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Defiant Christie Fires Back; Markets Take Major Hit; Millions Bracing For More Snow; Sochi On Lockdown; Syria Shipping Out Toxic Agents; Philip Seymour Hoffman Death

Aired February 4, 2014 - 06:00   ET



CHRIS CHRISTIE, GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: Nobody has said that I knew anything about this before it happened.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight. Chris Christie races the stakes. His strongest denial yet over the Bridgegate scandal. A new CNN poll shows he needs this to go away. We'll tell you how big a hit he's taken.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking this morning, overseas markets plunging after U.S. markets had a brutal day. Is this a correction or a free fall? What you need to know.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Double whammy. A second storm set to slam the east just as we dig out from Monday. Thousands of flights canceled.

The question this morning, is this the worst winter ever to fly and why?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, February 4th, six o'clock in the east.

Up first, Chris Christie doubling down while the Feds turn up the heat. Here's what's new, Christie took to radio to insist he didn't know anything about lane closures on the George Washington Bridge until the story broke in the media.

Now though no proof has shown that proposition to be false, you seem to have changed your opinion about the governor. Why do I say that? A new CNN poll pitting Chris Christie against Hilary Clinton in a 2016 presidential race shows a stunning plunge in the governor's popularity. Let's get more on that poll in just a moment. First, let's get to Dana Bash in Washington -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. It was a regular appearance on an "Ask The Governor" radio show where Christie revealed that the U.S. attorney investigated, subpoenaed his office. Now he tried to take that in stride portraying himself as part bystander, part disappointed boss who wants to get to the bottom of what happened just like everybody else.


BASH (voice-over): On the key question, did Chris Christie know anything about GW Bridge lane closures before they happened? He emphatically repeated his denial.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Did I authorize it, did I know about it, did I prove it, did I have any knowledge of it beforehand? And the answer is still the same. It's unequivocally no.

BASH: Over --

CHRISTIE: I had nothing to do with this.

BASH: And over again.

CHRISTIE: To make clear to everybody in the midst of, you know, all the things that were reported over the weekend that nobody has said that I knew anything about this before it happened and I think that's the most important question.

BASH: But Christie did leave wiggle room on what former aide, David Wildstein's, attorney says he has evidence of, Christie knew about the lane closures while it was happening in September.

CHRISTIE: If I had read that or someone said something to me about traffic up there, it wouldn't have been meaningful to me because I didn't know there was any problem up there.

BASH: Christie said the first time he remembers hearing about the problem was when he read this October 1st "Wall Street Journal" article about the Port Authority executive director calling lane closings abusive. But what may have been most noteworthy about this radio appearance was what Christie did not say.

No attacks on David Wildstein, like this memo Christi supporters sent around this weekend attacking Wildstein's character with examples from high school saying of Wildstein, as a 16-year-old kid, he sued over a school board election. He was publicly accused by his high school Social Studies teacher of deceptive behavior. This was an embattled politician trying to stay above the fray.

CHRISTIE: I'll be dammed if I'm going to let anything get in the way of me doing my job.

BASH: Determined not to feed the image of a bully.

CHRISTIE: That while I am disappointed by what happened here. I am determined to fix it.

BASH: Trying to come across as a politician scorned.

HOFFMAN: I'll tell you something, I'm not warrantying anything anymore after what happened --


BASH: Now the governor was speaking. While he was speaking, word got out that his former aide, Bridget Anne Kelly is invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself. So she won't be giving the state legislature investigating the documents that they subpoenaed from her.

Kelly was the aide that Christie fired after learning she sent that infamous e-mail saying, time for some traffic in Fort Lee. Christie, Kate, you remember he was tough on Kelly in his marathon press conference. He softened quite a bit yesterday -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much. As Chris was mentioning earlier, this is our brand new CNN/ORC polls are shedding light on how negatively this is scandal is affecting Governor Christie and how it could hurt him down the road.

