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Obama Meets with CEOs; Amanda Knox Convicted Again; Interview with Dennis Rodman; Georgia Governor Accepts Blame for Storm Response

Aired January 31, 2014 - 09:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Carol Costello. This hour three big interviews for three very different topics. Remember Dennis Rodman's drunken rant here on CNN? Well today, a sober and soft spoken Rodman extend as rare invitation to Chris Cuomo.


DENNIS RODMAN, FMR. NBA PLAYER: I will give you this opportunity, now, on national TV, on national TV, I will take you over there and introduce you to him.


RODMAN: I would love for you to come back here and tell the world, tell the world in person to person with him (pg), is' nice guy when you meet him.


COSTELLO: We'll have more of Rodman's exclusive interview from rehab, in just bit. But first we want to begin with this, a CNN exclusive. Today at the White House President Obama will gather CEOs in a bid to help the long term unemployed, Americans who have been out of a job for six months or more, and make up a third of those who are looking for work. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Jake Tapper the president talked about his plan.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the biggest problems right now in the jobs market is the long term unemployed.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah they're having trouble -- people won't hire them because they've been unemployed so long.

OBAMA: Because they have been unemployed so long, folks are looking at that gap in their resume and weeding them out before these folks even get a chance for an interview. What we've done is to gather together 300 companies just to start with, including some of the top 50 companies in the country, companies like Walmart and Apple and Ford and others to say let's establish best practices. Do not screen people out of the hiring process just because they've been out of work for a long time. We just went through the worst recession since the great depression.

I'll be convening a meeting where a number of these top companies will be coming in, agreeing to these best practices and will have an opportunity to, you know, encourage more people to come in.


COSTELLO: John King is CNN's chief national correspondent and host of the new CNN show "INSIDE POLITICS." He joins me now. Welcome, John.


Smart move by the president to bring these companies in. It shows he's taking action on his own to try to get ahead of what is a chronic problem. If you're one of the long term unemployed out there you've probably gone through this over the last year, in some cases two or more, where you send in a resume but because of that gap on your resume -- you haven't had a job for so long, that somebody who was maybe just let go or their company downsized a couple weeks or a couple months ago, cuts you in the line. The president trying to help.

The question is six months from now or a year from now what are the metrics? How can we measure the success of this, but certainly bringing in these big companies at a time most economists say there will be a hiring boom in the United States this year. Smart move by the president.

COSTELLO: He doesn't exactly have a great relationship with CEOs, so how does he overcome that?

KING: That's a great point you make. Apple, for example, is upset at the president over the NSA surveillance technology. Some other companies have been upset not just with the president but with Washington about why not tax reform, why has it been so long. We want tax reform for certainty in the economy. Some of these companies weren't so happy with Obamacare, at least back when it was being proposed in 2009 and 2010.

Yet, look, you know, again smart move by the president, smart move by these companies to come in and try be a part of a process. It's good public relations for the companies. They're coming to the White House, they will be embraced by the president. They're saying we're trying to help with one of the chronic unemployment problems, one of the chronic economic problems in the United States. It is proof and maybe Washington could take a lesson from this, that even if you disagree on issue A and B you can try to work together on issue C.

COSTELLO: All right. We'll see. John King, many thanks. For more on the key stories of the week in Washington, be sure to watch John this Sunday on "INSIDE POLITICS" beginning at 8:30 a.m. eastern here on CNN. John and a special panel will look how Republicans will sort out their internal divide on immigration. Now let's turn to a murder case rippling across the ocean and thundering through the life of a former American exchange student. Amanda Knox, in the green cap, says she watched in disbelief hours ago. That's when an Italian appeals court found her guilty in the stabbing death of her roommate more than six years ago. Since then, Italy's justice system found her guilty of the stabbing death and then overturned that conviction. Knox back in the United States says she watched online yesterday as the appeals court upheld that initial conviction and is sentenced her to more than 28 years in an Italian prison. Here's what Knox told "Good Morning America."


AMANDA KNOX, CONVICTED OF MURDER IN ITALY: I'm going through waves of emotion in response to it. My first reaction was no, this is wrong. I'm going to do everything I can to -- to prove that it is. And I felt very determined and my family felt very determined, but it was only on my way here that I really got my first cry. I talked to Don Sallo.


KNOX: Don Sallo is the priest in the prison and we've stayed in contact and he's reminded me that like people still believe in me. And that -- like this is an experience that I have to testify to. That -- that really horrible things can happen and you have to stand up for yourself and you have to believe that it's going to be okay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And do you have a lot of people that are supporting you, family and others. You heard Danny from our legal affairs anchor who said that it is -- it's possible, but improbable (ph) that you would be extradited but there are a lot of legal experts that say that the U.S. may have no other choice. Are you prepared for that?

