Return to Transcripts main page


Storm Socks East Coast; Shutdown Continues, No Deal in Sight; Interview with Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana; Another Biker Charged In SUV Attack; No Go For "Fast And Furious" Book

Aired October 8, 2013 - 08:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't even notice the tree was in half. I turned around and realized I didn't have a house. That was hard for my kids.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Vicious storms batter the East Coast overnight. From Florida to New England. Homes damaged, cars flood -- a travel nightmare for millions. We're live with the latest.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: War of words, President Obama calling out John Boehner, telling him to prove it and call a vote to end the shutdown. Boehner, though, says it won't pass. Now, the Democrats are taking on a new strategy.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Under fire. He is the focus of a new Hollywood movie played by Tom Hanks. Now, Captain Phillips is defending his reputation. Did he actually put his ship at risk? His crew members speak out to us.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.



ANNOUNCER: What you need to know --

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president's refusal to negotiate is hurting our economy and putting our country at risk.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold out your hand. Let me try something. Did you actually --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, magic trick!

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


BOLDUAN: Good morning, and welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is Tuesday, October 8th, 8:00 in the East.

Coming up this hour, the ATF blocking a book about the botched Fast and Furious operation. The reason? Not because it would endanger security, but because it would hurt morale.

The operation, you may remember, sent thousands of guns to Mexico, but the government lost tracks of hundreds and at least two were linked to the death of a border patrol agent. We're going to talk to the whistleblower behind this book live.

CUOMO: And is there a cover-up in the Steubenville rape case? Provocative question. Why are we asking it? Well, an employee from the school district where the two high school football players were convicted of raping a teenage girl, that employee has been charged with obstructing justice. We'll give you the latest on that, coming up.

PEREIRA: We're also going to talk about a new children's history book that teaches all about the American Revolution and the values our country was founded upon. Lawmakers in Washington probably could get a copy and read it. Author of "Yankee Doodle Dandy", Callista Gingrich, joins us live.

BOLDUAN: First this hour, though, a vicious storm leaving thousands of people from Florida, all the way up in New England, without power this morning. It's a story we're following all morning. A major cleanup is now underway after the dangerous storms ripped down power lines and trees. The heavy rains and winds rain are said to be leftover from tropical storm Karen.

Let's get to Indra Petersons with more on all of this wild weather, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. What's so is unbelievable. This is actually the same storm system that brought the record- breaking blizzard in South Dakota. Then, remember, it went into the Midwest, spawned tornadoes in Ohio. And eventually, last night, cruise right into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, bringing hundreds of reports of damage right along with it.


PETERSONS (voice-over): A powerful storm hit the east coast Monday with high winds and torrential rain. In Jacksonville, Florida, knee deep water forced residents to use other means of transportation, some helping stranded drivers.

GARRET PARK, HELPED STRANDED FLORIDA DRIVER: Got out of the jeep and started pushing. Luckily someone else came up and started helping me.

PETERSONS: The driver flooded with emotion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's water in my car, everything is just done. I got caught right there.

PETERSONS: The storm swift but strong left destruction in its path. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I saw was a cloud of green leaves and then the tree came down.

PETERSONS: Virginia driver, William Ledford, escaped from his damaged car unscathed. Further up the coast in New Jersey, a man survived a close call inside his home.

FRED SFARRA, TREE FELL NEAR GRANDSON'S BED: The ceiling came in from the tree. It missed him by 6, 7 inches.

PETERSONS: The winds so powerful that they knocked out service for thousands of residents up and down the East Coast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rain came down extremely hard, wow, look at that. And next thing, almost immediately, everything was just blowing.

PETERSONS: In the aftermath of the storm downed trees littered the streets. Just check out this gigantic tree that crashed on to this home.

JIM AGUILERA: It's crazy. This tree has been around since I've been 6 years old. I can't believe the size of the hole that's in there.


PETERSONS: It's very easy to see all the reports of damage that made their way across as that squall line exited. Good news is that it has exited.

We'll give you the latest forecast coming up in just a bit, Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Indra. Thank you so much.

CUOMO: We want to talk about the government shutdown now, talking about storms that haven't lifted. Now on day eight, and people aren't happy about it. Our new poll shows two-thirds of the country thinks the shutdown will cause major problems for us or even worse than major problems.

Meanwhile, the president is still pushing for a vet on a clean bill to restore the government. And House Speaker John Boehner is still refusing, saying the president won't compromise.

So, with another crisis on the horizon, this one, politicians can't fix all by themselves, the nation's debt limit. What will happen next?

To sort it all out, Brianna Keilar is live at the White House this morning.

