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Senate Pulls All-Nighter; Teenage Drunk Driver Spared Jail; RG3 Benched; The End Of Mail?

Aired December 12, 2013 - 06:30   ET


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But look, this is proof. This budget is most likely to pass.

And as Chris notes, it is proof, at least a down payment there can be old-fashion compromise in Washington. Most people, not all, but most people think that's a good thing.

The Senate staying all night is proof there's a lot of bad blood in the water. The Republicans are mad the Democrats changed the rules. Harry Reid calls this the all-night temper tantrum by the Republicans. But you can be sure if the tables were turned, they have been turned on him in the past, he would find any, you know, maneuver he could to take it out.

Look, this budget deal does not create kumbaya in Washington. It is a step forward. You're still going to see this play out. I would remind you of this. The Republican leader Mitch McConnell who is orchestrating this tactic has a Tea Party challenge back home.

He thinks every day, how can I prove to the folks back home that I'm fighting the Democrats? And this is one example of it.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I'll take it. If they're going to show vengeance for breaking the 60-vote rule, I can understand why they're upset, they're saying we're going to force you to work more, I'll take that vengeance any day of the week as an American citizen. I'll tell you, it's much better than the alternative we've seen. No?

KING: Stay up all night. You've got to write a speech. Maybe you come up with a better argument, or maybe you lose the argument. We'll see.

CUOMO: Look, at least they're working. You know, one way of --

KING: They're earning their pay.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, John. Great to see you.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's get the headlines where there is no argument about the cold. We can all agree we need to bundle up. Arctic air is blanketing much of the country, giving us an early taste of winter. Temperatures in many areas hovering 20 degrees below averages.

And for those of you along the East Coast, your weekend plans could be in jeopardy. Snow is on the way, up to two feet in parts of the Northeast.

The pilots of an Asiana jet that crashed in San Francisco this summer, they were deeply confused about the plane's automated system. That according to investigators that testified Wednesday. That accident left three people dead, nearly 200 injured. The NTSB released new video showing the plane tumbling down the runway after hitting the sea wall.

Funeral services will be held today for the Texas college student shot and killed by campus police officer. Authorities say 23-year-old Cameron Redus was fighting with the officer after a traffic stop, even took the officer's baton and hit him with it. The family doubts the official's story. That officer is on paid leave during the investigation.

NASA engineers dealing with quite an urgent situation. They're trying to figure out what caused one of the International Space Stations two cooling systems to shut down. NASA all life support and critical systems are protected and are working normally. So, the crew isn't in any danger. NASA also says none of the experiments being conducted on board were affected.

Check out what is left of a woman's car in Houston. Bridget Butler survived this freak accident when a utility pole snapped in half and crashed right through her windshield, just missing her by inches. Firefighters made butler stay in her car until energy crews were able to get there and turn off the power. You have to look at that. It's a shish kebab through the middle of the vehicle.

BOLDUAN: That's inches.

PEREIRA: Inches, yes. Her life was spared.

CUOMO: For me, it's never about why it happens but what the person makes of way that happened. A million reasons why it missed you.

PEREIRA: Now what do you do.

CUOMO: That's right. She lives another day.

PEREIRA: She does.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a story you're not going to want to miss. Here's why. A teenager gets probation after a fatal drunk driving wreck. Is this an example of different justice for the rich and the poor?

We'll lay it out for you. And then, you can decide.

BOLDUAN: And what would the world be like without mail delivery? It may seem far fetched. But one country is soon going to find out. Will we see the same here in the U.S.? Stay with us.


BOLDUAN: Let's go around the world now starting in Ukraine. Thousands of protesters still camped out in the capital city, demonstrating against the president's refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union.

Diana Magnay has more from Kiev.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, protesters here in Kiev's Independence Square have rebuilt their barricades after police tore them down. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, they used everything they can get their hands on, including snow and ice to make their blockades strong.

The Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says that he's prepared to sit down at a roundtable to discuss a solution to this problem and he won't use force against peaceful gatherings. The opposition says they won't talk until their demands are met. As one of them told me, you can't fit a roundtable into a square prison cell -- Kate.


BOLDUAN: Diana, thank you so much.

And it is a winter wonderland in Jerusalem. The city is experiencing some of the heaviest snowfall it's seen in decades.

Karl Penhaul is in the thick of it.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is what Jerusalem woke up to this morning, driving snow and freezing temperatures. This really is quite unusual in the city, the last time there was a significant dump of snow in the month of December was all the way back in 1953.

Now, weathermen say there's an icy blast coming down from the North Pole that could last to the weekend. School classes have been suspended for many. Time now for a little bit of fun.

Back to you, Kate.



