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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Iraqi Forces Winning Their Battle; Same-Sex Marriage Issues; Warrant for Arrest of Justin Ross Harris; 12-Year-Old Kid Found in Basement; Air is Getting Cleaner; Pregnant Woman Competes in 800-Meter Race; Retired Marine Vet Surprised

Aired June 28, 2014 - 08:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- master's degree. I actually feel very lucky that my parents were here in the United States legally and they became U.S. citizens.

My mom says that she wanted the power to vote so she could have a say. She did not want to be a legal resident alien in her own land. She wanted to be a U.S. citizen in fear that something along the border could change. And now we all know that the border has changed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Be sure to watch "Documented," a CNN film tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All right, 8:00, smack on the dot here for you on a Saturday morning. I hope that it's treated you well so far. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thanks for waking up with us. We're beginning this morning in Iraq where we are now hearing that Iraqi security forces are claiming a major victory.

PAUL: According to Iraqi state television troops have retaken the northern city of Tikrit and have driven ISIS militants out. This is new information just coming to us here. The military also on the offensive in Iraq's second largest city of Mosul and an Iraqi military official tells CNN Iraqi war planes have fired missiles at ISIS targets there, but that seven civilians have been killed in the process.

BLACKWELL: As Iraqi soldiers patrol towns around the capital there is also fighting going on just south of Baghdad. Iraqi security officials say seven soldiers died and 29 others were wounded when Islamist militants attacked a military base today.

PAUL: The fighting ramps up and the pentagon says it is sending hundreds more missiles to Iraq to help the government try to keep back ISIS.

BLACKWELL: Armed American drones are now also flying over Baghdad, sent to help protect U.S. military advisers there. The evidence is also emerging of reported atrocities by both sides in Iraq.

PAUL: Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has more. I want to give you forewarning here because I know it's early in the morning, but there are some images here that you may find quite disturbing. I just wanted to give you a heads up. Let's get to Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, American drones are now flying over Baghdad and no longer just the "observed and report" kind, but the kind that can kill. Still air strikes are not part of the U.S. mission there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO (voice-over): American drones armed with hellfire missiles are now patrolling the skies over Baghdad. But they will not go after ISIS targets, flying instead to provide protection for 180 U.S. military advisers deployed to Iraq.

(on camera): They are prepared to use military force from the air, if necessary.

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: We're certainly prepared, you know, if the commander-in-chief decides that he wants to employ air strikes, our job is to be ready to do that as soon as possible.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Frustrated by the lack of American air support, Iraq has now turned to Russia, buying secondhand Russian fighter jets. Just the latest in a string of American adversaries from Syria to Iran, now aiding Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki, slammed the U.S. in an interview with the BBC, saying, Iraq could have repelled ISIS advances if the U.S. had delivered F-16s first ordered three years ago.

NURI AL MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): If we had air cover, we could have prevented what has happened in this country.

SCIUTTO: Those F-16s say U.S. officials are just weeks way, though, Maliki has also asked for air strikes on ISIS by American war planes. Syrian jets are already carrying out strikes on ISIS targets. This is some of ISIS work. Two mass graves believed to contain bodies of Iraqi soldiers, police, and civilians murdered in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.

A new report by Human Rights Watch analysed ISIS photos and concluded the militants executed three groups of men, numbering in the hundreds. The group claims the death toll even higher. While the U.S. still deliberates military action in Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry met with the president of the opposition in Syria, following a White House decision to seek $500 million to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: In light of what has happened in Iraq, we have even more tube in terms of the moderate opposition in Syria, which has the ability to be a very important player in pushing back against ISIL's presence. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: That aid to moderate Syrian rebels is a step some people even within the administration have been pushing for, for more than two years, and there are critics who say at least part of ISIS's strength in Iraq can be blamed on the administration's failure to act in Syria -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All right, Jim Sciutto, thanks, Jim.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Jim. Iraq's military spokesperson says that today additional fighter jets will arrive in Iraq within the next few days.

