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Heading to South Africa; Songs for Mandela; Former General Under Microscope; Immigration Reform Passes Senate; Zimmerman Murder Trial; Texas Abortion Battle Far from Over

Aired June 28, 2013 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Surely you can honor his legacy by leaving a proud legacy of your own.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Final pilgrimage. President Obama taking off for South Africa within minutes. Will he visit his personal hero, Nelson Mandela, as he remains on life support?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Sweeping reform, but will it pass? The Senate pushes through the most comprehensive immigration bill in decades now is in the hands of the Republican led House.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Trayvon got hit. The dramatic testimony from the star witness against George Zimmerman. A contentious back and forth with the defense that lasted for hours. We break it all down.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning and happy Friday. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Friday, June 28th, 6:00 in the east. I'm Chris Cuomo.

BOLDUAN: And I'm Kate Bolduan. We're joined by our news anchor, Michaela Pereira. A lot coming up this morning, developing at this hour. Did the four star general once the number two man in the military leak classified information about covert U.S. actions against Iran? The Justice Department is now investigating.

CUOMO: Plus, a really critical day in the trial of George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin's friend again on the stand and again fireworks.



DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You don't know that, do you?


WEST: You don't know that Trayvon got hit.

JEANTEL: He cut him, he had to.

WEST: You don't know Trayvon did, at that moment, take his fist and drive it into George Zimmerman's face, do you?

JEANTEL: No, sir.


CUOMO: That is the big question, who started the fight? Another question, did day four bring us closer to knowing? We're going to break it all down with our star team of analysts, Sunny Hostin, Vinnie Politan and Danny Cevallos.

PEREIRA: A then new twist in the case of former Patriots' player, Aaron Hernandez, was he also involved in a double murder last year and who is this alleged accomplice police are searching for now?

BOLDUAN: But first, let's get straight to some of the big news this hour, President Obama departs within minutes for a trip to South Africa. It's a trip that has taken on new urgency as Nelson Mandela remains on life support. The president may get to visit the ailing former leader, a personal hero of his in what is clearly set to be an emotional journey for the first couple.

CNN's Robyn Curnow is live in Pretoria with the latest. Good morning, Robyn.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. South Africans continue to gather outside this hospital where Nelson Mandela is struggling in the ICU. Remember he remains in a critical condition, but he is stable. Also he is still on life support needing help to breathe and of course, South Africans very anxious, all their focus on President Mandela's health.

It's overshadowing president Obama's trip. He is expected to land here in the next few hours. His plane about to take off from Senegal and it's very much a focus of South Africans to look here and not to Obama, but of course if anybody were to understand that, it would be the president himself. Take a listen to this.


CURNOW (voice-over): President Obama travels to South Africa today, a final pilgrimage to a personal hero. Inside this hospital, Nelson Mandela rest, his condition listed as critical but stable but to those who have gathered outside -- a sense that this may be the time to say their goodbyes. For President Obama, today is a chance for him to say his.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is a personal hero, but I don't think I'm unique in that regard. I think he's a hero for the world, and if and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we'll all know is that his legacy is one that will linger on throughout the ages.

CURNOW: A legacy Michelle Obama urged children in Senegal not to forget.

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Surely you can honor his legacy by leaving a proud legacy of your own. That's how I've tried to live my own life.

CURNOW: There's no confirmed visit for the Obamas with Mandela. They've made it known they'll come if the family wants them to. On Thursday, they visited Goree Island off Senegal's coast to see a final departure point for slaves headed to the Americas.

BARACK OBAMA: For an African-American, an African-American president to be able to visit this site, I think gives me even greater motivation in terms of defense of human rights around the world.

CURNOW: But today may be their most emotional visit yet.


CURNOW: President Obama will visit Robin Island where Mandela spent more than 20 years in prison -- Chris.

BOLDUAN: Robyn Curnow, thanks so much.

CUOMO: A former top military adviser to President Obama is under investigation this morning. Retired U.S. General James Cartwright is being questioned about leaking classified information to a reporter. NBC reports it concerns a computer virus that targeted Iran's nuclear facilities. CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us with the details. Barbara, can this be happening again?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Even for the Pentagon this is jaw-dropping. A source tells me overnight that yes, General Cartwright, retired, is under investigation by the Justice Department for material in the book by the "New York Times" journalist, David Sanger, his book "Confront and Conceal" talking in detail, many revelations about Iran's nuclear program.

NBC News reported this first, saying this is about the leak, did General Cartwright leak information about Stuxnets, one of the most classified crowned jewels of the intelligence, a sophisticated computer virus that infected Iran's nuclear program back in 2010, a real effort by the U.S. and also said to be by Israeli intelligence to slow Iran's nuclear program down.

