Return to Transcripts main page


Catastrophic Storm In The South; Senate Debt Ceiling Vote; Massive Car Seat Recall; Admiral: Destroy Bin Laden Photos; Tom Brokaw Battling Cancer; State Dinner Honors Hollande; Gold Medal Chances; Sochi Shocker In Halfpipe; Loud Music Defendant Takes Stand; Michael Sam's Father "I Was Shocked"

Aired February 12, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not kidding. We're not just crying wolf. It is serious business.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. A potentially catastrophic storm hitting the south right now. major cities shut down, hundreds of thousands may lose power, and then, the storm turns north. We're tracking it all.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Taking the stand. A black buster day in court. Michael Dunn testifying in his own defense. Accused of killing a teen for playing music too loud. So, did he help or hurt his case? The jury set to get the case today.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Olympic first. History made in Sochi. Two competitors tying for gold. We have the breakthrough results. Plus more on Shaun White's disappointing run and this moment that everyone's talking about showing the true spirit of the Olympics.

BOLDUAN: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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


BOLDUAN: Good morning. And welcome to NEW DAY, everyone. It is February 12th, 6:00 in the east. I'm Kate Bolduan. Of course, John Berman, joining us this morning. Chris is on assignment.

We begin this morning with the big story, dangerous deep freeze, a winter storm that some forecasters are calling potentially catastrophic for the Deep South. People in Georgia and the Carolinas are hunkering down, getting hammered with snow and ice overnight.

Among the big concerns, of course, ice on roads, tree branches, power lines, pretty much any ice anywhere, raising the risk of dangerous car wrecks and massive power outages. Another big headache, air travel, the storm scrapping more than 2,700 flights so far. We are following every new development for you. Meteorologist Indra Petersons is tracking the storm for us, of course. Let's begin with "NEWSROOM" anchor, Carol Costello, who is joining us from Atlanta. Carol, I feel like you are having a little bit of deja vu this morning, but how is Atlanta looking this time around?

CAROL COSTELLO, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEWSROOM": Kate, it has begun. The sleet is now coming down in the city of Atlanta. I know one thing, when you couple the words catastrophic and historic with an apocalyptic traffic jam, people take notice.


COSTELLO (voice-over): More than 50 salt trucks converged on to a truck stop in Atlanta overnight, the city preparing for a potentially catastrophic winter storm slamming the south east stretching from Texas to the eastern seaboard. Freezing rain causing what may be the worst ice storm in a decade forcing Georgia and Virginia into states of emergency.

GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL, GEORGIA: There is no doubt that this is one of Mother Nature's worst kinds of storms that can be inflicted on the south.

COSTELLO: Up to an inch of ice could make travel treacherous in some areas. The National Guard on the move preparing to rescue anyone sliding off the road.

PFC DARIAN DAVIS, GEORGIA NATIONAL GUARD: We're going to go out and make sure all our citizens are OK.

COSTELLO: Sleet, ice, and snow suspending some Amtrak trains and canceling thousands of flights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't expect this.

COSTELLO: At Atlanta's airport, Delta employees actually had to sleep in planes because there aren't enough hotel rooms. In North Carolina, a truck crashed in the guardrail as the popular I-95 corridor has now becoming a dangerous icy roadway. The potentially catastrophic ice accumulations already pummeled Texas on Monday riddling roadways with accidents.

A firefighter after stopping to check on one spun car died when another driver lost control on an icy bridge knocking him off the overpass on to the ramp below. For much of the southeast, temperatures will continue to be below freezing for another 24 hours. Officials are bracing for the worst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wherever you are, you need to plan on staying there for a while.


COSTELLO: That is a true story. Some people are accusing the Georgia state government of overkill. But they had a plan this time and people are adhering to their plan. I checked out the grocery store yesterday, there were no eggs, no bread and very little toilet paper.

BERMAN: You know, it's nice to see Georgia and Atlanta responding more quickly, Carol. I think you single-handedly scared them into this response this time so thank you to you for that. Appreciate it. This storm not just hitting the south, this is going to come all the way up to the north. A lot of people in its path. Where is it right now, where is it going, Indra Petersons give us the story here.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I think the big thing they were talking about overkill, there were two parts of the system. The first one we knew the wave that went through yesterday was not as strong as the wave that is now taking place. Yesterday, many places in the southeast saw about a quarter of an inch of ice.