PAUL: He is not saying who is supplying them, but we want to bring in our CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin, in Washington for us here. He is also the senior national security correspondent for "The Daily Beast."

Josh, thank you so much. Today Iraq saying it has cleared the northern city of Tikrit of ISIS militants, do you think maybe we're beginning to see the first of some sort of turn-around by the Iraqi military?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning. I think it is too early to call it a turn-around. The city of Tikrit is very symbolic because it is close to Baghdad and it was the home of Saddam Hussein and his tribe. But this is just the first in what will be a series of high pitched battles between the newly bolstered Iraqi security forces, flush with thousands of recruits including reinforcements by Shia militias against the newly bolstered ISIS forces, which are also getting recruits flowing in from all over the region.

Tikrit, Mosul, these are key battles, but we should also note here that ISIS has taken the fight to many other places. They are now threatening the air base, which has its own air force, which they could take over. They are threatening border points along the Jordan border, the Syria border, so as you just reported, they're south of Baghdad.

So it's good that the Iraqi army is now engaged in the fight, but this is the beginning and not the end and it is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the latest attack on that base you just brought up there south of Baghdad. Most of the cities and towns that have been taken by ISIS are north of Baghdad, a few in the western Anbar Province. We saw in Syria there along the border as well. But this is just 50 miles south of Baghdad in a stronger Shiite stronghold there. What is the significance of that?

ROGIN: The significance is twofold. One, it is ISIS's stated strategy to surround Baghdad and place it under siege. Baghdad has been bolstered by lots of reinforcements. It's going to be very hard to take Baghdad. But it would be relatively easy to encircle Baghdad. This is exactly what they're trying to do. The second significance is as you mentioned this is a Shiite area. One of the things ISIS has been doing has been attacking Shiite Muslim religious sites. This has the potential to put an extra degree of seriousness to the ongoing sectarian violence.

Now, if there is going to be some solution to the crisis it's going to have to involve some sort of agreement between Shiite and Sunni leaders especially tribal leaders and the more that ISIS can attack Shiite areas the more they can prevent that agreement from happening. That is definitely part of their strategy and what you're seeing now.

PAUL: You know, we're talking about the U.S. drones that are flying over Baghdad now, but the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki blamed the U.S. for the Iraqi army retreat earlier saying that if they had had more of -- more support from the U.S., had the fighter jets it wanted, it would have been able to hold up ISIS in some of those northern areas. Do you think that's a legitimate statement?

ROGIN: I don't think it's a legitimate statement actually for two reasons. One, we've seen that the Iraqi army over the last few years has been corrupted, weakened by actions taken directly by Maliki and his supporting it. So it is not clear that if they had had extra weapons that they would have been a fighting force that would have acted responsibly and effectively against ISIS in the first days.

Also, the U.S. has provided a ton of support. We have to remember for over ten years to the Iraqi army. Billions of dollars. Lives lost in the effort to train and equip them. At some point they have to stand up for themselves. I think that's what you're seeing now.

The U.S. can support them and will support them, but ultimately it is going to be their fight. I think everybody knows that. Maliki here is trying to deflect blame for a lot of the problems he contributed to causing.

BLACKWELL: We'll see how long Maliki sticks around. CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin, good to have you this morning.

PAUL: Thanks, Josh.

ROGIN: Good to be with you.

PAUL: More than a million Iraqis have fled their homes amid all of this fighting and a lot of them have little more than the clothes on their backs. You can help. Just go to cnn.com/impact.

BLACKWELL: Here at home, a Texas man whom prosecutors say tried to leave the U.S. to join ranks with ISIS in Syria has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. Police nabbed 23-year-old Michael Todd Wolfe at a Houston airport two weeks ago when his wife told an undercover officer that Wolfe was ready to die for his religion. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

PAUL: It could be as soon as this weekend the suspected mastermind of the deadly 2012 attack on the American mission in Benghazi is due to arrive in the U.S.

