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Remembering Robin Williams; Current Prime Minister of Iraq Refusing to Step Down; Cease-Fire and Peace Talks continue; Supplies Delivered to Sinjar Mountain; Liberians to Receive ZMapp

Aired August 12, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the only protection we have right now to protect the aircraft and its precious cargo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Plus, another night of violence over the shooting death of an unarmed teen at the hands of police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a good boy, he didn't deserve none of this.

UNIDENFITIED FEMALE: Tear gas fired at a crowd of protestors, a store looted and torched. With the FBI now investigating, can a community in Missouri get answers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is your warning. Leave the area. Disperse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your NEW DAY starts right now.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to NEW DAY, everybody. It's Tuesday, August 12th, 6:00 in the East. John Berman is here with us in for Chris this morning. We're going to begin with the stunning loss of Robin Williams.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): He made the world laugh and cry in classic roles through the decades as an actor, as a comedian. And now tributes are pouring in from fans, fellow entertainers, even President Obama. The Marin County sheriff believes the 63-year-old Oscar winner took his own life. Williams battled with depression for years, but still the question on the minds of so many is how could a man known for creating so much joy have also battled such powerful demons. We're going to be talking about this a lot through the show.


BOLDUAN (on camera): Let's begin our coverage this morning, thought, with Dan Simon who is near Williams' home in California. Good morning, Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Robin Williams had been a fixture in San Francisco for many, many years. Most recently moving here to the suburb of Tiburon and you can see the flowers that people are leaving in front of the house. Emergency crews responded just before noon yesterday and there, inside they found Williams completely unresponsive.


SIMON (voice-over): This morning, the world reeling over the shocking death of Hollywood comedic legend Robin Williams. The Oscar winning actor apparently committing suicide according to investigators. Death due to asphyxia inside his San Francisco Bay area home Monday morning. Williams was last seen alive by his wife, Susan Schneider, the night before. " I lost my husband and my best friend," said Schneider in a statement released Monday while the world lost one of its most beloved artists. The 63-year-old had a long history of alcoholism and drug addiction, but was recently battling severe depression according to his media representative entering a 12-step rehab stint in July in order to maintain his sobriety. His sudden death leaving Hollywood and fans stunned.

CONAN O'BRIEN, TV HOST: This is absolutely shocking and -- and horrifying and so upsetting on every level.

SIMON: Fellow comedian Conan O'brien visibly emotional when he broke the news to his audience right before wrapping his late night talk show.

O'BRIEN: We're so very sorry to have to report this to anybody who's hearing it for the first time. And we're going to end our show now and thank all my guests and good night and God bless Robin Williams.

SIMON: Williams' last Instagram post was two weeks ago. Uploading an old photo with his 25-year-old daughter, Zelda Williams, as a child wishing her a happy birthday. Monday night, Zelda posted a quote from a French poet with a message about her father, writing, "I love you, I miss you, I'll try to keep looking up."

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: We're very sad. We're mourning the loss of such a great man. He was also a friend and I admired him. He's a legend. He's unbelievable.

SIMON: Thousands of fans and celebrities also taking to social media to express their sorrow. From President Obama tweeting, "He was one of a kind." To Billy Crystal simply writing, "No words." Several films featuring the late star are slated to release in the coming months, including "Night at the Museum 3."

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: Theodore Roosevelt, president of the United States of America.

SIMON: The legendary comic and actor leaves behind a wife and three children.


SIMON (on camera): Well, Williams was said to be a common presence throughout the neighborhood. He was often seen riding his bike, talking to the children in the area. I can tell you that a forensic examination is scheduled for some time today and authorities announcing they'll hold a news conference at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: Alright, thanks so much.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks to Dan Simon out there.

You know, to me, Robin Williams was this energy, he was a vessel for this energy that just seemed to burst out at times.

BOLDUAN: Almost manic.

BERMAN: Almost beyond control at some point. The roles you look back on. You know, Mrs. "Doubtfire" which was some people's favorite, he was in "Bird Cage," he played Peter Pan, "Dead Poet's Society," "Good Morning, Vietnam." It is truly amazing, and our Nischelle Turner is here with just a look back at that stunning career.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, you sit there and talk about it, there are celebrities and then there are Hollywood icons. And for the past 12 hours we've been hearing that Robin Williams definitely fits into that latter role. His career spaned four decades. That is definitely a career. So many accolades. So let's take a look back at Robin Williams' life and his legacy.