It's the second wave that we are so concerned with. It's the reason the National Weather Service keeps putting out words like catastrophic, historical ice storm because we already now seeing the freezing rain in towards Atlanta and parts of Carolina. As that second wave is now developing.

What are we watching? How far that cold air makes its way to the south? Look at the potential here. I showed you, quarter inch of ice, that's what we saw from the first wave. Look at these numbers guys potentially as much of an inch of ice possible into the southeast as this second wave makes it way through even in towards D.C. They could see a quarter of an inch of ice.

And we know that's not the only concern. It's heavy snow. Some of these places are not familiar with. I mean, look out towards Atlanta, several inches, also it's going to makes its way through D.C. Four years ago, they only had about five inches of snow. Some of the models saying almost near 10 inches of snow is possible and through D.C. then that system makes its way into the northeast right after that.

That's the concern. You're going to have a lot of mixes going in from rain to sleet to ice to snow as the temperatures continue to vary. But as soon as it makes way into the southeast, it's all going to be about tracking that low as it makes its way right up the coastline and changing over from an ice storm into a dangerous snowstorm -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Indra, here we go again. We'll watch it all morning. Thank you so much.

So let's turn to Washington now where they're watching the weather too. Senate expected to move to a vote on raising the debt ceiling today following a major breakthrough Tuesday in the House where Democrats and some Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling without any conditions. It comes after three years now of bitter fiscal standoffs including a government shutdown that we all remember.

But one senator may try to stop the measure in its tracks. CNN's Athena Jones is on Capitol Hill with the very latest. So what is the latest, Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Well, the goal among the members of Congress who want to see the debt ceiling raise is to get it done quickly. The country already hit the debt limit on February 7th that's last Friday. And Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned Congress that by February 27th, the department will probably exhaust these extraordinary measures it's been using to make sure America can still pay its bills.

We're not just talking about paying American bond holders, of course, we are also talking about Social Security checks, paying government workers, paying federal workers and troops, and we are talking about America's credit ratings. So there's a lot at stake here. So as you know, this does not mean that this vote is going to come off drama free.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz says he'll filibuster the clean bill that's coming over from the House that raises the debt ceiling with no strings attached. He wants to see meaningful spending cuts included in the bill. That's something that the president and Democrats oppose. Cruz says he's going to force the Senate to reach that higher 60 vote threshold to get this bill passed. It's sure to turn out really interesting. We are going to be watching very, very closely -- John.

BERMAN: He needs five Republicans to get through. All right, Athena, thank you very much.

It's 6 minutes after the hour, in a warning this morning if you own a Graco car seat. The company is recalling nearly 3.8 million car seats after federal investigators determined that the safety buckles were faulty. Now investigators have said the recall that they even go far enough. They've requested that Graco take back nearly 2 million more on top of all that.

CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, "EARLY START" co-anchor, joins us now with more.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Yes, this is a big recall. These are very popular models. At issue here is the red release buckle in the middle of that safety buckle. There can be foreign items. Think like food and juice and milk that gets in there. It gets stuck and parents were complaining it was difficult to get their kid out in an emergency quickly.

Some parents saying they had to cut their child out of the straps to get them out of the seat. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administrative Board saying that they want 3.8 million of these recalled. You can contact Graco and get a new seatbelt harness system to put right in that.

BERMAN: I think you have to have an advanced degree to operate one of these car seats anyway.

ROMANS: That's true.

BERMAN: But what struck me is so interesting here is that the government saying that Graco didn't take into consideration that stuff can get caught in the buckle. You know what happens to car seats? ROMANS: Stuff gets caught in the buckle, I know. The government is saying you should have known. This was foreseeable that this would happen. Now Graco very clearly saying that this not a problem of these not working in a crash, that's not what this is about. They want people to know that. This is not in any way affecting the performance of the car seat or the effectiveness of the buckle to restrain the child. That's the most important thing here.

