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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  May 22, 2014 2:00pm-3:31pm PDT

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for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. wolf blitzer is next door in "the situation room." wolf? >> jake, thank you. happening now, arizona inferno. a major wildfire threatening homes and vacation cabins in a popular tourist area. thousands of people are ready to flee at moment's notice. deadly ambush. a pro-russian separatist area ahead of a key election. there are fears that the violence will spread in ukraine. nba owner speaks out, always controversial mark cuban speaks out. he says that donald sterling is not the only person that someone may consider a bigot. and two brutal killings on videotape for the entire world to see. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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>> breaking news. severe weather, a tornado warning that actually here in the washington d.c. area. millions are being affected. chad myers is standing by in the severe weather center with the breaking details. what is going on, chad? >> three separate tornado warnings right now, wolf, for the d.c. area and also down to fredericksburg and richmond. there is d.c. proper fairly in the clear. i don't see anything in the west yet. storms are moving from the northwest. that would be cedar hurst right there, moving south of aannapolis, shady side. a brand-new tornado warning farther to the south just popped up right here. we're talking about virginia. this right here would be the chesapeake. here's port royal. this storm right there moving towards colonial beach and maybe far south, if it keeps going,
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towards hampton roads. that's the stuff in the east. believe it or not, there's more stuff out there and another storm for denver. a tornado warning earlier. it's now a warning and it's taking the exact same track as the storm took in denver yesterday, wolf. >> this is not a rural area here in the washington, d.c.,/metro area. chad, as you well know, there are a lot of folks out there that are in the bullseye. >> no question about it. as i saw it coming across pg county and over buoy with hail and annapolis, i lived right there for a very long time. i know this area very well. just over the bridge, south of the bay bridge and now into this -- probably if it keeps going, i'll call it the salisbury maryland area. we'll see if it holds together. wolf? >> there are a lot of people in the entire bay area. a lot of folks potentially could be impacted. any words of advice for folks
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who may be watching us right now? >> i know you're on the eastern shore. you're going to say, i want to look at it. please don't look at these storms. go inside, stay inside away from windows. these are not f-5 toerprnadoes t hit moore, oklahoma. but they can still hit your house and hit it with hail. that would break the window if you were sitting there trying to look at it. stay inside, get the pets inside, the kids inside, car inside. it will pass in 15 minutes. give it 15 minutes and be safe. >> chad, we'll get back to you but first of all, tell our viewers where you are. >> we're in aurora. there is a storm approaching and in the last 15 minutes it's weakening. there was a wall cloud and you
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could clearly see it but there is quarter-size hail downtown and it replaces the tornado warning and coming out of the north side there's a tornado, an actual storm has increased significantly over the last 15 minutes. but south of denver and north of denver until later on this evening. >> and the tornadoes that you were telling us about yesterday in the greater denver area, they were pretty significant, weren't they? >> well, there were a couple significant of the airport south of dia and then also north of the area is where most of the tornadoes were. there was hail damage. jetliners saw significant hail damage to the wings and to the
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planes. they were grounded and inspections were done today as well as tens and thousands of cars have major hail damage on the northeast side of denver as well as the airport. they had to bring out plows. to plow the streets and the area clear of 4 to 8 feet of hail. a lot of damage. the storms are just now getting under way and we expect more severe weather as the day rolls on. >> a lost people impacted in the denver area. chad myers, you have a question for jeff. go ahead. >> here is aurora, colorado, right here. eventually on i-70 and moving to the east as this storm tracks up towards the northeast here is going to take a very similar track. did you go yesterday or even today and look at the damage from yesterday's tornadoes? >> we did go by that area and there were a dozen telephone poles down and not a lot of damage, like i said, rural areas. the big story was the hail
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damage. houses on the northeast side of aurora, a lot of houses had considerable hail damage and a number of them had holes and roof damage. homes as well as cars on the northeast side of denver yesterday. >> jeff, be safe. this thing could recycle any time. >> jeff piotrowski, we'll stay in touch with you. chad, i want to go back to the d.c. area. these are pictures courtesy of our affiliate wjz. it looks calm out there but that could be deceiving. >> well, it is. they are flying off to the east. this is the shoreline. this is the western shore. we call the eastern shore of the chesapeake on the other side near madison and cambridge and lincoln and bucktown. but this storm, i believe, is probably even getting more dangerous than it was an hour ago. we have this storm right there and it's going to travel across
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the chesapeake, maybe even as a waterspout and across the eastern shore. 10, 15 miles south of where the bay bridge hits the other side, hits the eastern shore, i need you taking cover right now because we still have that signature there. the rotation, you can see it on the graphic right there. even though that camera didn't see rotation, didn't see a tornado, the tornado could be in the sky, in the air, in the cloud waiting to drop down. that happens a lot, especially now. there is no -- there is no geography here in this water. there's no topography to slow the storms down and storms can spin up quicker as soon as the waterspout makes landfall, and then there is damage on the eastern shore. >> why is it, chad, that so often we see the severe weather developing late afternoon, early evening? >> well, because the air is hot. you just take the little handle
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and put the hot air into the hot air balloon and the balloon rises. the bubbling air goes up into the sky and then runs into a cold layer above us and it just keeps going up and up and up. it can go 30, 40,000 feet and then they can rotate. these storms have been moving at a very strange direction today. they have been moving almost from the northwest to the southeast. and that tells me there's more shear in the atmosphere. any big storm that is all by itself, that one there, that one there, that one there, not competing with other moisture can rotate and produce a tornado at any time. it's the heat of the day that makes them go during the day. it's the cool of the night that makes them calm down because the air doesn't want to rise at night. it actually sinks. >> for folks in the d.c./metro area, with the tornado warnings popping up, people should take shelter. >> i see another one here. this is another place that i
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used to live. i'm going to see if i can get to that storm right there. metro d.c., baltimore, you're okay. trying to move this year to see if i can move the camera and slide this up and down. here is richmond proper, the south side right down towards mid-lothian. my fingers are nice and hot because i'm so worked up over the storms. d.c., you're in the clear. james river, here $200,000 iphone here. there's the storm for richmond down towards the south side and rico county, you're going to be in the clear. you have a tornado warning for you in lothian. you need to be taking cover in richmond, virginia. wolf? >> chad myers, thank you. we'll get back to you. stay with us. there's also other important news we're following. scenes of slaughter as ukrainian
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troops are ambushed in the pro-russian separatist area. we'll take you there live. also, one of the nba's most out spoken owners, mark cuban, suggests that donald sterling isn't the only person out there who may be considered a bigot.
