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NEW DAY

Bride's Story Changed; Firefighters' Final Audio; Cowboy's Record-Setting Collapse; Youngest Heisman Trophy Recipient; Google Gets Robotics

Aired December 16, 2013 - 06:30   ET

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


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Torrential rain leading to serious flooding in Gaza. More than 6,000 people had to be evacuated from homes filled with water. That's in some cases, six feet deep. Many of the homes can only be accessed by boat. Dozens more said to have been injured by the flood waters or debris. Nearly 2 million live in Gaza.

Secretary of State John Kerry insisting the U.S. has not abandoned an American in Iran. Bob Levinson has been missing since 2007. He was supposedly in Iran on private business, but a report from the Associated Press and the Washington Post says he was working for the CIA. Kerry says the Levinson issue has been raised at the highest level and the U.S. is trying to verify if he is still alive.

New research on the long-term implications of marijuana use. A study in the journal "Schizophrenia Bulletin" show teens who smoke pot heavily damage their brain structures, which affected their working memory even though they hadn't used pot for at least two years. Researchers say a bad memory, working memory, predicts poor performance at school and in every day life.

Extra reason for one Minnesota family to celebrate this holiday season. Jeff Joseph (ph) was running in a Thanksgiving race when he collapsed. Lucky for him, Bruce Kicker (ph) was right behind him. Kicker happens to be an ICU nurse who performed CPR keeping Joseph alive until an ambulance could get there. The family says if he was any place else in the race, Joseph might not have made it. They call their nurse that saved that man's life with apologies to our Bruce, Bruce Almighty.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Now, that's a deserved Bruce Almighty.

PEREIRA: Ours is, too. He saved people from a burning (inaudible).

BOLDUAN: That's exactly right.

PEREIRA: But that -- I mean, that's true. You know, your fate was changed, if you will, by the fact that somebody was running near you in a race.

BOLDUAN: That's amazing.

PEREIRA: Love that story.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela.

PERERIA: You're welcome.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good stuff, for sure.

So we are hearing more about how a Montana newlywed had her story unwound by police as they investigated her husband's death. He had fallen off a cliff. That was the sole fact. She insisted initially she wasn't to blame. And the police recording showed just how her story changed.

CNN's Stephanie Elam has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JORDAN GRAHAM, PLED GUILTY TO MURDER: So he walked out, made a call or something. I don't know if he made a call. He was in the garage. And I got a text saying he was going and he left.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the story Jordan Linn Graham told Kalispell police in early July to cover her crime, a crime to which she has now pleaded guilty, shoving Cody Johnson, her husband of only eight days off a cliff in Glacier National Park.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on as far as where he might have gone, who he might be with?

GRAHAM: Well, I got a message saying that he was going to go for a ride with some of his out of town buddies who were visiting.

ELAM: In these newly released tapes, Graham stuck to her story two days after Johnson disappeared, but she did give police some leads.

GRAHAM: But he always told me this one thing, when his friends came to visit, he would take them to Glacier Park, um, plains or the Hungry Horse Dam.

ELAM: The next day in an interview with detectives, she stood by her story, but also said she got an e-mail from someone named Tony who told her Cody was dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seems kind of sketchy.

GRAHAM: Yeah.

ELAM: The e-mail was traced back to a computer in Graham's parents' house. She sent it to herself. At one point in the recording, Graham gets comforted by her unwitting mother.

GRAHAM: I just want to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, sweetie. They are just trying to cover all grounds.

ELAM: It wasn't until after Johnson's body was recovered that the FBI interviewed Graham on July 16th, getting her confession.

GRAHAM: He went to grab my arm and my jacket and I said, "No." I said, "I'm not going to let this happen this time. I'm going to defend myself." So I pushed and he went over, and then I took off and went home or got my brother and then went home.

ELAM: Perhaps the biggest indicator of Graham's guilt all along, her own words. According to court documents soon after Johnson's body was found, a park ranger commented it was in an odd place, to which Graham replied, quote, "It was a place he wanted to see before he died."

Stephanie Elam, CNN Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Stephanie, thanks, so much for that.

All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, it was the worst firefighting tragedy in a decade; 19 people killed in an Arizona wildfire. We are now hearing from them in their own words for the first time just before they were trapped.

CUOMO: A little techie insight for you. Google does the robot, buying company famous for making machines that can walk, run and fight. What does a search engine need robots for?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Let's go around the world now starting in South Africa where Nelson Mandela has been laid to rest. Robyn Curnow has more.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, It was in these remote rural hills of the eastern cape that a state funeral was held for Nelson Mandela. In that white tent over my shoulder, more than 4,000 people came and said good-bye to him.

