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Bowe Bergdahl Backlash; Undocumented Minors Shipped to Arizona; Sleep Deprivation Suspected in Morgan Crash; Hearts for Healing Established to Cover 12-Year-Old Stabbing Victim's Medical Bills; Stabbing Victim Recovering at Home

Aired June 10, 2014 - 06:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Let's not think about it. So sorry.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Not think about it? It's too bad. Right in front of my face. The guy is looking at the floors passing faster and faster.

PEREIRA: They say it was going 50 miles an hour.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Fifty miles an hour?

PEREIRA: Some estimates report that.

CUOMO: The only solace you would take in that situation, one, he made it out.

PEREIRA: He lives.

CUOMO: But he is hurt but he is OK. The only thing worse than that --

BALDWIN: Dropping.

PEREIRA: You're going against gravity.

CUOMO: At least there is something more intuitive. You fear like falling up.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Thank God he is OK, but that was very scary, and we can't unsee it now.

PEREIRA: I can't unsee it. I know, I feel responsible. Sorry.

CUOMO: So, don't tell me not to think about it, but you put it in there.

All right. Next story, more political fallout over the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Yesterday's classified briefing on Capitol Hill about the prisoner swap seems to have done little to soothe Congress. Meanwhile, a new poll finds most Americans disapprove of the deal to swap Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners. Only one-third say it was the right move.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is here with the latest -- Barbara.


Well, just over 24 hours from now, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will walk into a political buzz saw on Capitol Hill when he testifies tomorrow morning about all of this. Congress wants the details and the questions about what is going on keep coming.


STARR (voice-over): After getting a closed door briefing on the deal to get Bowe Bergdahl back, many House members continue to be dug in for or against the administration, worried about how five released Taliban prisoners will be monitored and kept off the battlefield.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: It's going to be very hard to attract them, to trace them, and the fact is that there is no way to eliminate the risk.

STARR: Members still angry they weren't even notified about the Bergdahl swap.

REP. BUCK MCKEON (R), CALIFORNIA: I'm concerned with the administration telling 80 or 90 people within the administration and not one member of Congress.

STARR: For now, the Pentagon isn't giving Sergeant Bergdahl his back pay after being held captive by the Taliban for five years. Several defense officials tell CNN it could total nearly $200,000.

The worry? Giving Bergdahl his pay and then potentially charging him with misconduct. First, the Army has to investigate exactly what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Desertion at its core involves an intent to remain away permanently from your duty station.

STARR: One official tells CNN, we need to learn more about his disappearance. The Pentagon, the official insisted, hasn't rejected the idea of giving him his salary. He says there just has been no decision to go ahead and pay him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to know what the precise conditions were that he was held in. We need to know what, if anything, he was forced to do.

STARR: Now, still recovering at a military hospital in Germany, Sergeant Bergdahl has been asked to be called private first class, his rank when he was captured. He is in stable condition but has not yet telephoned his parents.

(END VIDEOTAPE) STARR: Now, the administration still will not publicly say publicly how it is monitoring those five Taliban released detainees in Qatar. It's not clear that information is ever going to be made public. They may give Congress more details but, still, not coming out publicly and talking about it -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK. Barbara Starr, thank you so much.

Border agents meantime, they say they are simply overwhelmed as hundreds of undocumented minors from Central America are shipped to the holding centers in Arizona by the federal government. In fact, just last week, nearly 1,000 children had already arrived in Tucson and in Phoenix and conditions are growing increasingly dire.

CNN's Pamela Brown is in Washington with the latest.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke and Chris, administration officials are calling this a humanitarian crisis -- a flood of children pouring into the Rio Grande border in Texas right now. Officials say while they had prepared for more undocumented children, the numbers in the past weeks were much larger than anticipated.

(voice-over): These disturbing leaked images show undocumented children cramped inside a border patrol holding cell sleeping on the floor under foil blanket. U.S. officials say basic necessities such as food and showers are scarce.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beginning on Tuesday, we started seeing families dropped off, including, you know, children, most under the age of 5 and some as young as 3 to 6 months old.

BROWN: Senior Obama officials tell CNN these children are trying to cross the southwest border in droves, trekking all the way from Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Now, with tens of thousands pouring into the U.S., they are overwhelming American facilities, particularly in Texas. The U.S. says now, three military bases will handle some of the overflow.

Over the last week, buses of immigrant family groups arrived in Arizona in record numbers. About 1,000 were children. Processing facilities were at capacity so the federal government was forced to find other options for the immigrants -- a move that's outraged Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. She released a statement saying DHS was transporting thousands of illegal people.

