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GOP Leaders Gearing Up to Sue Obama; Rocket Fired into Israel From Lebanon; Internet Posts Emerge in Hot Car Case
Aired July 11, 2014 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY, with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Statue looking beautiful this morning. Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Friday, the 11th of July, 6:00 in the east. Chris and Kate are off. Mr. John Berman joins me. Good morning.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I like to call it the "A" team.
PEREIRA: Christine Romans will join us with the headlines and will get in on the "A" team business a little later.
New this morning, House Speaker John Boehner doubling down on President Obama, he is ready to slap the commander-in-chief with a lawsuit saying the president violated the constitution when he changed his signature health care law. Boehner also blasting the president on the border crisis accusing Obama of lack of leadership.
The president, meanwhile, is firing back claiming GOP leaders would rather point fingers than come up with solutions. Our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta joins us from the White House, a back and forth and a fair amount of rhetoric.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Michaela, that's right, and the White House reaction to House Speaker John Boehner's lawsuit was swift and harsh with Press Secretary Josh Earnest calling it a, quote, "Political stunt," you know, it's a new day for Washington dysfunction when it's headed for a courthouse.
ACOSTA (voice-over): It's a constitutional collision between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This isn't about me suing the president. What we're talking about here are places where the president is basically re-writing law to make it fit his own needs.
ACOSTA: House Speaker John Boehner made official what he's threatened for weeks, that he's filing a lawsuit against the president saying Mr. Obama's executive actions to change the health care law and other federal programs are evidence of a White House that's out of control.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Really? Really? For what? You're going to sue me for doing my job?
ACOSTA: Just hours before House Republicans revealed their lawsuit bill, the president was sharpening up his defense in Texas.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I've got a better idea. Do something. If you're mad at me for helping people on my own, let's team up. Let's -- let's pass some bills.
ACOSTA: The brewing courtroom battle comes as the president and Boehner are already sparring over the White House plan for the border crisis, a problem Mr. Obama said could be solved with immigration reform.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Ronald Reagan passed immigration reform, and you love Ronald Reagan. Let's go ahead and do it.
BOEHNER: This is a problem of the president's own making. He's been president for five and a half years. When is he going to take responsibility for something?
ACOSTA: Even the first lady jumped into the fray speaking to a Latino group in New York.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Make no mistake about it. We have to keep on fighting as hard as we can on immigration.
ACOSTA: It was a rare entry into partisan politics for Michelle Obama as a growing number of fellow Democrats complained the president has mismanaged the migrant crisis.
REPRESENTATIVE RON BARBER (D), ARIZONA: This problem has been going on for a long time, and now it's been exaggerated by this humanitarian crisis that we have with thousands of children coming into Texas and into my state in Arizona.
ACOSTA: Now as for Boehner's lawsuit the speaker said expect more details in the coming days, but Boehner's office said that much of the case will center on the president's decision to delay the employer mandate in Obamacare without going through Congress. A Boehner spokesman said that is the best example of the president overstepping his constitutional bounds and perhaps the best chance the lawsuit has in succeeding in court -- John.
BERMAN: All right, let's take a look now at this a little bit deeper. Our thanks to Jim Acosta there. I want to talk about the new lawsuit against the president, also the border crisis with our CNN political commentators, Democratic strategist, Paul Begala, also a senior adviser for Priorities USA Action and also joining us Republican strategist, Kevin Madden.
Kevin, I want to start with you here because we have been talking for a few weeks now about this action that was going to be taken against the president by the Republicans in the House. Initially there was this notion that it was going to cover a whole range of executive orders and actions.
Now it looks like it's narrowly focused on what he didn't do with Obamacare. By the way, Republicans voted repeatedly to derail, defund, delay every aspect of Obamacare. Now Republicans are suing the president for delaying one part of it. Why choose that avenue?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, what's most important for I think this has to do with the legal technicalities of it, but what's most important for the House Republicans going forward with this lawsuit is to gain standing in a federal court, and they believe that tailoring it to the president's action, not by what he didn't do, about what he did do, about a unilateral amending of an enacted statute. They believe that that is the best way to get standing in a federal court and eventually pursue this -- this legal case against the president.
