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Interview with NBA Superstar LeBron James; Snowden on the Move; Tennis Drama; Supreme Court to Hand Down Major Decisions

Aired June 24, 2013 - 06:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. I'm Chris Cuomo.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Bolduan. We're here with Michaela Pereira.

It is Monday, June 24th.

Coming up this half hour, he's king of the court. NBA finals MVP LeBron James sits down exclusively with our Rachel Nichols and gets personal from his fiancee to moving to Miami, and see a very personal side of the man known as King James.

CUOMO: But here on NEW DAY: we have news, news, and more news. So, let's get to Michaela Pereira right now for the stories, Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris and Kate. Welcome back.

Making news this NEW DAY: an international case of "catch me if you can" with governments openly defying the U.S. Edward Snowden, a self- proclaimed NSA leaker on the move with help from WikiLeaks. He was believed to be boarding a plane from Moscow to Cuba. The flight is taking off at this very moment. We do not know if he is confirmed on board. His final destination could be Ecuador. Snowden has asked that country for asylum.

The U.S. has released a scathing statement overnight criticizing governments who are helping Snowden.

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez keeping a low profile as police investigate the murder of Oden Lloyd, who's body was found near his home. Hernandez was last seen on Friday afternoon, entering his house in north Attleboro, Massachusetts. He has not been charged with anything so far. On Saturday, police were spotted leaving the home, carrying bags filled with evidence.

To Alberta, Canada, now. Devastating flooding has left three people dead, thousands had fled their homes in Medicine Hat, where the Saskatchewan River is expected to crest today. No place has been hit harder than a town of river, south of Calgary. That area remains under mandatory evacuation orders. In other parts of Calgary, 65,000 people were allowed to return home yesterday to begin assessing the damage.

New information this morning, a brake indicator issue forced a United Boeing 787 flight from Houston to Denver back to Houston. The plane apparently landed without incident, no injuries as well, on Sunday. Now, this is the second mechanical problem a 787 dreamer has faced in just the last week.

Quite a touching tribute from the winner of the Boston marathon. The men's champion returned his medal to the city, saying he wanted to honor those who lost their lives in the April bombings. The Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa said had told thousands who gathered Sunday that sports should never be used as a battleground. He also met with some of the victims of the attack.

What a beautiful and powerful message to share.

BOLDUAN: In the wake of the bombing, it was who won, who came in second and third, that was all lost very quickly. It was very, very sweet what he did.

PEREIRA: Very strong move he did.

CUOMO: Elevating sport. Keeping it always about something better. Great move for Lelisa Desisa. One of the best names I've heard in a long time.


CUOMO: Speaking about great names in sports, we have a CNN exclusive: the king for you. LeBron James, the NBA king, led the Miami heat to their second consecutive NBA championship, and even won the MVP. So, question: does LeBron James still have any haters?

He sat down with the one and only Rachel Nichols. Great to have you, Rachel. Great interview.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS: Well, thank you so much. Good morning, guys. Chris, you're right. I mean, the expectations on LeBron, the scrutiny, it's really like no other athlete who's come before him. It's actually so bad, he has to force himself to stay off the Internet through the entire playoffs, get rid of his phone, just so none of this messes with his head.

You guys are going to see here the reward of all that intensity, is that the joy, well, it's pretty extreme as well.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: Last year you kind of -- the time went by so fast, and it's like, wow, dang, did I really just -- it's gone. It's gone like that. So I want to make sure I take full advantage of this one.

NICHOLS: After you won your title last year, you said it was the toughest thing you had ever done. And then after you won the title this year, you said you were going to go back and tell the guy from last year, no, no, no, this is the toughest thing I've ever done. Why?

JAMES: I want to say I apologize to you. I lied to you last year.

NICHOLS: Indeed, directly to my face.

JAMES: This one right here was definitely tougher. I'll tell you one thing, I love the feeling.

NICHOLS: I know that during the playoffs you try to tune out all that outside noise and that you get off social media and you turn in your phone and that kind of thing. What do you do?

JAMES: I watch a lot of old basketball finals games and playoff games, watch some TV series, some TV shows. I ripped through "24," a few seasons of that. I watched a lot of the old Bulls finals games.

NICHOLS: So, Michael Jordan and Kiefer Sutherland got you through the playoffs?

