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Chicago Park Shooting; Shutdown Countdown: 10 Days; New Information About Navy Yard Shooting; Shooter Cleared Despite Red Flags; Secretary Kerry Pressing U.N.; Flood Death Toll Rises To Seven; Police Chief Fired; Officer Shoots Unarmed Man; New iPhone On Sale; Pope Francis Criticizes Church; 10 Days Until Government Shutdown

Aired September 20, 2013 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, everybody. Your NEW DAY starts right now. Let's get after it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple victims shot which were transported to various hospitals throughout the city.

CUOMO: Breaking overnight. Violence erupts in Chicago. Thirteen shot. A three-year-old now fighting for his life. The city's crime epidemic now claiming younger victims. We're live with the latest.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Shutdown showdown. It's the president versus republicans but also Republicans versus themselves. A key vote today in the House. Will it set the government on a path to shut down?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: CNN exclusive. The Super Bowl MVP who missed the birth of his son this week talks to our Rachel Nichols. Does he have any regrets?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. I believe it is Friday.


CUOMO: Good. September 20th, six o'clock in the east. We're watching something potentially ground breaking happening right now. The newly elected president of Iran, as we are looking at, he's reaching out to the west, writing an op-ed and calling for more constructive dialogue.

He also tweeted Thursday that he's open to meeting with President Obama. So, is this a major shift in policy? Not just tone for a country usually so at odds with the United States. We'll take a look. BOLDUAN: Also in the show, Pope Francis giving his first interview to a newspaper, suggesting the church has become, quote, "obsessed" with issues like homosexuality and abortion, criticizing the church for not being inclusive enough. So, is this really a big change for the church? More on that, ahead.

PEREIRA: We have a video we'd like to show you this morning. A young couple getting married, happy day in their life, one of the most important moments, in fact, of their lives. They paid professional photographers to capture all of those special moments. But you've got to listen to this, the priest not having any of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a solemn assembly, not a photography session. Please move or I will stop.


PEREIRA: Can you say awkward? What does the couple have to say now? We will hear from them live coming up.

CUOMO: All right. We're going to begin this morning with breaking news. Another violent night in Chicago, 13 people shot in a hail of gunfire in a park last night, one of the wounded, a 3-year-old boy, now fighting to for his life. It has been a violent year in Chicago. Now before you say, I've heard this, listen to the number, 1,600 people have been shot this year. Live for us in Chicago this morning, CNN's George Howell. Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. According to police we understand that this 3-year-old child was shot in the head, currently in critical condition. The last young victim of gun violence, Janiyla Watkins, just earlier this year, the 6-month-old girl who was shot and killed sitting in her father's lap, the result of gun violence.

But again, we understand this was a mass shooting on the city's south side, in the back of the yards neighborhood known for gang violence and known shootings. We know ten people were adults. We know two were teenagers and of course, this 3-year-old child who is currently in the hospital. Keep this in perspective. We understand that, more than 315 people were murdered this year. There have been more than 1,600 shootings so far and just last year, Chris, more than 500 murders.

Chicago police insist the murder rate is going down. We understand that investigators are looking for the suspect or suspects in this case, Kate. But again, a violent week, a violent night, I should say, here in Chicago.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Thank you, George. It doesn't matter how high the number goes, this is still a tragedy and it's such a tragedy when you talk about the numbers that you just laid out. Thank you so much. We'll get back to you. Let's turn now to the civil war though unfolding on Capitol Hill. Speaker John Boehner saying the Republican-controlled House will pass a temporary spending bill this morning. It's aimed in keeping the government while gutting Obamacare. The question now though what's the point of putting forward a will destined for defeat in the Senate as the clock is ticking down?

With 10 days left before a potential government shutdown, Republicans can't seem to figure out whether to attack the president or each other. Let's go to Jim Acosta, live at the White House. Good morning, Jim. What's the latest?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Later this morning, House Republicans as you said will be essentially casting a protest vote to continue to fund the government while defunding Obamacare. Meanwhile, the White House says the president will start doing more than just watch the country edge closer to a shutdown.


ACOSTA (voice-over): With House Republicans setting a vote for today on a temporary spending bill that would defund Obamacare, Washington is edging closer to a government shutdown. Now just 10 days until the government runs out of money and a possible debt default not far behind, White House officials say President Obama is ready to engage with Congress.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president will be in conversations with congressional leaders in the coming days about the need to deal with these pressing deadlines.

