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Israel Accepts, Hamas Rejects Ceasefire; Nearly 200 Killed, 1,400 Injured In Gaza; Ten Killed In Moscow Train Derailment ;Interview with Congressman Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma

Aired July 15, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, welcome to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, July 15th, 6:00 in the east. And we do begin with breaking news because overnight, Israel says it has ended air strikes in Gaza in response to Egypt entering a situation with terms for a ceasefire. The big problem, Hamas militants have not signed on. They rejected their proposal calling it, quote, "Not worth the ink it was written with."

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Militants are still firing rockets on Israel and vowing to increase intensity of their campaign despite a death toll that now exceeds the 2012 conflict. Now, despite the rejection by Hamas, Secretary of State John Kerry is urging all parties, especially Hamas, to accept it. He's going to speak shortly, and we are going to wait for more reaction to the developments overnight.

Let's get the very latest now from Karl Penhaul in Gaza City -- Karl.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Actions are speaking far louder than words right now, Kate, and the rockets are flying. In the three hours, four hours in fact since that truce was supposed to kick in. Hamas and its allies, Islamic Jihad, have fired in excess of 20 rockets skywards towards Israel and that being confirmed by the Israeli military.

In fact, just moments before we were to come to where, I guess with two miles down that direction, we saw a single rocket arcing its way towards Israel. Now, Israel, yes, initially did accept this Egyptian proposal and said it was prepared to call a truce in its nine-day offensive on the Gaza strip, but also in the last hour or so across that way towards northern Gaza we've seen two plumes of smoke rising up in the air there.

That is an indication to me that Israel has retaliated with a couple of air strikes there. The Israeli military so far though, not confirming that they have attacked new targets once again in the north of the strip here. Also in the last few moments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that if Hamas rejects this offer of a truce.

Then that gives him international authority to come in here and take measures, all the means he sees fit to try and degrade Hamas' capabilities to try to stop them firing any more rockets into Israel. Back to you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Karl so Netanyahu is saying more than that that could threaten the situation. So if peace is the aspiration, the ceasefire is the obvious immediate goal. So Egypt was the best hope. So now what?

Let's bring in political commentator, Peter Beinart, joining us. He is a contributing editor for "Atlantic Media" and a senior fellow for the New America Foundation. Peter, let's set this stage here. Proportionality is a big of the story always when there's conflict. Israel obviously has the advantage militarily. Yesterday actually mistakenly reported that there had been deaths in Israel. None so far. Some reports of light casualties, accurate?


CUOMO: Now, on the other side from the Ministry of Health there, close to 200 deaths, 1,400 injured, many women, children, civilians, schools supposedly damaged. It takes us to the issue of proportionality. How does that play here?

BEINART: Right, this is always the problem for Israel. Israel does send leaflets and phone people in order to get them to leave their building so as to order to try not to kill innocent civilians, but Gaza is a very heavily crowded place and when you launch all of these missiles, a very intense barrage by Israel, more intense than in previous conflicts, you'll kill a lot of innocent people.

And that undermines Israel's image on the world. On the other hand, Israel has this very effective iron dome program and the Hamas rockets are very inaccurate and primitive so every conflict like this, we've seen a huge disparity in death toll.

CUOMO: And reading a lot of the Israeli commentary on this. The question of don't forget who started this comes back. Is that a legitimate question to ask, and is the answer that Gaza started this, that Hamas started this?

BEINART: It's always complicated. What happened, remember, go back to the kidnapping of these three Israeli teenagers. Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas and then launched a major operation against Hamas, including re-arresting prisoners who Israel had released. Hamas saw that as an unfair attack upon them because they claimed they weren't behind the kidnapping, at least not Hamas' central leadership. Israel had said they, and that was the context that led to us this rocket fire so it's often hard to decide where to really begin.

CUOMO: But it's important because for a lot of our audience they are coming to this fresh.


CUOMO: Exactly why is this happening. By taking that one step back we now can get to where we are right now, ceasefire. We thought Egypt was the right broker. Certainly it worked under Morsi. We are waiting to see what happened with El-Sisi. But there is a complicating factor this time with Egypt that wasn't in place the last time in terms of their relationship with Hamas. Tell us about that.