JAMES: Got me through it. Got me through it. Yes, got me through it. That's pretty good.

NICHOLS: You're engaged to your high school sweetheart. There's people who don't know that. You guys have two sons. You joked the night after that you won the title, if you hadn't won, you're getting married this summer, and you might have to call off the wedding.

I would like to know what your fiancee thought about that.

JAMES: She would drag me by my collar, no matter how I look, to get up there and say "I do." She runs the house, though.

NICHOLS: You've been in the public eye since you were 16 years old. When you came down to Miami, it's the first time you've been away from home. I mean, you know, from that kid to this man getting married, it's big change.

JAMES: Even though I played for Cleveland for eight years, I was still living in my hometown of Akron. So, I was in Akron for 25 straight years and that's all I know. It almost runs in my family.

When I made that change, it was very challenging for me. It's made me, I guess, grow. It's made me comfortable in playing the game of basketball at a higher level.

NICHOLS: Being more of a grown-up now, being more comfortable, being an adult, it can't be a coincidence that you feel that way off the court and then professionally you're in the best time professionally of your life, winning two championships.

JAMES: Right, timing. Timing. I'm just trying to take full advantage of it.


NICHOLS: You know, it's been fascinating to watch LeBron up close these past dozen years because he was always a mature kid, but he was a kid. As he says there, moving to Miami, so many 20-somethings, you leave home for the first time, it forces you to grow up. You change.

That's obviously helped him personally and helped him professionally as well. He hasn't done too bad for himself lately.

BOLDUAN: He seems settled. I guess it comes with the growing up. A lot of criticism was he was really cocky. I mean, kind of the fanfare of his decision to go down to Miami, it seems that he's really kind of settled into his own.

NICHOLS: He's acknowledged he didn't handle that well. He was 25 years old, which a lot of people don't quite remember.

And it is interesting. There's rumors he might leave Miami in a year. There's an option for him to leave in his contract.

There's some people who even would like to see him go back to Cleveland. I did ask him about that, and he said, he's not really addressing that yet. But he did say he's sure he will handle the whole thing better and differently than last time, which is good to hear.

CUOMO: It is good to hear. Rachel Nichols, great interview.

NICHOLS: Thank you.

CUOMO: Always good to have you here.

NICHOLS: Thanks, too.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Rachel.

CUOMO: We're going to take a quick break here. When we come back, the newest news on no soldier left behind. A father's emotional plea to bring his son home. How a breakdown in peace talks could affect the fate of the only American prisoner of war in Afghanistan.

BOLDUAN: Plus, a verbal bombing between two top tennis players there. The latest about Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova's war of words. It's getting a little ugly. That's ahead in our "Bleacher Report."


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

This morning, American officials are trying to salvage the peace talks with the Taliban and Afghanistan. Today, a U.S. special envoy is set to meet with Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

The breakdown in talks is raising new concerns about the fate of only known U.S. prisoner of war, Bowe Bergdahl. Seeing pictures of him right there. And now, his family is speaking out for his freedom.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has more on that.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Peace talks that could help bring army sergeant, Bowe Bergdahl, home appear to be crumbling. The Taliban has said it's willing to exchange the only known captive American soldier for five of its imprisoned leaders. But the Afghan government's anger over the Taliban's newly opened office in the country of Qatar threatens to derail the talks.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: You know, it's sort of been stepped back from. Now, we need to see if we can get back on track. I don't know whether that's possible or not.

LAVANDERA: Half a world away in a weekend rally in Bowe Bergdahl's honor, his father is making a passionate plea for all sides to talk.

ROBERT BERGDAHL, BOWE BERGDAHL'S FATHER: To the people of Afghanistan, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). May the peace of God and the blessings that come from God be upon you. May we somehow, after 12 long years, find peace in Afghanistan so that our soldiers, our American personnel can come home.

LAVANDERA: Yellow ribbons still line the streets of Bowe Bergdahl's hometown of Hailey, Idaho. And "Bring Bowe home" banners hanging from store fronts show four years of weathered strain.

(on-camera): There is reason for hope here in Hailey. There have been very little new information of Bowe Bergdahl's condition until a few weeks ago when Bergdahl's parents received what they believe is a handwritten letter from their son, delivered to them through the Red Cross from the Taliban.

