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Gov. Christie Hits Back; Dylan Farrow Breaks Her Silence in Open Letter; Super Bowl XLVIII Just Hours Away

Aired February 2, 2014 - 08:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And then, Fallon is going to replace Jay Leno.



PAUL: The whole primetime lineup.

BLACKWELL: Yes, everybody's moving.

PAUL: All over the place.

So, we are so glad that you are with us in the mornings.

BLACKWELL: Next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.

PAUL: All righty. Happy Sunday!

That was quick, wasn't it? We said we'll be right back, we are right back.

I hope this Sunday is being good to you so far. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: It's good to us. I'm Victor Blackwell, 8:00 here on the East Coast. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY.

And today, Super Bowl XLVIII, Denver Broncos versus the Seattle Seahawks. Got a look at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

PAUL: Peyton Manning, quarterback for Denver, and Russell Wilson for Seahawks. We should point that Manning just won the 2013 MVP Award last night. And we were just talking about Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers performing at halftime.

But I want to give a little love to my co-anchor because the Baltimore Ravens are still, people, for the next 11 hours, or 10 1/2 hours.

BLACKWELL: Eight-thirty or so.

PAUL: Yes, world champs.

BLACKWELL: Yes. They are the NFL world champs. Don't get it twisted. That Vince Lombardi trophy as Christi informed us last hour, made of sterling silver by Tiffany & Company.

PAUL: Famous --


You know, more than 80,000 people will be in the stadium, but more than 100 million people expected to be watching on television.

PAUL: So, we're going to be talking about this obviously. And the thing is, though, when we talk about New Jersey, and again, there's your live picture of MetLife, the Super Bowl is taking place in Governor Chris Christie's home state. Think about this. This was supposed to be a big celebration.

But now, this morning, he's fighting back, defending himself against new claims regarding that scandal over lane closures of the George Washington Bridge and he's facing new backlash. In fact, last night listen to how he was booed. And this was at a Super Bowl event.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Good afternoon, everybody. You've already heard enough speeches, enough speeches. It's the same thing.


I want to tell everybody out there to thank you very much to all of our partners, the NFL, the team owners, look forward to having it over in Arizona. I was proud to be in New Orleans.


PAUL: CNN's Erin McPike is live in Washington with more.

Boy, you could really hear the boos there, too. They weren't quiet about it.

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, you sure can. This is going back to Friday, with the claims that we're talking about, you mentioned earlier.

Those claims are coming from former Port Authority official David Wildstein. He's a Christie appointee who carried out the lane closures to the George Washington Bridge in September. Well, he resigned in December, saying the story had become a distraction.

And last month, he refused to in front of the New Jersey legislative committee investigating it. He created another headache, just this past Friday, for team Christie, by asserting through a lawyer that evidence exists tying Christie himself to having knowledge of the lane closures as they were happening, something Christie has repeatedly denied. Well, Christie's staff responded with a statement Friday evening, laying out exactly what he knew, and when he knew it, including they didn't know the motive behind the bridge closures until he read them in press accounts and by Saturday afternoon, they went even further, going on offense and aggressively attacking Wildstein in an email first reported yesterday to friends and supporters to the governor.

Well, CNN has the e-mail which points out Wildstein is looking for the Port Authority to pay his legal bills, that he wants immunity and that he's already been had held in contempt by the New Jersey legislature for refusing to testify about this. It also reminds that it hasn't produced this purported evidence that he says exists.

So, this e-mail is an attempt to discredit Wildstein. And also, Christi, I want to point that tomorrow, the documents that the investigatory committee subpoenaed are due so the story is not going away for Christie any time soon. Maybe some more boos. Who knows? Christi?

PAUL: All right. Hey, Erin McPike, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: And as Chris Christie faces the avalanche of allegations connected to the bridge-gate scandal, some political experts are saying he can kiss his White House hopes good-bye.

Let's bring in John King, chief national correspondent and host of the show "INSIDE POLITICS," starting today.

John King, good to have you.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Great to see you, Victor and Christi.

You know, perception is reality sometimes in politics, right? So, Chris Christie is innocent until proven guilty. We always hold that standard truth, and he is fighting back.

