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CNN NEWSROOM

Armed U.S. Drones Now Fly Over Baghdad; Missing Boy Found in His Father's Basement; U.S. Team Loses to Germany; Police Speak to Boy Found in Basement; GM Crash Compensation Fund to Be Revealed

Aired June 27, 2014 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: NEWSROOM starts now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

COSTELLO: All right. We do begin with breaking news. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

As terrorists in Iraq march closer to Baghdad, we now know the U.S. military has armed drones in the sky above the capital city.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now with more.

Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. In the last 24 hours the U.S. military did begin flying armed drone patrols over the Baghdad area. We know -- we know this is happening not because we are told that the U.S. plans any offensive air strikes into Baghdad, into Iraq. That is still a decision President Obama has not made, but U.S. troops, about 180 military advisers, are now fanning out across the Baghdad area, doing that assessment work of how the Iraqi military is doing, what the ISIS threat is.

With U.S. troops on the move potentially around Baghdad, there are armed drones overhead to protect them. This is a forced protection measure according to a U.S. official who has direct knowledge of this effort. It all began in the last 24 hours because U.S. troops are now there and on the move.

This, however, does certainly take the mission to another level. Until now there have been no armed drones over Iraq. There had been also manned reconnaissance flights, aircraft with pilots in the cockpit. Those aircraft were armed, of course, to protect the pilot. These armed drones, this today new, hasn't happened in a long time -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I know you're going to gather more information for us.

Barbara Starr reporting live from the Pentagon, thank you.

In Detroit, an odd case grows even more bizarre. Police are hoping for answers today from a boy whose disappearance was overshadowed by the strange circumstances of how he was found. You may remember this awkward exchange on our sister network HLN's

Nancy Grace informing Charles Bothuell on live television that his 12- year-old son was found alive and well and hiding in the father's own basement. Last night the father again spoke to Nancy Grace on the phone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: Can you just tell me whether you have seen little Charlie yet?

CHARLIE BOTHUELL, FATHER OF BOY FOUND IN BASEMENT: I -- um -- I have not.

GRACE: I know that's got to be breaking your heart. Why won't police let you see the boy? Where is he?

BOTHUELL: You know, I'm breaking a no comment rule but I was briefly on the phone with him when he called my mother, and I need to go now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Another twist, the arrest of Bothuell's wife, the little boy's stepmother. This arrest was for an unrelated weapons charge, but the couple's two other children have now been removed from the home.

CNN's Alexandra Field is in Detroit this morning with more for you.

Good morning.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. There have been so many questions about this case and we know that the person who is able to answer a lot of those questions is a 12-year-old boy, Charlie Bothuell. He has been speaking to police but there's more that they need to know. They tell us that he will -- they will speak to him again perhaps as early as today. Whatever information they can get from Charlie, that will go on to prosecutors who will determine whether or not we could see charges in this case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FIELD (voice-over): Twelve-year-old Charlie Bothuell is with his mother this morning after suddenly being found in his father's home Wednesday, 11 days after disappearing.

BOTHUELL: We have not done anything wrong to my son, nothing but to try to help him.

FIELD: On Thursday, Charlie's stepmother was taken into custody for a probation violation on an unrelated weapons charge as the boy's father, Charles Bothuell, tells Nancy Grace over the phone he has not yet seen his son.

GRACE: Why won't police let you see the boy? Where is he?

BOTHUELL: You know, I'm breaking a no comment rule but I was briefly on the phone with him when he called my mother, and I need to go now because I'm not listening to the attorney.

FIELD: Police found Charlie in his own basement. The boy crouched down, barricaded behind a stack of boxes and a 55-gallon barrel, items so heavy, officials say, he couldn't have constructed it himself. The 12-year-old seemingly excited to see police, who say he was hungry.

GRACE: Out to the father of the --

FIELD: HLN's Nancy Grace broke the news to Bothuell that his son was found live on air.