Once undocumented families are put on the buses they have 15 days to make it to the facility at a specific location. The concern some won't show up there and end up living in the U.S. illegally -- Brooke and Chris.


CUOMO: I mean, look, this is a very difficult situation. The politics of it seem more clear than the practicality sometimes.

Our thanks very much to Pamela for giving us the reporting.

We are going to have Representative Steve King who is very big on this issue of immigration specifically regarding what should be done with these kids. He is going to be on the show this morning later on and we hope you listen in to that because this is an important conversation to have.

All right. So, the "Bleacher Report". Michaela Pereira looks like she is winning another one but I'm holding out open. The Kings last night took another one in the Stanley Cup Final and looked easy to them, I've got to tell you. The Rangers now 0-3 hole.

Andy Scholes has this morning's "Bleacher Report". He is about to say something very depressing about how nobody has ever come back except one team and nobody remembers who they were!

Is there any good news?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, no good news for you this morning, Chris or hockey fans in New York City. You've been waiting about 20 years to get back to the Stanley Final but if your Rangers don't figure something out pretty soon this is going to be a quick series.

Madison Square Garden was rocking for game three last night but the air was let out of the building in the first period. Time winding down. Jeff Carter is going to score with just one second left on the clock!

That goal was all Kings goalie Jonathan Quick needed. He made some amazing saves on his way to a shutout. The Kings, they win this one 3-0 to take a 3-0 lead in the series. That one team that has come back from an 0-3 deficit as you said, Chris, only one has ever done it and that was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs. So, history not on the Rangers side.

All right. Turning to this morning, reports that Derek Fisher is retiring as a player in order to team up with Phil Jackson and coach the New York Knicks! Fisher, a five-time champ as a player all of those coming back with the Lakers and Jackson. The Knicks expected to hold a press conference later today for, quote, "a major announcement", where they are expected to confirm Fisher's hire.

The NBA finals will continue tonight with the always pivotal game three Spurs and Heat tied up at one game apiece. Tip-off 9:00 Eastern in Miami. Brooke, it's tough for the Spurs to get a win in Miami. Right now, the heat a perfect 8-0 so far in this year's playoffs.

BALDWIN: Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

Coming up on NEW DAY, new details this morning in the fatal crash that left comedian Tracy Morgan in critical condition. The truck driver who caused the accident faces multiple charges but the big question we are looking into -- was sleep deprivation to blame? That conversation coming up next.


BALDWIN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Comedian Tracy Morgan remains in critical condition this morning as we are learning more about what caused that deadly crash that landed Morgan and three others in the hospital. Take a look at the new video. This is what we have from TMZ and it shows the utter panic in the desperate moments after the crash.

Now, prosecutors now say the truck driver who slammed into Morgan's vehicle had been awake for more than 24 hours before that accident.

So, Mary Schiavo, let me bring you in, former inspector general for the U.S. Transportation Department.

Mary, good morning to you.


BALDWIN: You know, I read this whole article that you had written based upon this Harvard study 2012. We talk a lot about drivers, truckers, lack of sleep versus how that equates almost driving drunk and you say you know what? It's actually worse.

SCHIAVO: Right. In many cases, both Harvard and Stanford researchers show being sleepy has effects on the body that are worse than being drunk because the neurons you need in your brain that you most need when you're awake, in order, let's you sense what you're seeing and react, shut down first. Like your brain decides on itself, I'm tired and I had enough and they shut it down.

So, truckers they found would see, for example, traffic obstruction and literally the brains wouldn't register it, so it was worse in some cases than being drunk.

BALDWIN: That's frightening. You drive along on the highways we' aware of the massive trucks driving along. They have to be out there. But I'm wondering, though. Obviously, we're talking about the wake in this particular accident, but how widespread is this issue of sleep deprivation?

SCHIAVO: Well, it's terribly widespread. Americans, more than 35 percent of Americans have reported that they regularly get less than seven hours of sleep a night and there approximately 4,000 highway, traffic highway deaths caused every year by tired truckers and the entire drivers in addition to tired truckers, bring that number up to about 7,800 a year. So it's a very widespread problem and probably about a third of the accidents are caused by being tired.

BALDWIN: So, here is the issue and it just so happens that recently, you know, there are laws on the books for how long truckers can go before they have that mandatory break. But this Senate committee, a couple of days ago, they voted to ease the restrictions, right, to allow these truckers to cut the maximum workweek to 70 hours from 82. You know, the trucking industry says, listen, if you tighten these

things up on us, you'll create more traffic, not to mention your shipping costs will go up. What do you say to that?

