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Syria Chemical Weapons Shag; Graham Vows To Block Nominations; Hunt For Kony; President's Twitter Hacked; What Did The President Know?; Chris Brown Gets A Break; Star Wars Blooper Reel Surfaces
Aired October 29, 2013 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's give you a look at what is making news. Security concerns in Syria, keeping inspectors from reaching the last two of 23 declared chemical weapons sites. The international agency overseeing their destruction warning they may not be able to reach the Syria's safely before Friday's deadline. They say getting there may require a ceasefire.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham threatening to hold up nominations for all federal positions until survivors of the attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi appears before Congress. The State Department said it already sent an employee who was there on the night of the attack to be deposed on Capitol Hill. The White House is accusing Republicans of playing politics with the issue.
U.S. Special Forces reportedly expanding their role in the hunt for the notorious African warlord Joseph Kony and his top lieutenants. "The Washington Post" reports some 100 special operations troops are assisting African soldiers trying to capture or kill Kony. The troops were said to be collaborating with the group though, whose viral internet video made Kony one of the world's notorious thugs.
A hack attack on the president's official Twitter account and a pro- Syria is now taking responsibility. For a short time Monday, users who clicked on links in a pair of tweets were redirected to a video montage of terror attacks. The Syrian Electronic Army says the attack was aimed at showing the troops of what's going on in that country.
Police in Pennsylvania offering a reminder, think twice before you reach out and touch a pregnant woman's stomach. A 57-year-old man near Harrisburg has been charged with harassment for allegedly rubbing his pregnant neighbor's stomach without her consent. Police say any unwanted physical contact can be considered harassment under state law.
Those are your headlines at the bottom of the hour. Chris over to you.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Mich, so on both of the big stories and the headlines this morning, the White House is insisting the president did not know and that may be why they are stories to begin with. Didn't know until last summer that the NSA was eavesdropping on the phone calls of world leaders, didn't know that the Healthcare.gov website was off the rail, so the question is, is the president out of the loop for real or is this just an administration operative protocol?
For answers let's turn to Marc Lamont Hill. He is host of "Huffpost Live" and Mr. Will Cain, a CNN political commentator, columnist for "The Blaze." Gentlemen, thank you. I know you are nursing a cold, Professor Hill, but you will get no quarter this morning.
MARC LAMONT HILL, HOST, "HUFFPOST LIVE": Well, Obamacare has made it much easier for me to get the health care that I need.
CUOMO: So did not know. Can it be true?
HILL: I don't doubt that it's true. It's certainly plausible. I've spoken to security experts. People say, particularly with the NSA issue, that it's entirely possible that he didn't know and that he may have created walls in front of him so he wouldn't know. We saw same thing with the IRS scandal a few months ago. The web site I find less plausible, but either way it doesn't make it excusable. Not knowing when you're the president isn't a reasonable excuse.
CUOMO: I say we take a half step back on that, Will. What do you mean it's totally plausible that he didn't know that you're spying on world leaders?
WILL CAIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: OK, well, first, I appreciate Marc bringing up all the scandals that President Obama has failed to know in advance -- which included Healthcare.gov, the IRS, the NSA and the AP scandal, "Fast and Furious" and now spying on Angela Merkel's phone. However, I actually do agree with Marc on this, Chris. It's plausible. He used the word plausible.
Now the president gets the daily briefing on what the intel is, right. But the intel is this is what we know. It doesn't necessarily include the sources. If he asks, how do you know what Angela Merkel is doing on Thursday night? I mean, they might say, we had her phone bug, but apparently he is not curious enough to ask that so it's plausible. He didn't know they are spying --
CUOMO: Because I think you have to get to where is this administration specific or the suggestion you're making, this is just how it is?
HILL: We see this in local governments within state level governments and national administrations. Presidents often protect themselves and their advisers very often deliberately shield them from everything from investigation to prosecution by not telling them certain information. It's not that they're incurious. They're being very, very thoughtful and pragmatic about what would happen if they, quote/unquote, "knew too much."