GRACE: We're getting reports that your son has been found in your basement. Sir? Mr. Bothuell, are you --

BOTHUELL: What?

GRACE: Yes, we are getting reports that your son has been found alive in your basement.

BOTHUELL: What?

GRACE: We're getting that right now from -- yes. How could your son be alive in your basement?

BOTHUELL: I -- I -- (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I have no idea. I --

FIELD: Charlie's father says the basement was checked repeatedly.

BOTHUELL: The FBI searched. Detroit police searched. We've all searched. Oh, god, they brought dogs, everything. Everybody has searched. What -- oh, god, my son.

FIELD: Police say a PVC pipe and bloody clothing were found in the home. They have not elaborated on the significance of that.

Police have not ruled out child abuse, but no charges have been filed.

BOTHUELL: For anybody to imply that I somehow knew that my son was in the basement it's absurd and it's wrong. I love my son.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FIELD: Right now Detroit Police are not commenting on whether they've seen any signs that Charlie was physically abused. We do know that he was checked out by doctors.

And, Carol, he has been seen by child psychologists.

COSTELLO: All right. We're going to talk more about this in about 10 minutes in "the NEWSROOM.

Thank you so much, Alexandra Field.

Checking other top stories for you at six minutes past. The suspected mastermind of that deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi is nearing American soil. Ahmed Abu Khattala could soon arrive as soon as this weekend. That's according to a senior law enforcement source. He spent about two weeks being interrogated aboard the USS New York. Khattala was captured in Libya.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he stands for the termination of bloodshed in Ukraine. The sentiment comes as the new Ukrainian president signs a deal to more closely align with the European Union. The president of Ukraine now calling for an extension of the ceasefire and in an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, he says he continues to talk with Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. PETRO POROSHENKO, UKRAINE: I'm ready to make a peace deal with anybody. I want to bring the peace to my country, not because we are weak, not because we are less patriotic than anybody, we are ready to defend my country, because I hate the idea not to use the last opportunity to bring the peace in the region.

Sometimes the position of Mr. Putin is quite pragmatic, sometimes it is very emotional. I just try to find out the time when he's more pragmatic than emotional.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: President Poroshenko also says the Russia annexation of Crimea cannot stand.

President Obama asking Central American parents to stop sending their children into the United States by themselves. The government says 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained this year alone at the U.S./Mexico border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So that is our direct message to the families of Central America. Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they'll get sent back, more importantly, they may not make it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Tomorrow, the House minority leader Nancy Pelosi is set to meet with a group of children held at a Texas detention center.

Those children among 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. One man undocumented his journey across the border and his life in the United States. His story the subject of CNN's film "DOCUMENTED" airing Sunday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Catch it. It's pretty good.

Lose and advance. Yes, the U.S. team survives the so-called group of death and lives to play another round in the World Cup. Though the Americans fell to Germany, they do move on thanks to a tie breaker. U.S. soccer tweeted out this locker room picture after yesterday's match. They look pretty happy, "One Nation, One Team."

CNN's Lara Baldesarra is in Recife, Brazil this morning.

So I guess we lost the battle but won the war?

LARA BALDESARRA, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It seems kind of strange almost to be happy after a loss, but it didn't matter. In the end it came down to goal difference and Portugal had a worse goal difference than the USA, so the USA is moving on after their 1-0 loss and next they will face Belgium. And this match coming actually on Tuesday, which is quite significant because it gives these USA players some four days' rest, and that's big. That's huge.

These guys need the rest after these matches. You know, they only had -- they only had three days after they played in Manaus which was in the Amazon rainforest. And you could kind of see it a little bit in their legs as they played last night against Germany so now it is moving forward. They are playing Belgium.

And Carol, I actually think that this is a game that the USA has a very good chance of winning, and that's despite the fact that Belgium is considered a dark horse for the World Cup. They've always said that Belgium could be that squad that no one's really talking about too much but they could go all the way. But I think that the USA has a good chance of moving through them.

