Return to Transcripts main page


Obama Meets Central American Leaders; Hero Doctor; Debate of Ray Rice's Two Game Suspension; Israel and Hamas Considering Cease- Fire

Aired July 25, 2014 - 6:30   ET




A border crisis summit today at the White House. President Obama is meeting with his counterparts from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador about the surge of children coming across the U.S.-Mexico border without parents or papers. And now, we hear the administration is considering a program to give refugee status to young people from Central America.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski is live for us at the White House.

Give us the latest, Michelle?


Right. So, today is this big meeting between President Obama and these three central American presidents to try to get them to do more within their own countries to stop this flow of immigrants, especially unaccompanied children to the border. And, yes, the White House is considering this idea to grant what it says would be a very small number of these children refugee status or emergency humanitarian asylum. And that would be applied for and processed within their countries.

And this has been tried before to some extent in other places like Haiti, but, of course, this raises a lot of questions. On the one hand, how many of these kids would even qualify for a very specific legal definition of refugee, and would this just encourage more people than then to try to cross the border. It's also something that's similar to a bill that is proposed in Congress.

You know, recent polling shows a majority of Americans view these children as refugees, although a majority also consider border security very important and would support trying to deport these children more easily, at least the ones who don't qualify for some sort of special status -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: So, Michelle, can the president give them refugee status through executive action, or must he go through Congress?

KOSINSKI: Well, it seems that he could. I mean, that is a possibility here. Just based on the kind of special legal status it would be, and it would be limited, would not require the approval of Congress.

Now, the White House has gone out of its way to try to involve Congress more lately since it's taken some heat for certain of these executive actions that have been controversial. But it appears that if the president wanted to do this, he could. The White House, though, says that they are considering a number of options, and if they did try something like this, it would have to start out as a very limited pilot program, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right. We will look to see what happens today on that.

Michelle Kosinski, thanks so much.

All right. Let's check your headlines and Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Alisyn, thanks so much.

Good evening, everybody.

In the Middle East, at least 16 people have been killed, many more wounded, after a packed U.N. school came under heavy fire in Gaza. Palestinian officials condemned the attack but the Israeli military says it could have been a rocket from Gaza that fell short and exploded. Both sides are now considering now a cease-fire proposal laid out by Secretary of State John Kerry.

More coffins carrying victims of the MH17 tragedy are headed back to the Netherlands. Another 30 or 40 are expected tomorrow. Meanwhile, international monitors are on scene working to secure the crash site for investigators to begin their arduous work. Also, CNN is making an appeal for the release of one of our freelance journalists. Anton Skiba was detained by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine while covering the MH17 disaster. >

An armed doctor is being credited for stopping a shooting rampage at a Pennsylvania hospital. Investigators say the doctor seriously wounded a man believed to be a psychiatric patient after he shot and killed his case worker. The doctor was grazed in the gun battle.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chaos and panic. Everybody was running and ducking for cover

PEREIRA (voice-over): Unexpected day at work for a hero doctor as a psychiatric patient opens fire in a Pennsylvania hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cops coming from each and everywhere, and I was scared, too.

PEREIRA: According to police the suspect, Richard Plotts, was visiting his psychiatrist, Dr. Lee Silverman with his case worker when an argument reportedly broke out in the doctor's office. Shortly after, gunfire erupted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A few minutes went by, and then they did hear multiple shots fired.

PEREIRA: Police say the man shot and killed the case worker, 53-year- old Theresa Hunt, before turning his gun on Silverman, but according to police, Silverman was quick to act ducking under his desk for his own firearm and shooting Plotts three times, twice in the torso and once in the arm. Other staff members tackled the suspect and held him until police arrived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Together we were able to disarm him and take weapon away.

PEREIRA: Silverman didn't escape unscathed. According to officials, he was grazed in the head by the suspect's bullet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police came in droves, and they locked down everything. They chased everybody on the inside, and then we seen the SWAT team come in.


PEREIRA: The gunman Plotts underwent surgery at the hospital at University of Pennsylvania Thursday night and could be charged with murder later today.

And what is $20 million split 17 ways? You can ask the Henderson family. You've worked out the math, Cuomo. Seventeen siblings are splitting a $20 million lottery jackpot. It actually fulfills the dream of their mother who died a decade ago. She started buying tickets decades ago with the dream of splitting the winnings among her kids. Her kids kept up the tradition after she died.

They say the winnings couldn't have come at a better time. Check this out, four members of the families lost their homes during super storm Sandy.

There's another little added greatness about this story. So mom had this pool that she did. When she died people donated to the funeral -- to cover the funeral expenses. There's a little bit of money left so they started the pool to keep mom's tradition going, and it was with that money that they won this lottery jackpot.


