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Dangerous Storm Slams South; Rand Paul Sues Obama; Interview with Durham, NC, Mayor; America's New Olympic Star

Aired February 13, 2014 - 06:30   ET


INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: So, what are we looking for? Yes, eventually, we're going to transition, more miserable. We're going to even more even potentially icing, even some more sleet out here, and then again, it will transition back to snow in these overnight hours. So, once again, don't think it's going to be over with as we go through the evening hours. We'll see some of the heavy snow especially in through New York City and Boston.

Even for your morning commute tomorrow, you're still going to be talking than snow out there, but eventually tapering off by tomorrow.

I just want to point out quickly, heavy winds out there also. So, be careful. You're going to be, visibility should be very poor out there, guys.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It literally looks like somebody's throwing handfuls of snow at your face, while you're doing the live shot.

PETERSONS: Feels like it.

CUOMO: Thanks for sucking it up out there, Indra. Better you and that me.

All right. So, it's just starting to develop here in the Northeast. North Carolina, already one of the hardest hit areas because of the combination of snow and ice.

Joining us by phone is Durham, North Carolina's mayor, William Bell.

Mr. Mayor, can you hear us?

MAYOR WILLIAM BELL, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Yes, good morning.

CUOMO: Mr. Mayor, what can you tell us about the current conditions and challenges in terms of power outages and number of distress calls you're seeing?

BELL: Well, fortunately, right now, we haven't had, at least in Durham, very many outages. And the -- we don't have the precipitation but are expecting that to happen again. Yesterday was really bad for us, a lot of snow. Getting the roads cleared, delays on the highway. Persons stranded.

This has been a bad day. CUOMO: Absolutely. Anyway you look at it -- 100 wrecks before rush hour. You had to deploy the National Guard to help motorists there. Did the National Guard get the job done? Was that the right move?

BELL: I think everybody worked well in trying to deal with a real bad situation. The state, local government, everybody was working well. We even had our shopping centers to stay open for stranded travelers. So, everybody was pulling together, but it was really a mess.

CUOMO: One of the signs thousand stopped life, had you to postpone the Duke/UNC basketball game last night. That matters. I mean, it's like the first time anything that epic has been done. So, what did you see? Like students throwing snowballs together instead?

BELL: No, we didn't get that far. But I'm sure people were disappointed. But it was in the best interests of all. And they're going to play it again. So, hopefully things will work out a lot better.

CUOMO: Now, we're showing the motorists deal with it, which is poorly. They're not used to it. Ice. And then, underneath snow, it's very deceptive to people. It's hard. The cars aren't set up for it.

What about government, Mr. Mayor? What did you in terms of what the challenges were, what did you respond to well and what surprised you in terms of how hard it was?

BELL: Well, what surprises me and surprise a lot of people, we were expecting the snow. But it just seemed to come down all of a sudden. It wasn't like a gradual. About 1:00 looked like the skies fell in. Normally a drive that takes about 15 minutes from Duke's campus took me about three hours to get back from Duke to my home.

But we've -- I've declared a state of emergency. So we are encouraging people to stay off the roads, at least until 12:00. We'll make an assessment and see what we do after that time.

CUOMO: State of emergency obviously frees up resources for you, that you don't usually have access to. Is there anything else that you need? Do you want to take the opportunity here on CNN to say that there are things that you need or are you in good shape?

BELL: Well, what we really need is for people to stay off the roads. We understand people have jobs and et cetera. But it really isn't a time for anybody to be out. If they can stay off the roads, it makes it easier for us to get things cleared out.

CUOMO: And also, we need employers to be understanding about that as well, right, Mr. Mayor?

BELL: Exactly. That's very important.

CUOMO: All right. Mayor William Bell, down there in Durham, I hope it gets better before it gets worse to be sure. And thank you for joining us on CNN. Stay safe. BELL: Thank you. Take care.

CUOMO: Mick?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's take a look at your headlines right now. Half past the hour.

