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Russia Moving to Crimea; Obama Condemning Russia's Act

Aired March 1, 2014 - 09:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, what's on the menu? It's 9:00. Maybe you are having a late breakfast.


PAUL: I think.

BLACKWELL: Is it really Saturday?

PAUL: Well, for us it is. I remember when it wasn't on a Saturday. I'm Christi Paul. We are just glad you are able to enjoy it.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. I have a little cottage cheese and banana over here, outside the shot. 9:00 here on the East Coast, 6:00 out west. This is "New Day Saturday."

First this morning, the breaking news that Russia is hinting it may send troops in Crimea, just in the southern portion of Ukraine.

PAUL: A top Russian lawmaker said that they protect its Black Sea fleet and its Russian citizens. Ukraine is saying thousands of Russian troops are already in Crimea. This is coming just hours after President Obama warned Russia that there will be costs for any military intervention.

BLACKWELL: Of course that was coming to us from AFT. CNN's Diana Magnay is in Crimea following developments for us. Diana, is Russia now paving the way for military intervention? Up to this point, these troops were seen as a military exercise, training mission, exercises here. Are they now going to move to some type of military action?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that was the way that Russia described it, but frankly, I'm in the city of Simferopol. It's a long way away from where those Russian military acts are supposed to take place around Russian bases. I saw and have seen many, hundreds of military troops guarding various government facilities at the airport yesterday.

I have tried to seek to them to find out whether - just an hour ago, a young one who probably speaking what he shouldn't have told me that he was from Russia. So we have confirmation that these troops who are guarding these facilities are from Russia in any case.

So the fact that the Russian parliament now says that they may consider sending troops in is probably just a sort of cover for the fact that there are already plenty of troops here on the ground. The atmosphere in Simferopol where I am is astonishingly pro-Russian. You almost get a sense from the jubilant crowd here as though they feel President Putin has their back with these guys surrounding their facilities and keeping them safe from what they believe to be the radicals possibly coming in on the trains from Kiev forcing them to do what they don't want to do which is join the new Ukraine, Victor.

PAUL: You know, we heard earlier that pro-Russian protests were expanding north of Crimea. Do you know how expansive some of the fighting has been already today?

MAGNAY: Well, there have been - yes, there have been some scuffles in another eastern city of Karkiev between pro Russian and sort of pro-EU demonstrators, if you want to put it in those binary terms. The east of Ukraine has always been much more Russian facing, the west has always been much more westward looking.

And so we have seen scuffles in the city of Karkiev. But they are not widespread. But it shows you how divided this country is and if there is a new government in Kiev, it certainly doesn't mean that things are resolved over this side, in the eastern part of the country.

BLACKWELL: All right. Diana Magnay in Simferopol for us. Diana, thank you.

PAUL: If words could stop Russia, the troops would be gone by now. If words can (INAUDIBLE).

BLACKWELL: Well, President Obama condemned the apparent invasion of Crimea yesterday. And he used the word - he said that there would be a cost for its apparent intervention. Of course, he didn't layout what the cost might be. CNN's Erin McPike joins us now from the White House.

Erin, the president stopped short of really kind of filling out this picture of what the cost or any costs would be and the consequences, didn't he?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, he did. But we learned from a senior administration official late yesterday that the consequences could come in the form of a boycott of the next G-8 summit to be held in Sochi in June. He did however had stern words for Russian President Vladimir Putin in a briefing yesterday. Here he is, take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties and a military facility in Crimea. But any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing.


MCPIKE: And we also know that the State Department is warning Americans to stay out of the region while the situation continues. Christi and Victor.

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

BLACKWELL: All right. Still to come on "New Day," this mudslides and flooding in California.

PAUL: The pictures are awful. We're going to show you what is happening there and try to figure out what is in store for those folks in the future here. Stay close.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that. A tornado in woodland.


PAUL: Yes, a funnel cloud there caught on tape. This is in northern California. Massive storm system moving through that state. You know, it's bringing a lot of rain, which it needs during this worst drought on record, but what else it is bringing with it is hard to watch.

BLACKWELL: Yes, mudslides. Look at these. The rain brings its own problems. With the ground so dry, the flooding, of course, is a huge concern. Right now, Los Angeles county is under a flash flood watch. From one extreme to the other.

PAUL: Karen Maginnis, let's talk about this. I know that you were telling us earlier this was something that's very rare. A tornado warning near Los Angeles already. That's over now?

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is over as of the last couple of hours. They are very short lived when you have a warning out. But it did produce one-inch-sized hail. This is the month of March. But, yes, this is not going to be a drought buster, but it is providing some much-need moisture. Not just in the form of rain, but the snow pack in the mountains so vital.

