Editor’s note: Tune in to AC360° Thursday beginning at 10pm ET to watch Anderson Cooper’s interview with Mark Lippman.
(CNN) – An attorney for Casey Anthony’s parents rejected the suggestion Thursday that Cindy Anthony’s testimony in court contradicted earlier statements she’d made to authorities about Internet searches done on the Anthony family’s computer. And attorney Mark Lippman added that Cindy Anthony’s memory about the Web searching had become sharper in recent years because of a change in the medications she is taking for stress.
Testimony regarding Internet searches for chloroform, alcohol, and various key words relating to different types of bodily injury has been presented by the prosecution in Casey Anthony’s closely-watched murder trial – apparently in an effort to demonstrate that Casey Anthony premeditated the murder of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.
But in testimony Thursday, Casey Anthony’s mother, Cindy, told the jury that she – not Casey – had done some of the Web searching used as evidence in the case against her daughter.
“It does seem what she is saying now on the stand differs from what she told authorities a while back,” CNN’s Anderson Cooper said to Anthony family attorney Mark Lippman in an interview set to air Thursday on AC360°.
“Not necessarily,” responded Lippman, “if you listen to the questions very, very carefully that were asked and her answers.”
New York (CNN) – After a stealth U.S. military operation, notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden may be dead but the notion of a fundamental conflict between Islam and the West which he advocated remains a problem, according to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper whether the front line in the global war on terrorism has now shifted to Pakistan, the country where bin Laden was found and killed by the United States, or to Yemen, a growing center of influence for al Qaeda and those inspired by al Qaeda, Blair said the issue wasn’t that simple.
“Sometimes people say, ‘Well, what should we be worried about most? Would it be Afghanistan? Would it be Iraq? Would it be Pakistan? Would it be Yemen? Would it be Somalia?’ The answer to that question is all of those, I’m afraid,” Blair said in an interview set to air Friday on AC360°. “For me this is one struggle," continued Blair, “It’s got many different aspects to it. One is the security aspect. But the other is the narrative, the ideology that people like bin Laden represent. Because my fear is that the narrative has a far broader support than those engaged in extremism would suggest.”
Blair explained that he believes the number of individuals who turn to violence because of radical Islamic beliefs is “a relatively small number.” But, “those that buy into the narrative that there is this fundamental conflict, that the West is oppressing Islam, I think that stretches far deeper.”
Since leaving office in the U.K. Blair has worked as an envoy in the Middle East peace process.
Tune in to AC360° beginning at 10pm ET Friday to watch more of the Blair interview.
AC360° Digital Producer
(CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has no comment on a passage in former President George W. Bush’s recently released book that led a local newspaper to criticize McConnell for excessive partisanship.
In his new memoir, “Decision Points,” Bush writes that McConnell came to the Oval Office in September 2006, with the midterm elections fast approaching. McConnell told Bush that his unpopularity was going to cost the GOP control of Congress, the 43rd president writes in the book. When Bush asked for McConnell’s advice, the Kentucky senator told Bush he should withdraw some troops from Iraq, according to the memoir.
“He was not alone,” Bush writes of McConnell’s suggestion. “As violence in Iraq escalated, members of both parties had called for a pullout.”
The former president adds, “I made it clear I would set troop levels to achieve victory in Iraq, not victory at the polls.”
In an editorial published online Thursday, the Louisville Courier-Journal pointed to the passage in Bush’s book as evidence of McConnell’s penchant for partisanship.
“This incident, which Sen. McConnell's office has not denied, shines brightly on the contemptible hypocrisy and obsessive partisanship that have come to mark the senator's time in office,” the paper’s editorial says.
The editorial adds, “Unless he is prepared to call a former president of his own party a liar, Mr. McConnell has a choice. He can admit that he did not actually believe the Iraq mission was vital to American security, regardless of what he said at the time. Or he can explain why the fortunes of the Republican Party are of greater importance than the safety of the United States.”
In a written statement e-mailed to CNN, McConnell’s office refused to comment on Bush’s book. But the statement emphasized that McConnell has always supported full funding for American troops and giving Bush’s top military commander in Iraq sufficient time to execute a counterinsurgency strategy in the troubled country.
“Senator McConnell does not comment on any advice he may have given the President on improving the President’s political standing,” the statement reads. “But the public record is clear on his unwavering support for ensuring that our troops in the field were fully funded, and that General Petraeus was able to execute a counterinsurgency strategy on the ground in Iraq free of arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal even when it was politically unpopular to do so.”
–AC360° Joneil Adriano contributed to this report.
AC360° Digital Producer
(CNN) - Michigan's top lawyer is standing his ground - and fleshing out his legal position - when it comes to the controversial off-hours online behavior of one of his employees.
For months, Assistant Michigan Attorney General Andrew Shirvell has published "Chris Armstrong Watch," a personal blog that seeks to spotlight the comings-and-goings of Chris Armstrong, the first openly gay president of the University of Michigan student assembly.
In an interview Tuesday on AC360°, Shirvell defended his behavior, saying he is a concerned alum of the university who is invoking his constitutional right to speak out against what he views as Armstrong's agenda as the head of the school's student government.
"I'm a Christian citizen exercising my First Amendment rights," Shirvell told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I have no problem with the fact that Chris is a homosexual. I have a problem with the fact that he's advancing a radical homosexual agenda."
In an interview that airs Wednesday on AC360°, Shirvell's boss expressed distaste for his employee's behavior but insisted it was legally protected absent changed circumstances.
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox told Cooper that after receiving complaints at his office, he read portions of "Chris Armstrong Watch."
"As I expected you did," Cox told Cooper, "I found it a bit of rambling of a slightly immature adult. And I was a bit shocked by it."
Shirvell's "actions are offensive," Cox also said. But the top Michigan lawyer also maintained that Shirvell's personal blogging is a form of free speech protected by Michigan law and by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
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