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Waiting on LeBron James Decision; Sterling Court on Hold Until July 21; Barbara Walters Will Not Interview Donald Sterling; Bowe Bergdahl Nearly Finished with His Reintegration

Aired July 11, 2014 - 6:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Christine Romans joins us now with some of the day's top stories.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: It's Friday morning. No math allowed.

New this morning folks with your headlines: House Speaker John Boehner gearing up to sue the president over his signature health care law. He claims the president abused his authority by changing the employer mandate, allegedly violating the Constitution. Boehner also said the president should take responsibility for the border crisis, cast down on the funding that the president wants.

Breaking overnight: Israel now taking fire from the north. A rocket was fired from Lebanon. Israel responded with an artillery strike. Israel and Hamas militants are still exchanging fire over the Gaza Strip this morning. Palestinian death toll is now almost 100 people as militant rockets reach further into Israel.

President Obama told Israel's prime minister the U.S. is willing to negotiate a cease-fire and condemned the rocket fire from terrorists in Gaza.

Back to the drawing board for two of Florida's congressional districts. A state court ruled new lines have to be redrawn after they were revised to benefit Republicans. A judge says GOP political consultants manipulated the process. No changes are expected before November's mid-term. Florida legislators who won the redistricting effort are reviewing the decision.

Terrifying video has emerged of a mudslide in Japan. Look at this. You can see the onslaught of trees, mud and debris crashing down. A 12-year-old boy killed in that mud slide which also destroyed homes and businesses was triggered by heavy rains from the tropical storm which eventually strengthened to this week's powerful typhoon.

Steven Spielberg coming under fire for this fake photo on the Internet.


ROMANS: From the set of "Jurassic Park." It was posted on Facebook as a parody of hunters who pose with their kills, but some commentors didn't realize the dire saw is a prop and they are unloading their wrath at Spielberg.

I'm not kidding. Seriously, one swears she will never watch another one of his movies, how dare he kill that extinct dinosaur. If you need proof that Spielberg didn't kill the animal, this is the best we could do. Here's the scene from "Jurassic Park" showing said dinosaur. Also, dinosaurs have been extinct I think for about 125 years.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So the extinct dinosaur was dead already. So, Steven Spielberg didn't kill the already extinct dead dinosaur.

ROMANS: He did not --

PEREIRA: You are kidding me?

BERMAN: You run out of things to be mad at so you get mad at Steven Spielberg for killing a dinosaur.

PEREIRA: Look, I think there's a certain amount of rage saved for a certain situation going on in the NBA right now.

BERMAN: Yes. LeBron James --

PEREIRA: How about that?

BERMAN: -- never killed a dinosaur. LeBron-a-thon still going on. Where will he sign? Will he stay in Miami or go back to Ohio?


BERMAN: There is one man who I believe has all the answers and can tell us when it will all end.


BERMAN: That's Andy Scholes.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Oh, I wish I had the answers and want this to end, guys. I mean, we've never seen anything like this. All I do is spend all day on Twitter just refreshing every 90 seconds hoping I'll eventually see a LeBron decision but, of course, we still have none.

Now, LeBron's camp in Las Vegas wrapped up yesterday and afterwards he and Dwyane Wade flew back together to mime. Reportedly that was always the plan so we really shouldn't read much into it.

Meanwhile, at LeBron's house in Akron, Ohio, fans started gathering in mass numbers due to rumors that LeBron was about to make his announcement. It, of course, never came, but that did prompt LeBron's front lawn to get on Twitter and ask people to leave. @lebronslawn tweeted, "you all need to get off me". It's funny. Later, other tweets, "I have sprinklers for a reason so get off. #getoff."

Other parody accounts popped up yesterday as well. @lebronscar, @neighborsmaid, @lebronscat, @lebronsbike, and @lebronsneighbor. Guys, this is just getting ridiculous.

LeBron's scheduled to fly to Brazil to watch the World Cup final. At some point, he's expected to make the announcement before he leaves for that trip. We hope that happened. You know, I said yesterday I thought he was going to Cleveland. But, guys, I just don't know anymore.

BERMAN: Yes, I think the conventional wisdom now seems to be people are backing off that notion at least a little bit. We're not totally sure he's going to Cleveland, just mostly sure.

SCHOLES: Yes. Some people think Dwyane Wade being with him so long maybe convincing him to go back to South Beach.

PEREIRA: Well, no matter what, you're going to be staring at that little screen for a little while.

SCHOLES: Going back to my Twitter right now.