You know, safety experts this morning are telling us, you know, this doesn't mean stop using them. You must use them and you must use them properly, but you should contact Graco and get a replacement. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration -- right, right, the government would like more of these recalled. They're still talking to the company about that.

BERMAN: Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

PEREIRA: Got a lot of people's attention with that. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

PEREIRA: Take a look at some of the other headlines. Good morning, everybody. Good morning to you at home. A dispute is intensifying over pictures of Osama Bin Laden's dead body. Newly released document show that within two weeks of the raid that killed him then Vice Admiral William McRaven sent an e-mail ordering the photos not turned over to the CIA, destroyed immediately.

The problem is conservative group, Judicial Watch says it filed a freedom of information act request for those pictures of a dead al Qaeda leader beforehand and later filed a lawsuit.

Former NBC Nightly News anchor, Tim Brokaw, is being treated for cancer. The network says Brokaw was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in August. Brokaw for his part says he is optimistic about his treatment adding quote, "I remain the luckiest guy I know." Dr. Sanjay Gupta will join us to discuss Brokaw's diagnosis and his prognosis later in the show. And we here at CNN wish Mr. Brokaw well.

An emotional homecoming expected for a castaway who said he lost at sea for more than a year. The 37-year-old Jose Salvador Alvarenge is back in his native El Salvador this morning. The shark fisherman was found some two weeks ago in the Pacific. He says he was swept out to sea by a storm and survived on raw fish, rain water and his own urine. His family who has not seen in eight years say they plan a reunion at the hospital where he is being treated.

French President Francois Hollande on his way to San Francisco today, this a day after many stars and big names descended on the White House for a state dinner. Hollande was there solo after he and his partner split over rumors Hollande had an affair. He said he was seated between the Obamas.

And finally, and Kate, can you maybe hold Berman's hand through this? BOLDUAN: We need the Graco child restraint.

PEREIRA: Meet Sky, a five-year-old wire fox terrier, not a lab, this is America's top dog. She was crowned last night at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at New York's Madison Square Garden. Sky holds the distinction of being a triple crown winner, folks in the world of dogs. She also won at the National Dog Show and at American Kennel Club event. Somebody in our midst feels that labs are ignored entirely.

BOLDUAN: The dog is cute.

BERMAN: Sky is cute. Terriers have won 46 times.

BOLDUAN: You notice that.

BERMAN: We know this because the thing is rigged. The dog show is rigged. Terriers almost always win. Labs have never won. Something is going on here at the dog show.

BOLDUAN: This is a dog show that allowed mutts in for the first time, right?

PEREIRA: Yes, but they can't compete for best in show. I hope that can be my platform later.

PEREIRA: We all have to have an issue. Take it on.

BOLDUAN: All right, Olympic news folks this morning, history and more chances for American gold, hockey and snowboarding all coming today. CNN's Rachel Nichols has the highlights. Let's give the necessary spoiler alert, Rachel, because a lot of people want to see it in prime time. What can we look forward to today? Give us the highlights.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS: First, I can tell you I kind of feel bad telling you that it's 60 degrees is what we're up to today. I don't feel that bad telling you that actually. It is absolutely beautiful here, of course. We also have water leaking from the ceiling from our live location. Always a mixed bag here in Sochi.

They are using manufactured snow up in the mountains and snow they saved from last year. So far today, the events have gone off without a hitch, and what a day it's been. Take a look.


NICHOLS (voice-over): And it's a tie. For the first time in Olympic history, two athletes are bringing home the gold in Alpine skiing, Slovenian skier, Tina Maze and split skier, Dominic Guizon (ph), both clocking in at the exact same time, both now embracing their sweet victory.

In another major surprise, the halfpipe left Shaun White empty handed. The game's most iconic snowboarder coming down hard, in the end falling short of his goal of three straight gold medals, but short of the podium. The 27-year-old was disappointed after coming in fourth overtaken by a 25-year-old Uri Pavlachikov (ph) or I-pod as he is nicknamed.

