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The Options In Syria; "The Lungs Are Doing Great"; Heat Wave in Mid West, Wildfires in Yosemite; Johnny Manziel Questioned By NCAA

Aired August 27, 2013 - 05:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Is it enough to intervene, though, in the country's two-year civil war?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And a heat wave blanketing the Midwest. Temperatures 20 degrees above normal. Heat so intense schools are shutting down. So, is there any relief in sight? Indra Petersons is tracking the forecast for us. Hello there again.


BROWN: Good morning.

PEREIRA: A big, scary cat terrifying residents in Detroit. Some scared to leave their homes. Look at that thing. What is being done to find this reportedly giant feline?


BROWN (on-camera): Wow.

PEREIRA (on-camera): My goodness.

BROWN: My goodness is right. Welcome back, everyone, to EARLY START. Great to have you with us on this Tuesday. I'm Pamela Brown.

PEREIRA: And I'm Michaela Pereira. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

BROWN: Well, the big question this morning, could the U.S. be drawing closer to getting involved in the Syrian civil war? The Obama administration is now convinced the Assad regime used chemicals against his own people last week. And as Jim Acosta reports, there are many signs a time for diplomacy may be over.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With strong signs pointing toward a looming military strike against Syria, secretary of state, John Kerry issued a stinging indictment.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It is undeniable.

ACOSTA: Kerry flat out accused Syria of slaughtering civilians with chemical weapons and then trying to cover it up, betraying a global moral code.

KERRY: This international norm cannot be violated without consequences.

ACOSTA: It was an unmistakable message that echoed from the state department to the White House.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This violation has to be taken very seriously.

ACOSTA: Ever since last week suspected poison gas attack in Syria, the Obama administration has been consulting with allies and drawing up military options to punish Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad for crossing the president's red line warning against chemical weapons. The leading option, U.S. officials say, tomahawk cruise missiles aimed at destroying command in control targets in Syria as well as chemical weapon watcher.

The administration wants international approval, but with Russia on the U.N. Security Council and against the Syria strike, the U.S. is consulting with both NATO partners and key Mideast allies.

CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: If there's any action taken, it will be in concert with the international community and within the framework of legal justification.

ACOSTA: There's no shortage of models for military action from the NATO led airstrikes again Libya two years ago to Kosovo in the 1990s. But just last month, the chairman of the joint chief's, Martin Dempsey warned a strike on Syria could get messy saying in a letter to Congress, "Should the regime's institutions collapse in absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control."

Over the weekend, former secretary of state, Colin Powell, urged caution.

COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I am less sure of the resistance. What do they represent? And is it becoming even more radicalized with more al Qaeda coming in. And what would it look like if they prevailed and Assad went? I don't know.

ACOSTA: But after last week's images of horror out of Syria, the president's tone seemed to shift in an interview with CNN.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it is fair to say that as difficult as the problem is, this is something that is going to require America's attention and hopefully the entire international community.

ACOSTA: Arizona senator, John McCain, said it's time to act.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: If the United States stands by and doesn't take very serious action, not just launching some cruise missiles, then again, our credibility in the world is diminished even more if there's any left. ACOSTA (on-camera): As for consultations with Congress on a strike, house speaker, John Boehner's office complained the White House had not been in contact about any potential military action. Then hours later, the speaker's office said the White House had, indeed, been in touch but said there was very little substance in the phone call.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


PEREIRA: Turning to California now near Yosemite National Park this morning.


PEREIRA (voice-over): A massive fire continuing to threaten homes and some of that park's biggest landmarks. Fire crews are using aircraft now to try and slow the blaze from overhead. The fire now stands at more than 160,000 acres burning. At least 23 structures have been destroyed, but another 4,500 are now threatened. The fire is at 20 percent containment.

BROWN (voice-over): And in parts of the Midwest, scorching temperatures are wreaking havoc with back to school plans. Temperatures in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas and Illinois are all expected to climb into the 100s today. And since most schools there have no air-conditioning, it's just not safe for students to be in class. So, they're being let out early.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is horrible. It's hard to -- to concentrate.

UNIDENTIFIED kid: It's just really hot and it's hard. We're sweating, you know, and stuff like that.


BROWN: You feel for them, don't you? Well, teachers and parents are bringing in fans and ice in many schools and encouraging their students to drink lots of water.


PEREIRA (on-camera): Popsicles for dinner sounds like.

BROWN (on-camera): Yes.


BROWN: Indra Petersons joins us now. You know, 20 degrees above normal there in the Midwest. Is that right, Indra?

PETERSONS: Yes, literally exactly right. And we're talking about the complete opposite of snow days. Can you imagine these poor little kids?

BROWN: No air-conditioning in the school.

PETERSONS: First week of school, it's a big time, right?

BROWN: I know.

