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"Saturday Night Live" Star in Critical Condition after Deadly Multiple Car Collision on New Jersey Turnpike; President Obama Defends Decision to Swap Prisoners; Sergeant Bergdahl's Recuperating In U.S. Military Hospital in Germany; Russia Has One Month to Call Off Its Militants in Eastern Ukraine; "Bleacher Report" on California Chrome; General Motors CEO Mary Barra Admits Incompetence in Company; Unexpected Discovery of New Planet Can Change Our Knowledge about Universe

Aired June 7, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, on a Saturday. Certainly not news anybody wants to wake up to. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. 6:00 here on NEW DAY SATURDAY, and the breaking news is happening along the New Jersey Turnpike in Mercer County where actor/comedian Tracy Morgan was involved in a very serious auto accident.

PAUL: Yeah, New Jersey officials just telling us that this is just actually very, very early in the game here. But, Jersey officials telling us that the star is in critical condition at a hospital. Details are still coming in. As I said, the word of this is just coming in to us here. Not clear whether he was traveling alone. We don't even know if he was behind the wheel. But Sergeant First Class Gregory William, New Jersey state police with us here to tell us more about this. Gregory, can you let us know more about what you have heard this morning? When did it happen?

GREGORY WILLIAMS, NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE: Yes. Well, it's all preliminary information, active investigation now. 1:00 a.m. this morning on the New Jersey turnpike, 71.5 northbound, which is I-95 here in New Jersey. Six-vehicle accident, two tractor trailers involved. Comedian actor Tracy Morgan was involved, he is in intensive care at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick. Looks like two tractor trailers, a limo bus, SUV, limo bus overturned. Tracy Morgan was in the limo bus, but he is alive, he is in intensive care. That Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, preliminary right now, and it's possibly just one fatality. And the roads are closed. Heavy diversion at 7 at northbound. And this accident occurred between 7a and 8a northbound on the New Jersey Turnpike. And right now that's basically what we have, all we have.

PAUL: Sergeant, do you have any indication as to the cause?

WILLIAMS: The cause of the accident, we do not have that. It's under investigation. Active investigation.

BLACKWELL: Sergeant, the one fatality was that a passenger or the driver of this limo bus?

WILLIAMS: Do not know whether or not it was a passenger or driver. Believed to be a passenger, also.

BLACKWELL: But inside the limo bus?

WILLIAMS: Inside the limo bus.


PAUL: What are the kind of injuries do you know of?

WILLIAMS: Well, seven people have been taken to the hospital, all injuries are unknown at this time.

BLACKWELL: Are those seven people all passengers, drivers inside this limo bus?

WILLIAMS: Unknown whether or not they are drivers or passengers, but just seven persons have been taken to the hospital.

BLACKWELL: At this point, is there any way to know if alcohol was involved? If - we talked about cause, but if there's any element of being drunk or anything at this hour of the night?

WILLIAMS: No, at this time, there's no way of really knowing whether or not alcohol was involved, as of yet. I do not have that information right now. The information that I have doesn't indicate that.

PAUL: Sergeant Williams, do you know how many people were in that limo bus with Tracy Morgan?

WILLIAMS: Do not have the exact number on that, but seven of those persons were transported to the hospital.

PAUL: OK, so what - at what stage are you right now? What is happening there on the freeway as we speak?

WILLIAMS: As we speak, the turnpike, northbound, is shut down. The road is closed for this investigation between 7a and 8a northbound on the turnpike.

BLACKWELL: That critical condition characterization of Tracy Morgan's condition, at what hour did you get that? How old or new is that?

WILLIAMS: This is the latest information that I received probably about 45 minutes ago. He is in intensive care at Robert Wood Johnson.

PAUL: All righty. And did you say it happened around 1:00 a.m.?

WILLIAMS: 1:00 a.m. is when the original accident occurred this morning.

PAUL: Do we know if he or any of the seven people taken to the hospital are in or are in need of surgery of any kind? WILLIAMS: I do not have that information.