President Obama is praising a Senate vote to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. Twelve Republicans crossing the aisle Wednesday breaking a filibuster mounted by a member of their own party. This rare show of bipartisanship would raise the nation's borrowing limit for another year. That bill now moves to the White House where the president is expected to sign it.

New developments in the Boston marathon bombing. A federal judge setting a November 3rd trial date for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. That is a lot sooner than the defense requested. They asked for a September 2015 trial. The next hearing is two sides will exchange a possible change of venue for the trial in June.

Two people are dead after being trapped in an avalanche in northeast Oregon. They were part of a group of eight skiers. Four of them were uninjured. Two were rescued a day after the tragedy. Those two each have broken legs.

Eight people have now been killed in avalanches in just the last few days in Oregon, Colorado and in Utah.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin will appeal his corruption conviction, so says his lead attorney as they left the courtroom Wednesday. Of the 21 counts against Nagin, a federal jury convicted him of 20. Prosecutors successfully argued Nagin was at the center of a kickback scheme in which he took hundreds of thousands in bribes and other favors from businessmen looking for a break.

The National Corvette Museum set to reopen this morning in Kentucky. You heard the gasp when you look at this. It's hard to believe. It was cringe-inducing moment when you saw a massive sinkhole swallow eight beautiful collector cars. This is new surveillance video showing some of the most iconic speedsters plummeting nearly 30 feet.

The value of the damage is not known yet, but we do understand that some of these vehicles were one-of-a-kind cars. Some of them estimated to be worth millions.

This is the big takeaway. No injuries were reported, and that is a miracle. If it had been busy, people had been there, this could have been catastrophic on a human scale.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's a good point.

PEREIRA: You know, we're all car lovers here. There a 1962 Corvette in there. A couple on loan from G.M. That's a tough phone call to make.


BOLDUAN: So the floor just fell in.

PEREIRA: Remember the cars you lent us?

CUOMO: And you know what the problem is?

PEREIRA: Can we keep them?

BOLDUAN: Right, exactly.

CUOMO: You can insure the money, but you can't insure the uniqueness of them and you saw. You're right. Give me some of that on the '62. Black with the red interior, '62, and a very rare color combination. So it's one of a few could be gone. It's a big part of American culture and history.

PEREIRA: It really is. They're supposed to be celebrating their 20th anniversary, that museum this September. Fingers crossed. They're reopening today.

BOLDUAN: They are.


CUOMO: They better figure out what the stress status is underneath.

PEREIRA: Seen it in Florida. Kentucky --

CUOMO: You've figured it out but you haven't.

BOLDUAN: There's been really unusual weather there. One of the things they're going through.

PEREIRA: Middle earth might just been a fan of old cars.

BOLDUAN: Middle earth, our chief space correspondent.


PEREIRA: I'd like that one and that one. Just saying.

BOLDUAN: Really have to bring that voice.

CUOMO: Maybe you can get that '62 on the discount. Get it on, we'll work on it over the summer.

BOLDUAN: I'd still take it.

CUOMO: It's a group project. You'd look good in that.

BOLDUAN: Going to take a break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, he's suing President Obama over NSA surveillance, but does the lawsuit from this guy, Senator Rand Paul, have more to do with 2016 ambitions than the NSA? CUOMO: Plus, one of the breakout stars at the Sochi Olympics. Slopestyle snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg.

PEREIRA: He's right there.

CUOMO: There he is in the house, with the medal and the board, and the wave. Spoice it!


BOLDUAN: Back to Washington now. Where Senator Rand Paul suing the president and intelligence leaders over NSA phone surveillance.

But now, he's the one that's also coming under fire. Overnight, accusations the Kentucky Republican hijacked the lawsuit from its rightful author.

CNN's Joe Johns has much more on this.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Senator Rand Paul's lawsuit joined by the Tea Party umbrella group FreedomWorks, is the latest legal effort to put the heat on President Obama and National Security Agency over collection of telephone metadata, the numbers, dates and times of calls, but not the content.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: This, we believe, will be a historic lawsuit. We think it may well be the largest class action lawsuit ever filed on behalf of the Bill of Rights.

