Return to Transcripts main page


Possibly Countering Sanctions; Woman Drives Into Water With Kids; Teen's Parents Don't Have to Pay

Aired March 5, 2014 - 08:00   ET



JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: None of their weapons will be used against Ukraine except in self-defense.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news: face off over Ukraine. John Kerry meeting with his Russian counterpart just hours from now, as Russia moves to seize U.S. assets if sanctions are levied. We're live with the latest.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Caught on tape, a terrifying scene at the beach. A mother drives into the ocean with her children trapped inside. Bystanders frantically try to save them. How did the family end up there to begin with?

CUOMO: Denied. The daughter suing her parents for cutting it off won't get support payments. But it ain't over yet. The judge yet to rule whether the parents can be forced to pay for college. The raging debate this morning.

Your NEW DAY continues right now.


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

BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome once again to NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, March 5th, 8:00 in the East.

And the entire world is waiting to see if Russian President Vladimir Putin will expand his invasion of Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russia's foreign minister in Paris. They are set to meet three hours from now. He met earlier with world leaders to discuss the current state of the crisis and he's making it clear that he fears Putin will widen Russia's military operation in Crimea.

CUOMO: Right now, Russian choppers are flying over every corner of Crimea and Russian trucks are positioning troops throughout the peninsula. The White House is trying to put pressure on Putin to de- escalate the crisis. President Obama is working the phones with the German chancellor and other world lead towers to find a resolution.

Now, we have the story covered as only CNN can. We have reporters on the ground every where this story is happening in key spots of the Ukraine, Moscow and Washington.

Let's get to CNN White House correspondent Michele Kosinski for more -- Michelle.


A lot of tough talk over these last few days. Secretary of State John Kerry, and today, U.K.'s prime minister saying nothing is off the table in terms of response to Russia's action. But Vladimir Putin has said he has all options on the table in his response to the West.

The problem now and focus today is getting Russia to come to the table and talk to these other nations, the U.S., U.K. and Ukraine instead of talking at them. Although Kerry and others present in Paris this morning expressed disappointment that Russia did not show up for the morning session. Although the Russian foreign minister did tweet that he would be there.

So, afternoon talks are scheduled but already some doubts are being expressed. U.S. former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates saying he's not optimistic. This morning the U.K.'s foreign secretary saying he's not optimistic about the outcome.

But that this group in Paris would use every diplomatic opportunity to try to find a resolution to the crisis and this would be a test to see if Russia is, indeed, prepared to sit down and talk to Ukraine -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Michelle, Washington can plan but Vladimir Putin seems to be driving the situation. His latest move not a step towards but away. Russian politicians ordering up a new law that allow Russia to seize assets of European and U.S. companies if threatened sanctions are put in place.

Phil Black is in Moscow this morning -- Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, that's what we're hearing about this morning, possible plans being put into place in the event that the United States and Europe does enforce economic sanctions against Russia. This draft legislation which has been put together by members of Russian parliament would allow for the seizure of money, of property, of many of the large multinational American companies that have invested billions of dollars in this economy over the last 20 years or so trying to get a slice of the market as it has moved from communism to capitalism.

It would be a dramatic move but recent history shows that it is not the beyond the relative humidity of possibility because Russia likes to respond in a way that it describes asymmetrical. When U.S. Congress passed legislation designed to punish human rights abuses here, the response here in Russia immediately was to pass legislation banning the adoption of Russian orphans by American families. It kicked in so quickly that many of the applications already underway with parents that had already met children were simply not allowed to take those children back home to the United States.

It is a sign that gives a sense of just how Russia is prepared to respond when it believes it's sovereignty is under attack.

Back to you, John -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Phil, I'll take that. Thanks so much. Let's now go from Russia back over to Ukraine.

Let's bring in CNN's Anderson Cooper who is live in Kiev.

Anderson, you've been on the ground. You have been talking to a lot of Ukrainians who are living this. While these high level talks are happening in Paris how is the situation on the ground changed if at all?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN'S "AC360" ANCHOR: Certainly in Kiev, it has not changed. The protesters here in the square are still here. All eyes are on the situation in Crimea where the military situation really seems to have stabilized I guess you could say although certainly not by any means, as Chris reported earlier today, Russian troops in control of Crimea. Ukrainian troops on their bases.

