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Obama and Putin Talk Ukraine; U.S. Sanctions Russians; Man Suing Over $500K Gambling Bill

Aired March 7, 2014 - 07:30   ET



BERMAN: Welcome back everyone.

The latest on the crisis in Ukraine. Russian officials are saying they do not expect a war with Ukraine even as they speak in favor of a referendum that could make Crimea break from Ukraine. The parliament in Crimea facing protests and backlash for scheduling the vote, and now for the second straight day, a Russian ship is blocking the exit from a Ukrainian base.

President Obama and President Putin found little common ground as they spoke for a third time about the conflict. And despite the timing, an American war ship is headed to the Black Sea for pre-planned exercises.

New details on the 2012 military data breach reportedly carried out by Iran. This huge hack exposing an internal Navy computer network. Now investigators say a poorly written contract is partly to blame. According to the "Wall Street Journal," the contract did not require security for some databases so the contractor, Hewlett-Packard, did not regularly maintain them opening up a big hole for hackers.

A just released study shows free birth control for women and teenage girls does not increase risky sex. Researchers say those who took part in the study were less likely to have sex with more than one man after the research started. The study did find they had sex a bit more often, but were no more likely to get STDs. The same study previously showed free birth control reduced abortions and unintended pregnancies.

A merger is set between two of the largest grocery store chains in the country. Albertsons and Safeway will join forces to create a network of 2,400 stores and other facilities with more than a quarter million employees.

Albertsons CEO says the deal should create cost savings for the company and maybe lower prices for consumers. No stores will close, they say, because of this merger.

We have some amazing new video to show you right now. A crash on a Canadian highway, a couple's dash mounted camera captured it all, my goodness. They were approaching a pickup truck hauling a trailer, comes right into them. Boom. Look at that. What's really amazing, no one was seriously injured in this crash. The driver of the pickup truck was charged with failing to yield to traffic. It appears the driver is talking on his cell phone. Wow. Amazing video -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It sure is. Thanks so much, John. Let's return to our top story of the morning, the crisis in the Ukraine. To talk more about it, let's bring in Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS."

Fareed, we've been kind of tracking the developments day by day. I think today the biggest thing to keep an eye on is this coming referendum vote in Crimea. Stay with Ukraine or become part of Russia. What do you think the real impact is of this vote? Let's say it happens, what then?

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": Well, it's huge because, look, facts on the ground, Russia has already rested Crimea from out of the Ukrainian government's control. TV stations are closing down. The flights from Crimea to Ukraine, to Kiev, which used to go through the domestic terminal, of course, now leave through the international terminal.

BOLDUAN: So is it just a foregone conclusion?

ZAKARIA: So the fact on the ground is already that Crimea is separate from Ukraine. The referendum will create a kind of legitimacy for that. So once that happens, I think it becomes more and more difficult for the Ukrainian government to just keep protesting and saying we want to change this.

It gives Russia the bargaining power, the leverage it wants. We have to try to find is some halfway house between allowing Russia an outright annexation and recognizing that Russia does have interests and that the population there doesn't want to be part of Ukraine, which is an important point.

BOLDUAN: It seems that the solution, whatever, it maybe is going to be an imperfect one. I think you've made that point as well. But how does Ukraine, United States who supports Ukraine, the authorities in Kiev's interests and the E.U. how do they go about minimizing the influence that Russia will have, though, in the end?

ZAKARIA: I think that the most important point here in the conversation between Obama and Putin, Putin said I don't want to sacrifice this relationship.

BOLDUAN: How has it not been -- I mean --

ZAKARIA: You know, it is in bad shape, but what that suggests to me he is open to some kind of political solution. He is just trying to create the best negotiating hand he can. So what we have to try to do is to get the Europeans to speak with one voice, to be united in presenting Putin with some kind of a negotiated outcome, which says, look, you know, the Russian parts of Ukraine can have some autonomy. The Russian speakers' rights will be guaranteed. Crimea can be a special autonomous zone, but you cannot let stand as a principle that -- you know, Russia get next to Crimea. So we've got -- rather than getting too technical about the constitution of Ukraine.

President Obama said the referendum is unconstitutional by the government of Ukraine's constitution. Well, so was the coup, the deposing of the president of Ukraine --

BOLDUAN: If you want to look at the literal --

ZAKARIA: What essentially happened because a street action. There is a process for impeachment of the Ukrainian elected president. That wasn't followed.

