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Flooding Reported in At Least 12 States; U.S. Pulls Diplomats After Terror Threat; Manhunt Widens for James DiMaggio; Police Chief's YouTube Videos

Aired August 9, 2013 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It's Friday. Happy Friday, August 9th at 8:00 in the east. I'm Kate Bolduan.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: And I'm Chris Cuomo here with news anchor, Michaela Pereira. Breaking overnight, everyone except emergency personnel evacuated from the U.S. consulate in Pakistan over a new terror threat. Question, is it connected to the threat that already shuttered 19 diplomatic posts. We're going to live report for you from the Pentagon.

BOLDUAN: Also a NEW DAY exclusive coming up, people on a small Pennsylvania town, some say they are afraid of their police chief. He was suspended for filming videos like this, but what's his side of the story? We're going to talk to him live.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: And have you seen this on line, Tumblr specifically, rich kids of Instagram? They're the sons and daughters of the uber wealthy, flaunting their money and riches online, and guess what? They're getting their own reality show. Do we seriously need another reality show like that? We will discuss.

BOLDUAN: We'll get to that.

But breaking overnight, big news this morning, another flood related death, this time in Oklahoma City. Flash flooding has been reported in at least a dozen states now. First responders have been working overtime, pulling stranded people to safety.

Let's get to straight to Missouri where CNN's George Howell is standing by with the latest.

Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning.

So, the rain is coming down here in Hollister, Missouri. That's bad news for people who have seen enough devastation out here.

And now, we know as you mentioned, of another death. This time in Oklahoma City, a 60-year-old man rather in his 60s was trying to save his daughter, to help his daughter, she was in her car in floodwaters and we stand that he got swept away. And with more rain in the forecast, people out here worry that there could be more problems. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL (voice-over): Evacuations and rescues continued in Missouri, where flash flooding has claimed two lives, the most vulnerable, children and the elderly. The currents were so strong that it forced this construction crane up onto an already saturated landing.

In Tennessee, it was a devastating scene, with people helpless on rooftops. In Davidson County, dozens had to be rescued, including this young girl, and just take a look at this building in Nashville. It literally broke in half under the pressure of a nearby overflowing creek.

On the highway cars were left drifting in the current, and then this fire fighting scene, two firefighters tethered with a rope carefully carrying a 5-week-old baby through a river of waist high water. It's all part of a drenching storm system that's gripping at least a dozen states.

In Benton County, Arkansas, officials put out an emergency disaster declaration after thunderstorms dumped 10 inches of rain. One resident had to pile her belongings on to a bed as water rushed through her home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're in the kitchen and the glass started falling off the walls and the fridge flip backwards and busted.

HOWELL: In Pickens County, Georgia, water rescue teams geared up jumping into what used to be a tiny six-inch deep creek to rescue a man stranded with his two dogs.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: A live picture here in Hollister, Missouri. I want you to see community here, this hidden valley neighborhood, look at the devastation.

Jeremy, we'll do a slow pan. You can kind of see the force of Mother Nature. The water was so high. It was strong enough to push entire trailer homes over.

Neighbors tell me that where I'm standing right now about this time yesterday, it was well over my head. One family ended up staying here overnight to make sure that there were no looters. But, again, all eyes are on what happens with the rain, with this river near me to see if more flooding will happen.

CUOMO: All right. George, thank you. The picture says it all. Many are hanging on by a thread, others trying to prepare for what may come their way.

So, let's get to CNN meteorologist Indra Petersons with the forecast -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I wish I had better news. Exactly where George is standing is where we're still dealing with heavy rain, pushing into the region. I mean, take a look at the last six hours. Notice, we're still dealing with Oklahoma, Kansas, even southern portions of Missouri, Arkansas, all dealing with this heavy rain. It's been day after day of rainfall rates, 1 to 2 inches per hour. That rain is expected to continue all the way through the weekend, thanks to what we call a stationary front for example that reason. It is not moving.

I'm going to put this in motion here as we go forward in time. You'll notice, this portion won't move, but the difference is, look at the Northeast. That portion of the cold front is actually going to push throw quite quickly. So, by the weekend now, it looks like it should be dry.

