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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  April 10, 2012 4:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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that we see things. if we want our sisters to do well, we have to bring them up with us. >> p.s., you look amazing. >> thank you, girlfriend. >> you just don't age. >> oh, thank you. >> it exhausts me. that does it for me and emmy and there's another guy who is hard at work and his name is wolf blitzer in "the situation room" and he'll take it from here. bea, everybody. >> thanks, ashleigh. rick santorum's run for the presidential nomination is over, leaving mitt romney as the certain nominee and that means the general election campaign is now on. romney built a major lead among republicans and the gop infighting has been nasty and brutal. is he ready to take on president barack obama? and already focussing in on a november matchup and his campaign is depicting mitt romney as an out of touch millionaire. will that strategy pay off. i'm wolf blitzer? i'm wolf blitzer? you're in "the situation room.
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-- captions by vitac -- we're also learning that george zimmerman, the shooter of trayvon martin, will be speaking publicly within the hour, maybe within the half hour, we are told, he's going to be speaking. we'll have live coverage of that and his first public comments on television. george zimmerman will be making a statement. we'll see what he has to say. that's coming up this hour as well, but let's get to the other breaking news we're following. rick santorum bows to reality and says the presidential race, as far as he's concern side over. with with the suspension of his campaign he leaves mitt romney the clear path to the nomination and a november matchup against president barack obama. let's go straight to our national political correspondent jim acosta and he was there when he made his statement in pennsylvania. i know you've spoken to santorum aides. what else are they saying? >> reporter: wolf, what they're telling me and i just got off
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the phone with logan gidly, the communications director with the santorum campaign and that is how the decision broke down. the family's consideration dealing with their daughter bella's genetic disorder and that was a factor in their decision to drop out of this race and there were three political considerations. one of them was texas. the texas primary becoming a winner take all state. once it became fairly certain that texas would not become a win or take all state, for all of those delegates to go in his column they felt like there was still a path to the nomination. if newt gingrich were to get out, that also would lead to some sort of path to the nomination. they felt in newt gingrich's delegates would have come under his wing, santorum's wing, there would be a path to the nomination and the third factor was winning pennsylvania, and i will tell you, wolf, i asked
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this question and they said flatly, no. we thought we would win in pennsylvania and they felt like all of that talk while they may lose pennsylvania and we might want to get out now and they say that was not a consideration in making this final decision to back out of this race, but as you heard earlier this afternoon at this news conference, rick santorum said that family consideration, specifically his daughter bella who was hospitalized in the last 24 to 48 hours was a family decision that had to be factored into this decision to get out of this race and he talked about that earlier this afternoon. >> we made the decision to get into this race at our kitchen table against all of the odds and we made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over for me and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting. we are going to continue to fight for those voices. we will continue to fight for
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the americans who stood up and gave us that -- this air under our wings that allowed us to accomplish things that no political expert would have ever expected. >> reporter: now one of the more interesting developments in that news conference, wolf, and we all heard this and we did not hear it, i should say, were the words mitt romney. rick santorum did not mention mitt romney. i tried to ask him, and yes, we were told not to ask questions, but i asked anyway, will you get behind mitt romney. and i asked the question will rick santorum get behind mitt romney and the response from hogan diddley was i don't know. >> what do you mean you don't know? is there that much bad blood between the santorum campaign and the romney campaign, between these two individuals the former pennsylvania senator and the former massachusetts governor? they're not -- he's not ready to
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say he's going to endorse the almost certain -- say the certain republican nominee? that seems out of the question. >> reporter: it seems very harsh at this point and hogan diddley said to me over the phone that rick santorum is not a person to hold grudges and perhaps in a matter of days this thing might get patched up, but at this point there is some fence mending to do between these two campaigns and i will tell you after getting off the phone with hogan, i was surprised to hear that rick santorum was not prepared that the point to get behind mitt romney. santorum has an event later on this evening with james dobson, the noted christian conservative leader. perhaps we will hear more from rick santorum at this point, but he got out of that room, i would have to say, very quickly after he made that announcement earlier this afternoon and took no questions about this subject and it's obviously going to be an ongoing issue and you can make the case and i was talking about this with hogan.
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you can make the case that at this point, wolf, mitt romney needs rick santorum than rick santorum needs mitt rom no. he needs the conservative christians to get behind his campaign and at this point they're not doing it and santorum would draw those supporters, wolf. >> we'll get back to you. let's bring in ron bronstein at the national journal. it was thunder owsley sielent that he didn't mention mitt romney's name and his spokesman saying there's no guarantee he'll endorse him. it wasn't excessively rough in any way and the reality was whatever rick santorums or does, the teams line up in the end. mitt romney will do one and win evangelical christian voters and he will win over 09% of the republican voters in the end
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mostly because for whatever they think about him, they know they don't want barack obama. >> santorum said whoever the republican nominee would be better than a second-term president obama, but why is he being so coy on this day? he's dropping out of this race and say without mentioning romney say i will at least endorse the republican nominee? >> i'm sure that was pretty rough. this has been a bruising primary and mitt romney has taken full advantage of the new rules that, lou super pacs to spend unlimited sums pummeling and that has been negative at santorum and gingrich before him. so i'm sure that on this day rick santorum is not necessarily feeling charitable to mitt romney, and in the end it's not -- >> and one sentence from today. today senator santorum has made a commendable decision and he's decided to put his country, party and desire to defeat president obama ahead of any
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personal ambition. >> they want this field cleared and we saw in the pew polling that most republicans want this field cleared. you see evidence in the abc/washington post poll with president obama up, with some clear damage to mitt romney. one thing that rick santorum did was elevate the issue of social issues and force romney to endorse social decisions as well, and the poll polling, gallup polling and state polling and the college-educated white women have moved sharply toward president obama so there is some imprint here of the santorum effect. >> did you notice the short statement from the romney campaign? very terse. senator santorum is an able and worthy competitor and i congratulate him on the campaign he ran. there wasn't much there in that statement. it was a nice little timely statement. there was no effusive praise or anything like that. >> you know, this is -- it's not quite frazier-ali, but this is a
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heavy weight title fight at the last round and when one person is kind of bloodied and holding up the glove that is usually not the moment in which they're reaching out to embrace the person who has been pummeling them. in the end, they will come together and whether or not they do, the coalitions on each side in modern politics do come together. >> i assume you agree with me that today the general election campaign between mitt romney and barack obama begins. >> and really has begun in the last couple of weeks, but absolutely. you see where romney begins. romney's great strength on paper last year as a can at was that he could -- because of his business background and a more problem-solving and non-ideological image he could erode the diversion on white collar america and suburban battlegrounds. i think largely because of the prominence and social issues that santorum helped drive and romney now faces the challenge of re-establishing himself as a
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credible alternative for the voters and are certainly more socially moderate than many of the positions that they heard in the republican party. >> i've been making the point for some time, if you think the race for the republican presidential nomination was tough and nasty, just wait because this race between romney and obama is going to be really, really, not only hard, but it's going to be ugly. >> in a period when there's very little trust in institutions and -- people feel they are paddling alone. in that kind of environment and 70% of the country is on the wrong track, a negative message and more effective than a positive message and it's rolling the rock to get people to see this leaders aren't protecting their interests and they'll hear an lawful lot of that between now and november. >> and the super pacs are getting ready to unload hundreds of millions in negative attack ads against president obama and it will be lively in those battleground state, thanks very much. >> the battle lines are drawn for the november election. for a closer look at how the
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electoral map is likely potentially to shape up showing a very, very close race in november. let's go to cnn's john king. >> this is the map and blue states won by obama in 2008 and red states won by john mccain. they see about a dozen battlegrounds this fall and i'll go through some of them and it will be pretty easy to change back. you come here. you come here, here and here. >> so i just take a dozen states and you take them off the map and take them battleground states, what do you get? >> with the democrats about 2006 and 2010 electoral votes and republicans, about 180. just about everybody out there and even the obama campaign will contest indiana and they believe indiana will go red and there's a lot of conversation about virginia and north carolina. that's for the sake of argument sake north carolina goes republican and this is a hypothetical. just so you watch this play out. republicans are confident about
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colorado. i'm just doing this hypothetical. republicans are confident about florida. it will be a huge battleground state. if you start to assign them just like this, for the sake of argument, until he proves otherwise we'll give pennsylvania back to the democrats. now you look at this. what do you have? 244-226. nevada, highest unemployment rate in the country, but republicans have a problem with latino votes. say for the sake of hypothetical say obama holds that one and holds new mexico as well. what do you get now? 244-237. it shows obama with a healthy double-digit lead and when you go state by state, wolf, you get the makings of what could be a competitive election. what's left on the board here? republicans are confident about ohio and no republican in modern times has won the presidency without carrying ohio and romney would be within striking distance. can he win somewhere else? michigan, he was born there, but again, prove it would be my message there.
