Return to Transcripts main page


President Obama And Putin Talk Ukraine; Russia Supports Planned Referendum; Paralympics Face Political Backlash; Amber Alert in Maryland; Chris Christie Cheered at CPAC

Aired March 7, 2014 - 06:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: One-on-one, President Obama and Vladimir Putin facing off in an hour-long phone call. The U.S. plans for sanctions against Russia. Now, a U.S. warship passing near Crimea. We are live in all the key spots this morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking this morning. Oscar Pistorius' ex-girlfriend takes the stand testifying on how he cheated on her with Reeva Steenkamp and how he always had a gun on him even while sleeping.

CUOMO: Super market sweep. Two of the biggest chains in the U.S. joining Albertsons buying Safeway, shaking up the grocery store business. The question, is your favorite store about to change?

Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Friday, March 7th, 6:00 in the East.

Obama and Putin are talking. But the question is, as you put out very well before, are they talking to each other or past each other? An hour-long phone call, in which Obama stressed a diplomatic solution, but Putin says Ukrainians need the help from Russia. Now, both sides say this is not about military action. But the mystery men in green continue to move. Russia has blocked the Black Sea by sinking one of its old ships. And now, an American warship is headed to the region.

BOLDUAN: The missile destroyer will perform exercises in the Black Sea. We were told these were planned before the crisis.

Meantime, growing fallout from the parliament's decision in Crimea to schedule a referendum to break from Ukraine and join Russia. The vote is now being embraced by Russian officials who add there will be no war between what they call brother nations.

CUOMO: There are a lot of moving parts in this story and they take place in different places and we are everywhere that matters. Let's start with Michelle Kosinski at the White House -- Michelle.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris. Right. This is the third time now that both leaders have spoken since the crisis and there were some positives. The U.S. said that both sides understand that there should be a diplomatic way forward.

Russia emphasized the importance in U.S./Russia relations. Still there are some differences in approach and assessment. The U.S. has begun sanctions and Russia still needs to talk to Ukraine.


KOSINSKI (voice-over): In an hour-long phone call, President Obama again urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to pursue a diplomatic solution telling him to have dialogue with Ukraine to let in international monitors that have been blocked from Crimea this week and pull back his troops to their bases.

Putin agreed on the need for diplomacy, but they see the situation differently. As did Secretary of State John Kerry and the Russian foreign minister now for a second day of meetings.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Crimea is part of Ukraine. Crimea is Ukraine.

KOSINSKI: Russia called it impossible to act in the face of unilateral semi-hysterical views, ultimatums and sanctions. The U.S. went ahead with sanctions. The House approved a billion dollars in aid to Ukraine.

The administration saying it has grave concerns the situation could escalate further and wants to be prepared with powerful, flexible tools to keep pressure on.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If this violation of international law continues, the resolve of the United States and our allies and the international community will remain firm.

KOSINSKI: But not for now sanctioning President Putin specifically.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We hold Russia accountable for the actions that Russia is taking in this regard.

KOSINSKI: Ukraine again asking for resolution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin, Mr. Putin, tear down this wall, the wall of intimidation, the wall of military aggression and let's build up new type of relations between Ukraine and Russia. We are ready for cooperation, but we are not ready to surrender and to be the subordinate of Russia.


KOSINSKI: Here at home, Republicans had some strong reactions to the situation. Speaker Boehner calling Putin a thug and a former U.N. ambassador saying, well, at least Putin has a strategy and that President Obama has not.

But we also did hear some Republicans complimenting this U.S. move to lead the world in imposing sanctions. Remember, the E.U. decided not to do that yesterday, but there's this broad view that bipartisanship in this is necessary -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Michelle, thanks so much for starting us off this morning. The crisis isn't stopping. If you can believe it an American missile destroyer from heading right into the heart of the conflict. Officials say the USS Truxtun was already set to go to the Black Sea for military training before the crisis. But will that fact quite concerns the military getting involved.