PEREIRA: So mom was clearly watching.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Are you pro-lottery, by the way?

CAMEROTA: I'm pro-lottery when it reaches like $350 million.

CUOMO: So, then you're in?

CAMEROTA: Then I'm in, and then I buy one ticket and I'm in. I'm all in.

CUOMO: That's not how we do it here, OK. How we do it here is the whole NEW DAY gang goes in long and strong. CAMEROTA: You mean we have to split it with these guys?

CUOMO: They split it with us. Let me tell you, those smiling faces, one of those frowns turned upside down to give them a slice of the pie.


CUOMO: So, it was $20 million. We'd cut, if we're only three, it would be six and change. But the whole crew --

PEREIRA: A lot of people.

CUOMO: We're still looking pretty goo, more than 17.

CAMEROTA: It's a good breakfast.

CUOMO: You're either or you're out.


CUOMO: You'll never be in focus if you say you're out.

CAMEROTA: I am in.

PEREIRA: She's not in at 349 but at 350 she's in.

CAMEROTA: I'm all in.

CUOMO: We're in long and strong on this show. We go lottery crazy.

PEREIRA: We kind do.

CAMEROTA: Count me in.

CUOMO: And everybody is did you give me the five bucks? Yes, yes.

Especially this one. She writes everything down. Especially this one, she writes everything down.

PEREIRA: Somebody's got to be record keeper.

CUOMO: She writes it all down.

All right. Back to the news, coming up on NEW DAY, 54-year-old white man killed an unarmed 19-year-old black woman on his porch. Was she asking for help or like she says trying to break in? Race, reason and stand your ground come together to confuse yet another trial. We have the latest info and analysis.

CAMEROTA: Plus, are you ready for some outrage. Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice suspended for just two games for allegedly knocking his then fiancee unconscious. Surveillance video shows him dragging her unconscious out of an elevator. Did the NFL let him off easy? We'll debate that.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

A Michigan murder trial going to come into sharp focus today. Here's a little bit of the back story. Thomas Wafer, he's at home. He hears banging on his door. He says he doesn't know what's going on.

On the other side of it is Renisha McBride, 19 years old, leaving a party supposedly looking for help. He thinks it's an intruder and he says it was an accident and then he says it was self-defense. Either way, McBride ends up dead and now we're at trial. You're looking at the man.

Let's bring in CNN's Alexandra Field for more on this.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old Michigan woman shot to death when she stopped at this house possibly looking for help. Was it murder?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His actions that night were unnecessary.

FIELD: Or was it self-defense?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was acting and reacting to escalating fear.

FIELD: For the first time, a Michigan jury hears what Theodore Wafer said happened that November night.

OFFICER: What happened here?

THOMAS WAFER: A consistent knocking on the door and I'm trying to look through, but every time I look through the windows and the door, it's banging somewhere else. So, I open up the door kind of like, "Who is this?", and the gun discharged. I didn't know there was a round in there.

FIELD: Officers arrived to find McBride dead outside the doorway. Charged with second-degree murder, the defense says Wafer was trying to protect himself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boom, boom, boom, boom. He is awoken, and did he look out the peep hole and sees a shadowy figure at the porch and going around the side of the house. People were trying to get in.

FIELD: An autopsy report says Renisha McBride's blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit. According to testimony, she was also smoking pot earlier in the night before she got in a car accident and left the scene. Hours later, she turned up at Wafer's door.

Prosecutors say she wasn't a threat and that her death wasn't an accident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That this isn't some sort of hair trigger device, that it requires at least six and a half pound of pressure in order for the trigger to be pulled back and the gun to be discharged.

FIELD: McBride was unarmed, and there were no signs of a break-in, according to police. Her death sparking outrage and comparisons to the Trayvon Martin case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one really knows what happened then, but we do know that there was a physical altercation and Trayvon was killed. In this case there was no physical confrontation. This man wasn't threatened.

FIELD: It isn't clear where McBride was just before she arrived at Wafer's house or why she decided to knock on this door. Alexandra Field, CNN, New York.


CAMEROTA: We will be debating that later in the program.

Meanwhile, next up on NEW DAY, the NFL under fire. What happened with the Ravens player here who you see dragging his fiancee unconscious out of an elevator? Was a two-game suspension enough? We'll debate all of that.


PEREIRA: Good to have you back with us on NEW DAY. New growing outrage this morning after the NFL handed down a two-game suspension to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Rice was caught on camera dragging is his unconscious fiancee, now his wife, out of an elevator. We want to talk about this two-game suspension and if it was enough.


PEREIRA (on camera):Joining us is sports agent Doug Eldredge, managing partner of DLE Agency. He's in Washington. Good morning, sir. And CNN commentator and legal analyst Mel Robbins. She's in Massachusetts this morning. Good morning, beautiful. All right, Doug, I'll start with you.


