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Mueller: FBI Exploiting IED; DVNF Not Helping Veterans with Your Money; Dick Lugar Tossed out by Tea Party; Obama Still Evolving on Same-Sex Marriage
Aired May 9, 2012 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: And hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips. It's 11:00 on the East Coast, 8:00 out West. We've got a busy hour. Let's get straight to the news.
The plot is kaput. The bomb now a teaching tool. The bomber revealed as a hero, but now the world knows the straight-out-of- Hollywood details of the latest al Qaeda takedown.
The focus? The leak. Some top U.S. lawmakers and others say future takedowns could be jeopardized if terrorists now they've been duped and a major investigation is likely.
Here's what was supposed to stay secret. A mole working for Saudi intel infiltrated al Qaeda in Yemen. He volunteered for a suicide mission to blow up a U.S. bound airliner, but then gave the bomb and the details to the Saudis, the CIA and other intelligence agencies.
The man also had info that led to the drone strike on Sunday that took out a top al Qaeda operative.
So now, I call on our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, out of London for more on the story. It's like a bestselling spy novel.
Nic, what are your sources telling you about the mole, the fallout and the fact that the bad guys realized they were duped?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the fallout continues. We're getting more details.
An Arab source told me that the Saudis are also upset that this information has leaked, as they see it, coming from Washington, because they have many other agents and operatives as part of a network inside al Qaeda, ongoing operations.
And they're very concerned this will have a direct, immediate, negative impact because this is all playing out in real time. It's not events that happened months and months ago.
We also have new details from a counterterrorism analyst who's been briefed directly by Saudi counterterrorism officials and he tells us that this operation was in planning for months and months and months and the way that it came down was this. That through their intelligence assets, the Saudis got indications that a Yemeni al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula plot was coming together that would target a U.S. aircraft, so they sent an agent to penetrate that particular cell.
When it became clear that that plot was maturing and it was involving a bomb and that it was becoming a very serious and more imminent threat, they say that's when they brought in and told the CIA about what was happening.
There's also an indication here, although we're getting different versions from different sources in the region there, that this bomb may indeed have gone an aircraft and been flown out of the country.
If it's the case, that would show the weakness of Yemeni security at Yemen's airports and we wouldn't know which one, but that is also another concern that's arising with this new information, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: OK, also, too, we talked a little bit about this yesterday. You know, Nic, here in the states, there's been a lot of money put into new scanners at the airports. We've had to go through all different types of procedures. It was all told for the purpose of our security.
So now since this plot has been foiled, we're learning more about this bomb, right? How sophisticated is it? Does it look more sophisticated than other bombs and I guess for here in the states, will the TSA and other law enforcement officials be trained on how to deal with more sophisticated bombs if it indeed it looks like this one is?
ROBERTSON: Well, there are a number of things that we are being told about this bomb from sources in the region and this is coming directly from Saudi counterterrorism operatives themselves.
The whole thing was directed we're told by the head of counterterrorism in Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, so it doesn't get much higher than that.
But what we're being told is that, potentially, this bomb could have been embedded in clothing, but not underpants as before, another item of clothing, perhaps a jacket, perhaps a coat, that sort of thing.
We're being told that the bomb was sort of smaller and more compact than before. We're being told that it did definitely involve, as we're trying to analyze before and sort of speculated, if you will, that it was PETN, an explosive substance that was used before by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for the underpants bomb.
So there's a lot there that won't be new for agents trying to sort of pick up and spot these bombs coming through at airport security, but there are new things that we're learning and no doubt will be passed on in training, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Nic Robertson, thanks so much. Well, she is an "American Idol" finalist, a Grammy Award winner and a movie star. Jennifer Hudson's story definitely captured America's hearts and she did it again, but unfortunately, with her most tragic lost.
Americans shared Hudson's grief when her mother, brother and nephew were murdered and, today, closing arguments get underway in the trial of the man that prosecutors say killed her family.
Ted Rowlands joins us now from Chicago. Ted, a lot of pressure on prosecutors there. What can we expect?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, prosecution basically has to work around the fact that there isn't any physical evidence tying William Balfour to the crime scenes here.
There is some evidence and what we're going to hear in the next few hours is that Balfour threatened Julia Hudson, Jennifer Hudson's sister, with this exact scenario on several occasions. Witnesses have testified to that, as has Jennifer Hudson.