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information about the veterans forced to wait months for treatment. the veterans affairs secretary eric shinseki was up on capitol hill today and says he has not offered to resign. our senior investigative correspondent drew griffin was the first to expose so much of the scandal at a v.a. facility in phoenix. he's there. he's got more. he's there with the very latest. what do you know right now, drew? >> reporter: right now at this hour, wolf, rob nabors, president obama's white house deputy is speaking and meeting with the phoenix v.a. nabors toured that hospital to talk with medical providers and i hope to meet with some of the whistle blowers and sources that we have inside the hospital who
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are giving us information about the deplorable wait times, including dr. katherine mitchell. i want you to hear what she told us. she heads the clinic and said recently as much as three weeks ago, veterans who are literally coming home from war, just separated from the service, are having to wait in these lines for doctors' appointments like everybody else. >> our troops coming back from war now separated from service who are coming to the phoenix v.a. for follow-up care for war injuries. >> correct. >> are being put on a waiting list and forced to wait six to ten months? >> yes, or longer. >> reporter: you're kidding me. >> no. it's the same as everybody. everybody is made to wait. >> reporter: that's now? that's happenings now?
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>> yes. >> reporter: katherine mitchell reported that to the office of inspector general months and months ago. still, the practice continued to as much as three weeks ago until the investigation began there. wolf. >> drew, stand by, the chair hand of the house committee is here and he says this is just the tip of the iceberg. he said his panel was stood up by congressman jeff is here of florida as well as gloria borger and doug brinkley is with us as well. you hear a story like that that vets coming home from iraq and afghanistan, they need treatment. they have to wait for months to get treatment at a hospital in phoenix? are you shocked? >> it's totally unacceptable. these are individuals who put their lives on the line.
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and people who have secret waiting lists, it borders on criminal. >> some people like senator blumenthal wants the fbi to investigate. they are waiting for more information. are you saying that the fbi needs to get involved, looking at potential criminal violations? >> any time you manipulate numbers at the federal level, especially numbers that affect that,ed fbi should get involved. >> you had a hearing and you were expecting top v.a. officials to come in and testify. tell us what happened. >> we have been trying to get information from the v.a. we subpoenaed them two weeks ago today. we told them we needed particular information. they have been less than forthcoming with that information. last night at 2:30 in the
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morning we got 3,000 e-mails from them in the dark of night. we asked them why it is taking so long. we got a letter back saying you can't come because you asked us 15 hours ahead of time. the general council said he would come to the hill tonight at 4:00. i canceled my flight home so i could be here for a brief. we called him and said, you're welcome to come up for the brief but only if it's open to the public and the press can be there. we waited all day long. we called nine times for them to tell us whether or not they were going to come and he never came. we got a call at a quarter to 4:00 from three low level staffers who basically said he didn't want to brief members of congress. he wanted to brief the staff and not in front of the press. >> should -- is there anything that the president can do to say to them we want you to be forthcoming? he spoke about congressional oversight. can the president say i think
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you ought to go to the hill? can he say that? >> the secretary has been to the hill. >> on the senate side before bernie sanders but i take it he hasn't yet come before your committee? >> no. and after seeing him testify in front of the senate, i don't think he needs to come to the house because he can't say very much. >> what more can he do that he's not doing? >> the president should order the people of the department of veterans affairs to do their job and that is to provide the health care that is supposed to be given to the veterans and also to cooperate with congress and they just are not doing that. >> and let me ask you, you've looked at a lot of documentation. have you referred what you have seen to the department of justice for further investigation? >> no. at this point what we have done is given all of the information and we continue to do so, including parts of the information that was provided to us last night and constant calls and e-mails from whistle blowers
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and i have already said that the office of inspector general is about to be overwhelmed with what is going on out there. they are capable of doing a normal investigation but we're talking about one that inco encompasses the entire v.a. system. >> doug, you started a lot of american presidents. take a step back. give us a big picture. >> well, he's trying to be judicious about it and he's trying to be very cautious. the president has got to up the game a little bit here. the public is angry. this has been a long problem. it's not just president obama's problem with the v.a. but i think the president needs to get a little bit tougher. all presidents like to say, the
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buck stops here. the buck has to stop at president obama on this and i think the public is demanding answers faster than perhaps the white house wants to provide it this time. >> congressman, you stopped short of saying that secretary shinseki should leave. >> no. because i know the secretary very well. i think he's an honorable man. however, i consistently have said that his people have not serving him very well. they are not giving him accurate numbers so they can make the decisions necessary. so i've decided to wait until they have finished their report but i will tell you this, just getting rid of secretary shinseki is not going to solve the problem. >> let me ask drew griffin. i assume you have a good question or two for the congressman. go ahead. >> reporter: i just talked to you before about this. what i'm not seeing from the president or president shinseki is anybody stepping up to the plate and saying we may not know
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who is involved in shredding evidence but we know that vets are waiting for care. how do we solve that right now? listen, if you've got a waiting list, tell those vets to go to a local health care, private health care and send us the bill. >> and what's very disappointing, they have the ability to do that already, drew. there is, in law today, for the department of veterans affair, to send veterans into the private market through fee-basis care and have them stand in line just to keep the numbers up inside facilities is wrong. the veterans need to get the care when they need it and where they need it. >> is the president right now -- gloria, weigh in on this. is the president of the united states doing what he should be doing to reassure veterans, the families, american public that he's on top of this? he made an impassioned statement. >> you know, this is the president's m.o.
