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U.S. Congressman Faces Drug Charges; Possible Addiction Problem of Toronto Mayor Examined; Obama and Clinton to Meet Today; George Zimmerman, Out on Bail

Aired November 20, 2013 - 07:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The jet we're told was on its way back to Mexico after dropping off a patient in Ft. Lauderdale.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And more breaking news this morning, just moments ago, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for a stay of execution for serial killer Joseph Franklin. It upholds an earlier decision made by a federal appeals court to lift the stay. That clears the way for the state of Missouri to put him to death.

The white supremacist was scheduled to die by lethal injection last night but his lawyers won that original stay by arguing the drug they were going to use constitutes as cruel and unusual punishment. Franklin has been convicted of seven murders in the late '70s. He's admitted his role in the attempted assassination of "Hustler" magazine publisher Larry Flynt.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Talks set to resume today on finding a resolution to Iran's nuclear program. President Obama wants a deal in place to ensure that Iran doesn't develop nuclear weapons. Congress and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have expressed skepticism over Iran's sudden cooperation. And tough talk this morning from Iran's supreme leader, who said he will not retreat on nuclear rights.

CUOMO: And we're following two stories this morning about politicians dealing with addiction. First, Florida Republican Trey Radel in court this morning to face drug charges. The freshman representative was arrested last month and charged with cocaine possession. He could face up to six months in jail for that. CNN's Athena Jones is live at the courthouse in Washington. Good morning, Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Congressman Radel, we expect to see him contrite when he appears here a few hours from now. He said he's profoundly sorry, he's disappointed himself, and he's ready to face the consequences of his actions.

The Florida Republican is 37 years old. He has a wife and a young son, and he was elected last year with Tea Party support. In a statement he says he struggles with the disease of alcoholism and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. He also says he's seeking treatment.

As you mentioned, if convicted, this charge of misdemeanor cocaine possession carries a maximum of 180 days in jail and $1,000 fine. House Speaker John Boehner has said through a spokesman that members of Congress had to be held to the highest standards. This alleged crime will be handled by the courts. Beyond that it's between Representative Radel, his family and his constituents. Radel has asked supporters to keep his family in their prayers. Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right, Athena, thank you so much for that.

Let's go to Canada now where Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has a "Come to Jesus" moment. The embattled mayor saying he is finished with drinking now, this after city council stripped him of most of his thought and the announcement came that his new TV show was canceled.

And new information this morning about that infamous video of Ford smoking crack. CNN's Nic Robertson is in Toronto with all of the details. It changes day by day, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, it does indeed. For So many months the mayor denied he smoked crack cocaine. Then it seems when he announced it, the details were a little bit fuzzy. And that comes on the heels of him announcing that he's quit drinking as well.


ROB FORD, TORONTO MAYOR: Yes, I have some smoked crack cocaine, probably in one of my drunken stoopers, probably approximately about a year ago.

ROBERTSON: Well, not quite. According to police documents obtained by Canadian media, Mayor Ford smoked crack as recently as nine months ago. So is Ford's account a fabrication or simply a memory lapse? And then there's this.

FORD: I haven't touched a drop of alcohol in three weeks.

ROBERTSON: Cold turkey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're done with alcohol?

FORD: Finished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll never drink again?

FORD: Finished. I've had a "come to Jesus" moment if you want to call it that.

ROBERTSON: Mayor Ford talking on TV, promising his boozing days are done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You haven't been drinking at all?

FORD: I haven't had a drop of alcohol in three weeks, not a drop, a drop. I'll take a urine test right now.

ROBERTSON: But don't expect details.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, tell us about giving up the booze.

ROBERTSON: The man given Ford's mayoral powers, not so sure.

FORD: It's easy to go cold turkey. It's hard to stay that way. That's the only comment I can make.

ROBERTSON: But if it works, maybe, just maybe, they'll be less of this, and this.

FORD: I didn't push her.

ROBERTSON: Pushed you right there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right in the belly.

ROBERTSON: What were you thinking at that moment?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't fall on me. I've gotten an elbow to the rib by Ford before.