TURNER (voice-over): It was 1978 when Robin Williams was unleashed to the world. And the high octane Mork from the planet Ork in "Mork and Mindy," Williams became a household name. Born in 1951, the Juilliard schooled actor proved he could do more than make people laugh, unveiling his dramatic side for the first time in 1982's "The World According to Garp." That serious side earned him Oscar nominations for "The Fisher King."

WILLIAMS: Good morning, Vietnam!

TURNER: "Good Morning Vietnam" and "Dead Poets Society."

He finally won his only Oscar statute in 1998 for "Good Will Hunting."

WILLIAMS: This one, yes. The other ones were just foreplay.

TURNER: Delighting a younger generation in the '90s, he was the voice of the dazzling genie in Disney's "Aladdin." And played the child- like dad in disguise as Mrs. Doubtfire. But Williams never stopped being funny, even when the topic seemed serious. He helped launch and co-hosted 8 telethons over 20 years to help the homeless.

WILLIAMS: Remember that the money you're donating is going directly to homeless people.

TURNER: Comic relief raised more than $50 million. And even when he talked about his battles with drugs and alcohol, he talked about them with humor. WILLIAMS: I was a drunk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were a drunk.

WILLIAMS: Well, that's nice of you to say that.

TURNER: He took three trips to rehab, most recently this summer. He talked about the process on "Larry King Live" back in 2007.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happens in rehab?

WILLIAMS: What happens? You dry out. What happens is people basically start the process of just saying no and being among others, you know, and learning that you're not alone and working on giving up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you lose your sense of humor in it?

WILLIAMS: No, you find it. You're there with people who have a great sense of humor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you're funny there, too.

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes. You have to be.

TURNER: With his joyful energy and wacky humor, he was the definition of full of life. Even now, his comic legend is destined to endure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates??

WILLIAMS: There's seating near the front. The concert begins at five. It will be Mozart, Elvis and one of your choosing. Or just if heaven to know that there's laughter, that would be a great thing. Just to hear, God goes, two dudes that walk into a bar.


TURNER (on camera): Still making us laugh this morning. Thank you very much, Mr. Williams. Now, Bob Saget tweeted last night that Robin Williams' heart was as big as his genius. And I thought this was so interesting, Jessica Chastain, who we all know is a wonderful actress in Hollywood, she put out a statement last night and she said that Robin Williams changed her life. Something I didn't know, she said he gave her a scholarship, put her through college, allowed her to graduate college, and changed her life for the better. Allowed her to go on to be this wonderful actress. She said he was such a generous and kind individual. I don't think any of us knew that. That's something we learned, a little nugget that we learned. She says now she's going to pay it forward. She's going to do the same thing for other people that he did to her.

BERMAN: You saw the comic relief clips there with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal

BOLDUAN: Genius!

BERMAN: What you saw there was these other performers. Pretty damn good ones too.

BOLDUAN: Some of the best of the best.

BERMAN: staring at this man going, I am in awe of you. What you do is at a different level than what the rest of us do.

TURNER: And its interesting. We heard Henry Winkler say that last night, he was on our air. He said the minute that Robin Williams walked on the set to "Happy Days" and created this character named Mork that we all fell in love with, he said the minute he opened his mouth everybody knew they were looking at something different, that they were looking at genius of another level. He said it was palpable. You could see it so it wasn't like oh, he's kind of good. Immediately.

BOLDUAN: He's become the measure that everyone kind of holds themselves up against. Oh, he's funny, but he's not Robin Williams fast. You know, like, no one can compare to that level of comedic genius.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I was saying my favorite thing was any time he had to do an acceptance speech, you just watched him because you knew he would just go


PEREIRA: Can I just say this one thing? West Hollywood Laugh Factory put on their marquis, "Rest in peace Robin Williams, make God laugh," and that is beautiful.

BOLDUAN: And you know he is.

PEREIRA: You know he already is.

TURNER: He's going to be missed, guys. But there's so many wonderful memories. We've been all having them this morning, talking about our favorite movies and I think that so many people will be doing that today.


BERMAN: We're doing it here this morning. We know all of you are doing it. It will happen all morning, all day, no doubt. There is a lot of other news going on right now. Michaela's here.