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president obama thinks the auto bailout and the difference is there, we'll put michigan in his left column. three states on the map, new hampshire, virginia and iowa and essentially a dead heat race here. it can come down, can president obama keep virginia in the democratic column? if he does, you could have a race that comes down to tiny iowa and tiny new hampshire and this is just a hypothetical, wolf and i have a 266 to 262, the winners of new hampshire and romney thinks that's his state and let's make that red just for the sake of argument and i can give you 266 and on election night we have to call carolyn in iowa to help us out. it's april. right now the polls show president obama with a healthy lead. however, if you go state by state, you could get a map, wolf, that looks just like that that could be a tough battle from now until november. >> it will be a brutal battle, it's fair to say over the next seven months or so. john king, thanks very much. more breaking news happening in "the situation room." george zimmerman's legal team
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will have a news conference about the trayvon martin case. initially we heard george zimmerman himself will be speaking there. that is now up in the air. it looks like it will be his legal team and stand by, we'll see if zimmerman himself shows up for his first public statement. he issued something on a blog yesterday, but let's see if he actually shows up at this news conference. right now it's unclear whether or not he will, maybe not necessarily, stand by. we do know his entire legal team will be showing up in sanford, the seminole county courthouse to make a statement and we'll have live coverage and that's coming up in 15 minutes or so. also, jack cafferty is standing by with "the cafferty file" and students jump into action. 13-year-old kids -- 13-year-old kids when a school bus driver passes out behind the wheel. all of it caught on tape.
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>> on the trayvon martin story, george zimmerman's legal team getting ready to make a statement outside the seminole county courthouse in sanford, florida. we'll have live coverage and that's coming up, we think, at the bottom of the hour in 10 or 15 minutes or so. stand by for that. let's go to jack cafferty. he has "the cafferty file." >> so now what? no surprise rick santorum is hanging it up. the only person who didn't realize his campaign was over was rick santorum. mitt romney is now the most likely nominee and ron paul doesn't have enough delegates to fill a phone booth which means, the general election game is on. mitt romney and barack obama have taken a few shots at each other, but now for the next seven months it will turn into a blood sport. unlimited pac money for vicious
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attack ads and saturation and bombing of the airwaves and trying to say that their path is the better path. robocalls and flyers and debates and by august you'll be begging for it all to end. if i lived in ohio i'd be inclined to move out of the state just until after the election. the truth will be stretched, distorted and manipulated believe no longer recognizable and all of this will happen while romney and president obama look us straight in the eye and solemnly swear that if we just elect them all our problems will be solved. the truth is neither of them can begin to solve our problems. the problems are too big, and the mechanism for solving them, the federal govern am, is too badly broken, but it won't matter. they'll both promise us anything if we'll just vote for them. here's the question, are you ready for the general election campaign to start? go to, post a comment on my blog. go to our post in "the situation
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room's" facebook page. wolf? >> i'm ready, jack. as you well know. it's going to be intense and it's going to be important and historic. we'll watch every step of the way. you're ready, too. >> that's your opinion. i have other thoughts about what the next seven months will be about. >> i'm excited about it. i'm ready for action. let's watch it closely as a political news junkie, that's what i like to do. >> let's bring in our senior congressional correspondent dana bash right now and she's getting more reaction on the dramatic announcement from rick santorum saying his race is over and getting more reaction from some of the other republican wanna bes? >> that's important to point out. we're talking about the front-runner mitt romney, but there are still two others in the race, newt gingrich and ron paul. listen to what newt gingrich said not too long ago on the campaign trail in north carolina. >> it makes it clearer and simpler. there's one conservative voice in the race and then there is a moderate and it makes easier to
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articulate and focus on the platform issues that i want to focus on. >> so newt gingrich not going anywhere and made that clear in a written statement and just now to reporters saying he'll take it all of the way to tampa, and guess what? ron paul is saying pretty much the same thing. we have a graphic of what his campaign is saying. dr. paul is now the last and real conservativative alternatio mitt romney and we plan to press the fight for a limited constitutional government in tampa. they're vowing to stay in, but i want our viewers to take a look at cnn's latest delegate count to give the real deal. mitt romney 659 and rick santorum 275, newt ding rigingr0 and ron paul 71. newt gingrich who has half the number is staying in and going on to tampa and ron paul, half of that, and staying in and going to tampa. the rnc chairman made it clear today in the statement he wishes that that would stop so they
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could unify and move forward even though they're not major factors delegatewise, but they are in the tone of the race. >> reince priebus making it clear in the statement, for the good of the party and the good of the country, rally around the republican nominee who was going to be mitt romney and forget about this, but gingrich in that statement, i am committed to say staying in this race all of the way to tampa so the conservative movement has a real choice. i humbly ask senator santorum's supporters to review my conservative record and join us as we bring these values to tam tampa. >> just to add to that, newt gingrich just sent out a tweet asking people for money. conservatives who supported rick santorum, send money to my campaign. he will stay in. he hasn't been actively campaigning. he's had some campaign events like today. >> he has no money. he's in huge debt. >> he has huge debt.
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rick santorum, ironically, i just got off the phone with a santorum adviser who said money was i factor and that was the primary factor when people drop out of the races. we were okay to go forward. there were other factors meaning the math and the delegate math and the health of his daughter that were the primary ones. >> dana, thanks very much. we are standing by, by the way, for a news conference in the trayvon martin shooting. lawyers for george zimmerman, the shooter will be speak shortly and we'll have live coverage of that. stand by in "the situation room." also more on the breaking news and rick santorum bowing out of the republican presidential race and james carvel will be joining us, he has thoughts about coming up. some quick-thinking students avoid school bus disaster when their driver passes out behind the wheel. you'll see what they did. [ tires squeal, engine revs ]
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session in a moment and i want to remind our viewers we're standing by for a news conference. the george zimmerman legal team is getting turowed speak to
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reporters outside of the courthouse in sanford, florida. we were led to believe that george zimmerman himself would make a public opinion and that doesn't look like it will necessarily happen right now, but we'll stand by and we'll see if he does show up. we're getting conflicting information about george zimmerman actually appearing with his various attorneys out there in sanford, florida, but we'll know soon enough whether he shows up and the legal team. they have some sort of announcement to make. we'll get analysis from our analysts and david mattingly is on the scene and much more on the trayvon martin coming up this hour. we'll see what george zimmerman, the sheert and what the lawyers have to say. we're getting the first reaction from the obama re-election campaign to the announcement today from rick santorum that he's dropping out of the race for the republican presidential nomination and i'll read you a statement from jim
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messina, he's the campaign manager. it is no surprise that mitt romney was finally able to grind down his opponents undera an avalanche of negative ads but neither he nor his special interest allies will be able to buy the precedence we their negative attacks. the more the american people see of mitt romney the less they like him and the less they trust him. he goes on to say while calling himself the ideal candidate for the tea party, he has promised to return to the same policies that created the economic crisis and has alienated women, middle-class families and hispanic-americans. americans value a president who will fight every day to rebuild an economy in which hard work will pay, responsibility is rewarded and everyone plays by the same rules and that president obama -- and that president is barack obama. jim mess ina speaking for the obama for america campaign. he is the manager. let's talk about what's going on in our strategy session with our
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cnn political contributor, democratic strategist james carville and along with former republican from minnesota norm coleman and chairman of the american action network. james, first to you. is it time now, now that this general election campaign, i think really begins for mitt romney to pivot away from the right towards the center to try to get more independent votes, more moderate republican votes and more moderate democratic votes, shall we say? is it time for them to pivot or wait longer? >> i think he would like to, but, you know, the etch a sketch comment and the general distrust of romney on the right will make that kind of difficult because remember, you have to go from moderate to right and back to moderate and that's a free rail shot that he's got to make and it will make it difficult for him, and i'm sure the democrats are ready to pounce every time he moves a position. so we'll have to see, but i respect that by the time he leaves tampa he'll have some
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adjusting to do and today gives him a little more freedom a little earlier. santorum would never be the nominee and it happened that if he decided to get out today it was understandable under the circumstances. >> republicans over the years when they run for their party's presidential nomination they've gone to the right and then after they capture the nomination they make a quick turn to the center. democrats do the same thing and they run to the left and after the nomination they go to the center. is it time now for romney to pivot? >> i don't think the issue is about pivoting left or right. i think it's a pivoting of the conversation to focus on the two questions that americans will be asking. are you better off today than you are 40 years ago and will you be better off four years from now when barack obama is still president, and with unemployment above 8%, we want the election to focus on those issues. that's what americans are concerned about. john king and his analysis of those battleground states and you look at the third wave that just came out today and those
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battleground states and they're concerned about the economy. they're concerned about the economic future, and so we've got a candidate and mitt romney brings 24 years of experience in the private sector. i think when americans answer that question and it's a question that mitt romney will have the answer. >> he'll be a challenger to the president as everyone suspects certainly on the democratic side, they know it will be a tight, bitterly-fought campaign. is mitt romney in your analysis, james, a stronger, more credible and better candidate given the practice that he's had with this republican nomination? >> no. this process has been brutal on mitt romney. you just have to look at these polls and this poll that came out today is the washington post and abc poll, but it confirms what everybody else has. this has caused real damage to romney. he's had any number of gaffes and it's just hard to spend this as being good for romney.
