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Interview with Representative Ed Royce; Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial Underway; Oscar Pistorius Trial Begins; Oscar Fashion: The Fab and Drab

Aired March 3, 2014 - 08:30   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Time now for the "Five Things to Know" for your NEW DAY.

At number one, one word, Ukraine. Armed men stormed a weapons depot in border post this morning and Russian troops are in control of the southern peninsula Crimea. Secretary of State John Kerry making the trip over there. He will be in Kiev tomorrow. The eastern U.S. dealing with another bout of cold, wet misery. The D.C. area is expected to bear the brunt of a monster storm today. Two people have already been killed in weather related accident, one in Arkansas, the other Oklahoma.

Oscar Pistorius pleading not guilty this morning to murder charges. The former Olympian's trial is under way in South Africa. He admits he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year but claims he thought she was an intruder.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with President Obama today at the White House. They'll discuss Iran's nuclear program and progress in peace talks with the Palestinians.

The powerful drama "12 Years a Slave" won Best Picture at Sunday's Academy Awards. The Best Actor trophy went to Matthew McConaughey for the "Dallas Buyers Club" while Cate Blanchett earned the Oscar for her Best Actress turn in "Blue Jasmine".

We, of course, are always updating the "Five Things to Know," so go to -- for the very latest -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kate. Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Ukraine later today. The pressure is growing on the Obama administration.

What can the president do to rein in Russia if anything?

We're joined now by -- Republican congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to help us take a closer look at the politics of the crisis in Ukraine.

Congressman, thank you very much for joining us. Let me set the table for you. OK. The president said to Putin, there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine, OK. That was the threat. That was the line, so to speak. To harken us back to Syria but I think there's a relevance context there.

Military option from the U.S. not real. Kicking Russia out of the G-8 doesn't seem to scare Russia's Vladimir Putin. So the question becomes what is United States best leverage to help control the situation which went from don't invade to now don't advance, please?

REP. ED ROYCE (R-CA), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE CHAIR: Well, I think that's the important question there. How do we get some leverage, exert some leverage here, and I think it has to be financial. It has to recognize that the Achilles heel for Russia is their economy, the ruble.

What can we do to sort of set up a scenario where we lead, get the Europeans involved and say to the state-run banks in Russia, either you cooperate here or the sanctions we will impose will create economic chaos in Russia? What can we do in terms of the credits that Russia needs and the trade that Russia needs with the West?

But here the administration will be put to the test, because the Poles and the Czechs are already upset with the administration for pulling out our anti-ballistic missile defensive program that we were working on with them. That gave us some real credibility with the Russians because we were setting up a program there to help defend Europe and the United States against Iran.

The fact that we signaled that we were willing to do that in the face of Russian pressure makes the administration look weak. So at this point we have to lead and we have to rally Europe around a series of steps that would actually impact the Russians economically.

CUOMO: All right, so --

ROYCE: Sanctions against state-owned banks.

CUOMO: So it gets us then to the this further question of how -- you make a great point of bringing up a historical context for Putin's perhaps confidence. That when he was able to stop that defense system being put up in that part of Europe, people will forget how outspoken he was about that. Maybe it gave him an idea that down the road he could work a little bit more aggressively.

So you get these sanctions. We see world markets today responding very negatively to this. So there's some pressure. The ruble, you mentioned, is taking a beating right now. So what can you do economically, and what have you anticipated -- because Vladimir Putin must know this, he must know you're going to go to his pocket, so how do you think about what you can do that he's not ready for?

ROYCE: Well, one of the things I think about is the vote in the Upper House in Russia. That vote in favor of this aggressive posture of intervention, military force, was something like 80 out of 166. Clearly the Russians are of mixed mind here about how far they could go -- should go. And so one of the things we want to do is increase the wait. So not only should we work with Europe on this economic point but in the meantime in the Security Council right now we should be moving a resolution which would probably have the support of the entire international community except for maybe Russia.

Make Russia veto it. Make Russia isolate itself diplomatically and economically. At that point they have to begin to -- to weigh the cost and at that point they might begin to look at a way out or a way to cut a deal to keep them in their base in Sebastopol, you know, in Crimea, for their fleet, but would stop them from escalating into the eastern Ukraine, which I think is what we're all concerned about right now is an additional challenge here.