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you know, he is no drama obama. during the bp spill, people were saying, where is the outrage. people are saying this about this particular case. he's not a scapegoat kind of guy. i was speaking to a former adviser today who said that his impulse is to find out what is wrong first and then figure it out. i think that's what you're saying, congressman, that he left the door open that he might ask shinseki to resign but he didn't call for it right away. he wants to get to the bottom of it. that's the way he operates. my question to you is, is there anything more he can do to in statue right now to answer drew's question about making sure that the veterans get the health care they need immediately? >> absolutely. they have the ability today to use the fee basis care model that is in the current books.
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the v.a. won't do that because they see that as taking money out of their budget, out of the v.a. budget. it's not the v.a.'s. they are a pass-through. it's the taxpayers' money paying for the veterans to get their care. >> what do you fear most? >> that you're going to find this in the vast majority of systems that exist out there. again, we're talking about veterans' health care. we haven't talked about the claim that is being made by the secretary and the president that they reduce the backlog by 50% that. is not true. congressman, we've got to leave it there. congressman jeff miller, thanks for coming in. profess profess professor brinkley, thank you. coming up, the deadliest day for troops in the ukraine crisis. a brazen attack before critical
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elections in ukraine. plus, controversial comments on race from one of the nba's most outspoken owners, star of the hit tv show "shark tank" suggesting that donald sterling is not the only one out there that would be considered a bigot.
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scenes of slaughter today in ukraine. government trues mowed down in a pro-russian separatist area. these latest and taxes come after calling for the united nations for help. we're in the city of donetsk and jim sciutto is now in kiev with the very latest. jim? >> reporter: wolf, there has been something of a fragile calm leading up to the crucial elections on sunday. the calm now broken in dramatic form by one of the deadliest days of the crisis so far. they see pro-russian separatists behind this delay but they draw a direct line between the separatists and moscow and in this violence they see a direct threat to the crucial national elections. it was the deadliest day of the crisis so far. a brazen attack in donetsk that
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killed 15 troops, leaving their armored vehicles in flames and a tangle of dead bodies. a second attack killed one more soldier. witnesses said the attackers were likely pro-russian separatists but officials in kiev place the blame firmly on moscow, calling for an emergency meeting of the u.n. security council. just three days before ukrainians vote to choose a new president, election observers urged calm on all sides. >> i don't care whether there will be a formal arrangement or whether simply both sides are wise enough to try to allow democracy to take its course this coming weekend. >> reporter: in the capital of kiev, there are fears that the violence could spread beyond the east. >> the men in these tents are not peaceful protesters, they are militants and they are armed. when we asked what they would do if they do not accept the
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results of sunday's election, they said that they will resort to violence. the main square is still crowded with barricades and tents from the demonstrations that brought down the pro-russian government. and ukrainians i met vowed to make one more stand inside the voti voti voting booths. >> we hope that we will choose the same president that will lead the country forward. >> the krits mass tree is still here with all of the slogans on it. >> reporter: jane harmon told me, however, a vote is the first step. >> the conflict doesn't end on sunday, does it? >> sunday is the culmination but also the beginning of something else. for the first time, an opportunity for ukrainians as a country to form a decent government that represents all of them.
