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Typhoon Hits Philippines; Iran and U.S. May Reach Deal on Nuclear Program; Interview with Jane Harman; Philippines Prepares for Typhoon; FDA to Ban Trans Fats

Aired November 8, 2013 - 07:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Check out the pictures. The island nation is getting socked by the storm right now, massive in size and strength. What you're looking at is some 300 miles across, about the length of Florida's entire east coast, easily historic, perhaps the worst we've ever seen. Again, the worst could be yet to come. How many people -- 10 million in this storm's path, hanging on in the face of winds gusting -- get this -- 235 miles an hour. That's stronger than Katrina and Sandy combined. We have someone there, Kathy Novak in the Philippines, getting us up to date with where we are right now. Kathy, what do we know?

KATHY NOVAK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, what we know is this is for sure the strongest typhoon that we've seen in the world this year, as you say, stronger than Sandy and Katrina combined and just pummeling more than two-thirds of this country. So far, officially we can only confirm three dead and seven wounded, but that is largely because the government agency that is dealing with the risk and disaster did not have the official data because communication lines are down across the country. The secretary of interior had gone to the area worst affected and the government cannot get in touch with him because the power and communication lines are down across that whole region.

What we also know is that part of the area that's being badly hit just got hit by an earthquake last month. More than 5,000 people left homeless, more than 200 people killed. Those people had been spending their lives in tents, and now they're being moved to evacuation centers, hoping they are safer, but, as we hear, this storm continues to pummel the area.

CUOMO: All right, Kathy, thank you for the report. Police stay safe, just to highlight what's going on here. We'll keep following it throughout the morning. The worst is unknown right now, many of the areas being hit hard currently are remote. As we heard, 5,000 people already displaced from an earthquake living in tents. Imagine the exposure they have. The next thing as it goes over the Sea of China it won't slow down much. Then you have Vietnam and southeast China. So the people in its path, huge numbers, huge potential here. We'll keep following throughout the show this morning. Stay with us for that.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Millions bracing for impact on this.

Let's turn to what could be a stunning turn in and of itself in Iran's relationship with the west. Negotiations over its nuclear program have reached a tipping point with Secretary of State John Kerry jetting off to Geneva and Iran's nuclear investigator saying they could reach a deal by the end of today. Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto is in Washington with the very latest. What are you hearing, Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. The outlines of the most significant nuclear deal with Iran in more than 10 years, the State Department spokesman Jen Psaki saying Secretary Kerry going to, quote, "help narrow the differences in negotiations." But also you have the British, the French, the German foreign ministers joining Kerry in Geneva along with the Iranian foreign minister, these very strong signs that they are getting close here.

And we have the broad outlines of what they're describing as an interim deal, an initial step over six months with both sides offering confidence building measures, Iran agreeing to a suspension, a partial suspension of uranium enrichment in exchange for the relaxation of some economic sanctions among the possible relaxing, the west considering unfreezing some of Iran's assets overseas and allowing Iran access to international gold markets. They're saying this would be the first stage lasting about six months while the sides continue talks for a longer term, final status agreement for Iran's nuclear program. But if it does come together today, Kate, really significant progress here.

BOLDUAN: It could be significant progress. All along the way, Israel's leaders have come out and been very critical and skeptical of these negotiations, of talks with Iran. Again, that happening just today, another statement from Benjamin Netanyahu this morning. So what does that mean for these negotiations?

SCIUTTO: It's important. Iran, a very close partner of the U.S. there, and clearly, Benjamin Netanyahu will not be joining the others in Geneva for these talks. He had a meeting with Secretary Kerry yesterday, a difficult meeting, and afterwards Netanyahu issued his own statement, very strong words. He said, "Iran got the deal of the century. The international community," in his words "got a bad deal." He said it's a very bad deal, and Israel utterly rejects it. He said that's a feeling shared by many others in the region.

Now, U.S. officials have said from the beginning and when I was back in Geneva a couple time in the last couple of months that they're going into this with open eyes, they need convincing, too. And they caution here that this is an interim deal, and most of the severe economic sanctions will stay in place while the sides negotiate a more formal, long-term agreement. But still, this is a big step, both sides giving something up here, and, in effect, Kate and Chris, both sides taking a risk here.