The charming Swiss snowboarder with Russian roots won with his signature yolo flip proving you do indeed only live once. While White might be singing the blues on the slope, he now says he's going to channel that energy into his band, bad things. There was a major victory for Team USA on the lose track, the 27-year-old Erin Hamlin chasing her dreams and grabbing the bronze becoming the first American to ever medal in single luge.

And in the women's ski jump, while the U.S. didn't clinch a medal, American Sarah Hendrickson soared into history. The 19-year-old becoming the first woman to ever compete in ski jumping at the Olympics. Meanwhile, in pairs figure skating, the Russians nicknamed the "Dream Team" took the lead with a short program that left the crowd wanting more catapulting themselves into the record books.

With the best ever scores for a short program. At the cross country venue, Russian skier, Anton Gafarovski, but helped by Canadian Coach Justin Wadsworth. The ultimate day of sportsmanship, two countries coming together on the trail, a very Olympic day indeed.


NICHOLS: What a nice moment, of course. And don't you just love the snowboarders. First of all, the competition won by a guy nicknamed iPod? Shaun White, yes, he's sorry he lost, but he's going to go tour with his band dudes.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that's right, Rachel. That's the kind of life of a snowboarder. It seems like a lot of extreme highs and lows, especially for the U.S. Team. You talked about it a little bit in your piece. This was the first time women were able to take part in ski jumping. What was the reaction, though?

NICHOLS: You know what, they didn't feel like there was a loser on that hill. They've had to wait 90 years for women to be allowed to ski jump here at the Olympics. And really, the last 10 or 15 years, the American women and the Canadian women have banded together to sue the IOC to get into competition here. The president said just a few years ago that he didn't think women were medically able to participate in such event. That was what they were told about marathons, about soccer, that it wasn't good for them. Those women soared last night, one way or the other, even if they didn't win and they certainly felt like it.

BOLDUAN: I think you said that perfectly. It's good to see that the Olympics is catching up with the rest of modern reality. Rachel, thank you so much.

PEREIRA: I remember growing up in Canada when girls weren't allowed to play hockey. Guess what's happening today at 7:30 a.m. U.S. and Canada, watch that game because you know --

BERMAN: Because you know who's going down. Canada.

PEREIRA: They fight. These two teams -- BOLDUAN: It's hockey.

PEREIRA: Remember this, Olympic spirit.

BOLDUAN: Olympic spirit. Rachel, thank you so much. I can't believe she said it was 60 degrees.

All right, so let's get you caught up on the medal count. Norway remains in the lead with 11 total medals. Four of those medals are gold. They're followed by Canada, the Netherlands, the U.S. and host country, Russia.

BERMAN: All right, 16 minutes after the hour. Next up on NEW DAY, taking the stand. The man who shot and killed a teenager, he testifies in his own defense. He says it was life and death. But guess who has contradicted at least part of his story.

BOLDUAN: And a brazen challenge to police in Texas. Catch me if you can. We'll have the latest on a search for a motorcyclist who posted this very dangerous video.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Closing arguments are expected today in the so-called loud music murder trial. Tuesday, Michael Dunn told jurors that he feared for his life and that he was justified in shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis. But in a shocking twist, crucial parts of his story were contradicted by his own fiancee who was there with him that night. CNN's Alina Machado is in Jacksonville following all of the latest details. It's an important day today, Alina.

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, Kate. Michael Dunn says he's the only person who saw a gun the night of the shooting. And he spent several hours walking the jury through his version of events.


MICHAEL DUNN, DEFENDANT: I'm looking out the window and I said, you're not going to kill me you son of a bitch and I shot him.

MACHADO (voice-over): Michael Dunn took the stand in his own defense telling the jury he had no choice but to fire his gun during a confrontation with a group of teenagers over loud music.

DUNN: It was Jordan Davis who kept escalating this to the point where I had no choice, but to defend myself. It was life or death.

MACHADO: The 17-year-old Jordan Davis was killed in the 2012 altercation. On Tuesday, Dunn spent more than three hours on the stand telling the jury about the night of the shooting.

DUNN: I asked for a common courtesy.

MACHADO: His demeanor mostly calm and controlled, but became emotional several times when talking about his puppy --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was his name?