ACOSTA: That was a response to House Speaker John Boehner who complained in this web video with the president is more willing to haggle with Russians than Republicans.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: While the president is happy to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, he won't engage with a Congress on plan to deal with the deficits that threatened our economy.

ACOSTA: Ruling out any negotiations over the debt ceiling or legislation that defunds Obamacare, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney offered this colorful defense of the president's outreach.

(on camera): You're obviously referring to Speaker Boehner's video, is that right? Saying the president is more willing to negotiate with Vladimir Putin than he is with house Republicans.

CARNEY: That is irrefutably false. The video I thought demonstrated a little Putin envy.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The White House was instead taking note of the bruising battle inside the GOP, Texas Senator Ted Cruz seemed to give up on defunding Obamacare, then appeared to reverse course and promised to block any spending bill that leaves health care reform intact.

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare.

ACOSTA: But some of Cruz's fellow Republicans, including a blunt John McCain shot back, saying that's just not rational.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: In the United States Senate we will not repeal or defund Obamacare. We will not.


ACOSTA: And later this morning, the president will be in Kansas City, where he'll be holding a campaign style event on the economy. A White House official says the president will go after the GOP on the prospect of a government shutdown, urging Republicans not to throw the country into a crisis but Kate and Chris, no word whether the president will repeat that line about Putin envy. Back to you.

CUOMO: All right, Jim, we'll be following it all morning long every day until it happens. Thank you for the reporting.

Now, this morning, new information on the Washington Navy Yard shootings and how they might have been avoided, the private government contractor that ran a background check on the shooter is under criminal investigation itself. It's the same firm that checked NSA leaker Edward Snowden's past.

CNN's Pamela Brown is here with even more details about this. What are we learning this morning about the time line of the shooting as well?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New details are emerging, Chris and Kate, about the time line. It's very preliminary at this point, but it shows how Aaron Alexis carried out his rampage Monday morning in an intense chaos-filled hour and a half inside the Washington Navy Yard's Building 197.


BROWN (voice-over): Officials now say that Aaron Alexis responded for the first time on surveillance video parked in his car in the garage at 8:01. Two minutes later, Alexis was seen exiting the fourth floor elevator of Building 197 and entering a bathroom with a bag. Minutes later, he emerges with a sawed off Remington 870 shotgun. At 8:12, the first shots are fired on the fourth floor.

He goes down a stairwell, emerging on the third floor, seemingly picking his victims at random. Alexis then heads to the first floor, shooting a security guard and taking his handgun. Investigators say he ran out of ammo and used the guard's gun to continue shooting victims. Around 8:20, the first officers arrived on the screen, followed by tactical teams, some 20 minutes later.

We now know law enforcement engaged Alexis multiple times. At one point, he was hiding in an office. The carnage was finally coming to an end when he was shot and killed. We're also learning this morning that USIS, the government contractor that handled Alexis' background check is the same firm that vetted NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The company is now under criminal investigation.

This as new details about Alexis's mental state are revealed, just last month, police in Rhode Island say Alexis told them that three people were following him in a Virginia airport, keeping him awake by talking to him and sending vibrations into his body. Glenda and Michael Boyd say they were at the Norfolk, Virginia Airport in August and believed they and their aunt are the ones Alexis was talking about.

GLYNDA BOYD, ENCOUNTERED AARON ALEXIS AT AIRPORT: He said, that lady, she laughing at me. She keeps looking at me. What's she laughing at, you know? And I said, she's just laughing. She doesn't even see you.

BROWN: The Boyds say Alexis wasn't happy with their response.

BOYD: He started, you know, getting a little belligerent and start using profanity and going off. He kept reaching towards his midriff, his waist, like he was reaching for something, maybe a weapon. I just feel like we were so fortunate, fortunate and blessed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To make it through that.


BROWN: Still no clear motive for why Alexis carried out his rampage. Of course, investigators are still looking into that. Meantime, the families of the victims prepare for Sunday's memorial service with President Obama -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: This definitely seems like one of those situations where we may never know why. That's the way it is. All right, Pamela, thank you so much.

