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U.S. Warns of "Consequences"; Shoe Bomb Warning for Airlines; More Extreme Weather for Millions; One Winning Powerball Ticket; David Wise Talks Gold and Family; Jordan Davis' Parents Speak To New Day

Aired February 20, 2014 - 08:00   ET




BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. Truce no more. Just hours after a cease-fire is called, violence erupts in the Ukraine. Dozens dead.

Our reporters are in the thick of the chaos as the president of the United States weighs in and is getting pressure to do more. We're live with the latest.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: New threat in the skies. The Department of Homeland Security with a new warning about shoe bombs. And we have new details on where the threat is coming from.

CUOMO: Big winner. Only one winning ticket in the blockbuster Powerball drawing overnight. Someone is waking up $400 million richer. How great would it be if it's you?

Your NEW DAY continues right now.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

It's Thursday, February 20th, 8:00 in the East.

And we're following the breaking news out of the Ukraine. A new wave of deadly violence coming just hours after the government and the opposition agree to a truce and it's said they're going to start negotiations. Well, at least 20 people were killed overnight as riot police and protesters crashed again in Kiev's Independence Square. Crowds are still gathered there. Ukraine's president is blaming the demonstrators for breaking the truce.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Kiev with more.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, Kate, a terrifying escalation in the violence here in the heart of Ukraine, Kiev. On the street near where I'm standing, live gunfire knocking down, killing something protesters brought into the lobby of this hotel, 11 bodies counted there by our team.

At some point this morning, the police withdrew from their positions causing protesters to move forward. That, it seems, was met by live gunfire. I've spoken to protesters who say, yes, they have fired shotguns at the police.

The concern now is, with the death toll rising and protesters moving towards police positions, the old positions they held before police moved into here. What comes next? Does the army move in? Do things escalate further?

People are fortifying barricades around me here -- a real sense of urgency and fear here -- Chris, Kate.


CUOMO: All right. Nick, thank you very much.

On one level, those who were pure -- pro-European on one side of Ukraine. The other, pro-Russian. On the other level this becomes about the U.S. and Russia and now, President Obama is condemning the bloodshed and telling Russia this is not a Cold War rematch.

CNN's Athena Jones is at the White House with more -- Athena.


The Obama administration is watching these developments in Ukraine closely. This new wave of violence we're seeing comes after President Obama warned the government there to show restraint and called on the protesters to remain peaceful. Before the president left Mexico last night, he talked about what he'd like to see for the people of Ukraine.


OBAMA: Our approach as the United States is not to see these as some Cold War chess board in which we're in competition with Russia.

Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves about their future. That the people of Syria are able to make the decisions without having bombs going off. (END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: Now, the goal here is to stop the violence, to allow room for talks between the government of President Yanukovych and the opposition. These are negotiations that would eventually lead to free and fair elections.

Now, when it comes to sanctions, the U.S. is banning the issuance of visas for 20 Ukrainian government officials they say are behind this crackdown against these protesters that we've seen. More sanctions could come but the question is how effective would they be? Even if new sanctions are levied by the United States and the European Union, you have Russia that's standing by to offer economic relief in the form of billions of dollars in aid and loans and the like -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Athena, thank you very much from the White House this morning.

Also new warnings from the department of homeland security alerting airlines of possible shoe bombs from terrorists. Officials say there's not a specific threat but the terrorist may be working on new designs for the bomb. This after recent concerns from authorities over potential hidden explosives in toothpaste and cosmetic tubes.

Let's get straight over to Pentagon correspondent Barbara Star who has the very latest on these warnings. Troubling, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Very troubling, Kate. Good morning.

You know, if you are at the airport getting ready to fly, you may notice more scrutiny from security personnel.


STARR (voice-over): New concern terrorists may target direct flights from overseas heading to the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security is warning airlines that terrorists may attempt to hide explosives in shoes, cosmetics and liquids. According to one industry source, the advisory mentions more than two dozen cities overseas including Johannesburg, Paris, London, Cairo and some additional cities in the Middle East.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The DHS warning is nonspecific, but the universe of people who have desire and capability is not large. It's al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

STARR: This demonstration shows the potential devastation a shoe bomb could cause. Sources say, intelligence indicates terror groups have been working on a new shoe bomb design. It's not the first time they've tried to blow up a plane that way. Shortly after 9/11, passengers on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami thwarted Richard Reed's attempt to detonate explosives hidden in his sneakers.