BEINART: Right. You now have an Egyptian government with a much more hostile relationship. Remember, Mohamed Morsi was from the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the same movement essentially that Hamas is from.

CUOMO: Why are they seen as best hope?

BEINART: Because they have the capacity to enforce the checkpoint in Rafa that connects the Gaza Strip to Egypt, that's very important to both Hamas and Israel. Hamas desperately wants that open. It's their lifeline to the world, but Israel sees Egypt as having the ability to stop rockets from coming through that checkpoint. That's what gives Egypt the unique leverage over both sides.

CUOMO: And on the other side it was Hamas to look to the U.S. to having unusual leverage with Israel, but now we have on both sides trouble. Netanyahu says I don't think -- in effect, I don't think a two-state solution is going to work. We'll hold on to the west bank, and Secretary Kerry is saying I'm not going over there yet. What does this mean?

BEINART: In an era in which the United States has diminished leverage in the Middle East.

CUOMO: Because?

BEINART: Because of the Iraq war, which weakened us, because we were not able to succeed in the peace process and also because were now trying to deal with all of these crises, look at John Kerry's travel schedule, Afghanistan almost falling apart, Iran falling apart, Syria still totally out of control and so America's bandwidth is not that great and that's what you're seeing here as well.

CUOMO: So the idea that a two-state solution is off the table, do you buy that?

BEINART: This I think is a very important and underreported development. Benjamin Netanyahu's comments here saying on Friday that because of this Israel can never give back security control over the west bank. I understand his concern, security concerns. There is a very frightening kind of regional implication right now, but if Israel is going to permanently control the west bank.

Then you're going to have a one-state solution that as John Kerry and Barack Obama have repeatedly said will lead to Israel having control over millions of people who lack citizenship or right to vote or it's the end of a Jewish state and that's a very grim scenario I think.

CUOMO: It does not sound like a peaceful one.

BEINART: And I think it will be a recipe sadly for future war.

CUOMO: And to just review what's is most recently reported, Gaza still firing rockets and now reports from Ken Penhaul, that they have now offered a cease-fire. Peter Beinart, thank you very much. BEINART: My pleasure.

CUOMO: Appreciate it. Please stay with us on this. All right -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris. We are also following more breaking news at this hour out of Russia. At last ten people are dead after a Moscow subway train derailed in the middle of rush hour. Emergency officials say 120 more have been injured, some 50 of them critically. Phil Black is live on the scene with more in Moscow. Phil, what are you learning? I know a lot of it is developing as we speak.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Subway accidents in this city are almost ominous news because usually in recent history there have been triggered by terror attacks. Not so this time, according to Russian officials. They are saying it was just a derailment, but they are not saying what the cause was exactly. The human cost, at least ten dead.

Officials expect that to rise, 120 injured, most in hospital and 50 really fighting for their lives right now, and the rescue operation is still going on underground behind me where emergency workers here have told us there is at least one person still trapped that they are trying to get to. They think there could be more there as well.

So a significant accident striking here. Not a terror attack, which is good news, but any sort of disruption to the Moscow metro system is significant. It's incredibly busy. It carries as many as 10 million passengers a day -- Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: Amazing, when you see pictures coming out of there, it almost looks like the trains are piled up on top of each other in the tunnel. Phil, we'll get back to you. Phil Black on the scene in Moscow. Thank you very much.

Let's turn now to the NFL, which is dealing with a federal drug probe this morning. The DEA launching an investigation into the alleged abuse of prescription medications. It follows a class action suit by former NFL players claiming the league failed to warn them about possible long-term effects from painkillers and other powerful drugs that they were given so that they could stay in the game. Susan Candiotti is following the developments for us -- Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. First the concussion lawsuit settlement and now this. The DEA is starting to take a hard look at which drugs and how many that are being doled out to NFL players by doctors and trainers asking can it be justified tackling what players claim is a huge problem that's taking its toll on them.


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Pain is part of the game, and so are drugs to make that pain hurt less. Hydrocodone, Valium, Percodone and now federal drug agents want to know are NFL players getting illegal painkillers and other powerful drugs to keep them on the field and in the game? JEREMY NEWBERRY, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Here's anti-inflammatories, you need some help sleeping, here's sleeping pills.