JOHNS: An unusual lawsuit that Paul hopes will gain public support. It goes after the president and the director of national intelligence, of the NSA and the FBI, on behalf of millions who have been customer, users and subscribers of phone service since 2006.

Paul wants the federal courts to declare the metadata collection program unconstitutional, shut it down and order the government to purge the information from its systems. The administration insists the program is legal.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It has been found to be lawful by multiple courts and it receives oversight from all three branches of government, including the Congress.

JOHNS: Is the lawsuit a good idea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our information, I think it should be private.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The idea that anybody could be listening to my private life, that kind of -- it's a little creepy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's kind of a stunt to get attention. I doubt anything will actually come of the lawsuit.

JOHNS: There were already cases in the federal courts involving the same legal question. Whether the program violating your constitutional right.

STEVE VLADECK, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW: There's no question that the underlying legal question is going to have to be resolved by the federal courts sometime soon. It just doesn't seem like Senator Paul's suit is going to be the vehicle through which the courts do it.

JOHNS: Complicating the legal issues is a behind-the-scenes spat over the alleged hijacking of a prominent Washington attorney's work. Sources said conservative constitutional legal scholar Bruce Fein worked on the lawsuit since December, but when released publicly, his name was not on the document and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who left office in January was featured as the lead lawyer.

When CNN asked Cuccinelli who authored the document, Cuccinelli stead was a legal team including Fein and that Fein would participate in the litigation. Fein told CNN he looks forward to working with the others with transparency and no ulterior motives.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


PEREIRA: All right. Joe, thanks.

We're going to take a short break and, boy, a treat next up on NEW DAY, as homies in Park City, Utah, are stoked about (INAUDIBLE) snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg. A gold medal and -- is he right here on our set? Is he standing behind me?

CUOMO: On the staircase to nowhere.


BOLDUAN: On the staircase to nowhere.

PEREIRA: Sage is here to talk about that wild ride and what life is like now that everybody knows his name. There he is.

All right.



BOLDUAN: You have to be insane to do these jumps.

PEREIRA: We have probably one of the coolest opportunities right now. Sage Kotsenburg, 20 years old, and -- thing about what I was doing at 20 --


PEREIRA: He's already made history when his first-ever gold medal in the snowboard slope-style at the winter games in Sochi. Did it, by landing a trick, I want you to pay attention to this, he had never tried before. That gold winning run also included a trick that he, oh, invented himself called the Holy Grail. Sage Kotsenburg joins us this morning, just arriving back in the states two days ago with that gold medal. Is that heavy around your neck, my friend?

SAGE KOTSENBURG, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST, SNOWBOARD SLOPESTYLE: Yes. It's pretty heavy. I mean, getting tired of wearing this thing.

PEREIRA: No, you're not.



PEREIRA: Congratulations.

KOTSENBURG: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

PEREIRA: How are you feeling right now?

KOTSENBURG: Really tired. Definitely tired. Just straight off the plane.

PEREIRA: -- some jet lag.

KOTSENBURG: Yes. Definitely a lot of jet lag. Bit, I've never been to New York before. So --


KOTSENBURG: Yes. So, it's perfectly fitting to just come back and a really warm welcome here.

BOLDUAN: I'm sure it's hard to even describe how you're feeling now, dealing with everything that you're dealing with, but can you take us back to the moment. Take us back to the moment when you were just about to start your run. You're just ready to -- you're just ready to ride. What were you thinking? What's going through your head?

KOTSENBURG: I was just kind of thinking of my run. I always -- you know, you go through a run before you drop in. I just take it feature to feature. I don't think about anything, like the trick I'd never tried. I wasn't really thinking about that at the top.

BOLDUAN: When did you make that decision?

KOTSENBURG: About 20 minutes before I dropped in.