Now again with the website, I think it's a little more problematic. It's hard to imagine that three months ago no one came to the president and said, this web site is not working out. It's unlikely the president didn't go over to the Department of Health and Human Services and say, how is the health care thing working out that we've been planning for the last three years?
CAIN: Totally agree on that. Implausible he did not know that.
CUOMO: Why would you want to say that, even politically with the litigation and that other stuff you're talking about, you weren't the leader? You're at the top of the accountability chain. Why would you want someone to suggest you didn't know about anything?
HILL: Because you can throw somebody under the bus and say Sebelius didn't do her job or the web master didn't do their job, let's fire somebody.
CUOMO: Look at the word fallout, which I have to use every 11 minutes on this show these days. You know, look what happens. When you say it wasn't me, you get Kathleen Sebelius not the most adept distraction of liability who comes out and says nothing, nobody understands what she's saying. They come back to the president and say, this is about you. You are the president. You are the leader.
CAIN: The problem is we take these issues one at a time. If I tell you it's plausible he didn't know in the NSA and he uses that excuse four, five, six different times, you look like a guy who is very good at dreaming, of having grand plans and very bad at implementing them, actually bad at the aspect of governing.
HILL: That's where it goes too far. There's a web site dysfunctional. Suddenly they say the dream of health care somehow doesn't play out in real life.
CUOMO: Why is the trouble with the rollout being used as a metaphor for the reason that the law is bad? That does sound like an exaggeration.
CAIN: It's not, Chris. The policy and the problems with the web site are intricately linked. When people say this is just a web site, we can get past this. They sound like they're vetted to this emotional conclusion, which is we'll expand access, but very little knowledge of how it works. This entire program requires that young, healthy people get into the system. If you've set up a system for six people, it will collapse. If the website does not work, if you can't get to the store, the store fails and goes bankrupt. If young people can't get in, you have a serious problem.
HILL: If the web site worked perfectly would you have said --
CAIN: You don't understand the structure.
CAIN: Let me explain to something. It's a minimum threshold. You have to get that right in order to get the program right. Just because you got that right wouldn't say the program is correct. You have to at least get this right.
HILL: I don't concede that it's a minimum threshold. Every other part is working. People up to 26 are now being recovered. Previous conditions are available -- not available, but are being covered now and the web site will likely work in the next 60 days. If it does, this is not an ineffective program.
CAIN: The entire success of Obamacare is dependent on one thing and one thing only, will young and healthy people buy policies through the exchanges? That's it. We'll find out.
HILL: You've already decided it doesn't work.
CUOMO: That's the success of the cost comparison argument of the law. That's how you lower the base.
CAIN: That's a fair point. It could be a year or two down the road. We have access to health care, it's just that it cost way more and premiums were way more expensive.
CUOMO: We have to be careful about how we analyze it going there. I think we all know that, but the web site not rolling out the right way that's a concern on many levels.
We have to leave it right now, a yes or no from each of you. Do you think we should change the spying on foreign allies? Yes or no?
CAIN: This is the purpose of the NSA to spy on non-Americans.
CUOMO: I think the spying is getting caught up with the p.c. police. Kate, over to you.
BOLDUAN: All right, Chris, thanks so much.
Coming up next on NEW DAY, an assault charge against Chris Brown is reduced and he's free without bail. But the singer's legal troubles may be far from over.
Also ahead, 36 years after "Star Wars" made its debut we're getting our first look at a blooper reel they didn't want anyone to see. You'll want to take a look at this.
BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's get a check of your forecast this morning. Indra Petersons is in Seaside Heights, New Jersey where it looks beautiful behind you, Indra, but you're there because this is an area that was hit so hard by Superstorm Sandy one year ago and now they're still fighting to rebuild.
INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, exactly, Kate. There is still so much to do. I'm actually standing right in front of where that famous Jetstar roller coaster used to be. As you take a look here behind me, you can see there is no roller coaster. It was demolished in May. But there has been a lot of progress. They've really built up the board walk here. We're about 90 percent of the businesses now are open. Also in the other side here, you can see the Casino Pier and you can actually hear the sounds of construction going on. They were hoping to have it finished by next season although some of the larger rides could take until another summer behind that so progress is being made at least here on the boardwalk. We'll dive into that deeper in the next hour.