PETERSONS: These temperatures are insane. We're talking about excessive heat warnings. I mean, take a look, really, a big chunk of the Midwest dealing with this today. But more importantly, I want to get these temperatures, this huge dome of high pressure just stubborn sitting in place. Des Moines, Iowa, today, 103 degrees.

Now, remember, this is not a dry heat, either. That is 20 degrees above normal with that hot, sticky, humid weather. Very difficult to even breath. Minneapolis, 96, that's 18 above. Chicago, 96. Now, I want to take you forward and time to show you. This isn't a one-day event. By tomorrow, the temperatures really not fluctuating too much, maybe a degree if that a relief will go into Thursday.

And we're still looking at temperatures a good 15, even to 20 degrees above normal. So, definitely that heat is here to stay. So, precaution is definitely necessary. We'll talk about the other thing going on. We actually have the jet stream close to the Great Lakes region. So, some severe weather is possible. So, a few places could be hint relief.

We're definitely looking for those thunderstorms popping up. Very scattered in nature, but where they are, they could be severe. So, they're watching that again around the Great Lakes. The rest of the area looking for a little wave after wave, kind of a break once we get through the early morning today in the northeast then as we go through late afternoon tomorrow, we'll be looking at even more showers spreading into the northeast.

So, definitely not too bad for us and look at that comparison. I mean, it does feel like summer somewhere. That's for sure.

PEREIRA: It's so hard to concentrate when it's hot like that. No energy.

PETERSONS: I can tell, right?


PEREIRA: No energy. Exactly. All right. Thanks so much for that.

Staying with weather for a second, in Phoenix, it seems another day, another massive dust storm.


PEREIRA (voice-over): The wind from a nearby front pushed this icky looking hazy brown cloud over the city Monday evening. Visibility down to a quarter mile in some places. Dust storms like this seem to have become a regular occurrence there in Arizona. BROWN (voice-over): Well, nearly a year after superstorm Sandy knocked out power to a wide part of New Jersey including some parts of its rail system, the state and the Department of Energy are now working on a so-called microgrid. It's essentially an independent mini-power grid to keep it going in the event of future disasters. It would be the first non-military micro energy grid in the country, but no start date has been announced, yet.

PEREIRA: Meanwhile, no date for the sentencing retrial of convicted killer, Jodi Arias. A judge has put offsetting a day for at least several weeks as prosecutors respond to a defense request for the Twitter user names of jurors. (INAUDIBLE) for Arias say juror interactions on the site should be monitored.

Sighting an online exchange, a back-up juror had during the original trial. Arias was convicted last May of killing her boyfriend in his suburban Phoenix home.

BROWN: And here in Cleveland now, two more homes near a site where three women were held captive for upwards (ph) of a decade have now been demolished. Officials took down the two vacant homes adjacent to Ariel Castro's house on Monday.

The plan is to eventually turn the space it into a park or memorial. Neighbors say they are grateful the homes are gone since gawkers still were coming to the street to look for evidence of what happened there.

PEREIRA: Eight months after Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting left 26 people dead, students in Newtown, Connecticut returning to class this morning. Now, they're going to be greeted not only by their teachers but by armed guards in place at the schools. The lessons from Sandy Hook will be visible in schools all across Connecticut with increased security measures put in place.

BROWN: Well, the security chief at a nuclear missile base that failed a safety test is out of a job this morning. Col. David Lynch (ph) has been relieved of the command of the 344th missile wing. The 344th is based at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and operates about a third of the nation's minute man three nuclear missiles. Lynch's commander said in a statement that he lost confidence in Lynch's ability to lead the group.

PEREIRA: A sad end to the search for an 18-year-old who had gone missing in Oregon. Authorities say they have now found the body of Jonathan Krum (ph) whose car was found abandoned last week in a wooded area. His father had feared the young man had gone off into the woods in the spirit of the book and movie, "Into the Wild." The death is being investigated as a suicide.


BROWN (on-camera): Just about 5:40 now in the east on this Tuesday morning, and a young Pennsylvania girl and her new lungs are set to go home today. Eleven-year-old Sarah Murnaghan has been steadily recovering since she received a successful adult lung transplant back in June. An initial transplant just days earlier had failed, but her family tells CNN Sara is doing great. It will likely take upwards of a year to fully recover from the transplant. And you recall, it was Sarah's story that caused to change in a national transplant policy allowing some children under 12 years old to be added to the adult transplant list.

PEREIRA: Rampant (ph) voice felt for little Sarah.

A Massachusetts man facing a number of charges this morning after he did this, slammed his pick-up truck into a convenience store in Cape Cod. Check it out. He tries to back out of the store. Eventually, he was able to and he sped away. But, police caught up with him a few miles away. The suspect, Christopher Sprague (ph), is charged with vandalism, leaving an accident scene and negligence.

