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U.S. Federal Government Shutdown Continues; Interview with Congressman Chris Van Hollen; Interview with Jerome Davis, Witness to Biker SUV Attack

Aired October 3, 2013 - 07:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Steve King will be here to give us the two sides of the equation.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And then Michael Jackson's family misses out on $1 billion payout. A jury finding that Jackson's concert promoter AEG Live was not liable in his death. His family believed AEG should pay because they thought the company is the one that hired the doctor who gave Jackson the drugs that killed him. It's a complicated case, may not be over yet.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Here's a buzz-worthy story. Mia Farrow, the actress, suggesting that her and Woody Allen's son Ronan is actually Frank Sinatra's son. Ronan himself is now speaking out. We'll hear what he has to say about all this.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. But first, hopes were raised and then dashed as President Obama and Congressional leaders met face to face, trying to resolve the budget stalemate that's led to the government shutdown now in its third day. In the end there was no progress coming out of that meeting. CNN's Brianna Keilar through following the latest developments live at the White House this morning. So Brianna, any signs of where things go from here?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, Kate. Good morning to you. And this meeting was called unproductive by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Sadly, that may be the one point where there was bipartisan agreement.


KEILAR: For the first time since the government shutdown, congressional leaders met face to face with president Obama at the White House Wednesday night, both sides emerging with no deal and no signs of progress to end the stalemate.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: The president reiterated one more time tonight that he will not negotiate.

HARRY REID, (D-NV) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We're through playing these little games.

KEILAR: Republicans still demanding President Obama accept a delay to his signature health care program.

BOEHNER: All we're asking for is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare.

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Am I exasperated? Absolutely I'm exasperated.

KEILAR: In an interview with CNBC, the president reiterated that he won't give in on Obamacare, but said he will negotiate on budgetary issues like taxes, spending, entitlement reform, if House Republicans first agree to reopen the government for several weeks.

OBAMA: We have a situation right now where if John Boehner, the speaker of the House, puts a bill on the floor to re-open the government at current funding levels so that we can then negotiate on a real budget that allows us to stop governing from crisis to crisis, it would pass.

KEILAR: The president is probably right, but that's not happening anytime soon. Instead, House Republicans held votes again on funding the government in a piecemeal way the Senate will surely reject.

Meanwhile, not far from the capitol, the World War II memorial, operated by the largely shuttered national park service has become a proxy in this battle. To counter images of World War II vets showing up to the barricaded memorial, the RNC offering to pay to keep it open.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIR: Our veterans deserve the freedom to see this memorial. And we're willing to pay the bill. Now it's up to the president just to let them in.


KEILAR: And that is basically what happened. The national park service yesterday saying that the World War II memorial will remain open now just for veterans. So this outrageous image off the table, we do understand, Chris, that the RNC will not be paying the tab, though.

CUOMO: OK, Brianna, appreciate the reporting.

Now the notion that the shutdown isn't a big deal is getting tougher to justify. We know about all the families of government workers not getting paychecks, but now flu shots may be harder to come by, food safety may be compromised. Even nongovernment workers are getting squeezed because their employers lack of business from their government counterparts. With this part of the story, Rene Marsh is in Washington. Good morning, Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chirs. It's day three, as you mentioned. You see the gates behind me, the memorials and monuments, they are still shut down. Meantime, those hundreds of thousands of federal workers, their lives still in limbo this morning, and some of them are now starting to file for unemployment benefits.


MARSH: Instead of starting their day at the office -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us do our work.

MARSH: These furloughed workers are manning the picket lines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are being placed in a furlough status.

MARSH: For the nearly 800,000 federal civil service workers they're now nonessential status is a slap in the face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think? Yes, I'm upset.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still have to put food on the table and pay my bills.

MARSH: People living on this military base in Hawaii stocking up before their commissary closes down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came just to grab a couple things. But then I started getting a little panicked by when I saw how empty all the shelves were.

MARSH: The shutdown could also affect food safety.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here at FDA headquarters in Maryland they've been hit hard by the shutdown. Several hundred food safety inspectors have been furloughed. That means people who watch out for the safety of our eggs, produce and seafood, several hundred of them furloughed. It does increase the risk of food-borne illness and some kind of an outbreak.

