Return to Transcripts main page


School Shooting 911 Call; White House Under Pressure; New NSA Surveillance Revelations; Deal Reached For San Diego Mayor; Health Care Controversy

Aired August 22, 2013 - 06:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up in the morning, coming up this morning, is Bob Filner finally ready to step down from office? The San Diego mayor now stands accused of harassment by no less than 18 women. But, he has now come to an agreement with the city. Does this mean he's heading out? We'll talk about it.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: OK, now, we've heard the threats from companies before that the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, will cause them to cut benefits and workers hours. Now one major company has moved beyond idle threats. The shipping giant, UPS says it will not provide health care to 15,000 spouses of its workers. Why? The company blames Obamacare for its decision. We'll tell you why.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: If you don't believe in miracles already, we might have a story that might make you believe now. A man declared dead for 45 minutes suddenly springs back to life. This is virtually unheard of. He is going to join us and I know this is kind of corny, he's going to join us live, we really mean live, this morning. We'll talk to him about that experience.

BOLDUAN: Live means a lot more for that man.

But first let's get to the absolutely amazing and heart pounding 911 call capturing every critical moment of a horrifying school shooting. You're about to hear a very composed, amazingly composed bookkeeper trying to calm a 20-year-old man who barricaded himself inside an Atlanta area elementary school with an AK-47 on Tuesday and he began shooting at police. Her cool under pressure remarkable, how she finally convinces him to surrender will astound you.

Martin Savidge is live in Decatur, Georgia, with more on this. She is amazing -- Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She absolutely is. Good morning to you, Kate, and for the first time since this drama played out the students will be back in their own classrooms today. That's certainly good news, but everybody is talking about that phone call and the woman that's credited with saving hundreds of lives. Take a listen.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): It's a remarkable call.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I'm on Second Avenue in the school and the gentleman said tell the them to hold down the police officers are coming he's going to start shooting, tell them to back off.

SAVIDGE: Alone in the office of an elementary school, bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff, is face-to-face with a man armed with an assault rifle and close to 500 rounds of ammunition.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: He just went outside and started shooting. Can I run?

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Can you get somewhere safe?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Yes, I got to go -- he's coming back.

SAVIDGE: It isn't just her life on the line, but the lives of hundreds of students and staff as well as dozens of police officers now outside.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: He said to tell them to back off. He doesn't want the kids. He wants the police so back off and -- what else, sir? He said he don't care if he die. He don't have nothing to live for and he said he's not mentally stable.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: OK, stay on the line with me, OK? Put the phone down if you have to but don't put it on hold so I can't hear.


UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Can you tell me where you are?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: In the front office with him.

SAVIDGE: He's got an AK-47. She's only armed with her words and puts her own life on the line.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I can let them know you have not tried to harm me or do anything you want to. Let me ask you this, ma'am. He didn't hit anybody. He just shot outside the door. If I walk out there with him, so they won't shoot him or anything like that.

SAVIDGE: To connect with the suspect she pours out her personal story of a marriage that ended.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Don't feel bad, baby, my husband just left me after 33 years, but -- yes do you. I'm sitting here with you --

SAVIDGE: And her own thoughts of suicide.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: We all go through something in life. No, you don't want that. You're going to be OK. I thought the same thing. You know, I tried to commit suicide last year after my husband left me, but look at me now. I'm still working and everything is OK.

SAVIDGE: There's no hint of fear. No sense she's lying to save herself. Her cool, collect nature moves even the police dispatcher.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Ma'am, you're doing a great job.

SAVIDGE: Moments later after convincing the gunman to put down his weapon and lay down himself, the police barge in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't shoot! Do not move.

SAVIDGE: And only then does Antoinette Tuff finally break down.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I'm going to tell you something baby, nothing so scary in my life.




