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Sandy Hook Massacre Report; Republicans Pull Ahead; Thanksgiving Travel Threatened; Airports Expecting Chaos; Nearly 30 Million Expected To Drive For Holiday; U.S. Threatens To Pull Troops

Aired November 26, 2013 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roads are really slick and it seemed a lot of accidents already.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Taking aim. That huge snow and rain maker now moving north and east. Holiday travel plans for millions in jeopardy. And now, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloons may be grounded. We're tracking it all.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: No deal. The Afghan government pushing back against the United States still refusing to sign an agreement that would keep U.S. forces on the ground. Will there be a complete pull-out of forces sooner than expected?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New revelation about the Sandy Hook gunner. The stunning new report just out, detailing his obsession with mass murder. Were warnings signs missed?

CUOMO: Your "New Day" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to "NEW DAY." It's Tuesday, November 26th, six o'clock in the east. Got to prepare for a heaping side of rain, sleet, and snow to go with that Thanksgiving turkey, unfortunately. Right now, holiday travel plans for more than 40 million are totally up in the air.

In fact, the air may be the worst place to be. A monster storm on a collision course with the east coast expected to cost absolute chaos. Take a look at the snow falling in Pittsburgh right now. This is our affiliate, WPXI. They filmed this video, showing how slick the roads are becoming. We're tapping the power and reach of CNN to bring you the most complete coverage we can beginning, of course, with meteorologist, Indra Petersons. Indra, what do we see?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLGIST: Yes. We're already talking about that big change already. Take a look at the snow we're currently seeing in the northeast. And of course, we have that heavy rain now coming in from the southeast and notice already starting to see some of that icing. This is just a precursor to what we are expecting as we go through the next 48 hours with rain, heavy winds, and even more freezing rain and snow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETERSONS (voice-over): A massive winter storm blamed for at least a dozen deaths and hundreds of accidents will bring heavy rain, snow, sleet and high winds to much of the east coast on the busiest travel week of the year. Frustrated travelers beginning to feel the ripple effect of this storm system with delays and cancellations at some of the nation's busiest airports.

It's not just planes. The larger than life balloons flying high above the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade could be grounded. If sustained winds pass 23 miles per hour, the giant inflatable balloons can't take flight because officials fear their handlers won't be able to control them.

RAY KELLY, NYPD POLICE COMMISSIONER: We have a sergeant assigned to each of the balloons. They can be lowered all the way to the ground or determination is made not to fly them.

PETERSON: In 1997, ferocious winds blew the six-story tall cat in the hat balloon straight into a street lamp. Debris fell down on the crowd below, critically injuring one spectator. It's brought localized flooding in Arizona, heavy snow in Colorado and in New Mexico. Wind gusts of more than 50 miles per hour produced blinding conditions. Parts of Oklahoma receiving about a foot of snow and in Arkansas, heavy rain caused this pileup on a bridge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The roads are really slick and I've seen a lot of accidents already.

PETERSONS: Freezing rain making driving treacherous as this unrelenting storm complicates the Thanksgiving travel plans for millions.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PETERSONS: Here's what we're looking forward -- moving forward. We are talking about anywhere from two inches to four inches of heavy rain into the south. Even a severe isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out today. That heavy rain shifts into the Carolinas. On the backside, notice the snow we're expecting, over a foot of snow possible around the Great Lakes and tapering off even all the way back in through Kentucky and Tennessee.

Of course, the big story for that is, yes, this warm front will continue to make its way up. Even though you're seeing snow in the northeast, it will shift over to rain as we get the winds out of the south. Heavier rain will be falling as we go later throughout the day. On the backside, heavy snow starts to fall. This is also the time period where the strongest winds will be out there.

Notice the change, though, as you go from Wednesday into late Wednesday evening we start to see the system make its way offshore. Don't let this fool you, the heavy winds will still be out there. We're expecting travel delays in the air through Thursday as the system does make its way out of the region. With that we're still talking about concerns for first the rain and the heavy snow behind that will be all the trouble with the wind -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: A one, two, three punch of weather we are looking at right now. Indra, thank you so much. We'll be checking in with you a lot this morning.

So some of the nation's busiest airports, probably not surprisingly when you just heard Indra's forecast could soon become temporary home to thousands of frustrated holiday travelers. Airline officials are preparing for the worst case scenario. Delta and U.S. Airways already waiving change fees for missed flights even before the storm has arrived.