We saw that confrontation yesterday between unarmed Ukrainian troops moving towards armed Russian forces, Russian forces who fired in the air. That's sort of the one of the more dramatic developments on the ground in Crimea.

But the situation seems to have stabilized and the focus is on the diplomatic efforts. As you know, Secretary of State John Kerry was here yesterday. He came to the square to pay his respects before meeting with the Ukrainian leaders. U.S. considering obviously what sort of sanctions if any they would start to impose on Russia.

France's foreign minister tweeted out earlier today that unless the situation de-escalates, that they would consider sanctions tomorrow. In France, there's a whole range of trade sanctions and economic sanctions that could be put in place against Russia.

But as you already heard from Phil Black in Moscow, Russia already responding, saying they would start to look into seizing assets of U.S. businesses and European businesses in Russia. So, a tit-for-tat response from Russia.

The big question is, will the Russian foreign minister meet with Ukrainian counterpart in Paris? That seems very much in doubt and that could really give a sense of whether or not this crisis is starting to de-escalate and we should know that in a few hours.

BOLDUAN: John Kerry said he does fear and waiting to see if Vladimir Putin wants to or will make moves to expand its invasion in Ukraine. It makes he had wonder clearly from the perspective of Ukrainians in Kiev is different from that in Crimea. That's definitely become clear. Do you get the sense from Ukrainians no matter how this is resolved, unclear as well, that Crimea is likely to be gone, likely to be no longer in Ukrainian control? Are Ukrainians going that far yet?

COOPER: No. I mean, certainly, everybody we talked to here in Kiev talked about a unified Ukraine. You have people in the square now, young men, old men, who are talking about willing to fight in order to keep Crimea as part of Ukraine. Whether or not that happens, it seems -- you don't hear a lot of people talking about Crimea becoming independent, becoming a separate country or becoming part of Russia.

It's not even clear, frankly, that Russia wants Crimea to become part of Russian territory but it is very possible. There could be a referendum in Crimea in the coming weeks and they grant themselves a greater autonomy from the central government in Kiev. And that's sort of more of a federalist system. That could very easily happen and would not be a huge surprise to people here in Kiev. Certainly, the desire for people here is to keep this country united.

BOLDUAN: And do folks think sanctions -- obviously, we need to know how binding they are -- is sanctions enough to force Vladimir Putin to de-escalate, to calm things down a little bit?

COOPER: Well, there's certainly the hope here that those sanctions would be. I don't think there's many people here believe there's a military solution to this.

Look, no matter what happens, based on geography alone, Ukraine has to deal with Russia. You can't move the country. So, no matter what happens down the road, Ukraine is going to be dealing with Russia.

They have enormous trade between the nations obviously gas pipelines from Russia run through Ukraine. There's no separating the two. It's a question of what sort of relations they have, how close relations have.

And though there are many here more oriented towards the West, more oriented towards the European Union, just a matter of geography alone guarantees that there's going to be this relationship, the exact nature of it is really being tested and will be decided in the coming days and weeks.

BOLDUAN: As you say, Anderson, all eyes on Crimea, but as well on these high level talks happening in Paris to see who will be meeting and what will come with it. Anderson Cooper on the ground for us in Kiev. Thanks, Anderson.


CUOMO: Please stay with us for the latest as it happens in Ukraine. But there is other news for you to watch this morning.

Let's get to John Berman for those stories.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Chris. We have some breaking news out of Detroit -- a huge fire at an apartment building on the city's west side. One part of the building just destroyed, smoke visible for miles. Some people were forced to jump from the three-story building in their pajamas. No word yet on any injuries.

Firefighters are also battling the elements. Temperatures in Detroit are just in teens this morning.