KNOX: I'm not. Before that ever happens we have to go to the Supreme Court, we have to understand the motivation behind what happened and that happens within 90 days. I don't even know what their motivation could be. This really has hit me like a train. I did not expect this to happen. I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system. They found me innocent before. How can they say it's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I think that - I mean...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard you say that you would not go willingly, Amanda, that they would have to catch you first and that you would go kicking and screaming.

KNOX: Yes. I will never go willingly back to the place where I -- I'm going to fight this until the very end. And it's not right. And it's not fair. And I'm going to do everything I can. Granted I need a lot of help. I can't do this on my own and I can't help people understand this on my own.

There are people who know better than I do the way these systems works, and the way that there was this entirely preventable thing that happened that was systematic, and I really hope that people try to understand that like when you have overzealous prosecutors and when you have a biased investigation and coercive interrogations like these things happened and I'm not crazy, it just -- it puts you in a position where you feel like --


COSTELLO: All right. Let's break it down. Erin McLaughlin is in Florence, Italy this morning. CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan is in New York along with his HLN counterpart, Joey Jackson. Welcome to all of you. Erin, I want to start with you. What's the reaction in Italy today?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a largely mixed reaction here in Italy. Many of the Italian journalists, though, that I have spoken to who have been covering this case from the very beginning do not agree with this court's decision, but if you speak to the regular person on the street who has been following this trial, I'm getting mixed reaction. Some are agreeing with the court's decision and others are disagreeing, Carol.

COSTELLO: I do understand that the Kercher family spoke out this morning. What did they say?

MCLAUGHLIN: That's right. Meredith Kercher's brother and sister, Lyle and Stephanie, speaking out this morning in their very first interview after the conviction saying that nothing will bring Meredith back, but they added that in the event that Amanda Knox should be extradited from the United States that they would support that decision. Their attorney has long argued for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito's conviction, and he tells CNN that he's satisfied with the court's decision, Carol.

COSTELLO: Joey, I'll turn to you. You heard what Amanda Knox said. She will fight this as hard as she can. She's refusing to go back to Italy. Will she be successful?

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, she very well may be, Carol and the interesting thing, certainly Meredith Kercher deserves justice. The issue here is whether or not it would be justice in finding Amanda Knox guilty and in sending her back.

We know that this is far from over, of course. There's another mechanism where the judge will issue his motivations within 90 days and then 90 days thereafter there will be an appellate process. And so, who knows. Maybe through that process this conviction is overturned and, of course, in that case she walks free and everything is fine.

However, in the event that it does not and she's found guilty, ultimately, she does have a good faith basis of avoiding extradition. What is that? Article ten speaks to the issue of reasonable cause to believe. The extraditing country has to establish that there's reasonable cause to believe that the offense was committed. If you look at the Hellman (ph) report, which ultimately cleared her before this conviction, it lays out in compelling fashion why she's not guilty of this offense and there are multiple reasons underlying that. If we have time, I'll certainly get to that.

COSTELLO: Okay, well Paul, let me ask you. Do you agree with Joey? Will the United States move to extradite Knox?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I have to disagree with Joey with the greatest of respect, of course. That article ten that he's talking about really applies more in a case where you have somebody who is a fugitive, a wanted murder and hasn't been tried yet. Here we've had a trial and we've had an appeal, and it's gone all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. People who are considered to be smartest judges in Italy have said the evidence supports guilt.

So it's hard for me to one how to United States would not extradite since we do extraditions all the time with Italy. We have previously recognized their justice system as being a fair system and what would happen if we didn't? Maybe they would have a terrorist that we would want extradited to the U.S. and say well you think our system is a joke so we're not going to extradite.

Anyway as Joey does say it's a long way off. I think we have to be patient here. The court that just found her guilty is going to issue a very detailed analysis of the evidence and that is not going to happen for another 90 days. So I think we have to see what this court looked at and why they came back to the conclusion that she's guilty. Then it's going to the Italian Supreme Court. Then it may go to the international criminal court because there's an allegation of human rights violations and only after that very long process, if Italy asks for extradition thrown back to the United States and it will wind up in the federal courts, the Justice Department and the State Department. So we are very far away from the day where she gets extradited.

COSTELLO: In the meantime and I'll pose this question to you Erin just from a human perspective, Amanda Knox's parents, reports say, have spent $4 million on their daughter's lawyers and legal fight. They are already bankrupt. How much more money will they have to spend?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's a very good question, Carol, but I also know that Amanda Knox has appealed to the public for help as well as legal volunteers to help her in this battle, Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Erin McLaughlin, Paul Callan, Joey Jackson, thank you so much for joining me this morning. I appreciate it.