CNN's Rene Marsh continuing our coverage live from Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C. What are you seeing there, Rene?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good morning, Kate. You know, the bottom line for air travel is even if snow is not headed your way, heavy rain and strong winds will definitely stir up trouble for travelers. We did a quick check this morning. There are no major, massive delays and cancellations at this hour but, of course, that could change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH (voice-over): Been there, done that. Dulles Airport revved up these snow plows during the last snowstorm in March. Today, Dulles and airports up and down the east coast are prepared to do the same if it comes to it.

ROB YINGLING, SPOKESMAN, METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON AIRPORTS AUTHORITY: So far, the forecast seems to be pointing towards a nuisance storm from our perspective, one that's not going to result in severe cancellations but more so delays.

MARSH: But still it could be a nightmare for some flyers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see a lot of delays and we see a lot of cancellations with storms like this.

MARSH: Daniel Baker runs the flight tracking web site flightaware.com. He says making matters worse, planes are already full.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The issue they run into is if you cancel one flight, there may not be capacity on later flights to accommodate all of the displaced passengers.

MARSH: Twenty five million people are traveling by air this Thanksgiving holiday, up 1.5 percent from last year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We decided to leave early and keep our fingers crossed. Hopefully, we'll be there and be all right. MARSH: Busiest travel day, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The second busiest, tomorrow, just in time for the storm.

DANIEL BAKER, FLIGHTAWARE.COM: What I always say is have a low expectation when traveling through bad weather on the airlines, particularly around the holidays and you won't be disappointed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH: All right, so don't expect a lot and, therefore, things won't be that bad. So you know the drill, if you're heading to the airport, check your flight and status and get here early -- Chris.

CUOMO: Rene, you know when the CNN red coats come out it's never a good weather situation coming your way. Unfortunately, there is no silver lining here yet first in terms of what we are seeing. So forget about air, let's say you're driving. That's some 39 million people.

You have to be careful there as well. We're already seeing car accidents across the south and Midwest, some of them fatal. Alina Machado is in Atlanta this morning with a look at how the weather is affecting the roads. Alina, what's the deal?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, here in Atlanta and throughout much of the south, we're seeing wet and slick roads. There have been periods of heavy rain. Right now we're getting a bit of a break here in Atlanta, but that doesn't mean this is over. If you head north from here, you'll see icy roads and snow. That means this is going to be a dangerous situation, potentially on the roads for the millions of people who are heading out.

According to AAA, more than 43 million people are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving holiday, about 90 percent of those people will be hitting the roads. These are people who will be getting in their cars and driving to their destination.

AAA is expecting to rescue 320,000 people because of car problems, but because of the storm, they say those numbers, Chris, could be much higher. Again, if you're going to be heading out for this Thanksgiving holiday, make sure you give yourself extra time and just be aware and careful of the situation on the road.

CUOMO: All right, Alina, thank you very much. Let's bounce back to air travel for a second. You can check out CNN's ATL 24. This is from the Air Traffic Control Tower, a bomb sniffing dog. CNN is giving you a behind the scenes look at 24 hours in Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Go to cnn.com/atl24 and see what it's like inside the belly of the beast, so to speak.

BOLDUAN: That is, of course, if you're not living it right now.

CUOMO: That's right. Dealing with all of those vagaries of travel, see it from the airport's perspective, but maybe understand how difficult it is. A lot of news this morning for us so let's get right to Mich - Mich. PEREIRA: All right, good morning, guys. Good morning to you at home. Making news, the Coast Guard and emergency crews are working at this hour to contain an oil spill on the Mississippi River near LeClaire, Iowa. Officials say a tugboat struck an object and sank, spilling some of the nearly 100,000 gallons of oil products on board into the river. All nine crew members got away safely. Some eight miles of the Mississippi have now been closed.

President Obama is defending an interim deal to slow Iran's nuclear program. He says the U.S. cannot close the door on diplomacy, calling the backlash the easy thing to do politically. The deal has been criticized by many in Congress and Israel saying it doesn't go nearly far enough. A team of Israel officials is coming to Washington to discuss the deal.

Four Steubenville, Ohio school employees have been indicted in connection with the rape of a 16-year-old girl last year. They're being investigated for their role in a possible cover-up. Last March, two Steubenville football players were convicted of the rape. Both are serving time in juvenile detention. More details from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine coming up in our next hour of "NEW DAY".