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can he come out of this? of course, he can. are there things he can do? sure. is the president vulnerable and the economy not as strong as people would like? of course, but it's no way that any objective person can look at this and not say there's substantial damage done to the image of mitt romney as a result of the race. >> it has obama at 51% and romney, 44%. this is national right now. he's got a long way to go. and as james points out, he's been badly battered over these past several months. >> what that same poll says on the economy, on the number one issue mitt rom neme will beat barack obama. 46% doesn't trust obama on the handling of the economy. again, as john king pointed out in the earlier segment in the battleground states among independents, romney does extraordinarily well. so if the issue is about the economy, this president -- that's not his strong suit. he doesn't have a record that he
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can run on. he doesn't have a record that will inspire hope and confidence. so if that's the issue which it is the issue then mitt romney is in a pretty good position right now. >> i want both of you to stand by and we will continue this conversation, and i want to go to the other story, the breaking news out of sanford, florida, that george zimmerman's attorneys are about to speak outside of the seminole county courthouse. sunny hostin who contributes to our sister network trutv is standing by. do you have any clue what the lawyers for george zimmerman, the shooter of tray zon martin, what they're about to announce? >> we know angela corey, the special prosecutor in the case indicated that she would not be presenting this case to a grand jury and that she would be filing charge fess she were to file charges on her own. the waya think la corey would do that would be to file an information with the court, an information is an official document that accuses him of a charge or charges. she would have to present that package, that probable cause
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package to a judge, and then if zimmerman is arrested he would have a first appearance before a judge. all of that could be happening in the courthouse which would make sense if zimmerman's lawyers were at the courthouse and perhaps holding this press conference. we're all reading tea leaves right now, trying to figure out why they are speaking in front of the courthouse for the first time and that could be an indication as to why they're holding any kind of press conference. >> we reported it earlier. some folks were suggesting george zimmerman himself would show up at that courthouse together with his attorneys and make his first public appearance, shall we say. we're getting conflicting information whether or not that's going to happen and not going to happen and we'll stand by and know in the next few minutes, if we do see george zimmerman, what will that say to you? >> that would say to me that the
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criminal process has begun and that perhaps criminal charges have been filed and that the process begins. of course, i don't think he would say anything. that would be ill-advised, but if he were at the courthouse, seminole courthouse with his attorneys, that could mean that this process and the trayvon martin case has begun. >> if the -- if the prosecutor decides to charge him and arrest him, would they send police to his home, for example, and arrest him there, serve him with the papers and then bring him to the police station, the courthouse or whatever? or will they tell the lawyers bring him in for some sort of arrest procedure? how does that work in florida? >> i think the latter. it depends on the case, of course, wolf, but oftentimes as a courtesy especially in a high-profile case like this where someone's safety is perhaps an issue, the prosecutor would call his defense attorneys and make arrangements for him to turn himself in rather than having police officers or
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investigators arrest him at home. we do know that zimmerman's lawyers have been in contact with their client, and i think in a case like this, a high-profile case like this that really would be the more appropriate about going an arrest. >> as soon as the lawyers were holding a news conference at the courthouse as opposed to another location in sanford, that immediately suggested to me and i'm sure to you, as well, that there has been a major legal development in this case and that's why they're at the seminole county courthouse. >> that's right. that was my sense. why else would his attorneys be giving a press conference in front of the courthouse? it's too soon to tell, but that would give me the indication that charges have been filed by the special prosecutor. >> if angela corey, the prosecutor, if she does announce that they are arresting george zimmerman, is it likely that on a case like this he'd be out on bail or hold him? i guess it depends on the charges they serve him with.
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>> that's right. it would certainly depend on the charges once he is arrested if he is arrested he would have the first appearance before a judge and the judge would set bond. of course, the judge is going to consider a couple of factors. >> hold on. the lawyers for george zimmerman are at the microphones. let's listen in. >> good afternoon. does everyone have their microphone where it will probably work. it looks like everyone is all right with that. my name is hal uhrig. most of you recognize us as the attorneys for george zimmerman. for those of you waiting here only in the event that he will show up, slip on out because that's not happening. we have a reasonably important announcement to make. i'll let mr. sonner go first and then i'll do clean up and entertain your questions. >> we want to announce, as of now we're withdrawing as counsel for mr. zimmerman.
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we've lost contact with him. we've had contact every day. he's gone on his own. i'm not sure what he's doing or who he's talking to, but at this point we're withdrawing as counsel. if he wants us to come back as counsel he will contac us. we had contact as of, i believe sunday, in the last couple of days and he has not returned phone calls, text messages or e-mails leading me to believe that i can't go forward speaking to the public about george zimmerman in this case as representing him because i've lost contact with him that the point. i still believe that he was acting in self-defense that night. nothing that i've said about him or this case has changed in any way. i just can't proceed to represent a client who doesn't stay in contact with me. >> let me provide a little bit more detail in context for that. last thursday before mr. sonner and i went to new york to meet on mr. zimmerman's behalf with a number of national media organizations, mr. sonner was
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accompanied to the bank by mr. zimmerman's father for the purpose of setting up a website by which people might make donations in order to help support him and hopefully pay for a defense. we went to great lengths to make sure that that website was set up in a way that the paypal account paid directly into an account on which his father had the control and signature rights, not us. so there would be no possibility of anybody claiming that we were doing something untoward about that. mr. zimmerman was aware that we were doing that. his father signed the cards. we left with the expectation of getting that site up in time to announce it for the national media. we did, in fact, make that site's name known to the national media and it was publicized to some extent. although for technical reason, it didn't get posted up in time. on sunday we lost track of george in that he would not return our calls and we couldn't get a hold of him. we had no reason at that time to believe there was anything suspect, but on monday we began
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fueling questions about did we know about i'm the real george zimmerman or the george website and our initial response was that's probably bogus. george hasn't talked to us about that. we don't know about it. so we started making inquiries and frankly confirmed that he, through frienders on family, had in fact, set that site up and it was legitimate. we immediately began telling the media, disregard the earlier website we gave you that we had set up. go with the one that we now know that he set up. cleaner for us, we were happy enough with that, but disturbed that he had not communicated with us. we started reaching out in every way that we knew how to get him. eventually, the two newest developments are that we learned that he had called sean hannity of fox news directly, and not through us, and we believe, we can't confirm this. we believe that he spoke directly with sean, off the record and he's not even willing to tell us what our client told him.