SAVIDGE: Antoinette Tuff so appropriately named it seems because you heard her hold up under incredible pressure. That went on for almost an hour before authorities came in and carried out that arrest, but she is credited with saving a lot of lives -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: What a hero. Martin Savidge thanks for bringing that story to us this morning. Thank you so much. I want to remind viewers, Antoinette Tuff and the 911 operator you heard in that very dramatic call will be talking to Anderson Cooper live on CNN's "AC 360" tonight 8:00 Eastern. You do not want to miss it. Her composure and her quick thinking is jaw-dropping how she could handle that situation.

CUOMO: People do not act that way in those circumstances. You freeze. You got to remember what she's dealing with. She's more aware than anybody that this young man is not right in his mind, OK, and he is sitting there with one of the deadliest weapons that he could have, clearly intending to use it. The question is just on whom and she decides to engage. It's so counter intuitive.

BOLDUAN: She's with him for an hour, not 5 minutes.

CUOMO: Martin made an interesting play off her name. Her last name is Tuff, but it wasn't tough, it was her sensitivity. That she was able to treat him like a person in a moment where he was anything but that and to maintain it. It's just extraordinary and you know it was on the line as soon as it was over --

BOLDUAN: That's when she broke.

CUOMO: Every time we see a horrible situation there's almost always somebody who steps up and does something equally extraordinary. She is truly a hero. I can't wait to see her with Anderson tonight. Even I must stay up for that one.

BOLDUAN: Me too.

CUOMO: All right, so let's go from this story that really moves your heart to one scratching your head. Increasing violence in Egypt and Syria and it has the White House under pressure. Syria is accused of using chemical weapons and attacks outside Damascus. Crossing the quote, "red line" set by President Obama. I said it's making people scratch their head because we don't know what the U.S. is going to do. It calls to cut off more than a billion in annual military aid to Egypt but what about Syria? Does it mean that troops will have to be on the ground? The president is hitting the road today. Will he address these major decisions that he has to make?

Let's go live to CNN's Dan Lothian at the White House. Good morning, Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Well, it's quite the balancing act for the president as he tries to maintain his focus on some key domestic priorities, like helping middle class families while at the same time trying to deal with these twin foreign policy problems condemning the violence and working to get the support of the international community.


LOTHIAN (voice-over): At a closed door emergency meeting the United Nations Security Council stopped short of demanding a probe into new allegations Syria used chemical weapons against its own citizens.

JAN ELIASSON, U.N. DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL: This represents no matter what the confusions are, a serious escalation with grave humanitarian consequences. Let me say there is no confirmation of it.

LOTHIAN: The U.S., Britain and France want a U.N. investigation. Inspectors are already in Syria looking at another alleged chemical weapon attacked that killed 31 near Aleppo earlier this year. The U.N. is negotiating to get their inspectors access.

JOSH EARNEST, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's time for the Assad regime to live up to their rhetoric in this regard and give the investigators access to the sites, the opportunity to interview witnesses, the opportunity to collect physical samples.

LOTHIAN: The next move is uncertain. The U.S. agreed to provide opposition rebels with military support in June after the White House concluded the so-called red line --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: A whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.

LOTHIAN: -- had been caused. But some members of Congress including Senator John McCain have been critical of the administration for not doing enough. McCain Wednesday tweeting, "no consequence for Assad using chemical weapons and crossing red line. We shouldn't be surprised he's using them again." This as the administration deals with another foreign policy crisis in Egypt as the violence escalates. There's mounting pressure to cut off $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

EARNEST: We've got some work to do in both areas and this is something we're actively working on.


LOTHIAN: Later this morning, President Obama heads out on the two-day bus tour making stops on college and high school campuses across New York and Pennsylvania. Aides say the president will talk about making a higher education more affordable for middle class families -- Kate, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Dan, thanks. That's a really important agenda for the president to deal with here domestically, but these questions abroad are going to be looming.

BOLDUAN: A lot on his plate and the serious questions abroad are definitely kind of pushing things out because they've got to be dealt with first as obviously it seems the most pressing issue and we are going to talk more about the serious decisions facing the White House coming up in the show with Senator John McCain himself.