They'll also say this is a guy that had the murder weapon in his possession days leading up to the murder and he had the car keys of an SUV that was used to dispose of this 7-year-old's body, Julian King, a car owned by Jason Hudson.
So they have some work cut out for them. They have some evidence here, but they don't have that DNA evidence or any physical evidence tying the suspect to the crime.
PHILLIPS: And do we know if Jennifer Hudson is going to be there for this, Ted?
ROWLANDS: Yes, definitely. She's been here every single day of this trial, which has been a lot of long days, but she has sat through it and it has made a difference because jurors, every time they walk into the courtroom, they scan to see if she's there. I guarantee you, she'll be here today.
PHILLIPS: Ted Rowlands out of Chicago. Ted, thanks.
Just let the children go. The desperate plea from the former sister-in-law of Adam Mayes. He is the suspected kidnapper and killer of Jo Ann Bain and her older daughter. He's believed to be holding Bain's two youngest daughters now amid an extensive manhunt.
Two people are now under arrest, Mayes' mother and his ex-wife, Teresa, both charged with kidnapping. The bodies of Jo Ann Bain and her oldest daughter were found in Mississippi on property connected to Adam Mayes.
Teresa Mayes' sister, Bobbi Booth, says that Mayes threatened and beat Teresa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Your sister admitted to helping drive Jo Ann and her three daughters from Tennessee to Mississippi where the two bodies were found. Any idea why your sister would do that?
BOBBI BOOTH, ADAM MAYES' FORMER SISTER-IN-LAW: Her attorney called me today and my sister had already made the statement that Adam had threatened to kill her as well.
COOPER: So you're saying that's why she was involved, because she feared for her own life?
BOOTH: Right. Yes, he is a very aggressive. He has beat her several times. A very aggressive person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: The FBI asks that if you have information that could lead them to Adam Mayes, you're asked to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.
PHILLIPS: And just a quick note for all of you that are heading out the door, you can continue watching CNN from your mobile phone or, if you're heading to work, you can watch live from your desktop. Just go to CNN.com/TV.
More graphic pictures and gruesome details are emerging in court of Kelly Thomas and his death. Prosecutors have always said that Thomas, who was mentally ill and homeless, was savagely beating to death by Fullerton police officers and they point to this key moment, the screams.
And, again, a warning. You're probably going to find this extremely upsetting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY THOMAS: OK, man. I can't breathe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relax.
THOMAS: I can't breathe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: [Bleep] relax.
THOMAS: I can't. I can't breathe. Please! Help! Help! Help!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Now, the big question right now boils down to whether that video and other evidence will be enough to bring these two cops to trial, Officer Manuel Ramos on the left and Corporal Jay Cicineli on the right.
A judge could make that decision today. The hearing resumes in less than an hour.
Let's go straight to Casey Wian who's monitoring all the details for us from Santa Ana where the hearing's taking place.
Casey, the coroner and the E.R. doctor who treated Thomas both testified yesterday and the focus was on how Kelly Thomas died, right? They talked a lot about chest compressions.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kyra. The emergency room doctor at the U.C. Irvine Medical Center who treated Kelly Thomas after that beating testified that chest compressions was one of the main reasons that he died after that struggle.
He talked about how some of those officers had their knees, their legs on his chest and how it became -- he pointed to the videotape -- how it showed that it became more difficult for Kelly Thomas to breathe.
His voice continued to get weaker and weaker during the struggle. He also stopped struggling at one point.
Let's hear what that doctor had to say.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DR. MICHAEL LEKAWA, TRAUMA SURGEON WHO TREATED KELLY THOMAS: At the point where he's no longer responsive, I believe at that point, he was -- without intervention, he was -- that was the point where he was not going to recover from. He went into a respiratory arrest.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WIAN: Now, also, the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Kelly Thomas testified later in the day and she said that it was a combination of factors, that respiratory difficulty, but also, the injuries that Kelly Thomas received to his face, the blood as a result those injuries that gathered into his lungs were the forces that combined to prove fatal for Kelly Thomas, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: So, what is the defense's argument here, Casey?