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>> reporter: the eyes of u.s. officials, nato officials very much on russia's border with ukraine. they are watching those 40 to 50,000 russian troops for signs of movement. today, the secretary general of nato says that there are signs of preparations for withdraw of the russian forces but no sign that they are indeed moving back as president putin has promised. they have been burned on promises like this before, wolf. their position very skeptical as to whether russia is going to follow through this time. >> jim, stand by for a moment. i want to bring in julia ioffe. she's in donetsk where she has written a very stunning article about the pro-russian separatists who have declared what they call a people's republic basically in a single 11-sto 11-story building. you say where you are right now, for a lot of folks, whether or not russian troops are formally there, for all practical purposes, you're seeing russia
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there. is that what you are seeing? >> reporter: no. i mean, this is a region that is historically been and culturally much closer to russia, especially during the soviet periods. you're seeing vestiges of the soviet union. i don't know how many people are holed up in this 11 story building and a little bit in front of the yard in front of the building. otherwise, the city is very calm. people are sitting around in outdoor cafes, walking around with their kids, kids are playing in the sandboxes. the real mayhem is happening outside of donetsk and the city of donetsk itself is calm except for this one building. >> well, what about the sense that you're getting, these pro-russian separatists, if you will. do you get the sense that they are really being controlled by russia or is this internally what they really want?
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>> you know, you get the sense that whatever -- whoever was orchestrating this from the beginning as lost control of the situation, both in donetsk and in the wider region. what i saw in the building is a lot of people who have tasted power, both in handing out basically glorified hall passes and journalistic and also with pistols and clubs and night sticks. they have tasted power. they have chased the government out of this building and it's hard to see how this will go back to normal, how the genie will be put back inside the bottle, if you will. >> let me go back to jim sciutto in kiev. we saw jane harman with you, the u.s. congresswoman. do they really think that there's going to be a free and fair election on sunday?
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>> reporter: they believe that there will be a fair and free election in parts of the country. the question is, how low will the turnout be there and will it be high enough in the western parts of the country, the other eastern parts of the country that are not as violent to make this a legitimate election. and that's a question because when you have violence like you had today, that's the kind of thing that could deter people from going to the polling stations. that's a real concern. and then, also, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. so many other countries have a hand in this. will russia declare that the election is legitimate in their eyes? we don't know regardless of what the turnout is. so a lot of variables for election day on sunday. >> jim sciutto and julia ioffe, thank you. we'll be in touch with you throughout the weekend as the elections go forward. when we come back,
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controversial comments on race from one of the nba's most outspoken owners, head of the hit show "shark tank" suggesting that donald sterling may not be the only person out there considered to be a bigot. and too brutal for al qaeda? yes, a group even too brutal for al qaeda puts its killings on video for the entire world to see. e columbus landed. not on the banks of the mississippi, or even the coast of california. the new ram 1500 ecodiesel. with 9,200 pounds of towing and 28 highway miles per gallon. west will never end. guts. glory. ram. ♪ honey, we need to talk.
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check your speed. see how fast your internet can be. switch now and add voice and tv for $34.90. comcast business built for business. some controversial comments from one of the most outspoken owners of the nba, mark cuban, saying that donald sterling isn't the only person out there that a lot of folks would consider to be a bigot. suzanne malveaux has the details. >> this is billionaire mark cuban and his comments now generating a ton of buzz and it's coming from interviews that he did with "ink" magazine. part of it was in front of a live audience and before this thing even started, he apologized in advance for cursing and offending but it's
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his very candid remarks on his own bigotry that has many wondering whether he and own nba owners will vote sterling out of the league. mark cuban known for his on-court tantrums and hundreds and thousands of dollars that results in nba fines. >> i know i'm prejudiced. i know i'm bigoted in a lot of different ways. if i see a black kid in a hoodie in night on the other side of the street, you know, on the same side of the street, i'm probably going to walk on the other side of the street. if i see a white guy with a shaved head and lots of tattoos, i'm going to the other side of the street. if i see anybody that looks threatening, chances are that part of me takes into account races, gender, and age. >> reporter: this created an immediate discussion on social media, trending on both twitter and facebook. >> i think we're all bigots.
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i don't think there's any question about that. >> reporter: cuban is one of the owners who will decide whether the comments made by donald sterling is damaging enough to force him to sell his team. sterling was heard in a recorded private phone conversation discouraging his girlfriend from taking blacks to clippers' games and later told anderson cooper this. >> jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. and some of the african-americans -- maybe i'll get in trouble again -- they don't want to help anybody. >> reporter: early on, cuban condemned sterling's comments as racist but warned that banning sterling could lead down a dangerous path. >> i think it's a slippery slope when you try to remove people from the nba or any organization based off of their private thoughts that they have at home. >> reporter: cuban is calling for more tolerance.