That's a tall task, Brianna, but you can just give us the latest.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: All right. I'll tackle it, Chris. Until now, the House and Senate have been tossing back and forth these bills that are aimed very much at funding the government. Well, that changes today. The Senate moving on, trying to avoid a disastrous default as we inch uncomfortably close to the debt ceiling.


KEILAR (voice-over): Ramping up the pressure on House Republicans, Senate Democrats will introduce a bill today that would increase the debt ceiling for more than a year. The goal: push this hot potato issue beyond the 2014 midterm elections. The bill has no strings attached. No agreement to change Obamacare. No budgetary bartering.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I cannot do that under the threat that if Republicans don't get 100 percent of their way, they're going to either shut down the government or they are going to default on America's debt.

KEILAR: The president still says he won't bargain with the country's ability to pay its bills.

BOEHNER: The president's refusal to negotiate is hurting our economy and putting our country at risk.

KEILAR: House Speaker John Boehner insists a debt ceiling increase without some concessions from the White House will never get past his Republicans. He says the same about a government funding bill, though, Democrats question that.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: One surefire way to find out if the bill will pass is to have a vote on it.

KEILAR: Only one thing for certain, Americans are not impressed, especially with Republicans. In a new CNN/ORC International Poll, 63 percent of those surveyed blame GOP for the shutdown, 57 percent point the finger at Democrats, and 53 percent hold President Obama accountable.

Eight days into the partial government shutdown, nine days from breaching the debt ceiling, here is how it could play out. Perhaps a long-term proposal what the Senate is taking up. If that doesn't fly, could be a measure to buy time. Or both sides could keep talking past each other until the U.S. defaults, and there's bipartisan agreement that would be an economic disaster.


KEILAR: And we are already setting up for a cliff hanger. We expect the first vote in the senate to be on Saturday.

Kate, the final vote could come as late as Wednesday. Thursday is the day we're expected to hit the debt ceiling. You've covered Washington. I know you're not really surprised that if we do manage to avoid a default, we may be hitting our heads on the debt ceiling before this is all resolved.

BOLDUAN: Oh, yes. We can only hope that a deadline, if nothing else, will negotiate some kind of negotiation. You know that well, Brianna. Thank you so much.

KEILAR: That's right.

BOLDUAN: All right. Let's talk more about this -- more about all of this with Republican Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. That's the thing that trips -- that trips me up? Also the chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

It's great to see you. Thank you so much for being here.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Good morning. Look, it's early in the morning. People understand.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. But I should know better, right?

So, I was thinking about this, this morning. Governors have to be reasonable. You have to keep your state functioning. You have to work within your budget. You are very responsible to voters, where voters expect results from a governor.

From the outside looking in, how do you think your Republican colleagues in Congress are handling this fight?

JINDAL: Well, two things -- well, look, I'm certainly not interested in trying to micromanage or second guess their tactics.

BOLDUAN: Of course not.

JINDAL: But you make a very important point. Governors every day, we live under the rules where we do have to balance our budget. We can't just print more money, we can't borrow money.

One of the things we've launched is American Comeback Initiative, as Republican governors, we want to reclaim our brand from Washington, D.C. We think voters are just frustrated with the dysfunction. For too many years, we've outsourced what it means to be a Republican. We defined that in Washington, D.C.

The only place in this country you're seeing conservative principles being applied are in our state capitals. So, governors, for example, Republican governors, are fighting for school choice and charter schools, fighting to reform public pensions so they're affordable, renegotiate with public unions to have reasonable, balance to protect taxpayer rights, growing the private sector economy. That's what we need to be focused on.

And part of the frustration with D.C. is we're not seeing leadership out of the White House. But we're also -- I think you need structural changes. It's not just who is in Congress. Without a balance requirement, you know, they're going to continue to kick the can down the road.

Everybody is worried about the debt ceiling.


JINDAL: The real issue is the debt. We were in exact same place two years ago and nothing has changed.

BOLDUAN: Well, when you're talking about trying to reclaim the brand, Republicans in Congress are not necessarily helping the effort, I'll tell you that much.

I mean, when you look at it, you recently said and I like this quote, "All of Washington is dysfunctional." It's not just a matter of who is in leadership but look at the polls, look at the polls that we have out today. It shows that still -- it continues to look this way, that Republicans in Congress are going to face the blame if -- well, since the government has shut down and if this crisis continues.

That has to concern you.

JINDAL: Look, nobody wants a shutdown. Certainly, nobody wants to get to a position where the government isn't paying its bills. I think the president needs to show leadership. Last time we had these kinds of intense negotiations, remember when you had a Democratic president/Republican Congress, you got policies, for example, like the welfare reform legislation. President Clinton vetoed that twice but he showed leadership, he found common ground with Congress.

