Return to Transcripts main page


Kerry: Snowden Should Face Justice; White House Reacts to Snowden Case; Flooding Continues in Canada; Important Immigration Vote in Senate Today; U.S. Markets Tumble; Nick Wallenda Makes Historic High-Wire Walk.

Aired June 24, 2013 - 13:30   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State John Kerry said NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, needs to come back to the United States and face justice. Secretary Kerry is traveling in India right now. He weighed in a little while ago on the fugitive, Snowden, who has been trying to avoid prosecution in the United States on espionage charges. He told our Elise Labott that Snowden broke the oath he made to be loyal to the United States.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is a man who is accused of having conducted -- committed three major acts of espionage against his nation who, by his own admission, stood up on television and announced to people that he was the person who did this, and broke faith with the oath he took to serve his nation, to protect it, to defend the Constitution, and to keep faith with his fellow workers.


BLITZER: Secretary Kerry also said he put Americans at risk with his actions.

The secretary isn't the only high-ranking official who is mad about the Snowden case. There are others who are angry as well, including the president. We heard from the White House last hour.

Jessica Yellin was there. She was just at the briefing.

Jessica, the White House press secretary seemed pretty aggravated when he spoke about Snowden. Tell us what happened.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This is a tricky dance for the White House. They are working this behind the scenes through both diplomatic and legal channels, but not sounding terribly optimistic that any of the countries named as a potential place of harbor for Snowden will ultimately turn him over.

In the briefing, Jay Carney blamed China for letting Snowden leave Hong Kong, and said that China's relationship with the U.S. is going to be strained as a result of it. And then he flipped that to pressure Russia into turning Snowden over.

I asked, so, has President Obama gotten on the phone with Russia's President Putin and called him and said, hey, we'd like him back, do what we can to get him back to the U.S. Here is what Jay Carney had to say.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's no reason why, given international law, given the relationships that we have with countries in question that this will require a communication from the president. Again, I'm not reading out presidential communications. There are communications at all the appropriate levels. And we note, as I just did, that we have a strong cooperative relationship with the Russians on law enforcement matters, and we expect them to examine the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden for --


CARNEY: his return to the United States.


YELLIN: -- if he isn't returned.

CARNEY: I think, as I just said, when it comes to our relations with Hong Kong and China that we see this as a setback in their efforts to build -- the Chinese -- their efforts to build mutual trust. And our concerns, I think, are pretty clearly stated.


YELLIN: He said very clearly that the White House believes Snowden is definitely in Russia. And one of the reasons that the president -- this is not what Jay said. But we can understand that one of the reasons the president would not put himself out and go on television or pick up the phone and call President Putin is because you wouldn't want the U.S. president to put his own name and prestige on the line in case in a case such as this where it seems so unlikely it would get results. Whereas, it's unlikely maybe that Snowden would come back. From Russia's perspective, if this is a political crime and a crime of conscience, and if Snowden is seen as a dissident and not a criminal, there's no history of Russia returning dissidents to the U.S. -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Did he explain -- and this has been perplexing -- why the U.S. waited until Saturday, two weeks into this whole crisis, to actually revoke his passport?

YELLIN: He did. He used a whole lot of bureaucratese to say that only in felony cases do they trigger an immediate process where it's immediately pulled, but he made it clear Hong Kong authorities were told through back channels that he should not be allowed to travel. It was made -- according to the White House, essentially, it was made clear to authorities in Hong Kong that it was, his passport was probably revoked, even though they hadn't officially done it. Ad it's the view of the White House authorities that they didn't follow what the U.S. advice was in this instance.

BLITZER: The Hong Kong authorities say the U.S. didn't dot the "I"s and cross the "T"s. I raise the question and it's a sensitive matter because the day that Snowden was basically bragging about leaking all this information, revealing it, Tom Fuentes, a former assistant FBI director, was on CNN and he said the U.S. needs to revoke his passport immediately in order to force the government in Hong Kong to hand him over to the United States. That's why it's so perplexing why everyone waited. I know the White House was watching what Tom Fuentes was saying on CNN. That's why it's so extraordinary to me that they waited till Saturday to go ahead and do it.

But I suspect there's more to come on this part of the story as well. We'll be digging deeper. One again, our entire 6:00 p.m. hour of "The Situation Room" later today will be devoted to this story. A lot more coming up.

Jessica Yellin at the White House, thank you.

There's other news we're following here in the CNN NEWSROOM. 65,000 people head home in Calgary, Alberta, but the flooding danger isn't over for towns nearby. We'll have the latest on the deadly Canadian floods.


BLITZER: In western Canada, flood waters are receding in Calgary and tens of thousands of people are moving back into their home. Another Alberta city is bracing for flooding today. Southeast of Calgary, some ten thousand people have been evacuated from Medicine Hat. Thousands of sand bags have been stacked as the city prepares for the river to overflow. Officials expect the water to be higher than the flood of 1995. That was Medicine Hat's worst ever.

