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Countdown To Shutdown: Four Days; Shutdown Showdown; Historic United Nations Meeting; Bill Clinton Speaks; Navy Yard Shooting; Al- Shabaab Leader: More Attacks Coming; FBI Investigating Nairobi Siege; Not Ruling Out U.S. Attack; Controversial Student Rape Sentence

Aired September 26, 2013 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, September 26th, six o'clock in the east. Yes, of course it is.

Coming up, secretary of state, John Kerry, and his Iranian counterpart are meeting and it matters. Why? It will be the highest level meeting between the country since the 1979 Iranian revolution. What is on the table for Syria and Iran's nuclear program? We'll tell you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also, former president, Bill Clinton, sat down with Piers Morgan in a really wide-ranging interview. They tackled everything from what's going on in Syria to the looming government shutdown, even talking about Clinton's wife's, Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions. We're going to bring it to you in just a moment.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Check this out. Did you see this bench brawl? Oh my goodness. A fight breaking out between the Brewers and the Braves, clearing the benches, really. Only the first inning. You got save this until the end at least.

CUOMO: It looked like hockey.

PEREIRA: It looked like hockey. We're going to tell you why a home run brought both teams on to the field. That's coming up in our "Bleacher Report."

BOLDUAN: It's for a long game. Let's begin, though, with the perfect storm forming in our very imperfect Congress right now. Just four days left until a government shutdown, Senate leaders hoping to approve a spending bill by tomorrow that would keep Washington running beyond October 1st and also include funding for the president's health care law.

And while Republicans scramble to find ways to stop Obamacare, another even bigger deadline loom, the debt ceiling must be raised in just about three weeks or America won't be able to pay its bills. Dana Bash live on Capitol Hill this morning with more. So where do things stand today, Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK, you and I have seen this movie before. People out there who are really fed up with Congress careening from crisis to crisis won't be happy with the double whammy around the corner.


BASH (voice-over): It would be one thing for the government to shut down in four days. National parks would close, medical research interrupted, but then economic catastrophe may come 17 days later when the U.S. could default on its loans if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling. The White House is warning not to use it as a bargaining chip.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is no negotiating over Congress's responsibility to ensure we do not default.

BASH: But GOP sources tell CNN that as soon as Saturday, House Republicans are planning to pass a bill that raises the debt ceiling, but also adds several GOP priorities like the Keystone pipeline or tax reform or even delaying Obamacare for one year.

SENATOR JOHN FLEMING (R), LOUISIANA: The real play here is going to be leading up to the debt ceiling discussion where we could get a full delay for a year including taxes of Obamacare and I think the president is ready to do that.

BASH: Fat chance say Democrats.

SENATOR PETER WELCH (D), VERMONT: Their strategy will fail because the financial markets will pistol whip the Republican conference into doing then what they should be doing now, and that is pay America's bills.

BASH: But let's go back to that first deadline, the looming government shutdown.

(on camera): Senator, I know you're exhausted.

BASH (voice-over): Ted Cruz finally sat down after his headline grabbing --

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I do not like green eggs and ham.

BASH: Conservative celebrity making --

CRUZ: I tweeted a speech that Ashton Kutcher gave.

BASH: Twenty one plus-hour talk-a-thon against Obamacare.

(on camera): How do you feel standing there for so long?

CRUZ: Dana, to be honest I feel terrific. I feel energized that the American people had an opportunity, I hope, to engage in this debate and have their voice heard.

BASH (voice-over): But Cruz still wants to only fund the government if Obamacare is defunded.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BASH: Now I got an e-mail this morning sent to conservative activists asking them to, quote, "melt the phone lines to advocate for Ted Cruz's strategy," assuming that doesn't happen and he doesn't get enough Republicans to come his way, the Senate is expected to pass a bill funding the government, but not defunding Obamacare by Friday or Saturday. But that only leaves a couple of days for the House to act. It wouldn't be surprised if we saw maybe a short-term stop gap measure -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Dana, thank you very much for the reporting. Let's turn now from the politics to the practicalities. I know it seems like the same old down there in D.C., but they're playing with your pocketbook.