CEVALLOS: : Nice being with you.

COSTELLO: Still to come, Dennis Rodman's first interview from rehab exclusive to CNN and an invitation.


RODMAN: I will give you this opportunity now on national TV, I will take you over there and introduce you to him.

CUOMO: Great. RODMAN: I would love for you to come back here and tell the world, tell the world in person to person with him (ph), is he a nice guy when you meet him.


COSTELLO: You have to hear what else Rodman had to say. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Live from rehab, Dennis Rodman under fire for his support of North Korea sits down with Chris Cuomo and promptly invites Chris to visit his dear friend Kim Jong-un. Rodman also says I'm not a traitor but first he addressed his angry outburst from earlier this month.

Here it is.


RODMAN: No, it wasn't about me being in the right mind. I want people to understand this. It wasn't about that.

I think the fact when a certain person asks you a question when they are not supposed to ask you that question, at that particular time, knowing the fact that I wasn't in the state to really properly answer that question, I think it was unfair. And -- but, you know --

CUOMO: So, your answer was the way it was because you thought me asking you about it was unfair?

RODMAN: I think the fact that, you know, you wanted a story you could have at least asked me first. I think that was the proper thing to do. And at the moment, you know, I didn't think too much about it.

And I told you before this interview, I said, I don't hate you, man. You're just doing your job. You know, I'll treat you like anybody else. I'll shake your hand, hug you, we can go out and have a cigar anytime of the day.

CUOMO: That works both ways. I mean, I asked the question because I feel it's so obvious, they are so important to how people view you and what's going on with this situation --

RODMAN: Right.

CUOMO: -- that I cannot ask them.

RODMAN: Absolutely.

CUOMO: I mean, when you call somebody a friend who a lot of people believe is one of the most dangerous people in the world, you got to answer for that. You got to explain it.

RODMAN: Absolutely. CUOMO: So the question is now that you've had some time to get your thoughts together here do you believe that trip was something you shouldn't have done. Do you believe the way you acted in the interview was something you shouldn't have done?

RODMAN: Well, like I said, I'm not going to say too much because I'm going to do a press conference next week in New York, and like I told you I'm going to have an open mic for anyone in the world, any press that wants to come to see this interview, they can ask me anything in the world about North Korea.

And like I said, I speak from my heart. And like I said, I'm a human first.

What I said in the media, stuff like that, like I said, I don't know the marshal (ph) as a dictator. I don't know him like that. All I know with the fact with him is more like he's a 31-year-old guy and I call him a kid all the time. And I said, yes, he's my friend.

I look at him like that because he gave me the opportunity to at least come in to the country of North Korea to bring a basketball team, to show the world, just show the world that we can actually get along.

Chris, I'll ask you a question one thing.

CUOMO: Please.

RODMAN: Let me just ask you a question.

CUOMO: Please.

RODMAN: You were in North Korea, right?

CUOMO: No, I haven't been there. I'll go there with you.

RODMAN: You go with me. I will give you this opportunity now on national TV, on national TV.


RODMAN: I will take you over there and introduce you to him.

CUOMO: Great.

RODMAN: And I will love you to come back here and tell the world, tell the world, in person-to-person with him, is he a nice guy when you meet him, when you meet him. Not politics. When you meet him and sit down and have dinner with him and -- I want you to come -- I'm giving you the invitation.

CUOMO: I'll take it.

RODMAN: That's what I say --

CUOMO: I take the invitation. I take the invitation.

RODMAN: I will take you -- I want you to go over there and see for your own eyes.


RODMAN: I'm not worried about the politics. If he does these things -- I'm sorry.

CUOMO: There's no if.


RODMAN: I don't go to the camps. I don't do anything.


CUOMO: That's your choice. But they're there.

RODMAN: That's great. That's great. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

CUOMO: You don't have to apologize for it. You don't have to apologize for it. It's not your fault. I'm just saying you have to understand while when you try to make this man into something that he is not, it upsets people. That's it.

I take your invitation. Let's see how I feel when I meet him. I'll go with you, whenever you want. Whenever you want.

I'd be surprised, I'll tell you this, though, Dennis, as close as you are, as tight as you are with this man, I'd be surprised if they let me come with you. I'd be surprised if they let me come with you, Dennis. You got to ask yourself why. Why don't we want this guy?

