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Interview with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas; WhatsApp Worth $19 Billion?; One Winning Powerball Ticket

Aired February 20, 2014 - 06:30   ET




Let's once again get back over to our friend Don Lemon. I can't enunciate. We were just joking about not enunciating our words in the break. And I fell for it.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: My third grade teacher, enunciate, Ms. Bolduan.

BOLDUAN: Enunciate, Don, I will.

LEMON: We have some breaking news. A lot of news to tell you about.

We're going to start with some breaking news now -- fresh street battles breaking out overnight between riot police and protesters in Kiev's Independent Square. That has been ground zero for anti- government demonstrations.

At least 20 protesters have died in the latest violence. The chaos happening despite an announced truce last night. Twenty-eight people were killed in the clashes on Tuesday. Opposition groups want Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to step down.

Homeland security officials are warning all U.S. airlines to be on the lookout for shoe bombs. They're calling the threat nonspecific, but intelligence officials say terrorists are working on new more sophisticated shoe bomb designs. And they maybe targeting direct overseas flights to the United States.

This morning, families in the Korea separated for more than half a century are being reunited as part of a five-day event negotiated by North and South Korea. The emotional reunions taking place in a mountain resort in North Korea. With no regular form of communications between the two Koreas, family members have gone decades without phone calls, letters or e-mails, unable to know whether their loved ones are alive or dead. Very emotional there.

Major document dump could dampen the presidential hopes of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Thousands of pages of emails and other documents shredding -- shedding, I should say, new light on a criminal investigation that led to the conviction of six former Walker aides when he was running for governor and still Milwaukee's county executive. Prosecutors say Walker was never a target and hasn't been charged with a crime. But at least two of those aides were found guilty of performing political business on county time while Walker was mounting his campaign for governor.

And a summons from Atlantic City police says that Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens knocked his fiancee unconscious during a fight last weekend. Rice and Janay Palmer were both arrested Saturday morning and charged with simple assault and domestic violence. Video posted online shows Rice lifting Palmer out of the elevator by her arms and layering her on the ground. Rice is due in court on Tuesday.

Certainly disturbing. A lot of people are paying close attention to this story. It's unbelievable, yes.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Bad situation, bad situation.

All right. We have exclusives today. We're going to have one right now. This one, one on one with Senator Ted Cruz -- very important individual in the senate and now slamming his own party this morning.

The Texas Tea Party darling angering fellow Republicans by blocking a vote to raise the debt ceiling last week. Top GOP leaders crossed the aisle to break Cruz's filibuster and possibly put themselves in jeopardy this fall.

With the answer to why, CNN's Dana Bash is in Houston. She's the one that went toe to toe with the senator. And he says he has no regrets, Dana, although he may regret going toe to toe with you.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't know. We'll see about that, Chris.

But it's absolutely true, he has no regrets.

Look, the Republican leadership plan last week was to allow the debt ceiling to be increased without any Republican votes because it's so unpopular among conservatives. Well, Ted Cruz put a stop to that because he said it is trickery and he's still saying that today.


BASH: I did not think it was possible to hear your colleagues, your Republican colleagues, angrier at you than they were after the government shutdown. But I actually think you have topped it. That they are really, really upset with you, that you tried to stop the debt ceiling with a filibuster and forced your colleagues to take really, really tough votes that you knew would be tough for them.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Well, you know, it's interesting. I think last week actually is a perfect illustration of everything that's wrong with Washington.

Republican leadership said is we want this to pass. But if every senator affirmatively consents to doing it on 51 votes, then we can all cast a vote no and go home to the constituents and say we opposed it.

And, listen, that sort of show vote, that sort of trickery to the constituents is why congress has a 13 percent approval rating.

BASH: Now, you're talking about Republican leadership. One of the people you're talking about is your senior senator in your own party from the state, who happens to be the number two in the Senate, John Cornyn, who voted to try to stop your filibuster.

Is he trying to fool Texas voters?

CRUZ: Listen, I like John Cornyn. He's a friend of mine. He and I have agreed on the vast majority of issues. I disagree with him on this.