BOLDUAN: So don't focus on that part.

ZAKARIA: Don't focus on that part. Let's focus on -- forget the legal. Let's look at the political reality. Let's try to recognize that Russia has many more interests there than we do. But the core as I say come back to as we can't let stand as a principal of international law that, you know, a powerful country can gobble up its neighbors.

BOLDUAN: Right. So one of the moves that we are seeing besides a lot of conversations, are sanctions. So the United States laid the groundwork for sanctions obviously and the E.U. as well. Do you think these taken together -- we've talked about a little bit, you need some kind of combination of these small options together to try to isolate Russia. That's what the president wants to do, to try to force Putin's hand. Are these the right sanctions to do that?

ZAKARIA: I don't think they will work. I mean, I think they will exact some price. I think they're probably worth doing. I haven't look at every single one specifically, but here's the problem. This is not some small Middle Eastern country. This is a large economy that provides 30 percent of the natural gas for most European countries that has huge cross-border investments.

And that has dealings with the west, so for example, if you were to have real sanctions on the Russian economy, French banks would collapse because the Russians would say, we don't have to pay back the French banks what we owe them, Italian banks, German banks.

Mark my words, France will not be anxious to do sanctions against Russia because the French for all their high-minded rhetoric, they're very mercenary and when they look at the reality, you know, Russia has more cards on this.

Again, this is not -- we intended to sanction smaller countries outside of the global trading system for the most part, Iran, Syria, countries like that. Russia is a reasonably large player with lots of dealings.

So nobody's going to sanction them on oil and gas. Nobody's going to sanction them in a way where they retaliate on the banks, so what are you left with.

BOLDUAN: They already signalling that maybe -- maybe not so suddenly. Lavrov after his latest conversation with Kerry even said that it's impossible to act honestly under the threat of ultimatums and sanctions. We obviously know that they would even be considering kind of counter sanctions as well. So it looks like that's not fast to go at least in the short term.

ZAKARIA: Look, the -- what we've got to figure out is how to give Russia some sense of dignity and space while not allowing it to do these kind of things. I mean, one thing we should be focusing on with the Russians is they want to hold a referendum in Crimea, fine.

There are 25 million ethnic Russians outside Russia, in Ukraine, in Belarus, in Kazakhstan, and all these neighboring states around Russia's border because of the old Soviet days where the Russians used to go there.

Do they really want to scare all their neighbors into making those countries feel that Russia might start instigating these movements in Kazakhstan, in Belarus. So they don't have an incentive to have -- you know, to attach Crimea to them.

The smartest strategy for them is let Crimea have some autonomy, but let it technically be part of Ukraine, you know, some kind of half way.

BOLDUAN: Get back to some kind of off ramp, face-saving measure.

ZAKARIA: We've got to look for a win-win here, because Russia is too close and it cares too much about Ukraine for it to lose completely.

BOLDUAN: Anyway, watch it play out day to day. Fareed Zakaria, thanks, Fareed. Great to see you. Of course, you can watch "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" Sundays, 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, a monitoring Twitter here. It does seem that many of you are open to the case that the next man you're about to meet is going to make here on NEW DAY. He says he blacked out on a bender in Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend, woke up half a million dollars in the red. Decided to sue the casino to get his money back because they overserved him. Does he have a case? He is going to be on NEW DAY to make it. I will test it and you may judge it. Plus --


CUOMO: Well, Kenny is right. We all know that. Here's the scenario. You're in Las Vegas the weekend of the Super Bowl. You have a few drinks. You have a few more drinks. You have too many drinks and then you start gambling. You wake up the next morning lighter to the tune of $500,000.

That's what Mark Johnston says happened to him, but he also says he should not be responsible for the losses because he was way too drunk to gamble. The casino should have known that and they should have cut him off but they didn't.

He joins us now from Los Angeles. Mr. Johnston, this is your opportunity to make the case. You tell me why you should not be responsible for what you did.

MARK JOHNSTON, FILED LAWSUIT OVER $500K LAS VEGAS BLACKOUT: Well, Mr. Cuomo. Good morning to you in Los Angeles. The case is basically about the casino serving me too many cocktails, when gaming regulations -- it's a direct violation of gaming regulations to serve someone who's intoxicated.

