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U.S. Team Prepares for World Cup Match against Germany; Terrorist Group ISIS Continues to Threaten Capture of Baghdad; Police: Evidence that Toddler's Death in Car Not an Accident; Calls for Iraqi PM to Step Down

Aired June 26, 2014 - 07:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It's great to have you both, fellas. Let's start with the obvious. The conditions matter in this sport. How do they play into strategy, what Lara was saying about how hard you try? How real is this?

GREG LALAS, EDITORS IN CHIEF, MLSSOCCER.COM: I think it plays into your strategy in that you need to be extra cautious with every single pass that you make because the ball is going to be skipping. And then if the field starts to get really heavy, then the ball starts to get very heavy and starts slowing down actually, especially if there's a puddle or something like that. You don't know what drainage there is at this stadium. So basically what they need to do somebody cautious at every moment, especially against this German team that can turn the game very quickly into the attack.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: What is the key to the German team? If it's raining throughout the game, is it helping the U.S., is it helping Germany, because you've said Germany can turn the game around?

LALAS: I would always say it will help the U.S., it will always help a team that's less skillful than the more skillful team.

BOLDUAN: Germany wins out on skill?

LALAS: Absolutely, we have to admit that.

CUOMO: No, we don't.


LALAS: It doesn't mean we can't get the result.


LALAS: Still positive about this. In fact the rain can help because the U.S. team has the ability to go with sort of a more powerful game, a long game, play it up to the forwards, get it out wide and just go on the flanks, because that's where Germany is weak. And so if they can get --

CUOMO: Weak in the flank.

LALAS: Flank play. BOLDUAN: Flank action.

LALAS: Joy on the wings.

CUOMO: I like that.

BOLDUAN: You're giving him all sorts of news.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I want to bring you in on this. Soccer is not your game. I hear that you're kind of going bananas about this world cup and I know a lot has been made about the travel schedule, especially for the U.S. team. We talked about it here, that they are having to do more travel within Brazil, a big nation. Germany has a day more rest, I'm told, than our guys do. How much do you think that, a, affects a player and gets in your head, because that's another way it can affect a player?

MALIK ROSE, TWO-TIME NBA CHAMPION: Weak player, I believe it can get in their head. This is the stop stage of the game. Just nothing else matters. When there's been a lot made about the special treatment given to Germany and whatever, but when you're in the U.S. and have as much support behind you and so much about the game coming up, you've got to throw all that stuff out window and do what you can to get a win or in this case a tie.

CUOMO: I was happy to have you here, Malik, for a lot of reasons, but one is forget the sport. The mindset of the competitive athlete at the highest end, we keep saying it draws good. It draws good. And there's no question that this sport functions differently than the NBA does. There's no such thing --

ROSE: No biting in the NBA.

PEREIRA: Got to get your take on a bite.

BOLDUAN: Has anyone bit you, everyone ever bite you during an NBA game?

ROSE: No one ever bit me.

BOLDUAN: Did you bite anyone?

ROSE: Never any hot sauce on the bench so I couldn't bite anyone. But the last time someone bit someone, Mike Tyson lost his license for a long time, so I would be shocked if anyone else tried to do that.

CUOMO: So the idea of, oh, you know, I'm not going to go all out, I'm going to take it easy. I only need -- even the idea in a seven-game series, do you think that guys are capable of going easy?

ROSE: I think that's more a question for Greg because I've never been in that situation, but I was just thinking in the competitive nature of things, you really want to beat somebody when they are at your best. You always put your best foot forward. No asterisk or anything should be put by these matches. LALAS: I think that's right. You do go out and you are competitive

in the beginning, especially the beginning of the game. You go out there thinking we're going to get a win. If you get a goal, you think, oh, we got them, and now we can go and get this win. But if after 60 minute, still 0-0 or 1-1 and you both know, I think there's a psychological thing that flips I don't need to get hurt, and we're both through, and I want to play on Tuesday or Monday or whenever the next game is, so I'm going to relax a little bit.

PEREIRA: Especially with the rain.

CUOMO: Got to be big. Jozy Altidore, you think we don't see him because the hamstring so vulnerable to quick starts and stops?

LALAS: I think Jozy Altidore, he's been sort of ruled out of this game so I think it's going to come down to Clint Dempsey. We talked about him, scored two goals already. He's huge.

ROSE: I think we need Michael Bradley to step up. That turnover kills us against Portugal.

