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California Chrome Co-Owner Disses Belmont Winner; Snag in Clippers Deal?; Bergdahl Kept in Shark Cage for Weeks; Truck Driver Charged in Tracy Morgan Crash; Pope Francis Hosts Historic Prayers; Feds Dropping Undocumented Children in Arizona Facility

Aired June 8, 2014 - 06:00   ET



STEVE COBURN, CO-OWNER, CALIFORNIA CHROME: Those 20 horses that start in Kentucky are the only 20 available -- eligible to run in all three races. This is the coward's way out.

CYNDI WHITMORE, PHOENIX RESTORATION PROJECT: We started seeing families dropped off, including, you know, children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our country paid a serious price, a heavy price to get Bowe Bergdahl back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Come on, somebody, that is worth a Pentecostal shout down.


CHRISTI PAUL, CO-HOST: A plethora of things there to talk about this morning. And we're so glad that you're waking up at 6 a.m. I know that it's early, but we're glad you're here. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CO-HOST: I'm Victor Blackwell. Three a.m. out on the West Coast, so they're just coming in. They're coming in. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY. Good to have you with us.

PAUL: Yes. Well, it was his horse that was supposed to be in the limelight, darn it.

BLACKWELL: Supposed to be.

PAUL: Wrapped in the white carnations, enshrined in history as only the 12th winner of horse racing's coveted Triple Crown.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but instead one of California Chrome's owners, Steve Coburn, is the at the center of controversy this morning, blasting the sport after his colt fell short in his quest for glory.

PAUL: Winning last night's Belmont Stakes, Tonalist, ridden by Joel Rosario, who was able to pass Commissioner at the line to win by a head. Neither of the top two had run in the Triple Crown's first two races, though, the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, and the third- place finisher also did not run the Preakness. BLACKWELL: So looking sluggish, really, California Chrome tied

for fourth at Belmont Park. And after the chase his co-owner just railed against rules that do not require horses at Belmont to run in those earlier races.


COBURN: Our horse had a target on its back. Everybody else lays out one or they won't run in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness. They'll wait until the Belmont. You know what? If you've got a horse, run him in all three. If you've got a horse that can -- if you've got a horse that burned points running in the Kentucky Derby, those 20 horses that start in Kentucky are the only 20 available -- eligible to run in all three races. This is the coward's way out.


PAUL: The coward's way out.

BLACKWELL: He's angry about something. Joe Carter is here with us. Does he have a fair point?

JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS: Yes and no. Yes, because -- yes, it's not unfair. We want it to be an even playing field, right? We watch sports. We want it to be fair on both sides. And he's basically saying the horses that earn the points to get into the Kentucky Derby should be the only horses that are eligible to run in those three Triple Crown races. But the way horse racing works is that you can run in the Kentucky Derby, but you can rest your horse for the Preakness.

Obviously, the Kentucky Derby winner does not want to do that, because they want to go on to try to win the Preakness and obviously try to win the Triple Crown, winning the Belmont Stakes.

But this is horse racing. It's been around for 135 years. This has been the rule since day one. So Steve Coburn in a sense is being kind of a sore loser.

BLACKWELL: He knew the rules on the way in.

PAUL: Right. You knew it coming in. And if you changed it at this point, it wouldn't be fair to all those rules beforehand.

CARTER: Like you guys said, the horses that finished in the top four, they did not run in the Preakness. None of them ran in the Preakness. Two of the top four ran in the Kentucky Derby. But this is why the trophy is so elusive. This is why it's so hard to win the Triple Crown. Because not only do you have to win the Kentucky Derby, which is a horse -- filled with a lot of horses, 20 horses in that race. So it's not necessarily the fastest horse that wins; it's usually the lucky horse that wins.

Then you've got the Preakness, which is basically a sprint, so the fastest horse. And then you have the Belmont, which is the longest track, so it's the horse with the most stamina. So again, you're going to face fresh-legged competition. This is why this race is so elusive and so difficult to win.

BLACKWELL: You bring up flesh-legged. I was on Twitter. I was on our e-mail exchange here.

PAUL: You see Victor's tweet about -- he's got a great picture of the injury.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this is the injury. And you know, when I heard "injury," I thought please don't let it be that kind of injury where it ends everything.

CARTER: It doesn't look like it's going to end everything. It was -- it's a common injury in horse racing. Basically, what happened is when California Chrome came out of the gate, the horse next to him, Matterhorn, stepped on the back of his hoof. Happens a lot in horse racing. A little chunk of his hoof got taken out.

PAUL: There it is.

CARTER: It's an injury. Again, his jockey, California Chrome's, said that he saw there was blood on the horse's leg when he got off him, but he's not quite sure if that played into the entire factor, him tying for fourth place. He really said that the horse during the race just didn't have the energy, the enthusiasm and the quickness that it had the previous two races.

PAUL: All right. Well, there's a new wrinkle in the Clippers deal, we're understanding?

