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"Off-Ramp" Out of Crisis for Russia; Woman Drives Into Water With Kids; NBA's MVP Race Heating Up; Judge Rules In Teen Tuition Case

Aired March 5, 2014 - 06:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The idea of acceptance by Russians in Russia for what Vladimir Putin is doing in the Ukraine. State-sponsored research had 73 percent of Russians not wanting any Russian involvement in the Ukraine fights for its own sovereignty.

Do you believe the country is in line with what Vladimir Putin seems to be doing?

VLADIMIR POZNER, CNN ANALYST: The answer to that depends what you mean by "in line". Definitely, I'm sure that 73 percent if not more do not want to go to war for the Crimea or for Ukraine. That's really -- undoubtedly, that's the fact.

On the other hand, I think they appreciate the tough stance that Putin has taken vis-a-vis the Russians living in the eastern Ukraine and especially in the Crimea. So, it's one hand, it's yes. But on the other hand, it's no.

CUOMO: The idea that there are further encroachments by pro-Russian forces that are believed to be Russian forces on the peninsula, that they're trying to take control of situations, as farther signs of violations of Ukraine's sovereignty. Do you believe that this is what it appears to be to other observers, which is Vladimir Putin invading Ukraine?

POZNER: Very, very frankly, I do not. I think that Mr. Putin has clearly understood that invading Ukraine or invading part of Ukraine will cost simply much too much. It is not in Russia's interests. It is not something that the majority of Russians want. It will create a tremendous backlash so far as international relations are concerned.

So when he says that these people, whoever they are, are probably local militia types, I would tend to believe that. I really don't think that these are undercover Russian military forces carrying out some kind of secret plan. I doubt that very strongly.

CUOMO: So, it goes then to the issue of whether or not to believe him. We have reporters all over the place in Ukraine. As you suggested, that's the best way to figure out the situation. CNN is doing exactly that.

The idea of neo-Nazi or anti-Russian groups running around, we have found no evidence of it. That these are pro-Russian but not Russian troops in these un-insigniaed uniforms, we now have multiple accounts of those soldiers identifying themselves as Russian military.

The under pinning by Vladimir Putin saying he's only responding to a false revolution also seems to have no merit. So, the question is, if he is wrong or unintentional untruthful about these key points, why believe him about any of it?

POZNER: Oh, I think -- as I said to you, I think I was talking to you, I don't believe politicians in general. I don't -- it doesn't matter where they come from. Politicians play their own game. And all of these things have to be checked out very carefully.

I can't speak for the reporters that you're talking about, as to whether or not they have been able to talk to these -- whoever they are -- people instead of listening to someone telling them that they have said that they're Russian soldiers, actually get to talk to these so-called Russian soldiers and find out exactly who they are. That, I think, would be very interesting.

I would agree to a certain point that the West, and in particular, the United States, seems to be interested in seeing to it that Ukraine is out of the Russian inputs. Now, is this to get they to into Ukraine which would be very uncomfortable to Russia, right off snuck against its border, or for any other reason, I really don't know. Although, I do think the NATO issue is one to look at.

But it is clear that the actual revolution was not made by the United States. It's also clear to people that the United States has taken advantage of it, as has Western Europe, sending in their officials to say, yes, go ahead and doing this as Kerry did yesterday.

So, you do see a strong support on the part of the West, and in particularly the United States for this government.

And, finally, if they haven't been able to find Nazis in that government, I'll tell you frankly, they haven't looked very hard. They've been on Russian television. They've said it very openly. (INAUDIBLE) who's basically said that the more Russians that are killed the better.

I mean, they're out there.

CUOMO: Right.

POZNER: But I'm not saying they're the majority.

CUOMO: No, but you also have to identify them as a threat to justify what Putin has done, and we have found no proof of that. It's relevant.

As to why would the U.S. or the West be interested in Ukraine, the answer is fairly simple. It's a quest for democracy which is what the majority of Ukrainians have said they wanted. The U.S. and West also supports --

POZNER: Come on. Come on. You --

CUOMO: And I understand why you're shaking your head. You say you don't trust politicians but you've seem without question to be if not apologizing, rationalizing the actions of Vladimir Putin yesterday. You said, the Ukraine is no Afghanistan. Well, that's for sure, because Afghanistan, you had a country that was decidedly toxic -- a hostile government that had done hostile things to its own people --

POZNER: No, no, no. Chris --


CUOMO: To say that the Ukraine is better than going to Afghanistan is weak.