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

PEREIRA: Good morning, guys. Good morning to you at home making news at this hour. Secretary of State John Kerry pressing the U.N. Security Council on Syria, saying it has to be prepared to act next week given its own chemical weapons report. He says he believes the complete removal of chemical weapons is possible in a peaceful way but urgency is needed. Meantime, satellites show trucks moving in and out of chemical weapons storing sites, suggesting that Syria is moving around its stockpile. The U.S. just doesn't know where.

As if high water wasn't enough to deal with, there are ten oil spills in Colorado's flood zone. Regulators say heavy debris and tanks causing the two largest leaks. The death toll now stands at seven people, three others are missing. They are presumed dead, 139 others are unaccounted for, all of them in Larimer County.

The police chief of a small Pennsylvania town has been fired after posting video rants about gun control and firing his weapon. The town council of Gilberton voted to terminate Mark Kessler for offensive including neglecting his duties. Kessler says it's because of the videos he lost his job. He says he will request a public hearing to try and save it.

The local district attorney is withdrawing from the case of a Charlotte police officer charged in the shooter of a former Florida A&M football player, Jonathan Ferrell. Andrew Murray is asking the North Carolina Attorney General's Office to handle the case to avoid a potential conflict of interest. His former law firm is representing Officer Randall Kendrick.

Siri might have told you this. The new iPhone models hit stores today, the 5S with more powerful processor, a better camera and this much anticipated fingerprint reader. The 5C is for the more economical fan. It goes for just 100 bucks. Still unless you're OK with waiting in line for hours and hours at a time at the store, the best way to get one is to order it online, the old www.

BOLDUAN: As if my iPhone knew a new one was coming out.

PEREIRA: Is it acting up?

BOLDUAN: It really is.

PEREIRA: They know. They know.

CUOMO: I hope someone didn't sabotage it.

PEREIRA: There are buses and people being thrown under them on the set today.

CUOMO: I'm Ralph Kramden on the show.

BOLDUAN: We go to Indra and find out what your weather would look like this weekend. I think we're talking about rain still.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. We're definitely talking about these flooding concerns. So keep in mind, just a week or so we had all this moisture coming out of Mexico and it flooded Colorado. Today we're still dealing with all these remnants from Manuel. The difference is that cold front is farther to the east. We'll have huge flooding concerns over the next several days.

The reason for it is different than Colorado where we had the mountains and that heavy terrain that caused all that flooding. This time it's the drought conditions in the region. That sounds confusing. They need the rain, right? Yes but the soil cannot handle all that water. So that is going to be concern as heavy rain really makes its way through this weekend, I mean, 3 inches to 6 inches of rain possible into through Texas.

We're also talking about Arkansas, New Orleans, dealing with the heavy rain as we go through the weekend. And of course, the other story, the cold front. The one that's bringing the rain, yes, look at the temperature drop in the Midwest. They are loving this as they go towards the weekend. We're talking about 90s, going down to the 70s, gorgeous for them.

But of course, it does mean rain is heading to the northeast. So yes, we are expecting rain. For us it looks like it will be Saturday night in through Sunday. Get ready for it, a little bit cooler, like fall, as we start actual fall on Monday.

BOLDUAN: Exactly, the last weekend of summer.

CUOMO: Indra Petersons's bucking the smartphone trend. Carries a different device in her hand.

BOLDUAN: I don't know what we call that.

PETERSONS: You want one of these? Here you go. I have no idea. Wireless remote, all yours.

PEREIRA: It looks like a communicator from "Star Trek" or something.

CUOMO: She doesn't battle this Samsung/Apple thing. She has that in her hand.

BOLDUAN: You know what your Samsung, iPhone don't control? That boy.

CUOMO: Power. All right, we're going to take a break here on NEW DAY.

When we come back, Pope Francis, the rock of the church, telling Catholics to focus, get back to what the church is supposed to be about, stop judging. His words are being judged. We'll take you through it.

BOLDUAN: We're also watching the worst weather crisis in five decades that's unfolding right now in Mexico. People dealing with death, destruction and even crocodiles at this point, after two deadly storms pounded the country's coasts and there could be another on the way.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Provocative new comments from Pope Francis. Now, you may think when he sat down for an interview with the Jesuit news service that it would have been ordinary.

But no. He said a lot of things that many Catholics are taking as controversial. And, in fact, around the world they are reacting to what could be seen as his criticisms of the church as it stands today.