CUOMO: Took one right in the dome. He's got a nice shaped head, too.

BOLDUAN: He does have a nice shaped head. He does need to put a hat on. CUOMO: I know, right?

BOLDUAN: It was a good throw.

CUOMO: Slow on the delivery. A snow ball fight you can't be slow with that.

BOLDUAN: Don't mess with Karl Penhaul.

CUOMO: You'll see, when we have a snowball fight here, you'll see.

All right. This is a moment. You'll want to take a second and listen to this. This is a story everyone will have an opinion about. Here's the situation. A teenager kills four people in a drunk driving crash. There's no question about that. The sentence, however: probation and treatment.

Even more controversial, the reason why. The defense says it's not just that the defendant was 16 years old, but that Ethan Couch's wealthy parents spoiled him to the point he didn't know how to be responsible and the judge agreed.

Alina Machado is at the CNN center following this for us.

Good morning, Alina.


The 16-year-old's defense was that he was a product of affluenza, that he lived a life of privilege and never learned that bad behavior had real consequences. Now, some are saying the judge is denying justice to the victim families by letting the teen stay out of prison.


MACHADO (voice-over): There is growing outrage following the lenient sentence handed down to a wealthy teen involved in a deadly car wreck. Ethan Couch admitted to drinking alcohol the night his speeding truck caused a chain reaction crash that killed four people and severely injured two others in Tarrant County, Texas. His sentence, 10 years of probation, not the 20 years of prison prosecutors asked for. The victim's loved ones were stunned.

MARLA MITCHELL, DAUGHTER WAS KILLED: He'll be feeling the hand of God, definitely. He may think he's gotten away of something but he hasn't gotten away with anything.

ERIC BOYLES, WIFE AND DAUGHTER KILLED: The wounds that it opened, only makes the healing process that much greater, and much more difficult.

MACHADO: Eric Boyles lost his wife and daughter in June.

BOYLES: We had over 180 years of life taken, future life, not 180 years lived but 180 years of future life taken and two of those were my wife and daughter. MACHADO: Holly and Shelby Boyles were helping Breanna Mitchell, a 24- year-old who had a flat tire. Ryan Jennings also stopped to help when Couch's vehicle slammed into them. All four were killed.

OPERATOR: Sir, how many people are injured, do you know?

CALLER: One, two, three. Multiple.

OPERATOR: Multiple?

CALLER: I don't know how many.

MACHADO: Three hours after the crash, couch's blood alcohol level was 0.24, three times the legal limit in Texas. A psychologist testifying for the defense reportedly called couch a product of, quote, "affluenza," said he was brought up to spend money instead of saying sorry. And sometimes you don't get your way.

The judge opted for probation and therapy over prison time.

SCOTT BROWN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Taking him away from his family and teaching him to be a responsible citizen, that's a consequence.

MACHADO: For the families of the victim, that's simply not enough.

BOYLES: Money always seems to keep Ethan out of trouble. This was one time I did ask the court that -- for justice and that for money not to prevail. And ultimately today, I felt like money did prevail.


MACHADO: Now, the families of Couch's victims have filed civil lawsuits against the teen and his family. One of those victims is a teen who was riding with Couch and who is now paralyzed because of the crash -- Kate.


Alina, thank you so much for that. That is tough to watch.

CUOMO: Right? What's your gut on it?

BOLDUAN: My gut is I don't think affluenza has anything to do with the decision to get behind the wheel when you've been drinking.

CUOMO: Mick?

PEREIRA: Am I allowed to say the word -- there's one word I can't even say on TV. I find it interesting because I think if the tables were turned they wouldn't do the same thing. Isn't the goal of punishment to make someone pay the consequence of their behavior? Then we've failed, the justice system has failed.

CUOMO: It's a complicated question. I think we'll have to look carefully at why the judge said what he said. And we're going to bring in Sunny Hostin to do that. So we'll have some legal analysis for it. But this one where everybody is going to have a take.

PEREIRA: I'm curious to what Sunny will have to say.

CUOMO: I think it's more complicated than it seems on the outside. So, we'll go through it.

BOLDUAN: As it usually is.

PEREIRA: Always.

BOLDUAN: All right. Let's head outside now. Let's get back out to Indra with the chilly temperatures, as you're walking up this morning.

Good morning, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We have a bite out here, Kate. It feels like 14 degrees right now. I know I am not alone. Take a look at the entire country. We're talking about a good two-thirds of the country right now, below freezing.

Now, let's factor in the wind chill. You're talking about it feeling like zero, even in places like Santa Fe. Try Chicago this morning, you are below zero, the negative teens. This is what we'll be dealing with. Let's talk about the change. We see lake-effect snow. I want to tell you this is dangerous. Negative 20 to 25 degrees below normal. That's a danger this morning.