CUOMO: Now in a fair analysis, putting U.S. domestic politics aside, is it fair to set this up as a binary proposition where it's Putin versus Obama, or do you believe this really is about the coalition that the only way it gets fixed is through NATO, is through the western alliance and the U.S. helping push that but not being all about singular action?

ROYCE: Well, I think I would take NATO off the table there. But I would say it's in cooperation with the Europeans. I met last evening with our Treasury Secretary Lew to talk about some of the steps we could take. We're going to have a hearing in my committee on Thursday.

We're going to have officials from the administration, from Treasury, from State Department, and we're going to talk about some of the steps that we might be able to take jointly with the Senate in order to sort of bolster the position of the Ukrainian government in this because that also is part of the equation, isn't it?

We need to give some confidence to Ukraine, to sort of come together and to show the support of Europe. Now most of the support is going to come from Europe but some of the backstop here will be from the United States, some of the loan guarantees. So on Thursday we'll have that hearing and try to send that message that the United States in a bipartisan way is going to try to strengthen our commitment to work with Europe to bolster Ukraine.

CUOMO: And that does seem to be the most important step right now, the stronger the government gets in Ukraine the less they need help from the outside.

Congressman, thank you very much. Good luck with the foreign affairs work there. We know you're the chairman. There's a lot of big questions in front of you. Thanks for joining us on NEW DAY.

ROYCE: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, blade runner Oscar Pistorius' murder trial gets under way. We're going to take you inside the South African courtroom for the very latest in this legal fight.

Also, which A-lister wore it best? Our favorites and maybe not-so favorites in Oscar fashion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. A major trial under way this morning in South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee Olympian who's been known as blade runner, he's accused of murdering his model girlfriend. This morning for the first time we are hearing from key witnesses in this case.

CNN's Robyn Curnow is live in Pretoria following all of the developments.

Robyn, why are they calling this the trial of the century there?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, that's what they called the O.J. Simpson trial in the last century and of course for the South Africans this is the most high-profile trial that this court has seen no doubt. Also, remember, it's the first time a criminal trial has been televised in South African legal history. And of course put that all together with the fact that this is a game, the dramatic story of a sportsman's fall from grace.

So all of that perhaps plays into this. But let's work on the assumption like in America that a man is innocent until proven guilty and that's what we're seeing in that courtroom today. Day one, some dramatic opening statements from the defense and also, again, a very tough grilling cross-examination of the first witness by Oscar Pistorius' legal team. They are determined to prove him innocent.

Let's take a look at how the day began.


CURNOW (voiceover): Walking through throngs of international media on hand for what's being called South Africa's trial for the century. A much different type of attention for the man who won hearts as the brave Olympic winner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you plead?


CURNOW: Inside court, Oscar appears to face charges of premeditated murder in the death of his 29-year-old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp a little over a year ago on Valentine's Day 2013.

PEET VAN ZYL, PISTORIUS' AGENT: Just had this voice of a girl frantically on the other side, shouting, please, you have to rush over here, you have come to Oscar's house. Trying to make sense of what's wrong. No, no, someone's shot, someone's shot. So I initially thought it was Oscar that had been shot. No, no, no, no, Reeva's been shot.

CURNOW: The events that unfolded that night inside Pistorius' home will be scrutinized by both the judge and the media in the coming weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the time of the tragic accident which led to Reeva's death, we were in a loving relationship. CURNOW: Pistorius maintains it was a tragic mistake, claiming he believed Steenkamp was an intruder. In an affidavit, he said, "I grabbed my 9mm pistol from underneath my bed and fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police."

GERRIE NEL, PROSECUTION LAWYER: The gunshot wounds sustained by the deceased were inflicted by the accused.

CURNOW: But the state says he aimed to murder. The ballistics, the blood splatter and evidence from witnesses they say will prove that.

After staying away from Pistorius' previous court appearances, Reeva Steenkamp's mother June vowed to face the man charged with her daughter's death. The family says they are looking for closure.

MIKE STEENKAMP, REEVA'S UNCLE: It's not about the court case. It's about Reeva and Reeva can never be part of it.


CURNOW: Ok. Another key comment made by the defense in this court behind me today, they say that the scene where Reeva Steenkamp was shot was contaminated, disturbed and crucially tampered with by police. You're going to hear a lot about that in the next few days and weeks ahead. Back to you guys.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: And it's just starting. Robyn thank you very much for that.