PEREIRA: Yes, let's take a look at our headlines right now. Ten minutes past the hour.


PEREIRA (voice-over): The U.S. is calling on Iraqi leaders to work quickly with the newly appointed prime minister to form a united government and stop ISIS militants, but the sitting prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is not going to go quietly. He's threatening to use the courts, even military force, to stay in power. We're going to go live to Baghdad in just a moment. Happening now, calm holds in Gaza as indirect talks between

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are underway in Cairo. Egyptian intelligence officers are acting as intermediaries as both sides work on a permanent cease-fire. An Israeli official tells Reuters talks have made no progress so far.

Two Liberian doctors with Ebola will receive the last available doses of ZMapp. This is the experimental drug that was given to three aid workers infected with the virus. One of them, a Spanish priest being treated in Madrid died this morning. The Liberians will be the first Africans to get the untested medication. The World Health Organization announced this morning that an ethics panel approved the use of experimental drugs to fight the outbreak.


PEREIRA (on camera): The WHO also says more than 1,000 people have now died from the outbreak.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Ukrainian officials are trying to get residents out of the two rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk. Government troops are arranging corridors to escape and have a planned assault to drive out pro-Russian separatists. In the meantime, western critics are concerned a so-called humanitarian convoy headed to Ukraine from Russia could be a ploy by Vladimir Putin to stage an invasion and establish a permanent presence there.


PEREIRA (on camera): That's a look at your headlines, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Michaela. We're going to have much more on the sudden death of Robin Williams. We're going to hear from some friends of his. But also coming up next on NEW DAY, a heroic rescue we want to tell you about of people that are trapped by ISIS rebels on a mountain in Iraq. Our Ivan Watson was in the middle of it all. The dramatic pictures and their stories ahead.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. Iraq's political turmoil is ramping up with the appointment of a new prime minister to replace the embattled Nouri al-Maliki.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): But al-Maliki says that he is not going anywhere. He's refused to step down so far, defying both the United States and the UN and declaring the nomination of his successor illegal. Earlier this morning Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States hopes the Iraqi government can form a united front.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: It has to regain the confidence of its citizens by governing inclusively, but also by taking steps to demonstrate their resolve. And we're going to continue to stand with the Iraqi people during this time of transition.

BOLDUAN: What will that transition look like? All of this comes as U.S. war planes continue to pound ISIS targets in northern Iraq. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live in Baghdad with much more.


BOLDUAN (on camera): A lot of the focus has been in the north, but a lot needs to be focused on now in Baghdad with this political transition, Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kate. Really how messy it gets here depends on how desperate, you could say, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is. He still retains the job, but its the west now really acting as thought the new guy the prime minister designates, Haider al-Abadi, is the new man in the job. As though Niyru ak-Maliki is history in some ways. John Kerry and the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, saying, look, they welcome him, congratulating him to his new post. What can Nouri al-Maliki do now? Limited in scope. There are many allies turning their backs on him. Many accept that if Iraq's going to get more military assistance to go further than those 15 air strikes that pounded ISIS targets overnight in the north, they need to see the back of Maliki.

He could potentially harness some members of the security forces and keep himself in power by force. He'll launch possibly some legal challenges saying its unconstitutional. Remember, this is a constitution that is barely ten years old so it hasn't really been tested in any ways. Many here looking at tense, worrying days ahead to see if in the next month that prime minister designate can put a cabinet together, solidify that new government, and get Baghdad and Iraq out of that political void and turmoil it's been in so they can confront the real challenge, and that's ISIS, sweeping through its north. Back to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes, Nick. Thank you very much. Nick on the ground for us. What will that 30 day transition look like? That is something everyone needs to watch very closely. Thanks so much.

BERMAN: You know, there are millions of people in Iraq who need that stability to move on. We want to show you something right now that is remarkable, brave, terrifying all at once. More than anything, it is important. CNN's Ivan Watson went on a dangerous journey on board a Kurdish helicopter delivering supplies to those thousands of members of that religious minority, the Yazidi, who are stranded on top of a mountain. What you will see is how desperate they are to get out and just how hard it is right now to help.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): :Machine gunners unleashed bursts of hot metal. This is the crew aboard an Iraqi Air Force helicopter. They burn through cartridges and belts of ammunition while rushing an aircraft full of food, diapers, water and baby's milk over ISIS front lines to the civilians trapped on Sinjar mountain. WATSON (on camera): They are opening fire at targets down below.

