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LeBron Going Home?; Immigration Faceoff as Obama Visits Texas; Chris McDaniel Alleging Voting Fraud in Mississippi; Typhoon to Hit Japan

Aired July 8, 2014 - 06:30   ET




Here's a look at your headlines at the bottom of the hour. Breaking news that we're following, Japan is on high alert as the strongest typhoon in decades approaches. Typhoon Neoguri is expected to bring heavy damage, with 125-mile-an-hour winds and 45-foot waves. Flooding is expected in areas that have already been hit with heavy rain. Typhoon Neoguri is expected to intensify as it moves towards southwestern Japan.

Chicago's police department -- superintendent, rather, is lashing out after a wave of violence struck the city over the holiday weekend. Garry McCarthy calling for stricter gun laws after at least nine people were killed and dozens more were wounded in shooting incidents all across the city. Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the violence senseless, adding that police alone cannot reduce that violence.

The suspect in the deadly assault on the U.S. Benghazi -- mission in Benghazi will be back in court today. A status hearing is set for Ahmed Abu Khattala. Meantime, documents show Republicans are spending big in their ongoing investigation of the attack. A special committee is asking for more than $3 million this year, that's more than key committees including Veterans Affairs and Ethics.

People in Washington state lining up at recreational marijuana shops to get their fix and be part of history. Twenty-four licensed stores will begin selling marijuana as early as 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Meantime, New York just became the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana. It allows doctors to prescribe marijuana in a non-smokable form to patients with certain serious conditions.

A federal judge approved a preliminary settlement in a class action suit against the NFL Monday. Thousands of former players are suing over concussions they suffered while playing for the league. Players with neurological illness could save up to $5 million. The league agreed not to cap settlement payments. The final ruling on the settlement is expected in November.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's a big development there for football.

PEREIRA: Absolutely. BERMAN: Let's talk basketball though.

PEREIRA: Shall we?

BERMAN: Shall we. Because I think --

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The what-ifs, the possibilities.

BERMAN: It is crazy. Everyone talking about LeBron James and some fascinating moves by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Some Web site politics that have people saying maybe LeBron is going back. Laura Rutledge has more now.

BOLDUAN: So excited he can't even talk.

LAURA RUTLEDGE, BLEACHER REPORT: Well, you know what, these LeBron James back to Cleveland rumors are picking up steam big time, but remember how ugly of a divorce it was for both sides. Now the Cavs, well, they seem to be trying to right a wrong from the past.

James spent his first seven years with his home state team, and once LeBron made his, quote, "decision" on national TV, everyone remembers that, to go to Miami, most of the city of Cleveland was really mad, including majority owner Dan Gilbert. He wrote a letter criticizing James that included this statement. He said, "I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self titled former 'King' wins one. You can take it to the bank."

Now, the Cavs have finally taken down that letter from their Web site. Maybe that's an olive branch of some kind.

Now, trending on, some terrifying video out of Australian football league. You got to see this. Brian Lake throws down his opponent during a play and then gets a pretty good hold to his neck attempting to strangle him. Thankfully, some of those players got in the middle that have situation or it might have taken a much more serious turn. Lake's punishment was just handed down minutes ago, and he'll have to sit out the next four matches, wow.

And as we get ready for tonight's World Cup semifinal between Brazil and Germany, it's hard to talk about Brazil as an underdog. They've been the favorite to win this tournament on their home soil for years, but after losing star striker Neymar to a back injury, it seems like the tides have turned. Brazil will have to take on Germany's very methodical side who have hoisted the trophy three times. They've had some weak moments in this tournament but they have a knack for coming through when it matters most. They have ice in their vein.

So, will Brazil survive without Neymar or will Germany live up to the hype? The two face off at 4:00 Eastern, and Kate and John, is it 4:00 yet, because I'm excited?

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

BERMAN: Very excited.

BOLDUAN: Very, very close. It's almost 4:00. Can we go back to that strangling?

BERMAN: I don't know all the rules in Australian rules football, but I'm pretty sure choking a guy is not one of them.

PEREIRA: While sitting on his chest.

RUTLEDGE: Not supposed to happen, right?

BOLDUAN: Good, confirm. We know one rule. You're not supposed to choke.

BERMAN: Four games did not seem like very much to me.

BOLDUAN: Let's combine the World Cup and that story. Now we know when the biter can go when he's no longer playing soccer.

BERMAN: Well, that's four months versus four days, bite versus strangling.

BOLDUAN: I mean, that's crazy.

PEREIRA: They want neither behavior from you guys.

BERMAN: Exactly. You guys better behave.