Let's get to Ivan Watson who is on a boat in the Bosphorus Strait right now with a look at this -- Ivan.

All right, looks like we're having communications issues with Ivan, I think on the boat. We're going to try to get back to him in just a bit -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so then let's talk about this big issue of a referendum. Crimea's parliament is under fire for scheduling this popular vote to have the people decide whether or not they join Russia. But officials there say they are going to stick to the plan even though it's become controversial.

Now they say they have support from elected officials in Russia who are trying to ease concerns about a possible war. Anna Coren is in Crimea, where the vote is now just nine days away -- Anna.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, the countdown is on and the tensions are certainly high. You know, people who are speaking out against Russia saying they don't want to become part of the Russian federation are being verbally attacked. If anything, Chris, that situation is only going to get worse as we get closer to the referendum.


COREN (voice-over): In the heart of Simferopol, celebrations, Russian speakers fly their nation's flag and an older one. Confident that in a little over a week from now, Crimea will be part of the motherland again. It's people power says this grandmother born here during Soviet times. We will be voting to return to our roots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we will be more powerful, we will have more rights. So I think it's plus for -- for Crimean people.

COREN: There are plenty here who disagree, but few are willing to speak up. We don't need the referendum because Crimea belongs to Ukraine, says this student. Her comments considered unpatriotic by the heckling crowd.

These Ukrainian feminists take a more dramatic stand, but are unceremoniously dealt with. Outside the parliament building in Simferopol, Cossack militia guard the new order.

And on military basis nearby surrounded by Russian soldiers, Ukraine's troops are told to leave. You are now occupied.


COREN: Now a short time ago, the Ukrainian prime minister said that no one in the civilized world will recognize the result of this referendum. Just to prove that the Crimean self-elected government in this parliamentary building behind me is willing to play ball. They have just announced that they will invite international observers to watch over this referendum. Interestingly enough, though, most of them will be Russian. Back to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: And that leads us to more questions. Anna, thank you so much. We'll check back in with you throughout the morning in Crimea for us. Let's get straight back to Ivan Watson though who is on a ship in the Bosphorus Strait.

I think we have the signal reconnected. Sorry about that, Ivan. Go ahead. And technology continues to fail us. We'll continue to try to reconnect with Ivan to talk about the very important issue of the USS Truxtun could be moving into the Black Sea. We're going to be talking to him about that.

Let's move on though. Meantime, just weeks after staging a successful winter Olympics, Russian organizers of the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi now face a potential political backlash over the situation in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend today's opening ceremony. Let's get the very latest from CNN's Phil Black who is following that live in Moscow for us -- Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Yes. President Putin will be at the opening ceremony in just a few hours' time, but he will not be joined by political delegations from the United States and other western nations because they are staying away because of the events in the Ukraine.

The athletes are going to be there, including athletes from the Ukrainian Paralympic team who have decided to stay and compete in these games despite what is going on in their country and they say their message to President Putin is to please do not start a war with their country during the course of these games.

They want peace they say. Last night, President Putin remained defiant when he was speaking to President Obama on the phone still insisting that Russia's actions are compliant with international law. That Russia is just acting to help and respond to requests from help from Russian-speaking people in the south and east of the country. Today in Moscow, there is a delegation visiting from Crimea's parliament. They are meeting with leading members of Russia's parliament and they have received a very warm welcome really a hero's welcome. There's been a lot of applause as Russian politicians praised them for their courage and their determination.

And the Russians are talking about how joyous they felt when they heard the news that Crimea would be holding a referendum with the intention of joining the Russian federation. They say that they will honor the results of that democratically expressed wish of the people if they do indeed vote to join Russia within days of the referendum. They say they will do it regardless of international sanctions. Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: one of the interesting questions here, Phil, is whether or not it really is going to be a democratic vote. A lot of people calling for international monitoring. There is no question though they'll probably won't get it set it up in time. So it's fueling speculation there.