As far as the current rain right now, you can take a look at the Northeast. We are expecting delays most likely from heavy rains in the Northeast but it will clear down to the South. A portion of that, we're going to be talking about the flooding potential, thanks to that, really lasting not on through the weekend but even to the beginning of next week. We're still going to be seeing rain in exact same area. Hard news to hear.

BOLDUAN: We're watching this for days ahead.

All right, Indra. Thank you.

Now, also, big news breaking overnight -- specific threats prompting the State Department to evacuate the U.S. consulate in Lahore, Pakistan. All of the diplomats there, except for a handful of emergency personnel, have been removed.

CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon with the latest details.

Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate.

This news broken by our own Elise Labott overnight. U.S. diplomats pulled out of the U.S. consulate in Lahore, Pakistan. They are now in the capital of Islamabad.

Officials say there is a specific threat against that consulate. They don't know, however. The obvious question, is it tied to this overall al Qaeda threat we've been talking about for so many days?

One of the very interesting things here is Lahore, Pakistan, where this is happening, is a home to another terrorist group, Lashkar-e- Taiba, the LET, very virulent, very violent group, very anti-U.S., anti-India, and their leader was out in town by all accounts leading Friday morning prayers, causing a lot of concern that that group also may be trying to stir up some trouble.

All of this gets to the fascinating question, al Qaeda affiliates and organizations around the world, are they on the rise -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Barbara, thank you for the reporting this morning.

We also have new video this morning of missing teenager Hannah Anderson singing with a friend.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

CUOMO: A reminder of who is missing because meanwhile, while we're seeing this video, the search for the man accused of kidnapping her and murdering her mother is spreading out to Canada and Mexico this morning.

The family is desperate for Hannah's return. Her grandparents who have lost their daughter already and are now praying for the return of their granddaughter speak exclusively to CNN.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is live in San Diego -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.

This family is in such an extraordinary situation. They want to grieve for the dead in their family but they also are keeping hope alive that 16-year-old Hannah is alive and they will be reunited with her. All of this as tons and tons of tips are pouring in -- every single one of them representing a little bit of hope for this family.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): This morning, more sightings, more concern about the fate of 16-year-old Hannah Anderson, in the hands of her alleged abductor, James DiMaggio. Dozens of sightings of the dark blue Nissan Versa outside California. Amber Alerts now lighting up much of the western U.S., from Mexico to the Canadian border.

At this Seattle emergency call center, nine out of ten calls related to Hannah Anderson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's obviously a very high priority for us.

MARQUEZ: Investigators now saying DiMaggio may have built his own explosives, ditched his own car, wiring it to explode -- urging extreme caution.

JAN CALDWELL, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: We want to put out there, for civilian and officer safety, if you see this car, do not approach it, but call law enforcement.

MARQUEZ: This as the human toll is taking its effect. Speaking exclusively to CNN, Sara and Ralph Britt, mother and stepfather of Christina Anderson, grandparents to Hannah and Ethan, make a desperate appeal.

SARA BRITT, ETHAN AND HANNAH'S GRANDPARENT: Please let Hannah go.

RALPH BRITT, ETHAN AND HANNAH'S GRANDPARENT: Let her come back.

SARA BRITT: We need her home. She needs to be home. MARQUEZ: They believe with 100 percent certainly, Hannah is alive. They hold out hope 8-year-old Ethan, E, is alive as well, but they fear the worst.

SARA BRITT: Little "E" is -- he's just the best little guy you can imagine. Mr. Fisherman. Hannah, our honey bunny.

MARQUEZ: Now, the Britts holding on to each other wearing "pray for Hannah" t-shirts are preparing for one funeral, possibly two.

SARA BRITT: You never plan to bury your child. You never plan to bury your grandchildren, if that's what it comes to. Something you just can't comprehend or cope with.

MARQUEZ: For now, all of their emotion and energy devoted to the hope that Hannah, their granddaughter is alive and they will soon be reunited.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Now, the family is also saying that Mr. DiMaggio's house was being foreclosed on, that he was going to move out soon, that he begged Christina Anderson and the kids and the family dog to all come up that weekend for one last weekend at the house. They believe more evidence that he planned it all in advance. Now, they are hoping and praying for that one tip that will come in from somewhere, possibly the Northwest, possibly somewhere else that will bring Hannah back into their lives.