PAUL: OK, but six vehicles you said were involved in this accident and again, two were tractor trailers?

WILLIAMS: Yes. Yes. Six vehicles, two tractor trailers and that limo bus is also included in that.

PAUL: You said the limo bus overturned. Did any other vehicles overturn? I mean I'm just trying to get a good sense of what you are dealing with at the scene.

WILLIAMS: Yes, the limo bus is the only vehicle that overturned. Looks like the tractor trailer may have - one of the tractor trailers may have rear ended that limo bus. It's all preliminary at this time.

BLACKWELL: And are there three other vehicles that are involved, because we know the two tractor trailers, the limo bus, you say, a total of six, no injuries to any drivers or passengers in those other three vehicles?

WILLIAMS: That is not clear as right now. I believe all the injuries are from that overturned limo bus.



BLACKWELL: Do we know how many people were on board that bus?

WILLIAMS: I do not have that exact number right now.

PAUL: All right. Well, again, listen, if you are just joining us, we want to get you caught up here. A very serious situation on the turnpike there in New Jersey between 7a and 8a northbound. The turnpike is closed because of a very serious accident involving six people - or six vehicles, I should say, rather. One of them was a limo bus where Tracy Morgan, you know him as an actor and alum of "SNL."

BLACKWELL: "30 Rock" as well.

PAUL: He's in critical condition right now and in intensive care in a hospital in New Jersey along with seven other people who were transported to the hospital as well. We do not know their conditions. There is not a cause, yet, given as this is an active investigation. And as I said, the turnpike is closed in that area. But, involving two tractor trailers and the sergeant there, Sergeant Gregory Williams, and we thank you so much for being with us, sergeant. Telling us that it is believed at least one of those tractor trailers may have rear ended that limo bus which then flipped over.

BLACKWELL: One fatality in this accident. And we know that again, Tracy Morgan, comedian, well known for his work on the series "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live." In intensive care right now at Robin Wood Johnson Hospital in New Jersey. Of course, we will continue to follow the story and get you the very latest on his condition that intensive care and critical condition status update is according to the sergeant 45 minutes old. So, the very latest after this 1:00 a.m. car crash. We'll continue to follow and get you more as we get more in.

Also this morning, the big story that people have been talking about for a couple of days now and President Obama making some news just hours ago with this fire back at his critics on Capitol Hill.

PAUL: He actually told that NBC News that he would do the prisoner swap for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl all over again, if he had to.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: By definition, you don't do prisoner exchanges with your friends, you do them with your enemies.


PAUL: That even though the Taliban, the release of five Taliban detainees, as you know, has sparked an outcry from Republicans and Democrats both including some of the president's staunchest allies.

BLACKWELL: We are also learning dramatic new details about Bergdahl's five years in captivity. Let's go first to CNN's Erin McPike for more on President Obama's defense of that deal.


ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Obama returns to Washington from a whirlwind European tour facing a growing storm over last week's dramatic release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. A key question in this NBC News interview, why didn't he tell Congress beforehand?

OBAMA: We saw an opportunity and we took it. And I make no apologies for it, the main concern was is that we had to act fast in a delicate situation that required no publicity.

MCPIKE: Sources say the Taliban didn't threaten to kill Bergdahl as administration officials suggested to senators. And lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are skeptical including Democrat Dianne Feinstein who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. She told Bloomberg News.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR: I don't think there was a credible threat, that - but I don't know. I have no information that there was.

MCPIKE: What's more, lawmakers from both parties don't buy the administration's initial explanation that Bergdahl's health was urgently deteriorating. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is under pressure to release the proof of life video of Bergdahl from last December that the White House showed Senators to make that case. Despite the shifting stories and growing political backlash, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the president telling ABC News ....

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If you look at what the factors were going into the decision, of course there are competing interests and values.

I mean one of our values is we bring everybody home off the battlefield the best we can. It doesn't matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation.

MCPIKE: But even General Jim Jones, one of President Obama's former national security advisers has questioned the deal telling CNN ...