WIAN: Well, their argument is they're trying to bring up several different possibilities, different ways you can interpret the tapes, different ways you can interpret those autopsy results.
One of the things they're suggesting is that perhaps improper medical care after the struggle that Kelly Thomas received allegedly received, according to them, may have contributed to his death.
Also, the attorney for Officer Ramos, the one who's facing the more serious charge, the second-degree murder charge, showed points in the tape where Officer Ramos is not kneeling near Kelly Thomas, not on his chest. He's actually standing, observing the scene.
So they're trying to point to different possibilities to persuade this judge not to let these charges go forward, Kyra. PHILLIPS: And Kelly's mom and dad, I understand, were in the courtroom and they just couldn't take it. Both of them walked out, Casey?
WIAN: That's right. They did. Twenty-one different autopsy photos were shown during testimony yesterday and I've got to warn viewers that we can show one of them and it's very, very graphic.
The purpose of those autopsy photos being shown is to show the extent of the injuries to Kelly Thomas' body, not just these autopsy photos of his face, but throughout his life.
Kelly Thomas' father did say after the hearing that he was very angry that the attorneys for these officers and these officers themselves are blaming everyone but themselves for Kelly Thomas' death, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Casey, we'll follow it all. Thanks so much.
The hearing resumes this morning with more testimony from the coroner, the pathologist, about Thomas' autopsy. The judge may issue his ruling on whether to proceed to trial later today.
PHILLIPS: He is accused of sexually assaulting little boys, 50 allegations. Now, the case against former Penn State coach, Jerry Sandusky, is in jeopardy. Not only did the prosecution accidentally release the victims names, Mike McQueary, the assistant coach who says he saw Sandusky in the shower with a boy, his testimony is now in question.
CNN contributor, Sara Ganim, is on the phone. So, Sara, now McQueary wants to sue Penn State. Why?
SARA GANIM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, he only filed the intent to file a lawsuit. It's only about four pages and doesn't say that much, but it does say that it's a whistleblower lawsuit, that it's an employment dispute.
He is still on payroll by the university, but he hasn't been coaching since the scandal broke in November, not a single game. They took him off the sidelines, which they said at the time was a security issue because he was receiving threats, but he hasn't gone back.
And there is, obviously, a new head football coach and a new coaching staff and there's no indication that he's been involved with any of that. He hired this attorney way back last year, sometime in November, December and they just filed this intent to file a lawsuit.
At this point, it would be speculation what he's going to say, but we're guessing it has something to do with his employment status.
PHILLIPS: We also talked about how the names of some of these alleged victims got released. How did that happen? GANIM: Basically, prosecutors posted a court motion that included paperwork that should not have been included. They said it was a big mistake. They took it down as they could, but it was up there for several hours on a public website specifically for this case and court documents related to this case.
National victims groups were outraged, but the attorney for some of the victims told me it was an innocent mistake. It's not ideal, but, you know, these things happen and the best that they could do was remedy it as fast as possible.
PHILLIPS: So what can we expect at today's hearing, Sara?
GANIM: There's going to be some fights over evidence and how much evidence prosecutors have to give the defense, but also this morning, there was a question for this trial to be delayed.
That request was made by Jerry Sandusky's attorney who said that he has gotten so much evidence and he's asking for so much more that there's absolutely no way he can adequately prepare for trial in the next three weeks. He's just getting volumes and volumes of evidence.
Interesting thing about Joe Amendola, this attorney, it's not a defense team. It's really just him. There's another guy on the side who's kind of in the case, out of the case, back in the case.
But really Joe Amendola has been flying solo on this defense and he told me a couple of months ago before the gag order Jerry Sandusky's not his only client. He's still working on other things, too.
But it was understandable that he's asking for more time so he can prepare an adequate defense for Jerry Sandusky.
PHILLIPS: Sara Ganim, thanks so much. Thanks for calling in.
Today's hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. Jerry Sandusky is not expected to appear in court and jury selection is scheduled to begin June 5th.
PHILLIPS: At the age of 14, Krystal Greco became paralyzed from the waist down and, in today's "Human Factor," Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us how she's using horses to help her heal.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Riding horses has been her passion since she was 4-years-old. First came lessons, then shows. She even worked at a barn.
But two years ago, all that came to a screeching halt for 16- year-old Krystal Greco.