Also breaking this morning, in the Middle East, Israeli forces intercepted an Iranian shipment of advanced weapons that Israel said were bound for terrorists in Gaza. Israeli navy stopped the ship in the Red Sea and boarded with the consent of the crew. They found Syria manufactured surface-to-surface rockets which that Israel says would have put residents in danger up to 100 miles away from Gaza.

A day after revealing his budget to address income inequality, President Obama is taking his message to school. He will be joined by governors from four states at Central Connecticut State University to push for a higher minimum wage. The president is proposing $10.10 an hour, up from the current $7.25.

In what may be the first real test of the 2014 mid-term elections, voters in Texas dealt Tea Party groups something of a setback. The Republican establishment showing its strength for Senator John Cornyn fairly easy beating back Tea Party-backed Congressman Steve Stockman and Congressman Pete Sessions defeated his Tea Party challenger as well.

In the primary races for governor, Democratic voters chose State Senator Wendy Davis who made her mark opposing Texas' abortion law and Republicans picked the current state attorney general, Greg Abbott.

The latest rewrite of the federal health care rules may let Americans keep their old insurance plans even longer. This is according to "The Washington Post". Insurance industry officials familiar with the plan said the extension lasts for at least a year maybe up to three years. This is the second time in four months that Obama administration officials have adjusted their Affordable Care Act rules -- Chris.

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

Here's a question for you. What made a mother reportedly drive into the ocean with her kids in the car?

Terrifying scene caught on camera as well as acts of heroism that followed. The mom and kids made it out alive. This morning the question, was this attempted murder, mental illness?

Tory Dunnan takes a look for us.


TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right. So, Chris, that's what investigators are carefully looking into this morning. Some witnesses describe seeing the woman drive the minivan into the water. Then as you'll see, bystanders jumped into action, trying to catch up with the car as it went further and further into the ocean.


DUNNAN (voice-over): A terrifying scene. Watch as this minivan is surrounded by water. A pregnant woman and her three young children are trapped inside, as the situation grows more and more dangerous.

One of the men who went into the water to rescue the family spoke to CNN affiliate WESH 2 News.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had this look on her face. I can't describe it -- just an awful blank look, like spaced outlook. And a kid on her lap on the steering wheel. And the two in the backseat was crying, with their arms saying, "Our mommy's trying to kill us, please help."

DUNNAN: Witnesses claimed the mother left the vehicle as waves began to crash into the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw her out the window and the kids are still in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw a kid in the back, like waving his arms around, like screaming, help, help us.

DUNNAN: One rescuer seen here carrying two of the children out of the water, as another jumps out of the nearly submerged vehicle with the third child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Watching them carry the kids out of the van was very emotional. Waves were pounding into the water and down until it submerged.

DUNNAN: The rough water quickly overtook the van, after according to some witnesses, the mother allegedly drove it into the ocean.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started to go down pretty quick. I mean, she went straight into the water.

DUNNAN: Investigators are looking into how this happened, telling WFTV that the South Carolina mother was incoherent when rescued and would not speak to them about the incident.


DUNNAN: Police say the children are 3, 9 and 10 years old. They were taken to a nearby hospital to get checked out but we're told that they are doing okay. Chris and Kate, the woman who was driving is said to be undergoing a mental health evaluation. Important to point out these were scary moments but impressive those people jumped in the ocean to get everybody out.

BOLDUAN: Yes, because you have no idea exactly how that would have turned out if they didn't.

Tory, thank you very much for that. It is still cold out there. We don't need to tell you that. It's expected to warm up any time soon? For that let's go to our meteorologist Indra Petersons --

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Who finally has some good news, right?

I mean, yesterday was bad enough. Record lows for the entire month of March were all set yesterday. Not a good place to start, right? So, finally, today breathe a little bit easier because we are going to be warming up, guys. Not just in the Midwest.

Take a look, temperatures climbing but now I'll drop you into the Northeast, as we go towards the weekend even more importantly going to be seeing above -- yes, above-normal temperatures. This has been a long time since I've been able to see that, even some 50s in the forecast.

Now, it doesn't mean we're talking about any rain or snow. In the Midwest, you've seen some light flurries, even towards the northeast tonight. Of course, below the jet stream where it's warmer, some rain is out there. This is key because we'll be watching that.