BLACKWELL: Ahmed Abu Khattala, he has spent most of the past two weeks being interrogated aboard the USS New York. As it nears the coast, he is set to be flown to a secret location to await federal trial.

PAUL: It's that decision that is whipping up a new political firestorm. Erin McPike has the latest for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIC MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Upon revealing Ahmed Abu Khattala's capture nearly two weeks ago, President Obama, announced the alleged terrorist who spearheaded the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi will, quote, "Now face the full weight of the American justice system."

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's important for us to send a message to the world that when Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and bring them to justice.

MCPIKE: But as Khattala awaits trial here in Washington, Republicans are blasting the administration insisting he should have been sent to Guantanamo Bay first.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Before he is turned over to civilian authorities, the FBI and the CIA and others should interrogate him as long as they have to. I'm not that concerned about a criminal conviction. We'll get that ultimately, but it is important we get as much intelligence as possible out of him -- both as to what happened at Benghazi, who planned it, how it happened.

MCPIKE: A senior administration official has insisted the government will try to collect all of the intelligence it can as it does from all terror suspects. Meantime congressional Republicans are planning hearings soon to further investigate the 2012 attack. Added to the trial a looming question over how the two events could affect Hillary Clinton's political future.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It took as you know ten years to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. It's taken more than two years to bring this perpetrator to justice. Ahmed Abu Khattala has been very much on the minds of our law enforcement, our military, and our intelligence professionals since that night in September of 2012.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCPIKE: Now Khattala could even be brought to court as soon as this weekend. Even today that could mean and when that happened it could be a big security mess here in Washington, D.C. because it will require substantial security to move him from where he is being he held to that courtroom -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right, Erin McPike, thank you so much, Erin. BLACKWELL: Well, a community in Alabama will say goodbye to 22-month- old Cooper Harris today. The toddler died after being left in a hot SUV for seven hours. The question so many people are asking including investigators, was his death a tragic accident or something else?

PAUL: Plus, all righty, summer gas prices at a six-year high right now. What's ahead if you hit the road for the 4th of July holiday?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Left him in the back of his SUV while he went to work, his 22-month-old son was dead probably long before he tried to resuscitate him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Opened the back door, pulled his child out, laid him on the concrete, tried to resuscitate him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leaving him inside the hot SUV for seven long hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems like it's a rush to judgment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is impossible for this to have been intentional.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll be entering a plea of not guilty at this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: More questions this morning about the Georgia father who left his son in a hot SUV for seven hours while he went to work.

PAUL: Those close to the investigation saying the police have collected new evidence in the case. I want to go out to CNN's Nick Valencia. He is in Tuscaloosa, Alabama right now. That's where 22- year-old Cooper Harris' funeral will be held in just a few hours. But Nick, before we get to that, what is the latest from police here?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, police maintain that they believe Justin Ross Harris meant to leave his 22-month-old son, Cooper Harris, in that car for seven hours under the blistering summer sun in Atlanta, Georgia. Temperatures that could have reached more than 120 degrees in that car over time.

What we don't know, Victor and Christi, is why they believe that and what the motive is. Those details may emerge later today as early as today and search warrants that we expect to be released by the police we may have those questions answered. But for people here in Tuscaloosa, it just doesn't really match up, this murder charge against a man that they call Ross Harris just doesn't match up with the person that they know.

He is described as charming, a sweet man, someone that just wouldn't have the capability or really the desire to do something like this. People here call him a great father and they don't like this negative attention that Justin Ross Harris, is receiving in the media -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: I covered the story here in Georgia for the better part of the week, the entire week. You're now in Alabama. We've been communicating via e-mail. What I've noticed is the hesitancy to speak with reporters that you had to go through a lot of no's to get to someone to tell us what you just relayed.

VALENCIA: You know, Victor, I've never been part of a story where so many people are as reluctant. It is the overarching sentiment here. Everyone that we've come across. We spent a large part of yesterday and the day before canvassing this area and knocking on doors. People were politely telling us to leave and never to come back. They don't like the negative attention here.