RODMAN: You know what? Please, people take this in the right way, you know, I'm not trying to take the spotlight away from the Super Bowl. It's a great week for New York people, a great week for people around the world. It's going to be a great weekend and stuff like that. But I want to come on and say this because I want people to understand this. You know, I'm not a traitor.

I've never been a traitor. I've never been anything, but one thing, to people happy in the world. That's my whole goal right now is to make people happy.


COSTELLO: All right. He's going to be talking more about the American held hostage or imprisoned in North Korea, Kenneth Bae, in the next hour. So, be sure to stay tuned to the NEWSROOM.

Still to come in this hour, the south thaws out and the apologies flow. George Howell is following the latest developments in Atlanta.

Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Carol, a change in heart from the state's governor saying he'll take action sooner next time and a change in the weather doesn't hurt either. You see the commute here getting back to normal. The live report from downtown Atlanta, next.


COSTELLO: The buck stops with him. Now, Georgia's governor is taking full responsibility for the state's response to this week's crippling snow and ice storm. His apology now making front page headlines. Of course, this is the cover of today's "Atlanta Journal Constitution".

CNN's George Howell joins us from Atlanta, where things are looking up.

HOWELL: Carol, things are definitely looking up. Right now, it is 30 degrees. We're getting there, close to getting above freezing, expected to get to 50 degrees today. You see that's helping with the regular commute here through downtown Atlanta.

And as you mentioned we're also hearing an apology from the state's top politician, Republican Governor Nathan Deal, promising next time he will act sooner.


HOWELL (voice-over): This morning, the icy roads that froze Atlanta to a standstill continued to thaw out. This, as Georgia's governor tries to alleviate criticism about his response to the South's snow- pocalypse.

GOV. NATHAN DEAL (R), GEORGIA: I accept responsibility for the fact that we did not make preparation early enough to avoid these consequences.

HOWELL: Governor Nathan Deal came out strong on Thursday.

DEAL: I'm not going to look for a scapegoat. I am the governor. The buck stops with me.

HOWELL: A sharp contrast to his role in the blame game the morning after the storm.

DEAL: The National Weather Service had continually had their modeling showing that the city of Atlanta would not be the primary area where the storm would hit.

HOWELL: Governor Deal ordered an internal review for the state's delayed response to Tuesday's crisis. Take a look at the traffic map from that day showing the smooth flow of traffic in green, quickly grinding to a halt in just an hour. Turning deep red, the color of gridlock.

Throughout Thursday, people came back to claim their abandoned cars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your vehicle was towed by --

HOWELL: State troopers and the National Guard are helping transport people to the more than 2,000 vehicles strewn along roads and highways. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I give them an A in spite of all the Fs. This is an A and I thank them.

HOWELL: Overnight, state troopers scoured the roadways. Towing away any remaining cars not yet claimed.

Today, the cleanup is moving forward. Even though some neighborhood streets are still sheets of size.

A 14-year-old girl lost part of her leg Thursday on one such street after the abandoned car she was standing behind was struck by another car.

DEAL: I think it's been a big wake up call. I think it's going to cause all of us to be more aggressive in terms of declaring states of emergency.


HOWELL: And a live look here at the Interstate 75, 85 connector right here through the heart of downtown Atlanta. You remember just a few days ago, Carol, this is a place where people were slipping and sliding and not moving at all. You know what the commute is like through this area to get to the CNN Center, getting back to normal, people getting back on the roads.

And, Carol, we also know that the governor has extended that state of emergency through Sunday to keep resources in place like the National Guard for people that need that extra help.

COSTELLO: Unbelievable. George Howell reporting live from Atlanta this morning. Of course, this storm that crippled the south made Georgia politicians the butt of a million jokes.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: How is Georgia so ill-prepared, governor?

DEAL: We have been confronted with unexpected storm. There's not anybody in this room that could have predicted the degree and the magnitude of the problem that developed.

STEWART: Sure. No. I guess that's probably the case unless anyone was watching what I guess you would call the weather.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Weather Channel's Mike Seidel has the very latest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have winter storm watches and warnings into Atlanta. There will be snow, sleet and freezing rain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two inches of snow, that will literally shut down the city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could see accumulations of one to two inches. STEWART: For God's sakes, Governor, you were given a memo, snowstorm determined to strike Atlanta. Not only were they warned but the call was coming from inside house.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The Weather Channel which is located in Atlanta.

STEWART: The Weather Channel is located in Atlanta. It's right there. Also located in Atlanta --


STEWART: -- also located in Atlanta the society for prevention of highway stoppage and national department of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) seeing it coming.

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: Oh, my gosh. The people in South, this terrible storm just crippled that part of the country pretty bad. Atlanta came to a standstill.