GENERAL JIM JONES: I come down on the side that you don't negotiate with terrorists. I think that's a rock solid principle. And I think once you show that there's weakness there, that you open the door for possibly other bad things to happen.

MCPIKE: Erin McPike, CNN, the White House.


BLACKWELL: Bowe Bergdahl is recovering now at an American military hospital in Germany. And doctors say he's in stable condition, continues to improve as well, but is not ready to travel back to the U.S.

PAUL: CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is live from Landstuhl, Germany. Matthew, so good to see you this morning. Have doctors released any sort of gauge or time frame as to when Bergdahl may be able to head home?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. We have been consistently asking them, Christi, to give us some kind of time frame, just for a guidance, just for a logistical purposes. And they are not being able to do that, they are saying, look, there's no predetermined time frame, which they are operating on. It all depends on the pace of his healing, Sergeant Bergdahl's healing. On the pace of his reintegration. It's a very structured approach here at the Landstuhl regional medical facility, which is U.S. military hospital in southern Germany where Sergeant Bergdahl is being treated.

A very structured approach to his reintegration, it involves very careful assessment of his medical needs, because of patient's privacy laws, they are not going into detail about what is wrong with him. Only saying that part of his treatment is to address the nutritional and dietary shortcomings that have emerged from being in captivity for nearly five years. With the Taliban, and also we can have any other issues. There's also the psychological issue they are looking at, clearly having been in such a difficult situation for so long. It will have had an enormous psychological toll. And until that comfortable, that is stabilized, they are not going to move to the third phase - reintegration would be Sergeant Bergdahl going back to the United States, Christi.

BLACKWELL: There are always the scars one can see and those that one cannot see. Matthew Chance reporting for us this morning. Matthew, thank you.

Also, police say it was very close to being a catastrophe. A man in Georgia straps himself down with grenades and guns and a mindset to kill. We have got a live report, next.


PAUL: 15 minutes past the hour right now on a Saturday morning. And we are told that he came to, quote, inflict mayhem. That's how a sheriff described the gunman who tried to storm a local courthouse.

BLACKWELL: And this man died in a hail of gunfire, exchange with police. And it turns out, he was strapped with all kinds of weaponry. CNN national reporter Nick Valencia is here with more on the arsenal investigators found after this deadly confrontation. He didn't go there just by happenstance to maybe shoot one person, maybe two.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, he had body armor on him, Victor, hand grenades, even a homemade spike strip to stop first responders. Dennis Marx showed up at the Forsyth County courthouse Friday morning with every intention of inflicting major damage. Just listen to the chaos as it unfolded.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have any visual. We have pepper gas going off of the ...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pepper gas going off at the front (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tear gas has made - blind!



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's down. He's down.


VALENCIA: A very tense situation there for the officers and everyone in that community. We are told by sheriffs that Marx's plan was to take over the courthouse, take hostages. He had come with a water supply, flex cuffs. In the home also, Victor and Christi, they found crew devices, homemade explosives. Initially, they believed there was booby trap. That wasn't the case, just because the arsenal that he came with to the courthouse - they were very, very cautious when they entered that home.

PAUL: OK, so, I understand that you talked to one of his neighbors.


PAUL: What do we know about this guy? VALENCIA: Well, I spoke to Terry Sweeney, he lives just a few houses down from Marx. He said that he had seen the SWAT team there before about a year and a half ago, we were told by sheriff yesterday that they were familiar with Marx, that they had been to his home before. That's why the sort of caution about entering that they thought it was booby trapped. He actually described Marx as a kind of mellow guy and said that he was shocked to hear that Marx was involved in this and he also shockingly didn't put the entire blame on Marx, either.


TERRY SWEENEY, NEIGHBOR: Apparently the system failed him. Apparently, he went a little bit overboard, clearly, where I think that was suicide by cop. I think they drove him to the end. They did it. He didn't do it himself. I blame the judges and the cops.

VALENCIA: Do you have empathy for what he did today?

SWEENEY: I think he did everything the wrong way. I think he should have stuck with the system a little bit longer.