Yes, in the Southeast your temperatures are milder since they are warmer than us but cooling off below average. We're watching a, low a low system continuing to bring some showers. We have to track it again, where does this guy go close to the coastline, a wintry mix for the weekend stays off the coastline. Of course, things are smooth sailing.

So, we're hoping for smooth sailing but we don't know yet either way warmer, so it doesn't matter. I'm sticking with it all day long. I'm going with it.

BOLDUAN: Small jump in temperature even if it's like two degrees I'll take it.

BERMAN: Take it.

PETERSONS: I was going to small -- 50 is not small. It's good now, Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's true. Small jump in temperature even if it's like two degrees, I'll take it.

CUOMO: Take it.

PETERSONS: Small. Fifty is not small. That's good now. OK.


BOLDUAN: That's true

CUOMO: I always like the rule make up a story and then stick to it.

PETERSONS: I'm sticking to it. Right or wrong. (LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: Doesn't matter if it's true or not.

Coming up on NEW DAY, raising a teen can be tough. We all know that, but wow! An 18-year-old New Jersey honor student suing her parents for child support and tuition after moving out of their house for not wanting to listen to their rules. What a judge have to say about this?

BOLDUAN: And hundreds of Americans die each year in high-speed police chases. Now, Supreme Court is taking it up hearing a case that could put serious limits on police when a criminal is getting away.


CUOMO: "You respect my rules while you live in my house. You come home when I ask you to, you do your homework, you respect your mother and father and your siblings. And if not, you find your own damn way to college." Sound familiar? A lot of dialogues between parents and teens go that way. But how about this one? "Oh, yes. I'm going to move out. I'm not going to listen to you, and then, I'm going to sue you and you're going to be forced to pay for my college. How do you like that mom and dad?"

That is exactly what's going on in a New Jersey courtroom right now, and by the way, it made it into court. It got a ruling from a judge, and, the most important party, and you're going to be forced to pay for college has been set aside. How did this get to this point for this family? How did it get to this point in the legal system, to defense?

We're going to bring in Attorney Mel Robbins, defense attorney. That's why we're bringing her in. Mel, you are better looking, you are smarter, and a better lawyer, but I will go against you today and I will take the prosecution side of this. I will take the kid's side in this debate, but from the outset, how do you see the situation?

MEL ROBBINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, I think, first of all, a lot of us, you're a parent, I'm a parent, it's just sad, Chris, and it's also kind of scary to see that a family feud could unravel this quickly. And I like you find it surprising that it even made it to court, Chris. I mean, the question here, as you know, is whether or not she's going to be deemed emancipated.

And in the state of New Jersey, I know you this, in 1995, there was a case that said that when a child moves beyond the sphere of influence and responsibility exercised by the parent and they obtain an independent status of their own, the parents are no longer responsible for them, and in this case, she moved out. Case closed. The parents have said she can come back, Chris, so I don't see why this is even an issue.

CUOMO: Well, Mel, we are in court and, therefore, for a reason. There was some legal sufficiency and it could be two things. One, it could be just what we call in the legal business equity, fairness that this judge feels that he's going to help this family through this, that's part of his purview, his mandate as a judge at the court (ph) he's in. And also, there is this suggestion of law that somewhat unique in New Jersey that when you have a divorce case or in the realm of family law --


CUOMO: -- that in figuring out what you owe to the child as one of the divorcing spouses, you must keep them in the style to which they're accustomed. So, constructively, this kid could be arguing you got me used to this lifestyle, you made promises, you must now support it even if you don't want to, you're legally bound to it.

Now, you would dismiss it out of hand, but the judge did not, Mel. He's reserving on that until we see what happens with the college applications and whether the parents decide to use this college account for the kid or not.

ROBBINS: Well, she's already been accepted to four schools, including one that gave her $20,000 scholarship. And you know, you do raise an absolutely accurate point, Chris, about the fact that they're looking at this law around divorce case, but this isn't a divorce. This is a case where this kid got fed up with her parents because they told her to break up with her boyfriend and she didn't like the rules and she moved out under her own will.