COSTELLO: I hope you're right. We'll see on Tuesday. Thank you so much, Lara Baldesarra, reporting live for us this morning.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, that 12-year-old boy found in his father's basement now talking to police while his stepmother is placed into custody on an unrelated charge.

We'll dig more deeply into this bizarre story after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: The mystery of a 12-year-old Detroit boy found alive hiding in his father's basement after he was reported missing is deepening today. Detroit Police hope to get answers from Charlie Bothuell after speaking with him for the first time yesterday, that's the little boy, and while they won't reveal the details of that conversation, a police spokesman said the department is getting, quote, "good information."

So let's talk about that. Joining me now is HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell and psychologist Eric Fisher.

Welcome to both of you.

Jane, I want to start with you because you guys have uncovered so many details. Tell us more about what life was like for Charlie in this home.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, "JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL": Well, we don't have definitive answers at all, Carol, but what's emerging is what I see is a portrait of extreme discipline that maybe this 12-year-old boy said, I just can't take it anymore, and walked out into the night. We know and we're learning that the father had taken the little boy

from the biological mother to help him, to help him get better at school, and then he ends up home-schooling the kid. Now the kid turns 12, puberty, sometimes they chafe at that age, and also he was being subjected reportedly to extreme, extreme exercise, a regimen that would exhaust even the fittest adult.

Apparently he was supposed to march several thousand steps without stopping on an elliptical. That was reportedly what he was doing when he disappeared. He said he had to take a bathroom break, and then ultimately vanished.

And since the stepmother, who was the one who was with him at the time, reportedly informed the dad, who was not there, of that, there's a sense that maybe the boy was afraid of what the dad's response would be.

Now, you couple that with the discovery of PVC pipe which authorities said was a piece of evidence in this case, as well as bloody clothing, you got to ask, what the hell was going on inside that house? Was this a case of extreme discipline that crossed the line into child abuse? And pointedly the authorities are saying they had not eliminated the possibility of abuse.

COSTELLO: So, Erik, when you watched Charlie's father on Nancy Grace's show and she told him that they had found his son hiding in the basement and his emotions seemed very, very real. How do you equate that with the extreme disciplinarian and this seemingly loving father on television?

ERIK FISHER, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, a disciplinarian can be very loving. It depends on how they define ho love. This pattern of discipline could be generational and might be what he was taught was acceptable. We don't know that.

So, there's a lot of things up in the air in this situation but there are so many situations I've seen over my 20 years where people as parents love their kids so much that they lose their objectivity on what's in their best interests. They often justify it was good enough for me so it's good enough for them, even though there are issues the parents have that they deny and they just can't see beyond their blindness to see what's harming their children in many cases.

COSTELLO: So, Jane the stepmother has been arrested on unrelated weapons charges and sitting in jail right now. What are police trying to do?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Trying to get information out of her. Remember, she pointedly refused to take a polygraph, and they found out on Monday that she had this alleged probation violation, but it was after they finally interviewed the little boy a couple of hours later while we were doing our show last night that we heard that they had picked her up and taken her into custody.

So, they want to find out what's the real story here. Clearly, the boy who talked to them told them stuff and they want to confirm it with her.

The big question I think is, was she part of this extreme discipline or was she somehow trying to protect this child? I don't believe this child could have been on the run for 11 days and then magically reappeared in the basement without help from some adult. Was there some adult out there, some relative, some friend, somebody who decided this extreme discipline and exercise is over the top and when this boy went running to that person, took him in, protected him?

Is there a variation somehow on that theme? Because even the cops said they didn't think the boy was that long in the basement and they didn't think he could have pulled all of this off by himself.

COSTELLO: Well, and, Erik, it's heartbreaking to think this boy escaped and went somewhere and was rejected somehow and he has to go back home and he chooses to huddle in a corner in the basement.

FISHER: Well, that's where the speculation is, was he put there also. So here again, you have the situation where it might have been -- often when I talk to people about is their real feel and ideal selves. We often show our ideal self to the outside world.