VALENCIA: Now, Sweeney went on tell me that there's a lot mistrust of the government incoming. He - that's his opinion, of course, I spoke to other residents who said that's just a small pocket. But there are those that have that sort of mistrust and identify as more sovereign citizens according to Sweeney.

PAUL: Well, thank goodness that they got it taken care of the way they did ...

VALENCIA: Yeah, absolutely.

PAUL: Before he got in there.

VALENCIA: It could have been much worse.

PAUL: Yeah. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Nick.

VALENCIA: You bet.

BLACKWELL: This hasn't happened in 36 years. On a lighter note, this morning, but could the long wait for a Triple Crown winner finally end today? We are going to look ahead to the Belmont stakes and the horse that is looking to put his name in the history books.


BLACKWELL: California Chrome, California Chrome, if you didn't hear the first word, makes the run at the record books later today.

PAUL: Is this horse going to be the one to win the Triple Crown? It's been a 36 year dry spell, people. BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: It is time, some people would say. Joe Carter is with us here.

JOE CARTER, "THE BLEACHER REPORT": You know, this horse is now a mile and a half away from sports history. I think the story, the back story of this horse saying that America is really pulling for this horse. It's the too good to be true story. I mean at this point we just need to figure out which actor is going to play which part of the movie?

PAUL: Here you go.

CARTER: But if you look back at the history, the horse necessarily doesn't have great history in this race because, since affirmed last won this race there, Triple Crown back in '78, 12 horses have come and gone and won the first two legs, but lost at Belmont. So, California Chrome obviously has the odds on the favorite. But given the history of this race, it doesn't necessarily treat that very well, if you follow me. California Chrome will have to beat out ten other thoroughbreds today. No other Triple Crown winner set the base more than seven horses in the race. This horse will start from the number two position. And really, the point here is that the horse has got to get out clean. It pinched - number two is basically two positions from the rail. And that's the number - that's the winningest position in this race, is the number one position closest to the rail. It won 23 times. But, you know, at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter. It's all about the start. The horse gets a good start, it will get out there. And this horse is known to get good starts at 6-0 coming into this race. If the odds - win or lose this has been one heck of a story following, certainly, one heck of a ride for this horse and its team.

PAUL: And it is a beauty. Look at that.

BLACKWELL: I'm falling for you, California. Come on Chrome.

PAUL: But you are not placing any bets, though?

BLACKWELL: I'm not. But I'm from Baltimore, we are Pimlico people.

CARTER: Yeah, when you talk about the bets here, I mean a lot of people are going to say, oh maybe this would be the time that I actually bet something or go to the tracks.

PAUL: Good point.

CARTER: You know, so the odds of this horse to win are a little interesting, because if you look at this - this is the post position. So, that's number one, number two, number three, number four. You see California Chrome is in the second position.

PAUL: Yeah.

CARTER: It's 3-5 odds. So, basically what you have to do is, you have to put up $100 to win $60, OK? So, the bookies are saying, the window is saying, we know that that horses probably going to win, so you are going to have to put up a lot to get a little. The rest of the horses, obviously, the odds are much different. So like - for instance, if you put up $100, you win $3,000. But this is just for the horse to win straight up. There's a million ways that you can bet these horses in the book and a million different ways you can win money. For instance, California Chrome, if you want, is the horse to show. If it finish one, two, three or four, you probably get even money. So, now that I have confused you both an everybody else ...


BLACKWELL: Exactly - the trifectas.

CARTER: Yes. Yes. There's a superbox.


CARTER: Just enjoy the two minute race.

BLACKWELL: Will indeed.

PAUL: We trust you and we know you know what you are talking about.

CARTER: Yeah, kind of.

PAUL: Thanks so much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Joe.

PAUL: So, you know, President Obama and Vladimir Putin, you know, they have not been really on talking terms over Ukraine, however, they did chat for a few minutes in France. Take a look at this. We are going to tell you what was on the discussion board there.


PAUL: Rise and Shine. It is 30 minutes past the hour. And you have got some time to just take a nice, deep breath and breathe this morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Five things you need to know for your new day now.