CUOMO: There's so much going on at home and abroad that tomorrow we're going to have a NEW DAY exclusive, a conversation with President Obama. We're going to meet up with him on the road today as he's doing his bus tour through New York and Pennsylvania and the CNN interview will cover a wide range of topics. We'll bring it tomorrow of course here on NEW DAY.

BOLDUAN: A lot coming up definitely. One of the big questions facing the president the new revelations about the real scope of government surveillance of Americans, a newly declassified document says the National Security Agency illegally collected much more of your information than first thought and now questions over whether the Obama administration misrepresented just how big the program really was.

CNN's Chris Lawrence is at the Pentagon with the very latest this morning. Good morning, Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. You know, it's not just misrepresented. The court that has to actually approve the surveillance said it was fundamentally different than what they were led to believe as the NSA sweeped up thousands of e-mails from Americans with absolutely no ties to terrorism.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): Amid growing controversy comes more revelations the National Security Agency illegally collected tens of thousands of Americans' e-mails. Newly declassified secret court opinion show the NSA collected nearly 60,000 domestic communications a year for three years ending in 2011. The data includes e-mails and other internet activity. The court also said the NSA misrepresented the scope of its effort.

MARC ROTENBERG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EPIC ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER: Very disturbing, the National Security Agency has extraordinary surveillance capabilities and these tools are supposed to be directed toward adversaries in the United States, not toward the American public.

LAWRENCE: The NSA says it collected the data by mistake. A senior intelligence official telling reporters there was a, quote, "technological problem that could not be avoided rather than any overreach." Meantime intelligence officials are denying a media report that the NSA sifts through and has access to 75 percent of online communications in the U.S. The White House is under pressure from Republican and Democratic lawmakers over the sweeping nature of its secret data collection. Just two weeks ago, President Obama insisted the government is not violating your privacy.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: America is not interested in spying on ordinary people. Our intelligence is focused, above all, on finding the information that's necessary to protect our people.

LAWRENCE: The NSA is supposed to target foreign communications that have to do with potential terrorism investigations.


LAWRENCE: Now under a court order, the NSA purged everything it collected from 2008 to 2011 and a senior intelligence official says it shortened the amount of time it keeps communications from five years to two years. That's not going to be enough to quiet the critics on Capitol Hill, who will insist on more oversight -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, thank you very much for the reporting this morning. Appreciate it. We're going to move on now. A reported deal from embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, a city attorney announcing a confidential agreement late last night just hours after an 18th woman came forward with new accusations of sexual harassment.

CNN's Casey Wian is in San Diego with the very latest. Good morning, Casey.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. After three days of negotiations between representatives for Mayor Filner, representatives of the San Diego City Council, the city attorney, Gloria Allred who is representing the mayor's former spokeswoman who has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the mayor, they finally after this mediation led by a federal judge after three days came to a proposed settlement.

They announced that late yesterday evening. They said that they would not talk about details of that proposed settlement because they have to present it to the city council and that is going to happen tomorrow afternoon. They are required to give the city council 24 hours notice before they go into a closed session, after the city council deliberates and looks at the details of the proposed settlement they may come out and release details to the public. Right now, finally a settlement in the Filner case, Chris, and that's what we've got on that.

CUOMO: Two questions in one for you, Casey. They have to give it to the board because they have to approve the financial part. Obviously, they don't have control over the mayor's resigning so there's that piece, whether the mayor will actually resign, do we believe that's part of the deal and what are people saying about whether or not they think he can still weather the situation, stay in office? WIAN: It doesn't seem like he'll be staying in office. Again we don't know the details of the settlement, but everyone who has come out publicly before the negotiations started saying the end game, what they wanted is for the mayor to resign and it's believed that that was really the only bargaining chip that he had left was the terms of his resignation, perhaps part of that settlement discussion, how much he's going to be liable personally, financially, for that sexual harassment lawsuit, how much of the bill the city is going to be willing to pick up, those are the things likely part of this proposed settlement that we should know more about tomorrow.