CNN's Matthew Chance is live in Rome with much more.

Good morning, Matthew.

All right.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): This is the first in-depth interview with Pope Francis since he was elected in March, and he addresses controversial issues like homosexuality, abortion, and what he called the feminine genius.

And the words will be carefully examined by millions looking to him for guidance. On the role of women, he's said in the past the door is closed on their ordination as priests, disappointing many Catholic liberals. But in the interview, he says women should have a greater role in the church. "The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions," he says.

REV. THOMAS ROSICA, VATICAN SPOKESMAN: How can we possibly make decisions without consulting half of the human race? And most of the people who are in our churches and playing very leading roles as mothers, as catechists, as teachers. Those transmitting the faith are the women in the church.

CHANCE: It was after his successful visit to Brazil earlier this year that Pope Francis made one of his most surprising remarks on homosexuality, telling reporters, "Who am I to judge gay people?"

The church traditionally condemns homosexual acts. In his interview, the pontiff says he was asked if he approved of homosexuality. He answered: "Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love or reject and condemn this person?"

And that seems to be the conciliatory tone Pope Francis is trying to set for the church he leads, not so much breaking with doctrine as shifting the church's emphasis, in the words of one Vatican commentator -- from condemnation to mercy.


CHANCE: The pope also addresses criticism in this interview, particularly from the United States, that he's not taking a tougher life on issues like abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraception. He indicates he thinks the church obsesses about those hot button issues too much, saying this, we simply don't have to talk about these things all of the time -- Chris.

CUOMO: And even that is a big step for Catholics in terms of what they expect to hear from the pope.

Matthew Chance, thank you for doing the reporting this morning.

Now, in the next hour, we get more insight from Mr. Bill Donohue. He is the president of the Catholic League, a powerful force in this area. And we look forward to what he has to say.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

Also ahead on NEW DAY, epic flooding that we're watching, leaving nearly 100 people dead in Mexico. Residents even forced to deal with what you're looking at right there, crocodiles in the street. We're live in Acapulco where the rain just will not let up and now looting has begun.

CUOMO: And he stayed behind and played while his wife was giving birth. Now, Super Bowl winning quarterback fires back at his critics. Rachel Nichols exclusive interview with the unflappable in the pocket, Joe Flacco, ahead on NEW DAY.


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

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, Friday, September 20th.

Coming up in this show, could some of the ice between the U.S. and Iran be thawing after more than 30 frigid years? Well, there is talk that Iran's new president plans to meet with President Obama next week. They've already exchanged letters. We're going to be talking more about that, coming up later.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And we're also going to be talking about Joe Flacco. He's got winning football skills, a Super Bowl ring, a fat contract. But one thing he doesn't have is a big head. Even though all the ingredients are there, how does he stay so steady? We're going to hear from him later this hour. Rachel Nichols got a great interview.

CUOMO: That is a good one. Look forward to that.

First, let's get to Michaela because a lot of news for you right now -- Mick.

PEREIRA: Certainly is, Chris.

We're following breaking news right now out of Chicago -- 13 people shot late last night in a park on the city's south side. Police say, one of those hit, a 3-year-old boy was shot through the ear. Two teens, 10 adults also wounded in that incident. One witness tells the "Chicago Sun-Times" gang members drive around the park looking for people to shoot every day.

Questions this morning surrounding the company that performed a background check on Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis in 2007. USIS, a private government contractor, confirms that it handled the security check on Alexis. This is the same company that investigated NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The company is now the focus of a criminal investigation.

Those suspects who kidnapped Georgia teenager Avani Perez demanded money and drugs for her safe return, according to a criminal affidavit. They got neither. This morning, questions remain whether that abduction was indeed a random act. The teen's mother, along with one of the kidnapping suspects, they were both arrested last year in a drug bust. Charges against Perez's mom were eventually dropped.

A not guilty plea from an associate of former New England patriots star Aaron Hernandez. Ernest Wallace is charged with being an accessory after the fact in the murder of Odin Lloyd. Police say he and another man were caught on video entering Hernandez's home 15 minutes after Lloyd was shot. Wallace is being held on $500,000 bail.

Well, Beyonce and husband Jay-z topped the list of the highest celebrity earning couples. Together, they brought in $95 million.

