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Obamacare Enrollee Indicates Subsidies for Health Coverage Eliminated; Plane in Russia Crashes; George Zimmerman Faces Felony Charges

Aired November 19, 2013 - 07:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a huge disappointment and especially since I had my story had been shared by the president.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: New this hour, a CNN exclusive, a woman used by the president as an Obamacare success story turns on the program. We'll tell you why. And we have new details about warnings months before the launch.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also new this hour, terrifying video of a 737 jet crashing in Russia, more than 50 people killed. But why does it appear to plummet to the ground?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Is it still wonderful? Hollywood returning to Bedford Falls to a sequel to "It's a Wonderful Life." Can Hollywood go back and relive this success or will they ruin it?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you need to know --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just broke my glass table, you broke my sunglasses, and you put your gun in my freaking face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: what you just have to see.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, November 19th, 7:00 in the east. We'll catch you up on the news overnight. We're going to do it right now. The power is still out for hundreds of thousands in parts of several states, including Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. The death toll from the storm has risen to eight after two men were confirmed killed in Michigan. And 76 tornadoes touched down in parts of seven states, the cleanup just beginning from that series of tornadoes in the devastated parts of the Midwest. Take a look at this path of destruction caused by the tornado that hit Washington, Illinois.

BOLDUAN: And also new this morning, deadly explosions in front of the Iranian embassy in southern Beirut, reportedly the work of suicide bombers. At least 23 people were killed, close to 150 others injured. Fires and dark smoke billowing from buildings and vehicles at the scene. As of now, there's no claim of responsibility for the attack.

PEREIRA: The Justice Department reportedly close to a massive settlement with J.P. Morgan chase over its role in the 2008 mortgage meltdown. At a reported $13 billion it could end up being the largest settlement between a corporation and the government ever. This deal could be announced as soon as today, and it would end the federal investigation into the selling of faulty mortgage bonds by the bank and its subsidiaries.

BOLDUAN: Big story this hour, the White House facing two more embarrassing revelations in the never-ending Obamacare fiasco. First, newly released documents revealing a private consulting firm warned the administration that, the website, could be a disaster in the making. Way back in the spring they got these warnings.

And second problem, a CNN exclusive. A Washington state mom hailed as an Obamacare success story by the president in a speech just last month. Now she says she can't afford the insurance and blames the state health care exchanges.

Let's bring in senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta who has all of these late details this morning. Good morning, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Kate. That's right, Jessica Sanford was cited by the president as an Obamacare success story at a health care event he had here at the White House in the Rose Garden on October 21, that of course being just last month. The 48-year-old single mom from Washington state purchased what she considered to be affordable health care, a life-changing event she said, on the Washington state health exchange. And she decided she was so excited about this news she wanted to write an e-mail to the president to say this had really changed her life and she was thankful for the Affordable Care Act. The president included her e-mail in his remarks to people on hand for the event. Here's a bit of what the president had to say.


BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I recently received a letter from a woman named Jessica Sanford in Washington state. Here's what she wrote, "I am a single mom, no child support, self- employed, and I haven't had insurance for 15 years because it's too expensive. I was crying the other day when I signed up, so much stress lifted."


ACOSTA: But days, just really three days after she was mentioned by the president, Jessica Sanford started having problems. She was receiving letters from the Washington state health exchange, the first letter telling her tax credit was reduced, therefore increasing the cost of her health care plan. And then take a look at this. Then she received a letter just last week telling her that her tax credit had been taken away all together. Show you another document here showing what the tax credit worked out to be according to the Washington state health exchange. Zero dollars according to this document that was provided to us by Jessica Sanford. She describes all of this as a rollercoaster ride because now she says she can't afford insurance in Washington state because of these new developments. Here's what she told us in an exclusive TV interview.


JESSICA SANFORD, SEATTLE WASHINGTON: It was like riding a big rollercoaster. They have my credit card. They have the payment date. And then, you know, once again, I'm knocked down, and this time it's to zero. And at my rate of pay with my family size, I just don't understand why I wouldn't get at least a little help with a tax credit.

It was a huge disappointment, and especially since I had, you know -- my story had been shared by the president, I felt like, you know, I just felt embarrassed that, you know, he quoted my story and then come to find that the Washington health plan finder, the website here in our state, had grossly miscalculated or they're having a problem figuring their tax credits. And so at least for right now, I don't -- I'm not going to be getting insurance.


ACOSTA: Now, Jessica Sanford is not alone. According to this letter she got from the Washington state health exchange, also known as Washington Health Plan Finder, it says that other Washington state residents, applicants to the state health exchange are also receiving these letters informing them that their tax credits had been miscalculated.