Chris, Kate, back to you.

CUOMO: Absolutely, Miguel. Thank you for your reporting this morning.

Let's talk more about this.

Joining me now -- joining us now is Captain Duncan Fraser of the San Diego Sheriff's Office.

Captain, thank you so much for coming in.

We want to get to as many updates as we can to get that information out there so people can track down this car, track down DiMaggio and also find Hannah.

Let me ask you, one of the latest things we've learned is there is concern we could have rigged his car with explosives, that he has explosives on him. What leads you to believe that?

CAPT. DUNCAN FRASER, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: We have a heightened concern that based on the evidence that we've been collecting at the scene all week long, our investigators have been sifting through literally tons of debris and we're concerned that -- well, let me just say we don't hold anything past this person. We think that he's capable of anything at this point.

We do have evidence at the scene that has raised our concern that there are explosives.

So, this is a very well planned event. So we have to use an abundance of caution for the public and for law enforcement that may come in contact with either him or the vehicle.

BOLDUAN: And at this point, you are confident that this was a long preplanned event? As Miguel Marquez was reporting, it seems that there was some indication that it looked that way.

FRASER: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: Now, let me ask you this. We had a friend of DiMaggio's on earlier in the show and he said that he just could not believe that his friend James DiMaggio would do something like this.

Do you have any reason to believe that anyone else is involved?

FRASER: No, ma'am, we don't. We have warrant that's been issued for James DiMaggio, listing him as the prime suspect. We are not looking at anybody else.

BOLDUAN: Now, let's talk about some of the important information at hand. Where you guys are looking -- the area you're searching is really broad. Basically you're looking on the West Coast from Mexico to Canada at this point.

Has the search area narrowed from where people should be keeping an eye out for this car, for these people?

FRASER: Unfortunately, no. We have a large net that we've cast but we're looking at any leads, as you mentioned, from Canada all through the West Coast, especially and on up into Canada. We don't know where he is.

BOLDUAN: Of course, it's impossible to understand the motivation to do something so horrific like this. You said in an interview and there had been some reporting that DiMaggio may have had some unusual infatuation with young Hannah Anderson. Brett Anderson, her father, was on our show and said that he didn't know anything like that. He said if he or her mother had known anything, they would have broken ties, they would never have been able to be near him.

What more can you tell me about this?

FRASER: Well, absolutely. We feel the same way that had the parents been aware of anything, that that is the case, they would have broken it up. We are following up on information that we've received from witnesses that that is a possibility, that he had an undue infatuation with Hannah. So we have to look at that. We have to look at that as being part of the profile, part of the puzzle that we're trying to piece together here.

BOLDUAN: You can you deal with the why later. First things first, you need to find him and you need to find Hannah Anderson. We're going to put the information are where our viewers can call. You see at the bottom of your screen. If you see anything, and we'll also put the pictures up and you can of course put that on our Web site as well, to get that information to the police because they say the public is really the best chance of finding these people right now.

So, Captain, thank you very much for coming in this morning.

CUOMO: All right, we're following that. We're going to stay on it.

And there's a lot of other news developing as well. So, let's get to Michaela for the lastest.

PEREIRA: Thank you very much. Good morning to you.

And good morning to you at home.

More than a dozen buildings and homes destroyed, 14,000 acres burned. Firefighters aren't even close to containing a raging wildfire in riverside county, California. The Silver Fire has forced hundreds to evacuate near Palm Springs. That laze just 20 percent contained.

A preliminary hearing will be held this morning in Pittsburgh for Dr. Robert Ferrante. He is the University of Pittsburgh medical researcher that is accused of murdering his wife by poisoning her with cyanide.

Ferrante who says he did not do it and is being held without bail. An Allegheny County judge has ruled that the couple's 6-year-old daughter will remain in the custody of her fraternal grandparents until the trial.

Frappacinos and firearms? Some coffee-drinking gun owners plan to show up their weapons today at Starbucks across the country. They say they are honoring the company's policy to allow open carry at stores in states where it's legal, including Connecticut. Some even planned on taking their guns to a Starbucks in Newtown.

In reaction, the gun control group says its too soon after the Sandy Hook shootings.