SCHIAVO: Well, first of all, it won't (ph) create more traffic. It would actually probably create less because you go back to regular normal schedules.

But time is money, and that is what truckers say and that's what trucker companies say. But working 82 -- you know, 80 hours a week means you're working double jobs. And what they found also is when you're doing that, and if you don't get the critical time period of sleep -- I know you at NEW DAY probably don't get it very often.

BALDWIN: Not enough. Not enough.

SCHIAVO: But from 1:00 to 5:00, if you don't get those hours, then you -- you really have a problem with functioning normally. And truckers, if they are working, you know, literally 80 hours a week, you can't make that up in the afternoon or evening because you're working, and so that is the problem with the schedule that literally has them working double hours.

It's impossible to make up for that sleep. And having a day and a half off just won't do it. You just can't catch up for that punishing schedule. So Congress and the Senate are going to do something very bad in rolling back these safety regulations, and the number of deaths will go up. That's been proven. They did a study in New England where they showed they increased -- you know, they -- they decreased the rate and the deaths went up.

BALDWIN: But, Mary, just quickly, this trucker was driving for Walmart. Walmart says, listen, if it's found that the truck was responsible, we will take full responsibility. But technology today, these companies can monitor their truckers to see if they are sleeping!

SCHIAVO: Exactly. The companies can monitor their truckers, and the issue that many say, though, is you can't monitor the truckers in his or off off-duty hours. And they found the same thing with pilots and nuclear plant operates, et cetera.

So they are supposed to be home sleeping and they are not, and the company says, well, what do you want us to do? Be the nanny and monitor them at all times? Well, you know, you -- you solve that by saying you got to make sure you have behind the door time. You know, in your time off you have to be in a place where you can sleep behind the door eight hours, so you can refresh your body. And you can't be the nanny, but you can schedule them to make sure that happens.

And technically by law, Walmart probably did to that, and they should have done it. It's the law, but it'll remain to be seen what the facts are.

BALDWIN: We'll wait to see the facts. We'll also wait to see if there are any changes on Capitol Hill. Mary Schiavo, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Chris, it's definitely something to think about, you know when you're out on a road trip. You see all the truckers around wondering, "Are they sleeping? Is this safe?" Things to think about.

CUOMO: Mary is dead right. Safety issues are really clear. The question is who wins this situation about leverage. Is it going to be the industry who wins or public safety? So we will be following this story. Thanks for doing that for us, Brooke. Come on back to the desk.

We're gonna take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, she somehow survived this brutal attack. Remember, 12-year-old girl allegedly stabbed 19 times by two friends. Well, the good news -- there actually is good news. She's home back in Wisconsin. We are talking to a family friend about a stunning survival, the outpouring support that this young girl is receiving and what is going to happen next.


CUOMO: Less than two weeks after allegedly being stabbed 19 times by two friends and left for dead, a 12-year-old girl is actually back home. Support for the girl has been overwhelming, including a campaign called Hearts for Healing, and it's helping cover her sizable medical bills. That campaign has so far raised more than $40,000, but a lot more is needed.

Joining us to discuss that and this amazing recovery so far, family, friend, and spokesperson, Dana Hoffman and Krista Natarelli, (ph) also a family friend.

Very good to have you both. Thank you for joining us this morning to let us know what is going on.

So tell us, let's start with you, Kristen. What is going on with the family? How are they coping with this, and how is this very special little girl feeling now she is back home?

KRISTA NATARELLI, FAMILY FRIEND OF STABBING VICTIM: She is definitely happy to be at home with her family and her pets. You know, it's a relief to be in a familiar environment versus being in the hospital with doctors and nurses in and out of her room, you know, constantly. So she is resting at home and improving every day.

CUOMO: And obviously, they are trying to figure out what normal means now.

But, Dana, are they surprised pleasantly that after such injury she was able to leave so relatively quickly?

DANA HOFFMAN, FAMILY FRIEND OF STABBING VICTIM: Yes, they are. Her injuries and her wounds are healing more quickly than they anticipated, which is fantastic news for both the girl and her family.

But, at the same time, there's still a long road of recovery that is in front of them, both from a physical and emotional standpoint.

CUOMO: And obviously, we are saying the little girl. There is no reason to use her name, no use of images, obviously. We want on keep this as private on that level as possible as they figure out what this all means.

So let's deal with that part, Dana. Let me stay with you. Why this happened? What is the family doing in terms of explaining this to a 12-year-old?