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the final straw, if you will, or the final decision making point was today we spoke with the special prosecutor's office out of jacksonville. we have been, woi working over the weekend and diligently trying to set up a meeting between mr. zimmerman and the prosecutor's office because quite frankly, we continue to believe that once that part of the puzzle is completed, given the evidence as we understand it to exist and given the rest of the facts and the law as we know it exists that this prosecutor has elected not to go with the grand jury would, in fact, make a decision. we were hopeful that decision would be to not inform against him and not to seek an indictment. that was our intention all along. we heard today that george had contacted the prosecutor's office directly. one of the things every defense attorney tells his client is don't talk to the prosecutors. don't talk to the cops. frankly, don't talk to anybody until we get control of the situation and do it through counsel. we were a bit astonished and had
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some conversation back and forth with the special prosecutor's office. they are professionals as well. we are impressed with the professionalism of the duval county state attorney's office, angela corey's office, bernie, and the others involved in the office up there, and they told us what they expected is we're not going to talk to a criminal potential defendant or suspect or target of an investigation without counsel. we're just not going to do it, and they told him that. he then called back after some conversation with us and said that's not a problem. i don't really have any attorneys anymore. those guys were just my legal advisers, and not sure what the distinction is, but in his mind there is a distinction, and at that point in time with him not communicating with the client and with him not to take the advice of not to talk to other people. it's his right to choose whatever counsel he wants to choose. and if in the future, george were to come back to us and say, look, big misunderstanding.
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i was under such incredible pressure, you can't imagine what it's like hiding in a room trying to save your life, treated like a mushroom for those of you know the second half of that joke and not being able to communicate with friends and family openly. i can't go to the grocery store, perhaps the pressure of that pushed him a little over the edge and he reached the point where he said i'll just take care of this myself. whatever his thought process was, he may explain at some later time. our thought process is we're profession professionals, craig sonner, craig sonner p.a. and we do this for a living and we are not going put ourselves out for the public as continuing representatives for the client unless he make it clear that he upons us to be his representatives. we can no longer represent him until such time as he may come forward ask for that help more
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formally. >> do you think he could be into hiding -- >> just a minute. who is here from fox 35? valerie? >> how do you know -- [ inaudible question ] >> okay. number one, we have a pretty good idea of where he is although we didn't want to know the exact location. number two, we know his phone number. we know whenever that we call it that phone number goes to voice mail. we know that's the phone number by which he contacted the prosecutor's office and that's the number by which they contacted him back. we are comfortable that the information we've gotten, both with regard to fox news national and with regard to the special prosecutor's office accurately is information attributed to george. we're not divulging attorney-client privilege because he didn't say that to us. we're getting it from what we believe is the most -- credible source and that's the special prosecutor's office. i'm sorry. what was that? [ inaudible question ]
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>> i don't believe he's toeldz them anything except that he wants to meet and because both of us have been prosecutors i would be shocked if they meet with him without some attorney, whether it's us or somewhere else. craig, you pick it up. [ inaudible question ] >> what was the question? >> how comfortable is the family with -- >> up until sunday or monday, very helpful. we had a good working relationship and it's just been the last couple of days that we lost contact. when i was not able to make contact with him today and he's not returning phone calls and that's when we -- i can't keep going out and meeting with the media and giving interviews saying that i'm talking with george every day because now, as of sunday, i'm not talking to him every day. [ inaudible question ] >> well, yes. i'm concerned with what's going to happen with him because i do believe that he was acting in
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self-defense that night, and i hope that he -- if he wants me to represent him, of course. -- to the point i don't have contact and i can't ethically go forward and say i'm representing george zimmerman when i haven't talked to him in a couple of days and he's giving interviews and that's just the rumors i'm getting and there are a lot of things going on that i don't know about. so i need to -- [ inaudible question ] >> i don't know -- those are going to -- from my communications with george, it is going to george zimmerman. >> not the one that you set up with his father? >> no. on thursday i met up with his father and we set upon a bank account and i can't do it for george because george wasn't there, and we did it for his father and a paypal was linked to that and that didn't happen. >> right here -- >> do you think he's gone into
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hiding because of prosecution could be imminent? >> no. i don't think that's what's happened. >> is he still in the area? >> we have no idea. >> do you think he's still in the country? >> what's your question? [ inaudible question ] >> no. i'm doing it out of an ethical obligation. i can't keep talking to the media saying yeah, i'm representing george zimmerman when he's given me the indications that i'm not representing him. he's not communicating back with me. he's going and doing things without consulting me, and, you know, him setting up his own website, that was fine. i wish he would have told me. in fact, i prefer it that way because that money is for george and not for me, and i don't want my hands on it. >> one at a time. right here. >> have you actually had a face-to-face conversation with
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george zimmerman? you said you reasonably know where he is. have you ever met him face-to-face? >> no. it's all been through phone calls and meetings with family members. >> can you confirm that he's in the country? can you confirm he's in the area? >> because i'm still concerned about his safety, i'm not going to get into detail. he's in the united states. >> i'll take this one. [ inaudible question ] >> no. i don't know. is there another question? >> as far as the money from paypal. -- >> let me take this. yeah. our fear is, frankly, not so much about the money. we were initially concerned when we heard about a website that we had not known about before that somebody else had set this up and was taking advantage of the situation. it appears pretty clear now that the website really is george zimmerman's. therefore whether it's in his sister's name, father's imnah, whatever, we believe those funds are going to him. our concern is deeper than that. this has been a terribly corrosive process, george zimmerman and from information made available to us is not
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doing well emotionally, probably suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and we understand from others that he may have lost a lot of weight. our concern is that for him to do this when you have professionals out there working as hard as we were for his benefit to handle it this way suggests that he may not be in complete control of what's going on. we're concerned for his emotional and physical safety. by the way, let me repeat what craig said earlier. we absolutely still stand by everything that we've said in this case from every outlet that we've been on with regards to what we believe the facts and the law are. we hope for the best for george zimmerman. we hope for the best for the martin family as well. when this case is eventually over and just like casey anthony, it will eventually be over, it's our hope that the martin family can begin completing the grieving process for their son and that george can get his life reinstated a little bit. >> why leave you now when he needs you most? >> we're not taking the position that we're leaving him.
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we are open to george zimmerman, but he has to reach out to us. the communication cannot be one way. for us to legitimately tell you or anybody else we are his legal representatives. he's got to affirm that. if he does that, we'll help him. >> can you back up for a second? >> sure. >> when did you speak to him and was it the special prosecutor himself? did he actually ever contact you guys to begin with and did he hire you? >> he contacted me by phone, and the initial agreement was that i would handle the case pro bono up until charges were filed. so -- [ inaudible question ] >> i don't know how he got my name. >> his father knew our name. [ inaudible question ] >> oh, and he called the special prosecutor's office, but the prosecutor wouldn't speak to him because he had representation.
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>> when? >> today. [ inaudible question ] >> nothing that we're saying here today will change the evidence. nothing we're saying here today will change the law. if we are correct and we believe we are as to what we've said so far, the evidence that you have seen and the evidence that we have reason to believe exists is in the possession of the prosecutor and law enforcement taken together anda, plied into law, we frankly believe that the correct decision would be to not charge him and nothing we're saying here today should have any effect on that opinion. >> with all due respect on. >> let me let craig do this. [ inaudible question ] >> i'm not going to say anything about where george zimmerman is and his location. >> does his father know where he is? >> i think it's been kept a secret from a lot of people and i'm not going to reveal that now. this soon the on at this point
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people are coming to me as the attorney of record to answer questions, and after two days of no contact and him reaching out and doing things that i didn't know about i can't hold myself out as attorney of record at this point. absolutely everything i have said up to this point about the case and believing it's a case of self-defense and not a racial issue, i absolutely stand by. everything up to this point, however, it wouldn't be ethical for me to continue to hold myself out as his attorney when i haven't spoken to him in two dayis and know his phone works and i know he's not returning my messages and he's not returning my texts and e-mails. he won't even give me a collect call. i can't hold myself out at this point as being his attorney and truthfully tell you anything. that's why i'm stepping back, but up to that point, everything i've said about the case and that being an issue of self-defense and that the media has put the wrong spin on everything out there and trying to convict the wrong person on this, that george zimmerman was acting in self-defense i stand
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by, and i urge all of the media to look at what's there. go based on the evidence that's out there. make your decisions based on that and not just raw emotion. >> give us those facts -- >> has george ever seen a therapist? [ inaudible ] >> has he been seeing anyone to talk to them about his problems? >> he's been in hiding so i'm not sure how much he's been able to get therapy for that while he's been in hiding. >> wait -- >> logistical -- >> i think at different points he's been alone. i can't speak as to the last couple of days if he's been alone or not. >> here's the logistical problem for george. george can't get in a car and drive down to some office center to go in and see a psychologist. george can't go to the 7-eleven and buy a diet coke. there is a bounty on his head, whether it is believed to be real or not, it's out there. he watches more of this every day than he should.
