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Source: $2 Billion Deal To Buy Clippers Reached; Russian Troops Leaving Ukraine Border; Detroit Airport Lockdown Lifted; Bipartisan Call for Shinseki to Resign

Aired May 30, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, we have a deal. Or do we? Shelly Sterling agrees to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a whopping $2 billion, but can she sell without Donald? And his lawyer says he is spoiling for a fight.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Pressure mounting. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki set to speak this morning as more and more lawmakers say it's time for him to step aside. Will he resign? And if he does, will it help the troubled VA system?

CUOMO: Terror at 1300 feet. Look at this. The glass on the viewing ledge of the Willis Tower in Chicago seemingly cracks. Terrified tourists fearing for their lives. The video you just have to see.

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. TGIF alert on this May 30th. 6:00 in the East.

We begin with a reported deal which would make history on two levels. Biggest sale of an NBA franchise and biggest ouster in sports certainly for the NBA. Could it be the end for Donald Sterling's career as an owner? CNN has learned former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has agreed to buy the L.A. Clippers for $2 billion.

Shelly Sterling negotiated the sale, which still would need league approval, but first the ball appears to be back in Donald Sterling's court. CNN's Rosa Flores is following developments. The drama, Rosa, the drama.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The drama unfolds every day. Now, two things are very clear. Donald Sterling wants to see all the cards on the table before making his move, and Shelly Sterling, becoming public about how excited she is about the sale.


FLORES (voice-over): It is one of the biggest deals in sports history, and the winning bidder, this man, Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, the price tag, $2 billion, handedly beating out competing bidders like Oprah Winfrey and David Geffen by at least $400 million. But the deal is no slam dunk. Ballmer has signed an agreement with Shelly Sterling. But the next play belongs to Donald Sterling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no sale and he is not yet agree to sign off, period.

FLORES: His lawyer telling Wolf Blitzer before news of the agreement that while Donald gave her permission to negotiate selling the team, he did not give her permission to actually sell the team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not without reaching an accommodation with the NBA, which gives him some form of vindication. The money is not critical to him.

FLORES: The NBA is pushing for a quick sale, trying to ward off a contentious meeting scheduled for this Tuesday where owners will officially vote to force Sterling out. The reaction overnight was quick, with Magic Johnson tweeting, quote, "Clipper fans, you'll love Steve Ballmer as your owner." But either way, Donald Sterling will not leave empty handed. He originally bought the team for $12 million.


FLORES: Now Shelly Sterling has just released a statement announcing that she is, quote, "delighted that we are selling the team to Steve who will be a terrific owner." Now Shelly Sterling also said, we have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premier NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success -- Chris.

CUOMO: Rosa, who is we? Who is we, Rosa? That's the big question, if that's her and Donald, he has to say yes. He's the only one recognized by the NBA as a franchise owner. So let's bring in Mel Robbins, CNN commentator and legal analyst, and Darren Kavinoky, attorney at the Kavinoky Law Firm and host of "Deadly Sins on Investigation" on Discovery.

Deadly sins, I wonder if that applies in this case, Kavinoky. Here is the first issue for you, guys, can Shelly Sterling sell this team without Donald? Mel Robbins?



ROBBINS: It's held by a trust. Yes, done, fast this morning. She can't sell it without his authorization.

CUOMO: So this is just pushing Donald, is that what you see it as, Kavinoky?

KAVINOKY: Well, Donald certainly could be the spoiler of this. If I'm Shelly I'm not popping champagne corks any time soon because the NBA recognizes Donald as the controlling owner. Donald is the one that ultimately has the recognizing decision making power at this point.

CUOMO: So Kavinoky, it comes down to, for Donald Sterling, you can't kick me out of this league based on the fruit of the poisonous tree, nice phrase that lawyers love. This tape was illegally made. You can't use it. You support that statement for me. Why?

KAVINOKY: Well, that's one of the arguments that he's raising and he's saying ultimately that this is all stemming from this illegal tape recording because in California it's a two-party consent state that meaning both parties need to consent to something being recorded and he didn't. And what he's going to do is he's going to marry this to the substantive due process argument saying that this is essentially fundamentally unfair. The problem I think he's going to run into is --

CUOMO: Hold on, Kavinoky, let Mel Robbins tell us what the problem is because the NBA is saying this isn't a court of law. This is a basketball court. What does the difference make in this regard, Mel?