It was a mixture of public and private. In the end, though, it was just a few people, his family and friends who were there at the burial site when he was laid to rest. Now on the 11th day after 10 days of mourning, both the family and South Africa coming to terms with the fact that Nelson Mandela has gone.

Back to you.

BOLDUAN: Robyn, thank you so much.

Now to the Vatican where Pope Francis is speaking out about an allegation coming from the U.S. Ben Wedeman has that.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pope Francis is firing back softly as always at those who accuse him of preaching Marxism in remarks published in the Italian daily "La Stampa", he stressed that caring for the poor has always been church doctrine, and when a young boy took Francis' skullcap off his head Saturday, the pontiff gently retrieved it underscoring perhaps the so-called people's pope still believes in the very non-Marxist concept of private property. Back to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Ben, thank you very much.

And talk about pandemonium in China. New breeding center there lets you get up close and personal with the animals. Ivan Watson paid a visit.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wild life conservation groups say China has succeeded in rescuing the giant panda from extinction. So we traveled to the breeding center in Chengdu to see the newest generation; 14 baby pandas all born there last summer.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON (voice-over): This is the highlight of the visit to this panda breeding center. For a donation, you get to sit next to one of these fuzzy animals, a 15-month-old, Myo Myo (ph), a female who is chowing down on bamboo chutes dipped in honey. And you get to hug her.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

China's panda trainers say their next big challenge is trying to train these captive pandas to be reintroduced Back into the wild. Back to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Ivan, thank you so up many. Cute and cuddly.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

So this morning, we're hearing a riveting final radio transmission from the Yarnell Hill elite firefighters known as the Hotshots. You'll remember 19 of them were killed while battling a massive wildfire last June. Their final moments captured on a helmet camera. The hope is we can learn what may have helped lead to that tragedy. George Howell has that audio.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is the last picture of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a text firefighter Andrew Ashcraft sent his wife before the fire that killed him and 18 other firefighters.

And now, for the first time, we are hearing the final communications from the hot shots to Granite 33, their support group, just moments before fire swept through and left them with no way to escape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking in on Arizona 16. Granite Mountain Hotshots we are in front of the flaming front! (inaudible)

HOWELL: Listen closely to the audio from an unidentified firefighter standing at a safe distance whose helmet camera caught the crew's last radio transmissions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got fire right over here now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bravo 33, operation, you copying that air to ground?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Air to ground16, Granite Mountain, Air Attack, how do you read?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Granite Mountain still in there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they're in the safety zone. The black.

HOWELL: But they weren't in a safe zone. The crew descended down a ridge and found themselves cut off by fire. In the audio, you hear what appears to be miscommunication between the Hotshots and dispatch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Operations Bravo 33.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Air attack, Granite Mountain 7!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This ain't good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he's screaming.

HOWELL: The Hotshot team continues to call for air support, an air tanker to drop fire retardant on their location, but it never comes together. Their only bet now is to deploy their shelters as this fire fighter demonstrates, protective sleeping bag-like shells made with fire resistant material. So now as they make that call --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I'm here with the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Our escape route has been cut off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are preparing a deployment site, and we are burning out around ourselves in a brush and I'll give you a call when we are under the shelters.

HOWELL: In the final few minutes of the audio, the command center informs the Hotshots that an aircraft is on the way, but it ends with the men trying unsuccessfully to reach the Hotshots on the radio, the worst firefighting tragedy since September 11.

George Howell, CNN, Chicago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: All right, George, thanks, for that.

CUOMO: Incredible poise even in those desperate moments.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, seem calm.

CUOMO: And hopefully, they get to understand better about the protocols in those urgent moments, let them coordinate a little bit better. I remember Indra talking about those shelters and how deep they need to be and what they can sustain. Just a horrible thing, but important to learn from it. BOLDUAN: Yeah, let's go back to Indra right now in the weather center to talk about how much snow that we actually faced over the weekend.

INDRA PETERSONS, METEROLOGIST: You mean for me? Enough that I didn't leave the house. As soon as you see that much -- you know I'm a newby here, guys. Four to six inches of snow. We're definitely talking about a lot. That was New York and Boston really.

But higher amounts in Vermont, a good foot-and-a-half is what we saw. And I think by now we know there more is on the way. Now, if you're on the lake, yes, we still have that lake effect snow for another day or so. Good amount here. Eerie could still see another three to five inches. Same thing for Syracuse there. So lots of Lake Ontario. That's kind of just funneling through with some of those winds over the warm lakes.

The rest of us are just dealing with this cool air over for the next several days. And you can see where we should be, into the 40s here in Boston and New York, as well. Instead today, looking for highs just into the 20s. That's not changing for some time.