But to the point you're making about his future aspirations, more and more Republicans are beginning to say, whoa! And now, somebody on his side, an appointee that he made to the government, to the Port Authority, has turned on had him. That means this is going to go on not for weeks, but for months.

You have lawyers, you have a federal investigation, you have a state legislative investigation. So, even though it's only February 2014, you have some Republicans starting to say, is that Christie brand, he was supposed to be different, he's supposed to be above the fray, he's supposed to be tough but now are people saying he is a bully. There is a fine line there in politics.

So, you are beginning to sense from national Republicans that maybe this guy is going to come out of this as damaged goods, even if -- even if -- he is telling the truth.

<08:05:02> Now, it's early. And we can watch this play.

But again, the buzz in Washington especially in the last 24 to 48 hours has changed a bit and that's not good for Chris Christie.

PAUL: OK. So, let's talk about Christie's letter attacking Wildstein. Does it make him, when you read it, seem less presidential? It's not as though people aren't looking at this saying, I don't know who's telling the truth because Wildstein could have some ulterior motives here.

KING: Wildstein could have ulterior motives. He wants his legal bills paid. If you go back to that marathon Chris Christie news conference, I was there. Chris Christie essentially said, I don't really know this guy.

He's not a friend. He says he's my high school buddy. But we're not friends.

So, he wants his bills paid. He wants immunity. Chris Christie kind of slammed him a little bit. So, we have to be careful about this -- very, very careful. However to your point about Chris Christie in the long term, fighting back, look, they made a conscious decision. The initial response on Friday was pretty lawyerly, pretty calm. Then the e-mail to supporters is pretty pugilistic, it punches back hard.

Two questions here. One, he's trying to fight to save his job and to save his ability to govern in New Jersey. Number two, national Democrats are after Chris Christie. They see a chance to knock him down.

This was a message from the Chris Christie people saying, that we're going to fight back. And that matters. Remember, a lot of people think Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee in a couple of years. They play tough. They play hard politics. If he's going to run for president he's going to have to not only learn to take punches but throw punches. I think that's a signal they're trying to send with that very tough email.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We'll learn more about it. John King, thank you.

KING: Thank you, guys. Have a great day.

BLACKWELL: Be sure to keep it right here. John King's new show "INSIDE POLITICS" up next, 8:30 a.m. eastern right here on CNN.

And then following John King is "STATE OF THE UNION WITH CANDY CROWLEY". Her guest today, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. That's at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN.

PAUL: So, turning now to this explosive story that begins with an open letter from an alleged sexual assault victim. I want to warn you, because I know it's the morning time. You got maybe your kids around but the details of this story are really graphic. They're not appropriate if children are in the room. Just wanted to give you that heads up. But for the first time we're hearing from Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Woody Allen, in her own words, about allegations that the filmmaker sexually assaulted her as a child. These allegations first came to life back in 1993, after Farrow's mother, actress Mia Farrow, split from Allen.

Now, Dylan Farrow begins by asking readers, quote, "What's your favorite Woody Allen movie?" And then after describing the alleged abuse which Allen has consistently denied, Farrow challenges readers to answer that same question one more time.


PAUL (voice-over): Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, speaking out for the first time and giving new details of alleged sexual assaults by the famed writer and director.

In an open letter published in a "New York Times" blog she recounts an incident she says happened in 1992. "When I was 7 years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother's electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it. Whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we'd go to and I'd be a star in had his movies."

The letter published just weeks after Mia Farrow re-ignited a long- standing feud with her ex by bringing the personal family history back into the public eye. All of this played out as the 78-year-old Allen was being honored by his peers at the Golden Globe awards and his latest film celebrated with three Academy Award nominations.

Mia Farrow, displaying her contempt on social media, tweeting, "A woman has publicly detailed Woody Allen's molestation of her at age 7. The Golden Globe tribute showed contempt for her and all survivors."

Her son Ronan followed suit, making no effort to veil his disgust. "Mr. Woody Allen tribute. Did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7-year-old before or after Annie Hall?"