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he's absolutely alone, and he is emotionally alone and emotionally crippled by virtue of the pressure of this case whereas you or i and get in the car and have a loved one drive us to the medical center no one notices us and he'll come out to a view that looks like this. >> with all due respect, are you concerned and are you so afraid that he can injure himself -- i know you're saying he's in the u.s. right now. >> based on what i know of him to this point, he's not going to flee the country. >> what about the point of him doing some harm to himself? >> i don't believe so at this point. >> you have the initial -- [ inaudible ] >> correct. [ inaudible question ] >> well, we had conversations -- multiple conversations. we would talk every day and
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communicate through text messages and e-mail and that way, so the communication was there, and at that point he did want me to be his counsel. he has a sixth amendment right to the counsel of his choice and at any point he doesn't want he as counsel that's his absolute right and i can't stand in his way of making that choice. >> have you had conversations with his family? >> i took his case and everything up to the day of filing and if there were -- media issues which i didn't think i'd ever expect that this much you would do that pro bono to the point of filing and then work something out. i really believed in his case and believed in his innocence and believe that he acted in self-defense and that's what my interest was in the case. now if he doesn't want me to represent him anymore, i can't on e on and i can't ethically go forward. george zimmerman owes me no money. [ inaudible ]
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>> let me get your question and then i'll get you. >> whose decision was it to not meet face-to-face? >> that was logistic and he was in hiding and it was better for him to stay in hiding and stay safe than to come to my office where there are lots of people watching him and sending him death threat. my concern was that he was safe. preferably, we'd meet face-to-face, but it's not absolutely necessary and i think we've been able to handle the case by phone at this point, but there were face-to-face meetings scheduled. >> whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. time out. let me supplement that a little bit. probably in 99.44, 100% of the cases you meet with a client and sign a raefgz agreement and you represent him after that. however, with attorneys in central florida with 54 million tourists a year with disney to universal and getting arrested and hiring us from minnesota or california or from europe it is not totally unusual to not meet
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with your client personally. we do it all of the time. in this case, i will not tell you where george zimmerman is because i don't know, but for those in the late easter egg hunt looking for him. stop looking in florida, look much further away which is also the reason why we didn't meet with him because our hands were busy and a, with the law practices this we have and bushing, with doing everything that we could for his benefit in meeting with the press and talking with the prosecutor and so forth. so while it may be unusual, there's nothing much to be read into the fact that we had not yet had the opportunity to sit down and look him in the eye. >> you're saying he's not in town? >> i've said that. >> what's your question? >> when was the last communication either of you had with him? >> i'm not going to tell you what the subject of it was, but i believe that we -- i think it was -- i communicated with him sunday, and i believe it was a text message.
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>> with all of the verbal conversations and the text messages that you guys have had with him was there anything that would indicate this happening? >> no. this was a surprise to me. [ inaudible ] >> no. i'm not on the case now. so if there is a capeius issue it would be up to law enforcement and for george to do that. up to this point, i would have, you know, made that -- made that happen. i always -- any client that i have, if there is a warrant issued for their arrest we make, rangements for them to turn themselves in. i don't aid and abet people. [ inaudible ] >> i know 100% what his phone number is. >> so you were going to rely on him to respond to you? >> yes. yes. when i deal with -- with clients, and there has to be a certain amount of trust and
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honesty, you know, you will take when i tell you to turn yourself in, you'll turn yourself in. we did agree on that. i wouldn't represent anybody who would tell me i'm going to run if they issued a warrant for my arrest. i wouldn't be doing what i'm doing today. >> in hindsight now you are saying your client is not returning calls and having exparty conversations with the media and he would turn himself in if he had to? are you now confident? >> i think he would. he's in contact with law enforcement. he's calling the prosecutor's office so i'm guessing if he's going to call the prosecutor's office if they said come turn yourself in and he wanted to give his statement, i'm assuming that if they said you need to turn yourself in, heel do that. >> he indicated on on he indicated to the prosecutor's office that it was his intention and goal to quote, unquote, come into the prosecutor's office and to answer his questions there. they wouldn't have to run very
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far to catch him. [ inaudible ] >> when was the last time you talked to him? >> about 20 minutes ago. >> we're not going tell you -- this is cnn breaking news. >> we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we've been watching the dramatic development in the trayvon martin shooting case. you just saw the lawyers for the shooter george zimmerman revealing just moments ago that they have in fact, lost contact with george zimmerman so they're dropping his case. >> we want to announce today that as of now we are withdrawing as counsel for mr. zimmerman. we've lost contact with him up to this point. we've had contact every day. he has gone on his own. i'm not sure what he's doing or who he's talking to, but at this
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point we're withdrawing as council. if he wants us to come back as council he will contac us. we had contact until i believe, sunday, in the last couple of days he has not returned phone calls or text messages or e-mails leading me to believe that i can't go forward speaking to the public about george zimmerman and this case as representing him because i've lost contact with him at this point. >> let's bring in our legal analyst sunny hostin. sunny, a dramatic development indeed. we were wondering why they were doing this news conference at the courthouse. i assume they went there these two lawyers to formally notify the authorities that they were no longer the attorneys of record for george zimmerman. >> that's right. this is remarkable, wolf, but what people need to know is that a client can fire an attorney at any time for any reason, not so for an attorney. it's not that ease for an attorney to withdraw from a case from representation of a client,
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but if your client is not communicating with you, that can be a reason that allows you to withdraw from representation and that's what we heard today. that they last spoke to george zimmerman on sunday. that they haven't spoken to him for approximately two days and on top of that, wolf, he is doing things sort of against their advice. he apparently called sean hannity and had a discussion with sean hannity. sean hannity would not disclose the contents of that discussion, and also called the special prosecutor and explained to the special prosecutor that these were just his legal advisers and not george zimmerman's legal representatives. and it is very, very rare for the target of an investigation to call a prosecutor. that is simply just not done. so no surprise that this legal team withdrew from george zimmerman's representation. >> sunny, these lawyers are
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sound like he's going through post traumatic shock, that he's losing weight and not himself and not thinking clearly. how does that affect the attorneys who have been representing this individual if he's going through some mental problems right now? >> right. that actually is of some concern. ethically some will wonder can they withdraw? c they can especially since they're not communicating with him. again, a client can fire an attorney for any reason, on a whim. not so for an attorney, but they do seem to have reason to withdraw from representation. i do think it's shock, wolf, that they said that he's just not doing well emotionally, that perhaps the pressure of this case has put him over the edge. they seem to have on their hands a runaway client. >> that's what it seems like. standby, sin, because jeff
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toobin is on the phone and our senior legal analyst. jeff, it's not every day we see something like this develop in such a high profile case. >> that was certainly one of the wackiest news conferences i have ever seen. i think they are obviously concerned about with his well-being, but they are also, i think, potentially setting him up for an earlier arrest than they might have because one of the reasons a prosecutor doesn't arrest someone right away is that the prosecutor is assured by the counsel that, look, he'll surrender. he's not going anywhere. i know where he is and he'll turn himself in. at this point the lawyers don't know what he's doing and don't know where he is and the prosecutor may say, look, i better arrest this person or he's going to be in the wind. so i think this bizarre episode might accelerate the prosecutor's timetable if, in
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fact, she's going to arrest him. >> ashleigh banfield is watching what's going on. you're learning more information, ashleigh, in what's happened in this dramatic turn of, vents in the trayvon martin shooting case, what are you learning. >> i was on the telephone with hal uhrig as he was walking up to the microphone as he made this announcement and he gave me other details. they had given a letter to george zimmerman to sign for representation and they said george zimmerman told him he signed it, sealed it and sent it back and they expected to receive it today. they haven't received this letter and in essence, they have never been retained in that case, so they're not resigning from a case. in fact, they also told me that the prosecutors told them, and again, this is a little bit complex, but the prosecutors called these two attorneys to let them know that zimmerman had reached out to them without an attorney present and recommended
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that he come in and speak to them alone. they told these two attorneys that he had suggested these attorneys weren't his lawyers. that george zimmerman told the prosecutors these two attorneys weren't his lawyers and instead called them legal advisers. it's bizarre that george zimmerman has gone rogue on these two people who, as they understood, his only two legal representatives. they've never been retained and they've never been paid and they say they aren't owed anything and they said zimmerman promised to sign a letter that he had retained them and it was supposed to be in the mail and it has not arrived and he said about ptsd. they are concerned that he may have suffered some kind of post traumatic stress disorder. there is so much that is at play here. they also say they are fielding hundreds and hundreds of text messages, phone calls, e-mails and requests for commentary from the national press and from the local press and that they just