BOLDUAN: Give us predictions. Who are the players to watch?

LALAS: My two.

BOLDUAN: Give me your two.

LALAS: Because of Germany's great attack I'm going with Matt Besler, center back for Kansas City, a great guy, I think he's one of them. And I'm going with his teammate in Kansas City Graham Zusi. He had the assist on the corner kick to your favorite player John Brooks, and he also assist to Clint Dempsey against Portugal, the beautiful pass.

CUOMO: Win, draw or loss?

LALAS: I say draw, 1-1.


ROSE: Even before he said Germany was weak up front I was going to Michael Bradley to step upped and definitely Clint Dempsey to keep playing well. But I'm looking for a repeat. In 1980 the U.S. hockey team gave us the miracle on ice. I'm looking for the miracle on grass.

CUOMO: Miracle on grass.

ROSE: Miracles on rainy grass.

CUOMO: As many as 20 million plus expected to watch this game, so this is something that everybody will be talking about it. So stay on it. Fellows, thanks so much.

LALAS: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you both. Good to see a big man talking soccer. CUOMO: Miracle on the grass.

BOLDUAN: I believe he's got fancy feet.


PEREIRA: Delicate foot right there.

BOLDUAN: Such a delicate little flower.

PEREIRA: Let's take a look at our headlines, as much as I don't want to break away from this conversation, we do have news breaking overnight in the updated search zone for flight 370. It's still along the arc that they are looking at in the southern Indian Ocean, the site of the plane's last satellite communication. However, it is further south. Australia's deputy prime minister made the announcement this morning, also saying it's highly likely that the plane was autopilot until it ran out of fuel.

Also breaking overnight, dozens of concert-goers hospitalized during a show in Boston. Officials say people were being treated for dehydration, some reportedly heavily under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Local media says as many as 80 people were treated at the hospital or outside the venue during an Avicii show at the T.D. Garden. Avicii sent out a tweet after hearing about the incident, saying, quote, his thoughts of those affected and their families.

Another setback for G.M. The carmaker telling dealers in the U.S. and Canada to stop selling 2013 and 2014 Chevy Cruzes because of a potential air bag defect. A GM spokesman says the move involves some 33,000 vehicles. Another recall, in fact, could soon follow. This latest issue stems from beleaguered air bag supplier Takata whose faulty product has already led to the recall of 10 million cars worldwide. Those are your headlines. Over to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela. Now to Iraq where Syria and Iran are aggressively entering the bloody conflict, the two countries now supporting Iraqi troops against insurgents who have taken over major cities throughout the country. This as the Iraqi prime minister dismissed the idea of an emergency government to deal with the crisis, and secretary of state John Kerry maintaining that it's up to Iraq to decide its future.

Last night job General David Petraeus, who had been the top U.S. commander in Iraq, spoke with House GOP lawmakers about the conflict and the growing threat from ISIS militants. A Texas congressman was at that briefing. He says he believes the U.S. is at risk.


REP. MAC THORNBERRY, (R) TEXAS: There's no question there's a real threat to the U.S. homeland because a number of people with European and American passports have gone to Syria to fight there, and it will be relatively easy for them to come to Europe and to the United States. And that's different from the way it used to be. It's different from the way it was in Afghanistan. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: All right, let's discuss this, all of the latest developments, with Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, CNN military analyst, former military liaison officer to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. So Colonel, we've got some animations to kind of help us through these big talking points we want to look at. A lot what have we need to focus on right now is Syria and Iran and their influence in what's going on in this situation in Iraq. First, you have U.S. officials saying Syria's conducting airstrikes on some of the key targets right on the border towns, right there, as you can see. And then also you have Iran conducting surveillance drone flights from an airfield in Baghdad. What do you make of these moves?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, this is very dangerous because now you've got Syrian aircraft, armed Syrian fighters over Iraq. You've got unarmed Iranian reconnaissance aircraft over Iraq. This is the same airspace in which at least 30 U.S. military aircraft are operating every day.

BOLDUAN: So there's a huge danger factor because we assume they are not coordinating.

FRANCONA: I would assume they are not. But we have control of the airspace, but flying a drone around there, they are not going to ask us. The Syrians obviously are going to conduct air strikes along that border. That boarder is very important to them because ISIS has been able to close it. That's a key artery between the two countries, so they want to keep that open, and they are using airstrikes to do it. Unfortunately, the Syrians don't care about collateral damage so they are indiscriminately bombing these targets. They don't own precision weapons. They just drop bombs.