PAM MCCONNELL, TORONTO CITY COUNCIL: I felt like I was being hit by a crazy train, quite honestly. Certainly the impact made me go into slow motion. I couldn't think about what was happening. I was kind of looking at him. You can see me sort of going get off me, get off me. I was afraid he was going to fall on top of me.

ROBERTSON: Apparently no alcohol involved. Even so forgiveness for ford, not happening for now.

MCCONNELL: It will take more than that to have me sit down. You don't know me very well but I can tell you, nobody knocks me down like that.

ROBERTSON: And it will take more than a few dry weeks to convince Pam McConnell and the council ford is winning his battle with booze.


ROBERTSON: And now this from Mayor Ford as well. He's lost his new talk show "Ford Nation." It pulled in about 100,000 viewers, a record for the station, but not enough to keep it on air. He will be, we're told by the station, a regular commentator on the show, but for right now, "Ford Nation" off the air. Kate, Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Chris, maybe one of the first good reactions to the situation we've seen, cancelling that show.

I want to bring in William Moyers. He's vice president of the Hazelden Foundation which operates an addiction treatment center for drug and alcohol rehab. He's also the author of "Broken," my story of addiction and redemption. Great it have you with us, Mr. Moyers.

WILLIAM C. MOYERS, VICE PRESIDENT HAZELDEN FOUNDATION: Good morning, Chris. Thanks for having me on.

CUOMO: When you look at Rob Ford, for all the lampooning and the talk about the political intrigue, what do you see?

MOYERS: Well, I see a man who -- you know, was just like I was 20 years ago when I was struggling with alcohol and other drugs. He's all over the place. He's running, he seems scared. He seems, you know, in some level of denial as to the scope of his problem and the impact that problem has had, not just on him but his family and his constituents. I see a man who stands between the problem and the solution.

Rob Ford needs to stop running, turn around, embrace his demons, take some time off, take the gift that the city council has given him and take a leave of absence and really step away from the limelight, step away from the three-ring circus that he's created, and focus on taking care of Rob Ford and getting himself back to a healthy place of mind, body, and spirit.

CUOMO: It reminds me of Charlie sheen. It's become a sport covering him, a spectacle. It makes for great television and media play. But is there a concern that in mocking this addiction, there's a risk we are minimizing the significance of the illness that's at play here?

MOYERS: No doubt, Chris. I mean, I saw that Jay Leno said that Rob Ford is god's gift to comedy. But this is not really a funny story. It has bizarre moments. But what I think we're seeing here is a man who's deeply troubled by alcohol and other drugs, as he's admitted, probably other issues, too. It might make good television and fodder for the tabloids, it might make good spectacle in the Toronto city council, it's a sad commentary on where a very troubled individual is in his personal and professional life.

And I can't help but feel -- be struck by the contrast between mayor Rob Ford of Toronto and Congressman Radel of Florida, who this morning is sort of owning his stuff and saying, you know what, I really need some help. I need to get professional treatment.

And that's really what the solution is here. Addiction is an illness that doesn't discriminate. You know, treatment works, recovery is possible, but the solution to the problem requires personal responsibility on the part of the person who has it. In this case, Rob Ford seems to be moving in the right direction but, gosh, after so much time, it's time for him to stop running.

CUOMO: I don't know where his head is. The irony, one of the ironies here is if he were to admit it, he's fighting that. He's fighting it politically. How do you get him out if he doesn't want to be out? If he was going to say he's beginning to go to rehab, with Trey Radel down south and elsewhere, if you go to rehab, it's not the end of your political career. It's more accepted than ever now, right?

MOYERS: Absolutely. I mean, I was never in politics, but I was a journalist and a father and a member of society whose alcohol and drug use took me away from the very things that mattered to me. And I'll tell you, I'm a better person internally, I'm a better person professionally. I'm a better citizen today because I did go to treatment, in my case more than once, got sober, took responsibility and have learned to manage my illness for 20 years now as a person in long-term recovery.

And what we know is that while there's no cure for addiction, there is a solution. That solution is alive and well and millions of people across the United States and Canada. Recovery is possible, treatment works.

