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More Revelations on George Washington Bridge Scandal; No Fly Zone During Super Bowl

Aired February 1, 2014 - 09:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning to you and hearty hello! If you recognize that, I'm a "Seinfeld" fan.

VICTOR BLACKWELL: "Seinfeld," yes, indeed.

PAUL: I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. 9:00 on the East Coast. 6:00 out west. If you're just waking up on the west coast, we understand. Thank you for joining us anyway. This is "New Day Saturday."

PAUL: And we got to start this new hour with that new revelation in the George Washington Bridge scandal that has plagued Governor Chris Christie's administration.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this chapter centers around this man. His name is David Wildstein. He is the former New Jersey Port Authority official who carried out a Christie staffer's order to close access lanes to the bridge. His attorney is suggesting Christie knew about the incident as it was unfolding although Christie has said in public on several occasions, he did not know.

PAUL: So I want to get to Erin McPike who is live for us in Washington this morning and has been looking into this. Hi, Erin. What have you learned?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, Victor, there is some careful wording in one of the last paragraph of a three-page letter Wildstein's attorney sent to the Port Authority yesterday. So here that is "Evidence exists tying Mr. Christie of having knowledge of the lane closures during the period when the lanes were closed." Contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference.

Now to (INAUDIBLE) this does not say Christie knew about the underlying alleged reason which is political retribution against the mayor of Ft. Lee for not endorsing Christie for election last year. Or that Christie knew about the lane closure ahead of time. Well, several hours after the letter posted online, the Christie administration responded in their own statement. "Mr. Wildstein's lawyer confirms what the governor has said all along. He had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened. As the governor said in a December 13 press conference, he only first learned lanes were closed when it was reported by the press and as he said in his January 9th press conference, had no indication that this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of January 8th."

So let's rewind to those very moments. Here's what Christie claimed he knew and when.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, NEW JERSEY: And I knew nothing about this. And until it started to be reported in the papers about the closure. But even then, I was told this was a traffic study.


MCPIKE: There is still some confusion about whether it was the closures themselves or the motivation behind them that Christie was referring to in that later press conference. And that's what makes this latest revelation kind of murky, Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: OK. So Erin, we talked at the top about how this chapter is about David Wildstein. Remind us of why his name has become so important, central to this scandal?

MCPIKE: Well, it was Christie's deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, you may remember her, who e-mailed time for some traffic problems in Ft. Lee to David Wildstein and to that quite intimate e-mail, Wildstein replied, "Got it." Now at that time, he was the official at the Port Authority who carried out the order and what makes Wildstein such an interesting figure in this whole story is that he and Christie go way back, back to high school in 1977.

And then Christie much later appointed him to the Port Authority. But he says they were never close. So the attorney's second claim in the letter is that he can prove some of the statements Christie made about Wildstein are wrong. So take a listen to some of what he may be referring to.


CHRISTIE: David and I were not friends in high school, we were not even acquaintances in high school. We did not travel in the same circles in high school. You know, I was the class president and an athlete. I don't know what David was doing during that period of time. We went 23 years without seeing each other.


MCPIKE: Now, let me point out on top of that, the whole purpose of the three-page letter in the first place was Wildstein's attorney asking the Port Authority to reconsider their decision not to pay Wildstein's legal bills for this whole debacle. Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's see if that happens and if he also gets the immunity that he is looking for. Erin McPike, in Washington, thank you.


PAUL: So, California officials are taking drastic steps right now as the state deals with one of the worst drought in history. Beginning this spring, water that is sent from the state's reservoir system to local agencies is going to be cut off. This is an unprecedented move that's going to affect the drinking water supply for nearly 25 million people and nearly 750,000 acres of farm land.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should all be clear by now that this is not an coming crisis, this is not an evolving crisis. This is a current crisis. So consider these facts. We have 17 water agencies across the state that are in danger of running out of drinking water in the next 60 to 100 days.


PAUL: Local agencies will have to turn to other sources for water such as local reservoirs.

BLACKWELL: Well, the midwest is bracing for more winter weather as if they have not had enough already.

PAUL: What is a little more, you know? A live picture for you of our friends in Chicago. A winter storm warning is in effect for you this morning. Apparently, it feels like 24 degrees there.

BLACKWELL: When it snow there, they actually continue to drive on the interstate. Wow.

PAUL: (INAUDIBLE) somebody who knows firsthand.

BLACKWELL: Who thought of that?