BERMAN: Let us know if something pops up, Andy. Appreciate it.

SCHOLES: All right.

PEREIRA: Next up on NEW DAY, the latest, speaking of sports, in the Donald Sterling saga. His wife fires back on the stand defending her negotiations to sell the team. We're going to take you inside that contentious court battle.

BERMAN: Plus, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl nearly done with his reintegration process. So what is the next step? We're going to get perspective from someone who survived years in captivity.


BERMAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody.

The Donald Sterling saga is being put on hold for a week. Court will resume on July 21st to decide whether his estranged wife Shelly has the authority -- had the authority to sell the Clippers. Shelly Sterling took the stand again Thursday to defend the negotiations, this as the clock ticks on former Microsoft CEO's Steve Ballmer's $2 billion offer.

Let's talk about this trial.

Joey Jackson joins us from the CNN Center in Atlanta this morning. Joey is an HLN analyst, also a fine, fine man, and well-dressed.

Joey, this is --

JOEY JACKSON, HLN ANALYST: Not as fine a man as you, John. How are you doing?

BERMAN: You already speak the truth this morning.

This is a weird trial, very strange to me on many, many levels, and let me just ask you a few questions about what I have found very odd about this. First of all, Shelly Sterling was on the stand yesterday. At issue were these medical examinations that she had ordered up for Donald Sterling to determine his mental competency.

Well, now she says that she did this not for the purposes of having him removed from the trust. Does that seem likely to you?

JACKSON: It's interesting because the manner in which you ask the question, John, seems somewhat skeptical. So, it's always a question of credibility and it depends on what side you line up.

Now, remember, in the event you're Shelly's attorneys you're going to say that that's exactly the case. Look, I'm concerned about my husband. I'm concerned about his well-being. He was on board all long for this sale.

In fact, he helped and participated in that process. I told him who the bidders were. When I finally got a bid for $1.9 billion we got it to $2 billion and guess what, he was happy and ecstatic and loved it. And then, all of a sudden the next day, he flipped a script and this is part of the way he's been behaving-for-years so I was so concerned about his well-being and I had to get him evaluated and, aha, he has a form of dementia or Alzheimer's, what can we do? I had no choice but to revoke him from the family trust.

That's their argument, John.

BERMAN: But that alleged concern is also strange, Joey, because we keep using the word estranged. They are estranged, we think. Nevertheless, Donald Sterling calls his wife "pig" in a public courtroom yesterday. That's a little bit strange.

Shelly Sterling though hugs Donald Sterling's lawyer yesterday. That's a little bit strange, despite the fact he was putting her under tough questioning.

How does this all play in front of a judge? What's a guy to think about this?

JACKSON: Listen, you know what, John, there's a lot of money at stake, and beyond that, there are reputations at stake. I mean, it's just -- you know, the sponsorships, these NBA players. This is a huge deal.

But at the end of the day, of course, we have a judge, and a judge is seasoned at these matters. A judge, I think, will make a determination, John, on the merits of the case.

Did she act, Shelly Sterling, properly in moving forward to remove him from the family trust? Is it something that she had to take owing to his mental condition, or was this, as, of course, Donald Sterling's lawyers allege, was it fraud? It was misrepresentation. It was all a ruse to get me out of here. She had no authority to do this, and I want it redone so that can, Donald Sterling, I take control and sell the team myself. So, it all depends how you line up. But I believe that a judge can

make a determination on the facts and the merits, and the sideshow. It's interesting for us to talk about, but I think to a judge, it's just, John, a sideshow.

BERMAN: You talk about the sideshow and the circus here. The only thick that can make it more so maybe is Barbara Walters. She has become an issue now in this case because Shelly Sterling testified yesterday that Barbara Walters, who was going to interview Donald Sterling, decided not to because Barbara Walters doubted his mental competency, thought he was in the early stages of dementia.

Does this mean that Barbara Walters could be subpoenaed now?

JACKSON: Well, for all intents and purposes, I think the hearing is closed. They are going to closing arguments, and believe it or not, it will come to a conclusion. I know it's been adjourned by virtue of the attorneys having vacation schedules and other plans, but I think the hearing is closed. But I think though, John, it raises the element of hey, look, credibility. If Barbara Walters certainly believed that there was something amiss, something wrong with the mental capacity of Donald Sterling, certainly that adds value to Shelly Sterling having acted properly, and in accordance with all the protocols for the family trust. I'm a wife. I had nothing, you know, but love for my husband, but I had to take this action, because you know what? Mentally he appeared to me to be amiss. I got him examined. The doctors did the best they can. This is what they concluded. What am I to do? I went ahead with the sale as were, by the way, his wishes, your honor.

