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Icy Temperatures Still Here; House Passes Budget Plan; Cell Phones On Planes; Sources: Levinson Worked For CIA; Report On Syria Chemical Attacks; Engine Fire On Air Canada Flight; Details Of "Affluenza" Trial; Stocks Ride 3-Day Losing Streak; Boehner Blasts Tea Party Conservatives

Aired December 13, 2013 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been pretty consistent and pretty constant the entire day.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Monster storm. A thousand mile long stretch of the country is about to get smacked by snow and ice. We will show you how bad it will be where you are.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New details in the case of a teen from a wealthy family let off easy after his attorney said he suffered from affluenza. What he reportedly said moments after the accident that left four people dead.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New this morning. Mark Zuckerberg one-on-one with CNN. Why is he taking on the NSA and the new star-studded award ceremony he's launched to make science sexy?

CUOMO: Your "New Day" starts right now.

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


CUOMO: It being Friday the 13th, I'm making sure my phone is on silent. Good morning, Welcome to "New Day," December 13th, as I said, six o'clock in the east. Friday 13th, but Jason has got nothing on the storm that will stretch 1,000 miles and is set to drop heavy snow. Get ready for travel to be affected this weekend from Missouri to Maine.

Snow totals will vary but a big chunk of New England could end up knee deep in the white stuff. Let's get right to meteorologist, Indra Petersons, tracking the storm. What do we see?

INDRA PETERSONS, METEROLOGIST: I think you've said it all, because what we're talking about is not only cold temperatures, but another storm headed our way. I mean, yes, we're talking about teens this morning, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati but that is the least of their concerns as another storm is headed their way.


PETERSONS (voice-over): It's the third round of wintry weather for the Midwest and northeast this month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been one storm after another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frigid wind chills. They were as low as 31 below in parts of the area last night.

PETERSONS: Another blast of biting cold and lake-effect snow on the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been constant all day.

PETERSONS: Already walloping towns like Hamburg, New York and causing multiple trucks to overturn on this Buffalo, New York, highway. The icy roads even causing a 40-car pileup in Michigan. Take a look at this police dash cam video, a semi hitting a cruiser, another SUV nearly colliding. A developing system will bring a wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet across Mississippi Valley through the east coast.

As it moves into the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region, it will change over to snow. Cities like Pittsburgh, New York and Boston anticipating more snow this weekend.

In Milwaukee, it's so frigid outside. Kids are, believe it or not, running into school to beat the chill. Reporters following their lead.

JONAH KAPLAN, WTMJ REPORTER: Kids about to arrive here, 1 degree outside, wind chill below zero. I don't care if you're 7 or 27, I'm still going to listen to my mother.


PETERSONS: Take a look at the impact from the storm. Looking at advisories, like you mentioned from the northeast all the way back to the Midwest, we are seeing a wintry mix today. Look when it is all said and done what we're expecting, Boston could see as much as a foot of snow. Details coming up in a moment.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Indra, thanks so much. Great to have you inside once again.

PETERSONS: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Of course. So on Capitol Hill, apparently compromise isn't entirely dead in Washington. The bipartisan budget plan sailing through the House, overwhelming support, nearly as many Democrats as Republicans supported it. The Senate could take it up next week. The path to approval there could be a lot tougher.

Let's get straight to CNN's Athena Jones at the White House with the very latest. Good morning, Athena. ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, Kate, bipartisan cooperation, this budget bill getting strong support, as you mention, from both sides of the aisle, which is a pretty big feat in the House of Representatives these days as you know. But not everyone supported the bill. Conservative House Republicans didn't like the fact that it gets rid of $63 billion in spending cuts.

The bill is going to face a much tougher road in the Senate for that same reason. We've already heard from folks like Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire saying they are not going to vote for the bill. The bill's supporters as of last night were still trying to lock in the five Republican votes they need to push it through. That means there's still potentially more drama to be had here in Washington -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, thank you very much, mixed messages in Washington over cell phones on planes. All right, the FCC is saying it will consider lifting its ban on in-flight calls even as the Department of Transportation may move to block them. Why? Well, technical concerns are no longer the main issue. Now it's about passengers rights.

CNN's Rene Marsh is in Washington with much more. Rene, now passengers' rights, is that another way of saying, to make sure you do not kill people on a plane?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes, translation you could put it that way, Chris. Let's back step it just a little bit. Here's what happened. The FCC voted 3-2 to consider ending this ban on in-flight cell use, like voice calls and texting, because they say new technology essentially eliminates the risk of interfering with cell towers on the ground.