BOLDUAN: So you have these two moves going on within the country, from outside forces. You also have Secretary Kerry saying that from the U.S. standpoint any airstrikes coming from the U.S. would be an act of complete irresponsibility at this point. Do you think the actions of Iran and Syria, though, change that calculation?

FRANCONA: Yes, I understand what the secretary is saying, but he's assuming we have time, and we don't. This stuff is moving very quickly, and if he's going to wait for the Iraqis to set up some sort of coalition government or a reconciliation government, which Maliki said he's not going to do, we're going to be waiting as ISIS continues to roll up territory and the Iranians are probably going to deploy troops. They have moved 10 divisions to their border.

BOLDUAN: I'm a little confused by what Maliki said on that, salvation, emergency, even John Kerry seemed a little confused by what -- the point Maliki was trying to make there.

FRANCONA: Maliki has an election on his side, and if he follows the constitution he will set up the government the way he wants because he was the winning party. Mr. Kerry wants him to make sure that he's got equal representation of Sunni, Kurd, and Shia, and Maliki says I don't need to do that because that contravenes the constitution. BOLDUAN: With all of this in mind, with all of these moves coming

into play, you've got this big question, and I want to get your take. The enemy of our enemy is our friend. Do you think that becomes a situation here with regard to Syria and Iran?

FRANCONA: Normally that's in play in the Middle East, and I think that's what you're seeing on the ground amongst them, but I don't think we're going to play that game. I just don't see American air power being used in conjunction with Iranian forces on the ground, Syrian air power over in the west. I just don't see that happening.

BOLDUAN: Can you thread the needle on that? Can you say, as the state department and administration has been saying, there will be no military cooperation, there will be no intelligence coordination. Is there something in between there?

FRANCONA: Probably. There will be what I would call a dictate. We'll just say we're going to be conducting air operations over Iraqi airspace, stay out of it, because an American pilot and Syrian pilot, it's just a bad mix.

BOLDUAN: A horrible mix. Let's talk real quick, I want to get your take on the next targets that we are hearing that ISIS will be going after. You have an air base, one of the largest air bases in Iraq that we hear that ISIS is targeting right near Baghdad, you can see it right there, and you also have this dam, one of the major dams on the Euphrates River that ISIS is targeting. Why are these so key?

FRANCONA: Well, the air field houses a lot of equipment and it would be a psychological blow to the Iraqis. I don't think we need to worry about ISIS right now putting up an air force, but there's a lot of military hardware on that base. It was the biggest air base in the Middle East. There's all kinds of American equipment there. We were training the Iraqis there. This was the base in which the Iraqis were going to house their new F-16s which haven't been delivered yet. So there is a ton of equipment, tons of equipment. Haditha dam, this provides tons of the hydroelectric power for the city of Baghdad. So you see what ISIS is doing. These are smart people.

BOLDUAN: Will they get there, though?

FRANCONA: You would think not given the number, but look what, they're going around Baiji. They shut off that refinery. That's half of the domestic gasoline supply. If they can shut down the dam, that pretty much puts Baghdad in the dark. They are going after the right targets. Can they do it? The Iraqis have pretty much ceded the control of western Iraq to ISIS. They have pulled back and we're going to defend Baghdad, and it looks like ISIS is going to give them the opportunity to do that.

BOLDUAN: It seems every week everyone seems surprised on the gains that ISIS has made day by day by day, so you can't not be concerned about it.

FRANCONA: It's the snowball. They gain support as they go along.

BOLDUAN: Colonel, great to see you. Thanks so much for laying it out, appreciate it. Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Kate, let's take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, a Georgia dad says he forgot his toddler was in a sweltering car, and that the child then died by accident. This has happened before, more than once, but there are new facts that have police skeptical. But the latest move by the police is equally baffling. We have the information for you and what it could mean ahead.

Also, on "INSIDE POLITICS," the IRS scandal is something to watch because it's getting worse. Did the former IRS official whose e-mails mysteriously disappeared try to audit a Republican senator? What would that mean? The details ahead.