BERMAN: And at the end of this, Joey, rich people are going to get richer.

JACKSON: Richer!

BERMAN: Great to have you with us. Really appreciate it.

JACKSON: Thanks John, have a great day.

BERMAN: Michaela?

PEREIRA: Alright, John. Thank you so much. Next up NEW DAY, what is next for Bowe Bergdahl? Will he serve with the Army again? We're going to speak with a friend of the Bergdahl family and a former hostage who can certainly relate to what this soldier is going through.


PEREIRA: Good to have you back with us here on NEW DAY.


PEREIRA (voice-over):Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is nearly finished with his reintegration process after being held for five years by the Taliban. In the mean time, reaction is mixed over this photo. Its a photo of Bergdahl with a member of the Haqqani network. Is there anything that we can learn from this image? We're joined now by Matthew Ho (ph), he's a friend of Bergdahl's family and a former Marine Corps captain.


PEREIRA: Also, Keith Stansell joins us, he himself was held by a Columbian militant group for five years. The pair of you are great to have with us on this discussion. Matthew, I actually want to start with something that is new to us today. "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that top U.S. military leaders, we're talking the joint chiefs of staff and its chairman, unanimously supported the decision to free Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for these detainees, going on to say in this "Wall Street Journal" that they didn't consider these five game-changers. You think this is going to quiet the critics out there at all that are calling him a traitor?

MATTHEW HO, FRIEND OF BERGDAHL FAMILY: Well, good morning, Michaela, thank you for having me on this morning. I think it's another piece to this that will continue to cause people to say, hey, let's take a moment here and let's think about when happened. Let's look at the evidence. Certainly that's what a lot of us have been saying for this last month, month and a half since Sergeant Bergdahl has been released. There is no evidence that he deserted. The Army conducted an investigation in 2009 that found that he did not desert. He left his post, but we're unsure why. There's evidence he had left the post before, so I think what we're seeing here is as more information comes out, as people become aware of the circumstances, they are leaving behind that initial rush to judgment. I think also, too, a lot of times in these situations most of these attacks on Sergeant Bergdahl and on his family were politically motivated, and this -- this quote, unquote scandal is now old and the people who launched these partisan attacks have now moved on to something else which I'm very grateful for being a friend of the family and everything.

PEREIRA: Yes, being a friend of the family. You have some perspective. I want to get to you about the family in a moment, but I want to show this photo again. Keith, I think that you probably view it a little differently than most having been held in captivity for five years. When you see this photo, what is it that you see as a former captive?

KEITH STANSELL, FORMER CAPTIVE: First off, Michaela, good morning. As a former captive I would say this. I was five and a half years in the jungle with the FARC. Do you think you can sit, chained to a tree, looking at a guard for two or three years you're never going to smile or laugh? Is that realistic? Because he's standing there with a grin on his face does that make him a traitor? People jump on this thing and get lost in the minutia. I look at a young sergeant here that was held for five years. Are you asking him to never smile? You know, you can read a lot into anything depending upon which viewpoint you come from, but I think just like Matthew said earlier people love to take turns throwing rocks with a lot of conjecture with little fact. It really does nothing to me. I think there's many times that you could have seen me with the FARC, maybe I had a smile on my face. I didn't die in the jungle. It was a tragedy. But no, I read nothing into that. PEREIRA: And also, Keith, to be fair, we don't know what was going on.

If you zoomed out of the photo, what was happening behind him, in front of him, outside the view of the camera.

STANSELL: Oh, absolutely not. One of our proofs of life that we did in the jungle, I looked fairly healthy with my arms crossed and it looked like I was in a serene place, but just outside of the photo were three guys with AK-47s and one of them just hanging with five meters of chain to put it around my neck when it was done. When you unchained me you might have caught me smiling for a couple of minutes, excuse me. It's sad what people are jumping on now.

PEREIRA: Matthew, I'm curious if there have been concerns from part of the friends and family that there would be more criticism launched at him because of this photo.

HO: No. I think they -- they feel that most people who are logical and reasonable will understand it just as Keith explained, that this is nothing more than a propaganda photo. It may have been made under duress. Keith pointed out he was held prisoner for five years. There are going to be moments when the only person you have to depend upon are your captors, that you're going to smile, that you're going to laugh. I mean, that's just the way life works, so I -- I don't think those of us who are friends of the family or those of us who are compassionate towards the family are very concerned by this photo at all.