CARTER: Yes. There is a new wrinkle in the Clippers deal. This is according to a source familiar with the situation that told CNN that Shelly Sterling and Steve Ballmer, the two who negotiated the deal to sell the Clippers for a record price of $2 billion, that part of that deal is that Shelly Sterling will be able to keep 10 percent of the team -- up to 10 percent of the team in the form of a charitable organization.

Now on the surface the charity sounds great. It's going to -- it's going to help underprivileged families, battered women, minorities, and inner-city youth, and according to Shelly Sterling's attorney, they suggested this idea to the NBA, which they seemed receptive about. Because remember, the board of governors, the NBA board of governors, has to approve this deal in the next coming weeks before the sale can be final.

But if you look at it from an outsider's perspective, you've got to follow the money, right? Because what is a charitable foundation? It's essentially a tax shelter. So some are going to say, "OK, wait. She's going to use that 10 percent, or $200 million..."

PAUL: Oh, my gosh.

CARTER: "... against the capital gains taxes they're going to face when they sell this team for $2 billion." They only paid $12 million for it, so imagine the taxes they're going to have to pay on this. So people -- I think fans and people that are into the NBA and

players are going to say, "Wait a second. We want the Sterlings altogether gone from this." So not only is she going to be part of this charitable organization, but she's also going to be part of the perks of being a co-owner.

PAUL: Right.

CARTER: Which means she'll be able to sit courtside and be part of the event. But we've been told that she will not be a part of the day-to-day operations.

BLACKWELL: The deal just gets sweeter, apparently. Joe Carter, thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Joe.

Let's talk about this news this morning: The FBI is looking into threats against the parents of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

BLACKWELL: And this comes as we're learning some dramatic new details about what Sergeant Bergdahl went through while he was held hostage by the Taliban for just short of five years and what his condition is now.

According to "The New York Times," Bergdahl objects when hospital staff in Germany, when they call him "Sergeant" rather than "Private First Class." Why? Well, that was the rank he was when he went missing five years ago.

A few days ago he put on his Army uniform for the very first time in five years.

PAUL: And the "New York Times" saying this morning that the Taliban kept Bergdahl in a shark cage for weeks, possibly even months in total darkness.

Well, CNN's Karl Penhaul joining us live from Landstuhl.

Karl, thank you so much. Can you give us any more details about what we're looking about Bergdahl's imprisonment?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Christi, the information that's actually coming out from the medical staff here at Landstuhl in Germany is very limited. They say that they're bound by the rules and regulations that the Department of Defense is setting them. They also say that they are bound by patient confidentiality.

So even the medics at Landstuhl are surprised, now that they've seen details coming out from a senior Defense Department official, quoted by the "New York Times" talking about Bergdahl's physical and psychological condition.

Certainly, yes, as part of that story that he appears to be telling, the "New York Times" says that Bergdahl has told his psychologist that he was kept for weeks at a time in total darkness in a metal cage, and that in punishment for trying to escape captivity.

What we're also learning from that report in the "New York Times" is that right now, simply on the physical level, he really doesn't seem to have any defining illness there. Yes, he's got some gum problems. Yes, he's got some skin problems. But all that due to the period that he spent in captivity, living in pretty rough conditions. But certainly nothing life-threatening there what, from the "New York Times" is quoting its sources as saying.

Also, those sources telling "The New York Times" that Bergdahl has begun to move around a little bit, that he's had a walk in the grounds of Landstuhl Hospital, that he walks up and down the corridors at all times accompanied by his medical staff.

On the record right now, all the doctors here are telling us is that yes, he is stable. His condition's improving, and he's taking a much greater interest in the course of treatment that is being set for him, Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All right, Karl Penhaul, thank you so much for all the updates. We appreciate hearing from you this morning.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Karl.

A rep for comedian Tracy Morgan says his family is with him as he now receives what they're calling excellent care at a New Jersey hospital.

PAUL: Yes, but Morgan is still in critical condition this morning after a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early yesterday, and that crash killed one of his friends, left two others with critical injuries, and a Georgia truck driver is now facing charges in connection with the crash.

CNN's Alexandra Field is in New Jersey with more for us this morning.

Good morning, Alexandra.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Victor, serious his morning for the man accused of causing a deadly crash. Kevin Roper, a 35-year-old truck driver from Georgia, is now facing four counts of assault by auto and one count by death by auto. Under New Jersey's penal law, that's a form of homicide. It's applied when one is alleged to have killed recklessly through the use of a vehicle.

The Middlesex County prosecutor's office is saying that the cause of the accident is still under investigation, but New Jersey State Police say it happened at 1 a.m. in the morning on Saturday morning on the New Jersey Turnpike. They say the driver of the tractor trailer failed to notice traffic slowing down, tried to veer off at the last moment, and then slammed into a limo bus carrying Tracy Morgan and six other people.

Morgan was returning from a performance in Dover, Delaware. He was brought here to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in Brunswick, New Jersey, in critical condition. A friend of his who was also on board that limo bus, James McNair, died in the accident -- Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Alexandra Field outside the hospital for us. Thank you very much.

The pope is hosting a prayer meeting today, bringing together two key Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The question is: Will it help bring peace to the region?

PAUL: Plus, the federal government accused of dumping busloads of undocumented children in Arizona detention by the hundreds, and some just at bus stops to fend for themselves. You're not going to believe this one. It's straight ahead.