MARSH: Empty hallways at the Centers for Disease Control as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're out of the office on furlough and unable to take your call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm very concerned for the experts that we have here. What is it that might be happening that we're not going to catch as soon as we normally would?

MARSH: Even more painful, Reynolds says, because of the shutdown, the CDC can't support its annual flu program just as the season is arriving. And the impact is being felt beyond the CDC's walls.

Here at this sandwich shop in Atlanta, the manager tells us sales are down. They've even had to cut back on employee hours. He says most of the people who typically fill up these tables during the busy lunch hour work across the street at the CDC.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I've cut back my staff significantly. A lot of my staff have young children as well, so it's making an immediate impact.

MARSH: The shutdown also complicating the search for a missing woman in Idaho.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here at this Idaho National monument, which, as you can see, is very rugged terrain, park rangers, even in the face of the government shutdown, are continuing their search for a missing woman, and that's whether they get paid or not. The National Park Service gave them a green light to continue their search for a missing 63-year-old doctor. The expectation is they'll eventually get paid for their hours but there's no guarantee.

MARSH: Meanwhile, the majority of national parks and monuments remain closed.


MARSH: And an update for the sports fans. Despite the shutdown, we do know now that the Army's college football game at Boston as well as the Navy versus the Air Force game, those games will go on this weekend as scheduled. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Rene, thanks so much for that.

So as the government shutdown continues to impact Americans, negotiations in Washington have moved beyond legislative ping pong to what it seems like, just finger pointing at this point. Congressman Chris Van Hollen is joining us now to talk about this. He's the top Democrat on the House budget committee. Congressman, thanks so much for joining me.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D) MARYLAND: Good morning, Kate, good to be with you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much. The meeting happened last night at the White House. No progress by all accounts. That's the only thing they've actually agreed on. So from your perspective, where do things go today? What -- can you offer any hope to the American people?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, Kate, I think the president made a very important point, which is that the American people deserve a vote in the House of Representatives on the plan to immediately open all of the government without conditions. If Speaker Boehner wants to vote against it, that's his prerogative. He can vote to keep the government shut down. But you have to ask yourself, whether you're a Democrat or Republican or any other political affiliation, why won't the speaker allow a vote on the plan to open the government immediately? We have the votes to do it. We have enough Democrats and Republicans on a bipartisan basis to get it done.

And the reason he hasn't had a vote, that simple act of voting, is because you have this very hard, reckless part of his caucus that is driving the train. He is listening to them, and because of that small minority he's not letting the full people's house have a vote. That's the way democracy is supposed to work.

And so I talked to people of all political affiliations and they are totally confused about why the speaker will not allow a vote. In fact, it turns out they actually changed the normal House rules to prevent us from bringing up a motion to ask for the vote. They put it in the hands only of the Republican leader. BOLDUAN: You know often, congressman, when we're talking about the rules of the House, you're either on the losing side or you're going to add to confusion. So let's stay away from what the House rules are.

VAN HOLLEN: Right. But, Kate, the point is they change them in this specific instance to prevent us from having that vote.

BOLDUAN: Republicans say they are listening to their constituents and are standing firm. You know that vote is not going to happen, that vote on a clear CR. So is anything happening in lieu of that?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, what you're seeing right now is Republicans trying to take this piecemeal approach, cherry-picking various government programs. But it's clear that that's not going anywhere. And it's also clear that the way to avoid it and make sure we open up the entire government is to allow the vote.

I know you're saying that vote's not going anywhere. But it's really important people begin to ask themselves why, because the speaker of the House is supposed to be someone who's the caretaker of the democracy here in the House. And democracy requires that people be allowed to exercise their right to vote, Republicans and Democrats alike. And by denying even the opportunity to vote, the speaker is essentially shutting down the House of Representatives. Now, Senator Cruz --

BOLDUAN: That is how the house is run no matter if it is a Republican majority or a Democratic majority. The majority and whoever is in power, they bring the legislation that they want to the floor. That's how it is.

But let me ask you this, because I don't want to get into a fight. I'm not even fighting with you. I don't want to get stuck on House rules at this point, because we know that's not going to go anywhere.

