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Officials: Iran Orders Intercepted; U.S. Preparing For Airstrikes In Syria; Seeking Support At G20; Texas Whooping Cough Outbreak; Deadly Drone Strike In Pakistan; Report: NSA Cracks Encryption; Montana Rape Sentence; Speed Racer Busted; Peyton's Magnificent Seven; Lighting Delays NFL Opener; Divorce Court for Zimmerman; Iran Orders Reprisals; Tough Questions on Syria; Obama Assassination Suspect; Veronica Custody Fight; Turkey Terror; Can Obama Get the Votes He Needs?

Aired September 6, 2013 - 06:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: -- killing a man in a drunk driving accident. He has not been charged. He is now taking full responsibility for his actions in this online video. Why did he post the video and will he now be charged? We'll take a look at this.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's get to the new developments on Syria. From Congress where the plan for a strike is meeting stiff resistance to Russia where the president is in intense meetings and our Dr. Sanjay Gupta near the Syrian border witnessing the desperation on the ground.

We are going to start at the Pentagon with that breaking news overnight about a reported plot by Iran directing militants to attack U.S. interests if there's a strike. CNN's Chris Lawrence is following all of it for us there. Good morning, Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hi, good morning, Chris. Yes, "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that the U.S. has intercepted communications from Iran directing militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other Americans there. I've been at that embassy when it has been shelled by mortars and other weapons. It is a fortress, but the State Department put out a warning to Americans who are working outside of the compound, living and working in Iraq.

Also, we're getting new information from U.S. officials about the scope of any potential air strike in Syria. We are told that aircraft may be used. In fact, it may be bombers, long-range bombers flown by pilots right here in the United States, but these bombers, I'm told, would stay out of Syrian airspace and use what's called standoff weapons to strike targets within Syria -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of big developments on this story this morning. Thanks so much, Chris, for starting us off.

The big question also this morning, do U.S. lawmakers and the American people have the stomach to stand behind a mission right now? Right now it appears the president's plan to punish Syria is losing support. Let's get to chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash live from Capitol Hill this morning. Trying to track all the votes, it looks at the moment more undecideds than anything else -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Look, we've seen an unprecedented lobbying effort by the Obama administration, bipartisan support from congressional leaders. Despite that, it does seem that the momentum we saw earlier this week for the president has stalled and talking to lawmakers there are lots of reasons for that not the least of which is the opposition that they're hearing from the voters who sent them here.


SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I am opposed to having a single American boot on the ground in Syria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We sent you to stop the war.

BASH (voice-over): For undecided lawmakers watching what happened to pro-Syria bombing Senator John McCain back home is a cautionary tale.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what I think of Congress. They are a bunch of marshmallows. Why are you not listening to the people and staying out of Syria? It's not our fight.

BASH: Even for a town hall veteran like McCain this was rough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We not afford to turn Syria into another Iraq or Afghanistan. I beg you.

BASH: Lawmakers are hearing that kind of opposition all across the country. It's part of the reason even the president's most loyal supporters like members of the Black Caucus are very wary of authorizing a strike.

REPRESENTATIVE GREG MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: A large number of them say we don't want you to go to war.

BASH: A House Democratic leadership source insists to CNN the majority of lawmakers are still persuadable because they have not yet been briefed. The problem for the president is how many especially fellow Democrats are reluctant even after attending classified briefings intended to persuade them.

SENATOR BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: What will our allies do? I know that 37 nations have said they would support us, but what does support mean?

BASH: Democrat Tulsi Gabbard is a combat veteran of the Iraq war.

REPRESENTATIVE TULSI GABBARD (D), HAWAII: I've seen firsthand the extreme costs of war both overseas as well as here at home, is something that is giving me a unique perspective but great pause.

BASH: She is like many who don't question whether Bashar Al-Assad used chemical weapons, but do question Obama officials' ability to answer key questions in public or private about military contingencies after the U.S. bombs like what if Assad finds a way to use chemical weapons again?

SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Do we strike again? Well, that's the definition of further entanglement. That's the definition of our becoming deeply involved in a war.