POZNER: You've got it wrong. You've got it wrong. I was talking about the Soviet incursion into Afghanistan.

CUOMO: All right. We agree on that. That was horrible. That was really wrong. That looked like this. You know, the '79 invasion of Afghanistan looked like what's going on in the Ukraine, unjustified and hostile.

POZNER: What I'm saying is -- what I'm saying that Ukraine is not the same thing as Afghanistan because there were Soviet troops going in openly into Afghanistan. There was no doubt about that. There is no proof whatsoever that Russian troops have been going into the Ukraine.

You cannot compare the two. That's very clear to me at least. I am not rationalizing anything at all. I'm explaining.

I said to you, the majority of Russians do not want any kind of military involvement in Ukraine. And I think president Putin is going to have to listen to that. He also said yesterday that there was now no threat of any military conflict in Crimea. He said it publicly.

He also said he understood why people were revolting in Maidan Square. He said they were sick and tired of the kind of governments they've had before, governments of thieves. And they want add radical change.

That's also a statement I think is worth looking at.

I also think, quite frankly, that this -- how should I put this -- Putin bashing has become a kind of national sport in the U.S. media. I mean, it's easy to do and it's great fun, but I don't know where it leads you.

CUOMO: Well, I think that the concern is that you have the leader of such an important country who seems bent on doing things that are e anymore call to the cause of freedom. I think that's what triggers the objectivity of the journalists. It's not just U.S. journalists.

I mean, point me to the countries that are backing up what Vladimir Putin does. We saw it with Syria. We saw it with Iran, countries siding with what Vladimir was advocating in those situations to slow down. Not this time. So, it can't just be western journalists. But this is certainly a conversation to be continued.

POZNER: No, no.

CUOMO: It would be interesting for me, Mr. Pozner, to see when you want to accept what the reporting is on the ground about the situation in Ukraine.

But I do have to leave it there. It's good to have you signed up to CNN so we can keep having this conversation. It will probably happen tomorrow.

POZNER: I hope we can.

CUOMO: I appreciate your taking the time, Mr. Pozner.

POZNER: OK. You're very welcome.

CUOMO: Kate?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a frightening scene in Florida. A minivan with the mother at the wheel and three children inside goes straight into the ocean. Dramatic rescue, yes, of course. But now questions are being raised about what the mother was actually doing -- just ahead.

Plus, a judge rules against a New Jersey teenager who is suing her parents for financial support. You'll want to hear why the judge believes siding with the 18-year-old could set a dangerous precedent.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

A horrifying scene in Florida caught on camera. A minivan with a pregnant woman and her three children trapped inside winds up going into the ocean. You can see the video right there, swallowed by the waves. Incredibly, the family was rescued.

But what witnesses say really happened is disturbing.

CNN's Tory Dunnan has more on the story for us -- Tory.

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Kate, disturbing is right. And investigators are trying to figure out how and why this happened. Just to give you a little bit of sense what it was like, the waves were so strong, that the Good Samaritans kept getting knocked over as they were trying to get to the children inside this van.


DUNNAN (voice-over): A terrifying scene. Watch as this minivan is surrounded by water. A pregnant woman and her three young children are trapped inside, as the situation grows more and more dangerous.

One of the men who went into the water to rescue the family spoke to CNN affiliate WESH 2 News.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has this look on her face. I can't describe it -- just an awful blank look, like spaced-out look. And a kid on her lap on the steering wheel. And the two in the backseat was crying, with her arms saying, "Our mommy's trying to kill us, please help."

DUNNAN: Witnesses claimed the mother left the vehicle as waves began to crash into the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw her out the window and the kids are still in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw a kid in the back, like waving his arms around, like screaming, help, help us.

DUNNAN: One rescuer seen here carrying two of the children out of the water, as another jumps out of the nearly submerged vehicle with the third child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Watching them carry the kids out of the van was very emotional. Waves were pounding into the water and down until it submerged.