After that, the TSA started asking everyone in the U.S. to take their shoes off while going through security. This new warning comes just two weeks after U.S. officials warned airlines terrorists could hide explosives in toothpaste tubes on flights heading to Russia ahead of the Sochi Olympics. Officials say this new threat is unrelated.


STARR: And al Qaeda and its affiliates, especially al Qaeda in Yemen, remain a top concern. Officials will tell you those groups have never given up their desire to attack the United States -- Chris.

CUOMO: Thank you, Barbara.

Tens of millions are in the path of some potentially damaging weather today. We're talking extreme weather ranging in all different ways across the country, severe storms moving over the mid-Atlantic. Tornadoes threatening the Midwest. Blizzard conditions are also moving in for the upper Midwest.

I know all of this because meteorologist Indra Petersons told me it.

What else do we see?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I mean, the key really is just to be aware. We still have the threat with these warm temperatures and rain making its way through the Ohio Valley and Midwest.

So, yes, flooding concerns still going to be a concern in that region. Then blizzard concerns. Yes, still more snow. And especially talking about parts of Minnesota, also upstate portions of Wisconsin.

Look at this -- heavy snow, over a foot of snow combined with 50-mile- per-hour winds and that is not even the big story today. We are talking about all this cold air into the Upper Midwest and Southeast, above normal temperatures. You have a system making its way right through there and you have that severe weather threat.

That is a huge concern today. In fact, it's actually upgraded now to a moderate risk. So, a heightened risk up toward Louisville, Nashville, even Memphis today, straight line winds, cannot rule out the threat of tornadoes in this region.

I always stress this is something to be aware of even as you go to bed tonight. This is the biggest concern because this threat will continue through these late evening hours when you are tucked into bed. That heightened risk will be out there. Notice, even by tomorrow, this threat spreads into the mid-Atlantic, down through Florida.

So, combining almost 60 million of you in the path of the severe weather and just keep in mind, by next week, why it's warm right now. Another change, once again that arctic blast is returning and temperatures are going back down. So, there's so much out there. A lot of variety, severe today. Next week, back to the cold.

BOLDUAN: And the roller coaster continues.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

All right. Let's get back over to Don Lemon who's in for Michaela with some of our big stories today.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Besides the weather, we have lots of headlines.

We're going to begin with breaking news overnight. Calls for an investigation into U.S. drone attack in Yemen. Human Rights Watch saying that the December strike may have violated President Obama's targeted killing policy. The group says as many as a dozen people were killed on their way to a wedding in Yemen. Among them: the bride.

U.S. officials have said only members of al Qaeda were killed in the December strike. They have not released the results of the two investigations.

Venezuela's opposition leader remains in military -- in a military prison after a court hearing. Leopoldo Lopez faces charges of murder and terrorism. The Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro blames him for inciting violence that's led to at least five deaths. Maduro has vowed to go forward with the prosecution of Lopez.

In Mississippi, 11 teenagers were taken to the hospital and another 14 people hurt after a church floor collapsed Wednesday night. It happened in a second floor activity center at the Freedom Baptist Church. As many as 79 people, including kids in grades 7 through 12 inside when the floor suddenly gave way. Thankfully, all the injuries are described as minor.

And Facebook has acquired the text messaging app WhatsApp for a massive $19 billion. The move is part of Facebook's push to add younger users who use the app that allows for texts, video pictures and other messages. Both sides say that WhatsApp will continue to operate independently. The app currently has about 450 million users.

So interesting -- I just downloaded it. It said independently, but when you down -- I downloaded it again and then got rid of it. When you download it, it will say -- be if you want to be lazy, just hit Facebook and it will put your profile and everything in and take all your contacts. Done. One fell swoop.

BOLDUAN: There you go. It's happening.

LEMON: It's happening.

BOLDUAN: All right.

CUOMO: And that's why they put the price tag on it because they just got all those users.

LEMON: WhatsApp.

BOLDUAN: Let's look over at what's up in California right now.