CUOMO: And you're saying that they knew you were intoxicated and served you anyway? And do you also say that they knew they were doing this because they wanted to coax you to gamble too much?

JOHNSTON: Yes, sir.

CUOMO: And you can prove this how?

JOHNSTON: Well, I had dinner at one of their restaurants across the street from the casino called Trouble Georgias and after leaving there, I really don't remember that. But most importantly, one of their own employees, a bartender who sat apparently with me while I was gambling is the one that brought this to my attention because I don't remember anything after the restaurant. He's a witness along with many other witnesses.

CUOMO: OK. So let's ask some questions here. One, on the law, you know that "the don't serve" the visibly intoxicated at a casino is an extension of what we know now as the "dram shop" laws. What they're really intended to do is protect third parties, people who wind up being victims of those who are drunk.

As opposed to taking personal responsibility from the drunk people themselves. So you're going to have to be making a constructive argument. Do you have a problem with alcohol?

JOHNSTON: No, I don't.

CUOMO: But you did that night?

JOHNSTON: Yes, I did.

CUOMO: Do you usually gamble and drink?

JOHNSTON: Yes, I do.

CUOMO: You gamble a lot?

JOHNSTON: I gamble a lot. I don't always drink a lot when I'm gambling, but I do gamble a lot, yes. I've been going to Vegas for three decades.

CUOMO: Is it true that you have gambled a lot, lost a lot, and drank a lot all at the same time?


CUOMO: So you have never lost a lot of money and been drinking a lot while you were gambling?


CUOMO: And you don't believe that if this wind up did come into litigation that this casino wouldn't be able to bring people up and say, I know Johnston, he's a whale. He bets big all the time. He's lost more money than this before. I've seen him drinking while he was gambling. You don't think anybody could come forward and say that?

JOHNSTON: I can't speculate what they're going to come up with. I'm not a whale, number one. Number two, I mean, I have had drinks while gambling, but intoxication to where it goes to a blackout, no.

CUOMO: You've lost more than $500,000 before, though, right?

JOHNSTON: Yes, I have. I've also won more than $500,000.

CUOMO: All right, so you bet big amounts of money. So you are not suggesting that the casino just looked to cash in on you here to this record sum. This is actually a number that while it's higher than most anybody else will ever see in gambling days, this is not an unusual number?

JOHNSTON: Not for me. But I have my own opinion on what the casino did after finding out -- after all this came to -- to a head at the end.

CUOMO: All right, so then we get to the main issue, which is your responsibility, OK? You're not suggesting that they slipped you a mickey, right? They didn't sidle up some really attractive person that fed you drinks under some sort of guise of trying to seduce you, right. This is just about you ordering a lot of stuff from a bartender.

JOHNSTON: That's coffee. It's early here. No. Nobody slipped me a mickey. The bottom line is, they served me a lot of cocktails. I don't remember. I was in a blackout. It didn't come from a bartender. It came from cocktail waitresses that kept refilling my drinks at the table and that's pretty much what took place.

CUOMO: But wasn't it always on you whether or not to make the choices that kept you drunk or not drunk? And it's a little hard to believe you could gamble these kinds of stakes and be blacked out at the same time.

JOHNSTON: Well, you know what? I've never had this happen before to be honest with you. I don't know if you've ever been blacked out before. I guess that's for the experts to analyse.

CUOMO: I've been blacked out. Usually the point is you don't remember anything that happened and you're not able to do too much sophisticated stuff. Gambling is not exactly stumbling up the stairs and falling into your bathroom. JOHNSTON: I don't know what your point is.

CUOMO: My point is, you were gambling. You must have been gambling a lot. It's a sophisticated behaviour, which means, you must had some of your head there. You've lost this much money before. So it's not like this was some record sum where you got milked. And you were drinking too much and it may look like you're just trying to bail yourself out. Fair criticism?

JOHNSTON: I am not trying to bail myself out. I -- that's definitely not true.

CUOMO: Well, but you are trying to bail yourself out. You're trying to say even though I did the drinking, even though I did the gambling and lost, I now want you, casino, to pay me back because I was too drunk. So you are trying to bail yourself out.

JOHNSTON: Well, first of all, the casino -- I have not paid the money anyways yet. There's more components to the story. You're just talking about the blackout period and you don't really have the whole story that you're talking about right now.