Rana Foroohar, CNN's global economic analyst, and the assistant managing editor of "Time" magazine and our own Christine Romans, of course, business expert and anchor of CNN'S "YOUR MONEY" joining us. Let's start with a -- what is a problem and then get to what's a big problem. Shutdown, who doesn't go to work if there's a shutdown?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of federal workers. I mean, probably tens of thousands of them and then anybody who's waiting on the federal government for paperwork, right, so a lot of private businesses. Back in 1993, 1995, last time we were really doing this. You didn't have so many private contractors working for the government, main street companies working for the government. So it would be thousands and thousands of people would not go to work.

CUOMO: All right, so I don't go to work, but I still get paid, right?

RANA FOROOHAR, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, it depends on if you're work for the federal government or not. There may be furloughs as there were back in --

CUOMO: Furlough means I'm off but I'm not paid.

FOROOHAR: That's right -- and you don't know when you're going to be paid. So there's an incredible amount of unpredictability. Anybody who works for the federal government or gets paid by the federal government is worried right now.

CUOMO: But if I am vulnerable, on social security, I'm getting disability payments. I'm getting Medicare. I still get it if there's a shutdown?

ROMANS: In a shutdown, that's mandatory spending, so Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, those kinds of payments go out. There could be some -- technically there could be some delays if you have staffing issues. That's mandatory spending. But here's what's interesting, Chris, if three weeks later within we go to that debt ceiling, Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling, those are in jeopardy.

You could see seniors not getting a social Security check. You could see hospitals not being paid for Medicare and Medicaid. That would be a real -- Main Street would feel that immediately, the debt ceiling. CUOMO: All right, so let's get to debt ceiling. I am thinking about buying a car or a house. Do I care?

FOROOHAR: Absolutely. It could affect interest rates. They're very likely to go up. Back in 1979, we actually had a small technical default on just a few of our treasury bills. That raised interest rates by over 0.5 percent and they stayed high for several months. That was a tiny thing. That was nothing like what we're facing now. So we could see a real hike if this goes on.

CUOMO: Why is it so much worse this time?

ROMANS: We've never done it before. It's bad because we borrow so much money, right? When you look at, for example, $30 billion cash on hand is what the treasury secretary says we have. We have $58 billion of really important bills. Those are just the important bills in November. How are we going to pay that? Who's going to decide you're going to pay Social Security, but you're not going to pay the Chinese. You're going to pay for the highway funding, but you're not going to pay for hospitals.

CUOMO: In my household, we say more debt is bad. We want to limit debt. We're saying here no more raising the debt ceiling. Why isn't that good?

ROMANS: This is not how you do it though. You don't do it -- these are the bills Congress has already -- they've already paid this. They are supposed to pay their bills.

FOROOHAR: You cannot pay your credit card bill. You cannot pay your mortgage.

ROMANS: Right.

FOROOHAR: These are things we've already committed to and the thing is being back at this place again and again, this is the third year running that we've been back in this same spot. It eventually degrades people's faith in America and in our reserve pricing, in the value of the dollar. You could ultimately see the value of the dollar go down because of this.

CUOMO: Chance that households are hit 100 percent and chance that the markets react negatively 100 percent, fair statement?

ROMANS: We just don't -- it's so unpredictable. It's just playing with fire. You just don't do this. You don't mess with the full faith and credit of the United States government. You just don't do that.

FOROOHAR: And you're already seeing a reaction in markets. You know, markets have been down despite the fact that the Federal Reserve is still pumping money into the system. I think one of the reasons they're doing that is they're trying to buffer if we have some sort of a beltway bombshell.

CUOMO: Another thing is for sure, Kate, if we wait until you feel it on the household level, we've waited too long.

BOLDUAN: You are absolutely right. All right, Chris, thank you.

Let's move now to today's historic meeting at the United Nations. Secretary of State John Kerry and other diplomats are sitting down with a top Iranian official. It's the highest level meeting involving the two countries in more than 30 years and it could mark the start of new negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

CNN's senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is live at the U.N. this morning with more. Good morning, Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the real issue here is can Iran actually deliver? We've heard a much softer tone from the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He would have to do much to improve on the angry-ness of his predecessor. On the table today and this is high level diplomacy, the permanent five members of the Security Council plus Germany meeting with Iran on the table is what kind of enrichment of uranium can Iran do?