San Francisco yesterday record rainfall total. They saw about just 2/3 of an inch of rain. It doesn't sound like a lot but in San Francisco, it's needed and in Southern California, because we're all watching the Oscars, all the anticipation. Well it does look like you could see one to three inches expected there.

And Phoenix could see the first rainfall in more than 70 days coming up. And yes, it looks like a lot of the weekend NASCAR events could see some wet weather. But look at these very cold temperatures. Double digit below zero. Minot, minus 24. These are not windchills factors. These are actual outside air temperatures. In Minneapolis, it's minus three but look at the windchill factors. It is as brutally cold. 53 degrees below zero in Minot.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, minus 21, Omaha, feels like minus 10. I point out these temperatures because the weather system that is going to push on from the west coast, that is the major snow and rain producer and has produced all that flooding, is going to trek across the interior west then the central plains and then across the Tennessee and Ohio River Valley and guess what? It looks like into the northeast going into the beginning of the work week.

New York City, Washington, D.C., yes, it's incredible as this is, and in a winter that is so memorable, here comes some more snow. We see where those winter storm watches are and winter storm warnings out. Kansas City, you could get pummeled with snow, sleet and ice. It is going to be especially dangerous. We take you through time.

Here is Sunday. There across the midwest, it's going to be a narrow band. Chicago, you might pick up some. But the bulk of this is going to be Nebraska, Kansas, southern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio Valley. And there in the northeast, there is the snowfall. You thought those temperatures in March would be a little bit more back to normal. No. They're going to be below normal with temperatures across the deep south or rather across the northeast expected to be only in the 20s.

This time of year, Christi and Victor, it should be 45. No, 20s on Monday with snow.

PAUL: Oh, that hurts. You never know what March will bring you. Karen Maginnis in the CNN Severe Weather Center, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to Montana and talk a little more about some snow. This avalanche came down on a two-story home in Missoula. You can see they're digging out with shovels and hands, whatever they can use. An eight-year-old boy was buried there, also an elderly couple was under that snow.

PAUL: According to authorities, we know all three were pulled out alive. That is the good news. They are treated at the hospital now. Thanks to the folks that really came to their rescue.

BLACKWELL: President Obama announces a big initiative to help young men of color succeed and injects his story about having an absent father. So next we'll talk with Marc Morial of the Urban League, just appointed as one of the new program's advisors.



OBAMA: I firmly believe that every child deserves the same chances that I have. That's why we're here today. To do what we can in this year of action to give more young Americans the support they need to make good choices.


BLACKWELL: Some pretty emotional moments there at the White House this week. The president getting personal and passionate about a subject dear to his heart and in addition to young men of color, he was surrounded by Magic Johnson, the parents of Trayvon Martin and business leaders, and so many others including our guest this morning, Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League. Marc, good to have you back on "New Day."


BLACKWELL: So the president kicked off his new initiative, it's My Brother's Keeper, you're appointed to and I want to get this right. The advisory counsel on financial capability for young Americans. Great title. What is it?

MORIAL: That advisory council is going to focus on financial education and financial literacy for young Americans. Our young people are making financial decisions all the time. They are purchasing cell phones. They are going to the movies. And what we need to do is equipped them with the skills they need with the analytical ability they need.

I think the exciting thing is the chance to integrate this thinking with the push toward common cord. How we make math and science relevant in its application. So this is all about equipping the next generation of Americans for the very complex financial and consumer decisions they will make about houses and about cars, about consumer products, about budgetting, about spending and investing money wisely.

BLACKWELL: So, I think a lot of people, including myself, touched by the president's words at the White House this week and hearing from our Don Lemon who is there in Washington about the moment when he received that father's day card and the boy said that he never signed a father's day card. The president thought, you know what? I hadn't signed one either.

You know, and that kind of leading to what we saw this week. You know, I wonder, though, beyond the words, what practically is this program going to be? Is this initiative?

MORIAL: Here is what understand, Victor, the president has marshalled the forces and the commitment by a number of forward- thinking foundations who committed an additional $200 million. In addition to that, the president has directed members of his cabinet and his senior staff to identify and look at best practices already underway that address some of the special challenges that young men of color and boys of color face to figure out a way to expand them.

I also think you can never under estimate the power of the bully pulpit. In effect, what Barack Obama has said is "I will lead this charge and by the way, since I grew up without a father, I have unique credibility." That cannot be understated in this in trying to encourage and enthuse many who are already out in churches and community groups, in non-profits and fraternities and sororities and in communities who have been working and fighting to try to address the challenges that young men and boys of color have.

So it shouldn't be under estimated. This is a long-term initiative. But this is the president saying "I want to lead this battle." This is a president saying "I'm going o put the credibility and the prestige of my presidency behind this very important challenge that we as a nation face." BLACKWELL: So let me ask you this, all that is true in 2014, was all true in 2009. Why has the president waited so long to decide now that he wants to take up the cause of improving the lives of young men of color?