DUNN: His name is Charlie.

MACHADO: And when he discussed his fiancee Rhonda Rouer who was with him that night. Dunn says he and Rouer stopped at this Jacksonville gas station to buy wine after his son's wedding. When they pulled up next to this red SUV, Dunn says he noticed thumping music coming from the vehicle/

DUNN: My rear-view mirror was shaking. My ear drums are vibrating. It's just ridiculously loud music.

MACHADO: Dunn says he asked the teens to lower it. And at first, they did. But then things turned, quote, "ugly." Dunn testified he saw a barrel of what he believed was a shotgun sticking out of a window in the SUV.

DUNN: After the -- continued threat of you're dead -- now the door opens and this young man gets out, and as his head clears the window frame, he says -- going down now.

MACHADO: According to Dunn, he grabbed his gun and started shooting. Nine shots were fired. When Rouer came out of the store and got back in the car, they quickly drove off. Investigators say they never found a firearm in the SUV. On the stand, Dunn said he told his fiancee the teens had a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell her they had a weapon of any kind?

DUNN: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did. What did you tell her? Tell the jury the term that you used to describe the weapon.

DUNN: I don't know what I said, but I told her that they had a weapon. They threatened my life and they -- he advanced upon me.

MACHADO: But Rouer had a different story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the defendant ever tell you that he saw a gun in that red SUV?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the defendant ever tell you that he saw a weapon of any kind in that SUV?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no mention of a stick?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no mention of a shotgun?

ROUER: No. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no mention of a barrel?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no mention of a lead pipe.


MACHADO: Dunn also explained to the jury why he did not call police that night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That didn't go through your head like maybe I just shot somebody, they pointed a gun at me, I should call the police.

DUNN: You're right. It sounds crazy. I couldn't tell you what I was thinking when this happened. I can just tell you I didn't do it.


MACHADO: Closing arguments are set to begin in just a few hours. The jury could have the case as early as this afternoon -- John and Kate.

BERMAN: Those closing arguments will be fascinating. The defense has some work to do today for sure. All right, Alina, thank you very much.

It's 24 minutes after the hour. Michael Sam has received an overwhelming show of support after stating publicly that he is gay. But his father seems to be struggling with the news. Andy Scholes joins us now with more in the "Bleacher Report." Good morning Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS: Good morning, guys. Michael Sam's father's birthday was this last Tuesday. That's when Sam shared the news with him that he was in fact gay. Sam's father took the news pretty hard. He told the "New York Times" he had to quit eating his dinner and leave the restaurant he was at. Sam Sr. describes himself as an old school guy. He told the "Times," quote, "I don't want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment." Sam Sr. however did add that he loves his son and hopes he makes it to the NFL.


MASAHIRO TANAKA, BASEBALL PLAYER: Hello. My name is Masahiro Tanaka. I'm very happy to be a Yankee.


SCHOLES: And New York Yankees officially introducing their newest free agent yesterday and as you can see pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka doesn't speak much English, but he can throw a nasty split finger and that's what counts. The Yankees signed Tanaka to $155 million deal this off season and to get to New York, he rented a 787 Dreamliner on a whim so his family and toy poodle could travel comfortably from Japan. Guys, that Dreamliner on a whim, it cost $195,000.

BOLDUAN: Wasn't there a rumor that said maybe the airline footed the bill because they thought it would be a big point of national pride to see him flying over on a Japanese airline.

SCHOLES: I heard that, but it's unconfirmed. He just got a $155 million so he can probably afford it.

BERMAN: I bet he is happy to be a Yankee. He's got 155 million reasons to be happy.

BOLDUAN: He'll make up that cost of that Dreamliner flight in one game.

All right coming up next on NEW DAY, an epic storm, another one, I know folks, deja vu targeting the southeast with snow and a whole lot of ice. Forecasters say it could be historic leaving many to wonder will power lines hold and is our cities in the south prepared?

BERMAN: And the FBI is cracking down on lasers being shined at planes. It happens thousands and thousands of times every year. Now there is a big reward. We'll tell you all about it coming up next.