KRYSTAL GRECO, 16-YEAR-OLD PARAPLEGIC: I was getting a shower. I felt some muscle cramps in my mid-back.
GUPTA: She got out, got dressed.
GRECO: I felt a sharp explosion of pain.
GUPTA: By the time she arrived at the hospital, she couldn't walk. The cause, a ruptured disc in her spine.
GRECO: They told me that I had a bruised spinal cord and that I was a paraplegic from the waist down.
GUPTA: Krystal had congenital stenosis. It's a narrowing of the spinal canal that encases the spinal cord.
After surgery, she was transferred to the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.
GRECO: It is very, very, very intensive therapy for at least two hours, twice a day, every day.
GUPTA: She pushed herself, hard, determined to walk again and get back on a horse.
GRECO: I wanted to get back to my normal life. I didn't want to sit and mope.
GUPTA: Seven months after leaving Kennedy Krieger, she was competing in horse shows again.
Horseback riding mimics the natural movement of the limbs and helps with flexibility, balance, muscle strength. It enhances the exercises she was already doing at the hospital and at home.
Doctors call her recovery remarkable. She's regained movement in her hips and her knees and sensation has returned to her legs.
For now, Krystal can walk, up to 300 feet with the help of leg braces and a walker.
GRECO: Eventually, I do want to walk again and I can see that mentally as a realistic goal.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.
PHILLIPS: Well, there's definitely always plenty to talk about when the head of the FBI goes to Congress. Often, there's breaking news such as an al Qaeda plot that was blown up by a Saudi mole and that was the case today as FBI chief Robert Mueller goes before the House judiciary panel.
And CNN's Kate Bolduan is watching. So, Kate, has Mueller said anything yet about the al Qaeda bombshell?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He has. This committee is taking on a whole slew of issues as this committee has oversight over the FBI, but the director did acknowledge it in his opening remarks.
First, I should say this was a previously scheduled hearing, previously scheduled appearance by the FBI director, but, of course, it takes on a whole new significance in light of this foiled bomb plot.
We do know that the FBI currently has this device, the would-be bomb, and is analyzing that and that is something that the FBI director acknowledged in his opening remarks.
Want you take a listen to that. Just as a point of reference for our viewers, AQAP is the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. He'll reference that in his remarks. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: AQAP has attempted several attacks on the United States, including the failed Christmas day airline bombing in 2009 and the attempted bomb of U.S.-bound cargo planes in 2010.
And of course, we are currently -- we in the Bureau are currently exploiting an IED, improvised explosive device, seized overseas, which is similar to devices used by AQAP in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Worth noting that Director Mueller was just in Yemen last month meeting with the president of Yemen there. Beyond those remarks really by Director Mueller, the committee has focused largely on other oversight issues having to do with the FBI.
Outside this committee though, Kyra, you will note the focus is very much squarely on what is happening in the latest of this spoiled bomb plot, specifically bipartisan anger and serious concerns by members of both sides of the aisle. They're calling it a devastating leak to the media. Top members like the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King, as well as the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, voicing serious concern this information was leaked to the media prematurely, calling for a full investigation and trying to get down to the bottom of how this information got out. And their focus -- Rogers saying to CNN that this information getting out has the potential of doing long lasting damage to our intelligence gathering and counterterrorism efforts -- Kyra?
PHILLIPS: Kate Bolduan on the Hill. Kate, thanks so much.
Well, the FBI says it's absolutely hopeful that two young Tennessee girls are still alive. They're believed to be held by Adam Mayes, the prime suspect in the kidnapping and killing of the girls' mother and older sister. Mayes' mother and former wife are now under arrest, charged in the kidnapping of Jo Ann Bain and her three daughters. George Howell is covering the case for us.
What's the latest?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We just saw them. There is a desperate search, Kyra, to find them and obviously, finding Adam Mayes.
What we're seeing now -- we got video showing these check points and roadblocks. Investigators are doing everything they can to talk to people, to get any information on where Adam Mayes could be. This is from Whiteville, Tennessee, where the family lived, where they were abducted, down to Guntown, Mississippi. And again, that's where Mayes lived and that's also where we found the shallow graves of two bodies.