Let's be clear, General Cartwright, by all accounts is not charged at this point with anything, is under investigation. I have to tell you, jaw-dropping because James Cartwright long acknowledged as one of the most brilliant minds in the U.S. military, an expert in nuclear weapons and cyber warfare -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Barbara, thank you very much. Later on in the show we'll unpack this more and figure out what's going on here and why it may have happened -- Kate. BOLDUAN: We turn our focus to Congress, an overwhelming victory for immigration reform, but it's a long way from becoming law. The overhaul bill passed the Senate by a vote of 68-32, it calls for stronger border security and creates a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, but there are serious doubts about whether it can pass the Republican-led House.

Let's go to chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, live in Washington. So it was a big vote yesterday, Dana, but still all eyes turn to the House.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right and one House Republican leader called it a, quote, "pipe dream" that the Senate bill can pass the House. Others simply say it's dead on arrival. Supporters in the Senate were hoping that this big bipartisan vote would give immigration reform momentum going into the Republican-led House, but that's hardly what we're hearing.


BASH (voice-over): The speaker of the House presides over the next step for immigration reform. He was noncommittal at best.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: We're going to go home for the recess next week and listen to our constituents and when we get back we're going to have a conference on July the 10th to have a discussion about the way forward.

BASH: Immigration politics is tricky business for House Republicans prone to pressure from conservative constituents to oppose any path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. John McCain gets it. He almost lost the 2008 GOP presidential nomination for supporting immigration reform.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: To our friends in the House, we ask for your consideration and we stand ready to sit down and negotiate with you.

BASH: Supporter Marco Rubio may be a future White House Republican hopeful.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I support this reform. Not just because I believe in immigrants, but I believe in America even more.

BASH: The Cuban-American used his closing argument to beat back conservative critics by humanizing the issue, talking about his own immigrant parents.

RUBIO: Well before they ever became citizens in their hearts they had already become Americans.

BASH: But the Republican split was on display, opponents saying they just don't believe supporters who promise the border would be secured before illegal immigrants can earn legal status.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a bill that puts security before legalization, not the other way around.

BASH: Despite the divide, senators agreed the vote was a big moment. They took the rare step of voting formally from their desks.



BASH: And the vice president presided.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The ayes of this bill are 68, the nays are 32. The bill as amended is passed.


BASH: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham joked that the fact they got 68 votes is a big deal in a body that can't even agree that Sunday is a day off. He made a serious point that he hopes the Republican Party is now beyond the issue of what he called self-deportation and Kate, that is a big thing driving this and it's what drove 14 Republicans to join all Democrats in supporting this because of very deep concern that their party is simply turning Latino voters off.

BOLDUAN: And getting 14 Republicans to join Democrats is a big statement, but still it sounds like the momentum is not there in the house quite yet. Dana, great to see you. Thank you.

CUOMO: Tensions are running high in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman. The defense went after the state's reluctant star witness for a second straight day. Two flash points, one, raising questions about what the prosecution witness knows for sure. Also the defense arguing race was a motivation here but not for George Zimmerman.

CNN's George Howell is in Sanford, Florida, with much more. Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. She admitted to lying about why she didn't go to the funeral. She told jurors that certain words that many consider to be racial slurs she didn't, but when challenged with this possibility that it was her friend, Trayvon Martin, who started the fight, Jeantel fought back.


HOWELL (voice-over): Day four in the trial against George Zimmerman started as Rachel Jeantel take two, a key witness for the state who appeared Wednesday to be emotional one moment, combative the next. What a difference a day makes.

WEST: Are you OK this morning?


WEST: You seem so different than yesterday. I'm just checking. Did someone talk with you last night about your demeanor in court yesterday?

JEANTEL: No, I went to sleep.

HOWELL: A more subdued Jeantel endured more than three hours of meticulous questioning from Defense Attorney Don West who challenged the 19-year-old's account of what she heard when she was on the cell phone with Trayvon Martin a little more than a minute before the fatal shooting.

JEANTEL: Trayvon got hit.

WEST: You don't know that, do you?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: You don't know that Trayvon got hit.

JEANTEL: He had to.

WEST: You don't know that Trayvon didn't at that moment take his fist and drive it into George Zimmerman's face?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please lower your voice?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

HOWELL: But moments later when asked the same question during the grilling, the teen held firm to her account of who attacked who.

WEST: I thought in fact you said it could have been for all you know Trayvon Martin smashing George Zimmerman in the face is what you actually heard.