CUOMO: All right, Jim, thanks for the reporting this morning. This is about practicalities and politics, and we have someone with us who understands them both very well. Jane Harman, former Democratic congresswoman from California, also was the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee from 2002 to 2006, now the director, president, and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Thank you for being with us this morning.


CUOMO: Let's get right to this. The big concern is that there's a lot of this, a lot of talk from Iran and not a lot of action to substantiate any faith. What do you make of that?

HARMAN: Well, the terms of this deal, as Jim Sciutto just said, are stunning. This is way beyond the initial, initial deal that people speculated about, because they're freezing their capacity to enrich above 20 percent. They're making unusual some of their stockpiles of fuel. And they're agreeing not to use the Iraq reactor for plutonium. That's a big thing, if it happens.

It's true the Israelis are skeptical, but of course they're going to be skeptical. Iran is an existential threat to Israel, and they have to be able to protect themselves. But John Kerry has 25 years of experience dealing with Benjamin Netanyahu, who is not the only leader in Israel who has an opinion about this. Lots of others think this is a good first step.

And if this can work, if they can get to this agreement today, I see all kind of advantages for other issues pending in the Middle East, like Syria. If Iran could cooperate to help move Bashar out and get Geneva to happen, if Iran could cooperate to stop funding terror groups like Hezbollah, which has been a terror arm of Iran, attacking Lebanon and Israel, this would be an enormous change in the sort of tectonic plates of the Middle East.

BOLDUAN: Don't you need Israel on board? Don't you need Saudi Arabia on board? Their concern is that the first step is going to be the last step. Is that -- is this the beginning -- I'm not trying to be cynical myself, but that's what some of the main players are saying.

HARMAN: Yes. Well, it would be good to have Israel or the prime minister of Israel, I think a lot of Israel and a lot of the Israeli public is on board. It would be very good to have a thaw in this chilly relationship with Saudi Arabia. But we have to see how this moves. And yes, it would make a big difference. And I hope that John Kerry, who seems to be highly skilled at this, and Katherine Ashton, the prime minister of the European Union, let's give her kudos.

BOLDUAN: What are you watching for to see if Iran is working with us?

HARMAN: I want to see what they do. Assuming there is full transparency, and that has to happen, let's see if there really this partial freeze of enrichment. Let's see if they really render their stockpiles obsolete. Let's see if they stop and dismantle what's beginning on with plutonium in Iraq. Everyone will be looking at this.

CUOMO: Right.

HARMAN: And the IAEA will hopefully be able to get in there. It seems to me while the deals are not exactly connected, the IAEA needs to get back into Iran and really check this out. CUOMO: The situation is somewhat obvious on this level. It's all about what they do. Talk just isn't going to be respected by Iran at this point in the game. Nobody will get behind it. Let me shift topics with you.

HARMAN: Let me just say one more thing.

CUOMO: Please.

HARMAN: It's also about what we do. We have promised we will make some changes to the sanctions regime. This has to be two days. We have to show respect for Iran if Iran is doing the right thing.

CUOMO: Fair point.

HARMAN: Otherwise this won't work. And the sanctions, most them are still in place, and Congress is poised to enact tougher sanctions. And the sanctions I think have really brought us to this point.

CUOMO: Also arguable, giving them the deal is a step by the U.S. So now we have to see what the reciprocity is for it. That's a TBD, and that's just the way it goes for those types of situations.

Now, at home we have a situation that's not a TBD. We need to know where the line is. When we're talking about NSA, when we're talking about spying or gathering information here at home, the question has become where is the line, Jane, because other than the Fourth Amendment and all the law and privacy that's come from it, which gives the government a lot of power, what is the line about what's OK and what isn't?

HARMAN: I have said for a long time that security and liberty are not a zero sum game. You either get more of both or less of both. And I predict that if we have another Boston Marathon bombing or we have a shooting in a mall the way there was a shooting in Nairobi, everyone will rush to enact even tougher programs.