That was reason for the decades old ban. That created a stir, mainly from people who hate the idea and I can tell you shortly after that vote we heard from multiple lawmakers saying not if I can do anything about it. At this point, there is both a bill in the House and the Senate aimed at blocking in-flight cell calls -- Chris.

CUOMO: I've decided to be in favor just to be controversial. Let's keep the conversation going. Procedurally this is far from a done deal, right, because there's another federal agency, which, you know, the DOT, the Department of Transportation, which could pre-empt the whole thing and end this conversation. Tell us about that.

MARSH: Right. On the same day that the FCC took steps to allow cell phone calls as well as text messaging on planes, the DOT came forward and said, well, they're going to take steps to block these calls. Secretary Fox actually went on saying that they are now trying to determine if allowing cell phone calls on the plane would be even fair to consumers. So not a done deal at all -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Rene, keep tracking it for us. Thank you very much.

MARSH: Sure. BOLDUAN: A surprise plea in the murder trial of a Montana newlywed accused of pushing her husband of eight days off a cliff. Jordan Graham shocked the courtroom by pleading guilty to lesser charges. Here's Kyung Lah with the stunning reversal.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jordan Graham, a former bride now inmate with her sentencing only months away. In a last- minute deal, Graham pleaded guilty to second degree murder in exchange for dropping a first degree murder charge. She came clean before the federal judge about what really happened the day her husband died at Glacier National Park.

She and the man she married just eight days earlier, Cody Johnson, got into a heated argument. Graham said she told her new husband that she wasn't feeling like a happy newlywed. Facing the cliff, Graham says Johnson grabbed her arm. She said let go. Then she pushed him, one hand on his shoulder one hand on his back, face first off the cliff.

I wasn't thinking of where we were Graham told the judge. It was a reckless act, I just pushed. Graham said she left her dead husband without telling anyone because I was so scared.

(on camera): This was a young girl who made some poor choices. You still hold that belief?


LAH: The defense says Graham is a young girl who made poor choices in the wake of her wedding. Prosecutors believe Johnson's death was premeditated. Graham plotted to kill her husband because she regretted getting married. In court when Graham uttered the word guilty, her former mother-in-law wept. Her parents remain silent, leaving the courthouse, their daughter in the custody of U.S. marshals.

Officers cuffed Jordan Graham in the courtroom, while Johnson's friends held hands and shook their heads in satisfaction. They left the federal courthouse saying few but powerful words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God will take care of it.

LAH: As will a judge when she's sentenced in March. Kyung Lah, CNN, Missoula, Montana.


PEREIRA: What a story. All right, let's take a look at our headlines now making news. Robert Levinson, the retired FBI agent who went missing in Iran in 2007 was in fact working for the CIA. The Associated Press and "The Washington Post" reporting he was working undercover gathering intelligence. Both the State Department and Levinson's family have long denied that he was working for the U.S. government when he vanished. The AP says it decided to run the story after attempts to bring Levinson home came up empty. Chemical weapons were likely used in five locations in Syria over the past year, according to a new United Nations report, that includes the deadly attack outside Damascus in August, which led to threats of a U.S. strike. Syria has since agreed to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal, a civil war has raged there for more than two years. The inspectors are barred from identifying blame in those attacks.

New this morning, several people were stabbed outside the Denver Broncos stadium after the team's loss to the San Diego Chargers. Police say one of the men is in critical condition, two others are stable. A fourth person, a potential victim, is missing. The "Denver Post" says eyewitnesses reported fights breaking out at the scene Thursday night. Police say they don't know yet what started it.

An Air Canada flight had to make an emergency landing after an engine caught fire. Airline officials say the plane had just left the island city in British Columbia for a short hop over to Vancouver when the crew saw the flames. Passengers reported seeing a bright flash. The pilot returned to the airport a few minutes later. No one was hurt.

Prince Harry says he expects to reach the South Pole today. He and his expedition team which includes injured service men and women are nearing the end of their grueling 200-mile journey. The competitive aspect of the trek was scrapped last week out of safety concerns. The U.S., British, Canada and Aussie adventurers are working together. Admirable and I wish I could there be to watch it all happen. I was imagining this earlier this morning if we went, Indra, you and I, Chris.

CUOMO: If we were all there together, where would we be?

PEREIRA: Not here.

BOLDUAN: In the South Pole.

CUOMO: That's exactly right. Do you know how cold and harsh those conditions are? I know you're from Canada.