We're waiting to hear from some new Powerball winners in New Jersey. Two of the three winning Powerball tickets were sold in the Garden State. But two of the winners haven't come forward to claim their part of the $448 million, 16 Ocean County garage employees reportedly pooled their money to buy within of the tickets.

The other winner is from Minnesota. He came forward yesterday to pick that you gigantic check. Congratulations.

Remember we showed you the other day what Stephen Colbert did to the Daft Punks song "Get Lucky"? Check out how Wagner, a great white shepherd dog reacts, drives him to howl kind of like a plea siren. We can't tell if he's howling in protest or is just complementing the song with his own vocals.

BOLDUAN: Or worrying that a tornado is coming. CUOMO: As we all know, I have no gift for singing but he sounds like he's on key.

PEREIRA: He's on key, which is kind of crazy.

What I would have loved is the tail had kind of, you know, kept up. I would have appreciated that.

BOLDUAN: That's a high expectation.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You know what, you also got to expect it because the song is all about being chill. You know, -- he's chill --

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: At the beginning of the video, he's lying down. And when he hears the song, he perks up and he does that cute dog thing of like what, what?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Wake up, everyone. Let's just keep playing that video. That will make people really happy.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: It's pretty cool.

BOLDUAN: It was cool.

All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a Pennsylvania police chief under fire for posting violent, profanity-laced videos online. You see right there. Chief Mark Kessler here on NEW DAY to defend himself exclusively, coming up.

CUOMO: And most humans try to stay as far away from great white sharks as possible. So, why are these researchers doing the opposite, determined to get as close as they can? CNN tug along to find out. This is a very cool story.

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(INAUDIBLE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And some in town are pardon upon up in arms about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should he be able to go back on duty, and God forbid, an unfortunate incident should occur, and that the borough could be sued, it would be a major liability issue. JOHNS: They held a meeting to talk about what to do with Kessler. A throng of his supporter showed up with guns and some in the small town said they felt intimidated, but that didn't stop the borough council (ph) from voting to suspend him from using firearms on the video that Kessler says he donated to Gilberton in the first place.

CHARLES HELPER, PRESIDENT, NORTH SCHUYLKILL BOARD OF EDUCATION: My recommendation that a motion be made to discipline Chief Kessler for the use of borough property for non-borough purposes to allow (inaudible) permission.

JOHNS: So, why would the town's police chief and only officer make those angry sounding videos to begin with? He said it was to highlight his constitutional right to bear arms and freedom of speech, though, even some of his supporters say it's his way with words that's part of the problem.

What kind of support do you think the chief has here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that, again, it's kind of a 50/50 people. People want to support him, but due to the language that he chose to use there, they sort of want to step back away from it.

JOHNS: Now, the question is, what's the future for the chief when his suspension is over?

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: All right. Thanks to Joe Johns. And a NEW DAY exclusive, Gilberton police chief, mark Kessler joins me now with his attorney, Joseph Nahas. Thank you very much, gentlemen, for being with us. Can you hear me OK?

MARK KESSLER, GILBERTON POLICE CHIEF: We can. Good morning.

JOSEPH NAHAS, ATTORNEY FOR MARK KESSLER: Good morning.

CUOMO: All right. Chief, so, obviously, gun laws get a lot of people, sportsmen, law enforcement upset, the regulations. And certainly, you talk a lot about your constitutional rights. But given everything that's happened so far and that you are the police chief, do you have any regrets about how you went about these videos?

KESSLER: No, I do not. I expressed my First Amendment right and my Second Amendment right.

CUOMO: But do you believe that --

KESSLER: I have no regret.

CUOMO: Do you believe that the way you went about it is why people are upset, worried about you in the community, because you are the police chief, not just some other person who is upset about gun laws?

KESSLER: Well, they have the right to voice their opinions under the constitution and I applaud them for that.

Chris, I think that also if the chief did not go about it in the manner that he did, he would have not have caused the attention that needed to be caused to his plight, which is protection of both the First and Second Amendment.

CUOMO: Well, explain this to me, chief. Why do you see this as the best way for people to understand their right to free speech and their right to bear arms?