Many concerned it's enriching -- it's enough to be able to make a nuclear bomb in a hurry, if it wants to, what level of inspections could Iran further consent to? Iran's president suggesting perhaps he may want to deal within three months. Whatever we see out of today's meeting, nothing really has been tried like this since 2001 Colin Powell simply shaking the hand of his Iranian counterpart.

When the Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif walks into that room and sits down next to John Kerry, that's the highest level of diplomacy for 34 years between these two countries. It simply is a big deal today. Back to you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, the measure will still be what comes out of it. Nick, thank you very much for the reporting this morning.

Now the so-called secretary of explaining stuff explains himself, former President Bill Clinton sat down with CNN's Piers Morgan, the potential government shutdown, his wife's political ambitions and the situations in Iran and Syria, all laid bare, kind of. Take a look.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN'S "PIERS MORGAN LIVE": Christiane Amanpour for CNN yesterday interviewed President Rouhani. He basically admitted there had been a holocaust, which was certainly nothing that Ahmadinejad would ever admit to. What did you make of that?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I think it's interesting commentary on the world in which we're living that admitting that the holocaust occurred qualifies as being a moderate. I was hoping and I think the president was, that the opening of the U.N. would give them a chance to, you know, maybe even do more. I think we just have to keep working at it and I feel the same way about the Russian effort to get the Syrian government to declare, disclose and then hand over their chemical weapons. We'd be crazy not to take advantage of this. MORGAN: Something sounds too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true. Can we really believe Vladimir Putin with his own self- interest for Russia is orchestrating this huge maneuver to remove all of Assad's chemical weapons and it's just going to happen?

CLINTON: No, we don't have to believe it. We just have to see what happens and make the most of what happens. You work for the best and prepare for the worst in this business, but I think it would be a terrible mistake not to take advantage of the opportunity.

MORGAN: Then you also have to have, Mr. President, a functional Washington. There is a sense that it has never been more dysfunctional, more divisive, and more personally abusive. You and Newt Gingrich eventually worked it out between you. How do you get stuff done in this dysfunctional Washington?

CLINTON: We worked it out when he was trying to run me out of town. We were still working together. But at that time, because they shut the government down twice and because they wished to hold on to their jobs, the Republicans, they wanted to maintain their majority, they believed they had to show up for work and get something done.

This re-apportionment has created a climate, particularly in the House of Representatives, but also in some of the states where they are basically one-party states, where they believe that they don't have to get anything done. They just believe that they have to demonize the opposition and say whatever they're going to say.

MORGAN: I met your wife for the first time and your daughter today, actually. She looks fantastic. She looks completely reinvigorated. She seemed on fire with ideas and dynamism and so on. It screamed to me one thing, I'm running. Can you put us all out of our misery?



BOLDUAN: You have to keep asking at least.

CUOMO: It's a really interesting interview. Piers Morgan is going to come on later in the show and we'll have more of it for you. So stay tuned for that.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. So the FBI has released dramatic new surveillance video that shows Washington Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis on his deadly rampage. Investigators say Alexis was delusional and believed that he was being controlled by electromagnetic waves.

Let's go live to CNN's Joe Johns in Washington with more on this investigation. Really troubling new details coming out this morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's for sure, Kate. We now have tons of new information about what happened leading up to that horrible, bloody day last week at the Washington Navy Yard. But the picture of Aaron Alexis is still incomplete because it doesn't make any sense.


JOHNS (voice-over): Ten days after the shooting, the FBI released the gripping silent surveillance video of Aaron Alexis carrying out his deadly attack. He drives into the Navy Yard in his rented Prius. The cameras pick him up as he enters the front door of Building 197, ready for a rampage that killed 12 before he was shot down.

VALERIE PARLAVE, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN CHARGE, FBI WASHINGTON FIELD OFFICE: There are indicators that Alexis was prepared to die during the attack and that he accepted death as an inevitable consequence of his actions.

JOHNS: You see him carrying his bag, hidden inside, a sawed off Remington 870, which he removed in the bathroom. Photos also released by the FBI show he left the bag behind. Then 22 minutes after he drove in, surveillance picks him up roaming the hall. He readies his weapon, hunting people. You see him move downstairs and make his way down another hall as people flee through a connecting hallway. In addition to seeing this chilling tape, we're also getting a sharper picture of what drove Alexis.

PARLAVE: There are multiple indicators that Alexis held a delusional belief that he was being control or influenced by extremely low frequency or ELF, electromagnetic waves.