HOFFMAN: Well, they have had some conversations with her about what happened and, really, they focus some of those conversations around how she found that will to crawl out of the woods, and this little girl, she's extremely strong. She has a very strong character and will to live, and with those conversations with her parents, she told them that, "I crawled out of the woods because I wanted to live."

And when I heard those words, I got instant goose bumps. I got tears in my eyes. I was -- I was taken aback by the strength that this little girl has. I think sometimes we underestimate children, and we don't think that they necessarily have that strength, and they have that -- those -- those -- those feelings inside of them and they have that will to live.

I know there's probably many adults who wouldn't have been able to do what she did, and she found the strength inside her to crawl and to get -- and to get to a place where she could be found. And, you know, by a miracle that cyclist was passing by and was able -- and had a cell phone on him and was able to dial 911 and get -- get help in a timely manner for this little girl.

CUOMO: You know, very often in these terrible situations, we wind up seeing both realities of humanity: what's the worse and what's the best that is possible. You are talking about this little girl's ability to overcome just the emotional trauma alone in a setting like that could have left you frozen right where you fell, but not her.

Then on the other side, Krista, dealing with these other girls involved. I mean, I've got an 11-year-old at home. It's unfathomable to think that no matter what kind of confusion and not understanding what death is and how to hurt people, no matter what allowances you want to make for their age, what is the family and you all who love them making of the situation that kids this age were capable of this type of horror?

NATARELLII mean, I don't think anybody can understand that. I'm a parent myself, and I just -- when I heard the news, my friend called me to tell me what had happened, I had to have her repeat it because it is so shocking and so unusual. I mean, we just -- locally, we don't have this type of thing happen.

So I don't know how you reconcile that, honestly. I mean, it's just such a awful event, but we're trying to look forward and trying to, you know, move past the pain and just make sure that we are focusing on the positives that this little girl can continue her pretty long road of recovery that she has ahead of her.

CUOMO: So a big part of the positive here is, obviously, specific to this family and what they can do for their little girl. We want you to tell us about that. How can we help?

Then there is a bigger concern that they have, and certainly we should all share, which is what the heck do we do about this type of influence on kids on the internet and making sure that kids aren't getting down these wayward paths. So help us understand both of these.

Dana, you take the first one. What does the family need? How can we help? We know people are sending the purple hearts, but a lot more is needed. Tell us about it.

HOFFMAN: Yep. So we created a campaign called Hearts for Healing. Hearts, because they are that international symbol of love and hope and carrying and compassion. And those are the emotions that this little girl and her family need right now. They need to -- like you said, Chris, they need to see that there is good in humanity. They need to see that the community is rallying around them and that, beyond friends and family, that they have people that are praying for them, that are thinking about them on a daily basis, that are sending them their blessings.

So with the campaign, with the Hearts for Healing campaign, we are asking people to create home-made purple hearts. Purple happens to be the little girl's favorite color, so people have started to send in home-made hearts and other things that are purple. They are writing notes. They are writing her letters. They are putting prayers, well wishes, blessings on these hearts and sending them in.

We've set up a P.O. box that people can send these here to Waukesha to -- so we can get them over to the little girl. We are picking up the packages from the mailbox on a regular -- on a regular basis. We got an extremely large shipment yesterday, which was very exciting. And I know when I saw the photos and started looking through some of these hearts, it was -- I almost don't have words. The messages that people are including in their hearts, in the time and effort that they are putting into some of these projects was -- it was absolutely incredible.

CUOMO: Well, this is -- this is one of those stores, ladies, that touches people in a very, very deep way, not just because of how wrong it is, but because of who it involved and what's really supposed to be going on in the life of a 12-year-old kid.

So we are all on the right page right now. Let's keep the momentum going with the purple hearts. We know they need money also. We will put the information on the NEW DAY website at CNN, and there is a larger conversation about what we are doing with our kids as well and let the family know we are going to continue that conversation because it's the only good that can come out of a situation like this, is to try and somehow get better with our kids. Dana, Krista, thank you for being good friends of the family and for

talking with us here on NEW DAY. Send our regards to the little girl at home. The hearts are coming, I promise you that. She is going to get sick of purple --

NATARELLI: Thank you very much.

HOFFMAN: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: -- because there is going to be so much of it.

NATARELLI: That's right.

HOFFMAN: We would love that.

CUOMO: All right, we do have breaking news to get to this morning for you.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CUOMO: If you're just joining us, welcome back to NEW DAY.

Breaking this morning, five American troops in Afghanistan are dead. An official says it was a case of friendly fire. That makes it the deadliest day for American troops in months.

Let's get to CNN's Barbara Starr right away. She's at the Pentagon with the latest.