The other side of this, another system making its way in. Just kind of want to look for these little bulls eyes as they make their way across. So that's the next one, a little tiny clipper is kind of moving across, so more snow expected, especially late overnight tonight in through tomorrow in the northeast or mid-Atlantic. Still looking for another two to four inches higher towards Maine. We could see still another three to five inches of snow. So nothing like what we did see, but nonetheless, more to add to the ground. And it will stay because it is cold.

BOLDUAN: And colder. Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: All right, so come with me along this one. Here's my theory thing. Think about it during the break here. Google seems to know everything about everybody, right? And now it has an army of robots. What's next? Building a death star? Serious question: why would a search engine need machines that can run and fight? We're gonna try and sort it out for you after the break.

BOLDUAN: And a stunner in Texas, all the Cowboys had to do was win this game. They had a massive lead, and then it all fell apart. We're gonna break it down in our Bleacher Report next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. All right. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, he could be so good but he is dogged by digs that he doesn't get it done in the clutch. And last night's epic choke didn't help one bit.

Joe Carter explains how in this "Bleacher Report." Joe, man, oh, man, this was bad last night. Tell us about it.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: It was, Chris. I mean, this was an incredible collapse on the part of the Dallas Cowboys and the part of Tony Romo. I mean, this was the worst loss in the Cowboy's 53-year franchise history.

It looked like Dallas was going to cruise to an easy win. They were up 23 points going into half-time and Tony Romo was playing like the $170 million man that he is. It all looked too easy until the second half and that's when the Dallas defense was in a full meltdown mode.

Tony Romo was in a full meltdown mode. He threw two interceptions -- officially he threw two interceptions in the final three minutes. He did three interceptions but actually one was turned over. And the Packers would shock the Cowboys with a huge comeback win 37-36.

Hey, number three in the lineup section this morning on bleacherreport.com, the Cincinnati Bengals took a beating from the Pittsburgh Steelers and punter Kevin Huber, well, he got the worst of it. Check out this video here. He gets blindsided. And he gets completely leveled on that hit and Huber would suffer a broken jaw as a result of that big hit.

The Steelers would get a must-win over their division rival and remain in playoff contention. But obviously Huber probably going to be drinking this Christmas dinner.

Well, he's the youngest Heisman to ever win the award. Just 19 years old but it was no surprise when Jameis Winston's name was called on Saturday night. The Florida State quarterback won in a landslide by the seventh largest margin ever. But 115 voters left them off their ballots completely most likely because of the sexual assault investigation in which he was never charged.

Now he's only a freshman so he'll be odd-on favorite to obviously win next year, guys. But more big moments await for Jameis Winston. Obviously Florida State and Auburn play for the national championship game in early January, which happens to be Jameis Winston's 20th birthday as well, guys.

BOLDUAN: Wow. A lot going on with him this year. That's for sure.

CUOMO: Yes. I tell you what, boy, when you want to figure out why you have a lot of injuries in sports, you look at the blow that that punter took. That was a helmet right to his face.

BOLDUAN: That -- I had to turn away from that one.

CUOMO: You know? So that's just what that game was about, unfortunately.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

PEREIRA: Absolutely.

All right, let's move onto what were going to call the robot wars. Google may have just taken the lead. Buying a company made famous for its energetic dynamic -- there's a hint -- machine. These devices were built for the military.

What on earth could Google want with them? Christine Romans is here. She's become our robot correspondent.

(LAUGHTER)

What is the -- what's behind the acquisition of Boston Dynamics for Google?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This is the eight robotics company they bought. So you can see that there is a strategy here for Google. And it's so interesting some of the things that they're doing. But you look at Boston Dynamics, and specifically what this company does, buy bipedal robots.

Look, there are a lot of areas in the manufacturing chain in particular where robots can be a really good solution. For example, stocking trucks. Any part of the distribution channel. Assembly, electronics manufacturing assembly, all of these things are ripe for robotics.

PEREIRA: Wow.

ROMANS: If you can get the right kind. And look, these are the people behind the driverless car, right? It was science fiction. As many pointed out, it was science fiction, and now it's closer to reality. That is creepy, isn't it?

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: But it's kind of cool. It's kind of cool stuff. I talked recently to this guy named Andrew McAfee at MIT. He said we are on the verge of the next machinery or the second industrial revolution and its robots.

BOLDUAN: It doesn't at all put into question the work force if robots are taking over everybody's jobs.