BERMAN: Paul, when you do read the law that was passed and signed by the president, the language actually is pretty clear, that the employer mandate was to go into effect in 2014 and the president did delay it. Do you think there is legal standing for this lawsuit?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Let me say I am a lawyer, although my law school dean at the University of Texas said if you want to hide something from Begala, put it in a law book, he will never find it there. So I don't want to speculate as a lawyer. Let's let the lawyers hash that out. I do think the president's lawyers may win this on the issue of standing and it may not. It may go forward.
The politics of this, which is my field. The House will now schedule a vote. Requires a vote of the House to sue the president. The Democrats are going to kill them on this. They are going to say -- I'm going to say it right now. John Boehner will find the time to cast the votes to sue the president, but he won't call up votes on immigration reform or minimum wage or equal pay for women or college aid or unemployment insurance.
All of which I think would pass actually if Boehner had the courage to bring it up for a straight up or down vote. They are going to get slaughtered on this. I guess maybe he's trying to forestall the Tea Party, but this is a loser for John Boehner.
BERMAN: Kevin Madden, the White House responded to this last night. Let me read you a statement. It's disappointing that Speaker Boehner and congressional Republicans have decided to waste time and taxpayer dollars on a political stunt. As the president said today, he's doing his job, lawsuit or not and it's time that the Republicans in Congress did theirs.
Sounds a lot like Paul Begala, that the Democrats might be on the same page. You saw the president more energized about this than I've seen him in a few weeks. Are Republicans giving him, your old boss Speaker John Boehner, giving the president an issue that he can make some ground up on?
MADDEN: Well, I think there's two things you have to know about John Boehner. He's an institutionalist. He believes very strongly in the Congress and its role in the legislative process, and second, he's a pretty measured guy. So I don't think John Boehner would pursue this, and I don't think he would agree to pursue this on behalf of the House of Representatives unless he believed there was a serious constitutional question here.
That there is a serious, you know, mistake for the president to overstep his executive authority and take away some of the legislative authority when it came to implementing and executing and upholding the laws of the United States so, you know, I think that the politics of this, to Paul's point, you know, are really great for Republicans, but I just think that speaks to the substance of the action that John Boehner is taking.
And that the House of Representatives will ultimately take. This is an important question, not about Republicans and Democrats in this Congress, but about future congresses and future presidents and the balance between those two.
BERMAN: No question there have been people who are men of the house, like Speaker John Boehner who care deeply about the institution, men and women of the House who care deeply about the institution and will fight for their rights.
Paul, I want to shift now to the issue of the border crisis and immigration. There's this 2008 law, which creates different rules for people coming over the border from non-contiguous nations. There does seem to be members of both parties now who say there could be agreement on altering that law.
Why doesn't the president get out in front on this? Why doesn't the White House get out and say OK, let's agree on this small change. I'm willing to be first to say this out loud and we'll get in the room and we'll talk.
BEGALA: Well, he has said that. He's inched in and backed out.
BERMAN: Why back out then, why not inch in and stay in?
BEGALA: Well, a couple of reasons. First, I'm not entirely sure people know exactly what needs to be changed, if anything. This is a really difficult delicate thing. The one law, one of the lessons here, by the way. If I could engrave anything over Congress, the one law we can't repeal is the law of unintended consequences.
The president has looked at it. There is though this problem that everything he touches the Republicans oppose, right? The immigration bill, they won't call up for a vote was originally conceived by George W. Bush, it was a Republican bill. So there may be a political reason for him to hang back and let the Congress just work this out themselves. He has offered very hesitant tentative support for a change.
BERMAN: Political reasons to hang back may not be a good reason not to fix something that's a crisis by many counts on the border. Anyway, we'll see what happens over the next several days if anyone shows a little bit of skin here to make a deal. Kevin Madden, great to have you with us. Paul Begala, have a terrific weekend. Read those law books.
PEREIRA: A little light reading for them.
Now we want take you to the Middle East, the situation there taking an ugly turn this morning. Israel coming under fire now from Lebanon. This is the first time in the conflict that Israel has seen incoming rockets from the north. Israeli military responded with an artillery strike.