I knocked on a parent's door yesterday and they asked me to leave and said they don't want people like us here. I did however speak to Carol Brown, who is a close family friend, a friend that hadn't spoken to the family in a couple years, but knew Ross Harris as a teenager. She says, Victor, she has the same questions as everyone else.

Why would Ross Harris go back to the car in the middle of the afternoon? How could he have not seen his 22-month-old son, a son who was already talking and verbalizing, how could he have not seen the son in the back of the car? Having said that, those questions that she has, she says there has been a rush to judgment and that we don't know everything that happened. Take a listen to what she told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROL BROWN, HARRIS FAMILY FRIEND: It just seems out of character for Ross. I know people change. It's been 15 years or so since we've had contact in the church. So, you know, people change. But I -- it's just hard for me to imagine that that is the Ross, the sweet, Ross Harris, the sweet little funny boy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: That seems to be the overarching sentiment of everyone that we've spoken to here from his work place at the University of Alabama where he was once a parking monitor as well as a mail delivery clerk as well as people that we've spoken to off camera, both family and friends. They just can't believe that Justin Ross Harris would have the ability to do something this horrific.

PAUL: And people who even don't know him can't believe this.

BLACKWELL: No one wants to believe it. And as we said many times during these reports, he is absolutely innocent until proven guilty. We still must ask these questions. Nick Valencia there in Tuscaloosa for us. Nick, thank you.

VALENCIA: You bet. BLACKWELL: Let's talk about another father who on television learns that his missing son was found alive after being away for 11 days or was he away? That is an important question. Now investigators want to know how he turned up in the family's basement.

PAUL: And that summer road trip? It may cost you. Summer gas prices hitting a six-year high. They do not show any sign that they're decreasing. We'll tell you how high some fear we'll see that number go.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: The 4th of July is just a couple days away now.

PAUL: Yes, and if you're one of the 41 million people who are going to hit the road, you'll feel the pinch at the pump.

BLACKWELL: Summer gas prices are at their highest level in six years.

PAUL: CNN Money's Zain Asher joining us now with more. Good morning, Zain.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Victor and Christi, the national average price of gas this 4th of July weekend expects to be $3.68 a gallon according to AAA 20 cents higher than last year and the highest we had since 2008. Now typically gas prices fall in June, but it didn't happen this year mostly because of the turmoil in Iraq. Still, the national average for gas prices is nowhere near the all- time high of $4.11 a gallon. We hit that back in 2008.

Crude oil topped $140 a barrel at that time. Right now, it's just under $106 a barrel so we're not even close to the record highs. Still, analysts are sort of eyeing the situation in the Middle East and asking what if and wondering if the conflict in Iraq and the Middle East could send oil back to the scary highs, which should of course translate into much higher prices at the pump.

And nearly everyone we spoke to seems to think that's highly unlikely. While $4 a gallon is already a reality in some parts of the country and could likely be elsewhere don't expect to see $5 a gallon any time soon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFREY GROSSMAN, PRESIDENT, SRG BROKERAGE: I don't see $5 as a distinct possibility in the coming months. The market is not ready for it unless a major geo political occurrence does take place. The dynamics of the market mean possibly we could have a little bit of a price increase because driving and inventory issues, but as far as $5 it's quite remote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHER: So experts basically are saying that actually the demand here in the U.S. and issues with inventory here are having a much bigger impact on how much you pay for gas than anything happening in the Middle East and demand is rising right now. This 4th of July weekend there are going to be more cars on the road than last year. AAA says 41 million people, nearly 2 percent more drivers than last year -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All righty, Zain Asher, thank you, Zain.

BLACKWELL: A message, stop deporting our relatives. That's what's coming today as immigrants protest policies they say are tearing families apart.