Joining us now to talk about this, CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser in Washington as well. Good morning, Paul.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Good morning, Kate, troubling new numbers. This is our brand new CNN/ORC poll we conducted over the weekend nationwide. Take a look at this. We know Christie is considering a race for the White House, the nomination, the GOP nomination in 2016. The last time we asked that question back in November. Soon after his re-election landslide, he was at 24 percent among Republicans ahead of all the other possible 2016 hopefuls now down to 10 percent.

Here's another stunning number, Kate, the one Chris mentioned, look at, a hypothetical match up in 2016, Chris Christie, the Republican nominee versus Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Back in December, Christie was a slight 2-point edge now. Hillary Clinton with a 16-point lead, where is that coming from independents, going from Christie to Hillary Clinton -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about Hillary Clinton because at the same that the focus has been largely on this bridge scandal. There's also been a renewed look at the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, and of course, the State Department's handling of it under Hillary Clinton. But from the polling it doesn't look at that scandal, that controversy has had much of a dent on Clinton.

STEINHAUSER: Really good point.


You do hear a lot of attacks against Clinton especially from Republicans, but look at this. Here's our question, how did she perform as secretary of state when we asked it in December 2012, soon before she stepped down, 66 percent of people gave her a thumbs on how she was handling her job as America's top diplomat.

Kate, now, just down a few points to 62 percent. Let's throw one other number out there because, of course, we all know Hilary Clinton is also seriously considering running for the nomination in 2016, a second run for the House. Look at this number. Seven out of ten Democrats said, yes, she would be the likely choice for the nominee. We're seeing that in every poll. If she jumps in, she would start as the instant, overwhelming front-runner -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: And of course, yes, we let's talk about the president very quickly, Paul. We also have a new polling on the president approval rating. It's ticked up slightly, but that's not the whole story. Tell us.

STEINHAUSER: Exactly. First point, it has ticked up slightly, look at that 45 percent now. Remember he was 41 percent. In our polls back in November and December, he was basically at or near all-time lows in all polling. So a slight rebound there for the president, but look at the next number, troubling.

We asked Americans, our polling director, Kitty Hollen (ph) ask, do you think the president's policies will likely fail or succeed. For the first time, a majority say they think his policies will fail. Polls are a snapshot of how people feel right now. People change their minds. News changes their minds -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. Also interesting, we'll get into it later with John King in our gut check, how there are fewer people now that are hopeful that the president's policies succeed. We'll talk more about that. But Paul, it's great to see you, as always.


CUOMO: All right, overnight, the overseas markets tanked. Japan's stock markets tumbled dropping another 4 percent. China took a beating as well. This comes a day after U.S. stocks nose-dived. The stock market is struggling to start the year. No question about that. That's bad for our 401Ks. Also as investors asking, is this a trend or is this just some kind of sell through. Let's try and figure it out. We have Chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, over in the Money Center. How do you see this?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know what, we haven't had a meaningful pull back in stocks in almost two years, Chris, almost two years and so when the selling came, it was ferocious.


ROMANS (voice-over): It was a brutal day on Wall Street. The Dow plunging 326 points Monday, down 7 percent since the beginning of the year. The drastic drop sparked by a weak manufacturing report and disappointing sales from big auto makers like GM, Ford, and Toyota. But for many, the sell-off isn't surprising. Here's why, first, stocks can't go up forever and after last year's huge rally, many are calling this an expected correction.

BEN WILLIS, BUILDING DIRECTOR: I don't think this correction is over. The last time around I've talked about a correction it was sort of like waiting for Goodell.

ROMANS: Second, there's a new leader at the Federal Reserve. Janet Yellen is picking up where Ben Bernanke left off and has to pull billions of dollars of stimulus out of the economy without derailing the recovery.

Third, emerging markets, including Turkey, South Africa, India, Brazil and Indonesia, the fragile five are in turmoil leaving investors shaky. And finally, there are questions about where the U.S. is headed. Dozens of companies have put out weak earnings forecast, translation, a lack of confidence.

For those reasons, the selling may continue, but how much? Many predict the markets need a staggering 10 percent decline from recent highs. They say those lows will be brief and stocks could rise in 2014. For now buckle up and get ready for a bumpy ride.