BOLDUAN: I will be putting you in the penalty box for a lot longer.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, President Obama is facing growing frustration over immigration. We're now learning that he's now accepting, he's open to the invitation to meet with Texas Governor Rick Perry on the issue, but will they actually meet is one question? And a lot of folks are wondering is he actually going to go to the border? Our political panel is hashing it out.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

There's growing frustration this morning concerning the White House's response over the growing crisis at the border. President Obama has accepted, we hear, is open to an invitation to meet with Governor Rick Perry of Texas, about immigration while the president is visiting the state.

But the president is at least publicly not planning to visit the border which he's taking quite a bit of heat about, and today, the president is asking Congress for $2 billion in emergency funds to help stem the immigration crisis. Is it enough, and what is it?

Joining us to discuss that and much more, political commentators Kevin Madden, Republican strategist, and Paul Begala, Democratic strategist and senior advisor for Priorities USA Action.

So, guys, I was going to start with the question. I think it's less of an important question if he goes to the border and more is he going to hold any immigration or border-related events while in Texas? But then this letter coming out just this morning from Valerie Jarrett, let me read just the important part of it up top. She says, "The president would welcome a meeting with you, Governor Rick Perry, while he is in Texas. In addition, he's asked me to invite you to join him for a meeting to discuss the situation on the border with faith leaders and local elected leaders in Dallas on Wednesday."

John and I were talking. Paul, did Rick Perry just hand the president a big out politically on this?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I suspect what you're going to see is Rick Perry bounce right back and say, good, let's meet, let's meet on the border, sir. I think it's -- you know, look, Rick Perry is the governor. He's been a demagogue and frankly a dope about this issue. He's been totally unhelpful, suggesting darkly that somehow there's a conspiracy that Barack Obama is behind.

Look, children are fleeing violence in Central America. It has taken a very long time to deport them because of a law that President Bush signed back when he was president. That law was designed to try to protect people who are fleeing violence and to protect their rights, and so, President Obama here is simply caught trying to obey a law that was passed before he became president.

But that line about faith leaders I think is most important. If he's going to pick Rick Perry's brain, that is the very definition of slim pickings.

BOLDUAN: Oh, Paul!

BEGALA: There's a faith leader we ought to be listening to. Mark Seitz is the bishop of El Paso. He's actually been to the region. He's been to Honduras and Guatemala. He testified last week before the Congress. I read his testimony. I recommend to our viewers.

He actually knows what's going on, and he explains that it's these children are like children trapped in a burning building and, of course, they are going to leap and come to anything that looks comparatively safer, even if it risks their life to do so.

I think the bishop is who he ought to meet with.

BOLDUAN: Kevin, you can jump in on this. I mean, Paul, that was pretty brutal, Rick Perry is a dope on this issue. Rick Perry says he's just trying to defend the border that is his state -- Kevin.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, yes, look, Rick Perry is not known as somebody who has been particularly hawkish on immigration. I think anybody who is a border state governor has a much more informed view of immigration and how to deal with the border crisis.

I think the big problem here for Obama is his lack of disengagement on this issue up until this point. I mean, the very fact that Rick Perry has to invite President Obama down to the border and that is even in question, a meeting such as that during a cries like this, I really do think speaks to the lack of leadership that President Obama has had on this issue.

I mean, we know that this is a humanitarian crisis. We know it's a national security crisis given the fact that so many folks are streaming over our bothered, and the fact that the president is going to be raising money for his political allies basically down the road but not go and visit the actual site of where this -- this big crisis is taking place I think is a real big approximate. And I think that's why the president's standing among the American people on questions of leadership has -- that's why his standing has taken a hit in recent months.

BOLDUAN: Paul, I mean, optics are just that, they are optics. But when the country is watching is when it kind of matters. I mean a lot of people, as Kevin is saying, how did the White House, how did the president not see this coming?

BEGALA: Well, you know, former president George H.W. Bush, the good Bush, he used to say 90 percent of life is just showing up. And I love that. He's right. And the president should show up. He should go to the border.

It's not a crisis of his making, and we understand that, and I've been in meetings like that back when I worked in the White House. You always have somebody say, well, if we go, then we'll own the problem and we'll be the face of the problem and we didn't cause it. I understand all that.

Optics do matter and showing up matters and he actually might learn something, not from Rick Perry, but if he meets with the faith leaders, if he meets with those border folks, he -- he'd actually learn something. So I do think it's a good idea for him to go.

BOLDUAN: Real quick --

MADDEN: Paul is right, but when the White House yesterday said they weren't concerned about the optics, you know what that said? They were concerned about the optics.