CUOMO: We do have some very surprising developments this morning in the death of a Georgia toddler. The 22-month-old's father says he accidentally left the child in his SUV for hours when he went to work. The heat was, of course, deadly. Police say there's evidence that may not be the case. Here's why: according to them, Harris may have returned to his car at lunchtime, opened the driver's side door, placed something inside, then returned to work. This comes as Atlanta station WAGA says the father's work computer was used to search for how long would it take an animal to die in a hot car. We have not confirmed that yet at CNN.

Mel Robbins, CNN commentator, legal analyst, let's bring her in; Sunny Hostin, CNN analyst, former federal prosecutor, let's bring her in. OK. Let's deal with some very difficult assumptions here. I'm slow on this story because we're dealing with the parents and there's no one you want to accuse least, no one who has lost more in this situation than the parents.

But, Sunny, what's on the table right now, these new facts. Could he have returned to the car and not notice the child, is that reasonable? If you search for something like that on your computer and he did it, he wasn't set up, is that reasonable? What do you make of these facts?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The computer search certainly bothers me. I think it harkens back to Casey Anthony and that evidence that everybody talked about searching the computer for ways to kill a child. But I will tell you -- and I wrote an opinion piece on, and I've received a lot of flack for it -- but I left my 14-month-old daughter in the car on a hot July day, you know, and I remember it like it was yesterday. And I'm ashamed to even talk about it. I'm still embarrassed by it. I'm still horrified by it. But she was in the car with me and I walked into a Home Depot store and completely forgot about, completely forgot about it.

CUOMO: You were with your husband; you never made it into the store.

HOSTIN: I made it into the store.

CUOMO: But then you turned around and came back? HOSTIN: And then I turned around. But I will tell you the fact that

he went into the car and left, for me, doesn't strike me as the smoking gun.

CUOMO: Does not strike you as the smoking gun.

HOSTIN: Does not strike me as the smoking gun.

CUOMO: So let's go to Mel. Mel, what do you make of these new facts? But then give me your take on this as well, because I know you feel strongly about it. If you are right to feel strongly, why did the police then reduce the charge to second degree, which means negligence, not intentional actions? So take us through the both parts.

MEL ROBBINS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You got it. First let's address your first question, Chris, which was about the two pieces of information. First of all, if it's true that he in fact conducted a search on his work computer that day, I think it is a bombshell, and it in my mind means case closed. There is intent. He knew what he was doing. That is devastating evidence for the defense.

The second piece that you talked about, the car. Let me just pull in common sense here. For anybody that has been around a 22-month-old, if they wear a diaper for more than four hours, it typically smells pretty bad. If they are wearing a diaper that's soiled for four hours in a car that's over 100 degrees, when you open that car door up at noon and casually put something in the driver's side door, you don't have to look for the kid to smell that there is something hugely awry in your car. So I'm starting to, as we add this stuff up, not buy this at all, Chris, if in fact this is all substantiated.

Now, to your question about --

CUOMO: Then why did they reduce the charge?

ROBBINS: I think they reduced the charge because, in case after case, whether you see Casey Anthony and they go after intent and they can't prove it, I think they're just being responsible and cautious.

CUOMO: You didn't have to reduce the charge; you could have added a charge.

HOSTIN: Yes, I think --

ROBBINS: That's true.

HOSTIN: -- I'm troubled by the fact --

ROBBINS: We don't have a toxicology report though yet.

HOSTIN: That's right. And I am troubled by the fact that they reduced the charge, but I agree with Mel that sometimes prosecutors don't want to charge an intent crime because it is very difficult to prove what was going on in someone's head. And -- and I got to say -- CUOMO: No, but you have this cop coming forward and saying I know

things about this case that is so troubling to me as a parent and grandparent.

HOSTIN: That's right, and I will tell you --

CUOMO: So it's not like they're being cautious in their statements.

HOSTIN: I have sort of reserved judgment because we don't know, when there's an ongoing investigation, I've been a prosecutor, I know we don't know all the facts yet. But we really have to reserve judgment, again, because if you lock at the statistics, what, already this year 14 kids have died in this kind of situation. Over the past 10, 15 years, over 600 kids, some statistics say, have died in this way. This is something that happens all the time. When this happened to me, and thank god nothing happened to my daughter.

CUOMO: And we've almost never seen it proved as an intentional crime.

HOSTIN: That's right.

CUOMO: If that's the way someone decided to kill their child.