ROBBINS: Well, the difference is, is really important here, Chris. It's everything, in fact. And basically he signed up to be part of a private association and he agreed to their rules. And there's also an arbitration clause basically says, yes, you can sue but you've also agreed to tell the judge to kick it back to us.

CUOMO: So the rules of evidence about illegally obtained things, Kavinoky, do they apply in the same way as a criminal trial, for instance?

KAVINOKY: No, in a word, no, they don't and there's even other arguments because everything in the constitution and by it is laws in the NBA relates to the state laws of New York, which is only a one- party recording state. So there's a good argument to be made that even though this happened in California if we're applying New York law it's a totally different ball game. So ultimately, I think he's going to lose on that.

CUOMO: So, Mel, you were sleeping on Kavinoky as just another pretty face and then whipped out the New York law.

ROBBINS: Yes, I'm just wow. Wow!

CUOMO: You were not ready for that, Mel Robbins. I saw you get knocked sideways.

ROBBINS: No. Good show. I'm stealing that.

CUOMO: Do you think that legally Donald Sterling can do anything other than maybe slow this down a little bit?

ROBBINS: You know, at the end, the team is going to get sold. This is what I think is going on, Chris and Darren. I actually think what Donald Sterling wants is he wants that lifetime ban removed. What his attorney spoke about yesterday at length was vindication. We all kind of rolled our eyes, but I think at the bottom line of all of this, Donald Sterling feels hurt.

I know nobody is sympathetic to him, but I think what he really wants is I think he's going to use the sale, the fact that everybody is exhausted and wants this to go away, to be able to put pressure on the NBA to say, look, I'll sign the deal, you can have your sale, just remove the lifetime ban, for crying out loud.

Let's all admit I'm an old man. I was jealous. I was baited, I didn't mean it, I'm sorry. Please, after 33 years, I'll agree to the sale. I think that's what he wants. That's what I believe in my gut.

CUOMO: Darren, if you're the NBA, what's the downside to doing that?

KAVINOKY: First of all, if you're the NBA, what you want to do is keep the pressure on. One thing we know about the Sterlings from a long, long history, Chris, is that we can only rely on actions, not words. And there are some people that are deeply skeptical that all of this sale talk is just a set a benchmark for the market value of the Clippers so that if they go to war and a sale is forced for some amount that is now less than the $2 billion, that the Sterlings can sue and get treble damages three times whatever that shortfall is.

So I think these guys may be perceived as more Bonnie and Clyde or Thelma and Luis on this. Everybody is sort of holding their breath. This reminds me of one of those slasher films where you think that the bad guy has been killed and everyone is safe and then jumps out from behind the curtain. This deal is not done for a long shot. The NBA is going to keep the pressure on.

CUOMO: Mel Robbins, Kavinoky comes with a New York law exclusion and then Thelma and Luis reference, strong showing. Thank you very much. I'll tell you one thing I didn't hear you guys raise, $2 billion for the Clippers? You don't even own the stadium. There's not even --


CUOMO: What does that mean? Why are they paying so much for this franchise? Very interesting. I wonder if this whole debacle didn't raise the value in some perverse way. Anyway, Mel, Darren, thank you very much. Kate, over to you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'll take it now, Chris. I go by John Berman, thank you very much.

We are going to give the news right now. New developments this morning in the investigation into the Santa Barbara rampage. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office now says deputies who checked on Elliott Rodger three weeks before the killing spree knew he had posted disturbing videos but never viewed them. Six UCSB students were killed in last Friday's violence, 13 others were injured.

Thousands of Russian troops have withdrawn from the Ukraine border. A move U.S. has been demanding for weeks. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called the move promising, but says that Russia is not where it needs to be until all of the troops are gone. U.S. officials estimated as many as 40,000 Russian forces had been along the border since violence between government security forces and pro-Russian separatists broke out.