BASH: Most members who are truly undecided really do appear to be doing their homework. We talked to several who say they are attending more than one classified briefing trying to get as much information as they can in order to make their decision. Many say they are counting on a presidential prime time address, which we do expect in the coming days in order to convince them and perhaps more importantly their constituents urging them to vote no -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Dana, thank you for that this morning.

As the Congress considers a strike in Syria, President Obama is in St. Petersburg, Russia for the G-20 Summit. The president is urging or using this opportunity to make his case for action in Syria with his fellow world leaders, but a troubling image emerged. Take a look at this, the leaders walking to dinner, part of the tradition. They were together, no President Obama. He came later alone.

The tension between President Obama and Russian President Putin is a major issue and one that could get worse after President Obama meets today with members of Russian human rights and LGBT groups. Brianna Keilar is with the president in St. Petersburg. Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. President Obama met officially at a one-on-one meeting with Chinese President Xi, another world leader who is at odds with the U.S. over Syria, but it is still Russia and President Vladimir Putin who remains the thorn in President Obama's side.


KEILAR (voice-over): For a mere 17 seconds they were all smiles, putting on a good face for the camera as tensions deepened between President Obama and his chief skeptic on Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obama still faces a long road ahead in his push for global support for a U.S.-led strike against Syria, asked if he's made any progress --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We were talking about the economy this afternoon.

KEILAR: Syria is the proverbial elephant in the room as it's not even on the official agenda for the economics-driven summit pushing all discussions on to the margins in corridors and behind closed doors.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think our joint recognition that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is not only a tragedy, but also a violation of international law that must be addressed.

KEILAR: In the midst of the private meetings a very public key announcement on Thursday. Britain's Ministry of Defense confirmed reports they found traces of sarin gas on clothing and soil samples from a victim in the Damascus attack. Prime Minister David Cameron discussed the new evidence in an interview with the BBC.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think the evidence is growing all the time and we have just been looking at some samples taken from Damascus, which further shows the use of chemical weapons in that Damascus suburb.

KEILAR: So far Putin has not commented on Syria publicly. His press secretary took the reins saying, "we all need a convincing and legitimate evidence of proof" and to further the divide Obama appears to be thumbing his nose at Putin on his own turf. He plans to meet with gay rights activists as outrage spreads over Russia's new law banning any promotion of gay relationships to minors.


KEILAR: Now all of the world leaders here last night had a dinner last night. It lasted a very long time, four hours and following that dinner, we heard from Australia's foreign minister who said that the world leaders really stated their position on what they thought on Syria and he also backed up what we heard from Russia's press secretary, which was they were divided down the middle.

Not necessarily on responding to Syria, Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons, but whether to work through the U.N., something, Kate, that the U.S. government feels is fruitless because of Russia and China's ability to have a veto on the Security Council.

BOLDUAN: At least at this point it seems absolutely true. Brianna, thanks so much, great work from there in St. Petersburg for us.

Back here at home, there is a growing health alert we want to let you know about, several states are seeing an alarming increase in cases of whooping cough. In Texas alone, a new outbreak is reaching epidemic levels. So what's causing the surge of this illness and what, of course, you want to know can be done about it at this point?

Senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is at the CNN Center in Atlanta with more. Good morning, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Kate, you have a really bad combination going on right now. You have kids going back to school so once again they're in close quarters and you have a vaccine that fades over time.


COHEN (voice-over): The awful sound of whooping cough, a brutal cough that can last for months, a potentially fatal illness especially for babies and young children who haven't had a chance to get all their shots yet. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They actually may have spells of apnea where they stop breathing so one to two out of 100 infants actually can die from this.

COHEN: Sixteen states and Washington, D.C. are seeing an increase in cases compared to this time last year. More than 2,000 cases so far in Texas alone, claiming the lives of two babies. The state is on course to have its worst whooping cough outbreak in over 50 years. Officials this week issuing a health alert.

Warning Texans that vaccinations are vital, but the effectiveness of the whooping cough vaccine fades quickly. By age 11 only 7 out of 10 kids are still fully protected. That's why the Centers for Disease Control recommends a booster shot for preteens to protect themselves and any babies they could unwittingly infect.


