Return to Transcripts main page


Newlywed Murder Case; Weather Update; Final Words for Firefighters; Rob Reiner's New Role

Aired December 16, 2013 - 08:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I knew he'd be coming back. I said it when we first reported it.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Roll the tape. We don't have the tape, but we're going to re-rack the tape and -

CUOMO: All right, it was you. It was you. It was you.

And while we're correcting the record, I know it's the 16th. My kid's birthday is six days away. It was in the prompter and I read it. Leave it alone.

BOLDUAN: I was just going to let it go.

CUOMO: Save yourself. Save yourself the scrutiny for what comes next.

Here's something that's worth your listening to this morning. We are going to show you the interrogation tapes that reveal this situation. A Montana newlywed. She first told police that her husband had simply disappeared. That she wasn't to blame. But now police recordings show just how her story changed. CNN's Stephanie Elam has more.


JORDAN GRAHAM: 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.

KALISPELL POLICE: What's going on as far as where he might have gone or 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 that 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 is, when his friends came to visit, he would take them to Glacier Park, 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.

DETECTIVE: Seems kind of sketchy.


ELAM: The e-mail was traced back to a computer in Graham's parent's 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're 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.

JORDAN: And he went to grab my arm and my jacket and I said, no, I said, I'm not going to let this happen, so I'm going to defend myself. So I kind of walk off (ph) and 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 to Graham that 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.


BOLDUAN: Thank you, Stephanie, for that.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, it's the last radio transmission before 19 Arizona firefighters were killed, combating one of the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history. What the recording reveals about the Hot Shots' final moments.

CUOMO: OK, are you ready? "This is Spinal Tap," "Princess Bride," "Stand By Me," all thanks to the talents of Rob Reiner, and he's here now being directed by Martin Scorsese in the new movie "The Wolf of Wall Street." He'll join us to tell us about that, what it's like to be in the front of the camera and many other things. Look at him, speechless with delight.


BOLDUAN: But you will be cold.

CUOMO: That's true. I'm still fascinated with this (INAUDIBLE). So young, the New Zealand girl. Fascinating story. BOLDUAN: It's a good song.

CUOMO: Much more fascinating than the weather because it stays the same. It is cold. There is snow.

Indra, you got no variables for us. I'm looking at that map.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Not more than (INAUDIBLE), right? I mean, ouch, she's hurting right now.

CUOMO: You are very, very interesting. If it weren't for you, I don't even know how I could look in that direction.

PETERSONS: It is kind of boring, I'm not going to lie, unless you're actually in this part of the country today where we're seeing still some lake-effect snow. You're actually kind of the few people not getting a break today. So off of the lakes, around Erie, Syracuse, still another three to five inches is expected today. Now, even the Ohio Valley maybe an inch or so. The tiny little piece of leftover energy does move through the area.

You want to see it on the big picture, there you go. A very mild day. It's kind of that transition day between the two. We're looking at, yes, the Ohio Valley. We already showed you. But notice back here, you see a little something. Let's talk about what that is, what we're expecting here. A little clipper is going to kind of make its way through and a low develops off the East Coast.

Now, this is key. It's all about, where does it develop? How close to the coastline? Why does that matter? Well, it depends on how much snow you actually get and who gets that snow.

But right now, here's the thinking. By tomorrow, so overnight into tomorrow morning, in the mid-Atlantic, northeast, you're looking for that snow. And it is expected to kind of pool offshore by Wednesday or so.

As far as the amounts, we're now at the current models, the current positioning of that low. We're talking about maybe one to three inches for New York, also for Boston. If it does form lower, Jersey, you could see that snow for now. You do not have it in the current models. And then up around towards Erie, where the two systems combine, maybe about four to eight inches. So a lot of snow really there off of the lakes.

Otherwise, the cold story. We talked about this. We know it's cold, but everyone's asking, is it going to stay that way? Yes, of course it is, right? That's what I'm here for. You're talking about definitely chilly temperatures well below normal. Twenty-eight degrees, that's what you're getting in New York City today. Buffalo, 17. Can't find any place that looks good. Detroit, 19 degrees. So, yes, the chill is here to stay. More snow on the way. But you guys like this. You're perfect. Voila.

CUOMO: Nobody likes it, but at least you have a rainbowy type color scheme there. PETERSONS: Does that look good? I got a little upside to this?