But first I want to talk about a storm that is affecting the country today. Remember that big system yesterday that dumped heavy snow in through Montana. Well, that same system today now expected to bring heavy snow into portions of Wyoming and Colorado. As much as 10 inches of snow can be seen. Then we have to look at the cold air with this system.
The reason that's so important is those temperatures are a good 20 degrees below normal. We are going to see the cold air clash as the system makes its way east with that warm, southern air in the south. Those temperatures are above normal. You bring these two elements together you have the jet stream over the panhandle of Texas and you have a severe weather threat today.
So we're looking for even the threat for isolated tornadoes that most likely large hail and strong thunderstorms out there. Same system spreads tomorrow from Nebraska down to Texas and eventually on Halloween, the Ohio Valley all the way into the northeast -- Chris.
CUOMO: Indra, thank you for being there. Appreciate the coverage this morning.
We're going to move on right now. Chris Brown, the singer, he got lucky. Why do I say that? Well, here's why. He was arrested on felony assault charges, but the charge has been reduced to a misdemeanor. This does not mean it's the end of the legal trouble for Brown. That's true by a long shot. Here's CNN's Brian Todd to explain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pandemonium as Chris Brown leaves court in D.C., acknowledges his fans with a peace sign after being released with no bail. Inside he got a break, a felony assault charge reduced to a misdemeanor. Brown did not enter a plea, but his attorney said this.
DANNY ONORATO, ATTORNEY FOR CHRIS BROWN: Christopher Brown committed no crime. We understand that his security acted to protect Mr. Brown and Mr. Brown's property as he is authorized to do under District of Columbia law. We are confident Mr. Brown will be exonerated of any wrongdoing.
TODD: Brown was in Washington to host this party at a nightclub Saturday night. According to the police report, the victim, Isaac Parker, tried to get into a photo being taken of Brown and a female fan early Sunday morning outside the W Hotel in Washington. At that point according to the police report, Brown said, quote, "I'm not down with that gay expletive" and, quote, "I feel like boxing." Parker told police that Brown and his buddy guard punched him in the face. The arrest could have severe consequences for the popular Grammy award winning R & B singer. Brown who signed his first record deal at age 15 is serving probation for felony domestic violence against singer, Rihanna, from this now infamous incident on the eve of the Grammy awards four years ago.
Her bruised and bloodied face seen in this picture from TMZ. His probation was revoked briefly this year after a hit and run incidence when a woman said Brown went, quote, "ballistic" screaming at her after rear ending her car. He was given an additional thousand hours of community service.
Brown's probation officer will now send a report on the latest D.C. arrest to a superior court judge in Los Angeles who will then decide whether the singer will serve prison time. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
BOLDUAN: All right, Brian, thanks so much.
For that let's talk more about this. Let's bring in HLN legal expert, Joey Jackson. So pretty interesting, this turn of events in the last 24 hours --
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL EXPERT: Needless to say.
BOLDUAN: You have a felony assault charged reduced to a misdemeanor. Why do you think that happened?
JACKSON: All right, what happens, Kate, is that prosecutors always assess what the evidence is going to be. While it's still unclear, there will be an investigation. There are a lot of allegations. Was the person jumping into the photograph, following him on to the bus? Investigators will figure that out, but what the current evidence as it stands now, I guess, they figure they can prove intent to injure and not a significant intent to injure. So there's a distinction between the two.
BOLDUAN: It's a big break for him going from felony to misdemeanor.
JACKSON: Yes. Absolutely in a number of ways, the first way, of course, is jail. I mean, if you look at it the simple assault charge carries six months versus the aggravated assault or something else or significant assault, which would be three years and so in terms of jail time, a big deal. And then, of course, I'm sure you'll get to, in terms of his probation violation it's a big deal there as well.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about the probation because he's still under probation for the 2009 assault, domestic violence assault, which was a felony against his then girlfriend, Rihanna. So how does this play into that? Because part of this misdemeanor he got out without bail, but he has to report to a judge in California right away.