We're going to take another break though. Coming up next on NEW DAY, it's the most anticipated red carpet event of the year. So were there hits? What were the misses? We're going to take a look at all of the red carpet fashions from the Oscars.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN HOST: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We are on the West Coast. We're in Hollywood -- just outside Hollywood in Beverly Hills, live at the Montage, Beverly Hills.

Now it's time to talk fashion. It's what I know you've been wanting to hear about. The good, the bad, some might say the ugly. I don't know. It was an amazing night of Oscar fashion.

I brought two of the best here to break it all down with me. The hits, maybe some misses. We have the Joes -- I have two cup of Joes for you today. I have Joe Katz and Joe Zee. Joe Katz is a stylist. Joe Zee is the creative director of "Elle Magazine" so you should know what you're talking about. And you knew what you were looking for -- Joe.

Let's start with you Joe Zee. Give me your top three and who is your fave?

JOE ZEE, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, "ELLE MAGAZINE": Ok. Well, number three, I'll tell you I love Julia Roberts. PEREIRA: She looked great.

ZEE: You know I think she showed up at the Globes in sort of a debatable outfit which I personally loved but I loved the custom (inaudible) she had on last night. You know it had a slight peplum. It had that brocade, it was so beautiful. Almost what a modern day Audrey Hepburn would wear.

PEREIRA: How beautiful -- what a great -- ok, number two?

ZEE: Jessica Biel.

PEREIRA: Knock out. Knock out.

ZEE: You know, I know she was just presenting last night but she was wearing Chanel couture. Elegant again -- you know she had that sort of Veronica Lake hair. To me it was absolutely stunning.

PEREIRA: If you're on the stage you have to bring it. Who's your number one pick?

ZEE: Number one, I mean come on -- Camelot -- Angelina. Look at her. I mean that whole sort of metallic beading was really big last night. And I just love seeing her really embody that. It was sexy but elegant and it didn't feel vulgar. And I love that sort of sheer shimmer as she walked.

PEREIRA: Now, other Joe -- you thought that Angelina didn't bring it as much as she normally does.

JOE KATZ, STYLIST: Oh no. It's a fight between the Joes. No, she -- I thought she looked really beautiful. My favorite, though, I thought Jennifer Lawrence looked so beautiful.

PEREIRA: In that red.

KATZ: It was just like so stunning with that just that pop and it just had that little peplum --

PEREIRA: Very feminine --

KATZ: -- and very feminine. But it's like for the red carpet I wanted to see color and I just wanted to see that -- really that gorgeous pop. I thought it was simply --

PEREIRA: Give me your other two favorites.

KATZ: The other one I loved was -- I loved Kate Hudson.

PEREIRA: She was beautiful. That's one thing you see -- a little nod to --

KATZ: A little nod to the 70s.

PEREIRA: -- the Hustle.

KATZ: Like the Hustle -- "American Hustle".

PEREIRA: Right exactly.

KATZ: I thought it was just so beautiful and I just loved that which is elegant with that little cape that came off. It was just -- that was just one of my favorites.

PEREIRA: Last but not least?

KATZ: Last but not least, I'm going to have to think really hard --

PEREIRA: Let's give you a few --

KATZ: I loved Charlize.

PEREIRA: Oh my goodness.

KATZ: Charlize looked amazing.

PEREIRA: She's kind of perfection.

KATZ: She just looked gorgeous. I love how it was just elegant, Hollywood, loved the beautiful jewels -- you know, just so elegant.

PEREIRA: Was it a return to old Hollywood glamour? I felt like it was a little bit. Do you think overall or no?

KATZ: I think so.


ZEE: I mean I think the Oscars is always the perfect, you know, hot place for that. I think people find it's a time because, you know, you have to be a little more conservative. You don't want to end up on the worst dress list.

PEREIRA: And as for worst -- we were struggling to put together. There weren't a lot of missteps yesterday.

ZEE: No. Not at all. We struggled to look for that because listen that's good fodder for us.


KATZ: Yes, some of them I just felt like, you know, a lot of them really did save things. They worked with stylist. I style people here in Beverly Hills and I want to make sure that they look great.

PEREIRA: Ok, give me one misstep. I know you don't like to put somebody on the spot.

KATZ: One misstep -- I would say like Sally Hawkins could have just a little bit more -- it felt like the gown that kind of took her --

PEREIRA: It wore her.

KATZ: Yes.

ZEE: Yes.