CUOMO: And let me help your cause to that effect. You say that this wasn't about using normal currency to gamble. That this is about markers and there's something about the casino has decided to treat the marker that you believe is suspicious. Tell me.

JOHNSTON: Yes, basically I had a quarter million dollar credit line at this casino. I've only been to this casino a few times. It's not a casino that I normally go to. I went there because a friend of mine got a job there and pretty much begged me to come there. I ended upcoming there. I don't gamble on credit. I came there with a quarter million dollar credit line.

At some point during the night, while this employee that works for them who is a bartender, they simply doubled my credit line with him telling them, look, the guy is too much intoxicated. You should let him go to bed and rest, and they didn't do that.

CUOMO: And now tell me this one last thing and I'll let you go, in terms of when you usually have to pay back the marker, there's a period you get. You say this time they're treating it differently. Tell me.

JOHNSTON: Yes. And that's another component to the story is that the casino, in fact, as you and I sit here today, the markers aren't even due until March 31st at a discounted rate of 20 percent, which means that the debt is actually $400,000. What they did is they went ahead and -- with the behavior -- showing the behavior they had, they went ahead and deposited the markets after my attorney sent them their first letter and deposited them trying to steel $100,000 from me.

CUOMO: So you believe they tried to jump the gun here because they are anxious about the situation and they tried to make a money grab early on, which makes you feel that they know they did the wrong thing. Fair assessment? JOHNSTON: Yes, fair assessment. Not only that they've also made a ton of changes since this incident happened at the casino.

CUOMO: In terms how they deal with intoxicated gamblers?

JOHNSTON: Correct. They sent out memos. They fired a few people. They also sent out memos to some of their cocktail waitresses, bartenders and so on.

CUOMO: Look, at least you know you did that much, then, in terms of spreading a message of responsibility here. But I wanted to bring up those last two points because it does add some suspicion to the situation. I know you filed a lawsuit. Keep us in the loop. We'll be watching the litigation as it goes on.

We hope to talk to you along the way. It would be very interesting if you win this one. Mr. Johnston, sorry to meet you in this situation, but thank you for coming on NEW DAY.

JOHNSTON: Thank you, Mr. Cuomo.

CUOMO: All right, Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, it could have been a cruel joke, but ended up being a tearful good deed. Watch what happens when a prankster gets a homeless man a fake lottery ticket.


BOLDUAN: I would love it. Welcome back. It's being called a good deed prank. The video getting over 8 million hits on YouTube. It involves a homeless man and a lottery ticket. It just might warm your heart. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the story of a homeless man who got pranked with a losing lottery ticket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today I'll make him think he won the lottery.

MOOS: Don't worry he's still a winner, a good deed prank and this is the prankster. Normally he does things like dressing up in a car seat costume so he can scare drive through customers as the invisible driver. Instead of a laugh, expect a tear when he pranks a homeless man with a good reputation and been hanging around a Virginia shopping center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have any money to give you, but I do have this winning lottery ticket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's cool, my friend.

MOOS: They head to a nearby deli to cash in the ticket. The store clerk is in on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You won $1,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're kidding.

MOOS: As the clerk counts out ten 100s -- the man stares at the cash stunned into silence and then.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to share with it you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on that's all yours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was really thrown off. I didn't expect somebody to do that.

MOOS: When he insists he keep all of the money the camera mounted on his sunglasses catches the eyes of the homeless guy welling up.


MOOS: When they were done hugging, it wasn't just the homeless man who had to wipe his eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. Let's get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To have somebody do what did you.

MOOS: He was not aware that he was recording everything.

(on camera): Eric, the homeless guy, now knows there's a video but what he doesn't know the lottery ticket wasn't a winner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't want to ruin the moment of him winning the lottery ticket, I wanted him to just like, you know, capture that moment, that memory.

MOOS: He said he'll break to it him soon, but most think the video was touching, some have qualms. Good deeds on camera or exploiting people as props was the headline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not just going to give him 1,000 and walk away and say have a great day.

MOOS: He set up a fundraising set for Eric and in less than a day it totalled over $6,000 and counting. Eric didn't win the lotto, but he hit the jackpot. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CUOMO: We'll take a break here on NEW DAY. A U.S./Russia face off and freeze out. Obama and Putin talk. Will anything come of it? We'll talk to the former ambassador to Ukraine and get some answers.