ROMANS: No one thought this was going to be an easy year. I mean, last year, forget about it, all you had to do was sit there and you're printing money in your 401K. The S&P 500 this year, you guys, is now down 5.8 percent, a healthy correction is 10 percent. That means you see more losses.

The big question is, do those losses feed on themselves and it gets worse or is it a great buying opportunity. At least this morning right this second, we have U.S. stock features higher. So there's somebody out there who thinks this is a time for buying for U.S. stocks. We just can't predict.

BOLDUAN: There you go. All right, Christine, thanks you so much. So we're also digging out from one snowstorm this morning and getting ready for yet another one. Millions along the east coast impacted by round one. It dumped almost a foot in parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, canceling flights and schools this morning and making a mess on the roads. What is next and where is it heading?

Let's get straight over to meteorologist, Chad Myers. What are we looking at today?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, I guess to get somewhere. If you can get out of town today, today's the day to go. Yesterday was the first of a one, two, three punch.


MYERS (voice-over): Millions along the east coast this morning are digging out of Monday's record breaking snowstorm.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Snow is coming down faster than we can plow it.

MYERS: The winter storm transforming New York's Central Park into a winter wonderland in just hours setting a new daily record of 8 inches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'm ready for the summer.

MYERS: For thousands of travelers heading home from Sunday Super Bowl, the airports were anything, but a wonderland and more than 2,000 flights canceled on Monday due to the storm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are trying to Chicago, our flights a couple hours delayed. We're just hoping it will actually take off.

MYERS: Parts of New Jersey pummeled with 9 inches forcing Governor Christie to issue a state of emergency, some blaming the Super Bowl for the inability to battle the snow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The local municipalities and the counties have been struggling to get it.


MYERS: It is now snowing in Kansas City and Oklahoma City and it will continue all the way to Chicago and Indianapolis. That eventually makes its way into New York City later tonight and tomorrow. A winter storm warning. This is not just a northeast storm. It's going to be a little bit farther to the northeast. This is more a New England snowstorm. But we're going to have an ice storm here in the city, 6 inches to 10 inches of snow through Kansas and parts of Missouri. Look at this purple area, all the way back into Maine.

South of there, it looks like nothing. That's not the case. It's going to snow overnight. It's going to ice up. The ice is going to come down. It's going to rain and it's going to be 30 degrees on the ground. I can drive through snow. It's very, very hard to drive just a quarter inch ice. Ugly airports, Chicago, Cleveland, back into Pittsburgh.

Then the snow pulls out and this is only the next storm because there's one behind this that could be even bigger for Sunday night into Monday. We're talking about a potential another Easter that runs up the coast. There will be somebody by Monday afternoon that reports 30 inches of snow. It's coming. It's the timing yet, still five days away.

CUOMO: It's 30 inches from just that storm?

MYERS: And winds of 60 miles per hour.

CUOMO: Holy moly, hopefully that is not us. I don't want to have the next live shot me tied to Chad in some random very cold place.

Now we're going to where they should want a lot of snow. That would be the Winter Olympics. Just three days until the start in Sochi, Russia. There are new reports that the Austrian Olympic team received a letter threatening two of their athletes would be kidnapped if they show up. This as Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the Olympic City this morning as organizers make final preparations -- Russia claims to be the most secure games later. We have CNN's Nick Paton Walsh live in Sochi. Nick, what's the latest?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know much more about the threats. Simply a flash saying they have received a letter they think from Russia, which threatens to kidnap two Austrian athletes if they come to Sochi here. So a really bad news for Vladimir Putin arrived here, the whole specter of security hanging over these games. Russia trying to reassure people are safe.

Barack Obama saying the ring of steel behind me will be a safe place for Americans to be. Vladimir Putin right now at a sanctuary. A place that's dear to him. He's apparently getting particular again with some of the leopard kittens. Hanging over our heads will still be the question about security. Back to you, Michaela.

PEREIRA: Three days away. All right, thank you so much for that. checking other big headlines for you right now. Breaking overnight, Syria's government is preparing to ship a large quantity of toxic agents out of the country this much, this according to Russian officials. That would comply with the deadline for the prohibition of chemical weapons.