Poor Victor out there this week out in your hat. We have a picture of him. There he is. Look at this. My kids always go outside and say "Mom, look, you can see my breath."

BLACKWELL: Yes. Grimace.

Here's the thing with speaking in the snow. I really on Tuesday night, you thought I had a couple of shots of something. Because I couldn't get the word "government" out. My face has gotten so cold and tight. But I made it.

PAUL: Yes, you did.

BLACKWELL: I made it.

PAUL: You looked good and sounded good. It was all good. BLACKWELL: I made it. All right. Let's bring in meteorologist Jennifer Gray who was out in traffic, how many hours?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: 12. Yes, happy 12 hours and walked the last two miles. But yes, it is all better now. We had a snowy scene not only in Atlanta but we've seen snowy conditions across much of the midwest. Chicago, you are getting it again. There is now a winter storm warning in effect for you.

Winter weather advisories elsewhere. You can see Chicago, the snow already coming down and even some thunderstorms starting to pop up just on the outside of Indianapolis and those are all pushing to the east. So we're going to be watching this because Chicago could get anywhere from four to six maybe even up to eight inches of snow because of this and places like Detroit could get four to six around the Great Lakes anywhere from two to five inches of snow.

Very cold high temperatures today. Chicago at about 30 degrees. However you have been much colder in the last couple of weeks. As we go through tomorrow, your high temperature only at 20 degrees. And then 18 by Monday. So very cold days for you. On the other hand, the south it is pleasant. Look at Atlanta's high tomorrow is 66 degrees, guys. It will feel so good.

BLACKWELL: It will. 66 degrees. I'm waiting for this. Jennifer Gray, thank you.

Here is a simple rule for pilots on Super Bowl Sunday. Do not think about flying near the stadium.

PAUL: Not even not unless of course, you want a visit from the Blackhawk helicopter.

BLACKWELL: And you don't, officials don't plan to let anyone near the stadium. CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now from New York. So tell us how are they going to keep pilots from flying near the stadium and how to keep the stadium safe on game day.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Good morning, Christi and Victor, this is a - clearly a very big job for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. They got it all mapped out at this point. They say they're going to have eight aircraft in the air tomorrow as the Super Bowl is being played at the MetLife Stadium and they will be enforcing a 10-mile perimeter around the stadium. That is a strict no-fly zone.

Blackhawk helicopters will be part of the team that is in the air. They say it is their job to intercept should anyone, any pilot, intercept that protected perimeter area. Now the pilots say this does happen on occasion. Typically, it is the case of another pilot making a mistake, either not being aware of the fact that there's a no-fly zone in place or not being aware of the fact that they have crossed into that no-fly zone.

The Blackhawks say that they would pull up alongside the pilot and they would use physical signs to let the pilot know that they are in the wrong place. They would also communicate by radio and then they would hope to escort that pilot back to the ground where a team of federal agents would be waiting and Christi and Victor, you can be assured that the pilot would have some explaining to do.

PAUL: Well, speaking of security, you know, we were all over that hoax yesterday with the powder. And I'm wondering, from a security standpoint, did those guys feel like, all right, we handled this pretty well or was it a good wake-up call for them?

FIELD: Well, look law enforcement sources tell us that these kinds of hoaxes, the things that we saw unfold yesterday are not entirely uncommon leading up to big events like this, sometimes you will see these hoaxes in the days leading up to an event. This is the kind of thing though that they have been practicing for. They spent two years preparing to host the Super Bowl.

In the recent past few months, they have also done a number of drills to test the possibility of any kind of threat.


They have gone through scenarios both here in Times Square where Super Bowl Boulevard activities are happening and at Metlife Stadium where the game will be played. So, yes, this is something that they had anticipated. Sure, they were put to the test yesterday. But law enforcement sources continue to tell us that they have prepare for all of the possibilities.

PAUL: All righty. Alexandra Field, stay warm there, my friend. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: So who is going to win the big game? Any prediction?

PAUL: Nope.

BLACKWELL: OK. No prediction. I won't predict either.

PAUL: Although, all the animals say it's going to be Denver.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the Broncos.

Lei lei says Denver. When Lei Lei goes Denver -

PAUL: Lei Lei, the panda, is what you're talking about.


All right. So we are going to get some insight on how to win from Coach John Harbaugh. Baltimore Ravens, Charm City, the current NFL World champions, at least for another few hours. Coach Harbaugh, we're going to have you in a couple of minutes. When we talk Baltimore, I get excited.