BASH: Part of the eyebrow raising criticism of this particular filibuster is that it wasn't the kind of one you did over the shutdown. You were not there for 21 hours saying green eggs and ham, reciting that. In fact, you didn't give a speech at all. I was watching you, you were sort in the corner on the floor at your seat, and just watching the chaos quietly.

So it wasn't even sort of a real filibuster. If you wanted to really block it, why didn't you talk about it?

CRUZ: What I said at the outset is I am not going to affirmatively consent to giving Harry Reid the authority to do this because it's irresponsible. It is selling our nation's future down the road. And, you know, you go back to the Senate lunches, I won't identify anything, but I'll tell you several people raise add question just like you did there.

Why are you trying to throw five Republicans under the bus and make them vote for raising the debt ceiling?

And I'll tell you my response. My response is, I don't want to throw any Republicans under the bus. I would like to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents.

BASH: "The Wall Street Journal" called you the minority maker. The idea there is that -- this is really what it's all about, is that you forced Republicans to take votes that could hurt them in their races and could put the Republican Party in a minority again. Do you not want to be in a majority? What's more important to you, being in the majority or party purity?

CRUZ: Dana, I want to win and turn this country around and the way we lose is not standing for anything.

BASH: On a human level, I know you're in Washington fighting for the grassroots, but you are a human being and you are sitting with people around you who -- I would think that you have some respect for, fellow senators in your own party. For them to be so mad at you, so mad at you, what's that like?

CRUZ: Oh, listen, you know, what I try to keep an eye on is that I don't work for the party bosses in Washington, I work for the 26 million in Texas.

BASH: But as a human being. You are a human being, does it sting?

CRUZ: As a human being, I can't control what they say, how they behave. I can control what I do. So, every interaction that I have with every senator, Republican or Democrat, is consistently civil, courteous, respectful, treating them with the dignity they deserve.


CUOMO: Dana, that's a great interview. I was so riveted. I was waiting for you to tag it.

Let me ask you a question, though. Does the senator acknowledge the contempt that he tells people about for the entire process of Washington? Does he acknowledge that his strategy to date has been to obstruct? Does he own that?

BASH: Oh, absolutely. He doesn't use the word obstruct. He uses terms like standing up for the people here in Texas, of course.

But that is what he's doing, whatever term you want to use. As you just heard, he doubles down on it even more than that. You know, what's really fascinating, Chris, is that I've been covering Congress for a while and I see the place and how it works as a club.

And to watch somebody who has only been in the Senate for a little more than a year to push back against that club-like mentality in such a vigorous way, which is why I asked that human level question, he is sitting with these colleagues all day long who are so mad at him. You know, one thing for Democrats to be mad. For his fellow Republicans, it's another thing.

But this is the third time I've been here in Texas in this year to interview him. I see here on the ground why he is able to be like that, because he is applauded everywhere he goes for doing what he is doing by the conservative grassroots and even beyond that here in Texas, the people who elected him.

And let's just be honest about what he's doing with regard to his long term game. He doesn't deny that he wants to be president, doesn't deny that he probably will make that run. He is banking on the fact that there is a constituent out there, conservatives who -- and may others -- who are so mad at Washington that they are going to continue to applaud him for standing up against Washington and being virtually the only one to do that at times like this.

CUOMO: Dana, great interview. Very insightful because Ted Cruz, he is the face of half of the problem. Half of the problem is you want to go in there and obstruct people -- love that because you're exposing the game, the club as you call it.

But then there's the other half. What are you going to do to make it better? Higher ambitions won't happen until that piece has been filled as well.

Thank you very much for the interview. Great to have you.

BASH: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: And Dana makes an important point. And she points out, it matters because with her expertise and the year she's been covering the Senate, you don't often see someone who so quickly comes in and makes waves in this institution and has so much support who also isn't committing political suicide, who has so much support back home. Not that's just because he says wild things and reads green eggs and ham on the Senate floor that we cover him, it's because he's making waves.

CUOMO: He's harnessing the outrage of the people. The task as a leader is now how do you take that and then create progress. That's the part we need to see.

BOLDUAN: That's the part of it that we haven't seen yet.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, huge deal in the tech world. Why Facebook believes an app called WhatsApp is worth $19 billion. And wait until you here the incredible rags to riches story of the messaging app's co-founder. We all love that kind of a story. We've got one for you.