PAUL: Have you heard about soul legend, Bobby Womack? He has died. We'll have more on his career that spanned five decades.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Admit it. Doesn't Saturday feel good? I'm Christi Paul. It does. 30 minutes past the hour right now.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Let's start with five things you need to know for your new day.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

BLACKWELL (Voice-over): Up first we go to Northern Iraq. Islamist militants are coming under attack from Iraqi warplanes and troops. Iraqi security forces say they had driven ISIS fighters out of the northern city of Tikrit. Iraqi warplanes struck ISIS targets in Mosul and there are reports seven civilians were killed in the air strikes.

PAUL (Voice-over): Number two, today is being touted as the national day to stop separating families. Immigrant families and their advocates plan to hold demonstrations across the country to protest deportations that split relatives up.

In the meantime, the top Democrat in the House Nancy Pelosi heads to South Texas to talk with border officials about the recent wave of undocumented children.

BLACKWELL (Voice-over): Number three, the fight over same sex marriage rages on in Indiana shortly after the state's ban on same sex marriages was overturned. A circuit court of appeals approved an emergency motion Friday evening effectively putting all same sex marriages on hold for the time being. Sides will be able to take their arguments to Federal appeals court.

PAUL (Voice-over): Number four, the funeral for 22-month-old Cooper Harris who died at being left in a hot SUV for hours is going to happen today in Alabama. The boy's father, Justin Ross Harris, is still behind bars and faces charges including felony murder and will not be at the funeral. Harris is accused of leaving his son strapped into the car seat while he went in to work.

BLACKWELL (Voice-over): Number five, the man who among many things wrote the Rolling Stones' first number one hit in the U.K. has died. Rock 'n' roll hall of famer Bobby Womack was 70, a victim of Alzheimer's disease. His career as a soul singer and songwriter spanned 50 years. He'll be remembered for the Stones hit "It's all over now" and also his own hit "If you think you're lonely now."

(END VIDEO TAPE)

PAUL: This is one of those moments on television that you just watch and though, what is happening?

BLACKWELL: And watch it over and over.

PAUL: Over again to make sure because it was supposed to be a happy ending, you think right? A Detroit father being told during a television interview that his missing son had been found alive.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

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

CHARLES BOTHUELL IV: What?

GRACE: Yes. We are getting reports that your son has been found alive --

BLACKWELL (Voice-over): -- in your basement. I was waiting for the rest of the statement. Now as you saw the father visibly shocked there. Charles Bothuell is facing questions about how his 12-year-old son Charlie, who was missing for 11 days, turned up in the family's basement. Important to say no charges have been filed in the case.

PAUL (Voice-over): But in a bizarre twist the boy's step mother was arrested on unrelated weapons charges. And the boy has been placed in his mother's custody. He has spoken to police. They have not revealed what he has said yet but we do know he has also spoken to child therapists as well.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's talk about this with CNN Legal Analyst Paul Cowan and HLN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson. Good to have both of you.

I want to start with you, Joey. Unrelated charges but, certainly, timely.

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: They certainly are. Good morning, Victor, Christi, and Paul.

Listen, first the good news. The child is alive, right? How many times have we had discussions about cases where children are missing and the outcome is not as favorable as this? Then you ask the question, Victor, what happened here? Who is at the bottom of this? Did the child need assistance or anything else?

And to your original question, of course, as the police were searching the home, oh, there is a gun. Mom -- Stepmom, no permit. As a result, she is taken in. But I think that is the tip of the iceberg. In speaking to the child I think they'll want to determine what led to this. Did he have any assistance in doing this? Was he put in any harm not only physical harm but mental harm and, boy, that scratches the surface of many things to come.

PAUL: Well, Paul, one of the reports that came out, too, that I think had a lot of people a little disturbed was the fact that police discovered PVC pipe and blood stained clothing in the basement as well. What do you make of that?