PHILLIPS: I tell you what -- I mentioned this to Martin Savidge. I mentioned it to you two days ago. I had a suspicion, possibly an affair was taking place, because the case seemed too bizarre. And it looks like information tied to a possible affair is coming out.
HOWELL: We heard from Mayes' sister just the other night in an exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper and she gave some insight into what you suspected. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, A.C. 360: What's in your gut? What do you think went on here?
BOBBI BOOTH, FORMER SISTER-IN-LAW OF ADAM MAYES: I think there's an affair of some type going on. I just don't know what.
COOPER: So, you think he was having an affair with Jo Ann?
COOPER: Does it make any -- is there any explanation why he would kill her or why he'd kill a daughter?
BOOTH: No. I have no clue why anybody would kill a person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Now, that -- we're hearing from her sister who was also Adam Mayes' ex-wife. And we know from the arrest warrant she helped to drive the car during the abduction. We also heard from Mayes' mother. And apparently, she saw her son digging on that property in Guntown where the bodies were found.
PHILLIPS: Oh. All right, we'll follow the case.
George, thanks so much.
The FBI asks that if you have any information that could lead to Adam Mayes, please call 1-800-TBI-FIND.
PHILLIPS: If you leave the house, you can continue watching CNN from your mobile phone and you can watch CNN live from your desktop. Go to CNN.com/tv.
So many of you, the viewer, are unbelievably generous when it comes to donating money for our veterans of war. Unfortunately, there's also people that take advantage of that.
Drew Griffin spent months investigating one such company who says it's raising funds for a veteran's charity, but actually, it's making money for itself instead. In part two of his investigation, he exposed how the Disabled Veterans National Foundation raised millions of dollars of your money, but it didn't all go to disabled vets.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over the past three years, thanks to the generosity of thousands of Americans, the charity has raised nearly $56 million, yet according to its own tax forms, not one dime of that has been used for direct service to military veterans.
PRICILLA WILKEWITZ, PRESIDENT, DISABLED VETERANS NATIONAL FOUNDATION: You're the one from CNN that's been --
GRIFFIN (on camera): That's right.
(voice-over): Meet Pricilla Wilkewitz, president of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. We found at a small office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
WILKEWITZ: This is for veterans of foreign wars. And we really didn't think you'd do something like this. We've agreed to talk to you and answer any questions.
GRIFFIN (on camera): So here is the question --
GRIFFIN: -- three years and none of the money has gone to any veterans. Ma'am?
(voice-over): While Wilkewitz is the former national legislative liaison for the veterans of foreign wars, it's another veterans group she's president of that we wanted to discuss.
(on camera): So the bottom line, you're not going to give me an interview.
(voice-over): CNN has been trying for two year to get an interview with the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, since we began tracking its fundraising. We've gotten angry phone calls, e- mail, promises of written responses, and now, a slammed door --
(on camera): -- veterans. Ma'am?
(voice-over): But no answer. When you see just how this charity operates, you'll understand why.
WILKEWITZ: We're paying down our start-up costs.
GRIFFIN: Wilkewitz, on the organization's web site, likes to boast about the charitable gifts her group gives away. And DVNF does give away stuff, stuff the veterans group says they really don't need. It's called gifts in kind on tax forms. Instead of giving away some of the $56 million in cash raised over the past three years, DVNF gives away stuff it got for free.
In 2010, the group filed this tax form, claiming it provided more than 838,000 gifts in kinds to U.S. Vets, a charity in Arizona. U.S. Vets showed us what actually was sent -- 20 pairs of men's football pants, more than 100 chefs coats, 125 chefs aprons, a needle point designed pillow case -- two pages worth of stuff the director told us we don't need. And take a look at what showed up at the Saint Benedict's Veteran Center in Birmingham, Alabama, where J.D. Simpson takes homeless vets off the streets. He said the shipment included some useful items -- 2,300 disaster blankets, good for a couple of days use, and some cleaning supplies, but it also included this.
J.D. SIMPSON, SAINT BENEDICT'S VETERANS CENTER: 2,600 bags of cough drops and 2,200 little bottles of sanitizer and 11,520 bags of coconut M&Ms. And didn't have a lot of use for 11,520 bags of coconut M&Ms.