BOLDUAN: Cold, colder, (INAUDIBLE).

PETERSONS: I wanted you to smile when you looked at it.


PEREIRA: And it's not even winter yet. That's the thing to remember.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it is.


BOLDUAN: Yes, it is.


PEREIRA: Days to go. Days to go.

PETERSONS: She's right, but -

CUOMO: I respect taking it down even another notch.

PEREIRA: Thank you. You appreciate that.

CUOMO: It was that (ph) respectable.

PEREIRA: Thanks.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

All right, you're about to listen to the harrowing final words of the elite firefighters who lost their lives battling an Arizona wildfire this summer. The Granite Mountain Hotshots became trapped when the winds changed and they were forced to hide under their protective shelters. And the investigation shows apparent communication issues between the squad and the command center. CNN's George Howell has this story.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (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're hearing the final communications from the Hot Shots to Granite 33, their support crew, just moments before fire swept through and left them with no way to escape.

GRANITE MOUNTAIN HOTSHOTS (voice-over): Breaking in on Arizona 16, Granite Mountain Hotshots we are in front of the flaming front.

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.

UNSEEN FIREFIGHTER (voice-over): We've got fire right over here now.

OPERATIONS (voice-over): Bravo 33, Operations, you copy that on air to ground?

GRANITE MOUNTAIN HOTSHOTS (voice-over): Air to ground16, Granite Mountain, Air Attack, how do you read?

UNSEEN FIREFIGHTERS (voice-over): Is Granite Mountain still in there?

UNSEEN FIREFIGHTERS (voice-over): 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.

OPERATIONS (voice-over): Operations Bravo 33.

GRANITE MOUNTAIN HOTSHOTS (voice-over): Air attack, Granite Mountain 7.

UNSEEN FIREFIGHTERS (voice-over): This ain't good. 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 firefighter demonstrates, protective sleeping bag like shells made with fire resistant material. Listen now as they make that call.

DIVISION ALPHA (voice-over): Yeah, I'm here with the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Our escape route has been cut off. 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 11th.

George Howell, CNN, Chicago.


CUOMO: And the hope is that by hearing the tapes not only do we remember the poise of these men under such horrible circumstances, but that they'll be able to analyze the situation and figure out how it could be differently - done differently the next time.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right.

CUOMO: I'll take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, we keep teasing Rob Reiner is here. And you know why? Because he's a great get, that's why, and he's in one of the most anticipated films of the year. BOLDUAN: Why?

CUOMO: Because you're great. "The Wolf of Wall Street" is the film. It's the latest feather in the cap of a great director and actor, who's not happy now, but he will be. He's made so many moments for us. You remember this scene? You can thank Reiner for it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You killed my father. Prepare to die.



PEREIRA: We all said the words at home, you said it along, right. Didn't you? The folks on NEW DAY you're watching. You saw that scene.

The man we have to thank for it, Rob Reiner who brought us that hit as well as "When Harry Met Sally" -- you can quote that one, too. "A Few Good Men" and, of course, this is Spinal Tap. This Christmas the famed director is back on the screen starring in Martin Scorsese's new film "The Wolf of Wall Street.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $30,000 in one month, Jordy? Huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The business expense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jordy, look what you got here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this -- $26,000 for one dinner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, this could be explained. Dad, we had clients. We had the Pfizer clients.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. The Porter House from Argentina.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Expensive champagne.

We had to buy champagnes and ordered all the sides. Tell him about the sides you ordered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ordered the sides --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sides, $26,000 worth of sides?. What are these sides, they cure cancer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sides did cure cancer that's the problem, that's why they were expensive. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut up.




And the man, himself -- Mr. Rob Reiner joins us this morning. It is such a delight to see you on the screen and I want to ask, what is the choice for you and how does the choice come to get in front of the camera? Is it Marty Scorsese calling you and saying "Rob I need you?"

ROB REINER, ACTOR: Well, yes. When Martin Scorsese calls, you do.

PEREIRA: That's enough, right?

REINER: You go. You do what he says, absolutely. He's one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. And when he called me and said to me you're going to be Leonardo Dicaprio's father. I said well, maybe I'm a lot more handsome than I think I am. And maybe that's why -- maybe I should do this part. And I'm not as bald as I am.

PEREIRA: You play a father.

REINER: Yes, I do.

PEREIRA: But to a flawed character, something that Marty Scorsese --


PEREIRA: -- is stellar at focusing on.