JOHNS: The FBI released photos of his gun and apparent reference to the magnetic waves carved in the handle, "my ELF weapon" and on the barrel, the words, "into the torment." While the investigation into the mental illness that saw the seeds for the attack continues, agents said they found writings by Alexis that explained in plain language why he said he did it.

PARLAVE: A document retrieved from the electronic media stated, quote, "Ultralow frequency attack is what I've been subject to for the last three months and to be perfectly honest, that is what has driven me to this."

JOHNS: Investigators don't believe he targeted specific people in his 60-minute killing spree.


JOHNS: Chris and Kate, there has been irritation expressed by family members and one Navy official that the public release of the video was insensitive. But a source said the FBI had more graphic pictures and did not release them -- Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: You can be sure of that. All right, Joe, thanks so much for the update this morning.

CUOMO: A lot of news going on right now so let's get right to Michaela for the latest -- Mick.

PEREIRA: Good morning to you. Good morning to you at home. Making news, a just released audio message reportedly from al Shabaab's leader, confirming the group was behind the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi and warns of more violence. CNN has not independently verified the audio's authenticity.

In the meantime, FBI agents are there. They are fingerprinting, testing DNA and analyzing ballistics in order to identify victims and the al Shabaab attackers who died there. More than 60 people were killed in that siege. The number is expected to go up.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad says he doesn't discount the possibility of a U.S. attack even after agreeing to forfeit chemical weapons. In an interview with Venezuela's state-run Televisa, he also said, he's given Russia evidence of rebels' chemical weapons. This as report surfaced of a split within Syria's main opposition group in exile.. About a dozen factions, including one linked to al Qaeda, said to have broken off.

Back here at home, a deadly plane accident in suburban Chicago. A female passenger was killed, the pilot severely injured when a single engine plane slammed into a bank parking lot during rush hour last night.

The plane went down in Bolingbrook, about 30 minutes southwest of Chicago. It crashed into a tree, a light pole and three vehicles before bursting into flames. Investigators still trying to determine exactly what caused that crash.

Jury deliberations in the Michael Jackson wrongful death case could begin as early as this afternoon. Closing arguments continue this morning with rebuttal from attorneys representing the Jackson family. On Wednesday, the attorney for concert promoter AEG Live told the jury that Michael Jackson died as the result of his own bad choices. AEG Live claims it didn't know anything about Jackson's use of Propofol until after he passed away.

George H.W. Bush agreeing to be an official witness to a same-sex marriage last weekend in Maine. The former president and his wife Barbara attended the wedding of two female friends in Kennebunkport. Mr. Bush even signed the marriage license. Same marriage became legal in that state of Maine, last year.

Those are your headlines. Isn't that -- that's kind of -- yes, it is nice to see. Looking well, too.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela.

Let's move to the forecast. Let's get to Indra.

What are we looking at, my dear?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Is it nice to see snow already this early? I'm going to say no.


PETERSONS: She's going to say yes. CUOMO: To see it, yes. To be in it, no.

PETERSONS: If I can snowboard in it, everything changes.

Very quickly, walking in it and snowboarding, big difference. Tetons got a foot of snow already. I mean, this is so early. Look at Kate is like, yes, bring it.

All right. Even Montana, and notice Yellowstone already about half a foot of snow. Unbelievable, this big storm in the Pacific Northwest caused all of this already. It is still snowing in the region. In fact, we could see another six inches to possibly even a foot of snow.

Now, this is Idaho, Montana, but really more pushing in through Wyoming today.

But the big story if you're on the Pacific Northwest is not just that, but it is cold. Keep in mind, to have snow this early the temperatures have to go way down and it's chilly. We're talking 15, maybe 20 degrees below average for your afternoon highs.

Here's where it gets tricky. Just east of the area, temperatures are 15, 20 degrees above average for the afternoon high. So, what does that mean for us? We're going to start watching as that same cold front that produced that snow makes its way east. We're going to see the two air masses clash. We'll be talking about thunderstorms picking up over the next several days. So, we'll be monitoring that.

Then, the East Coast, we only have to talk about East Coast next, 70s, perfect. It's like the West, right? Straight from the Northeast down to the Southeast, dry and beautiful.

PEREIRA: Is it time to plan our team snowboarding trip?



