tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN February 11, 2015 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
family of american aid worker kayla mueller did survive for a time after isis issued a deadline for execution last summer. her parents asked the u.s. government to trade their daughter held prisoner by the united states. no trade ever happened but the white house did say kayla was style alive after the execution deadline has passed. kayla may have been an isis bride. she may have been given to an isis fighter as a wife. it's unclear whether he was coerced or even sold into the situation. also new details tonight on those photos of mueller sent by isis to her parents. the 26-year-old was dressed in a
muslim burial shroud. pamela brown is outfront with much more on all of this. so many developments and surprises tonight. >> that's right. i've been speaking to the family spokesperson. what we learned is the family went to great lengths to get their daughter back. they were doing everything they could especially when they found out that isis had a deadline for ka kayla's execution last summer. the family never turned the military operation because it was too risky. they asked the white house to let them know and they asked for the trade of lady al qaeda. the family looking for any option as the white house to do so. they did respond we don't know what he that response was and we learned from the spokesperson that kayla was alive after the isis execution deadline passed.
>> reporter: intelligence suggests 26-year-old kayla mueller was given to a male isis fighter possibly as a bride after she was kidnapped in syria in 2013. there's indications she converted to islam. a practice seen in the past by hostages in the middle east. >> they are under severe duress. for them to say we're going to convert is to suggest maybe they can curry favor that way. pictures included her wearing muslim garb. former fbi hostage negotiator says it's clear isis treated mueller differently. >> because she was remarkably
decent human being and because she was a woman that it wouldn't be surprising to treat her with more respect. if they cover and wrapped her properly, those are respectful actions. >> reporter: how she died is a mystery. there's no evidence backing up the claim she was killed in a jordanian air strike. there were several foiled rescue attempts to save her and one attempt the man claimed to be her husband from her hometown in prescott arizona. he was turned away after she denied being anyone's wife. >> she said she wasn't marry and she didn't lie that she was married. that foiled the plan. >> reporter: as it turns out the man who posed as her husband trying to get her back was kayla mueller mueller's boyfriend that was kidnapped with her. he was later released and risked his life to go back to this training camp to rescue kayla.
>> thank you very much. you interviewed a friend of kayla's. she told you she heard an audio recording of kayla during her captivity. we have not heard about anything like that. what else dildd she tell you? >> reporter: that's right. she says it was about two and a half two three months after kayla mueller was taken hostage that she sent an audio message. that audio message was sent to a mutual friend of theirs who works with an ngo. it was very short. just 10 to 15 seconds and she pleaded for help. listen to what she describes what she heard. >> her voice was really very sick and sad. please try to help me.
get me out of here. i'm so sick. i'm dying. >> she said i'm so sick. i'm dying? >> yes. >> reporter: we have not heard this message but that is what she says she heard. keep in mind she says that kayla mueller was like a family member to her. she says the two met in turkey. they worked with the refugees together. she said she has a daughter about the same age as ka kayla. she said after that heard that message everybody jumped into action but silently. she went to the american embassy and she reached out to militia groups. they wanted to find her but with no results. >> thank you very much.
you heard the friend saying she heard an audio of kayla saying i'm so sick i'm dying. >> we're learning she was alive after that key isis deadline passed for execution. they said they were going to execute her when they made similar threats to james foley, stephen sotloff. they went through with it. you talked about a possible rescue attempt. the one by her boyfriend. you were the first one to tell us about this. do you know when that happened? anything more about that? >> from what i was told that happened early on when she was kidnapped. that happen when they initially went to syria and then he came
back. i didn't know that was her boyfriend. i was told he was part of the entourage that had gone to extricate. >> you're saying that was early on. the question bob, is how she was treated. the new york times today says a hostage that was with kayla mueller says women hostages were treated relatively well but the male hostages were tortured. that fits with the letter she wrote to her parents saying she was being treated with kindness. what did they tell you about how kayla and the women were treated? >> it was doctors without borders hostages. those women were all treated very nicely kindly by the islamic state. they were held separately from the men. they were never tortured.
they were never offered up as war brides any of that. kayla was treated well because i think even the hostage takers recognized she was a very dear person. she was taken under the wings of one of the women there. she told that woman she had a boyfriend who was a syrian. they had come across the border and they tried to volunteer to doctors without borders right on the border. they were advised to go back to turkey and couldn't be hired locally. even offered to escort them back and said we want to help the syrians. the doctors without borders believe that the boyfriend came back. he's a syrian and begged the captors to release her. this is up until may. what happened after may last year no one can say for sure but she was treated well. >> obviously that's significant and i know on some level it's some sort of solace for her
family. she may have been given to a male isis fighter as a bride. would that surprise you? do you know anything about that? >> i don't. i won't take away that the family is still hurt. they may have comfort that their daughter was taken care of. mr. mueller said i hold isis responsible. they're holding my daughter. they're held accountable for their safety as well. >> of course she is not safe. she has been killed. bob, when you hear this reporting that we're getting about the poblgtssibility she may have been married to a male isis fighter, does that surprise you?