The program we have, the metadata phone collection program, there are other things going on, but they're not all the same program, the one that is targeting foreign terrorists was designed by -- was put under a legal framework by Congress, wasn't designed by congress. And that framework is working. There is an issue about how much metadata should be collected and where should it be and for how many years. But there have been few or no abuses of the program because Congress exercises effective oversight and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reviews what's going to happen and Americans whose phone calls are listened to have to be reviewed by the FISA court and individualized warrants, which is the Fourth Amendment, have to be issued so their content can be listened to.

BOLDUAN: What do you think has to change, though?

HARMAN: I think Congress should be taking the review it's taking. I think what Snowden did was despicable, but the debate we're having is commendable. And I think we shouldn't conflate all this. The telephone metadata program geared at foreign terrorists is one thing. Congress has a couple of approaches to narrow it. I don't think it should be eliminated because I think it will be back bigger than ever if we get attacked again.

Then there is a separate thing, an executive order. I write about this in today's "Washington Post."

BOLDUAN: It's a great piece.

HARMAN: Thank you very much. It was issued by President Reagan and has been updated a couple of times, that authorizes our government to listen, to learn foreign government's intentions. That's where this alleged cellphone stuff comes from. That executive order doesn't have the force of law. Congress could review that, too. Congress knows about it, I surely knew about it in my eight years on the intelligence committee, and narrow that as well.

But the point I make in the "Washington Post," and I think you would all agree, is about crisis management 101. I won 17 elections for the house.

BOLDUAN: Get in front of it.

HARMAN: Get in front of it. Primary and general elections, I was there for nine terms. Get in front of it. Our government knows the colossal amount of information Snowden has, and we know what it means. And I'm not sure he knows what it means. I'm assuming it could be being exploited by governments which now have that information. But at any rate, get in front of it. Explain what's going to come out, what it means if there are any things in it that are an oops, apologize, and fix them.

CUOMO: Isn't that easy to say from the outside, though, Jane? Because you know how the game is played from the inside. You get what we talked about earlier this morning called analysis paralysis, that you can't just get in front of it because all I care about as your opponent is that you did something wrong. And I'm not going to do a real review. I want to blame you and say that you're weak.

HARMAN: I get that.

CUOMO: So it's hard to get in front of things. It all gets caught up in politics.

HARMAN: It works for most politicians. Those who take the advice to get in front of bad news usually win.

BOLDUAN: Can I get your take on one thing, completely different topic, talk about getting in front of it. What do you think of the president's apology, the handling of the rollout of Obamacare? Should they delay the law at this point?

HARMAN: No, they shouldn't delay the law. But I think this has got to get better fast. And it's a long-term program. I voted for it in the House. It could have been a better law if there had been bipartisan support for it. Sadly, initially there was bipartisan support in the energy and commerce committee on which I served, but -- CUOMO: Fair point. It never went to committee the way a lot of big laws do to get negotiated.

HARMAN: The bill on the floor is not the committee bill. It was negotiated by leadership in order to get --

BOLDUAN: Regardless it will come back to the president. You know that.

HARMAN: Well, yes. But the president's -- I commend him for stepping up and taking responsibility. This is his administration, after all. And taking responsibility means trying to fix this. And should the law be amended over time? You bet. But I don't think it should be scrapped. I think in the end, I don't know when the end is, people will be pleased that we did this.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Jane.

HARMAN: Great to see you. Thanks, folks.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Let's take a look at our headlines at this hour. We're hearing this morning from Miami Dolphins player Jonathan Martin whose attorney has now released a statement saying that the player has endured harassment from teammates that went far beyond traditional locker room hazing. As for Richie Incognito, he's now suspended from the team. CNN affiliate WPLZ reports police investigated Incognito for molesting a female volunteer at the Dolphin annual golf tournament last year. No charges were filed in that incident.

Bipartisan budget talks in Washington have apparently hit a snag, triggering fears the House-Senate panel won't be able to reach a deal by next month's deadline. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says negotiators are, quote, "stuck." The 29-member Congressional working group has asked to find a bipartisan solution to prevent another government shutdown when funding runs out in January.

It appears Edward Snowden used pass words from colleagues to get some of the information he leaked about American spying. Reuters is reporting the one-time NSA contractor persuaded about two dozen employees to give him their log-ins. Snowden apparently told people he needed the passwords to do his job as a computer systems administrator. Those employees have been removed from their assignments.