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simply can't do this anymore specifically because they're not officially his lawyers by his own words to the prosecutor. one thing they will say is that the prosecutors told them they do not want to speak with george zimmerman without an attorney present. they were very clear to these two attorneys when they reached out to these two attorneys that when zimmerman called them to ask if he could talk to them they said no. we'd like you to have an attorney present. whether he's retained other counsel though, at this point, wolf, at least hal uhrig and craig sonner don't know if there is another lawyer in the picture. >> yeah. it's raising all sorts of questions. i want to bring jeff toobin back. the ethical responsibility of these attorneys to represent george zimmerman who they themselves think are going through some mental depression or post traumatic disorder, what sorry ethical responsibility of attorneys to stay to the job
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even with a client that's not cooperating with them. >> this is in the realm of law school hypothetical. it's very hard because lawyers are obliged to stick with clients through eccentric behavior, but they are not obliged to participate with -- with clients who are actively ignoring their advice or refusing to be in contact with them, and where that line is drawn is -- it's hard to know without getting into -- without getting into the facts. now, what makes the situation a little different is as we all know, george zimmerman has not been arrested. his lawyers have not entered what's called the notice of appearance which means officially becomes his lawyers. so i think they have an easier time getting out of the representation at this point because they never were formally in the representation, but the real issue, it seems to me is
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where is he because that's going to be something that the prosecutor is very concerned about. she needs to know that if she wants to proceed with an arrest she can find the guy and the lawyers are quite clearly make the repgz that they don't know where he is. that's the immediate issue. where is he? >> sunny, the spectacle of these two attorneys coming out and making these statements about the man they thought used to be his client even though he was never officially their clients and said he never signed that document saying that he had authorized them to be their attorneys and i don't know if a verbal authorization is good enough in a situation like this, but certainly it undermines george zimmerman and his fate, even though they continue to believe he acted in self-defense. >> i think that's right, although craig sonner indicated that he agreed to represent george zimmerman pro bono up until the time of trial and then they were going to sign a
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retainer agreement. so in my view, wolf, just because there wasn't a signed retainer agreement meaning money for services does not mean that this legal team did not represent george zimmerman. i -- i think we need to make that clear. it is possible and it happens often times that you begin a representation of a client without having signed a retainer agreement. >> i think it's fair to say, sunny, that angela corey, the special prosecutor there was going to make a decision within the next day or two, but my own gut tells me and correct me if i'm wrong, that what we've just seen these two attorneys coming out saying they're no longer the attorneys for george zimmerman has put added pressure on her to make her decision. >> i think that's right, but what is curious to me is she has not spoken and her office has not spoken to the target of the investigation, to george zimmerman. these attorneys have indicated that they wanted to make that happen and that does happen very
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often that a prosecutor's office will get the opportunity to interview a potential defendant, a target. and so the fact that that hasn't happened yet and that was perhaps in the works, i think, could tell us that charges may not be filed in the near future, but certainly i agree with jeff in that it is very -- it's a concern at this point, i think, for any prosecutor in a case like this as to where this potential defendant is. >> and jeff, explain to our viewers and you're a former prosecutor yourself. so you appreciate this. why these attorneys and these prosecutor, angela corey and their staff, they don't want to meet with george zimmerman unless he's accompanied by an attorney? >> well, because then the issue becomes what did he say and whether this was a knowing and voluntary statement by zimmerman. particularly if his lawyers or
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whatever you want to call these two people are raising the issue that he's not fully of sound mind. at this point in the proceedings, the prosecutors will want to know exactly what it is -- and that they have permission to speak to him and the only way to do that is with the lawyer. i'd like to raise one other issue here which i think is a little troubling, is -- these two lawyers be on -- do this in public. they make their client look like a lunatic and they could have communicated this information to the prosecutor who, after all, is the most important person here. i mean, i really -- i don't think they did george zimmerman a great service by spelling this out in such extraordinary detail when they could have simply just gone into the prosecutor and said hey, look, we don't
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represent this guy anymore. so i think that's -- that's a troubling question of legal ethics on their part. >> i want everybody to stand by because we're going to continue our coverage of this dramatic development out of sanford, florida. stand by for more information on that. we're also following other important news here in "the situation room." today north korea stepped closer to launching a long-range rocket and triggering a major new confrontation with the west. cnn is inside the country. our officials are openly mocking warnings by the united states and also much more on the breaking news on rick santorum dropping out of the race for the republican presidential nomination. stand by, lots of news happening right here in "the situation room." bet you think you're pretty quick? yeah, i guess it is pretty quick.
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>> the lawyers for the shooter george zimmerman revealed moments ago that they've lost contact with him and they are dropping out of the case. >> the final straw, if you will,
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or the final decision making point was today we spoke with the special prosecutor's office out of jacksonville. we have been working over the weekend diligently trying to set up a meeting between mr. zimmerman and the special prosecutor's office because quite frankly, we continue to believe that once that part of the puzzle is completed given the evidence as we understand it to exist and given the rest of the facts and the law as we know it exists that this prosecutor who elected not to go with the grand jury would, in account fa, make a decision and we were hopeful that decision would be to not inform against him and not to seek an indictment. that was our intention all along. we heard today that george contacted the prosecutor's office directly. one of the things every defense attorney tells his client is don't talk to the prosecutors and don't talk to the cops and frankly, don't talk to anybody until we get control of the situation and do it through counsel. >> lots of questions being
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raised as the special prosecutor's investigation moves forward. we expect some sort of decision from angela corey, the special prosecutor fairly soon, maybe within the next day or two. whether, in fact, they're going to charge george zimmerman in the death of trayvon martin. let's bring in our own david mattingly and he's on the scene with us in sanford, florida. what a stunning set of developments today and david, you've been on the scene from the beginning. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. this is extraordinary. you have two attorneys in a very high-profile case going to the media saying they've lost contact with their client and apparently lost control of him as well. they were very concerned to find out that he'd been reaching out and having off-the-record conversations with national media and also on his own contacting the special prosecutor's office and not only that, but setting up his own website to raise money for his defense and for his living expenses while he is in hiding right now. they said they didn't know anything about that, and they haven't heard from him since sunday. this press conference is still going on and even though they
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say they are no longer representing him, they have spent most of the time at their microphones here still defending george zimmerman, attacking the bad things that have been said about him and talking about how the evidence that will be presented will show that he was aking in self-defense. so two attorneys who technically are not representing him at this point are still spending a lot of time protecting and defending george zimmerman. right now the thing we can take away from this, they are saying george zimmerman is not in the state of florida. he remains in hiding. they are concerned about him and especially concern with his behavior now that he's apparently acting on his own and reaching out to the special prosecutor's office and something they say no defense attorney would let their client do and also reaching out to the national media and having off-the-record conversations. they're very concerned about this and this is a way they hope will bridge that communication gap with george zimmerman and they'll soon be talking to him and officially representing him again. but again, wolf, they say that
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the door is open and they don't believe they're doing any damage to his case by coming public because if this does go in front of a jury then the facts of the case will decide whether or not george zimmerman is guilty or innocent. right now they're doing the best thing they can to get back in touch with the man they represent. >> david mattingly on the scene for us. thanks very much. we're reaching out and trying to get reaction from george zimmerman's family. george zimmerman's friends. we'll share that with you once we get it, but a very, very dramatic development in the trayvon martin killing. we'll have more on that coming up. also, the other breaking news story we're following, a historic moim moment on the campaign trail today, the republican presidential candidate rick santorum announcing he's dropping out of the race for the republican presidential nomination effectively means that mitt romney versus president obama, that general election campaign all, but officially starting today. we'll have the latest on what
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a lot of republicans are breathing a sigh of relief now that rick santorum says he's sus pendzi sus pendzing, and effectively dropping out of the race. with the all, but certain nominee mitt rom ney. it is not clear how much help romney will get from the man who had become his most significant republican rival. santorum never even mentioned romney by name during his announcement in pennsylvania just a few hours ago. >> against all odds we won 11 states. millions of voters, millions of
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votes. we won more counties than all of the other people in this race combined. it was a love affair for me going from state to state and seeing the differences and seeing the wonderful, wonderful people of this country who cared deeply about where this country is going in the future and cared deeply about those who are out there paddling alone and feeling left behind and in some respects feeling hopeless and want to do something. ladies and gentlemen, we made the decision to get in this race at our kitchen table against all of the odds and we made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, weir not done fighting. >> let's bring in our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin. you're getting reaction from the obama re-election campaign. what are they saying?
