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U.S. Beefs Up Its Presence; Taliban Attacks U.S. Base in Afghanistan; Child Killed in Stroller; Pippa Middleton Engaged?; Syria: Did President Obama Make the Case?; Montana Rape Sentence Outrage; Schwimner Gets Slammed!; Another Bieber Brawl?; Lance Bass Puts a Ring On It!; Battle at the Box Office

Aired September 2, 2013 - 07:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It's half past the hour. Hope you're having a good morning so far. Coming up in the show we're going to get you caught up with the latest developments out of Syria, a busy morning so far with the U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea waiting for the word from Washington. President Obama wants to move ahead with the military strike against Syria, but he also wants to get Congress on board first.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Plus imagine going to a NASCAR race and a Jerry Springer episode breaks out. A woman got mad at the driver who crashed into her boyfriend's car and her hand crashed into his face. But wait until you hear what the victim says after it happened.

BOLDUAN: I love the slow mo.

CUOMO: Let's get to John Berman with the top news right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Great to see you guys. Good morning. Making news this morning starting with Syria, the aircraft carrier, USS Nimitz is entering the Red Sea along with support ships and it appears that the pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army hacked the recruitment web site posting a letter urging Marines not to attack Syria.

Syria also asking the U.N. to step in and stop a possible U.S. strike, this as President Obama makes his case to members of Congress to approve that strike. Today the president will meet with Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. They are key players on the Armed Services Committee. Coming up in a moment, perspective from both sides of the political spectrum, Ari Fleischer and Howard Dean, they will debate the Syrian issue.

New this morning, Taliban fighters attacking a U.S. base in Afghanistan. Several explosions and machine gun fire reported at forward operating base Torkham. That's near the border of Pakistan. NATO officials say coalition troops and Afghan forces killed all the attackers after a fire fight that lasted several hours. No NATO troops were reported killed.

Just unimaginable horror for a young mother and father in New York City, this is a tragedy. It makes you sick. Police say the couple was pushing their one-year-old son in his stroller Sunday night near their home in Brooklyn when the boy was shot in the head and killed. Police say no arrests have been made and an investigation is ongoing.

And talk about lucky, a spectacular landslide followed by a huge boulder. It almost crushes that car passing by there. Look at that. You can see the boulder teeter and then the boulder decides no, I'm not going to do it and falls just a few feet from the car. Out of a dash cam of a car traveling behind caught this all. The driver and the passenger, they were luckily able to walk away from this. That sudden landslide was triggered by heavy, heavy rain.

Big, big news if you're a fan of the royal family and its relatives or just a dude on earth. Pippa may be engaged. I'm talking about Pippa Middleton, of course, the sister of Duchess Kate. Celebrity tabloid "Sunday People" says her stockbroker boyfriend, Nicko Jackson, popped the question in June just before Wimbledon, but they're keeping it quiet until after Pippa's 30th birthday which is this Friday. The two have within together for more than six months. Who knew, Chris?

CUOMO: Who did know, John? Now we all do. Thank you very much for the information. Good to have you.

All right, let's talk more about a possible intervention in Syria or the politics of it specifically. We have Ari Fleischer, CNN political commentator, former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush, and Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former presidential candidate himself. Good morning, gentlemen. It's good to have you both with us. Thanks for weighing in.

Let's start off with this. Before we make it all about the president, would either of you like to own the idea that decisions like bombing a sovereign nation should include the Congress necessarily? Ari, what do you think of that? Isn't that the way it's supposed to work?

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I praise the president for doing this. I think it is the right thing. I agree with the president that he has the authority to do this on his own. He's not advocating that responsibility, but a nation is stronger and I learned this as a result of Iraq. A nation is always stronger in a democracy when it has the people mind it and that's why it's important to go to Congress for President Obama in this instance.

CUOMO: All right, so then let's look at the optics of this. This is seen as weakness. So Ari, let me stay with you. Make the case for why it is weak that President Obama is going to Congress.