PEREIRA: What am I missing? A two-game suspension for this, yet we see when guys test positive for performance enhancing drugs, what do they get, a four-game suspension?

DOUG ELDREDGE, SPORTS AGENT: Right, and for a lot of people I think across country two games and the corresponding $529,000 loss of salary is not enough. But I think it's important to say from the outset that to some degree you're comparing apples and oranges and what I mean is drug suspensions are in the collective bargaining agreement which means there's a pre-determined schedule of punishment. Your first offense is automatically four games, your second is eight, your third potentially an entire season. By contrast what we saw in the Ray Rice fact pattern, however egregious it is, it's not included which means the scope of punishment is entirely subjective. It could be 2, it could be 12 and there was simply no precedent for anything more than two games

CUOMO: You don't need precedent. They can do it on a one-off basis, can't they? I mean, they could have looked at these facts and decided just for what this means for the league we're going to do something different.


CUOMO: Given their best defense, what do you think, before we go to Mel because we know where Mel is going to come with this, what is the best explanation for why it's only two games on the face of what we know?

ELDREDGE: I think you have to -- I think you have to resort to precedent. Whether that's a strong argument or not, that's really the only argument to be played because when you're looking at an entirely subjective standard, which is to say there is no governing structure like there is, the issues that are collectively bargained vis-a-vis drugs. There's no defense of the actions whatsoever, but if we're sticking to the facts and sticking to the disciplinary structure that's been collectively bargained and agreed to by both sides, really the only thing that you can look at, Chris, the only thing, is the fact that there's no precedent to support it and it would likely be overturned. Now from a PR standpoint, that's obviously a nightmare for the NFL who is already losing the battle at the kitchen table with moms and facing other issues. So this is certainly going to be a continuing red flag.

CAMEROTA: All right, Mel, have at it.

ROBBINS: Listen, it's not a question of precedent, guys. It's a question of leadership, and the commissioner simply didn't show it here. Can we just have Adam Silver be the commissioner of all sports because this is a complete joke. There is a player conduct language that basically allows the commissioner to do whatever the heck that he wants and so he could have set a precedent here and said the NFL is going to send a very strong message, and he deserved at least a half a season suspension and anything less than that is a slap in the face to women everywhere, and this is just disgusting.

PEREIRA: Doug, I've got to push back on you a little bit about you talk about the fact that this was unprecedented. One could argue the Richie Incognito scenario of bullying got him three months and a day suspension. That was somewhat of an unprecedented situation, and yet they made a decision that levied a penalty at him.

ELDREDGE: You're right, and to back up on a comment that Mel just made, I'm certainly not defending the actions nor am I taking a swipe at women as a whole. I'm simply talking about the structure in which we're obligated to operate as agents, as members of the NFL Players Association, our certifying body. That's what I was referring when we talk about the lack of precedent to necessarily substantiate something from the commissioner.

CUOMO: Who would overturn it?

ELDREDGE: Pardon me?

CUOMO: Would you say, well it would be at risk of being overturned if it didn't follow precedent. Why do you say that?

ELDREDGE: Because at no point have we seen for a first-time offender like Ray Rice, at no point have we seen anything beyond the two-game standard. And most of the inside intel indicates that were this to be pushed, and again I want to underscore I'm not advocating nor defending this but objectively analyzing it based on the standards and facts that we have, that it would not be upheld. And while I think we all agree, I think we all agree, that this is absolutely creating a dangerous precedent in so far as the leadership position that Ray Rice has and the fact, that look, when we were -- Chris, when you and I were little boys we wanted to be astronauts or presidents. The new generation of little boys want to be a professional athlete, right? That's the new role model, so I think perhaps that's the bigger question is what does this say not on field but off the field? What does this say in the classroom and in the community? So when you bring it back to the question of punishment and why couldn't it have been more, there is no definitive answer. There is nothing that I or anybody else can say why it wasn't 12 games.

ROBBINS: There is a definitive answer. It could have been a lot more and the commissioner decided not to and who cares if he appealed? One of the things that we learned about leadership when you look at Adam Silver and how he handled the situation with Donald Sterling and the NBA is he stood very clear. Black and white, this is what we stand for, this is what we don't. And if Sterling wants to then go and appeal, which he has, and make a big raucous of it that just creates problems for Sterling. Everybody is very clear about where the NBA stands around racism. We're really clear now, too, about where the NFL stands when it comes to domestic violence. They stand nowhere. This is clearly a joke. Yes, go ahead.