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>> reporter: wolf, the president -- the head of the president's re-election team came out swinging. no mention of rick santorum. they went straight at mitt romney saying in a statement, the more the american people seay see of mitt romney the less they like him and the less they trust him. while calling himself the ideal candidate for the tea party he has promised to return to the same policies that created the economic crisis alienating women and hispanic-americans, and wolf, they no longer have to pretend who they're going to run against. they can take on mitt romney full force. just after rick santorum -- some people running for a certain office right now who shall not be named. >> reporter: it is no secret president obama has been preparing to face mitt romney in the fall. just last week he mocked romney for supporting the republican budget and for his upper-crust
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style. >> he said he's very supportive of this new budget, and he even called it marvelous, which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget. it's a word you don't often hear generally. >> reporter: the democratic party has been going after romney for months. >> mitt romney has spent this entire primary buying the election. >> reporter: relentlessly calling him a flip-flopper. >> he was pro-choice and supported roe versus wade and now he says he's pro-life. >> reporter: and attacking his claim that he created jobs at bane capital. as recently as yesterday the obama campaign used the push for the proposed millionaires' tax to prompt romney on his tax returns. >> now he's trying to obscure just how much he would benefit by hiding his own financial records.
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>> reporter: and, wolf, in a sign that the campaign really is on, the romney campaign has released a statement responding to the obama campaign saying that for mitt romney this race has always been about defeating president obama and getting americans back to work. the message from the romney campaign is that president obama has failed to fix the economy. we're going to be hearing a lot more of these punch counter punches between the president's campaign and the romney campaign. >> it will get very, very fierce over the next seven months, no doubt about that. jessica, thanks very much. let's dig a little bit deeper in what happened today. joining us the national press kaekt for the santorum campaign alex stewart. thanks for coming in. when did you learn that rick santorum was suspending his campaign. >> some of us learned about it last night. obviously, it's been a difficult weekend for the santorum family with their daughter bella being in the hospital, and afterthoughtful prayer and consideration they made a
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decision and we began making plans and there's back and forth and we didn't want to tip the hat so we could have the option to change his mind if he needed to, but it was pretty much full speed ahead early this morning. >> was it because of a fear that santorum might not win in his home state of pennsylvania which would have been so humiliating? >> there were a lot of factors that went into it. with his daughter's health, faith and family have been important to rick and it's time to focus on his family. we've seen the delegate math and we've been on the show talking about it before. there are certain things that needed to fall into place and in our direction and the window was getting smaller and smaller and all of those were factors and as rick said today, he's suspending the campaign program while the campaign is over the job is beginning and he'll work to coalesce conservatives and rally behind the nominee. clearly it looks as if it will be mitt romney.
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>> why didn't he mention mitt romney in his 15-minute speech. it wasn't intentional by any stretch of the imagination. as you know, he doesn't speak with notes and doesn't have a prepared speech and he was thanking people in the room and supporters and it wasn't intentional by any means. they had a nice conversation earlier this morning where he talked about the decision to suspend the campaign and they'll have another conversation in the next few days and weeks in what to do moving forward. >> is there any doubt that he will endorse romney? will he go out and campaign for him? any doubt about that? >> details on what he will do moving forward will be in the next few days. they had a conversation. they have a mutual great respect for each other -- >> can you say,al its, that he will go out there and campaign for the republican nominee? >> rick said he will coalesce conservatives and support the nominee which is mitt romney. it's important to rally together and we'll have a huge uphill fight taking on the obama campaign and the only way we're going to be able to win is if we
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coalesce behind the nominee presumably, mitt romney, and take on job number one, defeating barack obama. >> how much bad blood, in other words, this is the bottom line. how much bad blood is there between rick santorum and mitt romney right now? it's been a brutal campaign. >> it's been difficult, but personally, they have a great mutual respect for each other whether it's the dai baiebates politically they disagree on the key issues with obama care and cap and trade. >> some of the things that were said at the height of the campaign, just paraphrasing, rick santorum saying romney is the worst possible candidate to go up against barack obama because of the health care law that includes the mandates which were supposedly pa patterned on romney's mandates in massachusetts. >> i appreciate you putting it into the context. that's exactly what he was talking about. the individual mandate that romney was grandfather of. that issue in and of itself, he was not the best candidate to go
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against the president. the two have a mutual respect and they like each other and get along and now it's time to coalesce, get together and defeat barack obama and rick said it quite eloquently today. he will do whatever is necessary to get that job done. >> when i heard that he was suspending his campaign and suspending is a technical term because he still wants to raise money to pay bills, but he is out of the race. i began thinking ahead. this may be a graceful way to already start thinking about 2016. what do you think? >> there's a lot to be done between now and then. this was a difficult decision for him. he's going to do whatever he can to defeat barack obama and as he said all along is that this is a critical time. he's obviously got small children and he took it upon himself and he and his family made a decision to get in because this is a critical time. we have to coalesce and we have to get together and defeat barack obama. more than likely we'll be able to do it, but if not, everyone, we have to have all men on deck for 2016. >> what about you personally, what will you do now?