A building contractor in Philadelphia is now facing murder charges for a botched demolition that killed six people. Griffin Campbell is said to be responsible for the June collapse after ignoring a warning for potential disaster. Prosecutors say the motive was greed after accusing Campbell cutting corners during the job while trying to meet a deadline and after he had already been paid a flat fee.

Fire officials will be at Tampa home this morning determining if a sink hole there is about to swallow that home up. Monday night the family living there ran away with only the clothes on their backs when the living room floor starting to buckle. Earlier this month, you'll recall we brought these images to you live, a 09-foot wide sink hole opened up in nearby Denedin, Florida. It seems like these are becoming weekly occurrences in Florida. We're certainly watching them.

BOLDUAN: Scary.

PEREIRA: We'll keep our eye on top of that story, to see if progress is made, any more sinking of the sink hole happens.

PEREIRA: All right, Mich, thank you very much. We'll take a quick break on "NEW DAY".

When we come back, no deal, Afghanistan's president refusing to sign a security agreement with the U.S. threatening all U.S. troops may have to leave by this time next year. Is that a bad thing?

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, a prosecutor's report revealing new information about Sandy Hook school shooter Adam Lanza. What the report tells us about Lanza's state of mind and the chilling details about what police found on his computer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BOLDUAN: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". The White House may invoke what's called the zero option in Afghanistan. A complete pull out of all troops if Afghan President Hamid Karzai doesn't signed an already agreed upon security pact, a long-term security agreement they've been working quite a long time on.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is live with more details. What are you learning, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. You know, Hamid Karzai has a long history of drama with the U.S. It looks like this time he's going all in. Karzai telling the national security adviser, Susan Rice, in Kabul that he will not sign this agreement to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

He's setting two conditions, new conditions right now. One is the release of all Afghan detainees from Guantanamo Bay. One of the other conditions he's setting is no more, no U.S. entry, no U.S. raids into Afghan homes. This is something that, of course, is a contentious issue.

The U.S. contends that most raids are now led by Afghan forces. They will only do it when it's absolutely necessary. Rice for her part telling Karzai, sign the agreement or the U.S. will pack up all of those troops and not leave them there to help after 2014 - Kate.

BOLDUAN: So Barbara, was waiting on the Council of Elders in Afghanistan to sign off on this, holding this up for a second. Why now is Karzai playing hardball after they've signed off on it?

STARR: Yes, you know, I think it's -- most people will tell you it's politics Afghan style. There is a presidential election coming in April. He cannot run again, but he's still very influential and a lot of people feel he's trying to shore up his supporters with his anti- U.S. credentials if you will, prior to that April election. The issue of U.S. raids into Afghan homes, though, make no mistake. This is something that is very contentious that many Afghans very bitterly object to.

So you know, if this doesn't get resolved, the U.S. position is, fine, they won't leave U.S. troops there after 2014 to help and that the next Afghan president will be left on his own to deal with the security situation -- Kate, Chris.

BOLDUAN: All right. Barbara, thank you so much.

Our troop levels in Afghanistan not something we play in politics, there or here. Thank you very much.

CUOMO: Well said.

A disturbing look inside the mind of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza. That's what many will be looking for in a report from Connecticut officials released Monday. Here's one conclusion, the man who killed 20 first graders and six educators was obsessed with mass killings.

CNN's Susan Candiotti joins us now.

You've gone through the report. There will be frustration when people go to this document looking for answers about why this happened. Fair point?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, but they sure won't fine out why this happened. Chris, this report provides an even more complicated picture of the reclusive 21-year-old Adam Lanza, who despite leaving with his mother only communicated with her by e- mail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Dozens of photos released, including a shattered glass window blasted through to get inside Sandy Hook Elementary. The Bushmaster rifle used to fire 154 rounds, three more untouched fully loaded magazines found on his body, the Glock handgun he used to kill himself after targeting 20 first graders and six adults in less than 11 minutes.

Also for the first time, an inside look at the handsome home he shared with his mother, who legally bought all those guns.

DR. JEFF GARDERE, ASSISTANT PROF., TOURO COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: She may have thought this is a way to control him or get through to him, because she seemed to have a fascination with guns and shooting herself. So, a way for them to connect but absolutely the wrong way to do it.

