to do. wants to sit down in a room with their representatives and try to
negotiate some resolution that will make it right. selling the team and the money is not the answer for him. he doesn't need the money. >> when we come back, mr. bl blecher, i'm going to ask you if donald sterling will go to the meeting in new york with the board of governors meeting next tuesday. he's been going for. 33 years. we'll take a break and continue the conversation with maxwell blecher right after this. i take prilosec otc each morning for my frequent heartburn.
because you can't beat zero heartburn. woo hoo! [ male announcer ] prilosec otc is the number one doctor recommended frequent heartburn medicine for 8 straight years. one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. this is cnn breaking news. >> for our viewers in the united states and around the world who are just joining us we're following breaking news about donald sterling and a possible lawsuit against the nba as he fights to hold on to the clippers. we're speaking with his attorney, maxwell blecher in los angeles. correspondents and analysts are standing by to talk about the dramatic elements later. let's get back to mr. blecher right now. jeffrey toobin is with me, mr.
blecher. he'll help me with questioning. i asked you earlier about the nba meeting next tuesday in new york when they'll decide whether donald sterling will be able to keep the clippers. the other owners will be there. here's the question. will donald sterling be in new york next week to attend that meeting? >> before i answer that question directly, let me observe that this meeting is what i regard as a kangaroo court. ten owners before they even read the nba charges, before they read our defense and response to them, announced how they're going to vote. so, you can't tell me that they're coming there with an open mind to listen to what mr. sterling or his lawyer may say. but the direct answer to your question is, the constitution provides that if sterling does not show up, he waives all of his rights and agrees that the charges with true.
he's not going to do that. he is going to show up. >> he will be in new york. i'm hearing from my sources close to the nba, mr. blecher, that to avoid that meeting and have no meeting next tuesday in new york, three things must occur. there must be a purchase agreement. the sale of the l.a. clippers to someone. there must be a settlement agreement between donald sterling and the nba. and he has to pay that $2.5 million fine. if those three conditions are achieved, there will be no need for that meeting. what are the chances of those three conditions being achieved between now and tuesday? >> are you negotiating for the nba? >> i'm just asking -- >> nobody has told us -- >> i'm just asking the questions. >> i am certain that mr. sterling would not agree to those conditions and that the proper way to two around this is to suspend the meeting so that
we don't do this under extraordinary pressure and pension of having to decide things in 36 or 48 hours. there's no reason this meeting has to take place on june 3rd. there is absolutely no exigency created. the proper way to do it and how i've been doing it for a long, long time is you get everybody together in a room, you trade ideas, and you see what evolves. and mr. sterling is not willing to do that, but we're not willing to knuckle under to some demands that they make without even listening to our side of the point -- our point of view. >> mr. blecher, you're a very intelligent man and excellent lawyer. you certainly understand how much donald sterling has offended not just the african-american community, but the entire community out there with his racist comments. he has really, really angered so many people to the point that they don't want him involved at
all in the nba. you appreciate that, right? >> i do. >> you do or don't? >> i do. >> you appreciate -- >> i do. he's made a lot of -- >> the other nba owners, the 29 other owners for all practical purposes they say if he's allowed to continue to be the owner of the l.a. clippers, the league will suffer, television rights will suffer, advertisers will run away. it will be a disaster economically for the nba and as a result the nba constitution allows them to get rid of them. that's what the other owners, i'm hearing from them, are going to conclude. >> you mean including the hypocritical owner that pays money to support anti-gay causes? he's the one that's going to sit in judgment on mr. sterling? are you kidding me? is that justice in the united states? to have these hypocrites decide
his fate? >> you're talking about the owner of the orlando team. >> if that's the right one. i know that some man is paying a lot of money to support anti-gay causes and in our answer that we gave to the nba, we list any number of owners who have made statements that are either racist or anti-gay or whatever. and we got players. i mean, look what jack o'neal did. he went on television and he mocked crippled people. look at what kobe bryant said about a referee. what do they got? o'neal got zero and kobe got $100,000 fine which he paid out of his petty cash drawer. i mean, it's nonsense. i know the private organizations
are afforded a lot more latitude than governments, but they don't have unlimited rights. we've researched this pretty carefully. and there are a lot of cases saying that private organizations cannot do things that are discriminatory, cannot do things that are unethical, they cannot do things that are unreasonable or are in this case draconian. and there is a lot to be heard and said about the nature of the punishment considering all the other things that the league has done and put up with, and considering mr. sterling's track record, as to whether or not what they're doing is at all reasonable. in my view, it's completely unreasonable. >> let's talk about the law. jeffrey toobin is a legal scholar, he's written books on the supreme court. he knows the law. he studied it very careful. go ahead with your questions. >> mr. blecher, it sounds like there's a clear settlement out there if you wanted to get it.