PAUL: Can you tell, he's from there, people.


BLACKWELL: Tomorrow, all eyes will be on the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks as well for the biggest game of the year. And for players and coaches, the Super Bowl is the game of a lifetime. One team will have one shot to make history.

PAUL: And someone who knows what that feels like, Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh. Last year, Harbaugh led his team to victory, faced off against his younger brother, Jim, who coaches the San Francisco 49ers, which is what we were all talking about, you know, pre-game, last year too. But he is joining us. John Harbaugh live from New York. Thank you, sir, for being with us.

COACH JOHN HARBAUGH, BALTIMORE RAVENS: Great being with you, guys.

PAUL: So I think a lot of people are wondering, what are you as a coach say to your players before the Super Bowl as opposed to any other big game?

HARBAUGH: You know, the least said, the better. One thing we did tell our guy, if we find a way to win this game, we will walk together forever as champions. It's pretty meaningful, the guys understood the magnitude of the game.


BLACKWELL: So, all right, going into the half, halftime, the Ravens were up last year. Beyonce comes on, knocks half the lights out in the stadium there. And I'm blaming her and it wasn't her fault.

HARBAUGH: She knocked them out. It was a powerful performance.

BLACKWELL: It was a powerful performance.

PAUL: There you go.

BLACKWELL: The 49ers though they were coming back and it was getting close. What do you say during halftime? Let's flip it, if your team is down?

HARBAUGH: Well, I'm sure what Jim said, "Here is a chance to regroup and kind of get ourselves together and play a second game." We told our guys when the blackout happened, that no matter what, we were going to win the game, we are going to find a way to win the game no matter what happened. I didn't really think at the time it was really going to turn out to be that close. You know, to a goal line stand right there at the end. But, you know, that is the way football is played out. That is the way Super Bowls and these big games are. It is what makes the NFL so great.

PAUL: OK. Let me, if you will, just let me switch gears here for a second. Because I think we really would love to get your perspective on something else that's going on in the NFL right now. All this talk lately about long-term concussions and injuries and things that the organization is taking a hit from people. Saying you are not doing enough for these players. What is your take on that?

HARBAUGH: My take is they are doing everything they possibly can. I think we are learning about this medically. I don't know all the details on everything but I just know that every precaution is taken. We were told and where we understand, we are taught that when anything happens with a concussion, they guys are out. Coaches don't question it. Players don't question it. They are just out until they are cleared to come back. I really think the NFL has taken every precaution of doing the best they can. Sometimes the players, you know, they are so competitive, they want to get back in the game as fast as they possibly can. We got to protect each other from ourselves sometimes.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coach Harbaugh, we are going to hold you for just a couple of minutes more. We're going to talk about predictions and marijuana in the NFL.


BLACKWELL: So stay with us. We will have that after the break.

HARBAUGH: Can't wait.



BLACKWELL: All right. Welcome back. We got Coach of the Baltimore Ravens, the NFL world champion, Baltimore Ravens.

PAUL: You're getting it in there every time.

HARBAUGH: We have a few more hours.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we got a few more hours.

HARBAUGH: Very strong, Victor. I know you are strong for the Ravens.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I am, Coach John Harbaugh. We got a question about the kids who play football.

PAUL: Yes, I mean, NBC-"Wall Street Journal" poll say 40 percent of Americans say that basically their kids are clear of football these days and encourage them to play something different. Now, you are a parent. I'm a parent, what's your take on that? Would you do the same thing?

HARBAUGH: No way. My daughter if she could play football, she would. She is in lacrosse and basketball and everything else. But football is a great sport. I mean, all of the things, it's a tough sport. It's not easy. It teaches a lot of great lessons. You know, perseverance and fortitude and (INAUDIBLE) on physical toughness and all those things. It is part of the fabric of America. So put your kids in football. They're going to be fine. Coaches are being trained how to do it the right way. There are on-going efforts that way. It is not a dangerous sport. It is a great sport. It is part of what we are about as Americans.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about one other thing that's making headlines. Former Ravens player, former Bears' player Brandon Amedejeau. He says that his teammates smoke marijuana before one of his Super Bowl. Now he didn't say which one of the two but he did play the Super Bowl last year. So when you hear about that, what do you think about potentially Ravens' players smoking weed before the game?

HARBAUGH: Yes, I'm not buying it. You know, I know what BA is talking about. It would have been good if he had been more clear cut. If you're going to say something like that, Brandon, you know, tell us who it is. Tell us when, what, where. We want to know the details. There's no way. The way our team was focused. We had security everywhere. It is not what our guys are about anyway.