Travelers at Detroit's Metro Airport endured 2-1/2 hours of frustration after the TSA says a man forced his way back through a security checkpoint without being rescreened. The terminal was placed on lockdown while authorities searched for the man. He was found out, taken into custody. Agents searched the terminal as a precaution -- Mary, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Exactly, thank you, Frank, Sam, John, thank you very much. Let's get over to someone you cannot butcher her name, how could you? Indra Petersons.


BOLDUAN: Your name is so fun I can't even make one up.

PETERSONS: Everyone butchers it every day. It's no big deal. All right, let's talk about the weather stories, it's the same one. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, yes, it is Friday and we're still talking about rain into the south. Look at the storms that continue to really inundate the area. Another two to four inches of rain still expected again. Flooding concerns remaining high. Same low sit there's. All this moisture pulls out of the gulf.

Watch it blow up on Saturday. Finally by Sunday it dies down. Finally a saving grace is out there. Northeast, it's the weekend. We want a little bit of mild air. It's going to cool down. By Sunday, it rebounds. Spotty showers will be out there on Saturday as front pushes on through. Biggest dropout is towards Boston, 70s are back. Don't worry. Just a little bit later.

The other thing is there's the storm. There's the back door cold front. Watch this one in the Upper Midwest and Northern Rockies. This does have a threat for severe weather. Billings and Cheyenne on Saturday. Sioux Falls back down through Amarillo. A small threat of tornadoes. Big thunderstorms and straight line winds. Rainy on Saturday. Sunday, that's the good one.

BOLDUAN: Sunday will be the nice day.

PETERSONS: It's the good one.

BOLDUAN: Outdoor activity Sunday. Thanks, Indra.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is set to speak to veterans groups this morning. How will he address the scandal that is rocking his agency? Will he still have a job by the end of the day?

CUOMO: He is $20 billion man. Steve Ballmer, he's poised to become the new owner of the L.A. Clippers, maybe. We'll tell you who this guy is for sure.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

That thin ice that Eric Shinseki has been standing on may be cracking this morning. Support for the beleaguered V.A. secretary is fading fast. His outrage is growing over deadly treatment delays at V.A. hospitals that were first reported here by CNN.

Shinseki is scheduled to speak to a veterans group in Washington. In less than three hours. You can be sure he's expected to acknowledge at the very least a breach of trust.

But now, members of Congress are calling for a criminal investigation to determine whether those treatment delays were covered up, so hospital officials could cash in on bigger bonuses.

Let's go to the White House and get the very latest from Athena Jones -- Athena.


Today is the day that Secretary Shinseki is supposed to give the president the preliminary results of his investigation into the V.A. system. And this comes as a growing number of Democratic senators are calling for Shinseki to resign.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I cannot speculate about personnel matters.

JONES (voice-over): The White House under mounting pressure to give embattled Secretary Eric Shinseki the boot for mismanagement at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Just last week, the president praised him.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody cares more about our veterans than Eric Shinseki.

JONES: Even as he demanded answers.

OBAMA: I want to know the full scope of this problem. That's why I ordered secretary Shinseki to investigate.

JONES: But by Thursday, Press Secretary Jay Carney was refusing to say whether the president had confidence in the secretary.

CARNEY: The president looks forward to the preliminary review, that he asked the secretary to provide to him.

JONES: Today is deadline day for that review. Shinseki has been under fire for big problems within the veterans medical care system. Allegations that include long wait times for appointments and secret waiting lists, delays that may have killed dozens. And while the speaker of the house is still reserving judgment about whether Shinseki should resign -- REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The question I ask myself is him resigning going to get us to the bottom of the problem? Is it going to help us find out what's really going on? And the answer I keep getting is no.

JONES: More than a dozen Republican senators and a growing number of Democrats are calling for him to go. Including Democrats facing tough re-election fights in the fall, like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who tweeted Thursday afternoon, "Shinseki served our nation with distinction, but recent unacceptable actions under his watch regrettably means new leadership is needed."


JONES: So, we'll be waiting for that review from Shinseki. In the meantime, we expect the pressure on him and on the White House to keep growing -- Chris, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Athena, thank you very much for the update.