Meantime, Israel and Hamas militants still trading fire along the Israel-Gaza border. Hamas rockets reaching further into Israel, and the casualties meanwhile mounting in Gaza. CNN's Diana Magnay is near the border and we understand President Obama spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said he's willing to help negotiate a ceasefire.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He did, and this is clearly to try to facilitate some kind of exit strategy for Benjamin Netanyahu before he decides, if he decides, to send in ground troops. We'll see whether that attempt to broker some kind of deal comes to anything. For now we've seen various rockets already this morning come from Gaza and go over our heads and being intercepted.
There have been various intercepts over Tel-Aviv already. The mayor of that area telling people to stay inside for 10 minutes because even if there is an intercept the shrapnel can call for another 10 minutes afterwards, but, of course, the comparative security provided to people here by this iron dome missile defense shield is a very different story to the reality playing out across the border in Gaza.
MAGNAY (voice-over): This morning in Southern Gaza, an Israeli air strike decimates this building. Bulldozers and emergency crews rushing in to help the victims at this latest attack on the fourth day of Israel's aerial bombardment of Gaza. The ongoing barrage killing more than 90 Palestinians in recent days. At least 22 children amongst them. Israel amassing more troops along the border with Gaza. Already the defense forces have called up 30,000 reservists.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "TH SITUATION ROOM": The 30,000 have actually left their jobs, left their families.
MAGNAY: The spokesman of the defense forces told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem, they are getting into position to move in if they have to.
PETER LERNER, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESMAN: If it's required, we'll be able to mobilize as soon as possible in a professional manner.
MAGNAY: In a new video released overnight, Hamas' military wing says they are prepared for a very long battle and have more surprise attacks in store. On Thursday, President Obama spoke over the phone with Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu aboard Air Force One. The U.S. offered to help broker a deal while admonishing Gaza's use of rockets against Israel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifteen seconds, that's how much time you have to run for your life.
MAGNAY: Israel's concerns brought to the attention of the Security Council by Israel's U.N. ambassador.
RON PROSOR, ISRAEL AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Imagine having only 15 seconds to find a bomb shelter.
MAGNAY: While the Palestinian representative accused Israel of terrorizing the Palestinian people, rejecting the claim that it is acting in self-defense. Israelis running at the sirens caught on amateur video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to go under cover.
MAGNAY: As rockets from Gaza shoot into the sky.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get under, get under, get under.
MAGNAY: The aftermath a smouldering vehicle, but still no casualties on the Israeli side. A very different story from the situation the other side at the Gaza-Israeli border.
MAGNAY: Israel's prime minister telling his people that this could be a tough complex and complicated campaign -- Michaela.
PEREIRA: A terrible reality for people living on either side of that. Diana Magnay, thank you so much for that.
It's 13 minutes past the hour. Christine Romans joining us on this Friday.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I was going to say good Friday morning to you. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Afghanistan meeting with candidates fighting to replace President Hamid Karzai. He's meeting with Abdullah Abdullah and Ghani who is claiming a lead, but Abdullah is claiming fraud. Final results are expected later this month.
Still no comment from the White House after Germany gives the boot to a top American intelligence official. The move comes after the emergence of two cases of Germans allegedly passing intelligence to U.S. contacts. The situation began to sour last year amid revelations the U.S. eaves dropped on Chancellor Angela Merkel. She says the U.S. has, quote, "very different approaches to the role of intelligence agencies."
Court papers reveal troubling new details about the Detroit boy who went missing before being found in his family's basement. The 12- year-old Charlie Butheil said he had to do several exercises and would have to start over if he stopped and he feared for being punished again for not completing the workout. More than 14,000 reminders went out to men in Pennsylvania, men born between 1893 and 1897 after a computer error of the selective service which meant to send the notices for men born between 1993 and 1997. Descendants started getting the notices and called the agency about the mistake. The service has since apologized. Y2k, I knew it would be a problem.
PEREIRA: It's a little more meticulous and slower, but deliberative.
ROMANS: And maybe forgetful.
PEREIRA: Slightly. We'll be that way ourselves, too, one day.
ROMANS: I already am.
BERMAN: Let's now get a check at the weather. Meteorologist Indra Petersons is keeping track of the truth for us about polar vortex.
PEREIRA: Break it down.
INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Everybody can tell how I feel about that. We know there is no polar vortex. Let's stop it right here.