When we went back to the Washington state health exchange, officials said they were looking into it and would get back to us. But guys, Jessica Sanford tells us what is so frustrating about all this is she's a President Obama supporter. She voted for the president, she supports the Affordable Care Act. But she says after being held up as an example of what was working right with the health care plan, according to the president, she now sort of feels like an example of what's not working at least in her home state of Washington state.

And one other thing we should point out, you mentioned the documents that were released by a house Republican committee chairman last night, those documents indicate that as of last march, senior White House -- or senior administration officials, including Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, was aware of some of the problems with the website earlier this year, back in march. Those concerns, according to Republican members of this one committee, the energy and commerce committee, they feel like they were not told the full story by Kathleen Sebelius based on the documents provided by a consultant, a firm that was advising the administration on the health care plan. Guys, back to you.

CUOMO: All right, Jim, appreciate the reporting.

Now we want to tell you about a deadly plane crash in Russia. It was caught on video, which is helping to understand what happens, but I want you to know it's also a little tough to watch. Here is what it shows. That spec of light is a Boeing 737 passenger jet. Sunday all 50 people aboard it died in the crash you just saw in Kazan. It's about 450 west of Moscow.

Authorities haven't said what caused the crash, but they have retrieved the damaged flight data recorders, the black boxes, and American flight investigators say that will help in the investigation. They're trying to help out as well. We're bringing in our specialist, Richard Quest, business correspondent for CNN International and the host of "Quest Means Business," knows a lot about the aviation business, how these investigations happen. How do we make sense of this?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": This is a very difficult one, not only because of the awful pictures we see and the nature. We know quite a lot about the last moments. We know the weather. It was blustery, the windy conditions, not terrible but normal in Kazan this time of the year. We know the plane had made one approach and was on the second approach when the incident happened.

And now because of the video that we're seeing we know the trajectory at which the plane came out of the sky, nose down, straight into the ground. They helped the investigation quite considerably in understanding the sort of reasons that might have contributed to this disaster.

BOLDUAN: When you see that trajectory, it was basically vertical, what does that suggest?

QUEST: What it suggests is a complete lack of control and power. There's no forward momentum. So planes tend to -- if a plane falls out of the sky it tends to go like that. Not in this case. So you're starting to narrow down, and we don't want to go into the areas of ramp and speculation, but the investigators have already said it's one of several reasons --obviously pilot error, poor maintenance, did the thing fall apart or did a crucial part of the aircraft fail at a crucial moment? Then you're talking about bad weather. I think we can sort of say maybe not so. Bad fuel, did the fuel starve the engines at the large moment?

CUOMO: Does it matter that it's a 737?

QUEST: Not in the slightest. This plane -- let's get rid of one canard straight out. This plane was 23 years old, all right? It had been through eight previous owners in a variety of different airlines. But that is a complete red herring provided the aircraft's maintained. If you take the top three legacy carriers in the United States, the average fleet age is just over 14 to 15 years. So age per see is not a reason if it's maintained.

My gut feeling, it will be a combination of events. It will be bad weather, which will have led to a circumstance which will have led to the pilots reacting in a particular way, which ultimately I think you're going to find will have led to some form of a stall of the aircraft's wings.

PEREIRA: There has been some question about the safety of some of these aircraft in Russia. I know that the Russian government has been looking at it over the years. The cost-cutting measures that are going on with a lot of airlines, could have that played a part in it, like you said, the plane simply fell apart, the mechanical workings weren't up to snuff?

QUEST: The plane is built to tremendous -- one of the things I've been impressed when I visit airbus or Boeing is the strength to which these aircraft are built. Russia and the CIS, they have had a dramatically improving record on safety.

PEREIRA: They have?

QUEST: Absolutely. If you look the report of 2012, that was an extremely improved performance over previous years. That said, the safety record, we're talking the margins here, the safety record is not as impressive as you might say as it would be in the United States or the European Union. And that is a concern. This is going to turn on the individual circumstances of this flight at that moment in those conditions.

CUOMO: You talk about the age of the aircraft. I hear you on that. But it's a 737. I asked because isn't there something particular about this craft that makes it vulnerable to wing stall?

QUEST: Well, yes and no. You have to put it into context, Chris. There's 11,500 of them that have been ordered, 7,500 have been delivered. What it does have, is it doesn't have anti-stall protection in the same sense that the airbus A-320 series would have. The Boeing jets do not as a rule have automatic anti-stall protection.

BOLDUAN: But you can't make the jump from that to this?

QUEST: There will be some out there that would say -- there will be some who will go down the line and say the airbus you can't stall. Let me tell me, there's as many people, I can hear some pilot viewers and aviation viewers saying, if it ain't a Boeing, I ain't going, because Boeing allows the airmen to fly the plane more individually. Airbuses put protections into the aircraft, which mean that in certain circumstances you can't do certain things.