KOTSENBURG: Yes. And then in practice, I kind of --

BOLDUAN: You recognize that sounds a little crazy?

KOTSENBURG: Sounds weird, but it made total perfect sense to me.

(LAUGHTER) CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And it was your first run, right?

KOTSENBURG: Yes. First run down. So -- yes. It was strange, but ended up working out pretty good, obviously.

CUOMO: Were you thinking in your head, in terms of the expectations of what you wanted to achieve, you had had some good second place finishes and things before, good, strong finishes, good ranking, but were you thinking gold at all until you saw the score from that first one?

KOTSENBURG: No. I was never really thinking of gold at the Olympics. I thought maybe a medal would be cool. I don't really want to claim getting a gold or even -- I don't want to think about it because I don't want to jinx it, you know?


KOTSENBURG: So, I mean, not like low expectations but kind of having fun with it, and when that score came up I was like, whoa, this could happen. This is weird.

BOLDUAN: Just got real.

KOTSENBURG: Yes. It just got real.

PEREIRA: I know a lot of people are making a lot about the fact that you're not a typical looking, sounding Olympian. One thing I know about snowboarders, because I know you look at me and say we've got a lot in common. I am a snowboarder --


PEREIRA: On the granny slope, but the fact is -- those that ride just go to do it because they love it so much. There isn't necessarily a competitive nature in the sport. So, how do you bring that A-game when you're at something like this kind of venue, the Olympic games? You know, you have to change the whole purpose of snowboarding, doesn't it?

KOTSENBURG: I mean, at the end of the day, we're all snowboarding and we all got into it to have fun and, you know, I made a lot of friends over the years competing, and although, like, we are really competitive when we drop in, like when you're in your run, you're not just fooling around, really.

You're definitely here for a purpose, but you're having fun with it, and there is a, like, really competitive nature when you're in the course, but once you're out like at the top, everyone's high fiving each other. At the bottom, I don't know if you watched like hugging each other like -- was throwing me up in the air. It was just like -- something a lot different than other sports.

BOLDUAN: People have also fallen in love with your terminology, I guess. And it's kind of taken off, right? I mean, we've been wondering in, and I want to get your take on what is spoice and what is spoicy? But you've got to take a little listen. This is our little gift to you.








BURNETT: That was one crispy jump, man.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Super crispy, like, super crispy.

COOPER: When you shredded that narr through that sick pile, it was the most spoice thing I've ever seen.

MORGAN: It was the most spoice thing I've ever seen.

GRACE: If you're not going to hook it big, just go home.


CUOMO: It's much more hostile when Nancy says it.


BOLDUAN: When Nancy Grace says it, you're in trouble. I thought she was going to say, bring in the lawyers, and you're going to be in a lot of trouble.

KOTSENBURG: Oh, my goodness. That was awesome.


KOTSENBURG: Yes. I mean, I don't even think twice about that stuff, because I mean, we grow up saying it. We always just come up with different lingo and none of us even understand each other anymore, you know? It's like --



KOTSENBURG: Yes. Just like so much terminology going on that we don't even know what we're saying either.

PEREIRA: One of the topics early on in the games that was being made, a kind of a big deal, and I don't know if it was just us in the media or if it was reality for you on the hill, about the condition, how warm the weather was in Sochi, how they were concerned about the snow et cetera. There were some courses. They were concerned really extra dangerous. How did they feel that you obviously -- you came home with gold, but how did they feel for you? Were you concerned about it going in?

KOTSENBURG: No, I wasn't concerned about at all. We showed up and the course was definitely big and needed a couple minor changes on the slope-style course. So, we had it really easy. I mean, they made those changes in the first night or two and then the snow conditions only got better for us, because when it's really warm and the way the sun was setting was all the lifts were hard in.

Not icy, but they're hard snow and landings were soft. That's like the perfect scenario. So, when you take off, you have a nice lip on the landing, you fall on your back. Real nice. It's not nice.