CUOMO: Casey, the last part makes the most sense. Casey Wian, thank you very much for the reporting out in San Diego. A lot of these things go outside the role of your duties in office so the immunity doesn't apply, which means he could be sued personally. Maybe that's the lever being used to push the mayor to take action.

BOLDUAN: At a time it seems there's no lever to push him to take any action. Good to see something happening because people in San Diego want to see him out.

All right. There's a lot of news developing at this hour. So, let's get straight to Michaela for the latest news.

PEREIRA: All right, guys. Good morning.

Good morning to you at home.

Making news:

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may soon be a three man. Two years after he was overthrown, Egypt's military government ordering his release from prison. The plan is to place him under house arrest, all of that could happen today. Mubarak led Egypt for 30 years and has been behind bars now for the past 17 months.

Hannah Anderson has been speaking out. It's been just over a week since that California teen was rescued from the Idaho wilderness. The FBI shooting and killing her alleged kidnapper James DiMaggio.

Hannah tells NBC News she's a fighter.


HANNAH ANDERSON, KIDNAPPING VICTIM: In the beginning, I was a victim, but now, knowing everyone out there is helping me, I consider myself a survivor instead. My mom raised me to be strong.


PEREIRA; In a bizarre twist to the case, the family of James DiMaggio is requesting DNA on Hannah and her late brother Ethan to determine whether DiMaggio might be their biological father.

Closing arguments today in court martial of army psychiatrist-turned- admitted Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan. On Wednesday, the army major who's representing himself argued against allowing the jury to discuss lesser charges, saying the shooting spree didn't happen in the heat of the sudden passion. Hasan offered no defense Wednesday. He did not testify and he questioned no witnesses.

The National Archives has released his final batch of Watergate era tapes recorded by President Richard Nixon on April 30th, 1973, the day four of his top advisers resigned, Nixon caught on tape saying he would never talk about Watergate again. He also received phone calls of support that day from future presidents, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. By August of 1974, Watergate scandal would force Nixon to resign from office.

Got to show you this incredible video of a sinkhole swallowing an entire row of trees. This is in Assumption Parish, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge.

This sinkhole has been expanding for over a year now. It's actually prompted evacuation orders in the area. Officials think it was caused by the drilling of a well into an underground salt mine. Louisiana, the state, in fact, is now suing the company that owns that mine. It's really shocking to watch this happen just before your eyes and then after a while, it's like nothing happened, you know?

CUOMO: You're sure it wasn't a gator.

PEREIRA: Pretty sure it wasn't a gator-nado.

CUOMO: Because I've watched "Swamp People." And I've seen them take on alligators --

BOLDUAN: We will now have an investigation.

CUOMO: Shoot 'em, shoot 'em! I watch large amounts of reality shows.

PEREIRA: We need an intervention. Indra, Kate, let's do this.

CUOMO: Believe me, this is the least of my problems.


BOLDUAN: Exactly. No kidding.

Let's get to Indra who is keeping track of the latest forecast for us.

Good morning, Indra.


I have actually good news especially for everyone in the Midwest and Northeast. It's going to take a little bit to get there but we're willing to work, we're talking about a cold front making its way through the area today, Ohio Valley and eventually into the mid- Atlantic, but this is good news because the cold front means cold temperatures behind it and we're going to be talking about sunshine, not today, the rain is today but by tomorrow, look at the beautiful weather expected to spread into the mid-Atlantic. So, for the weekend, we're talking about 70s and below normal temperatures expected throughout the area. We love that.

The other difference is everyone's complaining it's humid, it's hot and it's sticky out here. Well, here are the humidity numbers right now. Behind the cold front, we've also seen drier air. So, not only it's going to be lower temperatures, but the humidity dropping as well. We're all going to be loving it this weekend.