PAUL COWAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know that was extremely disturbing but of course it remains entirely speculative. You know, he is 12 years old. You know I was looking at the stats on Detroit. You know there are estimates that there are 78,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit? So if you're a resourceful 12-year-old kid and you want to run away from -- he is living with a father and step mother and, you know, his true mother is absent from the scene and there may be some troubling issues there that caused him to want to run away, plenty of places to hide in Detroit if you're resourceful.

You know, I think it's hard for us to really get focused on the specifics of this until we really know what the young man has to say to the police. They haven't arrested anybody. And I'm betting you won't see an arrest but a kid with an adventure story and maybe a little bit of a troubled past.

BLACKWELL: What do you think, Joey? I mean, the attorney for the father also used the term "troubled." Got to be careful there, right?

JACKSON: You absolutely do. But I'm not as confident as my great colleague Paul Cowan in terms of whether there will be an arrest or not. We'll reserve judgment and see. A lot depends, Victor, on what the child has to say. But you have to wonder whether or not you could see some type of child abuse charges. Why? Remember, child abuse not only relates to things that are done that are physical, but, certainly, relates to mental harm.

How does a child decide not withstanding abandoned buildings being all over Detroit? How does a child secret themselves in a basement, have access to food, have access to a restroom because there is no indication he was going there and then invade police detection and cadaver dogs as they come down? It sounds like someone was at the heart of this and that he couldn't no matter how resourceful or, you know, eventful the child is, have done this alone.

So we'll see as it unfolds. I don't want to cast aspersions upon his family members but it sounds awfully fishy to me.

PUAL: All right. Listen, let's -- want to switch gears here for a second and talk about 22-month-old Cooper Harris as you know who died in the hot SUV and his father, Just Harris, is now being held. We know some of the new information that came out in the last 24 hours that police searched the computers in his father's office and found an internet search of how long it takes for animals to die in a hot car. It sounds incriminating but let's face it, we don't know who was at the keyboard, we don't when that was searched.

Paul, what do you make of this latest find?

COWAN: Well, if that story is confirmed, that is an exceptionally disturbing piece of information. And obviously, because the father was taken into custody, immediately after the young child was found, this had to have been done before he left with the child in the back seat, the search on the computer. So I mean I find that to be exceptionally disturbing.

But you know, Christi, even if we rule that out, leaving a kid in a car for eight hours and what I'm hearing from everybody is, well, this happens. People make mistakes. Hey, it's his kid. You don't leave your kid in the car for eight hours to die. So there are very serious criminal charges that are going to be lodged here even if the computer search doesn't prove to be true.

PAUL: All righty. Paul Cowan and Joey Jackson. I'm sorry we've run out of time. As I know we could talk to you all hour.

JACKSON: Time is always the enemy. Thank you, Christi. Bye, victor.

PAUL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Here is something you don't hear very often. Air pollution in the U.S. especially over big cities is improving. Something good, we'll tell you what's behind that.

PAUL: And could social media be ruing our relationships? The author of the new book says, you can count on it. She's going to tell us why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Hey, it a little good news about the air we breathe, it's getting cleaner.

PAUL: New study has satellite to prove it too. Smog levels particularly along the densely populated northeast corridor are noticeably better, places like New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia.

BLACKWELL: Karen Mcginnis looks at the findings. So what's behind this improvement?

KAREN MCGINNIS, CNN METEORLOGIST: Well, a couple things. The similar moment that occurred back in 1948 in Donora, Pennsylvania, the smog was so bad 20 people died there. They said they had to use flash lights to walk children to school because the visibility was so bad mostly due to steel manufacturing.

Well now, that particular event prompted the clean air act in 1970. And in 2005, they lifted a satellite up into space and kind of evaluated what the pollution was all the way from Chicago to Philadelphia and they looked at these particular levels but then you go to 2011, you can see markedly reduced in these red shaded areas, this is for nitrogen dioxide, and 32 percent less of that in the atmosphere, New York city also 26 percent less in Philadelphia, Chicago 43. We know in Atlanta lots of cars on the road. For Atlanta, look at this red shaded area. This is between 2005 and 2007. Then you take a look up to 2011. It is 42 percent less. These are very dramatic numbers that we're looking at, they are not incremental. But for Houston, this is a petroleum based industry across this area and you look in 2009 to 2011, it's 24 percent less.