shelly sterling and the nba find a buyer that they think is a a good one. the nba says, you know, we're going to drop these charges and thank donald sterling for his good work and his charitable work and $2.5 million goes to some charity everybody agrees on. how abo how about that? it all happens simultaneously. >> first, i've heard about it on television. >> i'm asking. >> i'd have to tune in and find out -- i have to tune in to cnn and find out what the n barksba thinking because they don't talk to me. the answer, i don't think the three-point program you laid out is acceptable to mr. sterling. he has his own ideas. i don't want to try to communicate a settlement offer on television. that's not the way it's done. the way it should be done is to say, look, there may be a way we can resolve this, let's postpone this meeting two weeks or four weeks or whatever and sit around and see if he can come up with something. i don't know that that will work, but that's the right way
to do it. >> so, if you say -- >> we don't need to negotiate. we don't need -- let me say this. we don't need to negotiate with them with a guillotine over our head. that's not the way you negotiate. >> you're threatening to file a lawsuit. why don't you go ahead and file it if you're really going to file it? >> we'll see what the league does. >> when do you think you'd file it? the nba won't talk to you. when are you going to file the case? >> we have an option of filing it before tuesday or we have an option of filing it after tuesday. there is no detriment to our filing it either way. so, we'll make that decision. we haven't made it yet. we did not want to interfere. be very candid with you, we did not want to interfere with mr. sterling's efforts to sell, try to arrange for sale of the team,
so we're just sitting still for the moment. seeing where that, if anywhere, will lead us. >> well, let's talk a little bit about that for a moment, mr. sterling -- excuse me, mr. blecher i should say. mr. sterling has made it clear i assume in he wrote to the lette his wife telling her to go ahead and negotiate a sale to the team? >> he wrote a letter to the league authorizing her to negotiate. he understands the emphasis is on negotiating. she believes he's authorized her completely to sell the team. i'm not sure there's a meeting of the mind on the wording of that letter. but in any event, we have backed off while she's undertaking to try to sell the team in the expectation that could, could, i want to underscore could, lead to some negotiations to resolve the matter.
we have not wanted to step in because i think, and mr. sterling thinks, if we file a lawsuit, those buyers are going to run for cover. so you want an answer why we haven't filed a lawsuit? out of respect and deference to what mr. sterling is doing to try to bring about a resolution, but the nba hasn't gotten off its you-know-what one inch to meet us halfway. >> a final question, you've been very generous with your time, mr. blecher. we appreciate that. if the other owners really don't want donald sterling to be their partner any longer, why would he want to stay in that little fraternity, if you will, the nba board of governors? >> that, sir, is a question i think should be addressed to him. i don't play psychiatrist. i try to be a lawyer. >> because it lookses like the other owners don't want him any
longer. certainly the fans don't want him. the players don't want him. why would he want to stay in a situation where he's not wanted? >> i went all true this with al davis, they didn't want him, either, but he persisted and stayed on until he passed away, so i think these fellows all have a big ego. don sterling invested more time with the nba team than any other man in the history of the sport. and i think he feels he has an entitlement to the fruits of his labor. it's that simple. >> one final question. if shelly sterling gets a deal, a purchase agreement with one of these groups, probably half a dozen very, very wealthy people out there who want to buy the l.a. clippers an comes in at a good price, $2 billion, $2.5 billion, will he accept that deal? >> not without reaching an accommodation with the nba which gives him some form of
vindication. the money is not critical to him. >> well, it sounds to me like there can be a settlement under those circumstances. you're probably not that far away. the question is, does shelly sterling have a buyer? the answer is yes. will the nba be able to something, say something to give mr. sterling a little bit of what he wants? probably. and maybe that meeting next tuesday won't be necessary after all. but we'll see. we'll see what happens. maxwell blecher, go ahead, you want to make a final statement? >> i hope not. i don't like going to new york. >> it's a nice place, new york. >> i hope meeting won't be necessary. oh, it is. >> i hope the meeting won't be necessary either. the nba hopes the meeting won't be necessary. i'm sure shelly sterling wants to take the money and run. we'll see what donald sterling wants to do. thanks so much. if there's anything else you want to say, this is your chance. go ahead. >> no, sir. been my pleasure to talk with you and try to get mr.