REINER: Right.

PEREIRA: the challenge of playing father to this stockbroker who bilked millions of people out of millions of dollars -- a bunch of people out of millions of dollars.

REINER: Yes, I know. It's a true story. Everything that happens in the film actually happened to Jordan Belfort and he talks openly about it. And as a father and playing a father it's like watching your kid run into the street and he's about to get hit by a car and you can't pull him out and it's very frustrating.

I tried to rein Leo in, in the film but to no avail. I mean it is excess upon excess. And it really is a morality tale and the epitome of what we saw as a result of deregulated capitalism and financial markets allowed to do whatever they wanted.

BOLDUAN: This is -- and it's a long movie, too.

REINER: Yes, it's a little under three hours, but it works. I mean I was surprised at how funny it is. I mean I knew it was going to be funny but it is really funny, and there's a scene where Leo Dicaprio and Jonah Hill take Quaaludes together that I'd put up with any black comedy I've ever seen in a movie --

BOLDUAN: Really?

REINER: -- it's as funny a physical comedy scene as I've ever seen. When you see Leo Dicaprio try to get in his car. It's -- he's a brilliant physical comedian.

PEREIRA: Dare I tell you --

BOLDUAN: What could you go wrong when you take Quaaludes?

PEREIRA: Dare I tell you -- one of our colleagues told us not a half hour ago off camera this is now her favorite movie of the year. And she's a tough critic.

REINER: It's very entertaining, and what Marty does is he takes -- he makes the character the story. There's not this kind of, you know, he doesn't put together a film with, you know, obvious kind of story and plot points. He invests in the character and that character becomes the story, and it's absolutely brilliant.

CUOMO: Two-part question for you. When you're acting --

REINER: -- Ooh an essay question.

CUOMO: -- are you also going to school as a director watching the choices Marty makes versus what you would do. And secondly, is this the movie for Leo? Everyone's saying he's great in it. We hear that a lot about him. Do you believe this is the movie that may get him the winner title when it comes to the big award?

REINER: I never know about awards. I never know who gets awards. There are so many good actors out there. I think what they should do -- they say it's an Oscar race, right? I think they should just announce the nominees and literally have them run.

CUOMO: Like a cannonball run.

REINER: Run up to the thing -- whoever gets it gets the Oscar.

CUOMO: Do you go to school on watching the directorial decisions that are made?

REINER: Well, you do. I mean, you know, as a director you don't get to see other directors, you know. You're on your own set. So when I get an opportunity to be on a set with Martin Scorsese who like I said is one of the great directors of all-time, you observe, you watch how he works. And what he does -- he does the one thing that all directors love to do which is create an atmosphere that allows you to play, that allows you to -- it brings your best out in the scene. And then I watch how gutty he is, and how daring. He goes right out on the edge, and I am not as, I would say, gutsy as he is.

CUOMO: What?

PEREIRA: What? CUOMO: You introduce rats of unusual size to American culture?

REINER: No, no. Rodents of unusual size.

BOLDUAN: We must ask you about "The Princess Bride".


BOLDUAN: It is all of our favorite movie. It's actually, we would argue, why (inaudible) together.

REINER: Really.

BOLDUAN: There's a great story about that because we just started quoting it together --


BOLDUAN: -- during our screen test. Did you know "The Princess Bride" was going to be such a success?

REINER: No. No. You never know. When the picture came out, nobody knew how to market it. We didn't have a trailer. We didn't have a one sheet. We just basically went out there and people over the years have found it, you know, which is wonderful.

BOLDUAN: And they continue to do so.

REINER: Yes. And I love the fact that parents who were little kids when they first saw it are now grown up and showing it to their kids. It's a great pic.

PEREIRA: Why not watch it with the kids? "Spinal Tap" -- another one that -- did you know it was going to be what it was, this cult classic? Cult favorite?

REINER: No. No. When we first made "Spinal Tap" we previewed it in Dallas and people came up to me and said I don't understand, why would you make a movie about a band that nobody's ever heard of and one that's so bad?

BOLDUAN: Why not?

REINER: Do something about the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. No, we never knew and again over time it has gained its --

BOLDUAN: Reunion? Reunion?

REINER: Reunion, you never know, but I love this, you know, Elon Musk invented the Tesla, which is an, you know, no emissions car, and the volume in the Tesla goes up to 11, which I love, you know, you love the pictures. He actually put it in the car.