(voice-over): At this weekend's rally, you could sense his parent's anguish.

BERGDAHL: A father does not leave his son alone on the battlefield. I do not live here. I live in Afghanistan. My cell phone is set on Afghan time.

I will not leave you on the battlefield, Bowe. These people here will not leave you on the battlefield. Your country will not leave you on the battlefield. You are not forgotten.

LAVANDERA: The Bergdahl sense this is the best chance they've ever have had to bring Bowe home. They pray this moment doesn't slip away.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Hailey, Idaho.


BOLDUAN: All right, Ed. Thanks for that, Ed.

Now, let's get straight to Indra Petersons in the weather center for what's looking like today.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning. A little bit unusual today. We have something called an atmospheric river, which really means record breaking rain possible for California. And what's so amazing this, typically, we can see this in the wintertime. Look at the moisture -- California way over there. This moisture comes all the way from Southeast Asia, all the funnels into the area, bringing heavy rain.

Now, if you saw this in the wintertime, which typically we do in California, you can see eight to ten inches of rain. We get it now, yes, it's record breaking, but only one to two inches. Higher piece could see two to four inches and it's good news.

Of course, you don't want a lot of rain at once. But any rain they're getting after the season is good news for drought conditions currently in the area. The bad side of it, yes, we have the rain and it's cool weather here, but it also means you have contrasting air masses, really just means hot, dry, and humid -- or dry conditions on the other side. So, unfortunately, that's not good news for the fire dangers. We'll be monitoring this as well.

But very unusual for this time of year. So, it kind of interesting to see how this stands out today.

BOLDUAN: All right. We'll watch it. Indra, thank you.]

CUOMO: Something I've never heard of before -- I know it's happened before, but these teams are trading not only players but also a coach. You hear about this?

BOLDUAN: I thought that was because I didn't know sports that well.

CUOMO: Basketball off-season nearing completion. They just had their big championship.

But this trade involving the Celtics and the Clippers, I believe, has a coach in there.

Andy Scholes with our "Bleacher Report", we'll make it more makes sense. Andy, I know it's happened before, but this is very unusual, right? Tell us what's happened.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, it's definitely very unusual. You don't see it happen very often. According to reports, the Boston Celtics, they basically agreed to trade their head coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for a first round draft pick in 2015. Now, negotiations for this deal have been on and off for weeks, and two sides finally -- they came to terms yesterday. Originally, the Celtics, they discussed trading Rivers along with Kevin Garnett to the Clippers for draft picks and for DeAndre Jordan.

However, the NBA front office, they stepped in and said teams are not allowed to trade coaches for active players. So, Rivers, he's going to be going to L.A. all by himself.

And guys, it's going to be a party in downtown Miami this morning as the Heat celebrate their second consecutive championship with a parade. Around 400,000 fans packed the streets for last year's victory parade. Another huge crowd is expected today. Now, the celebration will end at the American Airlines Arena where King James is going to address his loyal subjects, also known as the Heat season ticket holders.

CUOMO: Very nice. Tell us about the tennis drama.

BOLDUAN: Yes. What is this all about?

SCHOLES: Oh, man. This is a good one, guys. If you haven't been following this one, hold on to your seats here. It all started when Serena Williams gave an interview to "Rolling Stone" magazine where she said she took a shot basically at Maria Sharapova's dating practices and her interview style.

Now, Sharapova, she fired right back at Serena, making reference to Serena's alleged current boyfriend, which is her tennis coach. Now, yesterday, Serena she got back at it and she took the podium kind of try to take the high road and set things straight.


SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: I said, look, I want to personally apologize to you. If you are offended by what -- by being brought into my situation. And I want to take that, this moment, to just pour myself and be open and say I am very sorry for this whole situation.


CUOMO: Good enough? What do you think?

SCHOLES: It's an interesting apology. She said kind of sorry that you were offended, which is not really sorry.


BOLDUAN: Exactly. How can I not be? I made fun of your dating practices, your interview style. It's crazy.

CUOMO: Also, a little bit of a dovetail here with the man involved. Isn't there -- isn't that part of the allegation?

SCHOLES: Yes. It seems Sharapova is currently dating Serena's ex- boyfriend. So, that might be the source a little of this tension going on right there.