Breaking overnight, a single winning $425 million Powerball ticket. That one ticket sold in the San Francisco Bay Area and we're waiting for the lucky ticket holder to come forward. In case you haven't checked your numbers, here are the winning numbers for you and the Powerball, 34.

All right. Let's check in with Stephanie Elam who is in Milpitas, California, where that ticket was sold. What more do we know?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that we're not far from where WhatsApp is. So, you got some billionaires over there and you've got some millionaires over here. We are not far from that, Kate.

And what we do know is one single ticket had all the numbers and it was sold here at this Chevron gas station -- pretty much at the gateway to Silicon Valley here.

We know that this was the sixth largest jackpot in U.S. history, and the odds of someone hitting it with all the numbers, 1 in 175 million or something like that. So, crazy that just one ticket was hit. We also know that two other tickets hit in California with all the numbers except for one.

So they should probably be seeing some cool cash, too. But overall, everyone is waiting to see who this person is. But when I think about what I would do, I would probably call a lawyer first. I've been asking people that on my Twitter account. Who would you call first, Chris?

CUOMO: I would call Kate Bolduan and say, how do you like me now? How do you like me now, Kate? How do you like me now?

BOLDUAN: I'm rolling my eyes. You can't hear it, Steph, but I'm rolling my eyes.

LEMON: No, I can hear it.


ELAM: It did sound like he was going to call you to gloat. It did sound like he was going to call you to gloat.

BOLDUAN: I thought it's going to be -- Kate, look what I did. I won a bunch of money that we're going to split 50/50. No?

CUOMO: A nose just hit me in the face.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Stephanie.

CUOMO: All right. So, more good news this morning. American, David Wise, is taking home a gold medal and plenty of pride. Back home here at the United States, he won the halfpipe skiing competition Tuesday with some ridunculous midair moves for Wise. The win represents not just success but vindication after many counted him out when he decided to start a family that sidetracked his career.

Rachel Nichols spoke with the skier and is back with us from Sochi to tell us about it -- Rachel.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, America's newest golden boy, well, he got married before he was 21 years old. He's a youth pastor in his church. As David likes to say, that pretty much makes him a member of the counterculture when it comes to extreme action sports. But he thinks the very things that made him different are the things that helped him win that gold medal. Take a look.


NICHOLS: You are the only person at this Olympics that I have seen so far who has been greeted by giant heads of a baby when coming down for your gold medal run. Tell us what that was.

DAVID WISE, HALFPIPE SKIING GOLD MEDALIST: Oh, man, yes. Well, unfortunately, my daughter, Ali (ph), wasn't able to make it out here with the fam.

NICHOLS: She's 2 1/2.

WISE: She's 2 1/2. Russia was a little bit of a far trip for her. But my wife surprised me and made a big cutout of her face. The first thing I saw, actually, when I landed my first run and looked down to the crowd because I was trying to find my family was this giant cutout of my daughter's face. So, it was pretty cool.

NICHOLS: Yes. And your daughter has really changed your perspective on your sport of all things, which is a strange thing to hear. Oh, I have a baby and start winning a bunch of medals, but what happened?

WISE: Yes. It's funny. People kind of wrote me off when they found out that I was having a kid. I'm young and --

NICHOLS: You're 23?

WISE: Yes, 23. And they're like, wow! OK. That's the end of his competitive career. But for me, it just created this balance in my life.

NICHOLS: Was the stress of competition before, was that too much when you didn't have that balance?

WISE: Yes. I don't know if it was just ironic timing because it was a long road, you know? I remember sitting there watching the X games years in a row and I could do every trick the guy that was winning was doing. And it was just kind of a painful thing for me because it's like, man, why can't I land these runs? I would land ten runs in a row in practice and then go to compete and crash.

I feel like I'm successful now because I've failed so much in the past and learned so much from my mistakes. But it definitely played a part into it when I realized, hey, you know, what people think of me doesn't matter. I have everything I need right here in my family and they love me. And I'm content with that.

And then, I was able to just go out and enjoy skiing and not put so much pressure on myself and then I started riding really well.

NICHOLS: So, here at the Olympics, you had the giant baby head which apparently are what a competitor needs to succeed here.

WISE: Exactly, yes.

NICHOLS: And you also had something special in your pocket. What was it?