JACKSON: Yes. It's a big deal. Here's why. Because there are two problems he faces, the first is the instant charge, right, the one in D.C. You have to address that. I mean, six months jail, six months in our bed is a lot different than jail so you deal with that. Then you jump to how it impacts the probation. Now it's important to know that you don't have to be convicted of the underlying offense in order to be violating your probation.
Simple police conduct can do. So now what happens is not only are D.C. police investigating the current charge, but the L.A. Probation Department will investigate the facts and circumstances and if they find there's something amiss, guess what, he faces jail there as well.
BOLDUAN: That could be a lot of jail, actually.
JACKSON: Four years.
BOLDUAN: You know everyone will wonder this because it involves a celebrity. Do you see that there is anything that could be seen as special treatment for a celebrity and how this is playing out?
JACKSON: You mean the fact that he continues to get community service and my clients go to jail, do you mean that, Kate? Are we talking about that?
BOLDUAN: In certain so many words, yes.
JACKSON: Yes, I think, you know, celebrities are in some measure treated differently. I mean, for a variety of reasons. I guess that's another segment, another time. I believe his lawyers will say, listen, it's about community service. It's about rehabilitation and getting them better because remember the premise of the criminal justice system.
You have punishment. You have deterrents. We don't want you to do that and then we have rehabilitation. His lawyers will argue he's talented, gifted, young as a result of that, give him additional community service and hopefully he'll become a better person and don't forget the program behind the two.
BOLDUAN: Yes. We'll see if the community service has worked so far in trying to rehabilitate him.
JACKSON: Maybe, maybe not. We wish him luck.
BOLDUAN: We do wish him luck though. Wish he would stay let us know -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right, take a sip. Take a bite, put on your pants, yell at the kids about what time it is but then come back because we have "Star Wars" bloopers. Yes, the footage they didn't want anyone to see, but we have it. Look at this guy slipping around. Some storm trooper he is. Plastic shoes not easy, there's more.
PEREIRA: You can't get enough of this. I really can't. Welcome back to NEW DAY. We have a little something for you this morning that George Lucas probably wouldn't want you to see, a never before seen blooper reel from behind the scenes of the very first "Star Wars" movie. Here to walk us through it, A.J. Hammer, host of HLN's "Showbiz Tonight." How do you get your hands on it?
A.J. HAMMER, HOST, HLN'S "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": What's really cool about this, particularly exciting is the fact that as iconic a movie as "Star Wars" is, there is precious little behind the scenes footage. There are certainly no blooper reels. So there is an editor for Lucas Films. He was digging through the archives because was doing some work in the behind the scenes book and he stumbled upon this. Let's roll it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have no weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would prefer another target, a military target, then name the -- blah, name it, now, before I go home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Action. Whoo! That --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now let's get some distance before that thing goes super nova? How do you pronounce super nova? Super nova or super nova?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: That line was cut from the movie. That line wasn't even supposed to be there.
BOLDUAN: It's a very good question, super nova or super nova.
HAMMER: I felt like he said it the same way both times.
PEREIRA: It is interesting they were able to keep this under wraps for all of these years.
HAMMER: It premiered at comic con over the summer. This is now up on YouTube about 1.5 million so far. Just went up the other day. But if you listen, don't think anything is wrong with your computer, the first 49 seconds or so and part of what we're watching now, this is great, storm troopers. It's a little tough, the first 49 seconds, there is no sound. This is 1976 when they were making this film. It's a little tough. I can't really get --
BOLDUAN: Why is it so funny?
HAMMER: It's hard to imagine, it will be see if it lasts online.
BOLDUAN: I think the odds --
CUOMO: Good stuff, really great.
BOLDUAN: That's a trip down memory lane.
CUOMO: A.J., thank you as always. We're going to take a little break here. President Obama admitting this morning changes are in order and that may include an end to spying on friendly foreign leaders. A live report just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm initiating now a review to make sure what they're able to do doesn't necessarily mean what they should be doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: A stop to snooping. President Obama under fire, speaking out. How could he not know about the U.S. spying on its allies? Will he stop it now that he must know? Congress starts its investigation this morning. We'll tell you the targets.
BOLDUAN: Outrage after a 13-year-old boy is shot and killed by police.