This is a potentially very important day for comprehensive immigration reform. Senators are scheduled to vote around 5:30 p.m. eastern on an amendment to the bill that will boost border security.

Joining us now is our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Gloria, how much pressure would the House Speaker John Boehner be under if the Senate votes in favor of the amendment?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he would be under an awful lot of pressure from the Senate, and also internally from his own Republican caucus. But I might tell you that caucus is divided. What he has said is that he won't bring a bill to the floor unless he has a majority of his own majority behind it. That could be really problematic for him, Wolf, because a lot of these Republicans that came in 2010, Tea Party conservatives -- call them what you will -- are opposed to immigration reform because they don't trust the government to do the border enforcement that the Senate will vote on. It's going to be a huge issue for him. It splits the Republican Party down the middle.

BLITZER: No doubt it's going to pass in the Senate --

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: -- this amendment that will come up. Whether it gets 60 or 70 votes, that could be an issue. We'll see how many it gets.

Here's the bottom line question, why are House and Senate Republicans, Gloria, acting so differently on this sensitive issue?

BORGER: I think Senate Republicans, some of them, tend to look at this as a more national issue for the Republican Party and they understand that the party lost Hispanics by over 40 points during the last presidential election year. They understand that if the party wants to be a national party, i.e. regain the presidency at some point, it has to do something on immigration reform. If you look at it and you're a house Republican from a conservative district and you run every two years, Wolf, what you're really concerned about is not so much the next presidential election but you're concerned about whether you're going to be challenged by a more conservative Republican in a primary. They are looking at it very locally, if you will. And in the Senate, Republicans tend to look at it more nationally, although there are a handful of Republican Senators who agree with those House Republicans and say, you know what, we don't trust the government to do the border enforcement that they are promising to do in this bill.

BLITZER: I suspect comprehensive immigration reform will pass the Senate. But the question remains, what happens to it in the House of Representatives.

BORGER: Exactly.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

After last week's nose dive, markets once again down today. Coming up, we're going live to the New York Stock Exchange to find out when the slide might stop.


BLITZER: Let's get into a check of the markets. There you see, the Dow down about 100 or so points.

Let's bring in Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange.

Alison, seems there's two major factors at work. There was a big drop in China's markets earlier in the day. And there's been worries over the Federal Reserve since last week.

What happened in China?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: What happened in China is the People's Bank of China, the Chinese equivalent to our Federal Reserve here in the U.S., what it essentially did was told the country's biggest banks there to get it together, meaning to stop handing out loans so freely. Now that it said that, the big concern is there could be a crash crunch, a credit crunch that will hurt China, which is the world's second-biggest economy, because, when banks aren't lending, that creates a credit freeze. It's like what we had here during our recession. A crunch like that has a potential to take a big bite out of global economic growth. It makes it difficult to borrow and have access to credit. That's why you see investors spooked by that move.

Then you have worries about our own central bank here, the Federal Reserve. Investors are still on edge about when the Fed will pull back on the billions of dollars it's pumping into our economy each month. That's sort of the carryover from last week when the Fed had its meeting.

The good news is, although the Dow is down in the triple digits, 117 points, Wolf, it's off the lows of this session. At one point today, the Dow is down as much as 250 points.

BLITZER: Over the past few days, it's down 800 or almost a thousands points, right?

KOSIK: No, not almost a thousands points. You're not looking at a correction. It's not into correction territory yet. Many people are just calling this a pull back.

BLITZER: A lot of investors are a little antsy right now when they see what's going on.

Alison, thanks very much.

The school year is over and the final report cards are out, but what about a grade for the U.S. economy? Christine Romans explains, the grade you'd give it depends on your personal situation in this week's "Smart is the New Rich."


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: How would you grade the economy? If you don't have a job, you might give it an "F." But if you're in the stock market, it might get an "A." The economy is still on fragile ground but the recovery is for real.

A new CNN/ORC poll shows a growing percentage say economic conditions are good, 35 percent, a number that's been steadily rising since the end of 2012. That's how you're feeling. But I've been conducting a little poll of my own. School is out for summer. The report card on the economy is in.


ROMANS (voice-over): Summer is here and stocks are in turmoil after a 13 percent gain this year. Unemployment is still too high. Investors are making a fortune in housing but nearly 10 million people owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth.

There are a rash of statistics to measure this recovery. But let's look at this way. Let's give it a good old-fashioned letter grade, starting with a man whose firm manages $2 trillion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would give the economy A-B to a B-plus. It is getting better but not fast enough.

ROMANS: He buys and sells bonds. These guys are real-estate tycoons.


UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: What do you think, Mort?


ROMANS: And here is a Harvard professor.

UNIDENTIFIED PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think it's a B-plus at this point. We should be creating way, way more jobs.

ROMANS: And the view from the stock market?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think B-minus. The economy has held up well. Maybe it's more of a C-plus. I give it a B-minus because the government sector is fading. Government job growth is fading.