CUOMO: You're a great example and you're giving an important message, because we all know, we may in the media enjoy fanning the flames of the situation right now but we know how it ends and it's terrible for him and his family.

MOYERS: Well, thank you, Chris. If I could say anything to the mayor of Toronto, it's to say, it's OK to ask for help. It's OK to admit your problem as long as you get some professional treatment and take responsibility. And you, too, can lead a productive life whether it's in politics or whether you choose to do whatever. It's OK to ask for help. That's the message we always have.

CUOMO: Maybe the most responsible thing is to let him get out of that limelight, because he's obviously resisting the efforts because they're public right now. But William Moyers, thank you so much for being on NEW DAY. Appreciate the perspective.

MOYERS: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Let's get over to Indra Petersons now tracking the forecast for us. Back from Washington, Illinois, a lot of people dealing with serious issues.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Today, Chris, we're going to be talking about rain in their forecast. Things will only be worsening for them. What we're looking at right now for the eastern half of the country, mild conditions, temperatures a good five to 10 degrees below normal. But that will change as the system makes its way across the country.

So let's talk about what is going on in the west. We're talking about heavy amounts of snow and even rain, sierra seeing a foot of snow today, Wyoming and Colorado, those higher elevations getting about a foot of that snow. So what's going on? There's a ton of moisture but two systems. We'll be tracking these guys as they make their way across.

This first low dipping down, this guy is getting warm moisture, even flooding potential into the four corners and the southwest, really heavy rainfall there and flooding concerns over the next several days. But look at this cold air diving down. This is a system that will be impacting Washington, Illinois today, lighter rain at first but eventually heavy rain in through Thursday and Friday. The other side of this are the cold temperatures. First with that heavy rain and that cool air spreading all the way into the east.

I kind of wanted to speed this up for you, give you a good idea of how cold the temperatures are and how fast they'll be spreading in. Today we'll be looking at the Dakotas and maybe Montana starting to see the temperatures 10 to 15 degrees below normal. Notice all the down through Texas, temperatures 20 degrees below normal. And then for the northeast, we'll be talking about rain, Friday in through Saturday. But by Sunday, notice those highs dipping way down, 35 degrees as your high for the second half of the week.

So it will be a mixed bag. We'll start with warmer weather and rain and dropping those temperatures down. Again, that's across the entire country.

BOLDUAN: Indra, thanks.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, oh, to be a fly on the wall for this one. President Obama, former president Clinton set to meet for the first time since Clinton publicly called out the president over Obamacare. What will the two say to each other? What will we say after it all happens?

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, George Zimmerman out on bail but not out of hot water. We're going to tell you what conditions the judge placed on Zimmerman for his release.



JAY LENO, "TONIGHT SHOW" HOST: When the president had that heart scare, how scary was that?

LAURA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: It was scary. It was very scary.

LENO: Yeah.

L. BUSH: But...

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I wasn't that scared.


LENO: Was it -- you had Obamacare?



BOLDUAN: He still has one of the best presidential laughs, I think around.

All right, welcome back to NEW DAY. A little bit of political humor on the "Tonight Show" last night with former president George W. Bush but the focus this morning on two very different presidents, Presidents Clinton and President Obama.

They'll be face to face for the first time since Clinton called on President Obama to let Americans keep their health care plans if they like them. So what's that conversation going to be like? Joining us now to talk about it is John Harris, the editor in chief of "Politico". John, great to see you.


BOLDUAN: So President Clinton stepped right into the Obamacare debate offering yet another headache for President Obama. So what's that conversation going to be like when they're face to face today at the White House?

HARRIS: Well, they've got a very complex relationship. And at bottom, it is one, still for all the ups and downs and rockiness, it's one of mutual need. President Obama, starting out very cool, obviously toward the Clintons and the Clinton family, has really come to appreciate him. And remember, he called him the secretary of explaining stuff.

The best speech in the 2012 campaign for the re-election wasn't from President Obama; it was from President Clinton. But as you point out, the most recent example, those kind of unwelcome comments criticizing the rollout of Obamacare make it difficult. So I don't think they're personally close, but they're somehow personally connected together.