So you have got no negotiations going on at this point, congressman, but you do have the president going out today make his case, taking his case, trying to make his case to the public directly. He's going to be speaking at a construction company. There's distrust between the House Republicans, Republicans in general, and this president. He's going to continue blaming Republicans for this shutdown, but how does that actually help, him going out there and having these speeches in front of this construction company, how does that help kick start negotiations, because it seems like it would probably hurt it more than help it?

VAN HOLLEN: Sure. First, Kate. Just to be clear, you know this, the House rules do not prohibit the speaker from calling a vote. That is his decision. He made the decision to prevent that vote from happening.

Yes, the president is going to a construction company. In fact it's going to be in the congressional district that I represent. I will be attending the event. What the president is going to be talking about is getting the economy moving again. And the fact that this ongoing uncertainty about government shutdowns, about the new effort of the Republicans not to pay our bills on time, which is a debate that's coming up, is creating great uncertainty in the economy. This is a self-inflicted wound that the country doesn't need.

What the president has said all along is that he's willing to negotiate on all the budget issues. We've been trying to sit down at the table since March with our Republican colleagues, as you well know. The speaker prevented the appointment of budget negotiator. So we want to talk about that.

But the president is absolutely right, that you don't negotiate about whether or not the government stays open on totally unrelated demands, like ending the Affordable Care Act. So I think the president will continue to press his case. I think the more the American people hear what's happening, the more they recognize that the Congress right now, especially in the House of Representatives, has become captured by a far right.

And listen, it's not just the president who said that. As you know, Senator Burr, a very conservative Republican from North Carolina, said that this playbook that the Republicans have started was the dumbest idea he ever heard. Senator McCain called it irrational. So the president is saying nothing different in that sense than what these Republican senators have said about what's happening.

BOLDUAN: There's definitely disagreement on strategy within the Republican Party right now. No question there.

VAN HOLLEN: But we're all the victims. The whole country is the victim of that difference in strategy among the Republican parties. And we should not all be the victim of a Republican civil war.

BOLDUAN: All right, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, always great to see you. Thank you so much.

VAN HOLLEN: Good to see you Kate. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Let's get to Michaela now for more news this morning.

PEREIRA: All right, Kate, we're watching a situation off the coast of Italy, breaking news, a boat capsizing and catching fire off the coast of southern Italy. At least 94 people now, including women and children, have been killed. The death toll is expected to rise.

The Coast Guard so far has saved over 150 people. The rescue effort we're told is ongoing. The boat is thought to have had up to 500 people on board, many believe to be migrants from Africa.

U.S. government rushing to boost computer capacity in order to handle that overwhelming Obamacare web traffic. Servers are being added. The system is being streamlined. We're told performance is improving. The website advised users to wait for pages to load Wednesday. On Tuesday, people were encouraged to revisit another time. Delays and other problem have continued to plague marketplaces run by states. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on the road. He will join us a little later in the show with more on these developments. A violent bus crash left eight people dead and more than a dozen other people injured in Tennessee. Authorities say the bus en route to North Carolina blew a tire. It crossed the median, clipping an SUV and then colliding with the tractor-trailer and overturning. Interstate 40 re-opened this morning after crews spent the night removing debris from the accident.

Attorneys for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev complaining his prison conditions are too harsh. They're asking a judge to ease the special administrative restrictions that have been placed on him. Tsarnaev is confined to a tiny cell, has no access to mail, the media, telephones, or outside visitors. His attorneys claim that those conditions are impairing their ability to defend him.

And we want to show you something super cool. This is Aaron Gould. He is the guy that's on a fly board. What is a fly board, you ask? Well, it was developed in 2011. It's a board connected via long hose to a watercraft or jet-ski. You can fly up to nine feet in the air or dive head long into the water. But this guy does a double back flip. The folks on YouTube are calling it historic. We don't know if it's historic but we think it's awesome.


PEREIRA: I mean, nine meters, not nine feet, which is a big difference.

BOLDUAN: There's a big difference there.

PEREIRA: So that's kind of cool. You see those kinds of jet-ski things and jetpack things are kind of all the rage now.

CUOMO: Providing your own propulsion. That tube is sucking the water up and that's what keeps it going.


PEREIRA: You're going to try it, aren't you?