It's all part of a convoluted story that is Woody Allen's personal life. The couple separated after 12 years when Mia Farrow discovered that Allen was having an affair with her adopted daughter Soon Yi who is now Allen's wife, the same year Dylan told her mother that Allen had touched her inappropriately. Allen denied the charges and according to the "New York Times," a team of medical investigators found no evidence of abuse.

Allen was never charged but the allegations have tainted his image for two decades.

But Dylan finally breaking her silence and admonishing some of Hollywood's most celebrated, by name, for, in her words, turning a blind eye by continuing to work with Allen. "That he got away with what he did to me. It haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had had allowed him to be near other little girls.



PAUL: CNN did reach out to Woody Allen's representative for comment. We have not heard back yet. We've also reached out, we should say, to some of the stars that Dylan Farrow challenged by name in her letter and we have yet to hear their responses as well.

BLACKWELL: All right. Still to come on NEW DAY, police are tightening up security ahead of today's Super Bowl. We are also learning about a threatening letter sent to New York's new mayor.

PAUL: Plus, the rise of Edward Snowden. How he went from being disgusted by anonymous leakers to becoming the world's most famous whistle-blower.


BLACKWELL: New Jersey's just hours away from Super Bowl kickoff and today's priority, of course, is keeping any and all security threats to a minimum around the New York-New Jersey area. Of course, this is a task that's critically important.

This morning, we have learned that New York's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, has received a threatening letter. We don't know many details about the letter yet but it did not contain a white powder like other letters in the New York area this week.

PAUL: That just happened on Friday.

Well, CNN's Andy Scholes is live outside MetLife Stadium right now, with the latest on the Super Bowl preps.

OK, Andy. Is this right?


The price of tickets is going up?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS: That is right, Christi.

We talked about for months how it was going to be an awful weather. Super Bowl was going to be so cold.

Well, it turns out today is the best day of the week to hold the Super Bowl. The weather is going to be in the mid-40s around kickoff. And as you said, ticket prices actually went up yesterday. The cheapest ticket to get in the Super Bowl is now about $2,000, compared to $1,300 earlier this week.

Now, of course, the excitement for the game is pretty big. You know, on one side the best offense on the league in the Denver Broncos. On the other side, you've got the best defense in the league in the Seattle Seahawks. Two teams, two very different philosophies. Now, both the Broncos and Seahawks came over here to MetLife Stadium yesterday for one final walk through before the big name. Now, the Seahawks, of course, their biggest task in this one is trying to slow down Peyton Manning, but they're not going to be able to win this game without quarterback Russell Wilson making some plays.

Now, Wilson, he stands just 5'11". He is the shortest quarterback to ever start in a Super Bowl and he's trying to buck the trend and prove that the little guy can win the big one.


RUSSELL WILSON, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACK: God made me 5'11" for a reason. You know, for all the kids that have been told, no, that they can't do it or the kids that will be told no. That's one of the reasons why I left playing baseball, to be honest. It's just -- I had this urge to play football because so many people -- I shouldn't say so many, but a handful of people told me I wouldn't do it.


SCHOLES: Wilson's counterpart, Peyton Manning, as expected, named the league's MVP and offensive player of the year last night. This is Peyton's record, fifth MVP award. No other player has won more than three. He's also the only player to win an MVP with two different teams.

Of course, he's going to look to cap off this amazing season with his second Super Bowl ring. And, guys, if he does that, he'd be the first quarterback ever to win two Super Bowls as a starting quarterback for two different teams as well. The Broncos are the favorites tonight, two-point favorites according to Las Vegas.

Peyton Manning, kind of the sentimental favorite. Everyone would like to see him win a super bowl at age 37.

BLACKWELL: All right. Andy Scholes, we'll be watching. Thank you.

Also, be sure to catch Chris, Kate and Michaela for Super Bowl highlights tomorrow morning on NEW DAY, beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern. They're going to have it all there from New York.

PAUL: So, a new book coming out on the man who's becoming the nation's most wanted, dare I say, whistleblower, maybe leaker -- better terminology, defending on whom you ask. Edward Snowden like you have not heard him before. That's next.



BLACKWELL: Welcome back. A new book will be released in the U.S. this week and it chronicles the life and career of Edward Snowden, taking the NSA leaker from teenage computer enthusiast to the world's most infamous whistleblower or traitor depending on where you stand politically and international fugitive. Joining me to talk about it this morning, Luke Harding. He's a journalist with "The Guardian", and the author of the new book, "The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man."