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>> we'll see. we'll see. as with rick, throughout this rick throughout this campaign cycle. i will do whatever we can to defeat barack obama. we have to do something. we have to get the leader in there that will repeal obama care and will rein in spending and we have to do away with the class warfare. we have to go about real debt reduction, the ryan plan is a good plan, but i will do whatever i can and whatever is needed to help conservatives win. >> i know you'll be a frequent visitor in "the situation room." thanks very much, alice. >> thanks, wolf. we're also taking you inside north korea with very rare access just as the country is preparing to launch a rocket as early as tomorrow. stand by. some say it was a surprising decision and a major league baseball manager suspended for saying he loved fidel castro. we have details on that decision and a lot more news coming up right here on "the situation room." it's very important to understand
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the country's new leader to thumb his nose at the west in his very dangerous, provocative way. north korean officials say they've finished assembling a long-range rocket and they'll be ready to launch it as soon as 24 hours from now. cnn's stan grant has had rare access to the launch site and to north korea's defiance. >> reporter: as strenuously as north korea insists the rocket is to launch a satellite, the skepticism will not go away. to much of the world this is a covert missile test. the united states labeling the launch a serious provocation in violation of the united nations resolutions. officials in pyongyang are now openly mocking those claims. >> translator: if it were a ballistic missile launch site would we have built it at such an open site? would we have built the launch control center and also a satellite control center in pyongyang? no country in the world would
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want to launch a ballistic missile from such an open site. however, if anybody insists that that site is for ballistic missile test then it is very disturbing. >> reporter: to back it up, the secretive nation has thrown open its doors to the world media. seeing is believing they say. instead north korea is being accused of more deception, already planning a nuclear test. south korean intelligence even says preparations are already advanced. missile tests and a nuclear threat, officials here claim that's an insult. >> translator: the launch of guangdong song 3 satellite is a gift from our people to our people to kim il sung on the occasion of his 100th birthday. as for a nuclear test in the
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future, i am not responsible in that area so i cannot give answer to you. >> reporter: north korea insists this is its sovereign right. satellite officials say it's for peaceful, scientific purposes and will each help an ailing economy, but it is even more than that. this has been described as a spiritual quest showing the country can stand alone. pyongyang already a show piece city is now putting on its best face. there appear to be more cars on the road and a height of building activity. >> to the outside worth, north korea is shot off, crippled by years of -- they tried to tell us a different story, a story of self-reliance, but it was the birth of the father of the country, this is, in fact, a powerful and prosperous nation. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> he's women are rehearsing for
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celebrations to mark the birthday for this man declared the eternal president. the portraits and posters are being put up. the cost of this birthday celebration estimated to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. this, from a country that relies on international food aid to help feed its people, but that contradiction is lost to this regime. the rocket launch, the celebrations and this is about power. even if the north korean people pay the price. stan grant, cnn, pyongyang. and u.s. officials are bracing not only for the launching of this rocket perhaps over the next 24 hours, but they suspect it will be followed by a nuclear test, an underground test shortly thereafter and that will ratchet up tensions between north and south korea, between north korea and the rest of the world dramatically. we'll have extensive coverage here on cnn and in "the situation room." we get into the major league
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baseball season and one team's managers are suspended for opening up his mouth. what he said that got him into trouble, deep trouble. that's coming up next. [ female announcer ] introducing new nature valley protein bars. 100% natural ingredients like roasted peanuts... ♪ ...creamy peanut butter, and a rich dark chocolate flavor. plus, 10 grams of great tasting protein in every bar. so it's energy straight from nature to you. new nature valley protein bars. find them in the granola bar aisle. and here's what we did today: supported nearly 3 million steady jobs across our country... ... scientists, technicians, engineers, machinists... ... adding nearly 400 billion dollars to our economy... we're at work providing power to almost a quarter of our homes and businesses... ... and giving us cleaner rides to work and school... and tomorrow, we could do even more. cleaner, domestic, abundant and creating jobs now. we're america's natural gas.
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the manager of the miami
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marlins is learning the hard way that cuban politics is a very sensitive subject in miami. ozzie guillen was suspended from his job today for five games because he praised cuba's fidel castro. guillen is apologizing for what he calls the biggest mistake of his life. cnn's john zarrella is joining us from mime we more. what happened here, john? >> reporter: you know, wolf, he's been on the job literally five days. he's only managed five regular-season games and already suspended without pay as you mentioned for five games and that is because he said perhaps the worst possible thing you can say in this community. in front of the cameras he was a very different ozzie guillen than most people are used to seeing. the former chicago white sox manager now with the miami marlins was not abrasive, profane, insensitive or defiant. he stood before the cameras contrite. >> i'm very, very, very sorry
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about the problem about what happened, and i will do everything to make it better. >> reporter: sorry because he said perhaps the single most offensive thing he could in miami. guillen told "time" magazine, that, quote, i love fidel castro and added that he respected castro for surviving 60 years when a lot of people wanted to kill him. guillen flew back from philadelphia where his team had an off day to put out the fire. >> it's been the biggest mess mistake in my life so far and when you make a mistake this big i can't sleep and you constantly think for days and i will -- >> as guillen talked outside the stadium a small group of cuban-american protesters carried signs and waved cuban flags. many in the crowd wanted guillen
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fired. >> if for any reason he continues as manager we will not come to see any games here. >> i would like that he would be fired from the job. >> while guillen seemed genuinely sincere whether falling on his sword would repair the damage in the community is another story. longtime miami herald columnist and radio columnist lebatard, for cuban americans, castro is their hitler. >> i don't know how many this guy has killed and i don't know how many cubans have died in the ocean trying to get away from his tyranny. >> the firestorm is particularly damaging to the marlins. their new stadium sits in the heart of little havana paid for primarily from tax dollars from miami and miami-dade residents and the team was trying to build a new fan base from the heavily latin community and ironically,
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one of the main reasons for hiring ozzie guillen, to appeal to latin americans. >> bud selig supported the marlins' decision. i expect those in major league baseball to act with the kind of respect and sensitivity that the game's many cultures deserve. interestingly enough, in 1999 bud selig himself was criticized as you may recall, when he went to cuba and sat next to fidel castro when the baltimore orioles played the cuban national team. >> they love baseball in cuba and they've got some great ballplayers that have come out over the years. obviously, a very, very sensitive nerve that was hit in miami and see what the fallout is. john zarrella, thanks very much. we want to get back to the other breaking news story out of
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sanford, florida, we'll have an up diet what the two lawyers who have now dropped george zimmerman as their client. they're providing now information that they say will exonerate him in the killing of trayvon martin case. stand by for that. there's more whole grain than any other ingredient. that's why it's listed first. get more whole grain than any other ingredient... just look for the white check. i worked at the colorado springs mail processing plant for 22 years. we processed on a given day about a million pieces of mail. checks, newspapers, bills. a lot of people get their medications only through the mail. small businesses depend on this processing plant. they want to shut down 3000 post offices, cut 100,000 jobs. they're gonna be putting people out of work everywhere. the american people depend on the postal service.
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this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy according to the signs, ford is having some sort of big tire event. i just want to confirm a w things with fiona. how would you describe the event? it's big.
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no,i mean in terms of savings how would you sum it up? big in your own words, with respect to selection, what would you say? big okay, let's talk rebates mike, they're big they're big get $100 rebate, plus the low price tire guarantee during the big tire event. so, in other words, we can agree that ford's tire event is a good size? big big
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here is a look at this hour's hotshots. in india, firefighters struggled to extinguish a textile factory engulfed in flames. in bangladesh, an elderly man pulls a rick shaw. in singapore, 2,000 lanterns are placed outside a museum to market 100th anniversary of the "titanic" sinking n afghanistan, a boy walks with his cow at sunset. hotshots, pictures coming in from around the world. finally this hour, we are calling him snackman, as a fight breaks out at a new york subway,
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another rider steps in to stop it. but it is his calm and crunchy peacekeeping technique that is now the talk of the web. here is cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: in other places, citizens may dress up like batman or a kid might save the day by taking over the wheel when a bus driver becomes incapacitated, but in new york city, we have snackman. that's right, snackman to the rescue. a man breaks up subway fight by fearlessly eating potato chips. >> [ bleep ]. >> [ bleep ]. >> whoa. whoa. whoa. whoa. >> a man and a woman were fighting on the subway. she said he had been following her. enter snackman. >> [ bleep ]. no. no. no. >> his hand up, inserted himself, continues to eat his chips. >> security expert steve cardian was impressed and new yorkers were smitten, given snackman a red cape. all snackman did was masticate.
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>> he changed the dynamic and deescalated the incident. >> reporter: he says most people don't want to fight. they have an excuse to disengage. >> kind kind of the kid, come on, i'm going to beat you up, beat you up, johnny come home, i would beat you up if my mother didn't call me. >> reporter: only thing snackman did wrong is leave himself vulnerable by completely turning his back to the guy. new yorkers appreciate a cool cucumber, like the man with the book who refused to be drawn into a fight after he accidentally bumped a guy. >> right now, okay? [ bleep ] [ bleep ] right now. >> thank you. thank you for caring. >> so, look at me in my [ bleep ]. bloody [ bleep ] notebook. remember that [ bleep ]. you ain't never [ bleep ]. >> write it down. >> way there [ bleep ]. >> reporter: but snackman was so cool, one fan posted that guy for president. his potato chip plan will bring peace to the middle east.
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soon, the speculation turned to which snacks snackman was snacking on. >> it's a bird. >> reporter: it's doritos. >> it's a plane. >> reporter: it's pringles. >> it's the chip crusader. the group nyu local tracked down snackman and identified him as charles saunderss, on his way uptown to have drinks, chomping on cheddar pringle, toad do something. someone posted, savin' the world, one snack at a time. >> bend steel in his bare hands. >> reporter: or at least bend chips. jeanne moos, cnn. new york. >> love that jeae moos. always, always got great story. that's it for me. thanks very much for joining us. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." the news continues next on cnn. a good evening, i'm john king two important breaking falls into stories this hour, standing by t