A 4-year-old has died after being found unresponsive on a cruise ship. A 6-year-old boy was revived and airlifted to a hospital. But medical teams could not resuscitate the younger child. That ship was headed from New York to the Bahamas and Florida.

A clear picture on just how often the NSA asked for metadata. Google and Microsoft were forced to turn over information on up to 10,000 customer accounts. Yahoo turned over 40,000. The companies say only a small number of customers were targeted in the intelligence probes.

Word this morning that another man with a lengthy criminal record escaped custody. This time in central Florida. Orange county deputies say Willie Hollis got away Monday, as he was being arrested, allegedly escaping a holding area, then sprinting to a car outside, possibly driven by his girlfriend. They say he was last seen in a gray Nissan Altima with New York license plates.

Things are improving for a Texas teenager who plummeted 3,500 feet to the ground last month in a sky diving accident. Doctors say 16-year- old MacKenzie Wethington is now walking with assistance and her prognosis for a full recovery is very good. She was severely injured when her parachute malfunctioned during a skydiving -- skydived in Oklahoma. Just seeing that image of her, neck brace and walker, but she is mobile.

BOLDUAN: It's amazing.

PEREIRA: When you think about what happened to her --

BOLDUAN: And we spoke to her father and her doctor and her surgeon, and they were both -- PEREIRA: She's got a long road ahead of her. That recovery is going to be tough. But she's young and she's healthy and she's already made this kind of progress. So, it's looking really --

BOLDUAN: Amazing. We'll continue to track that very closely. Thanks, Michaela.

So, coming up next on NEW DAY, Philip Seymour Hoffman's final hours. What police found inside the fallen actor's apartment.

Plus, new details from friends and neighbors who saw him the day before he died.

CUOMO: And a contradicted killer who broke out of a maximum security prison in Michigan has been captured in Indiana. You'll here the 911 call from the woman he took hostage.



BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

Investigators say they found nearly 50 bags of what they believe is heroin inside the apartment of Philip Seymour Hoffman. The grim scene was littered with used syringes and prescription drugs and there are new details -- even more new details coming out this morning.

Nischelle Turner is here with more on that.

Good morning.


You know, these details are disturbing. They're somewhat hard to hear. But they do paint a very real picture. This morning, the medical examiners office tells CNN that Philip Seymour Hoffman's autopsy is still on going. They have not yet released any results.

Tonight, though, more tribute, as Broadway, as the Broadway community will dim their marquee lights in memory of the talented actor.


TURNER (voice-over): This eerie and chilling photo of Philip Seymour Hoffman taken at the Sundance Film Festival two weeks before his sudden death, may be one of the last taken of the Oscar winning actor.

New York police say they found nearly 59 envelopes containing what they believe to be heroin inside Hoffman's Manhattan apartment, labeled with the street name, "Ace of Spades".

Also in his apartment, more than 20 new syringes in a plastic cup. Several other bags continuing white powder and prescription drugs. Police are trying to piece together the final moments of Hoffman's life. His Saturday beginning here, at a local coffee shop. JONATHAN HANSON: He seemed in good spirits. He was very happy, typically chatting with the staff.

TURNER: At 1:30 that afternoon, Hoffman's assistant spoke with him over the phone. Investigators say she said nothing seemed out of the ordinary. About a half hour later, investigators say Mimi O'Donnell, the actor's ex-partner and mother of his children, told them she saw Hoffman near his apartment where he appeared to be quote, "high."

Earlier that evening, Hoffman then had dinner at this local restaurant with two of his friends.

MIKE: I heard he had relapsed recently and he was having trouble. So, there wasn't a total shock, but it's a sad thing.

TURNER: At 8:00 that night, O'Donnell said she spoke with Hoffman over the phone telling investigators once again, he seemed, quote, "high".

The next morning, around 9:00, Hoffman was expected to pick up their three children. That's when O'Donnell called Hoffman's friend, playwright David Katz, to check on him. At 11:00 a.m. Katz found Hoffman in the bathroom of his fourth floor apartment with a needle in his left arm, wearing a T-shirt, shorts and glasses still on his head. Minutes later, he was pronounced dead.