CANDIOTTI: And this, another rifle he used to shoot his own mother in her bed. The state's attorney report writes that Lanza sought mental health professionals, adding they did not see anything that predicted his future behavior. The report says Lanza had Asperger's and was plagued with obsessions. His food had to be a certain way on his plate. He changed his clothes several times a day.

There was evidence of odd behavior in more photos. His bedroom windows blocked out with garbage bags, no one allowed in, not even his mom.

HARRY HOUK, RETIRED NYPD OFFICER: There's plenty of evidence inside there indicating he might have been thinking about doing a mass shooting and that's a problem.

CANDIOTTI: The report says he played lots of violent computer and video games, including "Left for Dead", "Grand Theft Auto" and "Call of Duty". And this floor pad in his bedroom, along with a video, showing a surprising fixation with "Dance, Dance Revolution", a game he played up to 10 hours a day. He apparently tried to destroy his computer hard drive but authorities did find a spreadsheet of mass murders.

The one thing this report did not find: a motive.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CANDIOTTI: And this is not the last we are hearing about this investigation. In fact, coming up soon, Chris and Kate, we're expecting a full report from the Connecticut state police. And it's said to be thousands of pages long, filled with all kinds of evidence collected at the scene and presumably also into the background of Adam Lanza and his mother and the family.

Because really the whole point of this is to try to figure out how can we prevent this kind of thing from happening again? Were there warning signs along the way? Why didn't someone pick up on -- why wasn't something done to prevent this?

And I'm not sure that we have that picture yet. I don't think we do.

BOLDUAN: Sure doesn't seem like it.

CUOMO: The suggestion is already very strong that everything you just showed in the piece was proof that this kid was very troubled. Needed monitoring, how much? We know there was some treatment. We know he wasn't on medication. Was he supposed to be?

It's easy to point fingers at the parenting. One of story lines that keeps coming up is how powerless families are to control someone who's out of control once they reach the age of majority. And I think one of the things that will hurt most for people like you, Susan and us, who covered so many of these, he collected the shootings that we've covered before.

I've been at Northern Illinois University.

CANDIOTTI: That's right.

CUOMO: I was at the Amish shooting. And the fact that it keeps repeating with the same gaps in mental health.

CANDIOTTI: And we have to get rid of the sense of shame that people have in trying to create a way to help people even if they don't necessarily want it. That's the way it used to be. There's got to be a better way than what we have now.

BOLDUAN: Sure does. Susan, thank you so much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: One month of Obamacare heat fueling what could be a big turnaround in the 2014 battle for Congress. We're going to bring you that new CNN poll showing Democrats may have quite a bit to be worried about.

CUOMO: And the big story is too big, unfortunately. A big winter storm threatening to mess up travel plans for millions of us. So, you need to have a backup plan. We'll help you get where you need to go if we can. Stay with us for new info.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Welcome back to "NEW DAY".

Time now for our political gut check of the morning. It seems the tables have turned once again in Washington.

Take a look at this new CNN poll out this morning showing that, as you can see, things have flipped. More Americans, more voters now say they would choose Republicans over Democrats for a candidate for Congress -- a reversal from just a month ago when animosity was directed towards Republicans over the government shutdown.

CNN chief national correspondent John King is here with the very latest. Talk about whiplash, John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, in many ways, this is just getting back to normal. And that if you look at history, the six-year itch election, a president in the second term, the other party historically does very well.

But remember, we were talking about this. Right after the shutdown, Democrats suddenly got optimistic, the public had turned on Republicans, was blaming Republicans in Congress much more than Democrats. And you this little glimmers of hope among Democrats, can Nancy Pelosi be speaker? Can we actually expand instead of losing some seats in our Senate majority?

Well, forget about that on this morning. Here's why it matters. Number one, it could affect fund-raising and candidate recruitment. But more importantly, that number could intensify, called it jitters, other would call it panic among Democrats over the Obamacare rollout. That is the single biggest factor in this big turnaround in just one month.

So, suddenly, Republicans have a slight edge; Democrats are on a slide. Kate, you know this from walking the halls of Congress, the members up there studied the polls. They were already nervous. This is going to cause a lot of trouble for the Democratic White House.

BOLDUAN: And when you look -- you know this better than anybody. When you look at the breakdown of these shifts, am I wrong in saying it's not all bad news for Democrats? Because you're still seeing Democrats having support among, I guess what we can call their more typical constituencies?