CUOMO: Well, John, it's probably because Clinton is great at explaining stuff. And that's something that becomes an intrigue here. What is your take on why Clinton didn't do what he was supposed to do, which is to explain that President Obama wasn't lying, that his promise was -- you can keep your plan as long as it meets the new laws. Why didn't he do that?

HARRIS: Everybody thinks Bill Clinton is so calculated and that everything he says must have some kind of hidden agenda, that he would never just have a, kind of, rhetorical stumble. I've been following the guy for really close to 20 years now.

And it's just not true. Sometimes things come out of his mouth before he has fully thought through the implications, especially when it's not his skin in the game. In this case, it's President Obama's skin in the game. So yes, he's a great explainer. He's the secretary of explaining stuff. There's also little bit of Grandpa Simpson in him. You never, kind of, know what's exactly going to come out.


BOLDUAN: That is not the direction I thought you were going to go.

CUOMO: I'll have to give you a Chris for that.


BOLDUAN: Let's move on.

Let's talk about the evolving relationship -- the evolving relationship that you were alluding to, John. In Double Down, there are a couple anecdotes that everyone is pointing to, when you want to look at the relationship between these two men, the fact that President Obama said of President Clinton, "I like him in doses" or that he was also unable to handle any more undiluted Clinton. But still, the night of the election, President Obama wins, one of the first people he wants to call, he says, "Get Bill on the line." Talk about that evolution.

HARRIS: I don't think they're personally connected. I think Bill Clinton would like to be much more personally connected with President Obama, frankly in the way that he's become with both Bush presidents. President Obama is kind of cool; he's too independent for that kind of relationship.

That said, I think he is fundamentally a gracious man when it comes to his relationship with the Clintons. He's come to appreciate Hillary Clinton and her service in his administration. And he's come to appreciate Bill Clinton for all his exasperating qualities and the fact that he doesn't want to be friends with him, he only wants to hang around with him in small doses. I think he does recognize that they are in a fraternity as two Democratic presidents elected who, no matter the ups and downs, they need each other. Their arms are locked.

BOLDUAN: And talk about -- we always talk about optics surrounding this kind of a thing. Anyone's gonna be trying to read any kind of body language to read into that relationship or kind of the tension, if it exists.

Well, talk about the optics. You've got the Clintons coming to the White House. They're spending a large part of the day with President Obama. When all of this is happening, Vice President Biden is in Panama. What should people read into that?

HARRIS: That's right. Well, those optics really underscore the reality of the situation, which is Hillary Clinton is the -- more than I've seen in either major party, she is the overwhelming favorite. Nobody ever gets a presidential nomination on a platter, but at least as it looks now, she's going to come as close as anybody ever did, assuming she takes that platter. And that's unfortunate for Biden, but it's just the reality of the politics.

Beyond optics, I really think the substance is more important. The fact of the matter is, if the Obamacare rollout continues to be so troubled, and remains a liability, that's going to be a substantive problem, not an optics problem, a substantive problem, if, as we all expect, Hillary Clinton does indeed pursue the Democratic nomination in 2016.

CUOMO: Which is why my original question was why didn't Bill Clinton do what he was supposed to do? The more banged-up Obamacare is, the worse it's going to be for his wife if she runs, if Hillary runs.

But anyway --

HARRIS: I think he was saying what was on his mind.

BOLDUAN: That happens sometimes too.

CUOMO: All right, John Harris, thank you very much, great to have you with us on "NEW DAY".

HARRIS: Thanks, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, John.

CUOMO: We're gonna take a quick break. When we come back, George Zimmerman, wherever this man goes, trouble seems to follow. Now he's under arrest for domestic violence and assault using a shotgun. Those are the allegations. While police try to make their case, we have a psychiatrist who says she has some answers.

BOLDUAN: Plus, the Dolphins bullying scandal triggering a new controversy over the use of the "n" word in the locker room. We're gonna be talking to two athletes who disagree on what's fair game behind closed doors.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY -- pardon me. It's Wednesday, November 20. I'll give you a look at our stories, starting with breaking news.