GRIFFIN: Here's what the DVNF posted on its web site about the work they were doing in Alabama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We send, by the truckload, items that these centers and shelters say they need desperately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: "For our veterans who have given so much to our country and now need our help." Did they ever ask you what they wanted?
SIMPSON: No. No. they always call and say we've got a truckload coming.
RICH CISLAK, SAINT BENEDICT'S VETERANS CENTER: Everything on the top is a lot of the stuff that came in on the last truck -- the bandages, the lotion, some hand sanitizer.
GRIFFIN (on camera): It's unpacked.
CISLAK: It's unpacked.
GRIFFIN: Because you don't really have a use for it. CISLAK: These shelves should be filled with this, food, not that.
GRIFFIN: Do you ask yourself, where's the money?
SIMPSON: After I ask myself that after I ask myself, what the heck are these people doing stealing from our veterans -- because that's what they're doing. I don't care how you look at it. These people have sacrificed for our country and there are some people out there raising money to use and it just makes me mad.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Executive director, J.D. Simpson, became even more angry when these showed up -- more than 700 pairs of surplus Navy dress shoes.
SIMPSON: Not a lot of use for these unless you stand for a personnel inspection.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Those are now part of the yard sale this group uses to raise real funds for the things they really need, not shoes like these.
Here is the question --
(voice-over): Pricilla Wilkewitz wouldn't tell us why she sent homeless vets in Alabama shiny new Navy shoes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILKEWITZ: Hello, I'm Pricilla Wilkewitz, president of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: DVNF wouldn't really tell us anything. What the group and its president continue to tell you, the American public, is to keep sending in those donations.
PHILLIPS: Drew is joining us now live out of Miami.
So, Drew, this group is essentially raising money for itself.
GRIFFIN: Well, the group, DVNF, is raising money. They say for vets, but all of the money, Kyra, that we've been able to account for, goes to a private company, Adrega Arts, in New York City. A company that says it fund raises for more than 500 charity groups. We have been trying to reach them along with its subsidiary along with its president -- a guy named Mark Sholoff (ph) -- equally as long as we've been trying to get a hold of DVNF. We've gotten the same kind of response, angry e-mails and phone calls but no answers as to how you can raise $56 million in cash for vets and apparently, give none of it to the vets. We're going to keep pressing on this -- Kyra?
PHILLIPS: You are, indeed. And, Drew, we were able to get an e- mail sent to us from the group. And I just want to get your response to this, if you don't mind. It says quote, "Over the past four years, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation has changed the lives of more than 80,000 servicemen and women. We equip our veterans with the tools they need to find jobs. We help prevent evictions and care for those suffering from the visible and invisible wounds of war. Our fundraising has one goal, to bring hope to the heroes who have bravely served our country."
Drew, is any of this true?
GRIFFIN: Unless they say preventing homelessness, fighting off depression, caring for the troops all involves handing them a bag of coconut M&Ms, we have no reason to believe that's true, Kyra. Because, as you've seen in our reporting, we can't account for any cash donations that seem to make its way to actually veterans who need it.
PHILLIPS: Drew Griffin, great reporting. Thanks so much.
PHILLIPS: So how can you forget the national debt gridlock from the right, the left, the in between. We sat back and watched consensus slowly start to dwindle. A disappearing D.C. moderate. Olympia Snowe at home announced her retirement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE, (R), MAINE: People are just stunned by debilitating bipartisanship, polarization, and overall dysfunction of the institution. And the political paralysis has become to the point of extreme.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Now, Republican Dick Lugar tossed by his own party. Apparently, too willing to compromise with Democrats. His final words, "Ideology cannot be a substitute for determination to think for yourself."
CNN political analyst, Roland Martin, and CNN contributor, Dana Loesch.
Time for "Fair Game."
Roland, are we seeing the death of consensus in Washington?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think we are. It's not just a Republican issue. Democrats will say, oh, my goodness, what's happened to these moderate Republicans, they're being run out of Congress. But the same thing is happening on the Democratic side. You've seen several Democrats in the House who are blue dogs choose not to run.
What is happening in politics when it comes to these primaries that if you're a Democrat, if you're a Republican, you have to run to the fringes if you will, in order to win the primary? Look at Senator John McCain just a couple of years ago. That's a fundamental concern and we need to have folks who have the ability to reach across the aisle to have conversations and discussions versus saying let's just fight.