MORIAL: I'll say two things on that. The president inherited a tanking economy, a challenged America with problems as great as those as the great depression. I think his first term was dedicated squarely to addressing those issues.

The important thing is not why now. The important thing is is that it is now. The president with three years left in his administration, I do believe can impact this. So for those who may ask why, "I say join in this cause. Join in this crusade." This is important to American competitiveness.

Boys and men of color. I'm the father of an 11-year-old son. We all have a role to play not only with our own sons and grandsons and nephews and others, but we have a role to play in the broader community. This is going to light, I hope, a fire amongst people and I would say for those who may question this initiative, this is, I think, the president thinking also about rightfully so, about his legacy and addressing an issue that many have ducked, dodged and ignored at the highest levels.

BLACKWELL: And this will extend beyond his presidency. Let me ask you, are there quantitative measures - this is too important to toss off to a blue ribbon commission and a couple hundred million dollars, although that is not anything to sneeze at. But are there benchmarks for success that can be measured?

MORIAL: Here are the benchmarks. I think one benchmark is the high school graduate rates for young men, the young boys of color. I think the unemployment rate for young men of color. I think the incarceration rate of young men of color. There are well established benchmarks that many of us are going to look through as we work with the president, as we put the resources of our organization behind this effort.

We have been working on this issue for a long time. This is going to shed light and I think add some encouragement and enthusiasm to those who have been really working on this and make it and provide for it, Victor, a broader frame. It is a welcome initiative by President Obama. I have to applaud him. I hope that Americans rally behind this very important cause.

BLACKWELL: All right, Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League and now on - let me get it right, advisory council on financial capability for young Americans. Always good to talk with you.

MORIAL: Always good, Victor. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you. And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAUL: If you have been homeless for years, for five years, without a stable place for your children to sleep, and then you finally get a house, you have nothing to put in it, this week's CNN hero is helping transform lives one bed at a time. Meet (INAUDIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm emotional right now. I'm so glad things are starting to turn around.

Five years, me and my kids had nowhere to go. We just had to go from place to place. We moved in here with nothing. When I see my children on the floor going to bed, it hurts me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no stability and no dignity when you live in an apartment that have nothing in them. Anything it is you want here, you put your sticker on. That is what you guys will take home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once we get the homes furnished, they take a breath and start to create a different life.

We pick up the furniture and other home goods from people who have more than they need and we distribute them free of charge to people who have nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have something to sit on. Something to lay on. Now my kids can pursue their dreams.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a good start.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I help people to find the hope that was missing from their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Love you. Good night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the opportunity they did not know was before them.


PAUL: That is just incredible. Every week, we're going to be honoring a new CNN hero. So if you know someone who deserves this recognition, nominate them. We want to know about them.


BLACKWELL: All right. Time now for the good stuff.

First up, Jason Collins may be doing more to help gay and lesbian people than ever imagined.

PAUL: Not only has the NBA's center's jersey became a symbol of change, it's now of the top selling items in basketball and the league has now announced proceeds from sales of number 98, all the proceeds are going to charity to support gay and lesbian kids.

BLACKWELL: And Collins picked number 98 as a way to honor Matthew Shepard. He was a gay college student who was killed in 1998.


JASON COLLINS, NBA PLAYER: My friends and family knew why I chose that number. Now it is just cool to see that so many people support it. As evident by people buying the jersey.


BLACKWELL: Well, Collins also sat down with CNN's Rachel Nichols to talk about life in the NBA and in the locker room.


RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You had a great line when you first came out. You said I had been showering in the NBA for 12 years. Clearly it hasn't killed anybody. You are back in the locker room, you're back in the training room now. have you noticed anything different?

COLLINS: No, it is the same. It's the same environment. It's the same - everything is the same. Just, you know, like I said before, 12 years in the NBA, not a problem. Not an issue. You are 13. Not a problem. No issues. Same old, same old.


PAUL: So check out more of CNN's interview with Collins, just go to

BLACKWELL: A high school senior in the Seattle area is not letting anything hold him back. Despite being in a wheelchair diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, 16-year-old Josh Place (ph) is belting it out in his high school's production of "Shrek the Musical."


PAUL: Love it. Those lyrics are especially poignant for Josh. He said he wanted to be in the school play to show his brother who also has muscular dystrophy that he can do anything. You know how siblings - they can really do whatever you want.

BLACKWELL: Certainly.

PAUL: All right. We are so glad that you're spending time with us here. We're going to see you back at the top of the hour.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely. But coming up right now on "Your Money," it is tax time. Are you paying too much or are you paying more so the rich can get the breaks?

Christine Romans has answers.

PAUL: "YOUR MONEY" starts right now.