But let's talk about why everyone is saying that. By the way, polar vortex, it is always there. Just means there's cool air once in a while like the wintertime did drop down and it's not even that this time.
What we are going to be seeing are some 40s, Marquette by about Tuesday will be starting off the morning with a little bit of a bite in the air. Let's talk about why it's going on. Going to bask Jet stream, nice and straight. That's when the weather is average, the way it should be. Once in a while you get a big storm out there so it kind of looks like a roller coaster.
Now, we did have a big storm last week. It's a world, right, not just the U.S. that we gave the typhoon took the jet stream like a ribbon which brought it down by the line. So, what we're going to be looking at by the start of next week with the jet stream dipping down into the upper Midwest and bringing colder air from Canada, not from the polar vortex, into the area, bringing temperatures a good 20 or 30 degrees.
I see you shaking your head, Michaela. It's your fault, not mine. That's what I'm going to do with this.
Highs, 20 degrees below normal, no one wants that in the summertime. We talk about highs in just the 50s.
BERMAN: No one wants it.
PETERSONS: But the farther south you are, of course, you won't be feeling the effects as much. Yes, Michaela, nobody wants that Canada air.
All right. Down in the Southeast, scattered showers from the next couple of days. High pressure building in and that cold front really doesn't make its way in through next week.
I like it. I like how you just want like you owned it. It is so not me. Right there, everybody.
BERMAN: No one wants it.
PEREIRA: Just all deflecting, somehow I'm responsible for the cold air. We do like our cold air in Canada.
ROMANS: We like your water also.
PEREIRA: Yes, you do. Lots of things you like about Canada.
ROMANS: You have to choose the resources.
PEREIRA: Choose well, my dear, choose well.
All right. We're going to take a short break. Thanks for that, Indra.
Next up on NEW DAY, more disturbing online behavior by his father has been uncovered by the father whose toddler died in a hot car. We'll tell you now what prosecutors have found.
BERMAN: Plus, the looming question. Could LeBron James be returning to Cleveland? The NBA's -- sports biggest free agent close to making his decision. Where will he end up? We'll tell you, maybe.
BERMAN: We got a really fascinating glimpse of Justin Ross Harris' online behavior at a dramatic court hearing last week. Now, he's officially lost his job as more Internet posts are exposed from the Georgia man whose son died in a hot car. Comments about abortion, searches about surviving prison, how to handle police talks by police. It's coming into view of investigators and could come back to haunt him in court.
Victor Blackwell reports from Atlanta.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What are believed to be the words of Justin Ross Harris written one year ago online are now taking on new relevance as Harris is charged with killing his son, killing a person in the sense of abortion is selfish and malicious with the intent of only satisfying your own personal agenda. They're on the social media site, Reddit, where Cobb County detectives say Harris read suspicious topic pages also known as subreddits.
DET. PHIL STODDARD, COBB COUNTY POLICE: He visited several sites, and the sub Reddits, went to one called child-free. He also did a search how to survive prison.
BLACKWELL: Hundreds of comments spanning three years under the screen name Roscoe UA, the most recent posted hours before Harris' arrest. Roscoe Ua offered a Reddit user advice on how to avoid arrest in the context of DUI. The postmarked three months ago reads, "Refuse to answer any questions and ask if you're being detained. If not, leave."
He goes on, "Everything a police officer does during a possible DUI traffic stop means he's trying to build evidence against you. You should do everything in your power to prevent this."
There are posts are gratitude. One year ago, about a new life in Georgia. "I am now in my dream job, have a beautiful 6-month-old son and love going to work every day. I couldn't be happier."
Also, posts about difficulties, like the surprising challenge suggested during Harris' probable cause hearing and defense attorney Maddox Kilgore will certainly reveal it during any trial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you know that Ross is completely deaf in his right ear? Did you know that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not know that.
BLACKWELL: Roscoe Ua said, "I had a bottle rocket explode in my ear that was shot by a friend. It caused me to have vertigo, terrible balance and facial paralysis for a long type. Thankfully after two surgeries I have no outward issues. I'm just deaf in my right ear." Potential evidence that investigators are scouring to better understand this father charged with killing his only child.