BROWN: Did he really think he was going to get away?

PEREIRA: Did he think he was going to get away? My word.

BROWN: All right. Now, let's take a look at this photograph that's gone viral. Let's take a look here. That's Jesse and Kelly Cottle (ph). He's a Marine Corps veteran who lost his legs in Afghanistan in 2009. Well, the pair were taking family photos in Idaho recently when the photographer suggested they get in the water. Well, the pair had a better idea.


KELLY COTTLE, WIFE: So, he said, well, you could just pop your legs off and then get on one of our backs and we'll take you in. And so -- because that's just how we get around sometimes like at the beach.


KELLY COTTLE: Yes. We do it all the time. It's just pretty normal. So, he hopped back on my back and then said, like, oh, we'll take some couple shots.

JESSE COTTLE: I'm glad --


JESSE COTTLE: -- that you don't expect this.

KELLY COTTLE: No. It's just kind of normal for us. It's because I think we represent a lot of people that are going through and a lot of couple that are going through the same thing. And so, it's just an honor to represent that.


BROWN: The photographer says her Facebook page has been overwhelmed with messages from people looking at the pictures. Jesse Cottle says he wishes he could write back and say thank you to every well wisher.

PEREIRA: Isn't that tremendous and powerful?

Coming up, a giant, four-foot tall cat. You think I'm making this up. There it is no longer prowling the streets of Detroit, scaring residents. We'll have the very latest.


PEREIRA: To Detroit now, the search for a big cat is now over.


PEREIRA (voice-over): CNN affiliate, WXYZ is reporting that this cat believed to be a Savannah cat has been shot and killed. It had been on the loose for days concerning residents seen it roaming the streets, really long legs, big ears and spots looking like a leopard, I supposed. Some said it was even four feet tall. It is a hybrid of the African feline and a domestic cat that may have been someone's pet at one time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is like an African cat. This cat ain't from here, the stripes. It's just different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like mountain lion big. It's huge. This is a pretty big cat.

RON MAGILL, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR ZOO MIAMI: People are realizing that these animals don't make good pets. You know, there's an old saying that says you can take the animal out of the wild, but you cannot take the wild out of the animal and have stand up and places like out in the streets.

PEREIRA: Well, the humane society and Detroit had been trying to catch the cat for days. But as we mention, CNN affiliate, WXYZ, says a cat rescue team has told us that the cat has been shot and killed. We do not understand why and no word has been given as to why they chose to end its life.



BROWN: -- questions about that, right?

PEREIRA (on-camera): Yes.

BROWN: All right. Well, let's turn it over now to take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY."

PEREIRA: On "NEW DAY." Hello, Chris and Kate. What are you two up to?




BOLDUAN: A lot coming up, though, guys. Great to see you both.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Obviously, we're dealing with the situation in Syria. We've seen a lot of quick movements politically here from the United States. It went from we don't really know what's going on, we have to have a lot of deliberate caution to now there is the belief that chemical weapons have been used. U.N. inspectors are on the ground, but the U.S. doesn't seem to be waiting even for that inspection.

The question is, what will happen next? Is there some kind of punishment? The red line that everybody talks about, we're going dissect it today and give you the latest information because we are the only western television network live on the ground in Damascus. So, we'll take you there.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Things are really moving quickly with that --

We also have a "NEW DAY" exclusive for you this morning. We'll meet a fisherman that we introduced you to last week. He got thrown overboard during a storm. That's not the worst part. The most amazing part about this is that he had to tread water for nearly 24 hours, no life vest, to survive. He did. He's doing OK, and we're going to talk to him live about this terrifying ordeal this morning and how he finally was rescued and how thankful and relieved his wife is to have him home.

PEREIRA: What a story.

BOLDUAN: And what the rules are going to be going forward when he wants to go fishing --

PEREIRA: That's a married woman speaking the truth right there.


BOLDUAN: Exactly. You're going fishing? I don't think so.


PEREIRA: Go fish in the bathtub.

BOLDUAN: There you go, Exactly.


BOLDUAN: Chris is not allowed to take part in the interview. So, as we know, this is an unbiased opinion. So, we'll have a lot of that coming up.

PEREIRA: All right. Thanks and we'll see you both in a moment.


BROWN: And coming up right here on EARLY START, could Tim Tebow be out of the NFL? Another team may be ready to send the quarterback packing. What he has to do to stay in the game in this morning's "Bleacher Report" coming up right after this break.


BROWN: Well, NCAA's investigation of Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel, is heating up. Well, we could soon find out if the quarterback will be disciplined for allegedly signing autographs for money. Andy Scholes joins us now with more on this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hi there, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, Pamela. Well, the entire college football world is waiting to see what's going to happen with Johnny Football down in college station. According to ESPN, officials from the NCAA questioned Manziel for about six hours on Sunday about his involvement with various autograph brokers. If the NCAA determines Manziel accepted money to sign autographs, he could be ruled ineligible for the entire season. Texas A&M opens their season Saturday afternoon against Rice.