BOLDUAN: Real quick -- good point, Kevin. Real quick on this, Kevin. The $2 billion in emergency funds that the president is going to be requesting of Congress, are Republicans going to sign on to it? If they don't, isn't that going to be egg in their face?

MADDEN: Look, look, not without a lot of positioning and trying to gain political leverage on this in order to get some concessions on border security issues down the road. I think everybody recognizes that there's a problem down there, but so many folks up on Capitol Hill, and I think this is -- this goes for Republicans and Democrats -- they don't want to be seen as just throwing money at the problem. They want to make sure that there are larger issues that are discussed and that there are longer, more enduring remedies put in place that are going to solve the problem down there that's brought us to this point. BOLDUAN: Yes, I mean, this isn't just about immigration reform. This

is about kids at the border. This is about a crisis that needs to be dealt with.

All right, let's move on to another topic. I want to get your take. What is going on in Mississippi? What is going to happen in the future of Mississippi? So they -- they certified the Senate runoff yesterday, and actually Cochran actually made his lead even bigger. It's over 7,000 votes that he beat Chris McDaniel. I talked to Chris McDaniel on Friday, and a lot of what he said is -- he says this isn't even about him. This is bigger than him. Making it very clear he's going to fight on. Listen to this, guys.


BOLDUAN: Is this about the integrity of the Republican party, or is this about winning a race?

CHRIS MCDANIEL (R), MISSISSIPPI CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE: No. It's bigger than a campaign. It's bigger than a candidate. It's bigger than me. No question about that.

BOLDUAN: So do you even care about winning at this point?

MCDANIEL: Everyone cares but that's not what this is about. What matters here is we fine the fraud where it exists, the irregularities, correct them, move forward so people can have faith in the system again. Right now, there are many Mississipians very angry and rightfully so because they feel like their votes were nullified or diluted based on the irregular conduct that we saw that night.


BOLDUAN: I want to get your guys' gut check on this. What's going to happen here? Kevin?

MADDEN: Well, look, I think any time you go through a campaign, particularly one that was this tough, the candidate always does feel like he owes it to his supporters to fight to the bitter end. I think he has -- Chris McDaniel is right in that he has the right to do this and that he feels like that he should be exploring any irregularities all the way to the end.

But I think because the certification has taken place, we're talking about a lead that's probably over 7,000 votes right now, I find it very hard to believe that anything is going to be overturned. I expect that Senator Cochran is going to continue to be the Republican nominee down there, and he's going to end up winning in November.

BOLDUAN: I mean, Paul, this is a safe Republican seat. One question that Chris McDaniel didn't really want to answer that I asked him on Friday -- I asked him if he thinks he's threatening or risking his political future if he continues on this fight, if he wants to have a future in Mississippi politics. What do you think?

BEGALA: Well, in Mississippi politics, as a Republican. You know, he said, "Well, this is bigger than me," it's certainly not bigger than his ego, which I expect you couldn't even fit in the studio that day. But the risk the Republicans face, they're in a very, very red state, the only real risk is splintering.

Maybe McDaniel gets so frustrated he leaves and forms a third party which, you know, we saw years ago. We saw Ralph Nader run as a left winger and he split the vote enough that Scalia and them could steal the race and give it to Bush. I'm not saying it could happen there. But Democrats (INAUDIBLE), who's a former congressman. So that's the one risk Republicans have, is they have to try to hold this guy in the party or they could have a third party.

BOLDUAN: I mean, I don't even -- sometimes I don't even know what to do with you, Paul. The amount of one-liners you throw in there

MADDEN: You don't? You don't. Imagine how I feel.


BOLDUAN: Exactly, Kevin. I was going to say -- I feel like you should take me out of the shot and squish you two together to fight it out.

MADDEN: Please don't.

BOLDUAN: It's great to see you guys. Have a good one. We'll talk to you soon.

BEGALA: Thanks to you, Kate.

BERMAN: I've got to get Begala's coffee. Whatever he's drinking this morning, there's some good stuff in that.


BOLDUAN: Oh, Paul.

BERMAN: Perry after him now this morning, McDaniel after him --

BOLDUAN: By the way, Kevin and Paul are in studios that are right next to each other. This is the conversation right after the interview that you'll want to hear.

BERMAN: All right, ten minutes before the hour. Next up for us on NEW DAY, Oscar Pistorius. His defense rests this morning in his murder trial, but we'll have to wait a while for a verdict. We're going to tell you why it's still far from over.

And look at this. This is a karate kick like you have never seen before. That is Kate Bolduan. We'll tell what you she's doing. It's our must-see moment, right after this.