DUNNAN: The rough water quickly overtook the van, after according to some witnesses, the mother allegedly drove it into the ocean.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started to go down pretty quick. I mean, she went straight into the water.

DUNNAN: Investigators are looking into how this happened, telling WFTV that the South Carolina mother was incoherent when rescued and would not speak to them about the incident.


DUNNAN: Now, we're told that the children were three, nine and 10 years old. They were taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out but are expected to be OK. And, Chris and Kate, we're also told that the woman who was driving is said to be undergoing a mental health evaluation.

BOLDUAN: We sure need to be careful and not jump to any conclusions. But what a terrifying scene for those poor little children.

Tory, thank you so much.

CUOMO: Hats off to those people willing to go into the water and help those kids --


CUOMO: Obvious, but a lot of people wouldn't have done.

All right. LeBron James and Kevin Durant are in the middle of an MVP race of the ages, OK? We got LeBron scoring 61, Durant answers with a big night of his own.

Let's bring in Joe Carter with this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Tell us the news.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys.

Yes, we've got about 20 games left in the NBA's regular season. And LeBron you could say is winning the sprint, he's really turned it on of late.

But Kevin Durant is more or less winning the marathon. He's put together a really solid season, the entire season. Last night against the Sixers, he scored 42 points and didn't even play in the fourth quarter. And so far this season, Durant has scored over 40 points in 10 games.

Also happening last night, college basketball, Syracuse lost again at home, this time, to a bad Georgia Tech team. You know, a month ago, Syracuse is on top of the world. They were unbeaten. They were reg (ph) as number one, but since they've lost four of the last five as their slide continues.

And Michigan may have lost two players to the NBA and their pre-season all-American to injury, but they still managed to win the big 10 regular season title outright last night. It's the program's first outright conference title since 1986. Reminder, the NCAA tournament officially starts, guys, in 13 days.

And later today, the U.S. men's soccer team plays Ukraine at 2:00 p.m. eastern. It's a World Cup tune-up match. This, of course, was moved from the Ukraine to Cyprus earlier in the week for obvious reasons. Team USA wasn't even sure they were going to play this match until yesterday, guys, when they got off their plane and they saw Ukraine's plane on the tarmac, they knew there'd be a match today.

BOLDUAN: That match takes on a whole new meaning now. Joe, thanks so much.

CARTER: You bet.

BOLDUAN: Let's take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a New Jersey judge rules against a teenager suing her parents for financial support after she says they threw her out of the house, but the case far from over. You want to hear more details ahead.


BOLDUAN: It is "Money Time." Let's get over to business correspondent, Christine Romans in the money center.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, guys. This morning, world markets are on pins and needles. You know, a single headline on the Russia crisis can change everything. Be warned there. Futures are flat this morning. Look at yesterday, the Dow jumped 228 points. That was the best day of the year. And the S&P 500, it has never been this hard. This five-year bull market still charging, still charging, despite, despite those big losses on Monday.

OK. New this morning, remember that RadioShack Super Bowl ad. Remember that, the nostalgic self-satire on a company stuck in the 1980s? It was such a great spot and kind of ominous, too. RadioShack now closing 1,100 lower performing stores, 20 percent of its stores. And it kind of makes sense. The electronics retailer has about 5,200 locations. So many people are buying things online. Compare that to Wal-Mart for example, it only has 3,700 stores.

So, watch this phase again today on that. Thanks guys.

BOLDUAN: Christine, thank you.

CUOMO: All right. You ready? Daddy, pay for college or I will sue you. You can cross that off the list of things that will never be heard, but the judge has spoken in this bitter family court battle we told you about Tuesday. The New Jersey teen, an honor student, facing off against her parents over high school tuition. On Tuesday, a judge ruled that Rachel Canning's parents do not have to pay for private high school for now.

The judge delayed a key decision about whether they can be forced to pay for college. CNN's Jean Casarez is here with more. Explain, my friend.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, your senior year in high school is supposed to be so special, something you never forget, but for one family, the memory is going to be the legal proceedings have just begun.


CASAREZ (voice-over): It was the first time that high school senior, Rachel Canning, had laid eyes on her parents in more than four months. Now, they are facing off in a New Jersey courtroom, the honor student suing them for financial support and tuition.