By the way, principles that rose from Republican-governor led states where he said there's a better way to deliver these benefits, that's the kind of common ground, that's kind of leadership we need today. We're not seeing that.

And let's say they kick the can down the road again. Let's say they figure out a way to get outside the debt ceiling --


JINDAL: -- and the spending shutdown, the reality is that problems aren't going away.

When he was senator, then-Senator Obama said $9 trillion of debt was immoral, was too high. Now, it's nearly $17 trillion.

The real crisis isn't the ceiling. It's the fact we're spending more than we take in. The administration doesn't have one planned budget short term, near term, medium term, long term, to stop spending more than we take in.

BOLDUAN: Well, that is the problem, that Washington only functions going from crisis to crisis to crisis. I mean, when you look at where we are right now, House Speaker John Boehner did not want this fight. He has wanted to deal with the big drivers for our debt, the long-term drivers of our debt. He did not want -- he wanted to avoid a government shutdown.

How they got to where they are right now is how -- the group of conservatives in the House, they pushed this position. And that's where they are right now.

Do you think House Republicans overplayed their hand? A lot of this is about policy, but it is also about strategy when it comes to politics.

JINDAL: Again, we've got enough Republicans criticizing Republicans. What I do think is we need structural --

BOLDUAN: You've done that, too, in the past. You know that.

JINDAL: We need structural damages in D.C. I compare like -- I don't mean to insult my kids, but it's almost like kids and their homework. You know, D.C. is -- it's almost that they'll never do it, you can tell kids, my kids, anyway, you've got a week to do a report. It all seems to happen the night before.

And Congress in D.C. --

BOLDUAN: Do you think it will get done?

JINDAL: D.C. -- I think it will get done, but I think we need structural changes. I don't think they're going to confront the tough decisions about reforming entitlements, about cutting spending, balancing the budget, until they absolutely have to. We need -- they need the pressure of deadlines. They really need structural reforms.

Make them have a balanced budget amendment in the Constitution, require a supermajority to raise taxes, require supermajority before they can grow the government faster than the economy, put term limits, make them a part-time Congress.

All those reforms we've got in our constitution in Louisiana. I think they'd work in D.C. Otherwise, it really doesn't matter who's in the majority, the personalities, who is in leadership, you need structural changes to force them to make the tough decisions.

BOLDUAN: The big problem is there's a -- if nothing else, there's a huge trust deficit. John King and I feel like that's what we talk about every day in our gut check, is that the two sides do not trust each other to get past the crisis and deal with those long-term problems.

JINDAL: You're exactly right.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this. We are in the middle of a crisis, there's no question about that. Do you think that in the absence of actual negotiating at this point, when you're up against these deadlines, that the House should pass or -- how about this -- the House should allow a vote on a clean funding bill and a clean debt ceiling increase?

JINDAL: But look, here's the challenge: let's say you did that. We'd be exactly -- this is what happened two years ago. And we were told two years ago that there will be time to address the entitlement programs and the spending and the debt and nothing changed.

Here is my concern. Everybody is focused on --


JINDAL: My concern is everybody is focused on the crisis of what's happening today. And this is bad. Nobody wants a shutdown.

BOLDUAN: You've got to deal with it.

JINDAL: We've got to deal with the bigger issues.

BOLDUAN: Agreed.

JINDAL: If we don't, the real issue is we're spending more money -- look, our debt is bigger than our economy. At some point, we can't just keep printing money. At some point, we can't keep borrowing from China and others. At some point, we can't just keep on spending. At some point, we've got to grow the private sector economy.


BOLDUAN: But at some point, you're going to hit this deadline and that some point is Thursday next week. Do you -- do you -- what do you think is going to happen if we pass that deadline? Do you agree with economists that it's going to be catastrophic?

JINDAL: Look, again, I'm not advocating at all that we stop paying our bills or we not pay our debt.

Certainly, the president needs to show leadership. President needs to stop saying, it's my way or the highway. The president needs to say to Congress, let's find common ground. We all got elected by the American people to serve them.

The president is not running for re-election. Maybe they think this is good for them politically. You cited the poll showing the Democrats think this is better for them.

He needs to stop thinking like a partisan leader and start thinking like the American president that he is and say, all right, what's start good for the entire country? What's good for the entire economy?

It's like the American people are saying, we've watched this movie before. Two years --

BOLDUAN: And we have.

JINDAL: That's right. And nothing changes.

So, even if they get a short term solution, we're going to be right back here again. American families can't spend more than they take in. States can't spend more than they take in, neither should the federal government.