BOLDUAN: I'm not trying to give anyone advice, but why don't you just leave the personal life and the relationship drama off the court.


CUOMO: Serena speaks large on the court, that's for sure. Andy Scholes, thank you very much for the "Bleacher Report." There you go. Were you impressed by the fact that I know who tennis players are dating? Anyone?

BOLDUAN: I actually was impressed. I was waiting to see if you're going to pull it or not.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, Edward Snowden says, "Catch me if you can." A global game of hide and seek as the NSA leaker tries to find asylum abroad. We have reporters around the globe tracking his every move. And we're going to go in depth with what this means for the U.S.

BOLDUAN: Plus, the queen of southern cooking, Paula Deen, in more hot water, if it is possible. The business deal she's in jeopardy of losing. That's coming up.


BOLDUAN: We're kicking off 30 free minutes of commercial free news, so let's start with our political gut check in the morning. All the stories you need to know coming out of Washington, and there's a whole lot of it.

CUOMO: We have a decision day at the Supreme Court, major cases still left undecided. Also, China and Russia sheltering a U.S. fugitive. Will Edward Snowden get sent back to the U.S.? A very big question.

BOLDUAN: Yes. John King is here to break it all down for us, CNN's chief national correspondent. So, John, we've got a lot to get to, but first, let's just ask you real quick about kind of the fallout of Edward Snowden. I mean, my wonder is what are the political -- what's the political fallout for the president with the understanding that this is not even over yet?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not over yet, and we need to make that clear. We don't know Mr. Snowden's final stop. However, so far, it's embarrassing. Look, the president has said, you know, personal relationships help you on the global stage. He just had that big meeting with the Chinese president out in California. Beijing can say Hong Kong is a little different.

Hong Kong makes its decisions all it wants, but anyone who knows how the system works on national security matters, Mr. Snowden does not leave China without the permission of Beijing. So, a snub for the United States there. We don't know what happen behind the scenes, but definitely, a snub to the president.

And now, in Moscow, we've watched President Obama and President Putin spar over cyber wars, spar over Syria, spar over other things, and it looks at the moment as if the president of the United States is about to get snubbed again by Vladimir Putin. So, where does Mr. Snowden end up? But I think the bigger question, guys, is what does he have still?

If he gets asylum in Ecuador, are there more embarrassments, more leaks, more disclosures? You saw the head of the NSA on TV yesterday saying this has significantly, dramatically, permanently undermined U.S. national security. So, you have the policy fallout and some political embarrassment.

BOLDUAN: In Washington, another huge story today is the Supreme Court wrapping up its term. We could get some of the -- we could get the remainder of the big rulings coming out this morning. I mean, we're talking everything from affirmative action and how it relates to getting into public universities, same-sex marriage, and voting rights.

I mean, you couldn't talk about three bigger issues for the Supreme Court to be taking on. But it does make you wonder when you got so much in front of the court and their decisions set to come out, what do you think -- which decision, which ruling do you think will have the biggest political implication for people across the country?

KING: It really depends in these cases because they can do sweeping rulings like throw out state-based affirmative action at universities. They could simply say, never mind. This is -- we don't think this is necessary anymore. They could throw out the 1965 voting act. You've still got a number of states in this country where they have, in the past and some say still now, have discriminatory election practices.

So, they have to pre-submit their election plans to the justice department. And they could make a landmark decision about same-sex marriage or they could make a very limited decision about California's Prop 8, about the Defense of Marriage Act. So, we have to see how sweeping the court system is.

But look at the significance of this. This is essentially the social infrastructure of the civil rights era when you look at voting rights and affirmative action. And now, you look at this new social infrastructure because the debate over same-sex marriage has changed so dramatically just in the last few years. Look at the president's own conversion from an opponent to a proponent. So huge stakes on both of those issues as the court winds down.

CUOMO: So, the court will do what is going to do. In terms of what the executive and legislative can control, immigration is really the biggest issue on the plate right now. Another vote today. People are divided, John, as you know. We see in this country, this issue two very different ways. One is immigration reform means helping people who are in the country become assimilated into the economy and the social structure.

The other says, no, it's about how do we keep as many out as possible? Where do you see this coming out in the end?