CAMEROTA: Well, here's what Commissioner Goodell's rationale is, I think is what he said, that Ray Rice was not prosecuted. He wasn't convicted. He wasn't given any jail time. They are insisting that --

ROBBINS: Wait a minute, he was indicted. He was indicted on a felony.

CAMEROTA: But then they dropped it.


ROBBINS: Yes it did, yes it did.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

ROBBINS: He went into a first-time offender program for violence in order to get this expunged from his record. Having been in the criminal justice system, this doesn't mean that he's innocent. He was indicted, and the evidence showed that he upper cut his then fiancee, knocked her out cold, dragged her out of an elevator. They have him doing it on tape, for crying out loud, and so the fact that he wasn't convicted doesn't mean that the commissioner couldn't have taken a stronger stance here so I think the commissioner -- go ahead.

PEREIRA: I was going to say, because the fact is there is a standard that the players have to stand up to, and that's what they say about, you know, the marijuana offenses, the P.E.D. abuse. They say that players are expected to behave in a certain fashion, and, Doug, one would argue that he didn't do that. He may have paid a minor consequence, two-game suspension and a fine, but you also -- sounds as though if you read his statement, it sounds as though he's trying to make amends. You talk about the diversionary program that he's going into, but the consequences have to be much stronger than that. Its apparent to everyone and I don't think the NFL is getting that message.

ELDREDGE: Right, and I think where a lot of people are sticking on this was some of the content and context of the initial press conference and the way things were phrased. I don't know that there's a clean exit. I don't know that this is going to be a concise cleanup process. Its going to be a process on the whole, whether you look at Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods or any of the other high-profile athletes that have undergone serious public relations damage by virtue of indiscretions and poor decision making, illegal or otherwise. This is going to be a process for Ray and I think that's what the commissioner referred to when he said he's certainly shown the not only contrition and responsibility, but he is taking proactive steps to address his poor decision-making and make sure that he remains a role model.

CUOMO: My problem is not with Ray Rice. I don't know what happened in this situation, it's a little complicated. We know that much. We know that both of them were arrested, or there was action at one point. I don't think you need to get into that. I think that the scrutiny here is really well deserved on the part of the commissioner. To go to what Mel is talking about because you don't make the decision based on what's going to stand up in court. You make the decision based on what's right and if a court rolls it back and if Ray Rice or whomever's involved has the audacity to question punishment in such an egregious, let him do it. I think this hurts the league and I think yea, kids today they want to be athletes but maybe not so much anymore. Maybe its a reminder to families that if you're looking at sports for the heroes for your kids, better to look at yourself a little bit more intently because you have to look at the nature of what happens everyday in these games.

ROBBINS: Yes. I think a lot of kids want to be the founder of Twitter and Facebook these days instead of being a professional athlete, honestly.

CUOMO: That's a good one.

CAMEROTA: Doug, Mel, thank you.

ROBBINS: Thank you, guys.

CUOMO: Develop something like Twitter, he can play whatever he wants after that.

CAMEROTA: And take care of you for life.

CUOMO: That's right, get me out of here. We're following a lot of news this morning so let's go right to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For those on the ground, a cease-fire agreement can't come soon enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hamas has decided to hide behind children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all mourn the loss of innocent life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back in the sky. U.S.-based airlines are again allowed to fly to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now the facts we know suggest this was a decision driven by the State Department and perhaps the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It spins a good tale, but unfortunately, it's just not based in reality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's extremely important to find out what happened. I want to get to the bottom of this.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. Kate is on assignment. Alisyn Camerota joins this morning. Good to have you here.

CAMEROTA: Great to be with you guys. Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: A lot of news this morning. Secretary of State John Kerry hoping Israel and Hamas will decide weeks of conflict is enough and accept a cease-fire.


CUOMO (voice-over): Both sides this morning are considering Kerry's terms. Now, meanwhile Israel and Hamas are also blaming each other for the Israeli shelling of what was supposed to be a safe haven, a U.N. school in Northern Gaza. 16 people died. More than 100 wounded. Wolf Blitzer has more.


CUOMO (on camera): He's been on Jerusalem's ground from the beginning, and here he is with us again. Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Chris, thanks very much. Let's get some answers now. Where everyone stands as far as a cease-fire is concerned as well as the shelling of that U.N. shelter in Gaza. Joining us is Mark Regev. He's the spokesman for the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I understand the Israeli cabinet, emergency session, the security cabinet, meeting in Tel Aviv right now considering this proposal for a cease-fire put forward by John Kerry, the secretary of state. Is that right?

MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Wolf, I'm not going to confirm what might or might not be on the agenda of the Israeli security cabinet. I can say the following. We have consistently said yes to cease-fire proposals. We said yes to U.N. proposals, to Arab League proposals, to a humanitarian proposal by the Red Cross.