WISE: Yes. Another sappy element. I did not realize how much of a silly romantic I was until I got married. I always bring my wife back a little heart shaped rock from wherever I go when we're not together so that she knows I was thinking of her. We have this huge collection on our front porch of all these heart shaped rocks.

So anyways, Lexi, you know, that's kind of become a big part of our story. And she brought me one from Reno. So, a little piece of home for me to carry around in my pocket. And it was just my good luck charm, I guess.


NICHOLS: Guys, there are a lot of people waiting to see what the action sports community does with David, his gold medal and all the attention that he's gotten. He's not the typical representative of their community. There are some people who don't like sort of that he's so different.

So, they're waiting to see, are they really going to go out and market this guy the way they do some of their more sort of cool dude competitors? He's betting that who he is and what he represents is going to be very appealing to a lot of people. I think so, guys. Don't you?

CUOMO: Oh, yes.

BOLDUAN: He's a pretty cool dude in our book, I think.

CUOMO: When he gets here, there are a lot more people who are like him and living their faith and are churched up than the extreme sports type. So, I think he's going to be in good company.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Thanks, Rachel. Great story.



LEMON: Who do you think you are? Churched up.

BOLDUAN: He is churched up. CUOMO: He's churched up.

BOLDUAN: Yes. He is churched up.

Let's take another break.

CUOMO: I feel cool, all of a sudden.

BOLDUAN: Well, you are cool some days.

When we come back from the break, we're going to talk about this, Jordan Davis' death sparked nationwide anger. Now, the verdict from his killer's trial is triggering a debate. We're going to talk to the teen's parents about their son and what comes next. What they want to see happen now?


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. The death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis and the trial of Michael Dunn has sparked a national debate about self-defense laws and race and violence in America. But to Jordan Davis' parents, this starts about what matters most, their son and honoring his legacy.

Joining us now are Jordan Davis' parents, Lucia McBath and Ron Davis. Thank you both for joining us. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances. And while I know you have so much that you want to discuss that matters to people in this debate, I have to start with your son. So many of us have only gotten to know him through how his life was taken but remind us of who was lost. Remind us what made him special, Lucia.

LUCIA MCBATH, MOTHER OF JORDAN DAVIS: Jordan was a fun-loving, very compassionate, sensitive child. He spent a lot of time making friends. He made them very, very easily. I was often amazed how quickly he would make friends. We would be in an environment where we didn't know anybody. Within 10, 15 minutes, "mom, this is my new friend," you know? "I made a new friend."

He was a very genuine personality. He just loved people. He really loved people. I used to say to him all the time, I think you're going to be a social activist or a politician or something because he was always able to bring people together.

CUOMO: Why would you wish that on him?


MCBATH: I know.


CUOMO: Just said he was a good person. He liked people.

(LAUGHTER) CUOMO: You are -- you do not need to be in a position to defend your son. That is patently wrong. However, when I heard that verdict and the assumptions that must be made, whether it's two or three jurors that, well, maybe Michael Dunn did think there was a gun and maybe it did -- they did get rid of it.

That makes assumptions about the kids in the car. What do you want people to know about the kids who were in that car, specifically, your son and the chance that he has a weapon and that they then got rid of it.

RON DAVIS, FATHER OF JORDAN DAVIS: First thing is that, if either of those kids had a weapon or they had trouble with the law if they'd been arrested, it would have all come out in court because, believe me, the defense attorney was digging for something on those children, you know, to victimize the children again. And those were good kids. He found out through digging, he had a private investigator. These were good kids. These kids were not gangsters. They were thugs, as they say.

And so, during the trial, they kept trying to turn it around to prove you're not a thug or prove that you're not a gangster. Why should we have to do that? You know, it's up to you to prove the character of the person that shot my son. They never went to his character. Now, all the things are coming out about his character and what he's done in the past.

You know, we find that he put a gun up to his ex-wife's head and all these other things. So, I think we should stop victimizing the victims at this point.

CUOMO: So, the verdict comes. I know -- I spoke to Angela Corey, the prosecutor. She said they had talked to you. You had your own counsel who prepared you, especially as the deliberations went on that there may be dissatisfaction. When you heard the verdict, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty for missing. We can't decide for killing Jordan. What sense?