Now, it will be an interesting point. In this case, would stall protections, for example, have altered this? We don't know it was a stall. All I'm saying is, when you look at those pictures of how that plane came out of the sky, very rare to go nose down like that, very rare. It means there was no forward momentum for the aircraft for it to fall out of the sky like that.

BOLDUAN: Richard, you're not kidding those pictures are startling. But we'll find out what happened right before then.

CUOMO: Thank you for helping us understand what that video means. Appreciate it.

Let's get back to Indra Petersons. She's out in Washington, Illinois, monitoring the situation there and the national forecast. Hey, Indra, what do you have?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. It really looked like a big chunk of the country is continuing to get this break today, taking a close look here in the northeast and mid-Atlantic. Dome of high pressure is in place, so mild conditions, temperatures on the cooler side, but only about five to eight degrees below normal. So it looks like it will stay that way until about the middle of the week.

So let's turn to the next system that will affect all of us. Starting today in the Pacific Northwest, they are talking about snow. Same places, cascades in Washington, Idaho, Montana. But by tomorrow we'll see this slide farther to the east, Wyoming and even Colorado looking for some snow. Heavy amounts, too, especially when you get against those Rockies and the mountains there. You get as much as a foot of snow possible in the higher elevations of Wyoming, a big system and cold system. By Thursday, this guy slides across. The Midwest seeing heavy rain and cold showers and snow showers behind it.

This is the thing I keep focusing on, guys, because that means right here in Illinois they'll be talking about heavy rain as early as tomorrow, even heavier as we get into Thursday and Friday. As we turn through Saturday weep be talking about the threat of snow showers in this region. Cold today, everyone is trying to clean up. Conditions unfortunately look like they'll be worsening here.

BOLDUAN: Indra, thank you so much for that.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a scary case of he said, she said. George Zimmerman back in jail, arrested on felony aggravated assault. We have the dramatic 911 calls from both his girlfriend and Zimmerman himself.

CUOMO: Plus, something you don't see every day, at least not in public. Why are the Cheney sisters fighting out their views on same- sex marriage before the eyes of all to see? Now their dad is weighing in. We'll take you through it.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. George Zimmerman is back in jail this morning. Zimmerman, of course, you remember, acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin, now awaiting a bail hearing after being charged with felony aggravated assault in connection with an incident involving his girlfriend. Both Zimmerman and the girlfriend called 911. Listen to her version of events first.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm doing this again? you just broke my glass table. You just broke my sunglasses and you put your gun in my freaking face.


CUOMO: Important for timing, substance, and tone. Remember that. Now listen to Zimmerman's call.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She has weapons in the house?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's her house. She's got a nine millimeter. I mean, I have my firearm. She was throwing my stuff out and one of the bags was one of my firearms. I never pulled a firearm. I never displayed it. When I was packing it I'm sure she saw it. We keep it next to the bed.


CUOMO: Maybe most important this statement because of timing. Let's bring in CNN's senior legal analyst Mr. Jeffrey Toobin. How do you see this situation sizing up?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Let's see what happens. I mean, I think --

CUOMO: Well said.


TOOBIN: I think that is important. This is just the first day since he's been arrested. You have two 911 calls. There's so much we don't know. What did the police see when they walked in the house? Just for example, she says he displayed the shotgun, that he pointed the shotgun. Is the shotgun in the case or out of the case? If it's out of the case maybe she's telling the truth. If it's in the case, it certainly helps his side of the story. There's a lot that we don't know.

BOLDUAN: How serious -- this is a serious charge, though.

TOOBIN: Felony. Absolutely. It is far from clear to me that he's going to get out on bail today. In bail you have two questions. Is the person a risk of flight? I think the answer is probably not, but is he a danger to the community? He killed Trayvon Martin. We know that. She claims he waved a gun at her. You could see a prosecutor making the case that the guy is a danger. That's not a simple bail calculation.

PEREIRA: Chris brought up an interesting point last hour about fact if there was a shotgun, because again, there's a lot of ifs here. If there was a shotgun involved, and it was out of the case, is this going to be the case of Florida saying this man cannot have guns anymore?

TOOBIN: This is the paradox because he has no criminal record. He was acquitted, and that means, under Florida law, as I understand it, he is entitled to have a gun. I think all of us when we heard that he had a gun, we thought this is probably not a guy who should have one, but he's also said he's gotten a lot of threats. He feels in jeopardy for his personal safety. So that's why he says he needs a gun. It certainly wouldn't make me feel comfortable if he was my neighbor and had a gun.

CUOMO: The big question is because of who he is, and what happened in the past, are they going after him? Is this about whether or not he's doing what's alleged in the charge, or is it about whether or not there's a hair trigger where he's involved that if someone complains about him, police feel this he have to act.