And the other thing that kind of bugs me about this case and this really isn't the legal piece, it's more of the human piece, is what's up with this other family? I understand maybe you house somebody for four months, but now, they've gone and paid $12,000 to front her defense? There is something really weird about that to me.

CUOMO: Mel, let's pretends you didn't just say that, and then I'll say this. Mel, what I want to know is what's going on with this other family, because I think that there may be a different lawsuit here for tortious interference with family contract that you should have the family of this girl go after this other one because it seems there's a motivation here. She's living with the family. They're paying for her legal defense, which seems like something that nobody would want to promote.

So, the question becomes what is this really about? And by extension, Mel, the question to you, when is it right for a court to intervene in a family situation like this and when is it unnecessary or inappropriate?

ROBBINS: Great question. I mean, I think unfortunately, Chris, and you kind of gave a nod to this earlier in our discussion, the bottom line is these people cannot figure it out on their own, and unfortunately, it's unraveled to the point where the court is going to step in, and luckily, this guy, the judge seems to be more like Judge Judy who's ruling from common sense and basically saying, this would be a terrible precedent, because I know for me, we put a cell phone contract in front of our 15-year-old two nights ago and if she could have lawyered up against Chris and I, she probably would have. And so, parents need to be able to do the right thing which is give your kids guidelines, set down the rules. And also, Chris, I think it's really important to remind everybody this is a kid that was going down a slippery slope. She had been suspended twice from school. She had lost her position on the Christian youth group. She had lost her captainship of the cheerleading squad and she had been caught drinking.

So, the parents did what anybody is supposed to do. They basically set down the rules and the kids said, really? I'm done. I'm going over to my friend's house where the dad which I find to be really weird is going to front my legal defense against you. The poor parents are weeping in court. They miss their kid and you got the daughter and I know you saw this too, Chris, sitting there just smug, yawning in court. I thought these poor parents.

CUOMO: She looked -- she's a kid so you got to dismiss a lot of what she shows emotionally or not. Everybody will understand that. I'm not joking when I say that in civil court, you can sue for a lot of things. And if this made it to a judge, I wonder if the family going after the other one for promoting this behavior and the teen is not something that we may hear about later.

But ultimately, I think the reason we're so intrigued by this, Mel, and we'll end with your take on this, is that it seems to be a little reflection of what may be going wrong in some places in America. I'm not judging this family. They seem to be trying really hard at least on the parents' side but that the sense of entitlement with kids. Is this the new bar of culture that we're seeing betrayed here? Your thoughts.

ROBBINS: You know, I agree with you, Chris. I've heard you talk about this a lot on NEW DAY. And, this is a troubling trend. It reminded me a little bit of that case where the kid didn't go jail in the DUI case because he was raised to not understand his consequences. Yes. Exactly. Great seeing you, Chris.

CUOMO: Mel, a great pleasure. You made better points. Nobody surprised by that, but it was an important conversation to have.

ROBBINS: Not true. The tortious thing was terrific.

CUOMO: Right? That was good. You said it first, but whatever.

All right. So, what do you think? Tweet us with the #NEWDAY. An important conversation to have -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, President Obama unveils his budget for 2015. And with that, Republicans criticize it. They don't like it. They called it a campaign document including Congressman Paul Ryan. He's going to be joining us to talk about that and much more. Many issues with the congressman coming up.

Also this, we're all glued to our television screens when car chases are on. But now, the Supreme Court is taking a look at one pursuit that left two people dead. Do officers deserve immunity or do they use too much force?


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. Time now for the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.


BERMAN (voice-over): Number one, secretary of state, John Kerry, expected to meet with Russia's foreign minister in just over two hours trying to find a way to end this crisis in the Ukraine.

President Obama is taking his push for a higher minimum wage to Connecticut today. He'll be joined by four regional governors as he pushes for a bump up to $10.10.

Day three of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial now wrapped up. The "Blade Runner's" legal team grilled a neighbor trying to show that some witnesses have tailored their testimony to match up with others.