BOLDUAN: And yet another hairstyle.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. The defense rested just a few hours ago in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, bringing an end to the latest phase. Closing arguments set to begin in August, and now the athlete's fate lies in the hands, or will after closing arguments, of the judge there.

CNN's Robyn Curnow live in Pretoria with us. What was the latest this morning, Robyn?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. Well, we were just in court for ten minutes. That's all it took for this case to be wrapped up. After four months of being here in Pretoria, nearly 4,000 pages of transcripts, also nearly 40 witnesses, it's all over. Now we're waiting for those closing arguments.

And also I think, importantly, in those ten minutes, there was a very crucial point made by the defense. They said that they had wanted to call more witnesses but that many people refused to testify for Oscar Pistorius because they were scared of having their names and their voices broadcast on this court feed. So it's the first time we're getting some indication of how the intense media interest in this story might have been playing out in the courtroom and which might have had some impact in terms of whether or not Oscar Pistorius had a fair trial. And I think our legal analysts say this could be a point of appeal down the line.

BERMAN: Interesting. Also interesting, these long delays that we've had in this trial. Robyn Curnow from Pretoria. Appreciate it. Michaela?

PEREIRA: Are you ready for a little must-see moment on this Tuesday? Call it six seconds of karate kick awesomeness. Sounds about right. Watch this young tae kwon do ace do some mid-air hang time. Jumps into a spinning kick. One, two, three, four targets before stumbling back to earth. Stumbles a little bit on the landing but you know what? This judge will let it pass. This video was posted online about a year ago but it's only gone viral just recently.

BERMAN: That is awesome.

BOLDUAN: He stumbles. I'm amazed he doesn't fall on his face after that top kick.


BERMAN: I'm equally amazed, Kate, that you were doing this during the break.

BOLDUAN: You know, just a little way to wake up in the morning.

PEREIRA: Wants the baby to have a little acrobatic influence.

BERMAN: Dizzy baby but that's OK.

BOLDUAN: Dizzy baby means happy baby. Nope, that's not it.


BOLDUAN: All right, we're following a lot of news this morning. Let get right to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The winds are howling right now in Okinawa and the surrounding islands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop illegal immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a partisan issue, this is a human suffering issue.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Their argument seems to be that, because the system is broken, we shouldn't make an effort to fix it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cracking noises and a lot of screaming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just fell. Like there was nothing, just like a loud boom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The case surrounding the death of Cooper Harris has gone from controversial to sensational.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to know if she played any kind of role.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She looks at him, she's like, well, did you say too much?


BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY. John Berman is here with us this morning. Chris is off.

Let's begin with the breaking news that we're following. A powerful typhoon slamming into Japan this morning. It could be the strongest storm in decades, and it's already lashing the island of Okinawa, where the U.S. has military assets in place. The storm is packing intense winds, up to 125 miles an hour, and could bring violent waves of up to 45 feet. More than 600,000 people have been told to evacuate the island's coast.

Let bring in a typhoon storm chaser, James Reynolds; he's from Okinawa, he's joining us by the phones. So, James, what are you seeing on the ground? We've got some video that we're playing but what are you seeing?

JAMES REYNOLDS, TYPHOON STORM CHASER (via telephone): Hi, well, it's been a very long day here. I actually made it to one of the smaller islands southwest of Okinawa and we were literally, you know, in the jaws of the storm for almost an entire day. It just goes to show how large and sprawling and powerful this typhoon is. It's moving away from us now so the weather is improving. But earlier today I saw the biggest wave I've ever seen in my life crashing into the south and east coast of this island. Strong winds, heavy rain. The islands, it's getting better here, but the next turn is for the mainland.

BOLDUAN: I mean, that really says something, because you see a lot of these storms. What are the officials there telling folks?

REYNOLDS: Really it's just a case of stay at home, you know, hole up inside. Don't go outside because it's just too dangerous. The local weather authority, they issued an emergency warning, which really goes to show how seriously authorities are taking this storm to try and keep people safe and out of harm's way.

BOLDUAN: I mean what is it like? If you stepped outside, what is it like to see that storm surge, see those waves, up to 45 feet we're hearing, and then the winds, they can pack such a punch?

REYNOLDS: Well, it can just be absolutely overwhelming. When you're really in the strongest path, these storms, you know, blinding rain, screaming wind. And if you're near the coast, it can be extremely hazardous. The fortunate fact is these islands are very solidly constructed. They deal with typhoons every year. People can't evacuate off the island so they do protect themselves against them. And fortunately, where I am, there's been actually minimal damage by the strength of the storm.

BOLDUAN: And James, real quick, they say that this could be one of the strongest storms to hit Japan in decades.