KING: Yes, this is actually a reset to normal political circumstances. It's not like the Democrats are losing their base. If you look at the poll, for example, Democrats are doing just fine, they've actually strengthened their hand a little bit among their traditional constituencies, like lower income voters, like nonwhite voters and the Republicans have strengthened their hand among more affluent voters in the rural area.

So, essentially, things are going back to what we would say is, quote- unquote, "normal" if you study most elections. But here's the problem for Democrats. If you have a normal election climate next year in 2014, a normal election climate in 2014 tells you Republicans will gain. How big will they gain? Long way between now and November 2014.

But the idea that the Democrats suddenly had optimism, the air is now out of that balloon. So, it affects them when they plan for 2014. It could affect them for candidate recruitment.

But in the short term, next week, remember that Obamacare website is supposed to be -- oh, if not perfect, as close to they can get it in the week. If it's not, the Democrats mindful of these numbers are going to turn on this White House and turned on it more violently than we've seen in recent days.

CUOMO: Well, when you tie yourself so much to polls, you make yourselves vulnerable to tests in politics. So, there's another test. This was a test.

Obamacare was a test. Democrats failed. Shutdown was a test, Republicans failed.

Now the next test, Iran. I don't think it's as high on people's radars as these other incidents for obvious reasons. However, what we're hearing from Lindsey Graham is we may sanction here Iran in Congress. That's going to create a very interesting political situation I want your take on, John.

If president comes up with sanctions and the president decides to follow his own deal, he may have to veto those sanctions. What does that mean if the American president is vetoing sanctions against his own Congress to help Iran?

KING: A tough climate for the president here at home on this issue, in part because of the -- even what the president says is justified skepticism about Iran and its intentions.

So you talk about Lindsey Graham, and a Republican, obviously the Republican House will criticize the president. They don't it the necessarily matter because the Senate has more sway when it comes to foreign policy matters.

So watch these two guys and they're Democrats. Robert Menendez, the Democratic senator from New Jersey -- he's the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee -- Chuck Schumer, very influential member of the Democratic leadership in the Senate, Democrat from New York.

The president needs to first convince fellow Democrats in both Menendez and Schumer, have said they see this deal as disproportionately favoring Iran. If he can quietly unease among Democrats, then the Republicans don't have the votes.

But, again, heading into the election year, a lot of fund-raising at play here, and legitimate skepticism about Iran. The president has what he believes is a diplomatic coup with Iran. Now he has to work the diplomacy on Capitol Hill.

BOLDUAN: He could use a diplomatic coup on Capitol Hill, I guess.

With all of this going on, the president is also trying to refocus attention to immigration reform, something that's completely fallen off the radar because we know nothing will happen in this Congress until the New Year at least. Though in San Francisco, he didn't get that far in trying to do the refocusing. Take a listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- strengthen our families and most importantly, we will live -- most importantly, we will live up -- most importantly, we --

PROTESTER: Mr. Obama, families are separated for Thanksgiving. I need your help. There are thousands of undocumented immigrants who are torn apart every single day.

OBAMA: That's exactly what we're talking about here. That's why we're here.

PROTESTER: Mr. President, please use your executive order to halt the petitions for all. You have a power to stop deportations for all.

OBAMA: Actually I don't. That's why we're here.

PROTESTER: I need your help.

OBAMA: OK.

PROTESTERS: Stop deportation! Stop deportation!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: I guess we have to say it's not entirely unusual for hecklers to be in the audience but it is unusual for the hecklers to be in the invited section standing behind the president.

KING: And remember, this has been a deep undercurrent, even as the president has been pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, he's, quote-unquote, "on the side" of guys like that in the audience, this administration has had relatively high -- higher than Bush administration when it comes to deportation. So that has caused a lot of tension in the community.

Look, you ran for president twice, you learn how to deal with hecklers. But to see them that close like that, that is an interesting dynamic for the president to handle that moment well but it does remind you about tensions in the immigrant community, about his own deportation policies.

CUOMO: It also gives you nice perspective on difference between heckling online and offline. That was certainly far more civil than when the president and everybody involved in the process is dealing with in social media. But it was an interesting give and take there on one level, John. I'd like your take on this.

"Use your executive order," says the man in the crowd.

KING: Right.