CANDIOTTI: CNN has learned the Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating whether team doctors and trainers can document pills they are prescribing, looking for records of physical exams and authorized prescriptions of all those powerful drugs. Jeremy Newberry played for the 49ers, Raiders and Chargers.

NEWBERRY: They are handing out this stuff all together and then, you know, a lot of times you're on a team plane and washing it down with beer.

CANDIOTTI: Newberry is one of the named plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed in May. The suit says he suffers from kidney failure, high blood pressure and violent headaches as a result of drugs he took while in the NFL. The suit accuses the league of handing out pills without prescriptions and no warnings about risk of addiction or drug interactions.

To quote, "Keep the NFL's flood of dollars flowing." In part the DEA's investigation stems from that lawsuit, which also claims former Chicago Bears quarterback, Jim McMahon was put on a cocktail of drugs, taking up to 100 Percocets per month.

LZ GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: In the NFL, there is this need to get men back on field as quickly as possible, and any physician that isn't able to do that for team that they are employed by could be replaced.

CANDIOTTI: Former NFL running back, Jamaal Anderson, told CNN in May it's tough for players to just say no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't make the club in the tub. You don't want to necessarily be known as a guy that will be hurt.


CANDIOTTI (on-camera): When the suit was first filed, the NFL does not respond to CNN's request for comment. We asked them to tell us what they wanted to about the DEA investigation, and their senior VP of communications told me we're unaware of any such investigation -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Curious reaction. Susan, thanks so much for that report. We appreciate it. It's 12 minutes past the hour. Give you a look at more your headlines.

The United Nations has pulled its staff out of Libya as violence there intensifies. A militia shelled Tripoli airport destroying 90 percent of the planes parked there and damage the control tower with several rockets. More than a dozen people have been killed in fighting in Benghazi and Tripoli since Sunday.

In the meantime, a suspect in the 2012 terror attack has been found dead. They say his body was found in an Eastern Libyan city. More stunning allegations against the VA, a Veterans Affairs

whistleblower says workers in Philadelphia altered dates on disability claims. Kristin Rule told the House Veterans Committee they were changed by years in some cases to make it appear they were being processed faster. The agency inspector general testified nearly $400 million in improper payments could be sent out because the rush to satisfy claims is happening without verifying medical records.

Prosecutors are wrapping their obstruction case against a college friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and releasing a new video of the accused Boston marathon bombing, seen him walking into a gym with a man currently on trial. He's accused of taking evidence from Tsarnaev's dorm room and throwing it away. Tsarnaev is awaiting charges on terrorism charges.

And a survivor has announced the birth of their daughter. A message posted on his Facebook page says that the baby's name is Nora. Everyone is happy and healthy. You'll recall he was the young man at the finish line when the bombs went off. He very well became a symbol of inspiration after that tragedy and proof that life goes on, and the birth they now have to celebrate the birth of Baby Nora.

CUOMO: Always beautiful to have a baby come into your life. I remember after 9/11, very different situation obviously, but babies that were born during 9/11, Diane Sawyer, I was at ABC News at that time obviously, they followed those kids for years and years to show how they would grow through that experience and be different.

And, you know, I got married two months after 9/11 and that was part of it too. There were such a desperation to have something good happen after something bad. Great for that family. That baby will mean a lot more to much more than even you.

PEREIRA: Welcome Nora.

CUOMO: All right, let's take a little turn here to the weather and it isn't a happy one. Look at the map. It should be filled with little yellow circles called the sun. However, instead, you're seeing it for yourself, cold, that "l," means low pressure, rain, violent wind, downpours, damaging, all threatening millions across the country, and just as this unusual blast of blue you see there is moving in.

Last night, heavy rain washed out parts of the countries from the Rockies to the Northeast. So, let's get to meteorologist Jennifer Gray, in for Indra Petersons.

Hey, Jennifer, do me a favor. Tell us why this is happening and then what's going to happen.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, we have a cold front, and that's what's basically calling that cooler air to filter in. It's caused a lot of these storms, and a large portion of the country is dealing with this. It's having an impact because of this front.