CUOMO: I love to watch. Very cool.

Let's get over to Indra Petersons, keeping track of the latest forecast for us.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I would say bucket list. I'm with you, Michaela. I'm on it. I'll do it since Chris can't. ]

I do want to talk to you about what could be our next storm. This potentially could be tropical storm Karen. Right now it is not there yet but there is about an 80 percent probability that we will start to see this develop.

There is a difference between yesterday and today, though, yesterday we look at all the weather models which as I'll show you here, we look for consensus as to where we think it will go. Some of the models had it from Texas, some of them all the way in through Florida. Today really starting to get that consensus that it will likely be around Louisiana.

We'll show you one of the models. This is the European model here. Timing of this brings it in late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning. Expected to stay weak. A strong tropical depression or weak tropical storm at landfall. Either way, around New Orleans or possibly Biloxi, we'll be looking for this, again, as we go through the weekend.

The biggest effects, yes, strong rip currents, strong winds. But of course some heavy rains, some flooding concerns especially around New Orleans. We could be looking at about 4 inches of rain in that region. As it continues to make its way inland, 1 to 2 inches of rain around Arkansas.

The other story today, northeast, still gorgeous. Temperatures, 10 to 15 degrees above normal. They have been that way for several days. We're still going to stay warm especially as we go through the weekend. We are going to see a change, not a good one, especially within we talk about the weekend.

We'll be adding rain into the mix. Let's take a look at the Midwest. There's the storm that's going to be the culprit for it. Maybe light showers in the bulk of the region. The potential is there that we could be seeing severe weather. If you're in Nebraska or Iowa, watch out for the threat, even for isolated tornadoes. Strong winds, thunderstorms and hail will be a potential in the skies. So, we're going to be looking for that.

Otherwise, once that system does exit the region, look for it to make its way into the northeast. So, overnight tonight in through tomorrow, look for rain here in New York as well.

Not as strong as the Midwest. Not too bad.

BOLDUAN: Okay, Indra. Thank you.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, we're learning more about the ugly confrontation about a group of motorcyclists and an SUV driver here in New York City. New images reveal what happened after the video stopped. We're talking with one of the bikers who witnessed the incident.

CUOMO: First, the shutdown, now the backlash. The longer it drags on, the more angry people get. We'll tell you why the angriest people may be Republicans. They're angry at fellow Republicans, coming up.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. There are new details this morning in the disturbing biker SUV brawl in New York. Police are looking for all the riders involved. So far, one has been charged, another was released and one of the riders is now in a medically induced coma from being run over by that SUV.

For the first time we have a look at what happened to the SUV driver once the video stopped. Our next guest is Jerome Davis. He was in the group of motorcyclists that Sunday. Jerome, thank you for joining us. I appreciate it. These are tough circumstances, I understand that. There are a lot of misconceptions here. A lot of biases at play. So, let's try to strip a little bit of it away.

Is this a motorcycle gang we're talking about?


CUOMO: You guys have a name, are you an organization?

DAVIS: We're riders, riders.

CUOMO: Explain to us, how do so many riders wind up riding together? How'd you get in that pack?

DAVIS: It also comes about with 9/11 rides. Function, parades, there are riders all around the world. When you're a rider, other riders meet other riders. You collaborate and ride together.

CUOMO: This is one of those deals you wanted to ride on a particular day, someone said there's a group going, that's it.

DAVIS: Right. Doing an event or --

CUOMO: Did you know all the other riders?


CUOMO: How is that possible? Common sense says they must always ride together. Is that the case?

DAVIS: In the morning you get together. The morning or afternoon you have you -- get gentlemen together, females, you'll go out and ride as one. And more and more will come. People know people.

CUOMO: Okay. But you don't know everybody.


CUOMO: When I heard that you said I don't know the guy who bashed in the window, I thought you were covering to are a friend.


CUOMO: But you're saying you just don't know a lot of these guys.

All right, so you're there that day. You're riding in the pack, come off 95, the typical route, you're going down the highway. What do you see that happens?

DAVIS: From my right rear view, came to a stop. I don't know the gentleman -- the two gentlemen. They're slowing up. The one that was in front to the left, he kind of lost control of the bike, came to a stop. It was a few seconds, everything happened so fast, it happened so quick. And the fellow rider, he's underneath the car. He kept proceeding on. CUOMO: You're riding in a pack. Where's the SUV?