MCBATH: We were prepared for that. Definitely counsel had prepared us for that very thing. They had prepared us to -- for the fact that the problem would be Jordan's charge alone. So, we were prepared for that. There again, for us, that's the ambiguity with the law. The jury instructions, including the stand your ground, you know, legislation that all involved, that is the ambiguity.

That is the problem with the law. So, for the jurors, they're having to look at that aspect of their jury instructions and use -- utilize that to make a decision about Jordan.

CUOMO: Now, juror number four comes out. She tries to speak about it. We had a lot of disagreements and we were fighting over it, trying to get it right. We worked very hard. Do you believe the jury simply got it wrong? Do you believe the prosecutor had the wrong strategy or do you believe, I think, suggesting what you were just talking about, that this is about the law and this is about culture. DAVIS: This is the law because the instructions that they give the jury, they have a choice of using, as John Guy said, common sense. Then you look at the law and that's not the same. You know, common sense and the law is not the same thing, unfortunately, because you look at the first charge, first-degree murder. You have to show premeditation. Now, under the law, premeditation could be two or three seconds. Could be premeditation.

CUOMO: Could be getting the gun out of the glove box.

MCBATH: Exactly.

DAVIS: Exactly. So under the law, but to the layman, premeditation is if you go home to get a gun or go in your car separately to get a gun or you plan something. To us, that's premeditation. But to the law, it could be three seconds.

CUOMO: And you say common sense. I'm sure one of the first lessons you had with your son, especially because he's African-American was, hey, if somebody gets on you, get away from it.

DAVIS: Right.

CUOMO: Don't match ugly with ugly. Find the way out of a situation. Don't tell me he hit you first. These are the things.

MCBATH: Exactly.

CUOMO: But in the law, the duty retreat, to find a non-violent way out is removed in Florida. How important do you think that is?

MCBATH: That is the key. That is the most crucial element of the stand-your-ground law because you are giving the criminal the authority, empowering the criminal to do whatever they want to do with no duty to be responsible or accountable for backing away from the confrontation.

CUOMO: Even though the law will stay the same, do you want this retried by Angela Corey?

MCBATH: Yes, we do.

CUOMO: I assume we means both.

DAVIS: We means both. Absolutely.

CUOMO: Even though I know that this has to be horrible for you because every day, you leave that courtroom and there's so much ugliness and hostility and doubt, then you go home and your son is not there.

DAVIS: Right.

CUOMO: What gives you the strength to sit through this again?

DAVIS: Because the world needs to know that Jordan Davis did nothing wrong. This man is guilty of killing our son, of murdering our son. And the law, the way it is now, creates hung juries, you know, and that's what we have here. So, what we want to do is go to Tallahassee. We're going to go to Tallahassee to the state capitol and try to get the stand-your-ground law rewritten.

And we'll probably do that in March because it needs to be rewritten. Had our son been by himself, think about this, Chris. If our son was by himself and there were no witnesses, would he have justice ever? We have witnesses, independent witnesses. We have three boys in the car. We have all types of evidence, but yet, that stand-your-ground instruction always keeps people wondering whether it's guilty or not guilty.

CUOMO: So you guys, as a point of advocacy here, you're dividing and conquering because you have two issues. You have the culture. Why are we so quick to use guns?

MCBATH: Exactly.

CUOMO: Why is that seen as a reasonable reaction to someone without a gun or even if they do have a gun. Why is it our first instinct? And then the law.

DAVIS: Right.


CUOMO: And you want both addressed?

MCBATH: Yes, absolutely. And it has to -- they both have to be addressed because they're both huge components to the entire gun culture in the country. And you can't do one without the other. So, I spend a lot of time with Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America which I've become a national spokesperson for and that is our mission to make sure that we bring to light and expose all of the laws in our nation that are not effective in keeping our citizens safe.

CUOMO: And it won't be easy.


CUOMO: This is one of the really troubling parts. Right now, everybody knows your son's name. But think about what happened after the Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin.

DAVIS: Right.

CUOMO: Big outrage. That was a much tougher case, by the way, for the prosecution than the Michael Dunn case.

DAVIS: Right.

CUOMO: And people say, we want Zimmerman to go away. Make it go away. But what happens when it goes away? Has the law changed? Is the outrage still there for that? No. They're outraged at George Zimmerman, but so -- we're trying to help. The media has to keep talking about these things.