Today, the focus is going to be in the Northeast, D.C., New York, Philly, all the way up into the Northeast, large hail, damaging winds. A slight chance of a few isolated tornadoes, but the main threat today will be the large hail and the damaging winds. I know you are sick and tired of the rain but guess what, it is still going to impact you. We do have flood watches in effect, all the way through today. We have possibility of two to four inches possible through Thursday, and this is for Boston all the way down through New York, a possible two to three inches as you head down to D.C.

So, this is through the next couple of days. But behind that front, that cooler air filtering in, we have temperatures on the chilly side this morning, believe it or not. Middle of July, Chicago waking up at 56, in the 40s in Bismarck and Rapid City. Of course, low temperatures his morning, Marquette, 45, today and 43 tomorrow. And then starting to warm up a little bit.

Guess what, Chris and Kate? Chicago, today, you'll only get up to around 70 degrees.

BOLDUAN: My goodness. And as George Howell pointed out, Chicago, they have a pretty short summer, they have a pretty limited number of days. And they get to all of this, so he was hoping that it turns around quickly.

Thanks, Jennifer.

CUOMO: When 70 is the downside, though, you're in pretty good shape.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And still, right on Lake Shore Drive, kind of perfect.

CUOMO: Take 70 all day.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, the border crisis. More and more children being held in processing centers along the border and really in various places in the country. Their futures uncertain. We're going to talk to a Republican congressman who got an inside look at one of these detention centers -- a look that not many people have been able to get.

CUOMO: And a star-studded new ad honoring Derek Jeter, aka "The Captain". It's making the rounds. We're going to show you the clip that has everyone talking, even Sox fans. That's "The Bleacher Report."

The Sox. Tip that cap.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

The first group of undocumented women and children from the recent surge have been deported back to Honduras. Officials say this was just the beginning of more deportations to come as the U.S. tries to stem the flood of migrants coming from Central America.

Still, the future of tens of thousands of children being held in processing centers remains uncertain.

Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, he's joining us.

Congressman, you were able to get a look at one of these intention centers in your state where many of these women and children are being held after some back and forth as we talked earlier this month. You were able to get in. What did you see?

REP. JIM BRIDENSTINE (R), OKLAHOMA: Well, I think that the concerns that a lot of us have were validated. A lot of these children had been abused on the way to the United States, and I'm not talking about a small number, a significant percentage of them. They didn't give me, you know, specific numbers as far as the percentage, but they did say it was a good portion.

And, of course, the big concern I have as well is, who are the children being released to once they are in these detention centers? The facility I was at Fort Sill, they had released over 500 children, and those children in many cases are going to sponsors that are illegal aliens in our country currently, and, of course, when you're trying to get a criminal background check on somebody who is in our country illegally, and in many cases they are from countries where, you know, where they don't keep good record on folks, it's very difficult to find out who these children are going to.

And, of course, a lot of these children were brought to the United States by coyotes and transnational criminal organizations in northern Mexico. There are friends and relatives here in the united states illegally, paid those coyotes or criminal organizations to traffic those children here, and then ultimately these children are sometimes going to sponsors that have been involved in that kind of activity.

This is -- this is devastating. The ones -- I'll tell you this. This is an important point. The ones that actually made it to the United States are the lucky ones. There are a lot of people that don't make it here. In fact, they end up dying on the way or in some cases put into forced labor, forced prostitution or sold in the slave trade.

So, we've got to deal with this situation in a very serious way.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

And what were the conditions like in the facility? I mean, as the surge has been coming in, the concern is that they don't have space or the staff and personnel to care for these children once they have made it over while they are being processed. What were the conditions like in the facilities?

BRIDENSTINE: Inside the facility I was impressed with the staff. I was impressed with the quality of care. They had over 80 medical professionals there, they had numerous counts of scabies and other diseases, and they had those children quarantined.

They are taking it very, very seriously and I think they are doing, I think, very good work to make sure that the children are cared for. That's what most of us are worried about. And, certainly, the Ft. Sill facility is one of the better ones in the country. That's the one that I visited. I've heard there are others that they don't have nearly as good accommodations as the ones as the children at Ft. Sill have.

But there's a lot of children there, not a whole lot of space, but it seemed like they were comfortable. They were being well-taken care of and medical professionals were taking it very seriously.