Luke, first start with the president and what he said at the State of the Union. Let's listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's why working with this Congress, I will reform our surveillance programs because the vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence, here and abroad. The privacy of ordinary people is not being violated.


BLACKWELL: Is this specifically, Luke, what Snowden is looking for? Are these just overtures too vague for him?

LUKE HARDING, AUTHOR: Well, I think he's actually, basically, he's the chief, kind of fumbled than he can possibly imagine, when he was sitting in Hawaii planning this leak in late 2012, early 2013. I mean, there's been this huge debate in the U.S. there's been a review ordered by the president. We had a major speech last month in which he unveiled all sorts of reforms, including saying that the NSA would no longer automatically collect Americans' phone data.

And so, there's an enormous conversation. I suspect that Snowden would actually like the president to go a lot further than he has done, but there's no doubt that he's changed history by what he's done.

BLACKWELL: And he's had ha major change, too, because it's about -- maybe a 180. There was a time when he was very critical of anonymous leakers. And we've got some comments that you cite in your book, on a comment board. He writes, "WTF 'New York Times'. What are they trying to do, start a war?"

And then another comment about the leaks reads, "It's not because, oh, we hope our citizens don't find out. It's because this -- and he uses an expletive here -- won't work if Iran knows what we're doing. I mean, from just being really angry about the leaks and people who leaked anonymously, to becoming one of the most infamous leakers. How did he make the transition?

HARDING: Well, one of the things I try and trace in my book is this curve of disillusionment, if you like, because you're right. He's a young guy on his first foreign posting to Europe. He's in Geneva, in Switzerland working for the CIA, basically the U.S. mission there. And, initially, the idea of leaking is kind of horrible to him.

But, really, what he told us that got him, he got hardened. In other words, the more information he saw about what he viewed as -- what he regarded as mass surveillance, the more he -- disillusioned he became. And he says quite explicitly he thought Obama would roll back some of these programs when he came into the White House and when this didn't happen, essentially Snowden decided he would take things into his own hands and become a whistle-blower.

BLACKWELL: In 2008-2009, from what I understand, what I've read thus far, it is a really transformative period because he was no fan of then-Senator Obama, but once he was inaugurated he just loathed the president.

How did that happen?

HARDING: Well, you have to look at where Snowden comes from politically. He's very much a Republican. He's libertarian. He donated to Ron Paul, to his election campaign. And he is someone who was really kind of you almost say fanatical about the constitution and preserving it.

And essentially when this security status can kind of Snowden's story continued. His job as a systems administer had access to classified information. He decided he'd gather this together an reach out to journalists to make this public.

And I think the final straw for him was when James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, in March 2013 told Congress that the NSA did not wittingly collect data on ordinary Americans. Snowden knew this to be untrue. And that really was when the fuse was lit.

BLACKWELL: One question that I think people inside and outside the business of reporting have asked is why "The Guardian." You detail this testing of one another between glen Greenwald who did the orange reporting and Snowden himself, kind of proving their story and their commitment to one another.

Tell me about that.

HARDING: Well, Snowden didn't like "The New York Times" very much. He felt like they sat on the story about illegal wiretapping under the Bush wiretapping. Then in late 2012, he penned an e-mail to Glenn Greenwald, my then "Guardian" colleague.

And, Glenn, he's a very busy guy. He's always overworked and has chat windows up and he didn't respond. There were several false starts before Snowden finally got through to Glenn Greenwald and he and Laura Poitras, the filmmaker, and my colleague Ewan McCaskill flew out to Hong Kong to meet him not really knowing who he was, if he was kind of a fake or the real deal. And of course he was the real deal.

BLACKWELL: Well, Luke Harding, it's an amazing read, what I've read thus far. And there's a lot more coming. The new book is "The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man." He talks about him as a teenager and how he became who he is today.

Luke, thank you so much.

HARDING: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Christi? PAUL: All right. Thanks, Victor.

You know, next, a cheerleader -- you've got to see this -- sinks an unbelievable half-court basketball shot. We'll show it to you.