>> i don't think it's true. i think it's speculative. these intelligence reports are often wrong. it would be out of character. the islamic state are brutal savages. they are gone way beyond the pale. there's this islamic respect for women. i've seen this over 40 years where they treat them differently. they do not marry them off. she was a christian. the way they read the koran, they get a certain respect. as a woman, i just don't believe the reports. >> thanks very much to both of you. appreciate your time. next three muslim students fatally shot execution style in north carolina. was it because of their religion? the president asks congress to authorize the use of force against ayeisis with limited use of
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three young members from a muslim family murdered execution style in north carolina. the fbi is investigating whether it was a hate crime. it was a young couple along with the wife's 19-year-old sister. these three found shot to death inside their chapel hill north carolina apartment. the suspect, their neighborhood. a 46-year-old self-proclaimed atheist. police say there's been an ongoing dispute with the neighbor over parking and a parking spot but tonight family and friends of the victim say there's no doubt this was a hate crime. >> reporter: a frantic 911 call. >> about three girls, more than one girl screaming and then there was nothing. >> reporter: the victims all
muslims, muslims. his wife of a little more than a month and her sister. all shot execution style, a bullet to the head. later that night this man, 46-year-old craig hicks turned himself into police. soon charged him with three counts of first-degree murder. what triggered the shooting? the suspect's attorney said it was all over a parking spot. >> it has nothing to do with anything but the mundane issue of this man being frustrated day in and day out with not being able to park where he wanted to park. >> reporter: the father of the murdered woman called it a hate crime. >> i feel it. i have no doubt that he would not have acted this way if they were not clearly muslims. >> reporter: a family spokeswoman called for an investigation. >> we ask that the authorities
investigate these senseless and heinous murders as a hate crime. hicks wife expressed shot and her deepest sympathy at the killings but said whatever happened it was not a hate crime. >> it's one of the things i know about him is everyone is equal. it doesn't matter what you look like or who you are or what you believe. >> reporter: he was a second year dental student. his wife was about to begin studies at the same school of dentist dentistry.
his website has raised more than $100,000 most of that donated after supporters learned of his death. >> reporter: regardless of what police say about a motive here the women's father who we spoke to early this evening the convinced this was a hate crime. his son-in-law lived here without any problems with hicks. he said the problems began when his daughters started showing up wearing the head scarves. that's when the problems began. one of his daughters came to him and said to him, daddy, i believe this man hates us just because of who we are. erin. >> thank you. he's been a friend of the young husband for 15 years. i know you see him all the time and this has got to be hard for you to talk about.
i'm sorry. i know you're choosing to speak because you think it's important to say this was not a spur of the moment act. this wasn't over a parking space as you just heard. you believe this was a hate crime. >> first of all, thanks for having me on tonight. i did make a purposeful decision to be on tonight. we are all grieving and while we are going to wait for the result os of a full investigation we can tell you that the overwhelming evidence is certainly pointing towards it being motivated by hate. we want to make sure that the story is set straight. this is not three people were not brutally murdered premeditated solely because of a
parking space issue. >> what made them so concerned, so afraid? we heard the young women's father talking about how they said he had not been harassed by this neighbor until they moved in and wore the head scarf and they felt that's when this all started. what did he ever tell you about this neighbor? >> he had been living there for a year and a half. they were only married for a little more than a month. after she moved in is when this individual showed up at their apartment several times and it's
known she wears the head scarf which is very visibly muslim. it was only after she was there that he showed up on several o kag occasions with a gun, holding a gun and making loud and rude remarks, threatening remarks toward them. this made her very concerned. she caused her family. deah would never play the role of victim. he never really wanted to speak out about it. it was conveyed to us that to the families they just as cently as one week ago, i also spoke with deah's family. it was very clear that she said they are terrified of this neighbor. >> i know it's hard to come on today, the day this happens to your friend.