We will continue on Ukraine and all the different pieces of that puzzle. But a lot of other news at well so let's get you to John Berman in for Michaela -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Chris. Breaking overnight, officials investigating a potential security threat on an American eagle flight. Passengers evacuated off the plane in Kansas City after crews called in that a suitcase did not match up with a passenger. The plane which arrived from Chicago was parked away from the terminal as a precaution and met by emergency officials.

All 67 passengers and crew had to leave without their belongings. They are placed in a holding area. Officials then searched the plane. No other details at this point have been made available.

To Memphis now where a terrifying shooting left one man critically wounded inside a packed shopping mall. Scared shoppers at the Oak Court Mall were sent docking for cover in the back of stores. Police detained four men, but no charges were filed as of late Thursday. They say it appears the victim and potential suspects knew each other and that there was a verbal confrontation before the shooting.

A major blow Thursday for a bipartisan push to change the way the military handles sexual assault cases. The Senate blocking a bill to strip military commanders of their power over sexual assault investigations and instead, give it to independent prosecutors. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army is investigating groping allegations against a military officer whose job it was to train sex crimes prosecutors.

Right now, the frantic search for an 11-year-old Maryland girl after her mother found dead inside her home.


BERMAN (voice-over): Police now with an all-out search for 11-year- old, Caitlyn Marie Virts. An amber alert issued. Police searching from Maryland to West Virginia and they believe she is in serious danger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The amber alert remains active. We have not found her yet.

BERMAN: Her mother, Bobby Joe Cortez, found dead Thursday morning. Caitlyn's father, Timothy Virts, now missing and police suspect he may be behind the disappearance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Virts is a suspect in the abduction of his daughter, and certainly we are interested in finding him and talking to him about what he can tell us about the death of Bobby Jo Cortez.

BERMAN: Police say he had been living with the family recently despite not being allowed near Caitlyn nor her siblings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is not supposed to have her and we are concerned for her safety.

BERMAN: Virts's criminal history stretches back decades, including domestic violence charges that earned him a restraining order according to affiliate WJZ.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's unfortunate that the laws aren't a little bit more strict, you know, to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

BERMAN: Neighbors now praying for her safe return.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just hope that she's found and she's OK and she's certainly not injured or anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very nice, sweet kid.


BERMAN: All right, Caitlyn's two siblings including her twin sister are safe with family members this morning.

All right, we do have an update in a story we told you about yesterday. Massachusetts lawmakers moving very quickly to close a loophole that made taking secret up skirt photos of women legal. They made it illegal.

The state legislator voted to ban up skirt pictures of women and children in public. This comes a day after Massachusetts highest court ruled that a man who took cell phone pictures of a female subway rider did not violate state law because of the way the law was written. So they are voting to change the law.

CUOMO: You seemed uncomfortable with that story.

BERMAN: I was uncomfortable with your legal opposition to it yesterday.

CUOMO: That's defamatory. That's slander that you just heard.

BOLDUAN: My faith in broken government has been restored. At least they can get it right sometimes.

BERMAN: The judge made clear that they need to change the wording of the law. You almost never see a governing body act that quickly.

BOLDUAN: Why wasn't it done before? Because this guy got off scot free.

CUOMO: The law hadn't caught up and the judges were handcuffed because they don't decide law. They could have decided it was wrong anyway just because it was the right thing to do.

BOLDUAN: But now women in Boston when spring comes around, you can wear skirts.

CUOMO: And I will sue you, by the way.

BERMAN: In your defense, you pointed out --

CUOMO: No, you said I defended up skirting --

BOLDUAN: Berman said Chris was pro up skirting.

BERMAN: I said you made clear what the law said and why the judge ruled the way the judge did.

CUOMO: I don't think that's what you said. I know you're smarter than I am, but this time we have a record of this. I was talking with science yesterday, Indra Petersons, who is a meteorologist and I was like basically she said there's no need for a law, I would take care of it with an elbow.