sterling's story out there a little bit so people have a better perspective of where he's coming from. and i do appreciate, and he appreciates the opportunity to do that. my pleasure. thank you very much. >> donald sterling's fortunate to have you as his attorney, maxwell blecher. thanks for joining us. as i said before, you've been generous with your time. we'll take a quick break. we'll have analysis with our panel when we come back. hey. i'm ted and this is rudy. say "hi" rudy. [ barks ] [ chuckles ] i'd do anything to keep this guy happy and healthy. that's why i'm so excited about these new milk-bone brushing chews. whoa, i'm not the only one. it's a brilliant new way to take care of his teeth. clinically proven as effective as brushing. ok, here you go. have you ever seen a dog brush his own teeth? the twist and nub design cleans all the way down to the gum line, even reaching the back teeth. they taste like a treat, but they clean like a toothbrush. nothing says you care like a milk-bone brushing chew. [ barks ]
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lemon, cnn anchor, cnn commentator, l.z. granderson, and jeffrey toobin, senior legal analyst. don, what did you think? >> where do i start, wolf? i was about to jump out of my chair. i'm going to preface this by saying this guy is an eight-track tape in an itunes era. if donald sterling thinks that he helped himself, or if that attorney thinks he helped donald sterling, then he is sadly mistaken. that man that was just on television is just as out of touch, if not more, than donald sterling with the things that were coming out of his mouth. if you're going to get on television and going to talk about how you supported black causes, you should know that the name is united negro college fund, not the united negro fund. you should not get on television and say that donald sterling has been a member in good standing of the league when he actually sued the league because he
wanted to move the team from san diego to los angeles. you should not get on television saying that donald sterling is not a racist and we should not believe our own ears because he said as much in an interview with anderson cooper. he compared african-americans to jewish people basically saying that jewish people were better because they helped each other and conducted business better. even if you don't use a tape, which he is disturbed by, saying that the nba invaded his privacy, the nba did not go into his living room and recorded him. v. stiviano did it. the nba is not concerned how the tape got into the public domain. it is in the public domain. it is having a negative impact on the nba. that's all they have to be concerned with, and if he is worried about that tape getting out, invasion of privacy, what that speaks to is donald sterling's judgment or lack
thereof about people he has around him like v. stiviano who will record him. so, that doesn't speak highly of donald sterling that he allowed someone into his life and into his home who recorded him and then released a tape. there's so much more that -- he's a loyal member, they damaged his reputation. donald sterling damaged his own reputation by coming on television and saying what he said. he wants to be vindicated. if he wants to be -- listen, i'm all about forgiving people, all right? i'm a believer in a higher power. i forgive you. but if you want to be vindicated, go back and look at the tapes, go back and look at what you said beyond the tape that was released to the public that you believe was released illegally. i just think it was ridiculous. i really want to talk about -- when he talks about he's had several head coaches and general managers and all of that and really helped the african-american community, elgin baylor sued him, elgin baylor said he had a
plantation-style mentality and wanted to run the team that way. i believe we have the sound bite of him saying that. we don't have it? all right. anyway -- that's the end of my rant. >> i want l.z. to get involved. l.z., what do you make of the poo poor argument that the audiotape released was illegally recorded by v. stiviano, so-called girlfriend, and as a result should be inadmissible? >> part of this is the reason why from the very beginning of this story i thought it was a misstep by the nba and commissioner silver to focus sewly sew solely on the audiotape. we have 30-plus years of donald sterling behavior that would support reasons why the nba would not want to be associated with him anymore. you didn't have to rely on what could be an illegal tape. i thought that was a misstep. but the thing that really was interesting to me was a couple of things. one, i thought he did a really -- i thought the lawyer did a good job of giving us other shiny objects to look at.