DANA LOESCH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I have to disagree. He is the likely Republican nominee. But look, Democrats, moderate Democrats especially, Roland's right, they've been run out of the Democrat party. But it's interesting because they play moderate. Claire McCaskill acts like a moderate except when she goes to Washington, D.C., in terms of consensus, it's not supposed to be a cake walk in Washington, D.C. That's the whole reason the government's structured the way it is. That's why the Senate and House of Representatives is the way it is. They're supposed to be super easy because, if it were, can you imagine what we'd have?
MARTIN: It's not meant to be easy, Kyra, but it is a horrible thing when you are someone who tries to break gridlock, then that is somehow used against you. Again, we saw what happened the Senator McCain. I have no problem if you're a Republican or Democrat and you want to make the argument about getting elected. But when all of sudden you're treated like you committed treason because you chose to work with someone on the opposite party, that spells trouble for our political elections.
LOESCH: Roland, you're presupposing that we're talking about something that's completely constitutional. It depends on what we're arguing over. If you're talking about nationalizing huge chunks of the private sector, that doesn't really jive nationalizing huge junks of the private sector, that doesn't gibe with what's written in the Constitution. There's going to be gridlock because there are going to be people who are going to say, maybe let's look at the enumerated powers and let's see what the government is allowed to do, and this isn't one of the things that they're allowed to do. So, yes, they're going to stand their ground. That's to be expected. That's why they're voted in.
PHILLIPS: I'm going to take us for a little bit of a turn. We'll have a little fun and then talk same-sex marriage in North Carolina, OK? Apparently, President Obama's campaign is holding this contest now. It's going to be a drawing. You come up with your own grassroots group, OK, and you've got to enlist your friends. I think it's five friends. And then, the first to do that is actually going to get a tweet from Obama. So here is my question. Roland, I'm going to ask you --
PHILLIPS: -- and Dana the same thing. If you were going to enter, what would you call your grassroots group and who would you enlist?
MARTIN: Easy, ro's mo, mo, mo, money for all.
I would have some music in the background. It would be "For the Love of Money" from New Jack City. I love the O Jays. I need a new jack swing one.
I would call Floyd "Money" Mayweather because he just got paid $32 million for beating Pacquiao. And since he needs a presidential pardon since he's going to jail in June, he probably would pay well for it.
MARTIN: Follow that, Dana.
LOESCH: He may not be Floyd "Money" Mayweather for long if he goes up against Manny Pacquiao.
PHILLIPS: Dana knows her boxing.
PHILLIPS: Dana, I'll give you a little break. You can pick, grassroots group for Obama or Mitt Romney. I'll let you choose.
LOESCH: Well, grassroots group for Romney. I would call us the 53 percent.
PHILLIPS: And who --
MARTIN: That's boring. Oh, my god.
PHILLIPS: Holy cow.
LOESCH: I would have Alice Cooper's "I Want to be Elected" as our theme song. We would go out there and take money from the every man, because the 53 percent of people who pay into the system, excluding sales tax.
MARTIN: No, I got your new song.
LOESCH: And big belt buckles that say money.
MARTIN: No, no, no. Your song will be flip, flop, flip, flop.
PHILLIPS: ON that note, hold onto your belt buckles. I have one more question.
MARTIN: All right.
PHILLIPS: Live pictures now of Mitt Romney campaigning in Colorado visiting K.P Koffman (ph), and oil and gas drilling company. They're in the Rocky Mountain state. It's his first visit as a campaigner in Colorado since the caucuses. We're monitoring that event for you.
Let's get back to "Fair Game."
Dana and Roland, we're just getting fired up.
Now let's talk North Carolina and the ban on gay marriage. Now, if we were to look back within, I guess you could say within the last month, OK, you've got Joe Biden saying he's comfortable with gay marriage. You've got former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell -- he says the president should, quote, "Man up and take a stand on this," yet the president still saying my feelings about this are evolving on this issue.
Why is he still evolving, Roland?