CUOMO: Closer. Come closer, come closer to me. Welcome back, my friend, at NEW DAY.

Let's get to meteorologist, Indra Petersons. We are on extreme weather watch. A lot of variables. What do we see?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I mean, yesterday, the biggest concern was flooding as temperatures are rising and still again today, a lot of flooding concerns with warm temperatures and rain.

But that's not even the biggest story today. We're actually going to be adding blizzards into the mix as well, especially into the upper Midwest where we could be seeing winds as high as 50 miles per hour and also over a foot of snow, and yet, even that, not the biggest story of the day. Take a look at all the activity, especially around Chicago.

These thunderstorms already firing up. This will be the big story today, the threat for severe weather. Why? Take a look. Down to the southeast. Look at these temperatures well above normal and then you have this very cool temperatures that we have, the blizzards up in the upper Midwest. Now, you have a storm making its ways through both of those clashes of temperatures.

And what do you have? You have that severe weather threat for 38 million of you today. What are you watching out for? Thunderstorms that could turn severe, likely very strong straight line winds, but even few isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out. Louisville all the way down through New Orleans looking for the threat today.

It is not over with tonight. We're looking at it to even spread through tomorrow looking for the mid-Atlantic straight down through Jacksonville -- Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Indra. We'll be watching very, very closely. Thanks so much. It's going to change even throughout the show, so we got to be really careful and keep on that.

We also have a big business story to tell you about. Two new billionaires in Silicon Valley this morning, Jan Koum and Brian Acton selling their messaging app called WhatsApp to Facebook for a cool $19 billion. So, of course, I wonder cynically, is it worth it? Let's bring in Brett Larson, CNN analyst and --



BOLDUAN: I really -- first of all, maybe I am living under a rock. I did not know of WhatsApp and then I found out how many people use it.

BRETT LARSON, CNN ANALYST: Yes. Billions of people use it every day.

CUOMO: What is it?

LARSON: It's a messaging app.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Is it popular here in the U.S. or is it just around the country where there are more phones? I had it on a Blackberry and then got rid of it.

LARSON: And then you got rid of the Blackberry --


BOLDUAN: OK. What is it and why is it worth 19 billion?

LARSON: It's a messaging app that works internationally, but it works over data and not over text messaging. So, if you've got a limited number of texts, you can keep sending messages --

BOLDUAN: So, it's a cheaper, more cost effective way to text.

LARSON: Right. Right. And it's also -- you can use it with people all over the world.


LARSON: So, if you've got friends in Europe --

CUOMO: Without -- structure.

LARSON: Exactly. Exactly. It's almost like Skype but for text messaging.

CUOMO: Now, that's a good analogy. Now, I know what it is.

LEMON: She makes a very good point. Is it worth it? $19 billion.

CUOMO: You're paying for the users --

LARSON: They're definitely buying up the users and they're getting millions of new subscribers every day. And, you know, The reality for Facebook is they're not keeping or getting really that younger audience, that under 17 that they so desperately need to get into the fold of Facebook so that they can keep using the products as they age. That's not what people do with media anymore.

CUOMO: All right. But still, Facebook's got a lot of cash.


LARSON: Right. Right.

CUOMO: But 19 billion, they obviously did their own quantitative analysis that made --

LARSON: Right.

CUOMO: But, what companies does this now make this what app which isn't generating money yet, what is it now worth more than in terms of a big company as we all know?

LARSON: Oh, gosh! In terms of a big company we all know, it's probably one of the smaller electronic companies, not a Sony but someone significantly further --

CUOMO: But like legit companies. I know it's bigger than Mattel, the toy company.

LARSON: Right.

CUOMO: It doesn't have a market cap of $19 billion. I mean, some like real companies --

LARSON: It's bigger than Exxon -- no, it's definitely not bigger than Exxon.


BOLDUAN: The last time we were talking about Facebook at least trying to buy another kind of company, Snap Chat turned down the $2 or $3 billion --


BOLDUAN: And now, we're talking almost $20 billion.