BOLDUAN: That you may not know that it happens. If it is discreet enough --

CUOMO: It doesn't apply to Indra Petersons. She says she knows everything.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm going to go right past that. Let's talk about what is expected to happen through the weekend. Notice right now, jet stream farther to the south and things are going to change by the end of the weekend. Look at this. We have finally a nice pattern change where it's actually going to rebound and warm air will overtake by Monday.

So let's talk about the temperatures. We know it's below normal. It's been like that for so long. Let me fast forward. Let's take you to Monday where finally we are looking at above normal temperatures on the map. So enjoy it knowing each day will get a little bit better than the day before.

Notice around the piedmont, a little bit of wintry mix, some higher elevation snow out there on the Carolinas even through Virginia. This is that low that was in the gulf just a few days ago climbing up the coastline.

So D.C. looking for the wintry mix around commute time, but it is going offshore so no longer concern for the northeast. We love this. That means temperatures will be allowed to improve.

Southeast, as soon as we get, you're going to be talking about even some 70s over the weekend. Midwest, another blast of cold air. Little guy, moisture start, not a lot of snow with it. But, of course, this one cools you off for the first half of the weekend. Everyone rebounds there after.

But I have to point, things are improving, but by the middle of next week, there is still a chance -- there's a chance we could have another storm by the middle of next week.

BOLDUAN: A misuse of our favorite "Dumb & Dumber" quote.


PETERSONS: Probably the wrong way we're supposed to be using it. I totally agree with you on that. I always agree with Berman, so I got to go with that.


PETERSONS: He started it. I'm going there. Now, we know why.

CUOMO: Now we know what the teams are. We'll settle this in the break.


CUOMO: You ready? Loosen up the shoulders.

Coming up on NEW DAY, good news, bad news for Chris Christie. The good news is the New Jersey governor really nailed the speech at CPAC a year after being snubbed by the conservative confab. The bad news, a new poll suggests it may not matter. Most Republicans not behind Christie for 2016.

BOLDUAN: Plus, day five of the Oscar Pistorius' ex-girlfriend breaking down, as she told the court what ended their relationship and what it had to do with Reeva Steenkamp. We're going to take you live to South Africa, ahead.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. Day two of CPAC gets underway this morning. It's the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders. But it will be tough to top Thursday's action, including a fiery speech from Ted Cruz challenging his own party. Mitch McConnell brandishing a rifle.

And topping it all, Governor Chris Christie rising in his speech, had them all on their feet.

Here's CNN's Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you're Chris Christie trying to win over activists at the largest annual meeting of conservatives, this is what you do.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We have to stop letting the media define who we are and what we stand for.

BASH: Find common ground, like attacking the media and defending the billionaire Koch brothers. GOP donors under fire from Democrats.

CHRISTIE: Stop picking on great Americans who are creating great things for our country.

BASH: And try to assuage conservative concerns here about a blue state governor who works with Democrats.

CHRISTIE: We say we're pro-life. That doesn't mean that we're pro- life just when that human being is in the womb.

BASH: The reaction here, a rousing response, as much or more so than conservative crowd favorites that also spoke or the senate GOP leader who entered holding a rifle and gave it to retiring Senator Tom Coburn. McConnell's office later explains it was an NRA award.

When it was Christie's turn, he had the room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy is good. He connects with people. He says what needs to be said. And to me, he's the only personality who will be able to stand up to Hillary Clinton.

BASH: But Christie arrived to bad news in a brand new poll. Three in ten Republicans say they would never vote for him. We heard that in the crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm personally not a big fan of him because I think he colluded with President Obama in 2012.

BASH: She's angry about Christie embracing Obama after Hurricane Sandy before the last election. And Bridgegate is hurting him too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was impressive. He showed himself to be in charge, but I don't think I'd vote for him.

BASH (on camera): Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scandal really bothers me. Just the corruption, the kind of people he had around him.