TOOBIN: It's the O.J. Simpson case. O.J. of course was acquitted in the murder case, then he gets prosecuted on what certainly seemed to me a flimsy case in Las Vegas. A lot of people thought, I certainly thought, it was payback for the acquittal. Certainly this domestic violence case will get a lot of attention and a lot of that attention, whether people admit it or not, will be because of what happened with Trayvon Martin.

CUOMO: The felony charge though, the most serious charge, is this aggravated assault? Which, under Florida law as I understand it can't just be pointing a gun at somebody. She has to do better than that. That's why I say tone matters in her 911 call. Because what she's perceiving matters, but as does the timing of the call.

TOOBIN: And if it's a felony, this guy will go away to prison.

CUOMO: What do they have to show for it to be - for the charge to stick?

TOOBIN: Well, it has to be, again as I understand it is, they have to show a genuine threat to her, that it was a threat of being used, not just displaying the weapon at your side. And that's a big difference, but they do bring these cases and if you listen to what -- if you believe her version on the 911 tapes, that sounds like it fits the bill.

BOLDUAN: What do you make of part of what he said in his 911 call when asked why he was calling? He says I just want everyone to know the truth. It starts to sound a little bit like this is a person who just calls the cops about everything at this point.

TOOBIN: Well, you know, I don't know. I don't know how I would interpret that exactly. There's a guy who has had a lot of involvement with the criminal justice system.


TOOBIN: Remember, in September, he was -- the police were called to a domestic disturbance with his now or soon to be ex-wife, no charges were filed. He's had three traffic stops since the Trayvon Martin acquittal. This is a guy who has engaged with the criminal justice system and you could also argue that he's trying to make a record that makes himself look good. Again, I don't know how to interpret it.

CUOMO: He called 911 when he knew the police were outside raising the obvious speculation. Why didn't you talk to the cops? Her call was made before his, which can lend in the credibility analysis, but her tone in the call does not sound like someone who's afraid she's about to be shot.

TOOBIN: Is that true? Is that how you interpret it?


CUOMO: She seems upset, angry and maybe justifiably so, but to trigger that statute --

PEREIRA: She seems angry, not scared.

CUOMO: Yes, and you have to show that, I thought not only did Mick point gun at me but she said something that made me think that she was going to use it, and I believe she had the ability to use it, I'm afraid.

BOLDUAN: As Joey (ph) said, it has to do with timing. It may be that after he pointed the gun at her, then she made the call, and then she gets angry, right?


CUOMO: And it does seem as though there is a little bit of a presumption by the police down there now to look at things against him.

TOOBIN: Well, but I mean if someone calls 911 and says someone's pointing a gun at you.

BOLDUAN: They have to react.

TOOBIN: You have to take it seriously.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

TOOBIN: And figure out whether there's an actual prosecutable case down the road. The first thing to do is make sure nobody gets hurt.

CUOMO: Absolutely, and if you look online, a lot of you are talking about this, and please continue to do so. You can tweet us with the hashtag #newday.

There's a frustration. Boy, look how quick they are on him now. Why not the last time? Why not the last time? A lot of people were saying that. Look, a lot of interesting speculation about it.

Also ironic, being in Florida during the Trayvon Martin case probably helped him. Being in Florida on this case, will probably hurt him because of the mandatory minimum.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: Good to see you all.

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: The professor.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, it's getting personal and very public. Dick Cheney's daughters in a dispute over same-sex marriage. How one daughter's sexual orientation could affect the other's bid for Senate.

CUOMO: And did he or did he not? Alec Baldwin is accused of using a homophobic slur, growing calls for him to lose his TV show, but he is getting some support. We'll tell you who's coming to his defense.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is Tuesday, November 19th. Coming up in the show, a family feud playing out on Facebook. Dick Cheney's daughters feuding over same-sex marriage. We'll tell you who the former vice president is defending.

CUOMO: Plus, how do you feel about this? A sequel in the works to Jimmy Stewart's 1946 film, "It's a Wonderful Life." Should Hollywood leave the timeless classic alone? That's the question.

PEREIRA: First, let's bring you up to date on the stories making headlines. The death toll has climbed to eight from the tornadoes that swept through the Midwest Sunday. Residents are starting to begin the cleanup effort from the devastation, looking for any personal items left behind in miles of debris. The power is still out for hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana.

New round of chaos in Toronto city hall. The city council voting to strip Rob Ford of the last of his meaningful powers as mayor. The contentious meeting had Ford arguing with council members and the public. At one point he nearly knocked an elderly councilwoman to the ground. Ford, who has admitted smoking crack and drinking too much, called the council vote a coup d'etat, and compared it to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. He vowed outright war in next year's mayoral election.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, the white X in Dealey Plaza that marked the approximate spots where he was shot are being removed. Dallas city officials say they are just resurfacing the street to remove trip hazards.