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>> in this day in age, the country has come a long way putting any type of bigotry behind us, regardless of who it is towards, whether it's the lgbt community, whether it's fear of people from other countries. we have come a long way and with that progress comes a price where -- we're a lot more vigilant in what we and we're a lot less tolerant of different views. >> reporter: could cuban become sterling's saving grace? while cuban won't say whether he'll vote sterling out of the league, he does advocate giving people second chances. >> i try to catch my prejudices and be very self-aware that, you know, my stream of thought is never perfect and i've got to be careful and, you know, to me that's part of growing up and that's part of -- you know, it's
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what i try to instill in my kids. >> reporter: and this just in, we're hearing from mark cuban. he's responding to a lot of the criticism. he's tweeting out and this is what we just got. in hindsight, i should have used different examples. i didn't consider the trayvon martin family and apologize's for that. i stand by the words and substance of the interview. wolf, i have to say, we all know trayvon martin who was killed, young black guy just walking home from the store wearing a hoodie and the one thing that was so disturbing about his interview was the fact that -- i mean, had we learned anything, really, from trayvon martin, that he brought up that stereotype. this is a guy who has traveled the world, was able to retire at 29 years old. he's had a lot of exposure around the world. to bring up that black male stereotype, it seemed like it did not make any sense. that's what he's addressing
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firsthand. aside from that, he had insightful remarks when it comes to racism and stereotyping people. >> that's why he's apologizing to the trayvon martin family. suzanne, stay with us. i want to bring in jeffrey toobin and l.z. what do you make of all of this? >> mark has a long history of getting himself in trouble with the things that he says. we all know this is well-documented. i think he attempted to have a nuance conversation. i don't think that it was received as well and that has to do with the way that the media portrayed his thoughts. the thing that i found disturbing was he kind of characterized a stereotype that black men have been fighting for decades, if not centuries, that have led to death and murder and all kinds of things that have hurt the black community with something like, if i see a white guy with tattoos, you can't equate those two things. one has history and the other
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doesn't have the same sort of h history or emotional response. >> suzanne, jeffrey, l.z., stand by. we're going to breakdown mark cuban's comments and what they mean. also, a failed security test shows how vulnerable america's missile nuclear sites might be right now. those little things still get you.
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let me bring back our senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin, cnn commentator, l.z. granderson and suzanne malveaux. jeff, these comments, how if at all do you think it could impact
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the nba's decision, their efforts now to get rid of donald sterile as owner of the clippers? >> i thought the comments were smug, arrogant, and stupid. i don't think it tells you anything about whether dond steri donald sterling is going to be thrown out. fortunately adam silver and most of the owners are smarter than mark cuban and smarter than donald sterling and recognize as adam silver said at his press conference earlier this week, you know, we are a majority black league in terms of the players and we are all white owners. and we have to be especially sensitive on issues of race. i thought that was candid. i thought it was smart. and, you know, for mark cuban not to know that the hoodie was the symbol of the whole zimmerman case, the whole miami heat wore hoodies as a protest against his death. i thought it was real dumbness on his part. >> is it going to make any impact at all? i assume all 2 the of the other owners, l.z., are going to vote
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along in strict solidarity line and vote against sterling. >> you know, i expect mark cuban to also vote against sterling. you know, if you listen to the entire interview, he certainly made it sound as if he's going to vote sterling out but not without some regret. and he voiced that regret which is we all have bigotry. that's the way he kind of characterized it. sort of like the avenue q. song. everybody is a little bit racist. i guess that was an excuse before he went off and said what he said. you know, i think mark cuban actually is a smart man. i just think that he tried to have a nuanced conversation and didn't do it very well. >> suzanne, i can see you were pretty angry about that hoodie comment. >> well, yeah, i mean, i really was disturbed by it because it was one of those situations where, you know, clearly he hadn't really learned from that story and that was an experience, a collective experience. i think if one thing, maybe he is learning now because of trayvon martin. that is what people certainly had hoped. the one thing i took away from
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this was he was most concerned about being a hypocrite is what he said because, you know, don't throw the stones if you live in a glass house. i would imagine there are other owners who are also thinking the same. that what have i done, what have i said that could also cost me my team? that that's something he's thinking about and everybody else is thinking about but ultimately they'll vote him out. >> adam silver -- hold on, jeffrey. but make a quick point because we got to go. >> i've got a good idea. don't be a racist in public or in private and you don't have anything to worry about. >> that's a quick point. jeffrey toobin, l.z. granderson, suzanne malveaux. guys, thanks very much. coming up, nuclear insecurity. disturbing revolutions about how vulnerable the u.s. arsenal really is. plus, similar fears about our water and power supplies. hackers have already attacked some public utilities. could they cut supplies to millions of americans? hi, i'm jay farner, president of quicken loans. and we're here in detroit michigan helping folks refinance their homes and save money. does it make sense to refinance right now?