PAUL: Number one, a senior U.S. official tells CNN that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was physically abused during his nearly five years in Taliban captivity and was kept in a cage after he tried to escape. President Obama is defending the exchange of five high-level Taliban detainees for Bergdahl. He tells NBC News it's part of winding down the war in Afghanistan.

BLACKWELL: Number two, another American is now being held in North Korea. The reclusive authoritarian nation says it's detained a U.S. citizen who entered North Korea in April as a tourist and allegedly broke the law. He's being identified as Jeffrey Edward Fowle. Now, Japan's news agency says he was detained after leaving a Bible in the hotel room. PAUL: Number three, Ukraine's new president says he'll do everything possible to protect his country's independence. Candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko was sworn in earlier today and said he doesn't want war or revenge, despite Russia's recent annexation of Crimea and separatists' violence in eastern Ukraine. Talks with Moscow, in fact, are due to begin tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: Four now, Wisconsin joins the list of states where same- sex marriage bans had been ruled unconstitutional. A federal judge struck down the ban Friday, but did not say when the ruling takes effect. Well, Wisconsin's attorney general says he will appeal the ruling and that state law restricts marriage to one man and one woman. That remains in force.

PAUL: Number five, President Obama and other world leader marked Friday, 70th anniversary of the D-day invasion honoring all the soldiers who landed in Normandy, France on the date that marked a real turning point in World War II, obviously. French president expressed his gratitude to the men who came to "liberate people they have never met."

BLACKWELL: Now, the president and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. They had an informal meeting during those D-Day celebrations. The two presidents have been, of course, logger heads in recent weeks over Russia's actions in Ukraine.

PAUL: President Putin also talked briefly with Ukraine's new president, as we just mentioned. Petro Poroshenko. CNN's chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has more for us. Hi, Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, they have spoken on the phone a number of times since the start of the Ukraine crisis. Always tense exchanges with very little common ground based on the completing -outs those call from the White House and the Kremlin. But they haven't met face-to-face until Friday. It was an informal meeting not a formal bilateral, but once again, one that appeared serious in tone and with a firm message from President Obama.


SCIUTTO: It was the first face-to-face meeting between Presidents Obama and Putin since the start of the Ukraine crisis. Coming at D- Day ceremonies commemorating a time when the U.S. and Russia were allies. Speaking for 15 minutes at a lunch for heads of state, President Obama demanded that Russia recognize the new Ukrainian president, ended support for pro-Russian militants and stop the flow of arms across the Russian border. Sounding less than accommodating himself, Mr. Putin put the burden on Kiev to stop its military operations against separatists.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): The punitive operation must stop immediately. This is the only way to create conditions to start a real negotiation.

SCIUTTO: Until they got to talking, Obama and Putin were seated just six feet apart, though separated by two queens and a French president. That seems the way of their disagreement.


SCIUTTO: When the official television broadcast put the two leaders side by side, albeit in a split screen, the crowd cheered. Though Mr. Putin looked slightly less than thrilled. Still, Mr. Putin's isolation appears to be relenting. Aside from his talk with Mr. Obama, the Russian leader also met with the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and the newly elected president of Ukraine. The message from all of them, however, National Security Advisor Susan Rice told CNN's Jim Acosta was a consistent warning to back down or face new, broader, economic sanctions.

SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: What the president has done over the course of this week in meeting with our G-7 colleagues is to come together around a mutual understanding of what our shared posture will be and has been.


SCIUTTO: The administration is offering an opening to President Putin, but a finite one. Russia has, in effect, one month to call off pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine or face sectoral sanctions against its economy. The diplomatic outreach on Friday is, say administration officials, a test of whether Russia is serious, whether it's both willing and able to end the violence in eastern Ukraine. Christi and Victor?

BLACKWELL: All right, Jim Sciutto reporting for us. Jim, thank you.