PEREIRA: I think it would be fascinating. It would be team building.

CUOMO: Fascinating watching my nose freeze to my mouth? It's hot in the studio today. We're all having cold dreams.

BOLDUAN: I wish you could -- it is like -- it is hot in here.

CUOMO: Santaland, North Pole, South Pole.

PEREIRA: I think it would be a fascinating voyage.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, new details from inside a courtroom where a teenager only received probation for killing four in a drunk driving crash and paralyzing a fifth. What else do we know about his past? We'll look.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, an angry John Boehner not taking it anymore, showing his frustration with conservative groups. Why does he say some of them have lost their credibility?


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We are getting new details about the trial of a Texas teenager who got off with probation after killing four people in a drunk driving crash and paralyzing a fifth. Ethan Couch is his name. Apparently he has a history of being in trouble, including an arrest for alcohol just months before this car wreck.

We're getting a look at notes from the trial showing the teen's so- called "affluenza" that made him think he could get out of anything. We'll hear from the psychologist that coined this term in just a moment. First, AC360's Randi Kaye is going to start out our coverage.


RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New details are emerging from inside the courtroom where 16-year-old Ethan Couch escaped prison time, despite killing four people and severely injuring others in a drunken car crash. His bizarre defense, "affluenza," a lifestyle where wealth brought privilege and there were no consequences for bad behavior.

We got our hands on notes taken during Couch's manslaughter trial. They belonged to the attorney for Eric Boyles who lost his wife and daughter in the crash. According to that attorney, Ethan Couch was caught fleeing on foot, about a quarter mile from the accident scene. He could be heard at the scene, the attorneys' notes say, yelling to one of his passengers, quote, "I'm Ethan Couch, I'll get you out of this."

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: We need some ambulances, it's bad. We flipped and -- God.


UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I was in the truck.

KAYE: The 911 calls capture the chaos after Couch plowed down bystanders on the side of the road.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Listen to me. Is it just one vehicle?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: No. There were four or five. There's another child in the ditch. They're gone!

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Come with me, come here. Come here. Come here. Come here.


UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Come here. I need you to sit here and I need you guys to pray, OK?

KAYE: In addition to four people killed, two of Couch's friends were thrown from the bed of the pickup including Sergio Molina, who is now paralyzed and had been in a coma. His parents we learned are suing Ethan Couch, Couch's parents and the family business, Cleburne Metal Works, which own the Ford F-350 pickup truck Couch was driving.

Sergio Molina's parents are seeking as much as $20 million to care for their son in the future. The complaint points out Couch had a history of arrests, including one where he pleaded no contest to charges of possessing and drinking alcohol. That court date was just three months before the fatal wreck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a reason why we have jails and it's to put people and hold them accountable for their actions.

KAYE: Outrage continues to grow, that with four people dead, all Ethan Couch got for his actions was a slap on the wrist.

Judge Jean Boyd sending him to alcohol rehab and 10 years probation.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Randi.

So, the psychologist who testified for the defense at that trial saying Ethan Couch was a product of affluenza. He spoke to Anderson Cooper last night. Here's what he had to say about that term.


G. DICK MILLER, PSYCHOLOGIST: I do believe, we used to call these people spoiled brats. I wish I hadn't used that term. Everyone seems to have hooked on to it. I think we all suffer from affluenza, not all of us, about 80 percent.

I think my daughter -- I think my daughter and I, when I had enough, I got a little fancy and bought her a car. She didn't want that the car. I found out later that it was something I wanted her to have, so I gave her things.

And I did that too much. I'm not rich. I'm not part of the affluent society, but I think we've all done that, the people who are obese and feed you and offer you food, that's -- you got more food than you need, let's eat it.

I think we all -- we have a culture doing that, Anderson. It's --


BOLDUAN: After seeing that, I'm more confused than I was before I even hearing that sound bite.

CUOMO: Well, the problem with what we're hearing there is not only is it not hard science or even accepted psychological analysis, but it adds --

BOLDUAN: It's not legal theory either. CUOMO: He's a psychologist. It adds to this idea of, that this was illegitimate, that this was wrong, what happened here. And to hear that explanation of whatever our cultural biases are or having too much of the eternal quest for more aside, there are rules, there are perspectives on how you get punished based on your behavior. That's what's making people so crazy. That is not going to help.

BOLDUAN: No, not at all.

More on this story is obviously coming up tonight on "AC360." And also in our next hour, we're going to hear from an attorney who knows the judge and the defense team well, to try to talk more about the defense in this case.