ROMANS: Yes. It does. And I said what about, like, fast food workers, for example? Parts of fast food, and Andrew McAfee said, yes, some of that could be robotics or could be something that's more like an electronics assembly line. You know, so there are issues for some kinds of rank-and-file workers. But the technology change overall a lot of people are saying is exciting and will be a big boost to the economy.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Right. You have to remember the assumption. The assumption is it's going to take out jobs now. But part of that assumption is that we're not going to train for new jobs. You know, that's what always gets lost in this debate.

BOLDUAN: Right. We -- right, absolutely.

CUOMO: We have to get educated and train up to do jobs like creating these robots. ROMANS: Sure. And there are some companies doing some really exciting things. And Google is a company that's scouring the planet looking for these companies and start-ups that are doing these. It's a really interesting Google strategy, I think.

PEREIRA: So is it a possibility that much like the drones dropping off my package from Auntie Sue, do you think a robot could be coming knocking at my door with a Google delivery?

ROMANS: I think --

PEREIRA: Or are they thinking more automation of the manufacturer?

ROMANS: I think mostly at this point we're talking about the commercial process, right, but could you see stocking a truck or stocking the shelves by a robot?

BOLDUAN: Right.

ROMANS: Absolutely. Yes.

PEREIRA: Or see that run by you on the freeway.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: This technology, it doesn't seem that far out anymore.

CUOMO: I would like to ride it.

ROMANS: And they're going over a lot of the problems they had in the ''80s.

CUOMO: Fourteen miles an hour.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

ROMANS: Remember in the ''80s, we were concerned about the robots taking over.

CUOMO: Fifteen miles an hour? Sixty miles per hour? How fast does it go? I think I can take it. Let's see how fast it goes.

PEREIRA: You think you can --

CUOMO: Right now but my hamstring may be pulling there right about -- here about that game four or five.

BERMAN: We're talking the future of robotics. Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: My hands freeze.

ROMANS: But can it read teleprompters as well as you? (CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: No robot can do that.

BOLDUAN: Touche.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: There is a humanity involved there, Romans.

PEREIRA: All right. Moving on to our must-see moments. Did you see "Saturday Night Live" taking on the South African sign language interpreter? Wildly ridiculed translation during Nelson Mandela's memorial last week.

CUOMO: This is good.

PEREIRA: Yes, that's Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharaoh playing the interpreter and the president during an (INAUDIBLE). And let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY PHARAOH, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": We're seeing huge improvements in our website. We have had our best people working on it. And while I can't say that I've been entirely thrilled with the results, I'm just relaying that the website has been turned on again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: This is the morning (INAUDIBLE).

PEREIRA: Kenan's --

BOLDUAN: You knew that was coming, though.

CUOMO: And Pharaoh does a great take on the president.

PEREIRA: Yes, absolutely.

CUOMO: His voice is great, except Kenan's face was way too expressive to be like the guy who was actually at the memorial.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: That's one of the tells.

PEREIRA: Yes.

CUOMO: Right?

PEREIRA: Yes. He did not emote. So there you go, a must-see moment for Monday.

CUOMO: That was good. That was good. It was good. All right, coming up on NEW DAY, all it takes is a dollar and a dream, right? How about a dollar for a chance to win half a billion dollars? That's the Mega Million jackpot. Keeps on growing. We're in it. You in it?

PEREIRA: Yes. We rolled over 25 bucks.

CUOMO: We're going to tell you what you need to know. We're at 25 -- we won 25 bucks last time. This time we're looking for $25 million.

BOLDUAN: This guy could probably use the money, too. How much damage did Edward Snowden do when he made off with millions of classified documents? We're going be getting new details this morning and what the NSA might do to stop leaks in the future. Could amnesty be on the table? We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is analogous to a hostage taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10 and then say, if you give me full amnesty I'll let the other 40 go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Amnesty for a traitor? High-ranking officials within the NSA now say they're open to giving Edward Snowden amnesty in exchange for the return of all the secrets he stole. But is it far too late for that?

BOLDUAN: Breaking this morning, the American jailed in the United Arab Emirates in court just hours ago. He'd been held there for eight months for what he says was a joke. Will he finally be set free?

PEREIRA: Supreme sister wives? The stars of the reality show about a polygamist family. Win a major court ruling. Could their case go all the way to the Supreme Court? And could it make their lifestyle legal? Their lawyer joins us live.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Monday, December 16th, 7:00 in the East. And new this hour, amnesty for NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Crazy talk? Well, hold on. The head of a task force looking into the leak told "60 Minutes" that the idea is, quote, worth having a conversation about.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us to explain. What's the deal here, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Chris. This is an extraordinary development in the world of intelligence. Rick Ledgett is the man who runs that task force in the NSA that's been looking for months now at all of the damage that Edward Snowden's leaks have caused.