COHEN: Now, adults should also get a booster shot if they didn't get one as a preteen or teenager. It's especially important if you have a baby. These, of course, you would never want to give your baby whooping cough -- Chris, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely not. All right, Elizabeth, important information for every family this morning. Thank you so much.

CUOMO: We're looking at a lot of news for you this morning so let's get the latest from Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right, making headlines right now, a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills at least seven suspected militants. That drone firing two missiles that struck a house near the Pakistan/Afghan border. Soldiers say four men were seriously injured and taken to hospital. That strike was the 20th deadly missile attack carried out by U.S. drones on Pakistani soil this year.

The NSA's long-running battle to conquer internet encryption has succeeded. According to documents from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, the agency is using super computers and court orders to bypass online privacy protections. The files were provided to "The New York Times" and "The Guardian." They say the NSA has cracked or circumvented the encryption protections that guard global banking systems, medical records and the e-mails of everyday U.S. citizens.

The attorney for a former Montana teacher who was given a 30-day sentence for raping a 14-year-old girl is asking the judge to cancel today's resentencing hearing. The judge scheduled the hearing after admitting the sentence he originally imposed was wrong. The teacher's attorney along with state prosecutors filed an emergency petition claiming that the judge lacks the authority to change that sentence. We'll have much more on this story coming up in the next hour.

New York City Police announcing they have arrested the man who posted dash cam video of himself speeding around the entire island of Manhattan in just 24 minutes. We showed you the video yesterday right here on NEW DAY. Christopher Adam Tang now facing multiple charges including reckless endangerment, police have also seized his 2006 BMW Z4. Street cameras that read license plates led them to the suspect.

Finally you might have heard the NFL is back. Boy, what a start to this season. In his hall of fame career, Peyton Manning, has never been better than he was last night throwing seven touchdown passes. Count them. Go ahead. Do it. The NFL season kicked off with the Broncos routing the Super Bowl champion, Baltimore Ravens 49-27 in Denver. He is the sixth quarterback in NFL history, Kate, you would know this to --

BOLDUAN: Counting.

PEREIRA: Since the first back in 1969.

CUOMO: Five --

PEREIRA: We'll have much more in football coming up.


PEREIRA: In "The Bleacher Report."

BOLDUAN: Here's the last one.

PEREIRA: And the crowd goes --

CUOMO: Big and fast. Look at the legs on that guy.

BOLDUAN: Hi, I'm amazing.

CUOMO: With the legs, Hercules, lead with the legs. That's where all speed and power comes from.

BOLDUAN: Anyone that questions Peyton Manning, age is only a number with that man. He is back. I was a little upset when they had a little bit of a rain delay. It was like and the bedtime just got pushed back more. Do we blame -- let's definitely do that. As we were saying the start of the NFL season was delayed by severe weather in the area, thunder and lightning. It delayed the game. Let's get to Indra and find out what's the deal and what are we looking at?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it is one time I might have been happy at home watching the game. They had a record high of 97 degrees yesterday. Typically they should be about 83. If you have that high pressure, all that heat out there then you add that monsoonal moisture and, boom, they got a thunderstorm. It's not even the huge storm. It was literally in the wrong place, wrong time causing that delay that of course postponed the game yesterday morning, but pretty typical for this time of year to see monsoonal moisture in the area.

What is not typical? Check out the northeast, a little chilly this morning, yes, frost advisories and even warnings in upstate New York this morning. We have a bite in the morning. We're talking about temperatures even in the 30s. Look at that in the northeast, yes, Boston, New York in the 50s, even for us that is a good 10 degrees below normal. Just remember if you're cold in the morning chances are you'll still be cold in the afternoon, as well so even our afternoon highs below normal, a lot of low 70s out there today. Even look at the 60s, Buffalo, New York today just a high of 69 degrees. That is a chill then we'll add to it. Everyone loves me so much as we go through the weekend another cold front makes its way through.

So it looks like Saturday night in through Sunday we'll get just a hint of rain. It's not a big rainmaker, but just enough to bring those temperatures back down again.

BOLDUAN: We need to talk about where the temperatures are going to be and a certain area of Ohio this weekend.

PETERSONS: A little bit of rain.

BOLDUAN: Someone is traveling. Someone might be heading there for the opening of hunting season.