PEREIRA : Keith, let's talk about this reintegration process. We understand that it's moving along fairly rapidly. We also know that he's starting to make trips back out into society, into the world, all of this standing to your experience? Does it speak to how the process works? Do you think its working well from what you've heard?

STANSELL: This time line seems to be pretty good. It seems like it's working very well. You know, there are baby steps. One time on a Sunday afternoon we were kind of snuck out of Army South and taken to a restaurant that was closed just to get us out in public. I liken it to teaching, you know, a baby starts to crawl and then they walk and then they run. The reintegration it's that same format, and really when he's finished and he's out he's just walking, he's not running. He has a lot ahead of him

PEREIRA: Let me ask you. You make a very good point about that walking and then running, and then he's going to come back out into this world where there could be remnants of this criticism that we've been talking to Matthew about. How do you prepare somebody for that, and do you think he's getting prepared for that inside the reintegration process?

STANSELL: You know, I would imagine that he's getting prepared for it. You know, for us, the first night back, the three of us were together in a hospital room and there was a television set was on but the volume wasn't up. That was just for us to be introduced back to that a little bit, but not to hear what was going on. Everything is done in a very controlled manner. I'm sure that he knows about the positives and the negatives and that criticism and that's something he's going to have to face when he gets out. But, that's all part of the process, and from what I know he's doing very well.

PEREIRA: Yes, you want to control that sensory overload. It can happen to me even if I go to Vegas, I can't imagine what a man that's gone through what he's gone through is having to face. So to that point, Matthew, how is the family holding up? Have you had a chance to talk to them? Have you heard if they have spoken with their son?

HO: They are doing well. You know, as I was saying earlier, Michaela, a lot of the negativity has come back a bit. And they have had more expressions of compassion and more expression of support from strangers, from members of the public, from military officers, both current and retired. I think a lot of this has been since the Pentagon released the Army investigation that was done in 2009 to Congress, I've noticed a lot of the attacks that are political coming from Washington, D.C. have receded. So I think, again, as people start to learn the stories, people realize that this is much more complicated than they may have first led to be believed, they are becoming more compassionate and more understanding to their family. But they are doing well, doing as well as you could expect. They are very hopeful to be reunited with Bowe again, but they are devoted to their son just as any mother and father would be.

PEREIRA: As they should.

HO: They are happy to be patient and to take their time because, as Keith was explaining, this is a very complicated and extraordinary process that Bowe is going through right now, and so they want him to come through it in the best manner possible.

PEREIRA: Absolutely. Matthew Ho and Keith Stansell, really a delight to have you. Complex situation requires a whole lot of patience and understanding. Appreciate you joining us this morning. Certainly a lot of news that we are following this morning. Let's get to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Further from the border, he's closer to the heart of the political firestorm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been president for five and a half years. When is he going to take responsibility for something?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If you're mad at me for helping people on my own, let's team up.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: 15 seconds. That's how much time you have to run for your life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly the peace process has been a failure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Allegations of abuse suffered by 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they saying that Charlie is lying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allegations and petition (ph) are not true . UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You never hurt Charlie?



PEREIRA: Good morning. Welcome to Friday, welcome to NEW DAY. Welcome to John Berman is here, also Christine Romans here handling our headlines this morning. Good to have the team with me this morning. New this morning, House Speaker John Boehner ready to battle it out with the president. He's gearing up to hit the commander in chief with a lawsuit, saying that President Obama violated the law when he made changes to his health care law. On top of that, Boehner is blaming the president for the border crisis. President Obama, though, not taking it sitting down. He is snapping back, claiming Republican leaders need to step up with solutions, not complaints. Jim Acosta has more from the White House. Kind of ramping up into a whole new level of back and forth, isn't, it Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Just when you thought you've seen everything here in Washington, Michaela, that's right. The White House reaction to House Speaker John Boehner's lawsuit was swift and harsh with Press Secretary Josh Earnest calling it a political stunt. A new day in Washington when dysfunction here is headed to the courthouse.


ACOSTA (voice-over): It's a constitutional collision between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE SPEAKER: This isn't about me suing the president. What we're talking about here are places where the president is basically rewriting law to make it fit his own needs.

ACOSTA (voice-over): 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.

OBAMA: Really? Really? For what? You're going to sue me -- for doing my job?

ACOSTA (voice-over): Just hours before House Republicans revealed their lawsuit bill, the president was sharpening up his defense in Texas.

OBAMA: I've got a better idea. Do something.