KESSLER: Well, you know, I could have did a video and just said, you know, hey, this is Chief Kessler, you know, our rights are being -- I believe that our rights are being infringed upon for the Second Amendment and the constitution being trapped upon. And nobody would give it a second look. I did it in a way where I was actually able to capture the attention of a lot of people.

Some people didn't like it, some people liked it, some people support it, some people don't support it. But, it started a conversation as to what's going on in our country. I mean, I'm sure you're well aware of all the so-called scandals that are going on right now within our government system and people are looking for some kind of direction.

I'm not saying I'm the person to lead in any way, shape, or form. I'm just saying I brought my statement out to the public so they would realize, hey, there's more going on than you realize, and hopefully, more people wake up and exercise their constitutional rights, and hopefully, they do it at the ballot box.

CUOMO: Well, chief, the obvious criticism is that you are projecting an image that goes to the problem, not the solution, right? You're threatening people. Come, get my gun, see what happens, and you start firing off automatic rounds into the distance. It's very menacing message, you know?

A lot of sportsmen feel this is the exact image they don't want to project, that this is not what they're about, this kind of angry, you know, suggestion of vigilantism over gun laws.

NAHAS: Again, I think, though, Chris, that if you look at it in the sensationalism of it, it's different the way the chief had gone about it whereby if he had just been mundane and vanilla, he wouldn't have caused any attention whatsoever. And I think that -- and we understand being the devil's advocate, we understand the media and we understand other individuals who are stating that they're against this.

And that's appropriate and the chief understands and accepts it. But, with that said, he also believes and I believe as well that if it wasn't done in that manner, you wouldn't have had any attention to it. We wouldn't be doing this interview here this morning. And furthermore, it was done in a way, Chris, that you would have had to actually seek out this video, whereby you have to Google Chief Kessler, then you get on to the link, click the link.

And you know, you actually have to seek it out whereby it wasn't done in the public sector, wasn't done at a borough hall meeting, it wasn't done at a school board meeting. It's something that -- and furthermore, the individual probably I would say 95 percent of them knew what they were watching even before they watched it.

CUOMO: Right. But the intersection of your two gentlemen's professional paths, right? You're a lawyer, you're a public servant, police officer, just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean it's right to do it. There's nobody going to argue that you have your right to make your video, but now, the question is, should you be the police chief and make videos like this? Chief, do you understand why some are now concerned that you're not fit for the office?

KESSLER: Yes, and, you know, I applaud them for exercising their constitutional rights and they're entitled to their opinion, just like I'm entitled to my opinion. I've been in law enforcement for a long time. I uphold the law to the best of my ability and just because I made a video doesn't portray me as the man I am when I put my uniform on. I'm very fair as a police officer, very fair.

CUOMO: That's the concern, right?

NAHAS: The pretext to the question though, is --

CUOMO: That's the concern, though, right, is that, you know, how are you going to be a different person than you are on the video. You know, unless, you're a schizophrenic, you are who you put yourself out there as and that's the concern about that image, right?

NAHAS: I think, Chris, though, that he's been a police officer in that community for 14 years and I don't think anybody has gotten shot with an automatic weapon.

CUOMO: Thank god for that.

NAHAS: And that's an interesting analogy saying, unless, you're a schizophrenic. I think that due to the wave of concerns over of course gun control and so forth, the chief just felt this was the appropriate time to make such a video to call attention to his First Amendment right, to his Second Amendment right.

If you're not going to use profanity, how are you calling attention to your First Amendment right? If the chief were to sat there again and use vanilla language and shot with a water pistol, I don't think it would have caused any attention whatsoever.

CUOMO: All right. Gentlemen, I appreciate you both coming on NEW DAY to get your case out there, Mr. Nahas, Chief Kessler. I appreciate it. And hopefully, this is a conversation the country needs to have, right. Gun rights are big. We're a sporting culture, a hunting culture country. Hopefully, we find ways to do it that don't always involve firing off weapons and using profanity. But I appreciate your perspective this morning. Thanks for coming on the show -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the biggest great white shark tagging expedition of them all. And CNN was along for the ride. We'll bring you the fascinating and heart-pounding moments when researchers get into the water.

Plus this, honor among thieves when they realized whose stuff they'd stolen, they took it all back.

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