PETERSONS: Rain for you.

CUOMO: I'll make to stay indoors.

BOLDUAN: Bingo. I got it.

CUOMO: Is that why you bought me that jacket with the duck head on the top of it?

BOLDUAN: I didn't mean too. That was a fashion statement. Thanks, Indra.


CUOMO: That was a statement all right. We'll take a break.

Coming up on NEW DAY, less than two months after beating a murder charge, George Zimmerman heading back to court, only this time it's divorce court. We'll tell you why.

BOLDUAN: More than 2 million Syrians are now refugees. Think of that number, 2 million people, many of them fleeing their nation's bloody civil war into Lebanon. Well, CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is bringing us their story live from the Syria/Lebanon border ahead on NEW DAY.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Zimmerman's wife calling it quits. Shellie Zimmerman has filed for divorce less than two months after George Zimmerman's controversial acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin.

She pleaded guilty to perjury last week, his wife did, and went public with recent strains on their marriage. Now Shellie says it's retrievably broken. CNN's John Zarrella has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find George Zimmerman not guilty.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the nearly two months since George Zimmerman's acquittal for second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the spotlight on Zimmerman has not dimmed.

Late Thursday, Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, filed for divorce, according to her attorney. She broke her silence last week in this interview with ABC.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you want him to be in court to support you?

SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN, WIFE OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I always want my husband's support.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you together?

SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: I'm not going answer that. Of course I want to have children and stay married.


SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: That's something I'm going to have to think about.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): The interview came after Shellie Zimmerman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying about how much money the couple had for George's bond. She said there was next to nothing. They had raised $135,000 from donations. The plea deal which included a letter of apology to the judge kept her out of jail.

SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: I accept, Your Honor.

SIMS: She stood by her man, like Tammy Wynette says. And she probably shouldn't have. So that's pretty much it. She did what was right for her.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Since his release from jail, George Zimmerman has been moving fast, literally. And that's kept him in the spotlight, too -- of the law. Pulled over for speeding in Texas in July, and then recently in Orlando.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyway, I stopped you for speed.



ZARRELLA (voice-over): His ticket, $256.

Over time, the spotlight may dim. But for now, the Zimmermans are keeping themselves under it -- John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


BOLDUAN: All right. John, thanks so much for that.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): Coming up next on NEW DAY, CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta live from the Syria-Lebanon border. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians gather there, refugees of bloody civil war; a report you do not want to miss, ahead.

CUOMO (voice-over): And something you're going to want to see. A young man, this young man, making a shocking online confession, admitting he killed someone while driving drunk.

He's still a free man this morning. No charges yet, but for how much longer and why did he do this? We'll tell you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're watching NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Friday, September 6th. Coming up on this show, we've been talking a lot about Syria, we talk about intelligence and strategy, but, remember, Syria started as a cause to help the innocent.

An incredible number of refugees are fleeing from there, nearly 2 million in the last year. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is live at one of the refugee camps near the Lebanon-Syrian border. He's going to tell us about the human tragedy that is ongoing there.

BOLDUAN: A huge story.

We're also watching this story. An Ohio man makes a shocking online confession. He admits he was drunk driving when he hit another car back in June, killing a 61-year-old man.

So what happens next to this man? You want to see this very compelling video.

CUOMO: A lot of news this morning, so let's get right to Michaela for the latest.


PEREIRA: All right, guys. Good morning to you.

And good morning to you at home.


PEREIRA: U.S. intelligence has intercepted a message that indicates that Iran is planning reprisals in Iraq should the U.S. launch a strike on Syria. "The Wall Street Journal" says Iran has ordered militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. embassy and other American interests in Baghdad if the U.S. takes aim at Syrian targets. Officials say the U.S.' assets in the area that would be ready to respond in case of any such reprisals.

The president is poised to answer tough questioning about Syria. He's expected to hold a news conference in Russia later this morning. Russia's Vladimir Putin and other world leaders of the G20 have been ratcheting up the pressure on President Obama to decide against launching military strikes in Syria.