ROMANS: He is talking about Washington belt-tightening. Belt- tightening at exactly the wrong time says this former Clinton adviser.

UNIDENTIFIED FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: On fiscal policy from the Congress, I am afraid I will not give a passing grade right now.

ROMANS: "Wall Street Journal" editorial writer and critic of the Obama administration.

STEVE MOORE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: I give it about a B-minus but I'm optimistic about the future. You got the low interest rates, you've got the housing recovery. I'm pretty optimistic we may see that B-minus turn into a B-plus.

ROMANS: And, finally, the former chair of President Obama's economic team doesn't give a grade but nails how many Americans are feeling about the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED FORMER CHAIR, PRESIDENTIAL ECONOMIC TEAM: I don't know. The economic conditions, I'd say modest at best.

ROMANS (on camera): OK, so the average for the U.S.? It's about B- minus. Let's say it's a B-minus. What about Europe? Give Europe -- the Eurozone gets a D. And what about China? That grade is a B-plus, but it is slipping.

So the U.S. is doing pretty well compared to the rest of the world. But these grades matter less than how you grade your personal economy, right?

Here are five ways you can improve your marks. These are all pasted (ph). Spend less than you earn. Cut your debt. Save for college and retirement. Rebalance your investments. Do it now. And refinance your mortgage.


BLITZER: Christine Romans, good advice as usual.

High winds, slippery shoes, even dust in his eyes -- none of it was enough to stop Nick Wallenda's latest high-wire stunt. We're going to show you more.


BLITZER: There were certainly some tense moments 15,000 feet over Hellhole Bend. That's daredevil, Nick Wallenda, making history on a hire-wire walk near the Grand Canyon. If you're a Wallenda, doing stuff like this is in your blood.

Miguel Marquez takes us on a harrowing thrill ride.


NICK WALLENDA, THE FLYING WALLENDAS: Shoes feel slippery. There's dust on this cable.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It didn't start well.

WALLENDA: Just need to relax more. That's right. Kind of hard to relax when you're 1,500 feet above the canyon.

MARQUEZ: 22 minutes and 54 seconds of death-defying, vertigo-inducing thrill.

WALLENDA: That's a view there, buddy.

MARQUEZ: A two-inch thick cable stretching a quarter mile across the Little Colorado River.

WALLENDA: I'm not liking it.

MARQUEZ: The most hair raising part of the Discovery Channel- sponsored feat --

WALLENDA: Lord, help this cable to calm down.

MARQUEZ: When the seventh-generation daredevil's balance pole began swinging, teetering higher and higher.

WALLENDA: Winds are way worse than I expected.

MARQUEZ: Was he losing control?

WALLENDA: You don't have to tell me how long I'm on the wire.

MARQUEZ: Twice he stopped. Kneeling to regain his composure and steady the wire quivering under his feet.


MARQUEZ: Over Hellhole Bend, and without a tether or safety harness, the 34-year-old thrill seeker, sounding more like a preacher.

WALLENDA: Thank you, lord.

MARQUEZ: High wires and high tension, a Wallenda family trait.

Our own Kate Bolduan recently had a lesson with him.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You just make nervous into focus? Is that how you --

WALLENDA: Yeah. Once it's time to go, it's time to go. After that first step, there's no turning back.

MARQUEZ: No turning back, another family trait. Nick's great grandfather, Karl Wallenda, put the Flying Wallendas together in 1922. In 1978, in Puerto Rico, he fell 10 stories to his death. That was 10 months before Nick was born.

WALLENDA: My great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, said life is on the wire. Everything else is just waiting. This is life.

MARQUEZ: Life on a wire, cheating death one more day.

ROBBIE KNIEVEL, STUNT MOTORCYCLIST: On a scale from one to 10, what he did tonight was unbelievable. I mean, I'd give it a 10.

MARQUEZ: For the finale, Nick Wallenda ran to the finish.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Cameron, Arizona.


BLITZER: That was truly, truly amazing.

It's a dinosaur from a past computer era. You're going to find out how much this Apple computer is expected to go for at auction today.


BLITZER: Yes, it's good. Very, very good to be the king for the second straight year. LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates are celebrating an NBA title. The NBA's most valuable player stood on top of a double-decker bus as it wound its way through downtown Miami today. Hundreds of thousands of fans lined the parade route that headed inside to a rally at American Airlines Arena. Congratulations to the Heat.

We all know Apple fans are ready to line up for the latest gadget. But what about an Apple computer that's 37 years old? Well, the Apple 1 was put up for auction today. It's one of the few remaining original Apple computers left in the world. It's mostly just a keyboard and a circuit board. Only about 200 were ever built. Auction house, Christie's, is predicting it will sell -- get this -- for between $300,000 and $500,000. Wow. Got some old computers in my basement. Let's see what they're worth.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern with "The Situation Room." Brooke Baldwin picks up our coverage right now.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf Blitzer, thank you so much.

Good to see all of you on this Monday. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

You know what?