BOLDUAN: And it sounds like some of your Republican colleagues in Congress should be taking a hint and a little help from their Republican governors.

JINDAL: We certainly think so.

BOLDUAN: Governor, it's great to see you. Thanks so much. JINDAL: Thank you for having me.

BOLDUAN: Let's get straight over to Michaela for more of this morning's headlines -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right. Kate, let's take a look at those headlines.

Two hundred U.S. Marines on the move at this hour, heading to a naval base in Italy. They'll be in position to quickly respond to potential security issues in Libya. This decision comes in the wake of a U.S. military raid that captured top al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al Libi last week in Tripoli.

Now, also developing at this hour, Libya's government confirming it summoned and met with U.S. Ambassador Deborah Jones Monday, questioning her about what they are calling the abduction of al Libi.

The dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles may be a bigger operation than originally thought. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling it unprecedented and dangerous, involving about 100 specialists, administrators and security officers. The plan would stop Syria from making more weapons by the beginning of next month.

On the trail of a salmonella outbreak. Authorities say they've traced the problem to raw chicken from California-based foster farms. The outbreak has made nearly 300 people sick in some 18 states. The government shutdown is making it tough for people to get online and get information from the CDC website.

A fourth biker now arrested in the SUV attack case in New York City. Twenty-nine-year-old Peg Wright (ph) charged with gang assault and on local imprisonment. Police say this video shows Wright punching and kicking the driver. Two off-duty undercover cops riding with the bikers are also being questioned now. One reportedly did not come forward for days because he was afraid to blow his cover.

Well, we've been watching those powerful storms along the East Coast. Let's turn to Indra Petersons now with the outlook on what we can expect for the next couple of days. Some people already eyeing the weekend.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, right. I mean -- one week and the next we know it's going to be a nice holiday weekend. So, yes, we're going to be questioning whether or not we're going to see more rain. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Let's first take a look at what we saw yesterday. Notice all these dots. These are storm reports or damage reports from that squall line as it made its way across.

The good news, yes, it is currently offshore this morning. But unfortunately, it does mean cold air has made its way in. This is just perspective. The yesterday's afternoon highs before the front made its way through. Notice, we were above average. 70s and 80s were into the northeast. Today, unfortunately, now that that cold air is in place, look at those temperatures. They've dropped down to where they should be, though, for this time of year. So, in fall, lot of 60s and even some low 70s, but even more cold air will fill in as that high pressure just kind of hangs on. So, we'll actually drop down to below normal temperatures over the next several days with some lower 60s and even some frost tomorrow morning in the northeast will be expected.

And into the southeast, we're going to watch out low starts to make its way up the coastline with that. Each day is going to make its way a little bit farther north starting with the Carolinas with rain today. And then eventually, by the end of the week, to answer your question for next weekend, Michaela, more rain. Sorry.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

PETERSONS: Sure thing.

CUOMO: Happens. When we come back on NEW DAY, we got an exclusive for you. Remember project "Fast and Furious?" We have the ATF whistleblower who exposed the whole thing. He now has a book out. The ATF doesn't want him to publish it. Why? We'll tell you and he's here to talk about it after the break.


CUOMO: Welcome back to a NEW DAY exclusive. Officials are blocking a publication of a new book about "Operation Fast and Furious," calling it bad for morale. Now, the federal agent behind that book says he wants to set the record straight. We will talk with Mr. John Dodson exclusively in just a moment, but first, CNNs Miguel Marquez has the back story for you.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This morning, new controversy surrounding the government program "Fast and Furious" after the government tells Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives whistleblower he cannot publish his already written book, an insider's look into the botched program.

JOHN DODSON, ATF WHISTLEBLOWER: The guns that we saw these individuals by would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and in Mexico, and yet, we still did nothing.

MARQUEZ: The book is written by John Dodson who turned whistleblower over the 2009 program, allowing 2,000 guns to cross into Mexico with the intention of tracking them to criminal gain. But authorities lost track of hundreds of weapons. Some winding up in the hands of drug cartels.

DODSON: Rather than meet the wolf head on, we sharpened his teeth, at a number to his claw. All the while sat idly by watching, tracking, and noting.

MARQUEZ: Most explosively, two of those lost guns turned up at the scene of border patrol agent, Brian Terry's, murder in 2010, still unclear whether either of those guns delivered the lethal shot. But the program, the death, and the controversy reached national proportion -- with Republicans holding Attorney General, Eric Holder, in contempt over the White House's refusal to turn over documents.

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We've produced 7,600 --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I don't want to hear about the 7,600.