(voice-over) A desperate search for survivors continues this morning after a leer jet on a medical mission crashed into the ocean just off Ft. Lauderdale in Florida. On board, two pilots and two passengers said to be a doctor and a nurse. So far, two bodies, a male and female, have been recovered. That plane was apparently on its way back to Mexico after dropping a patient off at a Florida hospital.

An apology this morning from a Florida Congressman arrested for cocaine possession. Republican Trey Radel says he is profoundly sorry to let down his family and the people of South Florida. He goes on to say he struggles with alcoholism, which led to an extremely irresponsible choice. The first term Congressman will be in a Washington, D.C. court today to be arraigned on the misdemeanor charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 180 days and/or a fine of $1,000.

The Labor Department investigating claims that the Census Bureau manipulated job figures in the run-up to the 2012 election. A New York Post report alleged a census worker faked results in the government's monthly job report to make the unemployment rate appear lower. Census officials deny the charges. The case has been referred to the inspector general.

I am really struggling. I need some water. I'll be OK. Here we go.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signing landmark legislation that bans the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21. New York is the first large city to prohibit sales to young adults. Bloomberg says raising the legal purchase age from 18 to 21 will keep young people from experimenting at a time when they're most likely to become addicted. That new law will take effect in six months.


PEREIRA (on camera): I feel like I just smoked a pack myself.

CUOMO: Some water?

PEREIRA: I'll be OK.


CUOMO: We're talking about George Zimmerman this morning, back in the news, out on bail. But he will be on trial, it seems for domestic violence and allegedly pointing a gun at his girlfriend. Those are the allegations from police. A friend paid Zimmerman's $9,000 bond yesterday but not before the judge put strict limits on his travel and his use of weapons. Alina Machado has more from Sanford, Florida.

Good morning.

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. George Zimmerman has been ordered to stay away from firearms and wear a monitoring device. He's also been told to stay away from Samantha Scheibe. She is the woman whose allegations have landed him in jail once again.


MACHADO (voice over): George Zimmerman free on bond, not answering any questions from reporters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George, you want to defend?

MACHADO: Just hours after appearing before a judge in hand cuffs and learning his bond was set at $9,000. His demeanor in court, calm, as he answers questions from the judge.


MACHADO: This is Zimmerman's fourth brush with the law since he was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. His girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, called 911 Monday after a domestic dispute allegedly turned physical.

911 OPERATOR: What's going on?

SAMANTHA SCHEIBE, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S GIRLFRIEND: He's in my house, breaking all my (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I asked had him to leave. He has a freaking gun breaking all my stuff right now.

MACHADO: Zimmerman made his own 911 call telling a different story.

ZIMMERMAN: She got mad that I guess I told her that I would be willing to leave.


ZIMMERMAN: I guess she thought I was going to argue with her, but she's pregnant. I'm not going to put her through that kind of stress.

MACHADO: In court, prosecutors said Scheibe fears for her life, claiming this wasn't the first time she was attacked by Zimmerman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The victim had indicated that there was a prior domestic violence incident that occurred approximately a week and a half ago that involved a choking that she did not report to the police. She was in fear for her safety on the day of this incident. She had indicated that they had been discussing breaking up.

MACHADO: Prosecutors also say Zimmerman is suicidal, a claim his attorneys says is false.

DANIEL MEGARO, PUBLIC DEFENDER: I think any time somebody is arrested for charges, it brings a certain level of anxiety and stress. My impression, again, of speaking to Mr. Zimmerman, he didn't appear to be a danger to himself or anybody else.

MACHADO: According to court documents, Zimmerman says he is homeless and unemployed. He also says he's $2.5 million in debt and lists $144 cash in assets. He has been appointed a public defender.

MEGARO: I definitely would not characterize my client as a loose cannon. He is presumed innocent on these matters and we're confident he's going to be acquitted.


MACHADO (on camera): Now, Zimmerman is expected to be back in court in January. And by the way, Zimmerman's wife, Shellie served him with divorce papers Monday night while he sat in a jail cell at the correctional facility here in Seminole County, Florida.

Back to you guys.

PEREIRA: All right, Alina Machado, thank you so much for that.