HOSTIN: When this happened to me, I will tell you, I think the bigger question is what do you do? I, for years, Chris, drove my car without my shoes. When I had my kids in the car seat, I would take my shoes off, put them near the children, drive places. People would say why are you driving without your shoes? Why? Because you may walk out without your phone or your bag or your kid but you're not going to walk out barefoot. And so that was my way of making sure that this didn't happen.

And I think -- we have so many public service announcements about see something, say something. Why don't we have some sort of public service announcement about what to do for parents that may forget their children? Why aren't there more alarm systems? I think that's sort of the broader conversation that we need to have.

CUOMO: Absolutely, but in the specific, we have the what happened in this situation, Mel. One last factor to weigh in on. Now you know, again, I've been slow on this. I don't know that the smell test, no pun intended, I don't know that that passes for me on this. I don't know how quickly you went into the car --

HOSTIN: It doesn't pass for me.

CUOMO: I don't know. I don't like them reducing the charge; they could have added a charge.

ROBBINS: But how about -- guys, listen, seven hours later?

CUOMO: But what about the mother? Talk to me about the mother.

I get the hours later. But there are too many variables involved to use that, Mel.

ROBBINS: The mother has no oblig --

CUOMO: There's just too many variables to lean on.


HOSTIN: It's too soon --

ROBBINS: But here's the other thing, though, guys, seven hours later, the kid has been cooking in this car, it's over 120 degrees inside, and you're telling me the dad is driving for two miles before he realizes? Not buying it.

But in terms of the mom, look, she's got no obligation to come forward, but I personally think -- and, Chris, you and I spoke about this yesterday -- something feels off. You don't release a statement as a family, anything that just says, hey, listen, major tragedy. We're reeling, please give us our privacy and respect the patience, you know, of the investigation. Thank you for your prayers.

Absolutely nothing. The police interviewed her the night the son died. I realize she's in shock, that cute, gorgeous kid with those big cheeks, they just put him to rest today. They are having a funeral. I mean, so I understand that there's a lot going on, but it seems strange that we have not heard anything, not even --

CUOMO: That's true.

HOSTIN: I don't think it seems strange at all. I mean, come on, you've got a grieving family. They are not trying to try this case in the media. I think it's ridiculous to say we haven't heard from the mom so something is up. Bottom line is --

CUOMO: Ordinarily we would. I don't disagree with you, but Mel's making a point usually you hear about it.

We got to leave this conversation here for now but I'll tell you what.

HOSTIN: We do? There's so much more to talk about.

CUOMO: I know, but we've got to proceed with due caution here because we're dealing with the parents. And a lot of this, Kate, has come down to -- first of all, thank you, Mel. Thank you, Sunny, as always.

Kate, a lot of this has come down to how the father was reacting in the moments after, where the police say one thing, witnesses say another. One thing we know for sure, and you know already with a baby in your belly, when it comes to your kids, you don't know how you're going to react when something bad happens to them. There's nothing more frightening. So we have to reserve judgment. As we learn, we will report. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Good point. Chris, thank you very much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, locked in a jail cell in Mexico, a marine who served two tours in Afghanistan is now fighting for his freedom. We're going to talk to a Mexican official about that case. And also coming up on Inside Politics, should a Supreme Court justice

resign to make sure President Obama gets to pick her replacement? We're going to look at who says yes and who says no. The answer may surprise you.


PEREIRA: Almost half past the hour. Welcome back to NEW DAY. Here's a look at your headlines.

We are counting down to today's big World Cup soccer match between Team USA and Germany. Noon Eastern. With either a win or a draw, the U.S. will move on to the knockout round as one of the 16 teams still alive in the tournament. Now, if they lose though, don't fear. They still could make it through.

Calls for Iraq's prime minister to step down growing louder. Nouri al Maliki rejecting the idea of an interim government to respond to sectarian tension, saying it is a coup against the constitution. This as we learn that Iran is flying surveillance drones over Iraq and providing weapons to the Iraqi military. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry is issuing a warning after Syrian warplanes bombed Sunni militants in Iraq Wednesday. Kerry says other nations should stay out of the conflict.

A pair of two -- let's just say two major studies instead of a pair of studies suggest a possible link between the most frequent form of stroke and a common heart condition. More than a half million Americans have an ischemic stroke each year. A quarter of those have no apparent cause, but according to researchers many of those could stem from atrial fibrillation, an often undiagnosed irregularity of the heartbeat. They are pushing for longer heart monitoring for stroke patients.

Those are your headlines. Over to you guys.