DAVIS: In front of me.

CUOMO: Is it surrounded by motorcycles?

DAVIS: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: Were the riders hassling that SUV? You know those big packs, you can do that to cars. You want them out of the way, you don't like the way they're riding. Was that going on here?

DAVIS: Not harassing him but -- it's not like they wanted him to pull over. Not in a way of threatening him. And I kind of feel him. He was afraid. He was afraid.

CUOMO: I know your emotions go to your riders.

DAVIS: Correct.

CUOMO: I know you guys are talking. Originally you were like he showed nothing on his face. You feel differently now that you've thought about it?


CUOMO: Because he was surrounded by bikes.

DAVIS: Correct.

CUOMO: And that guy in front who got hit, unfortunately, seems like he was slowing up like he was looking back.

DAVIS: Correct.

CUOMO: Because you guys can be frustrated by drivers on the road. Fair point?


CUOMO: It seems like that's what was going on here?


CUOMO: All right. You don't know who this SUV hit first, though, you don't know how this started, true?

DAVIS: Prior, before I reached (ph) the highway.

CUOMO: We understand that he hit somebody.


CUOMO: Stopped. Because when the video picks up, you're all stopped. What is going on that he has stopped?

DAVIS: Prior before West Side Highway I wasn't there.

CUOMO: You don't know.

DAVIS: I didn't see it. There's more footage.

CUOMO: Right.

DAVIS: Why this came about.

CUOMO: But what you say is - because you guys are stopped, and the video from the headcam, everybody stopped. The car stopped. Then he takes off and hits another rider.

DAVIS: Correct, yes.

CUOMO: What was going on that made him bolt off like that? You don't know?

DAVIS: He was afraid. I could say he was afraid.

CUOMO: Something must have been going on, though, right?

DAVIS: Correct.

CUOMO: Who's at fault, who isnt?

DAVIS: I'm seeing no one going to him, not saying anything to him. I couldn't answer that.

CUOMO: You weren't up close enough to figure out what happened?

DAVIS: Correct.

CUOMO: You came up, saw him take off. What happened when he took off was he hit cars.


CUOMO: Did you follow the car all the way through.

DAVIS: To the end, no. To the end off the off ramp, yes. Off West Side Highway, yes.

CUOMO: When you heard those guys pulled him out of the car, beat him up, what did you think of that?

DAVIS: It was wrong. It was wrong.

CUOMO: Were guys talking during the ride? Was anybody communicating on head set or something saying about how they felt, what was going on, why they were chasing him?

DAVIS: No, I didn't have a chatter box.

CUOMO: Afterwards, did you hear chatter from guys about why they went after him, why they beat him up, how they felt about it? DAVIS: It was back and forth. It goes both ways. Two wrongs don't make a right. The gentleman was scared. If I was in his shoes, I'd be scared.

CUOMO: You see the video when the guy is trying to hop the rear door, you know there's a 2-year-old back there.

DAVIS: I'm pretty sure the guys weren't aware of that. I'm a rider. If my fellow rider, if we were together, I wouldn't have left -- if we were in a group, it could have been done another way. The couple could have made sure he not got away and the rest could have stayed back. It could have been more organized.

CUOMO: This is an unfortunate thing.


CUOMO: All kinds of descriptions (ph) being paid to you guys on the bikes. The motivations of the guy in the car, that's why we're waiting for the investigation. We appreciate you helping us get a better picture of what was going on and who was involved.

Jerome, I'm sorry to meet you this way. I know you don't know the guy this the hospital. We hope he'll make it out of there in some way where he can go on with his life. Thank you for joining us today.

DAVIS: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, now we want to know what you think about this, obviously. We all have to wait for the facts as they come out from the police, though. Remember that when you're forming your opinions, but tweet us with the hashtag, #newday.

Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris. Coming up next on NEW DAY, there's plenty of anger to go around because of the government shutdown. We'll show you how frustration is boiling over at members of Congress and even between each other.

Also ahead, a jury says Michael Jackson's concert promoter is not to blame for his death, but the case may not be over. Details ahead.