CUOMO: All right. Right now, we're going to take a switch. It's money time. Wall Street has been stuck in a funk lately. What's going on with that? Last week, we had record highs, now three days of losses. What is this? The market can go up and down? I don't understand.


CUOMO: Christine Romans is here.

It was going up. What happened?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I know, well. Now, it could go up a little bit this morning. Dow futures is up. But, you know, stocks slipped to five-week lows recently.

What's the trouble? The central bank juicing the economy with $85 billion a month. We've been telling you about that. But that's going to stop. It can't go on forever. That's expected to stop pretty soon. All that stimulus has helped housing and helped push the Dow up 20 percent this year.

Another sign the economy improving, you guys, Ford is expanding -- Ford is expanding big time. It's hiring 5,000 U.S. workers, rolling out nearly two dozen new cars around the world, building new factories. Ford has not expanded like this since Eisenhower was president -- another good sign about the economy.

But another blow for Lululemon. The stock down 11 percent yesterday. It issued a weak outlook.

What does that mean? It's blaming the economy and, quote, "execution." That is a fancy corporate slang for saying it screwed things up. There were the see-through pants recall and the chairman's comments about the fact that its pants don't work for all bodies. Yes, problem for Lululemon, down 11 percent yesterday.

BOLDUAN: And he's out.

ROMANS: You know, Lululemon has been a quite a sordid tale.

CUOMO: Forget Lululemon. At some point, I can't wait for you to tell me, how it's OK the reason the market is doing well, it's getting juiced by the Fed Reserve. That everybody on Wall Street --


ROMANS: I made no judgment calls, Mr. Cuomo. I made no judgment calls --

CUOMO: Fair and square. You know, free marketplace. But, meanwhile, the government is just dumping billions to support the stock trade.

ROMANS: The Fed says it's doing it to support unemployment. They want to whittle down unemployment. The number one stated goal of the Fed right here has been to keep -- help the economy so people can get to work.

CUOMO: Other than Ford, what's happening more? Companies building equity in their stock price or hiring and expanding?

ROMANS: They're building equity in their stock price.

CUOMO: Thank you very much, Christine Romans. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.


CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, the unsettling news -- you could have supported me on that by the way.

BOLDUAN: As you noticed, I was sideline which never happens.

CUOMO: We have unsettling news from North Korea. You're going to want to hear about this. Kim Jong-un has his own uncle and trusted adviser executed. That is the news. What does that tell us about the regime and where it's headed? We'll take you through it.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, John Boehner fired up, saying some conservative groups have stepped over the line. The heated comments up next in our political gut check.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Let's get started with our political gut check of the morning.

The budget bill, the compromise, is headed to the Senate next week after pretty easy passage through the House last night. But it's the comments on the sidelines that have a lot of people talking.

Maggie Haberman, senior political reporter for "Politico" joining us now to talk more about this.

I mean, this is, on both count, we don't see very often anymore in the House, 332-94. That's overwhelming passage. Is it going to be as easy in the Senate, do you think?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICO: I think there's going to be some difficulty in the Senate. But I think at the end of the day, it is going to happen. Remember that the way there is -- Republicans can't really stop this anymore. They don't have the majority. I think the Democrats are unhappy with elements of it, but I think Patty Murray is making a convincing case about why they need to go forward.

I don't think they want to be seen as obstructing here.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about the sidelines comments.


BOLDUAN: John Boehner coming out -- I mean, he says some forceful things once in a while but it's not often targeted at his own side. Let's listen to a little bit -- just for the context, this is John Boehner being fed up with outside conservative groups who opposed this deal as well as deals in the past.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: They've lost all credibility. You know, they've pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare and to shut down the government. The day before the government re-opened, one of the people -- one of these groups stood up and said, we never really thought it would work. Are you kidding me?!


BOLDUAN: Got to love a little John Boehner fire.

HABERMAN: Theatrics there.

BOLDUAN: Exactly, a little bit.

But was this a long time coming?

HABERMAN: I think so. I mean, look, I think the John Boehner sort of gained credibility within his caucus during that shutdown. He stood up, he didn't bend and he felt like he was using some of the capital now toward pushing things forward.

You heard from both sides within the actual Congress, not the outside groups, you heard it is time to start pushing forward. We cannot keep having this delay anymore. I think that both sides recognize a stalemate didn't do anyone any good for different reasons.

CUOMO: I feel like this is Christmas come early for me. You know, how do you not love John Boehner standing up and saying, you know, this has to stop, left and right, we have to find ways to do the work of the people.