KATZ: It was just a little too much for her.

PEREIRA: Right. She's a petite woman.

KATZ: She's petite. She's small. It covered her up so much -- she could have shown a little bit more.

PEREIRA: Back to the positive.

Let's talk about the gentlemen because I think this was a year that the men really stood out. Not just basic black tuxedos. Joe Zee what did you think?

ZEE: I agree with you. First of all, let's look at the two big winners, Jared and Matthew. I mean white dinner jacket.

PEREIRA: Right. Did they plan it?

ZEE: I mean maybe. Maybe that's a good luck charm. We're going to have men all in white jackets wanting to win next year. But I think it looked so sharp. There's sort of a "Downton Abbey" feel about it.


ZEE: But it's not very modern. I mean there was like a rock n roll especially with Jared wearing it.

PEREIRA: That's true. And then we also saw navy blue.

KATZ: Yes, yes, yes. You know who I felt looked really good was Jason Sudeikis.

PEREIRA: Jason Sudeikis is --

ZEE: Yes, isn't he great? He looked great in the blue.


PEREIRA: So overall, I think what grade would you give the Oscar fashion this year? A, B, C -- what do you think?

KATZ: I would give it an A. I thought they did really good.

ZEE: I'd give an A to A plus.

PEREIRA: A plus?

ZEE: It was a very good year.

PEREIRA: And I'm not just trying to put rose colored glasses on. But I'm kind of with them guys. It was a very good Oscar fashion year. Tweet us at newday -- #NEWDAY if you want to give a little commentary of your own. I know you had your favorites. Joe and Joe I'm telling you I had double cup of Joe this morning. It was fantastic.

Hey, Chris -- I know that Chris wasn't so worried about the fashion but Kate do you agree with the gentlemen?

BOLDUAN: I do agree. I had my list. Kate Hudson, Charlize Theron -- I think they looked stunning. Not like they could -- they could wear a burlap sack and they would look stunning. That goes without saying but --

KATZ: Exactly.

PEREIRA: They really pulled it off -- (inaudible), by the way, looked brilliant in that pink.

BOLDUAN: Yes, absolutely.

CUOMO: I'll deny that stereotype, by the way. I thought Angela Bassett looked great.


CUOMO: 55 looks like she's 35. Bright orange, sheer dress -- loved it.

Coming up it's the inspirational hit of the year. Pharrell's happy, but its singer is also an inspiration. Also "The Good Stuff" for what he did for one other person, a little boy.


CUOMO: That was Pharrell last night performing his big hit "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2". So cool, he can make that Smokey the Bear (inaudible) hat hot. But it's his performance for just one person that's going to make him "The Good Stuff".

Damon Billett (ph) he's a fourth grader from San Antonio -- recently got some rough news, an aggressive form of bone cancer. And to keep his spirits up, he's been using Pharrell's "Happy" as his theme song. Damon's dad thought Pharrell would want to know so he called in a favor with a friend in the biz.

Take a listen.


MARK LANDIS: And he asked me if there's anyway I could pull some favors and call my friends in the music business. They contacted Pharrell's manager who contacted Pharrell who was on a plane from London to L.A.


CUOMO: Now, as unlikely as it may be, they thought they'd get an autograph from Pharrell or maybe something like that. No they got a personal message. You're looking at it. Take a listen.


PHARRELL WILLIAMS, MUSICIAN: Damon Pharrell here. I was just briefed about your story. Remember what the present's do is it's a gift. And your life is just beginning but dude prepare yourself for your great story because you're starting to write it right now. All the best.


CUOMO: It was deep and it was atypical and he did it for this kid and he did with it the hat on. Pharrell also offered Damon concert tickets whenever he wants them. He did a nice thing for a kid that matters and he did it in the right way.

BOLDUAN: The right way -- it was perfect. Absolutely perfect and a good reason for "The Good Stuff".


BOLDUAN: Now before we go this morning we must take a moment to remember a member of our NEW DAY family, Lateef Mungin passed away this weekend -- a beloved writer for our NEW DAY blog. Lateef was 41 years old and leaves behind his a wife and two little girls. He will most certainly be missed.

We couldn't leave the show without saying good-bye to him.

CUOMO: Our thoughts go to his family. He'll be with the show forever.

It's time for a special edition of "NEWSROOM." Thanks for watching us on NEWDAY. We turn you over to Mr. Wolf Blitzer. What's happening?