Still have a long way to go, but improvements are being made in mission controls, on automobiles, also for factories and mills. In Los Angeles the city of about 17 million people, there is a difference here. Doesn't look like it but 40 percent improvement in the emissions of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere. According to the satellite based data, the air is improving but we still have a ways to go.

Back to you guys.

PAUL: All righty. Karen, thank you so much.

We've got breaking news to talk to you about.

BLACKWELL: Yes. A major development in the investigation of Justin Ross Cooper -- Justin Ross Harris rather. His son cooper died in that hot SUV. We'll have that at the top the next block for you.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: We've been talking today about the search warrant we've been waiting to be released in the investigation into the death of a 22- month-old, Cooper Harris, who died in a hot SUV after being left there by his father earlier this week. That search warrant we understand has now been released.

BLACKWELL: Nick Valencia has it. He is in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where this child's funeral will be later this afternoon.

Nick, major revelation in this warrant. What do you have?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi.

It is actually a handful of search warrants including search warrants for Justin Ross Harris's cell phone, his home, as well as his car. And revealed in those search warrants I want to quote police here, what they are stating in their report. It says, quote, "...during an interview with Justin, he stated that he recently researched through the internet child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to occur."

Justin stated that he was fearful that this could happen. This is the first detail that we're receiving from this police report. They don't go on to list any other details aside from that statement. It was buried in the search warrant toward the end of it. I should note, Victor and Christi, that a source told HLN's Nancy Grace earlier this week that on Justin Ross Harris' work computer there was search history of animal -- how long it takes for an animal to die in a hot car.

Now we're reading from this search warrant that Justin stated that he had researched child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to occur. This revelation coming just a short time ago, CNN obtaining those search warrants as they were released by police just moments ago.

Victor, Christi?

PAUL: You know what's important about this is we've been saying all along as we heard about these -- this possible search, that we didn't know who was at the computer.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: That we didn't know when that search was done, that this was a computer, essentially as we understood, from his work, so it could have been anybody. So now this information clarifies he did it himself, that search. But it shows not necessarily an intent, but it does show a fear that he feared he might do this.

VALENCIA: And, Christi, what is not clear, what remains unclear, is if Justin stated this on his own, if he came forward with this information and this statement without being questioned by police or whether that was revealed during questioning. It is just a very short statement buried at the bottom of this search warrant, multiple search warrants, but we just don't know how this revealed and in what manner.

We don't know the context of this statement. But we do know that Justin, according to this that I just quoted here, this police report that he did state that he researched through the internet child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to occur because he was, quote, "fearful that this could happen."

Victor, Christi?

BLACKWELL: Hey, Nick, one more thing. You talked about the two caveats we had. We didn't know if he searched or when. We now know he searched. Does the search warrant mention he ever said when he conducted the search?

VALENCIA: It doesn't, it doesn't give a timeline or much context, Victor, and so we're hoping to get that from police. And it doesn't really go on to establish motive. It's not clear. The charges are up top homicide as we've been reporting. Police have been unwavered in their belief that Justin Ross Harris meant to kill his son when he left his son in that car for seven hours under the Atlanta summer sun.

We should go on to say here, people in this community just say it doesn't add up. They have described Justin Ross Harris as a good person, as a God centered person, a great father, sweet and charming man. When we've spoken to family friends both on and off camera they just say that the judgment has come too soon and we just don't know the details and now this revelation or statement that he made to police during questioning.

Victor, Christi?

PAUL: And a very good point to make on this day that he is innocent and there is nothing proven. He has not been convicted of anything. But, of course, it has to be so tough for those folks in Tuscaloosa coming on this day to get this information when they are getting ready to bury 22-month-old Cooper.

Nick Valencia, thank you so much for the latest. We appreciate it.