PEREIRA: Why is there silence, Cuomo?

PETERSONS: Because he has no game.

CUOMO: I feel like this plan ends up with me driving and paying for a lot of things, and you guys --


PETERSONS: You're the only gentleman here. Gentleman, right?

CUOMO: I'll have to do the planning part of this.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. I'll show up. Thanks, Indra.

PETERSONS: Good idea, Michaela.

CUOMO: Thanks, Mick. Coming up on NEW DAY -- all right, serious question. How much jail time do you think a teacher receives for sexually abusing a 14-year- old student? Years, right? How about a month?

The story gets even more shocking when you hear what the judge said. We'll tell you.

BOLDUAN: And safety advocates are suing the federal government, demanding rearview cameras in all new cars. Why they say Washington is costing people their lives. We'll have that, ahead.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

This morning, a former teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old student will walk out of a Montana jail after just 31 days. The short sentence sparked nationwide outrage, as did comments from the judge that seemed to partly blame the victim.

Here's CNN's Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the last 31 days, prison has been Stacey Rambold's home. And later this morning, the former high school teacher is set to walk out, having served just one month behind bars for raping his 14-year-old student Cherice Morales.

As she waited for her teacher to face trial, Morales' mother says Cherice was tormented by bullying and victim blaming. Before Rambold's case was heard, Cherice Morales committed suicide.

AULIEA HANLON, VICTIM'S MOTHER: She's beautiful. But hopefully, he'll get justice. I hope.

LAH: Justice has failed at every step, says Cherice's mother. Not only did she lose her daughter but then the judge, Todd Baugh, handed down the short sentence, saying Morales looked older than her chronological age and was as much in control as the then 49-year-old Rambold.

The judge who has ducked CNN's questions has since admitted the sentence may have been illegal. State laws mandate a two-year minimum for this crime.

The sentence and the judge's comments sparked national outrage. Earlier this week, petitions with 140,000 signatures were delivered to a Montana judicial watchdog panel, demanding Judge Baugh's removal. In the courts, the prosecutors have appeal the sentence to the state Supreme Court, hoping to send him back to prison.

And for the victim's mother, a cry for justice -- a hollow search along the trail of anguish.

(on camera): Does the pain ever fade? HANLON: No. No. I think we just get used to it, so -- so you don't cry every day.

LAH (voice-over): Kyung Lah, CNN, Billings, Montana.


BOLDUAN: Thank you, Kyung, for that update.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: Republicans, they're regrouping after their latest attempt to defund the president's health care law, is appearing to be headed for failure in the Senate. So, what is their new strategy? John King is here to break it all down in this morning's political gut check.

CUOMO: And question for you. You've got a rearview camera in your car? No? You're supposed to. Did you know what? It's been years since Congress said all new cars need them. They said it but never passed the law.

Now, safety advocates say that foot dragging in Washington is costing lives, we'll tell you why.


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

CUOMO: A little Aerosmith for you.

Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, September 26th.

Let's get straight to Michaela for your top stories right now -- Mick.

PEREIRA: All right. Let's take a look at our headlines.

The highest level meeting between the U.S. and Iran in more than three decades set for today. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Iran's Mohamed Zarif at the United Nations. It will be part of a group trying to negotiate limits on Iran's nuclear program.

Official meetings between the U.S. and Iran haven't gone this high up since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

The Navy Yard shooter delusional, thinking low frequency electromagnetic waves were controlling him and driving him to kill. That's what the FBI is saying about Aaron Alexis, based on information they received from his thumb drives, phones and computers. Authorities said he also acted alone and was not targeting anyone specifically in that attack. Twelve people were killed, 4 others wounded in the rampage last week.

The man known as former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez's right- hand man back in court for a bail hearing. Earnest Wallace's attorneys will try to get to his half a million dollar cash bail reduced. But the D.A. has hinted that more evidence will come to light at the hearing. Wallace pleaded not guilty as an accessory after the fact in the murder of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez himself faces murder and weapons charges in connection with Lloyd's death.

Newark mayor and Senate hopeful, Cory Booker, grabbing some headlines for exchanges he made with a stripper named Lindsey Lee on Twitter. It appears to begin with Lee's public tweet to Booker where she says, "If you're ever president of the United States, I call dibs on first lady."