i appreciate it. >> if i could just show you two photos. deah was an amazing american who was living the american dream. this is him in one of his wedding photos and his favorite basketball player was steph curry. he did a pose just like him. this is just one example of what a real muslim is like. not what isis is portraying around the world. i would call upon the chapel hill police department to make sure they are very careful in conducting a full investigation before they come out and say this was over a parking space. it's very offensive and inflammatory to the family and friends and loved ones across the world for that to be a headline. we're going to set the story straight. we want everybody in the world to know he was proud to be muslim. they were all proud to be muslim. they never shoved it down
anybody's throat. >> thank you very much. the former fbi assistant director tom fuentes. you just heard mo talk about his friend and the friend he loves. he had come by as recently last week. this is over a parking space. is that a ridiculous thing to say. >> we don't know that yet. first of all, my condolences go out to the family. deah and his wife and his wife's sister seem like the perfect americans. this is such a tragedy. if i could say very close to the investigation. the fbi is assisting chapel
hill. they've asked for help to make sure every lead gets covered in a timely and diligent manner. they are pursuing the aspect of not just that we have a triple homicide here and they want to be able to have all the evidence of that. pursuing the possibilities of hate crime in every possible way. the police there don't want anybody to think that they're bias against bringing hate crime charges or because they're muslim they won't get a diligent investigation on their behalf. they are and they will. it's in progress now. >> a local official says they don't believe there was any active planning by craig hicks. is that significant in terms that it was a hate crime? especially given that deah's friend say he come to the apartment a week before threatening them with a gun? >> you just mentioned why would
a sane person wouldn't kill people over a parking space. that's yet to be established. what is the mental condition of this guy? if you have a middle-aged problem with mental problems with a gun, we've seen this before anger managements problems and that's a possibility. the fact that it could have been a hate crime, that's a possibility too. they will work very hard to prove one way or the other. >> thank you very much. next president obama making his case to go to war against isis coming directly to the american people today. will american troops be heading to iraq and syria and soon? brian williams vowing to return to his job, the anchor chair. is that determination or denial? do you pay him? dad: of course. kid: how much? dad: i don't know exactly. kid: what if you're not happy? does he have to pay you back? dad: nope. kid: why not? dad: it doesn't work that way. kid: why not? vo: are you asking enough questions about the way your wealth is managed?
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president obama making his case for the authority to wage war against isis. today the president formally asking congress to give him the authorization and made his case directly to the american people. >> make no mistake, this is a difficult mission. it will remain difficult for some time. our coalition is on the offensive.
isil is on the defensive and isil is going to lose. >> isil is going to lose but not everyone thinks the president request will ensure victory. jim acosta is out at the white house. >> reporter: president obama's proposal opens a new door to more than just air strikes. >> isil is going to lose. >> reporter: asking congress for the green light on his war plan. the president charges isis with the death of american hostages including the most recent known victim kayla mueller. if left unchecked he warns isis could pose a threat to the u.s. homeland. while the president says this battle won't be a flash back to the wars in iraq and afghanistan involving hundreds of thousands of troops mr. obama's new authorization does seek ground forces for rescue operations. missions to kill isis leaders and air strikes. >> if we had actionable intelligence about a gathering
of isil leaders. our partners didn't have the capacity to get them. i would be prepared to order our special forces to take action. >> reporter: the fellow democrats are nervous about the proposal's language barring quote and during combat. >> none of us know what enduring offensive combat operations mean and deliberately. i think drafted to be ambiguous. >> yes. we believe it's important that there aren't overly burdensome constraints placed on the commander in chief who needs flexible in a chaotic military conflict. >> reporter: to help local iraqis and syrians take the fight to isis without breaking the president's pledge last fall. >> i will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in
iraq. >> reporter: that white house attempt to find a happy medium is already turning off republicans. >> the president's point is he wants to dismantle and destroy isis. i haven't seen a strategy yet that i think will accomplish that. >> reporter: the white house is not ruling out additional ground troops to carry autothis warout this war on isis. the answer was quote, not at this time and there's a reason why there's not been an authorization vote for war in 13 years. it's been no means a sure thing. erin. >> not a sure thing and not easy to do. thank you very much. seth jones is out front. he served as a senior official during the iraq wars and afghanistan wars. good to have you with us be. the you've been in this position. the president said something that confused me. he said isil is going to lose. that's what he said point-blank.
even as he says he will keep his pledge i will not submit our armed forces to fighting another war in iraq. >> they tend to be predominant by special operation forces involved in some ground combat, including targeting of isis operatives. i think what the president really is saying is he's not going to commit large numbers of conventional forces the way the previous administration did in both iraq and afghanistan. >> do you think that's a promise that can be kept or is that a, a promise you don't want to make auz because you don't know you can keep it or you don't want your enemy to know what you're going to do?