New England quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen were second, $80 million. Gisele, of course, the world's highest paid model. She out-earned Brady by $4 million. I wonder how that conversation goes at home.

Coming in third, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Together, they brought in $50 million over the last year.

Common factor here, ain't none of them ugly. Look at all of them. Those are the power couples and they're just all beautiful.


PEREIRA: Like honestly.

CUOMO: Pitt even made that cane look good.


CUOMO: That's it?


BOLDUAN: On that somber note.

CUOMO: I finally give your boy Brad Pitt some love. You guys are nothing but talk about him.


CUOMO: I'm not doing it anymore.

PEREIRA: Consider it for a minute.

BOLDUAN: We're stunned into silence.

CUOMO: All right. That's it. Never again. Hope you enjoyed it.


PEREIRA: Who's coming up?



BOLDUAN: Jake Gyllenhall, yes.

CUOMO: I'm done now.

PEREIRA: John King.

BOLDUAN: I was about to be really nice. I was going to talk about John King.

CUOMO: One of those moments and now it's gone.

BOLDUAN: I know, one of the 400 moments I miss in every show.


BOLDUAN: Let's move to our political gut check.

Ten days until a potential government shutdown and the fight continues. But this time, it's more like a bruising battle between Republicans themselves instead of Republicans against the president.

CNN's chief national correspondent John King here to break it all down for us.

I don't even know where we really need to break it down. It's the most unusual situation at the moment. Normally, you've got Republicans versus Democrats, Republicans versus the president. But right now, it's Republicans versus themselves.

How did it get here, John?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You have a new breed of Republicans, Kate, elected in the last two or three election cycles. A lot of them with the support of the Tea Party who view it as their job to stand on what they would call a defining principle every day, almost no matter what. That is why they say they will fight to defund the president's health care plan, even though it passed four years ago, even though the president won re-election in a campaign in which it was a big issue, even though the Supreme Court upheld it, they say at every opportunity, they're going to try to get in the way of the president getting funding for his signature initiative.

So, what they have told their own leadership is, we will not go along with keeping the government running, passing the basic spending bill to keep the government running unless you give us a chance to defund Obamacare.

So, the House speaker didn't want that. That was not his original plan. That is what the House will do today. We'll watch this play out. We'll have a showdown over shutdown for probably 10 days or so.

BOLDUAN: The strategy is so clear, the strategy is not going to work. It is not going to pass in the Senate even if by some miracle it did pass the Senate. It will be vetoed by the president.

So, what do Republicans think they're going to get out of this?

KING: It is simple arithmetic that it will fail, right.


KING: So, you sit here and say, what are they doing?

It's a question of good government versus good politics, I guess. Most of these members who are doing this go home to safe districts. Most of them worry more about a primary challenge from the right than they do a Democrat beating them next November.

They would say it's critically important and they would say that if the president doesn't accept this, he's the one shutting down the government. But we know it won't get to that.

The House will pass its version today. It will send it to the Senate. The Senate will most likely, 99 percent certain, restore the funding for the president's health care plan. That, Kate, is when it becomes a huge question mark.


KING: The Senate will send it back and then what does the House do? Now, logic tells you, the House would just say, OK, we made our point on principle, the Senate put the money back in, fine, we accept it and we'll move on. That's what logic tells you, which is why do not bet on logic happening.

I talked to a top House leadership aide last night who said the House will make at least one more play. If the Senate puts the money back in, the House will try something else. I think we'll have a game of, unfortunately, I don't mean to minimize it, ping-pong over a consequential issue right up to the deadline.

BOLDUAN: It is a consequential issue. But you do, the only reason -- it may feel like it's minimizing. It seems like child's play and how it's actually playing out.

One thing that I find interesting is you have folks like John McCain calling -- saying it's not rational that the Senate would ever -- that people think the Senate will defund Obamacare. You have Karl Rove and "The Wall Street Journal" calling it an ill-conceived tactic that's only going to strengthen the president and it's going to alienate independence.

So, is this a different not only amongst Republicans but really Republicans that aren't concerned about where independents are going? These are Republicans concerned about responding to their district.

KING: That is part of it. Most of them go home to safe districts, number one. Number two, many of them -- remember, the Tea Party was not been because of Obamacare. The Tea Party was born because of George W. Bush and the bank bailouts. That was the original genesis of the Tea Party.