PAUL: Well, GM says 13 people died because of its deadly ignition flaw. But you know what, there are some families saying that number has got to be much higher. That their loved ones aren't being included in it. We are going to meet one of those families. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: General Motors has released a scathing internal report this week. The CEO Mary Barra revealing a pattern of, quote, "incompetence and neglect that allowed the company to wait more than a decade before revealing to the public a deadly ignition flaw. That caused some cars to switch into accessory mode, and that change can cause a car to shut off, disabling air bags, power steering and brakes.

PAUL: The GM says 13 deaths have been caused by the faulty ignition switches. But there could be more. And one Georgia couple specifically believed that their daughter's death was caused by the defect. Before the recall, they actually settled with GM, but now they are trying to take the auto giant to court claiming they were deceived. Here is Poppy Harlow.


MARY BARRA, GM CEO: The pattern of incompetence and neglect. POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: GM CEO Mary Barra admitting the auto

giant's failures.

MARY BARRA: In short, we misdiagnosed the problem from the very beginning.

HARLOW: But those words aren't enough to the parents of Brooke Melton (ph) who died driving a 2005 Chevy Cobalt on her 29th birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kept thinking this is not possible. It's her birthday. It can't have happened that she died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). I knew in my heart and my gut there was something wrong with the car. That it wasn't her fault.

HARLOW: It was here that Georgia state patrol says Brooke Melton's 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt hydroplaned on rainy evening four years ago. The car spun out and was struck by another vehicle, then dropped 15 feet into this creek. The accident report Melton was driving too fast for roadway conditions, causing her to lose control of the vehicle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was driving 58 and the speed limit was 55.

HARLOW (on camera): Do you believe that that could have caused the accident?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I believe that she lost power.

HARLOW (voice over): It's now known the ignition switch on her cobalt was defective. This analysis of the car's data recorder provided by the Melton's attorney shows the switch was in the accessory position at the time of the crash, shutting the engine off and disabling the air bags, power steering and antilock brakes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we believe the evidence is overwhelming that the defects in the key system resulted in loss of control and her death.

HARLOW: GM would not comment on the data recorder information. The defect led GM to recall 2.6 million cars. But before the recall, the Melton settled their case with GM for an undisclosed amount. Now, they are fighting an uphill legal battle to reopen it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They thought they had the truth when they settled their case. We now know they had some of the truth, but not all of the truth.

HARLOW: In a new lawsuit, the Melton's allege that GM hid key documents from them and say a GM engineer lied in the sworn deposition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you the designer release engineer for the ignition switch in the '05 Cobalt?


HARLOW: The Melton's attorney gave CNN part of his deposition of Ray DeGiorgio who denied approving any changes to the ignition switch.

DEGIORGIO: There was never a work order that I saw, outlining this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any such change was made, it was made without your knowledge and authorization?

DEGIORGIO: That is correct.

HARLOW: But in 2006, DeGiorgio signed this form, authorizing a fix to the ignition switch, making it harder to turn inadvertently.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This subcommittee will come to order.

HARLOW: GM CEO was questioned by Congress about this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know that he lied under oath.

MARY BARRA, CEO OF GM: The data - in front of me indicates that. But I'm waiting for the full investigation.

HARLOW: That full investigation came out on Thursday and DeGiorgio is among 15 employees dismissed from GM. He did not return CNN's calls.

BARRA: Good evening, everyone.

HARLOW: GM declined an interview with CNN. But denies the assertion that it fraudulently concealed relevant and critical fact it connection with the Melton matter. And GM denied it's engaged in any improper behavior in that action. The automaker admit 13 people died as a result of the defect, but won't release those names. GM's list only includes frontal crashes where air bags didn't inflate.

(on camera): General Motors says 13-47 crashes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they are playing with numbers. That they don't count Brooke's death and she's dead because of that ignition switch.

HARLOW (on camera): Why is General Motors only counting frontal crashes where airbags didn't deploy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what we have done is we've analyzed all of the information we have available to us, based on one specific definition, as he described.

HARLOW: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We counted 13 people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her death is not being counted. It means like it doesn't matter

HARLOW (voice over): Ken Melton still keeps his daughter's number in his cell phone, something for him to hold on to.