>> i don't think you want to telegraph what types of troops you want to provide. you don't want to tie your hands. you have to be careful that you don't tie your hands on the time line. one thing this does do is the president's call for a three year sunset clause on this. i have some concerns that this ties the u.s.'s hands too much for what really will be a long war. >> it's funny. he did address, he knew there might be some criticism. he defended the time frame. >> it's not a timetable. it's not announcing that the mission is completely at any given period. what it is saying is that congress should revisit the issue at the beginning of the next president's term. >> so now you have to vote on this every few years which as we know with this congress is he
may be waying too optimistic to think that might happen. >> what this ensures is every three years there will be a big political food fight about support for the president, differences between the legislative and executive branchs. one of things i did want to highlight. what this authorization does not do is it does not focus u.s. efforts only in iraq and syria. it leaves out geographic boundaries. >> you look at libya. you look at egypt. you look at all these places. thank you so much. i appreciate it. next new reporting tonight on brian williams determination to get back to the anchor desk. nbc's mounting troubles. this is bigger than nightly
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do you explain these photos?! [people gasping] objection your honor. sustained. with the x1 dvr library you could take anywhere, xfinity is perfect for people on the go. no sign tonight of brian williams name at the beginning of the nightly news broadcast. he was not forgotten. lester holt addressed the
widening investigation of his friend and colleague. >> if i may on a personal note say it's an enormously difficult story to report. brian is a member of our family but so are you, our viewers. we will work every night to be worthy of your trust. >> williams was suspended for six months without pay after he told a story that was untrue about events that occurred in iraq in 2003. the nbc news internal in investigation is looking at other unrelated incidents to see if he exaggerated or lied in the past. good to have both you have with us. i'll say this knowing brian and lester. it was hard to watch lester say that. lester sounded like he was going to cry. >> he did. you could hear the emotion in his voice. he doesn't want to be in this position, at least i don't think he does. he can't appear to want to either. he can't be appear to be taking
advantage of this either. he did come in number one in the ratings yesterday. he is holding his own. viewers are not rejecting him. it's a tough spot. >> sources are telling you when brian have this meeting with the head of nbc, steve burke. they met yesterday in burke's apartment. williams was presented with what you call a dossier of misstatements or exaggerations. what have you heard about that? >> they have compiled a working list of his misstatements. they want leverage to go to williams and say this is what we've got and let's cut a deal. they did. he did not fight them. he took the six month suspension. he knew he didn't have much leverage. this is a big business story. these are millions of dollars at stake. while we all like williams and we say these are likable people
this is essentially a business deal. >> ultimately that is what this comes down to. no matter what anyone wants to say in this business. it's about numbers. people can say they like someone. they like someone until the dollars and cents get in the way and it's different. >> williams is eager to apologize again and is determined to get back on the air. this is not a guy who is going down for the count. i wonder if that is something his fans will appreciate. he wants to profusely apologize and earn a second chance. the question is whether nbc wants him to do that. whether it's in nbc's interest to have him back out there. >> which is a key question especially when you talk about lester holt performing so well. over the years people have said get brian out of anchor chair. he's funny. he's witty. he's the weakest in the chair he's so strong doing other
things. here are a few clips from snl, late night, et cetera. >> i'm hosting saturday night live there week with musical guest fist. >> look at you. you're gorgeous. look at his face. >> don't talk. you ruin it. >> democrats are hoping this will pressure the house leader john boehner and soften his hard line stance. >> take it from my man. >> brian williams made an aggressive push to do the tonight show. gym jimmy fallon got the job. does he want to be an aentertainer. >> he made an aggressive push. what is interesting is he wanted to look at these other platforms but these were old media platforms. he doesn't have a big twitter following. he doesn't have a facebook following. hen he wanted to expand his platform he wanted to move into
the entertainment world. i think that hurt him in this crisis. as the up swell of criticism washed over him, he didn't have a social media presence to push back. >> he's never used the twitter. he has a quarter of a million followers. it was facebook where these questions were raised. it was soldiers that took him down. >> that's the fear that i imagine nbc has. say they do want to give him a second chance you now have the mass world out there looking. >> it's a great example of the accountability function of the web. ordinary internet users, ordinary people watching this program can hold us accountable in ways they never could before. before the chopper scandal, brian williams was nbc news