It's anywhere like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois today, we are going to be looking for today lake-effect snow I mentioned, one to two feet off Lake Ontario, possibly about a foot off of Erie. But we all know there is another system out there, this guy will be diving south from Montana, making its way into the Central Plains as we go in through later today. It looks like, by tomorrow, if you're in for Missouri and Kansas, you're going to be talking about a wintry mix.

But as you go towards the weekend, this is we are in store for this again. The Northeast back down through the Northwest, looking for snow, even the wintry mix, from New England, back through West Virginia. So yes, guys, this chill will be lasting for some time with dangerous arctic temperatures, a good 20 degrees below normal here to say.

BOLDUAN: The talk of lake-effect snow makes me home sick for northern Indiana.

PETERSONS: Yes, I think you're alone on that one.

BOLDUAN: Now we're back to disagreeing. Short lived.

Thanks, Indra.


CUOMO: I like the stars over Indra's head. I haven't decided if it's a celestial or angelic thing. They look like antlers. I don't know.

PETERSONS: That look good? You like that?

BOLDUAN: Don't take it, Indra. Don't take it.


CUOMO: She's outside, so I feel safe.

Coming up on NEW DAY, Canada's door-to-door mail delivery seems to be going the way of the do-do. Is that a really bad thing, though? We're going to go through this decision and what it could mean for mail service here in the U.S.

PEREIRA: And another story from our Canadian bureau. Maybe Elvis has not gone after all. We found a teenager whose voice is a dead ringer for the king. It's our must listen to and see moment.


CUOMO: All right. Welcome back to NEW DAY. This is big NFL news. Redskins head coach, Mike Shanahan, is benching his franchise quarterback, RG3, for the rest of the season just so that he'll be healthy for the off season or at least that's the spin right now. So let's bring in Andy Scholes for this morning's "Bleacher Report." Andy, what's the deal here?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: You know, this didn't go over very well with RG3. You know, he tore his ACL at the end of last season, but he says he still wants to keep playing and play out the rest of the season, but he's got no choice but to do what Mike Shanahan said. Now, it was reported earlier this week that Shanahan nearly quit last season, because of owner, Dan Snyder's close relationship with RG3.

That has some people questioning Shanahan's motive for benching his franchise quarterback. Some think he's doing it to actually get fired. Shanahan shot down that yesterday saying he actually got Snyder's blessing before he made the move to bench RG3.

All right. We're about to see a monumental change in Major League Baseball. The league is planning to eliminate home plate collisions possibly as next soon. The new rules being discussed include banning catchers from blocking the plate and not allowing runners to target catchers. Both the owners and players will have to approve the proposed changes.

Trending on today, Alabama kicker, Cade Foster, had a pretty bad couple of weeks after missing three field goals against Auburn. So to cheer him up, President George W. Bush sent him a handwritten letter. Check it out. It read, "Dear Cade, number 43, life has its own setbacks, I know. However, you will be a stronger human with time. I wish you all the best. Sincerely, another 43, George Bush."


SCHOLES: What a cool deal (ph), guys. You know, poor Foster, he was getting death threats on Twitter after missing all those field goals. And for President Bush to take the time to send him a letter like that is just such a cool deal.

BOLDUAN: The poor kid. It's not like he wanted to miss those -- it's very nice for the president to do that.

CUOMO: That is really, really nice.

PEREIRA: Really cool.

CUOMO: That is good. I love that. I don't like anything else Andy Scholes said. I don't like the RG3 thing. I don't like the way it smells. I don't like the home plate collision --

BOLDUAN: I've got question about the home plate collision thing, but I know they're not going to give us time to talk about it, Andy. So, I will e-mail you after the show.

PEREIRA: Ooh, a little inside Bleacher Report right there. I like that.

CUOMO: I will read those e-mails.


PEREIRA: Why don't you mail him a letter? Great segue. Snail mail may be rare these days, but are we ready to give it up entirely? Canada may very well be. Wednesday, the country's postal service call Canada post, said it will phase out home mail delivery in urban centers within the next five years. So, is America next? CNN chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, is here with that. So, I'm guessing this comes down to a question of dollars and cents or looneys and tooneys, if you will.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Cold, hard cash. You're absolutely right. They've been losing so much money. It is so expensive to deliver from the post office to someone's door step. And right now, about a third of Canadians get their mail door-to-door simply too expensive. This would be converting it to community mailboxes.

PEREIRA: Oh, like the big units that you see on the block, at the end of the block.

ROMANS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

PEREIRA: And that's enough to save money.