MARTIN: Easy. It's called you're running for re-election. Look at the map. In 2008, President Obama won Iowa. In 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court declared a ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. In 2010 three of those justices were thrown off the bench. You look at North Carolina. He won North Carolina by 14,000 votes in 2008. Yesterday, 61 percent of the people voted for this. He is in a very tight election, and this election depending upon the state, could be swung by some 50,000 to 100,000 votes. This is a hard core political call. This is not a moral call by him. It's exactly what it is, it's absolute politics. He already said he supported same-sex marriages in '96 but then switched his position when he ran for national office. It's called politics.
PHILLIPS: Dana, does he need to be giving a clear message and does he need to be in cahoots with his vice president? LOESCH: Well, I think so. I think he needs to at least give an answer as to where he stands. This might be well and good back in 2008 or if you're running for state Senator but he's running for the president of the United States, re-election, as Roland said. I think the community is owed an answer to where he stands. We saw how everybody reacted when Mitt Romney had to take a few minutes to get back to Lily Ledbetter. Barack Obama has been taking years to make up his mind on gay marriage. This is a promise he made to his base. He's hasn't yet delivered. I'm curious as to whether or not the Democrat base demands whether the DNC moves out to North Carolina.
MARTIN: Not going to happen.
PHILLIPS: I'll let you respond to that, Roland.
MARTIN: It's not going to happen. The commission is going to be in Charlotte. And, in fact, the real issue is this here. This is actually a constitutional question. You can't have a situation where you have, in some places, referendums and then some places Supreme Courts making the decision. So the California case will likely go to the Supreme Court --
MARTIN: -- and that's, again, where it's likely going to be decided. It's going to be a constitutional question. The president has given an answer. He's not going to move off of that from the evolving because he's not going to take a position that potentially could jeopardize winning certain states and so he will say, I have given the LGBT community a lot, but he's not going to move you a of that because he knows it could boomerang against him and keep him from winning.
PHILLIPS: Dana, go ahead.
LOESCH: Well, he said just four or five weeks ago when he was talking about the health care law, he was saying people voted for us, they voted us in and we passed this and so on and so forth. That's been his excuse before. He could say this for this particular piece of legislation in North Carolina, but the administration cherry picks. I think that invites more attacks because they cherry pick which legislation and which people's voices they're going to allow to be heard and which people they're going to ignore. Like Arizona, completely come in and go over the will of the people. We'll see what happens in North Carolina, but I think Barack Obama it's been years, it's time he gives the community an answer.
MARTIN: Reminder, Vice President Dick Cheney believed in same- sex marriage but the vice president didn't say anything about it, didn't go against his boss.
LOESCH: We're not talking about Bush. (CROSSTALK)
LOESCH: We're talking about Obama. It's Obama now. Bush is gone.
MARTIN: Follow me here, please.
I'm making a point.
LOESCH: He's gone.
MARTIN: Politicians make decisions based upon politics and not personal. Bill Clinton didn't want to sign the Defense of Marriage Act but he knew he had to. That's what politicians do.
LOESCH: Maybe he should bring Bill Clinton back. He could help clean some stuff up.
MARTIN: And I'm sure after he beat Republicans twice, the last thing you want to see is Bill Clinton back.
LOESCH: After three defeats in primaries last night, I don't think you can be taking a victory lap right now.
MARTIN: I'm not. I'm making a point the last thing you want to see is a two-term Democrat who frankly beat GOP candidates, beat them bad. Even after --
LOESCH: It won't happen.
MARTIN: You don't want that. You don't want it, seriously.
LOESCH: It's not going to happen.
ROLAND: Don't ask are to a beat down when you already got it twice.
LOESCH: It's OK.
PHILLIPS: Suzanne Malveaux is over here waiting to kick off her news show. She's shaking her head. Smiling, laughing.
You take one subject, Suzanne, you tee up --
PHILLIPS: Dana Loesch, Roland Martin --
PHILLIPS: That was a good four minutes right there. I just cut them loose and listen to the conversation.
MARTIN: This is a new segment is called "Bring the Funk."
PHILLIPS: And I think both of you brought equal amounts of funk to the program.
PHILLIPS: Dana, Roland --
PHILLIPS: -- we're going to have to come back for a do over.
That's "Fair Game."
MARTIN: Bring it.
PHILLIPS: Thanks for watching, everyone. You can continue the conversation with me on Twitter, @kyraCNN, or on Facebook.
CNN NEWSROOM with the patient Suzanne Malveaux begins right now.