WEST: Yes, just earlier today.

JEANTEL: By who?

WEST: By you.

JEANTEL: You didn't get that from me.

HOWELL: The next witness, Jenna Lauer, the woman whose 911 call captured the exact moment Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. Defense Attorney Mark O'Mara questioned her about who she thought was screaming on the tape.

911 DISPATCHER: Do you think he's yelling help?


911 DISPATCHER: All right, what is your --

MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE LAWYER: Did it seem that the screams of somebody who was getting beat up? JENNA LAUER, WITNESS: They were being hurt somehow, yes.

O'MARA: Maybe somebody who was having this done to them?

LAUER: It's possible.

HOWELL: The final testimony of the day came from a witness who says she heard the gunshot and saw two people on the ground. Selma Mora testified with the help of a Spanish translator that she remembered seeing the man on top wearing a red and black jacket the same jacket George Zimmerman was wearing.

O'MARA: There was a person crouching down over another person?

SELMA MORA, WITNESS (through translator): Correct.


HOWELL: Chris, again, at 9:00 a.m. court is set to resume with more witnesses. We could hear from neighbors and investigators about what they saw, what they heard the night of this shooting.

CUOMO: Couldn't be more important at this point in the trial. George, thank you very much.

Let's bring in CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin. She's been in the courtroom this week. Sunny, it's good to have you with us as always. We have to know two things beyond a reasonable doubt for George Zimmerman to be found guilty here, right? That we know he started the fight and what his motivation was going into it and it was evil. Let's break those two down. Right now, after what you've heard so far, Sunny, what is the best case for who started the fight?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, the best case comes from this star witness, Rachel Jeantel. She was very, very firm in saying that what she heard because she's an ear witness. She wasn't an eyewitness. She didn't see anything, but what she heard when she was on the phone with Trayvon Martin was George Zimmerman following Trayvon Martin, pursuing Trayvon Martin and approaching Trayvon Martin.

She says then Trayvon Martin as George Zimmerman got close to him said "why are you following me?" In response, George Zimmerman said one of two things, he either said, "what are you doing around here?" or "what are you talking about?" Either way she places George Zimmerman as the pursuer and as you know, Chris, self-defense requires that you don't be the first aggressor. If George Zimmerman was the first aggressor, was the person to pursue and approach Trayvon Martin, in my view, self-defense is off the table for this defense.

CUOMO: But legally is it off the table or is the burden just higher?

HOSTIN: Well, the prosecution of course has the burden of proof in this case beyond a reasonable doubt and also has the burden to rebut self defense. But let's talk about practically you have six women that are jurors. They were watching Rachel Jeantel intently. I was in the courtroom for a lot of her testimony and I got to tell you, I think practically, if these jurors believe her and they believe that George Zimmerman started this fight, I just can't imagine that they'll believe that he shot in self-defense.

CUOMO: Sunny, how hurtful was it for Rachel Jeantel to admit on the stand she didn't know whether or not it was Trayvon Martin who was the one who was beating up Zimmerman at that time? Those are her words. What do you think they'll mean?

HOSTIN: I'm not sure what they'll mean, Chris, but again, we saw a very different Rachel Jeantel on the witness stand, yes, from the first day, she was so very combative. She seemed to be very uncomfortable on the witness stand. We saw a different person yesterday. She was comfortable, she was confident and she was firm, although, yes, the defense did I think a pretty good job at cross- examining her, finding some inconsistencies. She wasn't inconsistent when it came to her view that George Zimmerman was the one that approached and followed Trayvon Martin.

CUOMO: Right, but approaching and following is different than starting the fight, and she did say, "I don't know whether or not it was Trayvon beating him up" so interesting for the jury.

One other thing before we let you go, Sunny, race. Up until this point in the trial had been about, well, all Zimmerman sees is black people in his neighborhood and it seems to make him crazy, so obviously that's the best case for the prosecution to say in his mind he had evil thoughts about his people as he set off that night against Trayvon Martin.

But yesterday the defense counsel made race an issue for Trayvon Martin and kept using the words, the insensitive words about white people. Do you think that had an impact that Trayvon Martin was using that language? Does that change anything?

HOSTIN: You know, it was interesting that the defense tried so very hard at the beginning of this case to keep race out because they didn't want the prosecution to talk about racial profiling and they won that victory, right, the prosecution was only able in opening statement to say profiling.

However, yes, the defense seemed to take what was the elephant in the room, put it right in front of the courtroom, paint it bright pink, talk so much about race and put it on Trayvon Martin but these were Trayvon Martin's words. He said some very derogatory terms describing George Zimmerman.