You know, I don't believe any of that. I'm disappointed he brought it up. I think it's kind of pointless. I talked to him since. I know he feels like it was kind of pointless. You know, that is not really what the game is all about.

PAUL: Well, he did bring it up. Yesterday, Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about whether the league would be willing to change its policy in marijuana, you know, in light of the drug legalization in Colorado and in Washington. You know, he said looking at the forecast, no. He doesn't think they're going to do it. But what is your take? I mean, do you think they should be able to take it from a medical perspective if they are suffering in some way?

HARBAUGH: Well, you know, I'm not a doctor so I don't know all the details of that. But I'm not looking at marijuana as a performance enhancer in any way. It don't think it makes you better at your job. I don't think it makes you more sharper, more alert or a better athlete or anything else. So we won't be encouraging that with our players any time soon or ever. Now, we're not for that at all, not as a coach, we want to be our very best. And that's not part of being the best.

BLACKWELL: One more thing, you just won the Salute to Service Awards presented by the USAA recognizing individuals committed to serving members of the military. Tell us how you serve members of the military.

HARBAUGH: Thanks, Victor, for bringing that up. That is a big thing. The USAA and the NFL have an on-going effort to help military families. You know, while they are overseas and when they come back, it's just a great effort by the NFL. Salute to Service. It's important, we don't do much. We have players and service members together, practices. We bring service members and former wounded warriors, those kind of things, to games. We get a chance to travel overseas. We're heading out next week to travel overseas, to Turkey and Afghanistan just to visit troops. Just anything we can do to support and encourage and say thanks to all the people who are doing so many things for our country overseas and here too.

PAUL: All righty. Ten seconds left. Who is going to win tomorrow? HARBAUGH: You know, I will probably got to go with the AFC. I got to go with the Broncos. You know, support the conference on this side a little bit. Peyton Manning and all that. I'm going with the Broncos.

PAUL: Well, good luck with your travels. Thank you for all you are doing and thank you for taking time to be with us.

HARBAUGH: Thanks for having me with you. I really appreciate it. Thanks.

PAUL: We do too. Thank you, coach.

HARBAUGH: Go Ravens, Victor!


All right. Our pleasure again to have Coach Harbaugh on the show with us today. We'll take a quick break. We'll be back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wasn't just the first African-American male to win the U.S. open, but he actually was the first American period to win the U.S. Open because the U.S. Open didn't begin until 1968. I think it is really important again for us to keep the inclusive content of his win and the importance of that win not just to African- Americans, but to all Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been 20 years since tennis Hall of Famer Arthur Ashe died at the age of 49 after contracting AIDS from heart surgery. His impact on and off the court created a legacy his wife, Ginny (ph) hopes will deliver a long lasting message.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really important that not just today's generation, but generations to come understand him as more than just an athlete, as more than just a patient and as more than just a student and a coach. You might not be a great champion, but if you are well rounded, you can do just about anything to succeed in life.



PAUL: Well, Justin Bieber is in trouble again. This after airport officials smelled pot on his plane after it landed in New Jersey.

So they brought in dogs to search the jet. They didn't find anything but Bieber apparently is in town to see his friends and watch Super Bowl tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: All right.

"Seinfeld" fans, dust off that festivus pole and get ready to celebrate. PAUL: That sounds a little provocative.

BLACKWELL: Your festivus pole is a little dusty.

PAUL: Yes, there you go.

BLACKWELL: So maybe something's coming, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld are working on some sort of project involving the characters from Seinfeld. But the show's co-creators are not exactly saying what it will be but we do know what it will not be. It will not be Super Bowl commercial, it will not be part of his web series.

PAUL: I can't wait. Whatever it is.

BLACKWELL: I know you're looking forward to it.

PAUL: Next Thursday, funnyman Jay Leno is going to say good night to his audience one last time. Taking his place of course, Jimmy Fallon.

But for Leno fans, I mean, this is a bittersweet change-over.

BLACKWELL: Yes, in the next hour, we will talk to a man who helped shape Leno's voice on "The Tonight Show." His former lead writer, so that is coming up in the next hour.


Be sure to stay with us. We will be back at the top of the hour.

PAUL: Yes, we got "Your Money" next, "Behind the Scenes Look at the Business of Peyton Manning." Special Super Bowl edition of "Your Money" in fact from high atop Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square right now.