(on camera): Are you willing to settle this time? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Settlement is off the table.

HARLOW: Any amount of money?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not about the money. Brooke's worth it. Whatever it takes as it took the next 20 years, knowing the truth for her, it's certainly worth it.

HARLOW (voice over): Poppy Harlow, CNN, Marietta, Georgia.


PAUL: And here's the thing: Gm announced yet another recall. Just yesterday. This time for more than 100,000 vehicles and you can find a full list of the newly recalled cars. We have that for you at So you can take a good look at that for yourself.

BLACKWELL: Scientists have found a strange new planet. It's a lot like earth. But there's one major twist here. The current theories say it should not exist. What the discovery means for science and the search for life in the universe.


PAUL: 47 minutes past the hour right now. Have you heard about the strange, newly discovered planet? Because it is expanding the possibilities, people, of life, other life in the universe as well as raising some questions about just how planets have formed.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, it's dubbed mega-Earth. Kepler-10c. It's a giant, rocky planet, just like our own. You know, we talked about the possibility of life. But here is one thing that we need to know. Well, several, actually, It weighs 17 times as much as Earth, more than twice the size of Earth. And scientists didn't think it was possible for massive worlds like this to exist.

PAUL: Now, if you are thinking, oh, let's go check it out - it's 11 billion-year old planet, and it's 560 light years away. Let's talk about this via Skype from Australia with theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss. Lawrence, thank you for being here. He's also, by the way, the executive producer and star of the most popular new documentary on iTunes, called "The Believers." So, Lawrence, when you made this discovery --

BLACKWELL: Unbelievers.

PAUL: Unbelievers, thank you, sorry about that. What did this new discovery mean to you when you heard about it?

LAWRENCE KRAUSS, COSMOLOGIST: Well, it continues a long tradition of the last years of the fact that there's imagination of nature is much greater than our own imagination. Every time we look out and discover new planets, and with Kepler, we discovered over 2,000 new planets. All the old rules seem to go by the wayside. Planets exist where they shouldn't exist. Solar systems that we never imagined were possible are there. It indicates that basically almost anything that we can imagine is out there. And that's very good news. Because first of all, you know, if we are looking for life elsewhere, the natural assumption was that most solar systems are like ours, with the rocky planets inside, and the size of the Earth and the big giant gas giants outside. We'd learned that that's not the rule. There are no rules, basically. Almost anything is possible. And for me, the fact that this rocky planet is 11 billion years old is probably the most exciting thing. Because we didn't think rocky planets could form that early. Because it takes a long time for the elements that now form you and I to build up. Every atom in your body and mine was inside stars and exploded. And it took a long time for those stars to create the iron and carbon and all of things that are important. And we didn't think 3 billion years after the big bang or less than 3 billion years after the big bang you could do that. So, just think there could be planets. Our Earth and our Sun is only 4.5 billion years old.


KRAUSS: There could be planet that is are 7 billion years older. Imagine that. It's a lot of time for life to form.

BLACKWELL: You know, Lawrence, let's talk about this possibility of life in other places. Kepler- 10C, close to the sun, well, close to - maybe too close for humans to live there. But could life exist on it or would temperature make that impossible?

KRAUSS: Well, the temperature would make it impossible for life like we know it. And so, you know, we don't know what kinds of life can exist in universe. What kind of life - it's a famous thing in science when we say, we are like drunks coming out of the bar. You know, you lose your keys, where do you look for your keys? Underneath the lamp post. Why? Not because that's where you lost them, but that's the only place you're going to find them. So, we - the first thing we do is think, well, let's look for planets like Earth with water about the same distance from a star like our sun. Because we know that life can form. Because we are an example. But there could be lots more - we have discovered even on Earth, extreme - life seems to be quite robust and able to live in a huge number of different environments. So, maybe there's exotic life on that planet, we don't know.