VALENCIA: You bet.

BLACKWELL: Quick break and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Anderson Cooper 360, Monday night 8:00 Eastern on CNN.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Michael Smerconish.

On Monday, we're going to learn exactly how much the families affected by the GM ignition switch problems will be compensated.

But today I have the first television interview with a GM whistle blower who has come forward to say the culture of looking the other way at the auto giant dates very far back and that ignition switches are only one of the many potential problems.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COURTLAND KELLEY, GM WHISTLEBLOWER: If that had been corrected in '98, if we had done a thorough check of all our procedures and found out how safety defects were getting through, none of this would have happened. And it is pretty simple.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: We have a great program for you this morning. I hope you'll join us.

Christi, Victor?

BLACKWELL: All right. We certainly will. Thank you, Michael.

You can watch "SMERCONISH" at the top of the hour a few moments from now 9:00 eastern.

You know, drivers in Texas have a reputation for flying down the highways. But usually not literally, right? Look at this. A must see moment.

PAUL: Yes. A driver in Arlington, Texas took cell phone video. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) PAUL (Voice-over): A small plane? Making an emergency landing,

skimming a grassy area then lands on an over pass connecting two major interstates. The pilot was towing a banner when he reported engine problems. Just glad everybody is OK.

Look at this. A very pregnant runner completed an 800-meter race at the U.S. championships in California. Wow!

BLACKWELL (Voice-over): You've done this.

PAUL (Voice-over): No. I have not. Look at her go. Impressive.

BLACKWELL (Voice-over): Yes. Alysia Montano's doctor signed off on her competing and she's been exercising throughout her pregnancy to, well, stay away from saber tooth tigers.

ALYSIA MONTANO, FIVE-TIME NATIONAL CHAMPION: You know if you think about it, primarily like back in the day people were -- they had to continue working. They had to, you know, live on the land and, I don't know, I like to say like run from saber tooth tigers.

PAUL (Voice-over): My goodness. The five-time national champion finished the race just 35 seconds slower than her personal best. I want to see how fast that baby runs when it comes out.

BLACKWELL (Voice-over): Come out running.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

PAUL: Wow. Just glad everybody is safe and healthy. Again, that's all that matters. It is impressive.

BLACKWELL: All right. Time now for the good stuff.

A retiring 21-year marine vet recently bought a house. It was a fixer upper but it was all he could afford.

PAUL: Then head to ship out to Japan for his final assignment so he asked his buddy, a fellow marine to watch the house for him. Watch what he did.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

BLACKWELL: Yes. He watched it all the way to some $70,000 worth of renovations. Friends, fellow soldiers, volunteers came together to rehab the house from the inside out. We're talking new floors, new kitchen, new bathrooms, new everything.

PAUL (Voice-over): When Master Sergeant Bernardo arrived at the airport, he was greeted by a stretch limo, no less.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome home, brother.

MASTER SGT. JACINTO BERNARDO, U.S. MARINE VETERAN: We're proud of our service and, you know, those guys that didn't make it back and those guys that are -- that didn't make it in one piece. They deserve this, not me.

PAUL (Voice-over): Bless his heart. We beg to differ though, master sergeant. After a lifetime moving around in military housing, you get to retire in style. And we are -- we are happy for that and grateful for your service. Thank you.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

BLACKWELL: Movie stars moves light up social media for the right reasons for a change.

PAUL: Amy Adams who played a sexy con artist in "American Hustle" showed that she is one class act. On a recent flight she gave a first class seat to a soldier. A passenger took this selfie with Adams. His surprise seat made, obviously back in couch. Adams whose father served in the military, she did it quietly without calling attention to herself. But here we are -

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: -- singing her praises. That's OK. Let us sing it for you.

BLACKWELL: "SMERCONISH" is next, but at the top of hour, top of 10:00 Eastern we'll certainly go back to Nick Valencia with the latest on those warrants related to the hot car death in Georgia.

PAUL: See you then.