In our families and close groups we show our real self. If this person, this father was controlling, wanting to home school his son, and have him do all the exercises, this could be a very controlling person that might not see how he intimidates other people. If other people in the neighborhood may have been hiding him and they saw that they could be accessories to a crime, and thought I can't do this anymore, and they just want to wash their hands of it but they know the son might be in a difficult situation.

So it becomes a situation of liability and potentially fear on their part but here he is trapped and if I feel trapped and stuck, I might want to do whatever I can do to escape which might be what he did. If I'm a stepmother who sees something and also has children with the father, too, I might have to do something but I can't do something to oppose my husband so much, so I have to do it behind the scenes. So, these are all pieces that have to be uncovered.

COSTELLO: Absolutely. Jane Velez-Mitchell, Erik Fisher, thanks so much.

And keep in mind, no charges have been filed but child abuse has not been ruled out either.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, how much is a life worth. With families and victims of GM crashes are about to find out. Christine Romans has that story for you.

Hi, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Carol. The Feinberg compensation plan is due out Monday, our first look at just what a life lost or a person injured by a GM car is worth. I'll have that after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Money won't bring their loved ones back but General Motors hopes it can soothe some of the pain. Ken Feinberg is expected to announce on Monday the autoworkers plan to compensate victims of its faulty ignitions and their families. GM says that 13 people have died and 54 crashes related to the flaw, but that number may grow larger.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is following that story.

Good morning, Christine.

ROMANS: Good morning, Carol.

I think there's no question that number is going to grow larger. NHTSA has said it thinks it will, and GM itself hasn't ruled out that that number could go up. What Ken Feinberg has to do decide, he's got to do this delicate, this delicate and really, really sad task, chore, of putting a value on a human life, and maybe also on injuries that happened inside of these GM cars.

And we know that there were those 13 deaths and 54 crashes. But Ken Feinberg has been given a great deal of authority inside gm to make a determination of who is eligible, the scope of this, what they'll be paid, what they'll be compensated for and just what it's going to look like. We're going to find out exactly on Monday.

But here are some of the things he's worked on before, Carol. He did the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. That was a $20 billion payout to victims. The $7 billion for the 9/11 terrorist attack and $61 million for the Boston marathon bombing.

Interestingly, that marathon bombing payout was donations, Carol. He was asked to take the voluntary donations and disburse them among the victim's families, $2.2 million for each marathon victim is what he gave, $208,000 for the Virginia tech, remember that, massacre at Virginia tech, $208,000 per victim there. And the 9/11 terrorist attack, he has said, Ken Feinberg has said, Carol, that he learned some lessons from that.

That you might recall some people for example restaurant workers families got less money back than an investment banker based on their projected future earnings, and that rubbed people, a lot of people the wrong way. It was a life lost and a tragic event. There's a pretty good chance many say that he will value the lives the same in this case for GM. He won't do the same kind of model he did for the 9/11 victims -- Carol.

COSTELLO: We'll see on Monday. Christine Romans, many thanks.

You can catch more with Christine on her show, "CNN MONEY". That's tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

CNN will have a live interview with Ken Feinberg on Monday about the victim compensation plan right after he makes the announcement.

NEWSROOM will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Republican Senator Ted Cruz is putting Eric Holder in his sights, slamming the attorney general for a perceived lack of action over allegations the IRS unfairly targeted some conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

Last night, Cruz issued this ultimatum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Attorney General Eric Holder continues to refuse to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the abuse of power by the IRS against the American people. He should be impeached.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Congressional committees had looked into allegations of unfair targeting by the IRS. But so far, no evidence has been found that would indicate the White House was in any way involved, which has been speculated by some in Washington.

Still, the IRS director, Lois Lerner's decision to take the Fifth during a congressional hearing and e-mails missing from a crashed hard drive have raised plenty of eyebrows.

Wolf Blitzer grilled the new commissioner, John Koskinen, about those missing e-mail messages.