for example, rich devoss, the owner of the nba's orlando magic. there is a tape out there he did with a local newspaper in which he says some very disturb and offensive things about the lgbt people, hiv and aids victims. that part is true. i know circulating on several media sites. he gave us another shiny object to look at. also he brings up the question of privacy and it's a huge conversation right now with the nsa and this movement whether it's tea party inspired or not to push up against big government, push up against being spied upon. he did a good job of touching on that and having us have a little sympathy going. you know, when it comes to that part, he's kind of right. but the thing that he misses, the thing that i will like to talk about, you know, going forward, is the fact that the supreme court made it very clear i think back in 2000 the boy scouts of america is that public or private club can choose to associate with whomever they choose to associate with, so if
this private club which is the nba decides it no longer for viable reasons no longer wanted to be associated with donald sterling, i believe, jeffrey toobin, you can help me out with this, i believe the first amendment rights guarantee the group that privilege of not being associated with him anymore. >> jeffrey toobin, respond to that point, but i want to take another quick break. we'll be right back. more of our conversation. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, like me, and you're talking to your rheumatologist about a biologic... this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain. this is humira helping me lay the groundwork. this is humira helping to protect my joints from further damage. doctors have been prescribing humira for ten years. humira works by targeting and helping to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. humira is proven to help relieve pain and stop further joint damage in many adults. humira can lower your ability to fight infections,
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welcome back. we're continuing our conversation with don lemon, l.z. granderson, and jeffrey toobin. jeffrey, i don't know about you, but i came away from that interview with maxwell blecher, the lawyer for donald sterling, convinced there may be an opening here for a settlement and maybe there won't be that meeting in new york next tuesday. >> i had exactly the same impression. he said very clearly, the reason he has not sued is because he is letting shelly sterling negotiate to sell the team. she's going to negotiate to sell the team. she will make a proposed deal. she will bring it to him. it sounds like the nba can finesse a statement and this whole thing can go away. >> i would not bet on it. i would not bet on it. i would not bet on it. >> he said something, at least, you were a good guy at one point in your life, sell the team, move on. you don't think he would accept, take the $1.5 billion and run? >> i don't believe anything that comes out of any of their mouths. so far they've contradicted themselves over and over again.
i don't believe it. if you fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. i do not believe anything they say. that lawyer was clearly as rehearsed as he could be and even in being rehearsed he still did not help his client. i don't believe them, and i think that donald sterling -- obviously donald and shelly sterling should sell the team. it's not going to happen. >> l.z., what do you think? >> you know, i think there is a part in there in which donald sterling would like to be able to go back into an nba building. i'm not quite sure how stuck he is on the $2.5 million fine. i thought it was interesting the lawyer said that kobe's $100,000 fine was a drop in the bucket because $2.5 million compared to donald sterling's worth is also a top in the bucket. i do believe there's probably an element of him wanting that lifetime ban lifted and that's kind of seen whether or not commissioner silver is willing to yield anything in terms of the punishment that's been brought down. >> l.z. granderson, don lemon, jeffrey toobin, thanks very much
for joining us. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. be sure to join us again tomorrow in "the situation room." watch us live, dvr the show so you won't miss a moment. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." now let's step into the "crossfire" with stephanie cutter and newt gingrich. washington's latest attempt to impose rigid uniformity on every aspe specspect of our liv today's case, school lunches. >> when you hear republicans talking like that, you know there's an ulterior motive. actually they want to kill the whole school lunch program. the debate starts right now. >> tonight on "crossfire" michelle obama takes on congressional republicans. >> parents have a right to expect their kids will get decent food in our schools. >> a war of words in the war on fat. on the left, stephanie cutter, on the right, newt gingrich. in the "crossfire," margo wutan