FLEISCHER: Well, the argument people making who say that is because they want a powerful executive who can move the military with dispatch and in this instance, President Obama made the threat, called it a red line, promised enormous consequences, if he doesn't act he's giving up America's word. That's the argument people make. They want to see the president's word enforced. It's not a bad argument, but I just think this strengthens the president's hand in the long run, but he has to prevail on the vote. CUOMO: Especially, Mr. Dean, with the past that we have in Iraq and how we acted there and the nature of the information we acted on, how can this be seen as weakness? What's your take on that?

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITEE: Well, first of all, it's not weakness. I think Ari is right. The reason that the president has to do this is we need a national debate on this. Right now the public is not in favor of this kind of intervention and in order to get the public to be in favor of this kind of intervention you got to have a national debate. There's not a better place to begin that kind of discussion in Congress where it's going to have coverage for the next couple of weeks.

Second of all, this is a different situation than Iraq. Nobody is talking about a massive invasion or boots on the ground or any of this kind of business. In fact, it's really a mess because the opposition to Assad who clearly is a butcher, is also unfortunately allied with some really bad people, which is al Qaeda and funded by the Saudi government, which has probably caused more problems than certainly it's done anything to help get rid of Assad.

So you know, we're face with a problem here of dealing with chemical weapons, which is horrendous as I think the American people saw on television weapon without necessarily wanting to get involved in this contest, which is increasingly becoming a contest between the lesser of two evils.

CUOMO: Fair criticism that the president's red line comment got him into trouble politically on this?

DEAN: Not if you take him at his word and I do. I think this guy is a very principled guy, the president of the United States. I think he truly believes that these are awful weapons and should not be used under any circumstance. There are all sorts of conventions that say that. It really is a violation of international law and somebody has to enforce the law. It's not going to be the Russians or the Chinese whose policy is let them do what they want as long as we can make money.

Somebody has to do that and I think the question is -- clearly the United States can't do that in every instance. The question is, is one of those instances and I think a congressional vote and a national debate is worth having over the stopping of the use of chemical weapons.

CUOMO: Why does the Congress need to be coaxed into this, Ari Fleischer? Isn't this their job? Why does the president have to call them back? Shouldn't they just come back themselves? They're supposed to weigh in on this.

FLEISCHER: Well, you know, the constitution says Congress should declare war. This is not war. This is the use of the military's precision weapon such as Tomahawk and cruise missiles essentially. I think it's a different issue than the war. The hype is going to be war. The coverage will suggest war, but President Clinton for example used similar attacks against Iraq. There was no congressional vote for it. It was not war. President Clinton did not go to war with Iraq. He did launch cruise and Tomahawk missile at Iraq at their intelligence gathering operations --

CUOMO: The War Powers Act of 1973 says clearly in Section 3 that in all possible scenarios, the president is supposed to consult with Congress. It gets ignored. It gets abused, but that's what supposed to happen.

FLEISCHER: Consult is not vote. The president decided to put this to a vote. I mean, this is really a voluntary exercise where the executive has said to the legislature I want you to act. You can guess why President Obama is doing that as a political cover. I still think it's essentially right because democracy should support through the Congress any determination we even use the military in an instance like this. We don't have troops on the line that are under attack and we have to fight back.

CUOMO: Right. I hear the mitigations, but let me frame it as a question for both of you to answer before I let you go. Both of you have made a point of saying that this is going to be limited. President Clinton did it early on with Iraq. Let me know the last time that the U.S. military was able to have some limited surgical strikes and be done with it and do nothing more in a situation. Mr. Dean, what's the last example of that?

DEAN: Libya, a couple months ago.

CUOMO: But do we believe that that's over, that that was strikes and we'll never be back?

DEAN: It is for our military.

CUOMO: Do you feel confident with that?