In a story we have been watching on NEW DAY, three men are in custody this morning, arrested in the deadly and mysterious shooting of University of Michigan medical student Paul DeWolf. Police are not releasing the names of those men arrested but say they do not have a connection to DeWolf or the school. DeWolf was found shot to death in his off-campus house last July. We are expecting more details from police about the suspects and a possible motive later today.

You might say a Tennessee preacher known for his sermonizing with snakes is having his faith tested. Why? State wildlife officials have confiscated some 50 venomous snakes from Andrew Hamblin's home and from his church. He was cited for possession of wildlife inherently dangerous to humans. He appeared on the NatGeo reality show "Snake Salvation."

CUOMO: Wildlife, but he was trying to fight off hell fire.

PEREIRA Hell fire!

CUOMO: That's what it was.

PEREIRA: Yeah, 50 of them. I'm not sure I'd want that the task of having to go in and confiscate them. Glad there's somebody professionally doing that.

CUOMO: Not your job.

PEREIRA: Not my job.

CUOMO: Good to note. Good to note.

This morning we are following a story that literally cannot be exaggerated. There's a super typhoon hitting the Philippines right now. We don't know where it's going to go or how bad the devastation will be. Karen Maginnis is in for Indra Petersons, following what's going on. What's the latest?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is a record-breaking storm. It has never been recorded, a storm this strong. When it made landfall across the central Philippines, it had supporting winds, sustained winds of 195 miles an hour. To put that in perspective, the takeoff speed of a 747 is between 160 and 180 miles an hour. This has sustained winds of 195 miles an hour, with gusts up to 235.

Right now, it has moved along the eastern edge of the Philippines and prior to it making landfall, which was early morning their time, there were reports this was going to be of epic proportions with downed trees and power lines. The water sources will be affected. The electricity will be affected across this region. They're saying tens of millions of people are going to be affected, already a number of fatalities. There are still assessments of damage and destruction to be made as well.

Into the northeast, it is cool going into this weekend. Pretty nice. Chris and Kate, it looks like by Tuesday, much, much colder. Back to you.

CUOMO: We'll be keeping an eye on that. Thank you very much, Karen. Again, as that super typhoon moves across the South China Sea, it's hitting into Vietnam, heavily populated areas of southeast China. We'll follow it for you throughout the morning. We take a quick break now, though. When we come back, banning trans fats. Is it a good idea? Well, many would say it is, but what until you see what that might mean for your kitchen cabinets or the grocery store. Bring in experts and get answers.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. Check your pantry this morning because trans fats are now on the no list. The FDA is saying partially hydrogenated oils are no longer generally recognized as safe. That's their words. What affect will this have on your health and of course on your wallet? Let's talk about it.

Let's bring in Dr. Roshini Raj, an internist and assistant professor of medicine at New York University, and consumer spending analyst Hitha Prabhakar, great to see you both. Thanks so much for coming in.


BOLDUAN: Doctor, first to you. What do you think of this move? Why are trans fats so bad and should be the FDA be stepping in.

DR. ROSHINI RAJ, ASST. PROF. OF MEDICINE, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: It's a great move. Trans fats are shown with a lot of research to increase heart disease by increasing your bad cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol. There's nothing good about trans fats. There's nothing nutritious, and I think we should get it out of our foods.

CUOMO: Why were they ever allowed in the first place now that they've become generally recognized as safe no more?

RAJ: They help manufacturers keep their foods on the shelf longer. They basically help oil stay stable for a longer period of time. They're basically adding hydrogen. That's why they say partially hydrogenated oils. They'll have to make changes and it's going to be tough on the food industry, which I think we're going to hear about.

PEREIRA: Well, I was going to say -


BOLDUAN: Here are some of the foods you're talking about.

PEREIRA: The grocery store right there that we have in front of us, I think it will be shocking to a lot of people to realize that the bad trans fats stuff is in a lot of the foods we have in our pantries.

RAJ: Right, it looks like most of our pantries, correct?