Well, many question whether or not it was a good idea to have this season's Super Bowl outdoors in New Jersey in February. According to the people at the Farmers' Almanac, it's going to be a disaster.

The almanac's website is predicting a barely cold winter for the northeast including a superstorm during Super Bowl week. Farmers' Almanac claims to have an accuracy rate of about 80 percent. However, experts say it's way too early to predict what kind of weather we'll see this winter.

Well, is time running out for Tim Tebow? This week, it's cut down week in the NFL. By Saturday, teams have to get down to a 53-man roster. Tebow didn't see the field the Patriots third pre-season game, but he is expected to receive extensive playing time Thursday night when the New England closes out their preseason against the Giants. Right now, Tebow is listed as the Patriots third quarterback.

We're turning right now on Bleacher, and the first round of the U.S. Open, Serena Williams was dominating her opponent, Francesca Schiavone. Serena won the first set, 6-0. It was cruising in the second set for Schiavone but so demoralized by what was going on. She went over to the ball boy just to get a hug. Schiavone said after the match, Pamela, that it was a really, really tough day.

BROWN: Yes. Sometimes, you just need a hug.

SCHOLES: Sometimes.

BROWN: You can't blame her.

SCHOLES: Makes it all better.

BROWN: Thanks, Andy. And we'll be right back. Stay with us (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: I bet that woke you up this morning. Welcome back, everybody. 5:57 in the east.

And as it turns out, the material girl was having a very good year. Forbes says Madonna earned the most of any celebrity in 2013 taking in $125 million between June of last year and this year. Second, director and producer, Stephen Spielberg. Forbes estimates he made about $100 million.

And rounding out the top five, author, E.L. James of "Fifty Shades of Gray" fame, shock jock (ph), Howard Stern, and TV judge and producer, Simon Cowell. Well, they all made an estimated $95 million. Not bad.


BROWN: All right. Well, that's it for EARLY START. Thanks so much for being here. It's time for "NEW DAY." Chris and Kate, I hope you have a great show.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Pamela. We'll see you soon.

CUOMO: Well, seeing Madonna, they're making all that money, all this hobab (ph) about Miley Cyrus now. You remember all the things that Madonna did?

BOLDUAN: Puts into a little prospective. Exactly.

CUOMO: Right. Used to think there was no line that couldn't be crossed. But now, we're back at it again.

BOLDUAN: And they're still crossing it.

CUOMO: Anyway, take a look at your clock. Almost the top of the hour. You know what that means here in "NEW DAY," time for your top news.


KERRY: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity.

CUOMO: On the brink. A U.S. military strike against Syria now on the table. Could it happen any moment? We're the only network live in Syria.

BOLDUAN: Defending Yosemite. Firefighters finally able to slow the vicious wildfire tearing through the national park. But, the weather today may not help. While across the Midwest, a brutal heat wave is forcing schools to close.

PEREIRA: New twist in the George Zimmerman saga. He's now asking the state of Florida to reimburse him for some of his legal expenses. We have the latest.

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

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


CUOMO: Warm up the hands, warm up the voice and way we go. Good morning and welcome to "NEW DAY." It's Tuesday, August 27th, six o'clock in the east. Hey, check out this, a wild scene in Arizona. This is a giant dust storm known as a haboob. It swept through Phoenix. Traffic brought to a stance. Still, airplanes grounded. We're going to have much more on that and some of the other weird weather across the country.

BOLDUAN: Another wild weather day out there.

Plus, we've got a good story for you. We've been following here on "NEW DAY," a fisherman tossed from his boat, forced to tread water for nearly 24 hours to survive. His story, remarkable. You're going to want to hear what he told himself to keep pushing on and he's going to be joining us live exclusively this morning to talk about it.

PEREIRA: Truly amazing.

BOLDUAN: Amazing.

PEREIRA: Then, we've all seen people driving recklessly, chatting away on their cell phones, wishing we could do something about it. Look at this video. This guy really took matters into his own hands.


PEREIRA: We probably don't suggest this. More on that coming up.

BOLDUAN: I'd have been proud of that guy a little bit.

CUOMO: And yet a much bigger crime.


CUOMO: What he just did.


CUOMO: But first this morning, U.N. inspectors in Syria are checking a suspected chemical weapon site in Damascus, but the U.S. isn't waiting for a report. The White House and Secretary of State Kerry no longer cautious about saying they believe the Assad government is using chemical weapons.

The question now, will Syria pay a price for crossing the infamous red line set by Obama? We have this story covered like no one else including the only western network reporter inside Syria. But first, let's get to CNNs Chris Lawrence live at the Pentagon -- Chris.