I do want to point out, though -- all the way on the West Coast now and even farther South, so off the coast of Mexico, 80 percent chance currently of tropical development in the Pacific Ocean, 90 percent chance in five days. Why does this matter? Well, it matters. We're talking about the moisture going all the way up Baja, but it could mean some heavy rain spreading into the Southwest, kind of like what we saw in the Southeast the last several days, we could start to see that in the Southwest at the beginning of next week. So, we'll be monitoring that.

BOLDUAN: OK, thanks so much, Indra.

CUOMO: All right. Coming up here on NEW DAY, UPS, big company, announcing plans to slash health care benefits for the spouses of thousands of employees, like 15,000. The delivery company is blaming the high cost of Obamacare but is this really just an excuse to cut costs? We're going to take a look.

BOLDUAN: And we're also going to tell you a story of a German tourist who was bit by a shark and died one week later, which has now left Hawaiian officials scrambling. We'll tell you why.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Another shot fired in the war over Obamacare, this one from a surprising source. UPS, a huge company, the iconic brown package delivery service, says the health care law is so costly they'll have to drop thousands of people from their coverage. But is Obamacare really to blame or is this just an excuse to cut costs?

CNN's Christine Romans joins with more.

Obvious question, what about the answer?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And many say yes and yes. The companies are really grappling with how to do Obamacare but they're also trying to cut costs, especially for people who already have insurance coverage. This is 15,000 of its workers' spouses and they're going to lose their coverage come the New Year. These are spouses who are eligible for coverage through their own employers.

And UPS is squarely blaming Obamacare here. It's the clearest signal yet from corporate America that big changes are coming for people who already have insurance.


ROMANS: Fifteen thousand people, that's the magic number of working spouses that will no longer get health insurance coverage through employees working for UPS. That affects roughly half the company's workforce. In this internal memo obtained by "Kaiser Health News," UPS states, "We believe your spouse should be covered by their own employer just as UPS has a responsibility to offer coverage to you, our employee."

The shipping giant told "Kaiser Health News" the cut is expected to save them $60 million a year, savings it hopes will upset cost increases due to the Affordable Care Act. UPS is blaming several aspects of Obamacare for the cut, including mandatory coverage of dependents up to age 26 and new government fees.

The memo also says its health care costs usually increase by about 7 percent a year but due to Obamacare, costs are expected to climb 11.25 percent in 2014.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Gentlemen, thank you for sharing your views.

ROMANS: UPS's announcement just another piece of kindling fueling the debate over Obamacare.

CRUZ: They should have health care and Obamacare is causing more and more people struggling to climb the economic ladder to lose their health care.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail, their number one priority.


ROMANS: Now, UPS becomes one of the highest profile employer barring working spouses from the company plan. UPS has, you know, 397,000 workers worldwide. You know, most of those in the United States.

Many employers, Chris, already require employees to pay a surcharge for their working spouse medical coverage, others are paying a bonus, if your spouse -- for example, if your spouse could get something through her job, you get a bonus on your insurance because companies are trying to really limit their exposure, limit their coverage. They want to cover you and your kids. They don't want to cover your spouse if your spouse is going to have access -- covered someplace else.

CUOMO: It's about money for the business.


CUOMO: And it's about people on the flip side of the policy, right?


CUOMO: The goal was to have everybody covered but that's more expensive, so there's going to be pushback.

ROMANS: The interesting thing here is that you've been hearing how people who don't have health insurance through Obamacare are going to get access to insurance. We're talking about people with insurance who are saying they're feeling the effects of Obamacare because companies who provide insurance are going to start tweaking and changing their rules and plans. Everyone is going to feel it.

CUOMO: So, it's something we're going to have to manage going forward?

ROMANS: I think there will be growing pains. Yes.

CUOMO: Christine, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CUOMO: Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: shark attacks. A spike in the aloha state after a German tourist died one week after losing her farm to a shark off the coast of Maui. Well, now, state officials want to know why this is happening. They're taking action. We'll have more on that coming up.

Also, we know politician also do almost anything to get votes but do they need to go this far to win?