Let's break it down more with Maggie Haberman, CNN political analyst and senior political reporter for "Politico".

Maggie, it's great to see you.


BOLDUAN: So, you've got two things. You have the president. He's waiting to see this review, this internal review from Shinseki, could (AUDIO GAP). And then you have the growing -- really kind of the flood gates have opened for people calling for Shinseki to resign. Can these two things happen separate of each other? Can the mounting pressure have an impact on how the president reacts?

HABERMAN: The short answer is no. This is not sustainable over a period of several weeks. This has gone from a sort of a slow drip, drip of Democrats last week to a total deluge. As you said, you got a fifth of the Senate Democrats saying he has to go.

President Obama does not like to fire people. This administration prides itself on sticking on staff even when there are calls for heads to roll. This one is hard to see this can go on for weeks more while there might be additional review, as they've indicated.

BOLDUAN: When you say it is known that the president does not like to fire people. That is an admirable quality to not be quick to it cut off people's heads but when it becomes maybe a little more apparent that this might not be the person that can bring about the change and reforms that are going to be needed to fix this huge problem in this system, can it backfire on the president, this loyalty to employees?

HABERMAN: It certainly can.

There's also the difficulty here is you're dealing with somebody who has a lengthy military career who is respected by both sides of the aisle politically, who is not indicating in his own comments and we'll see what he says in a couple of hours but so far, he has not shown any indication that he is saying to the president, I will hand you my resignation if you will accept it. He is really hanging on as best as I can tell.

I think it's going to take more information before the page turn on this. But I do have a very hard time seeing the path for him staying on.

CUOMO: Obama is getting hit with the no accountability stake though all over the place. And, unfortunately, in politics, accountability usually means firing somebody as opposed to firing yourself.


CUOMO: Do you think that what may wind up hurting the secretary in this is that so many of these revelations are coming out in the last few years, because the protection would be for him the V.A. has been in trouble for a long time but this is coming in under his watch, technically.

HABERMAN: I think that's right. This is since 2010. There are huge numbers of incidents that we're talking about, and it's very systemic across the board. This is where it becomes very, very hard to argue this is not under one particular person.

Look, when you have the case of Secretary Sebelius with health care when Obamacare rolled out, you can understand why President Obama did not want to throw her under the bus. Even though a lot of people saying --


HABERMAN: Because the health care law need to roll out in the White House's minds. It needed to get done and having a sacrificial lamb was not necessarily going to change that. The problems were different.

This is also a different type of issue. There is a sacred quality to veterans. There is a sacred quality to the military. And that is part of what we're seeing in the reaction.

BOLDUAN: Which is why I'm surprised and I want to get your take on it, why I'm not -- many Republicans are calling for him to resign but some in the Republican leadership, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, not calling for him to resign, more talking about the accountability stick, more putting it on President Obama. Erin Cantor telling "Politico" which is this is a core competency question for the White House.

Is that a political strategy for Republicans because it may have a longer-term impact on the president if they can hurt him and associate him with the problem rather than just calling for Shinseki to resign? I'm just surprised they're not jumping on him because they often do quickly jump and say, Sebelius, resign, Holder, resign.

HABERMAN: It's a rare show of partisan ship. You saw Boehner and Pelosi make this argument that we don't want to see this happen.

I agree that the goal here is to keep the pressure and focus on the president. If this can be dealt with, with -- you know, the firing or dismissal of one person then that becomes easier to contain.

CUOMO: So, the lunch between Obama and Hillary, do you think Hillary gave him the advice, in the Clinton days we would have gotten rid of this guy in five minutes, anything to keep it off of you.

BOLDUAN: Why is this secret? I think there are a lot of lunches that are secret. We don't hear about them all.

HABERMAN: The best part about this was revealed after an accidental tweet from a "People" magazine reporter --

CUOMO: There are no accidents.

HABERMAN: An accidental tweet -- who is interviewing Hillary Clinton for her new book and then this is how we found out about this lunch.