But I don't know. I think it sort of made Rachel's testimony a bit more credible. She didn't try to sugar coat what Trayvon told her. She also said he not only used this derogatory term about white people, he also called George Zimmerman the N-word, in her word the description wasn't a racial term. It was a descriptive term.

CUOMO: Right.

HOSTIN: You may or may not agree with that, but again I don't know that the defense scored so many points by trying to make Trayvon Martin out to be a racist. It did make a lot of sense in the courtroom.

CUOMO: Because at the end of the day, Trayvon Martin not on trial here. He is the victim.

Sunny Hostin, thank you very much. Appreciate the analysis.

HOSTIN: Exactly.

CUOMO: Kate?

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris.

There is a lot of news developing at this hour, straight to Michaela for the list.

PEREIRA: Good morning, Kate. Good morning, Chris. And good morning to you at home.

Making news at this hour. Police back at the home of former New England Patriot, now murder suspect Aaron Hernandez. Law enforcement is investigating him with regard to an unsolved double homicide that happened last year in Boston.

Hernandez allegedly orchestrated the killing of his friend Odin Lloyd earlier this month. A second suspect connected to the case was arrested in Connecticut and police are now looking for a third person. Boston marathon bombing suspect joke Dzhokhar Tsarnaev indicted on 30 counts. Among the charges, using weapons of mass destruction and killing four people.

The indictment alleges Tsarnaev was inspired by al Qaeda and that, he left a written confession in the boat, where he was found hiding. In a note, he reportedly wrote, "I don't like killing people", but he couldn't let the killing of innocent Muslims overseas go unpunished.

We are learning more about next year's murder trial for the accused Aurora movie theater shooting theater James Holmes citing the violent nature of his crimes, the judge says Holmes will wear a hidden harness that will anchor him to the floor. Five thousand people will be in the jury pool. That is the biggest in Colorado history.

The judge also ruled the jurors will not be sequestered and may use cell phones and computers inside the courtroom. That trial set to begin February 3rd.

Bore big brands dropping Paula Deen. Home Depot and Target ending their deals with the celebrity cook over her racial slur scandal. Novo Nordisk, which makes a diabetes medication Deen uses, has suspended her as a spokeswoman and home shopping channel QVC has decided to, quote, "take a pause" from selling her products. Deen also hired crisis manager Judy Smith who inspired ABC's hit show, "Scandal."

A mother in Phoenix forced to make a desperate decision her second floor apartment was burning, she was trapped, running out of time and options when a neighbor and his cousin came to the rescue.


BIANA HILTON, MOTHER: I felt trapped. I trusted people to catch my babies.

There was a brave guy was like throw them down, I'll catch them. I had to throw them down. I had -- I mean, I have -- please catch my babies, you know? They're everything I have.


PEREIRA: She threw her babies to complete strangers, their arms waiting hopefully below and they caught them. Bianca also able to escape. Asked what it was like to have to make the horrible decision, she said she simply did what she had to do, that she was in mama mode.

CUOMO: Boy oh boy. We keep seeing it, too. You know, we keep seeing these babies getting dropped and what it takes to catch them. Remember the Chinese man who hurt his arm? There are good people who want to put themselves there. The mother made the decision and the babies were OK. Boy, oh, boy, how about that.

BOLDUAN: No kidding.

CUOMO: Thank God it ended that way.

Coming up on NEW DAY, the heated abortion battle in Texas getting personal now. We'll tell you about the war of words between Governor Rick Perry and the now famous filibustering lawmaker who is not backing down.

BOLDUAN: Plus, Alec Baldwin has a major Twitter meltdown. We'll tell you what sparked his latest bad boy behavior.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. The controversial battle over abortion in Texas is heating up. Governor Rick Perry has come out swinging against Democrat Wendy Davis. She stopped a vote on what would be one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country by staging a grueling filibuster.

Now, the governor's calling for a special session next week to pass the measure and getting personal about his political opponent.

CNN's Athena Jones is live in Washington with the latest. Good morning, Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. That's right the fight over abortion rights in Texas is far from over. Many women are up in arms, and that second special session the governor has called that begins on Monday.


JONES (voice-over): It's getting personal between Texas Governor Rick Perry and a rising liberal star, Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R). TEXAS: What we witnessed Tuesday was nothing more than the hijacking of the Democratic process.

JONES: Cheered on by supporters the mother of two and her now famous pink shoes filibustered her way onto the world stage this week.

WENDY DAVIS (D-TX), STATE SENATOR: Speaking for an extended period of time on the bill.