MARQUEZ: Superiors at ATF told Dodson by letter that his book could have a negative impact on morale and his field division at Phoenix and a detrimental effect on ATF relationships with other law enforcement agencies. The American Civil Liberties Union has taken up Dodson's defense saying the ATF decision denies Dodson his constitutional right to free speech.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.


CUOMO: Joining us now from Arizona for an exclusive interview is ATF agent, John Dodson, and here in New York is his attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, Lee Rowland. Thanks to both of you for being here.

Mr. Dodson, you say here that we didn't meet the wolf head on. What do you want people to know about the operation? What it was supposed to be and how it went wrong? What's your message?

DODSON: Well, I guess what I want people to know is a lot more detail and a lot more clear understanding of the operation. It wasn't so much that weapons were lost like they escaped us. We zigged when we should have zagged, and they got away from us. It was the design of the operation, the methodology and the strategy that was employed that was in error from the beginning. And that's a lot of what I think people don't understand.

CUOMO: And why do you think your bosses don't want this book to come out?

DODSON: Well, I can tell you, there's a lot in the book that hasn't been publicly reported on yet. Also, more in-depth -- what I try to do is make it to where people can understand it more rather than just sound bites and, you know, books on radar. The narrative makes it more comprehendible or more understandable to get through.

But I think the main reason is like they said in their denial letter to me, which is they think it's, you know, harmful for morale and potentially detrimental to ATF's relationships with other federal agencies.

CUOMO: Do you think there's anything to that?

DODSON: No, I don't. I don't think the book or anything in it could cause either one of those. I think what happened, what we were doing, what the agency was doing, the Phoenix field division, operation itself, I think that is what is harmful for morale. I think that is what is a detriment to not only our relationships with other federal agencies, but our relationships with the American people and their trust in us.

And to blame all that or to put that blame on the book or the manuscript, to me, is absurd when it's the actions, it's the program, it was what we did to cause that damage. In the right context, the book and everything else could be used to help rebuild that, but ATF refuses to do so. They'd still just rather move on and put all this behind them and try to pretend like it never happen and hope that you and all your viewers out there will forget about it or have done so already.

CUOMO: Is your problem with what the operation was conceived as or how it was executed?

DODSON: Well, that's a tough question. If you're using the definition of conceived as, the conception was, you know, or ultimately the goal, the strategy, was to take down a cartel. I agree with that goal. The problem was the implementation on how it was done or the strategy employed to do that. It didn't make sense.

You know, somehow, how do you explain the logic of, well, in order to combat firearms trafficking, we're going to facilitate and allow and perhaps even traffic firearms ourselves. You know, how does that solve the problem?

CUOMO: Was there a lot of pushback from agents out in the field? Did you feel that you were being compromised doing your job? Is that how people felt?

DODSON: Yes, sir, we didn't feel like we were doing our jobs at all. I mean, our jobs -- the reason I came to Phoenix in 2009 was to combat firearms trafficking. You know, it was the southwest border initiative and it was billed as or what it was, you know, sold to us was a chance to come out here and finally kind of take the fight to the enemy rather than being so reactive in law enforcement, a chance to be proactive.

And when we got here, we weren't doing the basic fundamentals of law enforcement. We weren't, you know, making those interviews or making those stops and seizures and arrests or anything like that. It was a far different goal. It's something I wasn't used to and had never seen before.

CUOMO: Obviously, your decision means that you think you can put the book out and still stay as an agent. Any thought to waiting and just doing it after you retire?

DODSON: Well, some thought to that, yes. But, you know, one of the motivations behind doing the book, you know, not only to bring a lot of this to the attention of the American public, but the Terry family and there are countless families out there in Mexico who are victims of crimes that were, you know, perpetrated by some of these firearms. There are still so many answers that they don't have and that they need and I feel that they're deserved. So, anything I can do to keep attention on that, on the Terry Foundation and the family, to help them in their quest to get answers, I'm willing to do.

And also, it's important to me that everything that I've been through and everything that's happened throughout the course of this, if there's anything that my story can do to help someone else in my position, other federal employee or agent or police officer that finds himself in a position where something has gone terribly askew, anything that my story can do to help them to be able to come forward and, you know, blow the whistle or report that kind of wrongdoing, well then, it's worth telling.

CUOMO: Well, look, I know you have your lawyer with you, because you're expecting a First Amendment battle here. You have a tough choice to make going forward. We hope to follow up on this story and see what happens with the book coming out and anything that the government does in response. Thank you very much, Mr. Dodson and Ms. Rowland for joining us this morning.

DODSON: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Kate, over to you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a movie based on the American containership that was hijacked by pirates. Well, some of the ship's crew feel like their blockbuster version of their story left out a very important part, the truth, they say. That story is ahead.