ROMANS: And that's enough to save a whole lot of money, but the problem here is exactly what we're facing United States, right? People send e-mails, people use package delivery companies. And you know, these are government entities. The United States Congress has to approve anything the U.S. says --


ROMANS: We've got -- they're going to cut jobs. They're going to raise postage, you know, stamp prices, and they're going to, in five years, eliminate this door-to-door delivery in urban centers.

BOLDUAN: Is this a model for the U.S.?

ROMANS: I think it could be if you had a Congress here that was, you know, serious about making the fixes. You know, the U.S. Postal Service has been bleeding money and bleeding money. But you know, it's interesting in the U.S. now, we have the U.S. Postal Service teaming up with Amazon, actually teaming up with Amazon to try to do even Sunday delivery.


ROMANS: So, there are some interesting things they're trying to do. But when you -- Chris and I were talking about this earlier. When you think about the model of the postal service as a government service, this is something that kind of defined civilization. When you became a country that was actually you could take care of your citizens, it meant taking a letter right up to your door and handing it to somebody. But do we need that anymore?

CUOMO: As a way of keeping the country connected initially.

ROMANS: Right.

CUOMO: As you had the pioneering movement people were spreading out, the worry was, how do we stay together? And post was fundamental. The question is, is it time for this kind of change? My concern is what happens to those jobs.

ROMANS: Well, should the government be doing Wi-Fi? You know, should it be something like that that is a government initiative not necessarily door-to-door mail? You're right about the jobs, because in this country and I'm sure in Canada, too, these are jobs that built middle-class lifestyles. These are important stepping stones to the middle class and the government has a very, very big role in that.

BOLDUAN: Has there been backlash in Canada over this.

ROMANS: There hasn't been too much backlash yet in part because in rural areas, you're still going to get your delivery and there and in this country, a lot of big new housing developments already have been doing the community mailboxes. They haven't been doing --

BOLDUAN: My sister has that in her --

ROMANS: Right. I mean, my house -- I have an old house built in the 1930s. I get the mail right through my front door slot. But in another development a half town away, it's a new development, and those people have community mailboxes. So already, you're seeing a switch in how --

PEREIRA: The big question will be, will it get the Canada post back on track or is this sort of the beginning of the end for that?

ROMANS: Absolutely.

PEREIRA: Christine Romans, I will head to Canada for Christmas and I will ask the people.


PEREIRA: My parents, a.k.a., the people.

Time now for today's "Must-See Moment." Listeners (ph), this is a whole Canadian block. They did this for me. It's my gift, isn't it? One Canadian radio station believes Elvis Presley is still alive because they can actually hear him.


PEREIRA (voice-over): and they heard him singing over the airwaves. You might disagree (ph) with them after you listen to this. Let's listen to this.




PEREIRA: Oh, yes, that is 16-year-old David Tebo (ph), leaving listeners and the staff astonished at CKOI radio and came back astonished with his spot-on cover of Elvis' "Blue Christmas." The voice, the guitar, flawless -- a 16-year-old embodying --

BOLDUAN (voice-over): We're not going to be talking about this next week that this is a hoax, right? because this is so close to Elvis.


BOLDUAN (on-camera): It's crazy.

PEREIRA (on-camera): I don't know how you can hoax that one.

BOLDUAN: I don't know. It's unbelievable.

CUOMO: Is the voice coming out of his mouth?


PEREIRA: No, I understand what he was saying, but I don't know --

CUOMO: Because I was very anxious and worried about what you were saying. There was a sense of urgency there. I was like, yes, yes. Oh, yes. So, it comes down to whether or not the kid is actually singing or not.

PEREIRA: He needs to be reset --

CUOMO: I got a little jet lag. I go to Africa. It's like Elvis is back, and the government is working. RG3 is out. There's no more home plate. What the heck!

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: What is going on? That was beautiful, though. He even had the hair.

PEREIRA: I know. Sixteen years old.

BOLDUAN: I think we need to take a break now.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, $400 million and climbing, folks. Tomorrow's mega millions drawing is the ultimate stocking stuffer. But what will it really buy you? We'll have a reality check on that, coming up.

CUOMO: Did you get us a ticket?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It went from the big fluffy flakes to the little ones, back to the big ones and then pounding.

CUOMO: Deep freeze. A polar express sweeping through the east this morning. Bone chilling, record-setting cold for literally half the country. And, another storm right behind it. We are live with the latest.

BOLDUAN: New video of the Asiana flight as it crashed in San Francisco. You can see it nearly flip over. And new today, the government starts deciding if cell phone calls should be allowed on planes.

PEREIRA: The infamous sign language interpreter speaking out, defending his qualifications. What does he blame for his signing gibberish? And an expert joins us live to translate what exactly he was saying.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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