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that's after they pay things like brian williams $10 million sallyary salary. he was been the anchor for american a decade. the investigation into his reporting which prompted a six-month suspension without pay is is. >> nbc news used to be the envy of the tv news world and maybe one day it will be again. but right now, it's a punching bag and a punch line. >> nbc in this case stands for not being cancelled. >> reporter: the news division is famous for huntly and brinkly, for katie and bryant for tim and tom. but problems were piling up even before last week when brian williams recanted the tale of being in a chopper of an rpg fire in iraq. cash cow stuck in second place still suffering from the 2012 decision to force out. the network just finished an exit deal for her. >> what's happened to the two marquee shows, the today show
and "nbc nightly news" is rather stunning. no one would have predicted years ago that the today show would have got overtaken and "nbc nightly news" would have a scandal where the network is tumbling before our very eyes. >> reporter: also ousted david gregory from meet the press last fall and forced to announce the news of his departure via twitter. on air, trying to rehab nancy snyderman after ebola quarantine from west africa tornling her credibility. >> good people can make mistakes. >> reporter: and the network is regretting a series of reporting mistakes most recently saying bowe bergdahl about to be charged with desertion, something that hasn't happened. parent company comcast hates the drama because hurts the bottom line hundreds of millions in ad revenue but also it's got bigger business going on. a pending merger with time warner cable. >> it's a colossal embarrassment
for comcast. comcast is trying to pull off a merger in d.c. and mergers are to a significant degree of pr effort to help the image of the company and to show that the company is dedicated to consumerism and good product and good management and having brian williams out saying blah blah blah doesn't help a bit especially given that this story is enormous inside the beltway and that's just precisely where comcast needs a healthy and receptive environment for their merger. >> reporter: at this point, nbc wants to stop being the news and just get back to telling it. >> you know i worked at nbc. it's where i grew up. i was so proud to work there. a wonderful organization lot of friends there. tim, brian, tom. those people were mentors. it is a wonderful place. >> it was mount rush more of television news. >> there was but i have a lot of friends who still work there and there is frustration and uncertainty in what's going to
happen. and who's running it. >> some people do not have confidence in the management to run the place but that's partly why the president of nbc news debra turness, met with department and shows, answering questions and listening to feedback. there was a lot of anger but i think the listening to her may help her try to control the news division. >> and hopefully answer the fair questions all those people have. >> that's right. there's a lot of them. >> brian stelter, thank you very much. outfront next, jeanne moos on what it's like the receiving end of a jon stewart dig. you're kind of honored but also deeply embarrassed.
>> change out of my work slacks. >> reporter: jon stewart started out slightly stiff. >> welcome. >> reporter: and ended up loosy goosy. >> i'm so excited. >> reporter: who needs a joke when you've got that signature stare? he welcomed foreign presidents. >> this is an american delicacy. it's called a twinkie. >> reporter: disputed 2000 election. >> i was not elected to serve one party. >> you were not elected. >> reporter: he's elected to quit while he's ahead praising staff. >> i love and respect them so much. >> we love you! >> reporter: tweeted one fan, i regret to inform you that we are unable to accept your resignation at this time. sincerely, literally everyone. yeah, well, maybe not those he chose to imitate. >> with all due respect, not a credible statement. >> oh with all due respect. >> reporter: did you say respect? >> it's the right thing to do.
>> well you carry your house around on your back! >> reporter: mostly he gazed. sometimes he gawked. >> you ever listen to your program? >> reporter: after being the butt of stewart's jokes, arby's reacted this way to his planned departure. jon, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com. jon stewart felt the rap for eating pizza with utensils. >> are you eating it with a fork? a [ bleep ] fork? >> reporter: after that tirade we need -- >> your moment of zen. >> reporter: you know what's really scary? when you're sitting at home watching "the daily show" and you realize, you're the one about to be skewered give it to me jon. >> covering their coverage of the malaysian plane story. >> reporter: a public fascination with the plaid shirts mitchell casa doe seemed to be wearing. mitch's plaid shirt started its
own twitter account. who's going to keep an eye on us? well you're gone, jon. teach us the proper way to eat pizza. >> watch and learn, for god's sakes! >> reporter: jeanne moos cnn. new york. >> thanks so much for joining us. "ac360" begins right now. good evening, thanks for joining us. there's a lot happening, president obama asking to put a stamp of approval to war with isis worried about muslim community becoming targets. also brian williams the truth. the disaster with the man who wrote the book on it. douglas brinkley joins us tonight and later tonight drew griffin exposes an alleged car scheme that could make some insurance companies at risk with your safety. we begin at chapel hill north carolina was it the outcome of a dispute between