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happening now, nuclear nightmare. a failed security test reveals
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terrorists may have an opening to steal some of america's deadliest weapons. plus, disturbing new evidence that u.s. power and water plants are indeed vulnerable to attack not only by gunmen as we see on this security video but by hackers. homeland security now confirming a break-in. a popular resort area threatened by a raging wildfire. evacuations are under way. cnn is in the hot zone. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> let's get right to the breaking news this hour. we're following the severe weather hitting parts of the country right now. we're just getting in these dramatic pictures from suburban maryland outside of washington and baltimore. let's go to our severe weather expert chad myers. look at this destruction if this area right here, chad. tell our viewers what we know. >> we know that this was likely a tornado from the twisted tree tops. now, the weather service will go
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out there and give us a true designation whether there was a tornado on the ground. it looks like it to me. looking and talking to the meteorologists here saying the twisted tree tops indicative of a twist in the wind, not a straightline wind. there are a lot of trees down all in the same direction. i get that. that could have been an outflow boundary later on in the storm knocking trees down, but this is not that far south of dover in delaware, probably near river view, hard to tell until they zoom out, i can see the pictures. as they zoom in, see the destruction that happened to that house. no idea if that was a stick built house or modular home. the more and more i zoom into it, that was a pretty direct hit from at least a couple hundred mile -- maybe 120 mile per hour storm if it was a true stick built home. the designation, ef-1, ef-2, ef-3, obviously wind speed, but truly damage scale. how much damage is created by the wind, itself, by the
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tornado, itself, wolf. >> you know, chad, hold on for a moment. i want to listen to this wbal chopper pilot describe what he's seeing near dover, delaware. >> now, there's more than a couple dozen pieces of rescue gear and equipment from fire department along with delaware state police. they've pretty much been going house to house checking. we haven't heard any reports of injuries. we haven't seen any of the medic units tending to anybody. they're just checking the entire neighborhood here because trees are literally knocked down and they're in all different directions. tops of them have been snapped like twigs. some of them have been uprooted and some of them are going pointing to the east, some are pointing to the west. some are pointing north. so it looks like something touched down here. there's a path that goes about a mile, maybe a mile and a half long of damage in this neighborhood down here. so we're monitoring the situation as best we can. as we get more information, we'll update you. reporting live in sky team 11,
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i'm captain roy taylor. >> chad, what do you think, based on the eyewitness account, the chopper pilot giving us a good description of the package. >> absolutely. >> looks like tornado-related damage. >> no question about it. he has a perfect perspective looking down on the damage and seeing those trees either this way, this way, or this way. depending on the rotation of the storm, obviously the storms on the right side, the trees here, the wind's blowing that way, the trees will be knocked down this way. the trees on the other side will be knocked down in this direction. and the storm did move right to the south of dover and now it's going to move offshore. looks like it just probably is going to be here off the beaches here, probably dewey beach as it runs off shore. no more tornado warning on the storm but still tornado warnings in effect tonight, wolf. >> a lot of folks getting ready to head to that beach area this memorial day weekend as well. >> absolutely. >> chad, thanks very much. other news, some of america's most critical and well protected sites may be even more at risk of a devastating attack
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than we always realize by terrorists, deranged gunmen, or hackers. we're covering several startling new reports that expose serious security problems affecting power and water supplies, federal buildings, and nuclear missiles bases. let's go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr following a shocking failure at a nuclear missile site. what are you learning, barbara? >> well, wolf, look, there's no question about it the majority of air force personnel that manage this nation's nuclear weapons do their jobs very well. but indeed, as you say, a shocking new failure has emerged. at a nuclear missile site, terrorists infiltrate. security forces struggle to respond and fail. it was all a test last summer here at the air force base in montana. security personnel at a nuclear missile silo failed a crucial exercise in keeping control of their silo and a simulated
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capture of a nuclear weapon. the cover of this 17-page report doesn't even begin to tell of what's inside. it sounds like a shocking failure in military security. >> two, one, turn. >> reporter: the finding, security personnel failed to take all lawful actions necessary to immediately regain control of nuclear weapons. the result, the air force team may not have been able to prevent theft, damage, sabotage, destruction, or detonation of a nuclear weapon. former air force missileer jeffrey green says it's likely someone didn't follow procedure. >> what it doesn't mean is there was any physical loss of control or threat of physical loss of control of the nuclear weapon. >> reporter: officially the air force will say nothing. the report only came to light because the "associated press" obtained it through a freedom of information act request. the air force security group commander was replaced.
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the unit went through retraining and passed the exercise several weeks later. green says standards remain high because there's just no room for failure with the nation's nuclear weapons. >> i mean, a failure can mean missing a required action by a second. it can mean responding to something, you know, a moment or two late. >> in recent months, the air force has been plagued in the nuclear sector with morale problems, disciplinary problems. the issue at hand here, this is a part of the military that operates, perhaps, in the most high-pressure environment. there is no room for failure. wolf? >> disturbing information, indeed, barbara. thank you. also, there's now a new investigation of security at federal government buildings and it reveals that some of the people who guard those facilities haven't received important training including ways to respond to a shooting rampage. our justice correspondent pamela brown has been working this story. what are you learning inlearni?
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>> threats to federal buildings are rooted in history and lack of security at the buildings ha has been brought up over the years. many contracted guards who are supposed to keep the people inside government buildings safe still aren't trained properly to handle the most serious safety threats. we're talking explosions and active shooter situations. >> you know, pamela, as we get ready for this new threat that is out there, i guess a lot of buildings are safe, but what you're reporting now is that there's another failure to protect major federal facilities because guards haven't been well trained? >> yeah. that's right. so this is according to the government accountability report, wolf, and essentially it looks at the training of more than 13,000 contracted guards who are stationed at the more than 10,000 federal facilities. these are buildings where a million and a half visitors, employees go to every day. it's important to make sure those people are safe. what this report found is that some companies that are paid to
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train these guards in order to protect these federal buildings aren't training them how to properly look at the x-ray machines, how to scan these x-ray machines and other, you know, devices that are essentially that you look at to make sure that the people coming into the buildings aren't bringing in guns or explosions. so let's take a look now at what else this report says. just over two years ago, a wild double shooting at the immigration and customs enforcement office in long beach, california. and the first line of defense, federal protective service guards. now a disturbing new report finds many of the guards like those in charge of safeguarding the more than 1.5 million employees and visitors each day to the nearly 10,000 government buildings nationwide lack even the most basic security skills. and millions of taxpayer dollars are spent each year paying companies to supply the more than 13,000 contract security guards. it's an issue that's taking center stage on capitol hill.