DEAN: That's exactly right. I think so. Look, this president having gotten us out of Iraq adhering to the agreement that was signed with the Bush administration and about to get us out of Afghanistan is not going to have us in another war in Middle East. Furthermore, this is a much more complicated situation where in fact while there are some elements in the Syrian Free Army, which are good and we wish would prevail, there are also some elements that would result in something worse than Assad.

So this is an ideal issue for the discussion for the American people. Do we want to use our resources because children have been murdered by a dictator using chemical weapons? I think the answer is in some way, yes. We've got to draw a line on chemical weapons, but I clearly do not want to get involved in another Middle East war. This is very complicated and I think the public deserves this debate.

CUOMO: And in Libya you wound up having the leader toppled, to say the least, right? Muammar Gadhafi was killed there and here we're saying we don't want to topple the regime, we just want to stop the weapons. Sound a little -- Ari.

FLEISCHER: Welcome to the world. CUOMO: Listen, gentlemen, thank you for the perspective on this. It's complicated. It needs a lot of discussion. It's good to have it here on NEW DAY. Thanks to both of you.

All right, now, we've got some political sages here weighing in on the politics of this discussion. We're going to have more coverage of this type of talk. We're going to have Congressman Buck McKeon at the top of the hour and we're going to debate what happens next with Republican strategist, Ana Navarro and Columbia Professor Marc Lamont Hill. That's all coming up -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, the prison sentence that sparked outrage across the country, a judge gives a teacher just 30 days for admitting to raping a teenage girl. Well, now it's looking that the outrage may be changing that sentence.

And also this later, the slap happy NASCAR girlfriend, she crashed her hand into another driver's face. Now what is she facing?


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. We begin this segment with a new push to overturn a controversial 30-day sentence for rape in Montana. A former teacher pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old student who later committed suicide. The case sparked national outrage for the light sentence and for the offensive comments made by the judge during the sentencing.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Los Angeles with the very latest on this sad sorry. Good morning, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there, Kate. This all comes down to whether or not the judge, G. Todd Baugh, in this case misapplied the law, says the Yellowstone County Attorney. He now says he believes he did and is making a push, the extraordinary push to overturn it.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): This morning new details about how the shockingly light sentence of a rapist just 30 days in jail might be reversed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dream scenario for us that he would do 20 years with ten of those years suspended.

MARQUEZ: That dream scenario expected to take a step toward reality this week. On Wednesday, a critical conference call scheduled between the Yellowstone County attorney and Montana's Attorney's General Office.

SCOTT TWITO, YELLOWSTONE COUNTY ATTORNEY: There may be a misapplication of the sentencing authority here and that's where I focused my attention at this point.

MARQUEZ: If the state's attorney general agrees, then Montana Supreme Court would be asked to reverse the light sentence Judge G. Todd Baugh handed up in the case against this man, former high school teacher, Stacy Rambold. Judge Baugh sentenced Rambold to just 30 days in jail after he broke the terms of his parole for the 2007 rape of then 14- year-old Cherice Morales.

During sentencing, Judge Baugh said the 14-year-old Morales was in as much control as her then 49-year-old rapist and that she acted older than her chronological age. Morales wasn't there to speak on her own behalf. She took her own life before trial in 2010.

JUDGE G. TODD BAUGH, YELLOWSTONE COUNTY DISTRICT COURT: What I said was demeaning to all women, not what I believe in and irrelevant to the sentencing. I owe all of our fellow citizens an apology.

MARQUEZ: Despite the apology, the sentence stands. The outrage growing, protests so far in both Billings and Butte, more planned across the state and one online petition urging Judge Baugh to resign is now nearing 50,000 signatures, another over 70,000.


MARQUEZ: And now for this to all get going, there's one thing that has to happen. The judge, Judge Baugh, actually has to sign into law basically his own decision that is so controversial by Montana law that has to happen before the county attorney and the state's attorney general can try to overturn this. Once he does sign that, which is on his desk now, they sped this thing up because of all of the attention on this case. Once he does that, they will have 20 days in order to try to overturn the sentence. Kate, Chris, back to you.