BASH: Despite that criticism, the crowd responded well to one of Christie's more traditional messages, that Republicans need to be for their own ideas, not just against Democrats. All in all, it was a positive experience for Christie here at CPAC, especially considering last year, he was snubbed, he wasn't even invited to one of the most important gatherings of conservatives.

Dana Bash, CNN, Hill, Maryland. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: All right. Thank you, Dana.

The Los Angeles Lakers, they've been a franchise for 54 years. Didn't start off in Los Angeles. Minnesota, right, the Lakers. Minneapolis? Thank you very much, Berman.

So, they have never played as badly as they did last night.

Joe Carter is here with the "Bleacher Report".

It is tough to distinguish yourself by suckiness. But that is what happened, Joe.


JOE CARTER, BLEACHER: Yes, and you are correct. They did start in Minneapolis, Chris, but they moved I think to Los Angeles in 1960. During that 54-year span since 1960, they have never lost as bad as they lost last night.

The Clippers beat them by 48 points. It's their worst loss in franchise history. It's the Clippers' biggest win in team history. The Clippers have now beaten the Lakers in six out of the last seven meetings. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, their biggest stars, they didn't even have to play in the fourth quarter and they still won by nearly 50 points. The Lakers are one loss away from their fist losing season in ten years.

This story is trending this morning on LeBron James, he only scored 19 points in last night's blowout loss to the Spurs. Remember, it was Monday when he scored 61 points. After the game, King James blamed his poor play on the NBA's new sleeved jerseys. Teams are wearing these jerseys on and off since Christmas.

LeBron has always said he's not a fan of these things. He says they're too snug and it affects his jump shot. Good thing for him, they don't have to wear them anymore this season.

Tiger Woods only made it through ten holes yesterday, not because of his bad back, because of the bad weather. Tiger looked rusty before the severe storms and darkness suspended play. He was two other par through ten holes and today he's going to have to play 26 holes to make up those that he didn't play yesterday. That could be tricky for him given all the problems he's had with the back lately.

But to go to his defense, guys, Tiger did not even swing his driver yesterday until he teed off, officially teed off at the Cadillac championship because he choose to save his back as long as possible. But didn't play a practice around and only chipped and putted before he teed off for the first time yesterday.

BOLDUAN: Wow. Can we go back to basketball? Joe, do you believe the LeBron James defense? CARTER: He's always said the jerseys because of how they're cut have just slightly hindered him from having a smooth jump shot. So, he doesn't like them, he's been critical of them. The NBA likes them because it's a new look. It's a different way to market the teams. He doesn't have to worry about that anymore because obviously the Miami Heat are not going to wear those jerseys for the rest of the season.

BERMAN: Cuomo says the same thing about pants a lot.

BOLDUAN: What? What?

CUOMO: You see, you see how (INAUDIBLE). When you laugh, you encourage, Joe. When you laugh.

BERMAN: Sometimes when they're too tight it does restrict their range of movement.


BOLDUAN: Say it again, Joe.

CARTER: I said where exactly where they tight on, Chris?

CUOMO: You see what happens? Just to be clear, it's because of Berman. See what I'm saying? He makes that face and you're like, he'd never say anything offensive.

Then you hear that thing about the past. You don't back me up. You think it's funny.

BOLDUAN: I love you. I only make fun of the jets. See, that's an honest fight to have.

CUOMO: What's happening here today? The control room yelling at me to move on. I'm the one getting beat down.

BOLDUAN: I'm giggling.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next -- thanks, Joe. Joe is like, what am I doing?

Coming up next on NEW DAY: emotional testimony at the Oscar Pistorius trial. The Blade Runner's ex-girlfriend talking about their relationship and also how it ended and how often Pistorius used his gun that she knew of. We're going to go back live to South Africa just ahead.

CUOMO: Plus, two of the country's biggest super market chains are joining forces. What will the major merger mean for you and your grocery bills? Food for thought.


BERMAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. Let's get a look at your top stories.

President Obama and President Putin found little common ground as they spoke for the third time about the crisis in Ukraine. Now, an American warship is headed to the Black Sea.