PEREIRA: You know what? We could talk to Carl -- I almost called you your dad.


PEREIRA: It would be such an honor. Say hi to your dad.

REINER: When I was eight years old I wanted to change my name to Carl, yes.

CUOMO: Me, too.

PEREIRA: What a bad house to grow up in.

BOLDUAN: We could do that.

PEREIRA: Rob Reiner on screen in "The Wolf of Wall Street" in theaters Christmas day. We could sit here and talk to you the rest of the show. But we must carry on --

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

REINER: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: What an honor.

PEREIRA: Good to have you with us.

CUOMO: Best for the holidays to you and your family.

REINER: You, too.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, 80 families, some 20,000 in layaway bills and one modern day Santa at the middle of all of it. See what he did to become part of "The Good Stuff" straight ahead.


CUOMO: You're going to love today's "Good Stuff" but first let's take it to the couch. That's where we like to do "The Good Stuff" and in the commercial that you'll see --


CUOMO: We had a lot of fun doing that. We can tell you -- Wolf and Cooper, so great with their deadpan.

BOLDUAN: Wolf is good at deadpan.

CUOMO: I had to do like a million takes and my story is actually true. A guy actually did have this very painful relationship with Ron Burgundy.

PEREIRA: A tender time in your life.


CUOMO: We'll leave it alone now.

Time for "The Good Stuff" in today's edition, 80 Florida families will have a happier holiday thanks to one man.


DEB DAVIS, WAL-MART: He was running (inaudible) I can't believe they didn't melt. He was running them so fast.


CUOMO: That's Wal-Mart assistant manager Deb Davis, she was amazed when a man came up to the counter, started paying off layaways and wouldn't stop. By the time he was done, he'd wracked up $20,000 on a layaway balance of 80 families. The obvious question? Why did he do it?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had heard a lady out in one of the aisles talking about how she needed to pay off her layaway but she didn't think she was going to be able to take care of all of it this year and so he just walked back here and started in. It's crazy.


CUOMO: A contagion of courtesy. We've since identified the layaway angel as local financial planner Greg Parody (ph), he was actually in Wal-Mart buying bikes for "Toys for Tots". It was a little while before his beneficiaries found out what happened but, you know, when they did --


DAVIS: Tears, surprise. I mean I thought, there was one lady that actually, after she cried, she had to sit down because we thought she was going to faint.


PEREIRA: My goodness.

CUOMO: This time of year, we hear about layaway angels but this was unusual -- the spontaneity, the scope, so many families.

BOLDUAN: $20,000.

CUOMO: And of course the spirit of it. He had the money, he was there buying bikes for "Toys for Tots". It's one of the reminders there is a lot of good out there.

PEREIRA: And it's infectious. I bet it inspired those people to do something of their own size, you know.

BOLDUAN: It doesn't need to be a $20,000 thing that you do for somebody. It can be a small thing -- right.

PEREIRA: Exactly like a warm cup of coffee.

CUOMO: Exactly right. Yes, you don't have to have a big wallet to have a big heart.

BOLDUAN: That's true.

CUOMO: Mr. Parody, thank you for being the layaway angel. Thank you for being part of "The Good Stuff". We appreciate it.

A lot of news this morning, as well, so let's get you over to the newsroom and Miss Carol Costello -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I like that respect. Thanks, Chris Cuomo. Have a great day, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thanks Carol.


Happening now in the newsroom, public enemy number one, Edward Snowden and the gold mine of national secrets he stole.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the keys to the kingdom.


COSTELLO: Now, the head of the Snowden NSA task force says amnesty should be on the table.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So my personal view is, yes, it's worth having a conversation about.


COSTELLO: Also, revenge at a Colorado high school, stunning new details about the shooter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whenever he'd get angry he's like "You know, I just want to -- I just want to shoot everyone up."


COSTELLO: Then he brought a gun to school. Still friends say he was a good guy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what hurts the most is he wasn't a villain.


COSTELLO: Plus Ryan Freel.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not sure that Ryan thought that his problem was concussions at all.


COSTELLO: This morning, the first major league baseball player diagnosed with a brain injury.

You're live in the "CNN NEWSROOM".

Good morning, I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

A jaw-dropping admission from the man who leads an NSA task force -- amnesty should be on the table when it comes to Edward Snowden.