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>> the biggest threat right now is explosives. okay? >> yes, sir. >> but i don't see a lot of them. to y do you have a lot of them out there. >> not explosive detection devices. >> i think you're missing the boat there. >> reporter: the federal protective services says it only has 74 bomb sniffing dogs on hand. and one company admits 38% of its 350 guards never received proper training on how to use x-ray machines and metal detecters according to the report. >> we do have concerns that remain and that have remained for a number of years now as you know about the ability and possibility of bombs and other kinds of weapons getting into federal facilities. >> reporter: one of the biggest threats to security, shootings like the one at the navy yard in d.c. last year. but the report shows many contracted guards at federal buildings lack basic training and clear direction during active shooter situations. just how much training they're lacking isn't even properly tracked.
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and the director of the federal protective service says it's working with other government security agencies to develop best practices and says it remains committed to being transparent and proactive with providing the gao and congress regular updates on the steps taken to enhance, integrate and transform. of course, we will stay on top of this story. >> i hope you do. i hope they get their act together. pamela brown, thanks very much. and this just coming in. the secretary of veterans affairs eric shinseki just released a letter to veterans responding to an exploding scandal and calls for his resignation. shinseki noting the allegations of misconduct by his employees first reported by cnn involving delays in treatment and deaths while patients were waiting for care. he writes this to the veterans. "you and your families deserve to have full faith in your va and we intend to earn it every day." shinseki goes on to write about his work on behalf of veterans but he then adds this. "notwithstanding these accomplishments, va will do even
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better. if any allegation under review are substantiated, we will act." that just in from secretary shinseki. still ahead, america's power and water supplies at risk. we have new confirmation that a utilities control system has been hacked. and we'll go live to the scene of a huge wildfire now threatening a popular resort area. evacuations are now under are the largest targets in the world, for every hacker, crook and nuisance in the world. but systems policed by hp's cyber security team are constantly monitored for threats. outside and in. that's why hp reports and helps neutralize more intrusions than anyone... in the world. if hp security solutions can help keep the world's largest organizations safe, they can keep yours safe, too. make it matter.
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brian todd has been looking into this story for us. what are you finding out? >> wolf, new information tonight from homeland security officials. hackers were able to take advantage of a lack of cyber security at a utility and tapped into the system more than once. it stoked fears of possible blackouts, water contamination and other major disruptions. an electrical generator's motor self-destructs triggered by a cyber attack. this was a u.s. government exercise. what happened recently to an american public utility was real. hackers successfully breached a utility's computer network. the department of homeland security won't identify the company or the type of utility. experts say it could have been a water treatment plant. a gas pipeline. or a power station. >> what could they have done? what could they have knocked out? >> when you look at this particular utility, multiply that by many orders of magnitude and, yes, have you taken a substation out which we don't have here, that would have massive disruption in a community and potentially in a much broader region. >> reporter: an official tells
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us the department of homeland security worked with the company to repel the hack and no operations were disrupted. officials won't say who they think the hackers were, but it's the type of threat that can wreak havoc on a country. a massive power outage was depicted in "american blackout," a recent drama on the national geographic channel. >> the current blackout is the result of a cyber attack. >> the sugar daddy of all. the most critical of our critical infrastructure is electric. and energy. and our grid. because everything else to one extent or another is dependent upon that. >> reporter: like water, sewage, telecommunications. last year, a power substation in silicon valley was targeted but not by hackers. snipers blasted away at that facility. they still haven't been caught. security expert frank salufo says america's enemies have mapped its infrastructure for cyber attack. rival governments have that capability and terrorists can develop it with some help. >> my biggest concern is actually an insider threat. someone who works for a
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particular company and then can share information with those on the outside to get more precise in their targeting. >> cilluffo says the government an not stop all these attacks but can give private companies intelligence to help fend them off and appears to be a happened here. hackers are not going to stop trying. homeland security officials say last year they responded to 256 cyber incident reports. more than half of them in the energy sector. wolf? >> you got information on how these hackers were actually able to breach these utility companies' systems? >> that's right, wolf. homeland security officials tell us they got into it through an internet facing host, according to them, a system that's accessible from home or another remote location. e-mail systems can allow them to do that and other systems similar to that. so they can access it remotely and the way they depicted it to us, it wasn't that hard. >> i want you to stay with us. we have cyber security analyst richard batelich here with us.
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richard, how vulnerable are the u.s. power grids? >> the problem we see with the cases is the systems are connected to the internet. when you have a system that's connected to the internet, anyone around the world who has internet connectivity as well can reach it. that's what's struck me in these two reports that were listed. actually three. each system was able to be accessed remotely -- >> how do you deal with that. >> disconnect them. the problem is we don't seem to have any regulation around that. some of the regulation was based around the old telephone system dialing up via modem and -- >> do you believe they're doing enough to deal with this problem potentially out there? it could be a nightmare if they get into these utility systems. >> honestly, these utilities need to take a look and see what do they have connected to the internet in they've done it for cost reasons, making it easy to administer the systems. in the cases we've seen, guest user names and passwords and some cases no user name or password is needed to access these systems. >> you have a question for richard. >> richard, how proficient, government security, cyber security experts at tracking the hackers through the system and catch them almost to the point of attack where they started?