What was interesting about this lunch is that so much of what has happened within the last couple of weeks in terms of how Hillary Clinton has had to respond or her allies have responded in terms of the latest Benghazi hearing. Obama has been almost an afterthought. This is an interesting reminder of, oh, here are these two.

CUOMO: Let's roll play how this happens. Ask me anything.

BOLDUAN: Are you going to run for president in 2016?

CUOMO: You know, it's funny, the other day, I was at lunch with my friend Barack. Oh, I didn't mean that, I mean, the president, oh no, I didn't mean that, forget I said it. Please again, what was your question?

BOLDUAN: Who is Maggie in this roll play?

HABERMAN: I'm taking the picture for Twitter.

CUOMO: Maggie is everybody else.

How does lunch with the president come out as an accident?

HABERMAN: Did I let that slip?

BOLDUAN: If Hillary has to be offended about anything, it is your I'm person impersonation of her.


CUOMO: No good?

BOLDUAN: It was (INAUDIBLE). You might do better Bill (ph).

CUOMO: I have time.

BOLDUAN: Maggie, arbiter of justice, bad.

Thanks, Maggie. Great to see you.

CUOMO: I'm a little ashamed about it now.

Coming up on NEW DAY -- I'll work on it in the break -- Shelly Sterling says Microsoft's former CEO is going to be the new owner of the L.A. Clippers. Steve Ballmer, there he is. He's running around. He doesn't always look like this.

BOLDUAN: That's what Maggie does on the break.

CUOMO: He's worth $20 billion because of what happened at Microsoft that he was responsible for in part. We'll tell you all about him.

BOLDUAN: And imagine standing on a glass floor 103 stories above the city of Chicago. Sounds exciting, right? What if it starts cracking or cracks start appearing beneath your feet. It happened at the top of the Willis Tower as they call it now. We'll talk to a tourist about the moment of terror.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. Let's look at your headlines.

A radical Islamist fighter who carries out a suicide bombing in Syria was a U.S. citizen who grew up in Florida. Two U.S. government officials confirmed this but would not disclose the bomber's given name. He was among a group of Americans that the FBI and CIA have been trying to track since they joined the fight against the Syrian government months ago.

The NSA firing back at Edward Snowden who claims in an NBC interview he reported his concerns about illegal surveillance to directly to the agency before leaking a treasure trove of classified documents. NSA officials released an e-mail exchange with Snowden which they claim shows he did not address wrongdoing at the agency, asking only about legal training programs. Snowden calls this release incomplete.

So, two champion wordsmiths are celebrating this morning. The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie Thursday for the first time in 52 years. These two young men beat the egg dictionary. Thirteen-year- old Ansun Sujoe spelled feuilleton correctly and 14-year-old Sriram Hathwar nailed the word stichomythia.

In fact, as I said, the boys spelled so many words right, the judges just ran out. I didn't know there could be a tie in a spelling bee. They go to every language in the world. They have to find more words somewhere. The two winners will tell us about their big wins in the next hour of NEW DAY, n-e-w-d-a-y.

CUOMO: Two words. Are they real words?

BERMAN: That's the thing. You can make them up and they will spell them right. How can you run out? CUOMO: Feuilleton is not a word, I tell you that right now.

BOLDUAN: I have no idea --

CUOMO: How do you run out of words? How do you end in a tie? They should sue.

BOLDUAN: We had two people on the show that had a tie.

BERMAN: That was in a regional, state competition.

BOLDUAN: And they ran out of words as well. Isn't that crazy? Are we not creating enough words or are the kids just getting smart smarter?

BERMAN: It's a social issue.

CUOMO: Is it a big government problem?

BOLDUAN: Big government. Let's some money at it, it will work.

CUOMO: What happened to the country when they can limit the amount of words you can spell?


BOLDUAN: There's my platform when I run.


BERMAN: Spell care.


CUOMO: Very nice. J.B. wins.

All right. Speaking of another potential winner this morning, Shelly Sterling has confirmed she has a binding contract, interesting choice of words for her, to sell the L.A. Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The price tag would make history, $2 billion.

Now, in a statement, Shelly Sterling says she's confident he'll take the clippers to, quote, "new levels of success." The billionaire businessman used to the man who was running Microsoft.