KING: That's a fascinating question, because you can't get a bill, unless, you satisfy in Congress both of those concerns. Not keeping everyone out, but improving border security dramatically. We talked about this last week how the only way to get this bill through the Senate. There's been to significantly increase boots on the ground, border technology, build more of the fence.

You're not going to get conservatives in the Senate without the border security. You're not going to get liberals in the Senate and then as the debate moves more importantly over to the house without some kind of the path to citizenship. You had Chuck Schumer over the weekend essentially beating his chest, the political equivalent of trash talking, telling to House speaker, John Boehner, who's in a really difficult spot, guys, you have to have a path to citizenship.

Well, at the moment, Speaker Boehner might not have the votes to a path to citizenship. Usually, this trash talking doesn't affect what happens on the court or in the Congress, if you will, with the votes, but the speaker is in a tough position, because if his conservative base think he's being bullied by the White House or bullied by Democrats, it makes an incredibly complicated issue all the more so.

BOLDUAN: And it's complicated. As you said, Boehner is in a tough position, he often is, especially when he said last week that he's not going to bring a bill to the floor if he does not have a majority of support for Republicans. That's setting a high bar for him, especially on this touchy issue of immigration. Clearly, this isn't over. John King?

KING: No, it's not over. But next couple of weeks, next couple of weeks will be huge on this.

BOLDUAN: Yes. We'll talk much more about that. John King in Washington. Thanks, John.

As usual, we want to hear your thoughts on all of these topics that we're talking about. We run through them really quick. We want to get your thoughts on this. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, all of the above and also go to and let us know what you think.

CUOMO: You hear that?

BOLDUAN: I do hear that.

CUOMO: The music. What does that mean here on NEW DAY, time for the rock block, a quick tour of the interesting headlines topping the morning papers and the web from health, science, business, and beyond.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And beyond. My favorite place, beyond.

All right. First up, in "The Wall Street Journal," a major crackdown on student-aid scams. Federal officials targeting organized crime rings that are stealing hundreds of millions of college loans and grants.

From "The L.A. Times" reporting on the 92-year-old dam that's going to be torn down over the next three years. The San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River could collapse in an earthquake.

And from, a new weight loss study with pretty surprising results. Researchers found that eating two large meals a day helped people drop more weight than consuming six mini meals. So, we have to reformat the whole plan. Two big meals instead of six mini meals.

BOLDUAN: I was into the six mini meal plan --


BOLDUAN: Again, what I'm doing is wrong. Six big meals.

PEREIRA: No. Not the same math.

BOLDUAN: Only Christine Romans can pull that off.


BOLDUAN: All right. What's going on in business?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Money, money, money. Dow futures down 100 points this morning following a huge selloff in Asia. China's main stock index plunged five percent, closed at the lowest level since 2009 on worries about a credit squeeze there. Watch this space. Rough day on Wall Street.

The average pay of top bankers in the U.S. and Europe dropped by 10 percent last year. Pay cut for the bankers, the first decline in three years. But the average take home pay was $11.5 million last year. So, hold your tears.

Smashburger IPO delay. "The Wall Street Journal" says the burger chain has secured enough financing from private lenders, so it doesn't have to seek money from the public to expand. New lover (ph) Smashburgers.

BOLDUAN: We love burgers.

CUOMO: You don't eat two of them now. You eat one --

ROMANS: Mini burger.


BOLDUAN: You dissect (ph) it into six burgers.



BOLDUAN: If you want us to (INAUDIBLE) you more, we just did.

Finally, Indra Petersons is in the weather center with what you need to know before you head out the door.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. We could see some record breaking rain out here from what us, weather geek, call an atmospheric river, a moisture all the way from Southeast Asia barreling into California today. So, we're going to be watching out for that. Everywhere else in the country, really kind of the story. This rainy, wet weather, but more like the afternoon thunderstorms.

About a half inch anywhere from the northeast about an inch down to the southeast today. And then, it's all yes, it is our first week of summer and it feels that way. Look at all this hot weather. Look at these temperatures. 80s, 90s for a big chunk of the country. The only place that getting some of that cooler, milder weather is where we're talking about that rain in the pacific northwest. It feels like summer. BOLDUAN: It feels like summer. I like it. It feels like summer everywhere. Indra, thanks so much.

We're now at the top of the hour, which of course, you know, means it's time for the top news.