A pretrial evidence hearing today for an Idaho man charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama by shooting at the White House; court documents says Oscar Ortega Hernandez opened fire with a high-powered rifle back in 2011. The president was away on a trip at the time. Prosecutors have said Ortega Hernandez may have been upset about the country's marijuana policy.

A new legal twist in the custody fight over the little girl known as Baby Veronica, who's now nearly 4. The girl's biological father, Dusten Brown, pictured there, is fighting an extradition order to South Carolina.

He went before an Oklahoma judge Thursday after turning himself in to authorities. Brown is fighting Veronica's adoptive parents for custody and now he's facing charges of parental interference.

Police in New Jersey had an interesting call. They had to come to the rescue after an unusual home invasion in New Jersey: the suspect, a very large wild turkey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A wild turkey came through my skylight and it's flying around my house right now, destroying everything. I'm in my bedroom, but I'm afraid to come out. I just hear it banging and it's just destroying my whole house.

PEREIRA (voice-over): The turkey trashed the place, causing up to $7,000 in damage before officers were able to chase him away. Police believe the turkey got kind of aggressive after seeing his own reflection in the mirror and mistaking it for another male turkey -- an aggressor. We're told the suspect remains at large.


PEREIRA: The poor woman, she's not a large lady; she's fairly petite and the turkey was very big and it really scared the daylights out of her. It crashed out another window.

BOLDUAN: My sister said squirrels got into her house once. She says that was scary enough.


BOLDUAN: -- remember her telling me, let alone think if it was a wild turkey.

PEREIRA: A mad one, too.


PEREIRA: (Inaudible) not even happy to see you.

CUOMO: Who knew they were big enough to bash through a window?

BOLDUAN: Oh, they're, yes, substantial. New Jersey.

CUOMO: One more thing for me to fear.

BOLDUAN: Another thing to consider on Thanksgiving.



BOLDUAN: All right. Let's talk turkey. Let's talk to another turkey. Let's go to --


PEREIRA: So easy.

CUOMO: Crestfallen.

BOLDUAN: Drop the video. Show this guy's face.

What? What? You left us. You were here --


BOLDUAN: All right. Let's talk serious politics, though, John, because we've been talking about it all week, obviously, we were talking about Syria and we're looking -- the president is going to be coming back late tonight from the G20 summit, but we're looking at where the vote count is.

It's really going to come down to the votes in Congress. The latest tally that CNN has, in the Senate, 24 yes votes; in the House nearly four no votes to every yes vote over there, a majority in both houses at this moment remaining undecided.

The administration has been pressing its case all week long.

What more can the administration, the White House and the president do to try to win at this point?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Well, Kate, good morning. Let me start the discussion with this.

This is from a top House Republican leadership aide, someone who is trying to help the president here, even though they're not traditionally allies, quote, "I'd be floored if it passes."

Now that's anecdotally -- "I'd be floored if it passes," that's anecdotally, based on members of Congress checking in with their leadership, the leadership poking around, just reading the headlines.

Can it change? That bottom line you just showed, majority in both houses remain undecided. That is the president's hope, that when lawmakers actually come back to Washington next week, when they get classified briefings, when you can lobby them one-on-one, face to face and try to present the information.

So can the president turn this around? Yes.

Is the hill getting steeper by the day as more and more lawmakers come out and say no, just yesterday a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, Senator Joe Manchin, those are the kind of votes the president needs.

And so you're starting to see people come out -- you see certain people come out, you say, hmm, if you think of other like-minded people in the Congress, the dynamic right now is against the president.

What can he do? It's going to take one-on-one lobbying. It's going to take the classified information of those briefings overwhelming people, but it's not looking good for the president.

BOLDUAN: And one big factor here, as we've been talking about, is public opinion.

I mean if you need further evidence of that, you don't need to look at the polls. You just look at the town halls that some people have been having.

John McCain getting an earful from some voters yesterday at a town hall he held in Arizona.

What are really lawmakers hearing?

One thing you hear from that town hall was, "We sent you there to stop wars, not start them."

KING: And that is part of it and we've talked about this before.

The current president, who is now asking for these votes, helped create this dynamic in part by coming into national prominence by saying it was time for the United States to get out of military involvement in the Middle East. And this is remarkable because it is completely bipartisan.