KOTSENBURG: But it's better. Yes. It's not as good as --


CUOMO: One of the nice things about watching your success here is not only did you break out at the Olympics, which we always love to see. Somebody coming to their best when it matters the most, but the idea that as an eight-year-old, the Olympics in Salt Lake City, it's in your backyard, where you live. And you're like, wow! Look at this snowboarding.

It's so cool. I want to be like that and you just start taking these giant steps with your life that you watch the Olympics, you got inspired, now you're living the dream. That's really what it's all about.

KOTSENBURG: Yes. No, I mean, when it came to Salt Lake City, my parents immediately got snowboard halfpipe tickets, men and women's, and we went there. I watched snowboard (Inaudible) and I was really stoked on that. I just didn't know -- I didn't watch competitive snowboarding. I didn't know it existed.

So, we saw it, like, whoa. Snowboarding at the Olympics. This is Crazy. I had no idea. I just watched snowboard movies. That's all I really knew about it. So, it really opened up my eyes to the whole competitive side of snowboarding and seeing, like, snowboarding at the world stage where I really had no idea.

PEREIRA: A beautiful thing.

BOLDUAN: Now your entire life is changed and I was reading one place, so you're saying that's been so overwhelming. You are just looking for a chance to chill. Hopefully, you get that.

PEREIRA: Put that board in the garage for a bit.


KOTSENBURG: Get some dust on it, I guess. (LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Well, Sage, thank you so much. We're going to have to steal your medal in just a second. Hang out with us --

CUOMO: It's a federal crime.

PEREIRA: It might be a federal crime.


PEREIRA: I'll take the risk.

BOLDUAN: We're going to take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, we're going to continue to track, talking about snow, that deadly dangerous winter storm that we're talking about slamming the northeast, already pounded the south and creating chaos on major roadways. How much more damage could we be looking at today? We're tracking the latest for you.

CUOMO: Better off with a snowboard than a car.

PEREIRA: Sage got the nerve (ph)!


CUOMO: Good morning, and welcome back to NEW DAY, this Thursday, February 13th, seven o'clock in the east, and we're starting with our news blast, the most news you can get anywhere. Let's go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never seen anything to this scale.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Came on so fast and furious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The crippling blast marching up the i-95 corridor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we say stay home, this is really the one. Stay home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is premeditation. When he pulled that gun out, he had it ready to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It may well be the largest class action lawsuit ever filed on behalf of the bill of rights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a sweeping one, two-three victory for team USA this morning.


CUOMO: A first, let's deal with the obvious. This wicked winter storm barreling through the northeast at this hour leaving death and destruction in its path. The south hardest hit already. The system enormous incredibly dangerous being blamed for ten deaths so far. A lot of time yet to go.

BOLDUAN: And a state of emergency in North and South Carolina where heavy ice storms. Of course, hundreds abandoned their cars or push them down the road if they had to. In Raleigh, North Carolina, roads were more like skating rinks with cars sliding into each other and off on to sidewalks. And look at this, the traffic accidents were so bad it even cause a fiery wreck on an interstate in Raleigh.

PEREIRA: And look at this. The storms let power lines coated with thick ice, and it has snapped giant trees across the south. Nearly 800,000 people are going to wake up to no power, most of them in Georgia and South Carolina.

CUOMO: Employers, be smart. People think before you leave the home and here's why. This is a freaky sight in Atlanta. A Wal-Mart rig jackknifed on a stretch of highway that was plowed and treated by the D.O.T. That's what's important to remember. State troopers says the truck was traveling at 45 miles an hour and that was way too fast for the conditions. Think before you drive.

BOLDUAN: And prove that in times of need, neighbors still help neighbors. In suburban Atlanta, people used kitty litter, scrapers, and hot water to free an ambulance that got stuck in ice as it tried to make it up a hill. The ambulance which had a patient inside finally got rolling with their help.

PEREIRA: Really incredible pictures out of Virginia. One person was injured after a piece of heavy equipment fell off a semi slamming into a car on I-95 in Richmond.