BOLDUAN: And you were able to talk to at least some of the children that were there. What did they tell you?

BRIDENSTINE: Well, it was interesting. You know, the translator, you know, announced something, and I don't speak Spanish, so I didn't know what it was, and all of a sudden, the children just started clapping. And I was surprised to see that, and I asked, "What did you say?" And they said, "Well, we told them that you're a member of Congress and you're here to check on their well-being," and I was impressed to see that -- that the children understood that and they were pleased to see that officials at the federal level are taking a very detailed interest in this operation.

BOLDUAN: Did you speak to any one of them? Did one of them tell you a story that is sticking with you after you left?

BRIDENSTINE: Well, through the translators they told stories of how they got here. A lot of them were brought, you know, by traffickers, coyotes or some kind of person who was paid to bring them here.

Some of them just came on their own which in many cases is even more dangerous. One of the challenges we have to communicate here is that, you know, people talk about the crime in Honduras, the crime in El Salvador. It is far more dangerous to pay a transnational criminal organization to traffic your child or your friend or relative to the united states than it is for them to stay at home, and -- and these organizations, these criminal organizations in northern Mexico, because we have, you know, an insecure border on our side, they have taken control of it on the southern side. And if you pay them --

BOLDUAN: Congressman --

BRIDENSTINE: Yes, go ahead.

BOLDUAN: -- let me also ask you because we're running short on time, I want to get into a couple different things. You spoke with the children and it does strike you not really many people have been able to get into these facilities to see these conditions. It's become very political and partisan. It's one thing to maybe say on House floor, send them all back. It's probably something very different to be faced with those little faces and to see what they are going through and to hear their stories.

Did you speak to them? Did you convey to them that you want them -- that you think they still need to be sent back? That probably was tough for you.

BRIDENSTINE: Well, we are all interested in the well-being of the children, and I can tell you when you walk into this facility and you see the kids, it absolutely breaks your heart. You cannot help but feel empathy and sympathy.

The challenge here is if we don't start securing the southern border and letting people know if you come you can't get in or if you do get in you can't stay, if we don't start doing that, it creates a scenario for more and more children are going to be made to suffer. It creates the scenario where more kids are going to be -- you know, killed in northern Mexico, because look, as soon as these transnational organizations in Mexico get control of these children, they extort people, and if you don't pay them enough money, your child could very well either end up dead or sold into the slave trade or forced --

BOLDUAN: Congressman.


BOLDUAN: After going there and seeing what you saw, you're coming back to Congress. It is a talking point at this moment to say that we have to secure the southern border. You've seen something that not many of your colleagues have.

What are you going to do to do just that? What are you going to do to secure the border?

BRIDENSTINE: Well, there's a couple of things. I think the first thing we have to do is make sure that people understand that if you get here you're not going to -- the children that get here are not going to be released to illegal aliens in our country. If we do that, it stems a lot of this tide.

At the same time, if you look at the southern border of the United States, you know, it is very porous. I used to do counter illicit trafficking operations for the United States Navy. All the drugs and all the people smugglers, they were taking everybody to northern Mexico because that's the easy access point into the United States.

What we have seen that works is a double layer fence with sensors and rapid response teams. We've seen that in San Diego --

BOLDUAN: That costs a lot of money. That likely will cost far more than the $3.7 billion that many of your budget hawk colleagues are balking at right now that the president is requesting.

BRIDENSTINE: Well, I don't hear too many people talking about, you know, the challenge with the money. The problem here is the policy that is related to the crisis. What are the policies that have created the crisis? How do we change those policies?

I think everybody wants to solve this problem, and ultimately if we spent money to solve the problem, I could be for it. What I don't want to do is spend money to expand the current programs that have resulted in this crisis.

BOLDUAN: Hopefully, you can use your experience to work with on a bipartisan basis to get a conclusion to this, a resolution to this and find a solution to this crisis sometime very soon, especially before you all leave for your month-long August break.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine, thank you for your time. Thanks for coming back.


BOLDUAN: Of course.


CUOMO: All right. Coming up on NEW DAY, breaking news, a terrible subway crash at rush hour in Moscow. Ten killed, over hundred injured, many now fighting for their lives. We're going to tell you inside that crash.