TURNER: And there was a laundry list of prescription drugs found in his apartment, including blood pressure medication, a muscle relaxer, a medication to treat addiction, attention deficit disorder and anxiety.

Now, investigators say they are now trying to find out whether the actor, in fact, had prescriptions for these drugs, where exactly he bought the heroin and if anyone was with him when he died.

Chris and Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: It's so sad.

CUOMO: Also, really important pieces to the puzzle of what was going on with him. It clearly wasn't a random incident. There was a process going on. People around him knew it. And the question will be, was he trying to find a way off these drugs or was he getting in deeper.

That's the kind of story that's unfolding right now. And we'll follow on that story more later in the show.

Now, it may not have been much of a game for some people -- I actually enjoyed the game. I thought that there were lots of big play.

BOLDUAN: It was good.

CUOMO: But the Super Bowl still turned out to be the most watched TV program ever, the most watched TV program ever.

Joe Carter is here with this morning's "Bleacher Report."

I mean, it sounds like a wild thing to say, but that's what the number say, right?

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: You know, each year, Chris, I mean, three out of the last Super Bowls have set TV ratings records.

So, this one, though, people thinking, OK, maybe the viewership dropped off, because it was such a bluff, but no, the game and the half-time set records. An average of 111.5 million viewers held on during the broadcast. That viewership hardly declined as the game went on, you know, because obviously Seattle turned it into a blowout, but viewership only dropped only by 5 percent in the fourth quarter. Crazy.

Now, despite all the bad weather you guys are seeing there in the Northeast, the champs managed to get out of town just fine. They returned to Seattle last night. The cheers came from the 12th man.

But a couple of hundred people showed up to welcome them home. But the big party, of course, is going to be Wednesday. The championship parade will start at 11:00 a.m. local time in downtown Seattle.

Now, a story that's trending on this morning, kind of a cute story -- a furniture store in Houston, Texas, lost $7 million because the Seahawks won the big game. This was a promotion that they ran. Anyone who spent $6,000 or more in the previous two weeks and had their furniture delivered by kickoff, got a full refund because the Seahawks beat the Broncos.


JIM MCINGVALE, FURNITURE STORE OWNER: Trying to create customers and make the store relevant and fun and it was a great, fun promotion for everybody, and the customers won and that's what it's all about.



CARTER: Now, see, guys, the company did not take insurance. Apparently, there is insurance for this. It's called prize indemnity insurance. They did not take that out. But $7 million is only 5 percent of its annual revenue because it's such a big company. They do like $700 million in revenue every year.

So, obviously, the marketing mentions, the media mentions, is a big up for them.

BOLDUAN: I'm glad they honored it. I can see another company trying to get out of it. Oh, we didn't mean --

CUOMO: It would have crushed them.


BOLDUAN: It's true. I love it.

CUOMO: Wow, I can't believe they're the most watched TV show ever. We think that the TV market is stratifying. People don't watch as much anymore. There are so many choices.

But when it comes to the big events --

BOLDUAN: Especially watching it live.

CUOMO: Bigger than ever. As we know, football is the most popular sport in the country.

BOLDUAN: For good reason.

Thanks, Andy. I mean, thanks, Joe. Sorry.

CUOMO: See what I'm saying?

BOLDUAN: Yes, I know what you're saying.

CUOMO: We're not all alike.

BOLDUAN: When you're all that attractive, I just call you all the same thing.

CUOMO: That must be distracting. I feel free.

BOLDUAN: Here were go.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, breaking overnight: apprehended. A quadruple murderer captured by police after breaking out of a maximum security prison in Michigan. We're going to play the dramatic 911 call from the woman that he took hostage.

CUOMO: And attention air travelers. You're about to find out why aviation experts are calling this the worst winter in history, at least for flying.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY."

Let's bring you up to date on the latest news.

U.S. attorney in New Jersey has subpoenaed Chris Christie's office. The embattled governor again denying he had anything to do with shutting down lanes on the George Washington Bridge, as political payback.


Meanwhile, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, now pleading the Fifth.