Victor Blackwell, CNN, Atlanta.
PEREIRA: Our thanks to Victor for that report.
For more on the new details, I want to bring in Danny Cevallos, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney.
Good morning. Good to see you on this Friday.
I want to talk about some of these Internet postings that have just been made public to us. Could the comments that he made in these online posts, it would appear to be Harris -- could they help his defense in any way? What's standing out to you in all that's being made of this?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. First of all, as long as they are authenticated they can come in potentially as evidence, and there is evidence here that is not only bad for Harris but also good for Harris. You hear some positive things, and you better believe the prosecution will likely move to keep out the positive character-type evidence. But we have to ask ourselves what is the total picture that's emerging? We're entering into a new phase of high-profile cases where not only do we have Internet searches which seem to reveal everything about our meandering curiosity, but in high-profile cases increasingly, the norm is introduced evidence of the defendant, a male defendant's propensity to I guess have a wandering eye or be a philanderer or a cad. The prosecution will say that's evidence and state of mind that he wanted to be free of a wife and free of a child.
PEREIRA: But it doesn't prove a motive, right?
CEVALLOS: It -- well, the prosecution will argue it does, and at the preliminary hearing that was the grounds for bringing in that evidence. It was about -- he was sexting the day his child died in the car. The prosecution's argument was that goes to his state of mind on the day of.
However, the defense argued, and I think compellingly, that as you get anywhere more than a few days or a few weeks beyond what the date of the sexting was, that doesn't really go to state of mind. Rather, it's improper character evidence, evidence that may be interesting to a jury, but because it's just so prejudicial it really should not be admitted.
PEREIRA: I want to talk to you also about his wife. We know that she has been to visit her husband, Leanna Harris has been to visit him at the courthouse. We know also now that she has retained legal counsel.
Do you expect she will be charged with something? And if so, what kind of charges could she be facing?
CEVALLOS: Well, we go back to the preliminary hearing. You'll recall, it's a bit unusual. You had a defendant who's charged with a negligence crime being hit with all this intentional malice-type evidence and you saw that the wife sitting in the stands was hit with a lot of that shrapnel. So, at the time it appeared that the investigation was focusing on her.
However, in the time since, since they have been able to search computer files, there really hasn't been more other than wife's statements to her husband at the police station, did you tell them too much, her admittedly odd Internet searches and her exclamation at work that, oh, Justin must have left him in the car.
So beyond that, unless they are uncovering more, I think they may have trouble coming up with a malice murder charge. However, if they are gathering more evidence and, remember, computer forensics take time, if Justin Ross Harris is as proficient as he's supposed to be, he may have hidden files in unallocated space.
PEREIRA: Good point.
CEVALLOS: In slack space. That may be taking time a little longer for police to search or perform their forensics. Or, on the other hand, it just may be taking a long time because there's a lot to sift through. But so far, the shrapnel that the wife has been hit with doesn't seem
to rise to the level of malice murder. Nonetheless, probably the safe move, hiring a criminal defense attorney.
PEREIRA: Final thought here quickly, we know she's been to the prison. Obviously, they communicated there. Those communications would be recorded. If you're her attorney, what do you tell her about that? And also, could she be forced to testify against her husband in Georgia?
CEVALLOS: Well, first, any time you go to a prison, all your conversations are recorded and I happen it know district attorneys who mine these conversations and often get really, really good evidence. But when it goes to the spousal privilege in Georgia, a spouse cannot exercise that privilege when the issue is the death of a child.
So, there is some spousal privilege. Georgia just changed its law at beginning of the year, and it's -- the bottom line, the bottom takeaway is that the spouse does not have that privilege against self incrimination -- or against testifying against her husband when it's the case that a child has been -- has been killed.
PEREIRA: Danny Cevallos, appreciate your insight on this Friday. Thanks for joining us so early in the morning -- John.
BERMAN: Thanks, Michaela.
Next up for us on NEW DAY, it's decision 2.0. Fans anxiously awaiting where LeBron James could play next season. Could it be Cleveland?
Plus, surprising testimony from Shelly Sterling. She says her husband approve of the Clippers sale before decided to fight for the team. Now, the $2 billion offer is set to expire. Is the whole thing in jeopardy?