(inaudible) They're clearly trying to defend the aircraft. You can see the people below trapped on Sinjar mountain. They're clustered under olive trees right now, waving to us.

They seem to have gathered in these shelters down here. A lot of women and children waving.

WATSON (voice-over): The crew hurls packages out the door. People swarm the chopper.

WATSON (on camera): This has been one chaotic aid distribution. I mean, I really hope he didn't hurt anybody with the bottles of water we were throwing down from the height of 20, 30 feet. Its chaotic, but people were waving. They were giving thumbs up. And there are a couple people very relieved to be off the mountain and clearly very, very frightened.

WATSON (voice-over): Then the helicopter lands one last time to pick up more passengers.

WATSON (on camera): Here they come.

Watson (voice-over): More desperate people throw themselves at the aircraft. Heaving their children on board. It's first come, first served. There were some who couldn't make it. Aboard the aircraft, shock. Exhaustion. Fear that eventually gives way to relief.

WATSON (on camera)I can't describe to you how relieved people are right now. They're just shocked and the chaos of that moment. But we have little Aziza (ph) here, she's not happy, because she says her father got left behind. The gunners are opening fire on targets below. They're protecting the helicopter. But it's terrifying these little kids who are traumatized after their week trapped on that mountain. The problem is we're flying over ISIS front lines. This is the only protection we have right now to protect the aircraft and its precious cargo.

WATSON (voice-over) Tensions ease when we cross into Kurdish controlled territory. For a moment, there are even smiles as these children realize their ordeal on the mountain is finally over. Ivan Watson, CNN, over Sinjar Mountain in Northern Iraq.


BERMAN: That is such an incredible look at the desperation right now on top of that mountain.

BOLDUAN: The anguish on their faces is so palpable. It's such an important story to tell because we've talked about the people on that mountain who have been stuck on that mountain, fleeing for their lives. But to see it and to see what they're going through, unbelievable.

BERMAN: We're lucky that Ivan went and can show the world what's happening there and hopefully the world will respond to get them the help that they need.

23 minutes after the hour. Next up for us on NEW DAY, he was a force in comedy, a force of nature.


BERMAN (voice-over): We're going to have much more on the life and legacy of the brilliant I can't Robin Williams following his sudden death at the age of 63.




WILLIAMS: Look at this thing. Look, flipper!


WILLIAMS: Right now there's a sound man going, "What are you doing?" Oh, God. Relax, relax, relax. Its okay, I'm on TV. You're a nice man, you won't hurt me.


BERMAN (on camera): Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. That was Robin Williams in one of his many appearances on "The Tonight Show" starring Johnny Carson. You know, Carson once called Williams one of the most creative and original minds we have today. Frankly, that might have been an understatement. In a statement following the legendary comedian's passing, Williams' wife says she hopes the focus will not be on his death, but on the joy and laughter he gave to millions of people. So let's do that, let's focus on that. Larry Hackett is the former managing editor of "People" magazine. He joins us here in studio this morning. I'm so glad we had that clip from "The Tonight Show" because when Robin Williams went on that show and others, what you saw was something unique. You saw people like Johnny Carson, very funny people by the way, who would just sit back and say, what I'm looking at right now is unbelievable.

LARRY HACKETT, FORMER MANAGING EDITOR OF "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: You're absolutely right. I mean, there are people out there who are funny and you appreciate them. You go that was a, he's a funny person. You would watch Robin Williams and the free association, you would be just shocked and stunned by how that brain was working. You were laughing, but you were also just amazed at how that man came up with that kind of stuff. I think you're talking about the must influential comic personality of the past 50 years without question..

BERMAN: I heard it described as dazzling imagination and dazzling improvisation.

HACKETT: Absolutely. And, what set him apart, when you look at it now is that it was incredibly wise. It was never mean. It could by cynical and ironic, but it had no contempt. It had a joy about life and he was constantly striving to make these kinds of connections. You look at the culture now, you look at everything from Will Ferrell to "South Park" to John Stewart and John Oliver, you see Robin Williams in all of that. It is absolutely out there. I mean, you cannot underestimate the influence he's had on pop culture right now.

BERMAN: We've been looking at clips all morning from "Aladdin" too, you know, the Disney animated film where he plays the genie, or the voice of the genie.