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>> there was a code in the first announcement today. they used the term sophisticated threat actor. that didn't refer to what they did. what they did was guess a user name and password. that's very easy. the sophisticated part referred to the fact it's a nation state. they're worried about the actor, not necessarily the act in this case. >> when you say a nation state, it wasn't random american hackers if you will. it was a foreign government that wanted to hack into the utility system in the united states? >> has how i read that. we've had those sorts of warnings before and have to be careful to differentiate. >> can you make something 100% hack proof? >> nothing is 100% hack proof. this is a very low bar to jump over to get the systems off the internet. >> these nation states, likely china, probably iran. have they voiced a desire to attack u.s. infrastructure and a capability of doing that? >> there's certainly a capability there. there's a little bit of a motive. the problem for them is we have
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a massive response that we could use. we would not use the internet to respond to an attack that would cause damage to lives or property. we'd use the military. >> it would be a major -- richard, brian todd, thanks to you as well. just ahead, go live to the scene of a wildfire that's spreading through a popular area for tourists and retirees. we'll get the latest on the evacuations and the dangers to homes. stay with us. on hotel rooms, it's just like saving money on anything else that costs money. like shoes, textiles, foreign investments, spatulas, bounty hunters, javelins... life with crohn's disease ois a daily game of "what if's". what if my abdominal pain and cramps come back? what if the plane gets delayed? what if i can't hide my symptoms? what if? but what if the most important question is the one you're not asking? what if the underlying cause of your symptoms is damaging inflammation?
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following breaking news. a huge wildfire raging out of control in arizona right now. it's exploded in size. it's now threatening hundreds of homes and resort cabins near sedona, a popular area for tourists and evacuees. some evacuations are under way right now. anna cabrera is joining us from the fire zone. what's the latest? >> reporter: wolf, this fire still holding at about 5,000 acres but it's 0% contained. the winds are really kicking up this afternoon and it was this time yesterday where we saw this fire just explode. you can see the brown cloud behind me but we're seeing the smoke cloud really kind of thin out. it's spreading out because of that wind. and it's moving to the north pushing the fire, pushing all of those flames that direction as well. as they move through this heavy, heavy and dry timber. the ponderosa pine forest, that
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is, here. and threaten hundreds of homes. >> it's my home. my property. my livelihood. everything. >> reporter: frank garrison owns oak creek, arizona's, butterfly garden inn in the burning park between sedona and flag staff. >> we were able to get all my employees out, my family out, our guests out. >> reporter: the volatile slide fire has torched over 4,500 acres and threatening some 3,000 residents. high winds and dry conditions are fueling the blaze in this popular tourist region. >> the slide fire had hit a trigger point where it has burned up oak creek canyon into pumphouse wash. pumphouse wash is a major drainage that leads directly to a village. >> reporter: residents scrambled to save their homes, hosing roofs to protect against falling embers, gathering keepsakes and preparing to evacuate. >> i hear it's close. i hear it's coming.
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trying to be ahead of the becga >> all of a sudden your life is torn up and have to move because someone made a dumb mistake. >> reporter: authorities say someone started this fire, whether intentional or accidental still unknown. firefighters are in force. at least 500 are on the scene today in helicopters and planes and on the front lines. >> we're working hard to, you know, protect the values at risk out there. >> reporter: the biggest difference in the past 24 hours has been those resources. with all of those additional resources moving in from six different states to help in this fire fight, we're told that's made a huge difference. and really, it's the next few hours, really the crux in this fire fight we're told because once we hit evening, usually the wind dies down. the fire lies down. and fire crews are making some good progress, particularly on that north side of the fire and the east side where those homes are in danger. wolf? >> so the current conditions are helpful or not so helpful? >> reporter: not so helpful at
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the moment. it's dry but it's very windy at the moment. that's what firefighters are most concerned about right now. those winds can be unpredictable and it was the wind that really pushed the fire forward yesterday. but, again, overnight, early this morning before the winds kicked up, they were able to make some good progress. they're not saying anything is contained yet but they were doing back burns, able to lay down fire retardant ahead of the fire so they're establishing more of a line particularly in the area they're most concerned about, but still being conservative and not calling it contained, wolf. >> we'll stay in close touch with you, ana cabrera in flagstaff, arizona. i'd like to remind you about a smeshl shpecial show coming t "the sixties," the decade that changed the world. space race, cold war, free love, civil rights and more. be sure to watch it or set your dvr for the premiere next thursday night 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific only here on cnn.
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remember, you can always follow us on twitter. go ahead, tweet me @wolfblitzer. @cnnsitroom. watch us live. dvr the show so you won't miss a moment. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." let's step into the "crossfire" with stephanie cutter and newt gingrich. we're debating a crisis that's making bigger headlines every day. >> bigger headlines, what's president obama doing about it today? visiting the baseball hall of fame and attending a fund-raiser in chicago. in his absence, the debate starts right now. tonight on "crossfire," getting control of the va scandal. the revelations keep onlying. >> this is just the tip of the iceberg. >> the pressure keeps building. >> we can't just let them down. we've let them die. this is awful stuff. >> on the left, stephanie cutter. on the right, newt gingrich. in the