JONES: Speaking for more than ten hours to stop a bill that would restrict most abortions and close most clinics in the state. Davis is being hailed as a hero on social media and by Taiwanese animators. The Republican governor approached Davis on a very personal terms.

PERRY: She was a teenage mother herself. It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example, that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.

JONES: Davis called the comments, quote, "without dignity", saying, "They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view. Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Governor Perry fails that test."

Governor Perry has ordered the legislature to reconvene Monday to take up the abortion bill again. This time he vows it will pass. Davis says if it does --

DAVIS: The reaction to it won't be a partisan one. It's a reaction coming from Republicans, independents and Democrats alike, which is saying Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, stay out of my private decision-making.


JONES: So, will Davis filibuster the bill again? She told Anderson Cooper the timing worked out well this time because the bill didn't come up but until the last day of session. Next time around, the bill supporters can take away the chances of a filibuster just by introducing it earlier -- Chris.

CUOMO: A lot of politics at play there, but also a lot of passion, as we saw.


BOLDUAN: You see all those protesters filling the capitol.

CUOMO: Became a big part of the filibuster was the enthusiasm this vote not happen because of what it might do.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it seems of the reality of the politics is not in her favor. We'll be following this closely.

There's extreme weather on both sides of the country right now. So, let's get straight to Indra Petersons in the weather center to get the latest. Hey, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's been pretty impressive. I mean, look at the rain that we saw just yesterday. We're talking two to five inches as a cold front stalled out over Pennsylvania, the reason that's so important, that is still the weather pattern we're going to be dealing with today. All this warm, most air, a cold front, couple lows kicking on through. Means a chance for severe storms really all up and down along the East Coast, stretching all the way down to the Southeast.

So with that, as we go towards the weekend, heavy rain anywhere from two to four inches, same in the Southeast. So flooding, that's going to be a big threat as we go through the weekend.

Also keep in mind, as long as we see the jet stream in this roller coaster pattern, we're talking about the rain and flooding in the East but also the heat on the West. So two extremes are out there.

What's going on in the West? This huge dome of high pressure, it means sinking air, stagnant air in place. So, we're talking about very hot temperatures we keep mentioning this, but this is extremely hot, something you see every ten years, the two biggest killers in the country and people don't think of them as heat and flooding, and they're both present this weekend. So hopefully people are paying attention, both of these should not be underestimated.

BOLDUAN: Be careful this weekend. Thanks so much, Indra.

CUOMO: Thank you.

Christine Romans is here with business news, just the beginning of the summer but the end of a financial quarter.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's true, that's true. Triple-digit numbers for me, too. Close of the books on the second quarter. One trading day left, the S&P is up 2.8 percent over the past three months, not bad considering all this wild volatility we've had over the past few weeks. Stock futures higher again this morning.

Federal officials have been hinting they're in no hurry to do anything rash when it comes to propping up the bond market.

But the damage has been done to mortgage rates. This is really important guys. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage jumping by the biggest amount in 26 years, that rate spiked a half of a percentage point to 4.46 percent. Look at that -- 4.46 percent of the jump comes a week after Ben Bernanke signaled policymakers may consider pulling back on stimulus if the economy can handle it.

Also rising, student loan rates, they'll double come Monday to 6.8 percent unless Congress steps in to find the solution. Interest rates are rising on just about everything, folks.

You're going to like the way you look, he's going to like the deal he made with the board. Men's Wearhouse founder George Zimmer will still be paid $1 million over the next four years for the TV ads he's already done for the company. And he's going to get that money whether Men's Wearhouse uses the ads or not.

Zimmer can also get up to $2.7 million in severance. He was fired as you know, last week. He also owns 3.5 percent of the company.

BOLDUAN: That was messy, messy public fight.

ROMANS: Very public and unfolding every day -- unusual to see a board and a founder fighting like that, the press release and open letter, very unusual.

BOLDUAN: Especially when he is the face of the company but that is your "Money Time" this morning, everyone.

CUOMO: The question is, is he going to like the way he was let go?


CUOMO: I was thinking of that --


CUOMO: Quick change of subject getting away from a bad joke on the show and on the media we hear about the bad athletes all the time, right? But coming up, we're going to meet one of the good guys, NBA star Kevin Durant. He donated $1 million of his own money to help the people of tornado-ravaged Moore, Oklahoma.

Rachel Nichols is next. He's got one-on-one with him and it's good story.

BOLDUAN: It is a good story.

And here's a good story but just an interesting story I guess. We'll tell you what sparked Alec Baldwin's latest twitter tirade. Let's just say some of his words weren't so appropriate for your morning television dose.

CUOMO: He should feel to come on to say them.

BOLDUAN: Any time.