PAUL: All right. Let's talk about this colorful view of the universe today. One of the most that NASA unveiled. It is beautiful. See if we can get it up here. But this one picture contains -- what you are looking at there, this is amazing, 10,000 galaxies. Lawrence, put that in perspective for us.

KRAUSS: Well, it's amazing to think, you know, there are 100 billion galaxies in universe, and if you held up a dime size hole, you know, held your hand up an arm's length and look at a dark spot in the sky, you can see 100,000 galaxies. There are 10,000 galaxies there, each galaxy contains 100 billion stars. That means somewhere around basically 10,000 billion solar systems possibly and planets, contained there. But those - but the galaxies you are looking at, are maybe 10 billion light years away. That means the light left them before our sun ever formed. And many of the stars in that image no longer exist. Our sun is going to die out in 5 million years. Many of the stars in that picture no longer exist. If there are any individuals on those galaxies, by the time they see pictures of our sun and our Milky Way, we won't exist any longer either. It's amazing.

BLACKWELL: A beautiful picture.

KRAUSS: It's by pictures like that I'm inspired.

BLACKWELL: It's an amazing picture. And congratulations on the success of "The Unbelievers." Lawrence Krauss, it was good to learn from you this morning.

KRAUSS: It was fun. You take care.

PAUL: Thank you, Lawrence, you too.

So, those of you waking up in the Midwest, we feel for you. We know rain, hail, tornadoes. Look at this picture that was snapped. We are tracking another round of some pretty destructive storms. Stay with us. We have a live forecast for you next.


BLACKWELL: All right. As you are sitting inside, you are probably wondering what does the weather have in store for me today.

BLACKWELL: Yes, let's find out, especially in New York in Belmont. Let's go over and check with Karen Maginnis in the CNN Weather Center. How about it, Karen?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, it looks like it can be fairly warm for this mile and a half race. The temperature could be in the low 80s, partly sunny to mostly sunny skies expected, but no pint of rain. Big storms erupting across the Central Plains. And we just saw an 87-mile-an-hour wind gust reported in Oklahoma City. Thunderstorms now moving right across Kansas City. Or make their way across the central Mississippi River Valley, but heavy downpours, the big problem. We could see just a couple of more inches as we go through the afternoon, but already, this area has been fairly saturated. Already, as much as two inches of rainfall in some areas in Oklahoma. So, the ground is saturated. We have flash flood warnings out. And flood warnings. So, be careful, if you don't know the depth of the water, don't go driving through it. We have seen the number of that kind of activity over the last few months with the heavy downpours.

About 21 million people in the slight risk for thunderstorms throughout the day from Amarillo all the way over to Memphis, Tennessee. So, watch out for those afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Some of them could be strong to severe. Now, let's show you this picture of a tornado. This, out of Rogan, Colorado. Spectacular view of a tornado. We don't have any reports of any damage or any injuries from this, but spectacular, nonetheless as we are in tornado season. Christi, Victor?

PAUL: Karen, thank you. BLACKWELL: It's time for the good stuff. This is the part of the

show where we share some good news. Because, you know, we all need it. We need it.

PAUL: Yes, we all need it.

BLACKWELL: So, this story is about a group of Texas middle school students that turned their macro-programming into an app to help one of their visually impaired fellow classmate.

PAUL: Yeah, it's actually called "Hello, Avi." And it's not only won the Verizon innovation app challenge, but the all-girl group, yes, all girl group, also won a trip to the White House science fair.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It satisfies me that, you know, I'm not just doing stuff for myself, but I can do stuff for other people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you can do with regular kids, you give them time, you make them believe that they can and they totally can. And if they can do this, if they can problem solve in this manner for this particular school project, they have got the road ahead of them paved in gold.


PAUL: The app is going to be available this month in Google play at no charge. Congratulations to them.

BLACKWELL: All right. All girl team. Helping out the classmate.

PAUL: And middle schoolers.


PAUL: Impressive. They are so far ahead of me. Technologically.


BLACKWELL: I have trouble using the app sometimes, instead of creating them.

PAUL: Thank you so much for spending part of your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: The next hour of your "NEW DAY" starts right now.