LARSON: Right, which is a significantly larger amount -- it's ten- fold more amounts of money --

CUOMO: Dr Pepper Snapple Group is 10 billion. News Corp, OK, Fox News, "New York Post, 10.27 billion. Tiffany's, Mattel, Chipotle --


LARSON: They haven't been around for very long. Yes. It's three, four years. But the real buy that Facebook is getting here is that user base. And also WhatsApp is signing up millions of people every day. So, that's a good revenue stream to have. Now, down the road, WhatsApp will start making money. It's free now, but in a year's time, they'll start charging you --


BOLDUAN: We're talking about serious users. This says there are 450 million monthly active users, 320 million daily active users. Point of comparison, what's the current population in United States like 315 million people --

LARSON: So, now, think about if Facebook decided to say, OK, for every other message you send, we're going to put in a text ad, that's millions of ads every day that they get. And also, the other thing that needs to be pointed out here, Facebook isn't an innovator. They're not innovating anything --


LARSON: They need to buy up things kind of like what Microsoft did in the 1990s. They just buy what they need to do.

CUOMO: Innovating by acquisition.

LARSON: Exactly.

CUOMO: Brett Larson, thank you for explaining it.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Bret.

LEMON: I'm downloading.

CUOMO: Are you?


CUOMO: Good. See, it's working already.

Coming up on NEW DAY, a $2 bet paid off big, big, big. One winner, $400 million Powerball drawing. We're going to go to Northern California. That's where the ticket was sold just ahead.


CUOMO: Welcome back. Breaking overnight, a single winning $425 million Powerball ticket. The one ticket sold in the San Francisco Bay area and we are waiting for the lucky winner to come forward. In case you haven't checked yours, here are the numbers, 1, 17, 35, 49, and 54. The Powerball, 34.

Stephanie Elam is in Milpitas, California which is going to be renamed 425 million pitas (ph) because that's where the ticket was sold -- Stephanie.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is correct, Chris. I keep wondering, who's the first person you call after you realize that you have all of the numbers on your Powerball ticket. Somebody here is trying to figure that out. We know that one ticket was sold with all of those numbers right here in Milpitas. And if you don't know Milpitas, it's pretty much Silicon Valley.

So, we know that there are a lot of millionaires here. Maybe there's another one here. Maybe they're adding to their coffers. We're not sure. But we do know that this is the sixth largest jackpot in U.S. history. And the odds of winning this was something like one in 175 million. Only this one ticket had all the numbers.

Now, there are two other tickets in California that we know about where they had all the numbers but one. One of those from Modesto, California, one in El Segundo down south. So, some other people who may be happy, just maybe not $425 million happy, Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: $425 million happy. That sounds pretty happy to me. Yes, please. Thank you.

CUOMO: Can't wait.

BOLDUAN: Can't wait.


BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Stephanie. Great to see you.

All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the verdict in the loud music trial has definitely drawn outrage. There's no question about that. Florida state attorney, though, says she's satisfied with the verdict. So, why retry Dunn, Michael Dunn, on the unresolved charge then? An exclusive interview just ahead.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, February 20th, seven o'clock in the east. We're going to start with our news blast. That's the most news you can get anywhere. Are you ready?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrorists may attempt to hide explosives in shoes, cosmetics, and liquids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're talking about something that can get past sensors in an airport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight, nine hours ago, I understood here talking about the possibility of peace talks. That's clearly out of the window. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There will be consequences if people step over the line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to make sure that if you work full time, you're at least at the poverty line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our intention is to retry (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You'll never work out of prison again.


CUOMO: All that is coming up, but we begin with breaking news out of the Ukraine. A fragile truce up in smoke. Dozens killed overnight in new street battles between riot police and demonstrators in Kiev's Independent Square. That's what you're looking at. This new violence breaks out just hours after a truce had been called just to show the instability there. We're going to go live in Ukraine capital in just moments. Stay with us.

BOLDUAN: And serious questions about a U.S. drone attack in Yemen. Breaking overnight, human rights watch calling for an investigation saying the December strike may have violated President Obama's targeted killing policy. The group says as many as a dozen people were killed on their way to a wedding in Yemen, including the bride.

U.S. officials have said only member s of al Qaeda were killed in that December strike and have refused to make the results of two investigations --

LEMON: Investigators are scrambling to figure out why two American security officers turned up dead on board the Maersk Alabama. That is the containership hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009 and profiled in the film, "Captain Phillips." Both are former Navy SEALs.