BOLDUAN: We'll follow this very closely. Thank you so much, Miguel, for that update.

All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, U.S. warships now in the Red Sea as President Obama begins a full court press to convince members of Congress to vote in favor of military action against Syria. We're going to talk to a key House Republican about where he stands on this debate.

CUOMO: Plus, dare I say it, another Bieber brawl. There's word that Justin Bieber got into a fight at the club in Toronto. Details in the "Pop Four."


BOLDUAN: All right, welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It's time for the "Pop Four" as I try to finish this mint, apologies. Nischelle Turner is here.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: It's Labor Day. We're all here. We're laboring. It's one of those things.

BOLDUAN: Just trying not to stink you off the stage with my breath.

TURNER: What does it say about me that I like this song, "Best Song Ever." Fully admitting that I'm loving the One Direction this morning. Let's get to the "Pop Four," shall we? Our number four story, someone wants David Schwimner to get the message. Yes, graffiti reading, Ross is not cool, appeared near former "Friends" star town home in New York last week. Now Schwimner tour down a historic building in 2011. He's rebuilding on that site. Could have something to do with it, I'm just saying.

Did Justin Bieber get into yet another club brawl? That's what I'm asking, Chris Cuomo. It's our number three story today. E-News reporting that witnesses saw Justin Bieber get attacked in a Toronto nightclub on Friday night and that the attacker may have gotten one of his gold chains in the scuffle. His representative did not comment to us when contacted.

BOLDUAN: I have a suggestion, stop going to the clubs. It seems to not end well.

TURNER: Don't go to the clubs.

BOLDUAN: Or don't wear your chains.

BERMAN: I don't wear chains. That's why.

TURNER: Well, actually, good point, Kate Bolduan. He could be 21 before he went to the club.

BOLDUAN: There you go.

TURNER: Our number two story popping this Labor Day. Big congratulations to former 'N Sync star Lance Bass. He got engaged over the weekend to model, Michael Turchin. Apparently, he popped the question in New Orleans. He announced it and put a picture up on Twitter. They're handsome.

And the number one story today, the One Direction documentary "This Is Us" beat "The Butler" this weekend by just over $2 million. Those were followed by "We're The Millers" "Planes" and "Instructions Not Included." Now these are Friday through Sunday numbers. The full holiday weekend numbers will be released tomorrow. But let me tell what's that 2 million accounts for? Certain entertainment correspondent's voice all over that One Direction --

BOLDUAN: So, I heard. There is a certain person who makes a cameo.

TURNER: I am taking that $2 million.

BOLDUAN: Yes, exactly. So, how much did you make for your appearance?

TURNER: Morgan Spurlock told me to take it up with Ted Turner. Where is the cut?

CUOMO: It does money up your love of One Direction. Now that I know that you have an economic interest in their success.

TURNER: I didn't know that I was in there. Apparently, apparently, they just borrowed me for a second. CUOMO: As Nischelle's --

BOLDUAN: Even though you're lying to us, we love you.

CUOMO: The whole, I had no idea I was in the movie.

TURNER: Exactly what I said, by the way.

BOLDUAN: John Berman makes an appearance in a movie he'll come in with a sign, is a sandwich board, I was in the movie.

CUOMO: There should be a movie on you.

BERMAN: Full documentary, 3 minutes long.

CUOMO: What do you think? Tweet me.

Coming up on NEW DAY, the U.S. is sending more fire power towards Syria moving aircraft carriers into the Red Sea ready to strike at a moment's notice. It's clear we can strike. The question is, will we? We'll give you the latest on the debate.

BOLDUAN: And also the latest on endurance swimmer Diana Nyad. She is closer than she is ever been to reaching her goal. Will her fifth attempt in the Cuba to Florida swim be the charm? We'll take you to Florida, live.