CASAREZ: Emotions were high as the judge read an apologetic e-mail Canning sent her parents a week before leaving home.

BOGAARD: And whether you guys see it or not, I'm trying to change. I do miss you, guys.

CASAREZ: But the relationship was rocky. Canning's parents say the 18-year-old wouldn't listen, went out drinking all night with her boyfriend, at one point, leaving her mother a profanity-laced voicemail.

BOGAARD: Have you ever in your experience seen a young adult child show such gross disrespect for a parent?

TANYA HELFAND, RACHEL CANNING'S ATTORNEY: They're the ones who raised this child. This is the language that they're using in the household. CASAREZ: After Canning was suspended from private school for missing class, her parents say they had to lay down some rules. First, get rid of the boyfriend, something she refused to do.

HELFAND: They didn't care what her best interest was. They were more interested in saving their $6,000 and making their point.

CASAREZ: Canning left home citing emotional and verbal abuse which her parents deny. They say they want her to come home. Now living with a friend's family, she wants her parents to pay for living expenses, high school and college. Legal experts say she may have a shot.

STEPHANIE HAGEN, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: If you continue your education and go to college or a higher learning education, New Jersey says you are not emancipated as long as you're within the sphere of influence of your parents.

CASAREZ: Parental influence was on the judge's mind as he discussed the potential impact of this case.

BOGAARD: Are we going to condone or open the gates to a 12-year-old to sue for an Xbox or how about a 15-year-old asking for a 60-inch flat panel TV?


CASAREZ (on-camera): And New Jersey's Department of Child Protection did launch an investigation last year into those allegations of abuse. The result was they were unfounded. It was surreal sitting in that courtroom yesterday. Her father tried to talk to her several times. One time, he just sat down at the plaintiff's table and began to talk with her.

At the very end, the judge trying to reconcile them said and looked at the parents, she will always be your daughter. And Shawn Canning (ph) was like this, and then he said, and they will always be your parents and she was like this.

CUOMO: She is a confused kid. I think the story behind the story is who's motivating her to do this this way.

BOLDUAN: That's the troubling thing.

CUOMO: And the immediate question, did the judge offer a legal basis for holding over the decision on college as something other than this being about equity and just helping this family through?


CASAREZ: -- because the applications are not due until mid-May. If you want to avoid the penalty, then you can file earlier --

CUOMO: What was the legal basis for having to make a decision about it at all? What's the law that supports forcing parents to pay for anything? CASAREZ: That's a good question. I don't think that was the issue. The issue was there's a college fund, it was set up. She's applying now for college. And so, her attorney said there's an emergency basis for an order that tax records of parents can then go on the applications for college. He said, no emergency.

BOLDUAN: And the fact that this legal drama is just now going to continue to be dragged out. It seems difficult to see how this family is going to reach any kind of reconciliation any time soon.


CASAREZ: It's very sad. It was surreal just being there.

CUOMO: I got to tell you, at this point, I feel for the parents. I just -- I really feel that they're going through this and the shame of having this all be so public.

CASAREZ: They were very emotional. She held it all inside.

BOLDUAN: Jean, thank you.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, world leaders are trying to find a resolution to the Ukrainian crisis this morning, but did President Obama's reset on Russian foreign policy contribute to the crisis? That's a political question, of course. We're going to debate it.

CUOMO: Georgia takes a big step to approve medical marijuana. So, are even the most conservative states coming around to this idea? Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us with a preview of his new documentary, "Weed Two: Cannabis Madness."


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, March 5th, now seven o'clock in the east. We're going to start with our news blast. That is the most news you can get anywhere. Here we go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russia doesn't like it when it believes its sovereignty is under attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama and I want to make it clear, we are not seeking confrontation.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is a strong belief that Russia's action is violating international law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was clear that this person's life was in danger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It paints a very distorted picture, and one, that I think is very much leading (ph). I think we've all been misled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The way through this (INAUDIBLE) the water down until its merged.


CUOMO: Up first, the latest on the crisis in Ukraine. Secretary of state, John Kerry, and his Russian counterpart set to meet in Paris. World leaders converging on that city to find a resolution to this current crisis.