HITHA PRABHAKAR, CONSUMER SPENDING ANALYST: A lot of the companies have been actually trying to get the trans fats out of their --

PEREIRA: Transition from.

PRABHAKAR: Transition from the transfats. Thank you. But it's going to take a lot of manpower and sometimes depending on the company, that cost might be taken -- put on to the customer. So what you'll see a little bit of a bump in price-up with some of these products. In 2006, New York had transitioned out the trans fats and McDonald's also started transitioning out the trans fats from its oil. It's definitely doable. In the short term we might see a bump-up in the prices.

BOLDUAN: What kind of bump are we talking about and what companies will be hit the hardest by this decision? As you mentioned there have been certain cities, states, certain companies that started this transition.

PRABHAKAR: Sure. We're talking about a couple cents difference in the price. But, if you're watching your budget that might have a huge impact on your overall grocery bill. Some of the companies that we are talking about, Hormel, for example, General Mills, a lot of these -- we're talking about Conagra. Also Cargill is one of the companies that's providing the oil for McDonald's the different oil. So, you'll see - with that company (ph) you'll see a little bit of a positive on that --

BOLDUAN: It's good for some.

PRABHAKAR: Right, on the revenues.

CUOMO: Here's an immediate concern. Price, we talked about. There's going to be something else. They're going to find something else to allow them to make things last longer, keep their costs down. What else is out there, doctor, that may replace partially hydrogenated whatever? But it will be equally as bad five years from now.

RAJ: That's a good question. They are talking about what can they substitute. It might be going back to old school things like butter, for example, which we know is not great in large amounts either. But the truth is there's not one component of your diet that will make you healthy or truly unhealthy. This is one piece of the picture. We still have to be keeping track of what we're eating --

PEREIRA: That's an important thing to note.

RAJ: Absolutely. This doesn't mean now that it's out of the cookie dough, the cookie dough is great for you, no. You have to be smart and look at the labels. But what I think is really interesting here is these are products that sometimes healthy people will eat. I eat microwave popcorn sometimes. I didn't realize it was in there. We think of popcorn as a healthy snack. So that's why -- you know about McDonald's and French fries. You don't think about it in these products.

PEREIRA: You can still have popcorn but maybe get back the old air blower we used to have.

RAJ: Right. The air popper.

PEREIRA: This was born out of convenience. When moms started having to work, et cetera, and chose to work.

RAJ: Right.

PEREIRA: They got --

RAJ: The frozen pizzas. PEREIRA: All the quick, ready to make foods.

RAJ: Yes.

PEREIRA: That's what this came from, isn't it essentially what started it all.

RAJ: True.

PRABHAKAR: Historically they were saying trans fats were in products starting in the early 1900s.

PEREIRA: It goes that far back.



BOLDUAN: Shows how hard it might be to get it all out.


RAJ: There are naturally occurring trans fats. They're not going to get them out completely, but these are the ones considered bad for you, the artificial kind.

PEREIRA: I looked at my coffee creamer this morning. I'm telling you.


PEREIRA: Thanks, ladies.

BOLDUAN: Let us know what you think. And honestly, what's your pantry going to look like now? Tweet us with #newday.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, after the break: he's called America's pastor, the Reverend Billy Graham, now 59 years old and preparing what he calls his final sermon. We'll take a look at his life and his legacy with his son whom you're looking at right there, Franklin.

BOLDUAN: Also coming up, 60 minutes raised some serious concerns about what happened in Benghazi. But now they are apologizing for their source in that story. New information on that developing news, coming up.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's take a look at your headlines. It may be the most powerful storm ever to make landfall, and the Philippines has been slammed by super typhoon Haiyan. It's a massive category 5 storm, wind gusts at 235 miles per hour. It's about half the size of Texas. It is now making its way into the South China Sea. In its wake, flooding, outages, and evacuations. We'll keep you posted on that story.

Fast-moving developments this morning from Iran's nuclear talks. Word is they may be nearing a deal in Geneva. So much so, Secretary of State John Kerry changed plans and is flying there to join negotiations. Iran's chief negotiator at the table tells CNN a deal to limit Tehran's programs in exchange for dropping sanctions could some as early as today.