CUOMO: I know that that will mean there will be waves of hate toward Boehner and social media and all the blogs that make money off of it, but that's what he's supposed to say and do. Nancy Pelosi, you must embrace the suck.

HABERMAN: Quote of the year, maybe.

CUOMO: Look, it's not going to look great on a kid's T-shirt but yes, you are supposed to, because that's compromise. I feel like this should be embraced and supported, that they're doing this deal and going forward.

Now, the idea that what we have to do this deal because it avoids shutdowns for two years, that's bad. That's bad. When that is the motivation, right? What's your take on that, Maggie? When they're even thinking that way like that's an acceptable end in politics. That's the only part of this that's a little suspicious --

HABERMAN: Well, because I think there is a war mentality, right, at this point. You have seen rolling chaos in congress for most of the last year and beyond that. So I do think they are afraid of the shutdown, Republicans certainly afraid of another shutdown, because they did get a lot of the blame for it. They felt like they got rescued by the Obamacare rollout being a debacle and they want to keep the focus on that.

I do think, though, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray have sold this effectively, this is what government looks like when it works. This is what we are here too to do. And I think they are hoping you are going to see more of that.

Neither side is completely happy with this deal. Each side is giving something up.

BOLDUAN: Is it Pollyanna to think this bipartisanship, this breaking point is going to extend into other areas?

HABERMAN: Well, I think what you're seeing, especially with what Boehner is doing, he's trying to break the influence of these outside groups. They've had a huge hold over his caucus for a very long time. He feels like he has a chance to put words behind what they've all been talking about privately, let's start to diminish the influence. He sees the opportunity to do that through actual legislation.

BOLDUAN: And also, the timing is important here as well.

HABERMAN: Yes, yes. The timing is important because you can't have another government shutdown. You're going to start to see the conversation around the debt ceiling lift now. And I think that's where there's a big question mark.

BOLDUAN: That's where they want be focus to be.

HABERMAN: Correct. And so, you know, it's not exactly like this is out of the woods in terms of government chaos but this is an important first step.

CUOMO: I think this is a great moment. In politics you call this a measurable. Take a look here now at how each party reacts to this opportunity. What do they make of it? Do they use it as a chance to put some things on the table or a new angle of attack? You know, this is a place where people can actually see, what are the intentions of each player on each side?

BOLDUAN: But also makes you wonder when you look at the kind of reactions on the Senate side, folks with presidential aspirations. You've got Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz all coming out opposed to the deal, and coming up pretty forcefully opposed to the deal. What do you make of their reaction to it? Is it all looking forward to 2016?

HABERMAN: I think so. I mean, for Cruz, this is very consistent with his brand and who he is. I would be surprised if he did not do this.

Rubio, I'm less surprised, only because Rubio has really struggled since the immigration debate. And I think he's looking for credibility on the right. I would have been surprised if he came out in favor of it. I thought it was very interesting hearing Paul Ryan's pushback.

I think if you were going to start to hear more of that thing publicly, it would be interesting.

CUOMO: I like because it seemed typical on one side. When Ryan came forward he pushed back with the pragmatic progressive idea of it --


BOLDUAN: He said, read the bill. Read the bill.

HABERMAN: Get back to me.

BOLDUAN: And get back to me.

CUOMO: I thought it was nice for that confrontation of politics as usual, just to be negative on something without an alternative hopefully won't sell anymore after what we've been through.

HABERMAN: I think that's -- I think that is what Ryan is hoping. I think that's what Patty Murray is hoping. That is how they'll push this deal forward. The president said he'll sign it. So --

BOLDUAN: All right. A Christmas miracle, everyone!

CUOMO: That's exactly right. Where's Tiny Tim?

BOLDUAN: That's you.

CUOMO: That's me.

HABERMAN: Oh, my. Wow.


BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Maggie.

CUOMO: That's nothing, Maggie. Stick around. Stick around. BOLDUAN: He started it this morning, everybody. It's Friday. Good to see you, Maggie.

HABERMAN: Thanks for having me.

PEREIRA: Talks of a Christmas miracle. We'll need snow for that. Let me give up to bring you up to date on the headlines.

And snow is the topic of discussion. Parts of New England are bracing pore a snowy weekend. A system is making its way from the Midwest. It could leave major northeast cities covered in up to about a foot of snow. Most notably Boston, expect delays at highways and airports. Some of the snow could be washed away as the snow then changes over to rain.