BLACKWELL: In a few hours, a very unique prayer meeting will start at the Vatican. Pope Francis is hosting a prayer for peace. It's attended by Israel's president, Shimon Peres, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

PAUL: Now, the pontiff had invited them to the Vatican during his visit to the holy land last month. CNN's Vatican correspondent, Delia Gallagher, is live for us from Rome.

Delia, good to see you. I know the Vatican is downplaying the political angle of this meeting, calling it, you know, only a prayer for peace. What are you learning about the meeting?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Christi, what's unique about this day is that it is a prayer meeting but with political leaders, so there's an inevitable political angle to the meeting.

That being said, the Vatican has said that they have no expectations that on Monday morning there will be the announcement of a peace agreement. In fact, they say that this day should be a pause from political negotiations.

Now here's what they're going to do later today. They're meeting in the Vatican garden, which is significant because it's been chosen as a kind of neutral place without religious symbolism. For example, if they'd held it inside St. Peter's Basilica, which is this symbol of Christianity. They've got three religions coming, so they decided to hold it in a neutral place in the Vatican garden. They've got Judaism represented, Christianity and Islam.

Now, the pope and the two presidents will also have a chance to say their own prayers, and then they will plant an olive tree. You know, the olive tree is the symbol of peace. It is also the symbol of the Mediterranean lands, which are home to this complex.

And then, importantly, they will have an opportunity to meet privately, behind closed doors. So if there were to be any political discussion going on, that would be the time it might happen -- Victor, Christi. BLACKWELL: So Delia, the question is, then, what is the fruit of

this meeting? If this is a break from politics and, yes, it's a day for prayer, it's obvious that the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, is not in attendance. What will be the result of this? What's the fruit, hopefully?

GALLAGHER: Well, Victor, I think the way we have to look at this is, Pope Francis, we've called him the pope of the gesture. He has a kind of simple approach to complex problems. In fact, when he issued the invitation, he said to both sides, "Come to my home at the Vatican," like he would say to two friends who you wanted to get together to talk.

He kind of brings a back-to-basics approach with the two political parties. In fact, when he was in the holy land, he said the main obstacle to peace was fear of the other and fear of change. So this is kind of his back doorway of bringing the other together in a friendly way and trying to allay those fears.

So certainly, I think on Pope Francis's side, he doesn't want to underestimate the power of bringing people together without the political connotations, to say this is a day of prayer. By the way, this is the day of Pentecost. The pope earlier said a mass for Pentecost. That is the feast of the Catholic Church which celebrates the Holy Spirit, whom they believe is the bringer of peace. And certainly, for Pope Francis, I think that supernatural element, if you will, is also an important component for lasting peace. So his idea of being where men have failed, perhaps the Holy Spirit can pull out a miracle -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Delia Gallagher, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: So there are people who live in Arizona and really across the country who are outraged this morning over the federal government's move to bus more than 1,000 undocumented children, some as young as 3 years old, reportedly some just a few months old, to Arizona. We've got new pictures. We'll show you those. Seemingly, they show the kids sleeping on floors with nothing more than a blanket. Even the governor is now calling this move inhumane.


PAUL: Well, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is outraged this morning at the federal government for sending busloads of undocumented children, as you heard, some of them just a few months old, to her state, since last month.

BLACKWELL: More than 1,000 children could end up at a Border Patrol facility, one of them in Nogales before today is over. And all of them were caught as they illegally crossed the border in Texas.

PAUL: But these kids are just a small sample of a much bigger problem. Here's CNN's Rosa Flores.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What's behind these

walls in Nogales, Arizona, has many angry and here is why. On the other side of these chain-linked fences are children, hundreds of them, seemingly laying [SIC] on the floor, covered in thermal blankets.

This is where immigration officials are moving more than 1,000 undocumented children to this makeshift detention center this weekend, just inside the Arizona/Mexico border.

Arizona's governor highly critical of the move, releasing a statement on Friday saying in part, quote, "I am disturbed and outraged that President Obama's administration continues to implement this dangerous and inhumane policy. Not only does the federal government have no plan to stop this disgraceful policy; it also has no plan to deal with the endless waves of illegal aliens once they are released here. If the Obama administration put half the effort into securing our border as it has invested to institute this operation, our state and nation would not be facing this situation."

This latest operation by federal immigration officials comes on the heels of an influx of women and children over the Memorial Day weekend, caught illegally trying to cross into Texas. Hundreds were flown to Tucson, then bussed to Phoenix and left at a bus station to find their way.

WHITMORE: Beginning on Tuesday we started seeing families dropped off, including, you know, children, most under the age of 5, some as young as 3 to 6 months old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're now being released on their own recognizance, which means given authorization to travel and be with family members in the United States.

FLORES: But it's this weekend's transport of undocumented children to Nogales that has called the entire operation into question.

A spokesman for homeland security tells CNN the number of undocumented children crossing the U.S./Mexico border by themselves has increased substantially, calling it a crisis situation. Officials say at least 60,000 children will try to cross into the United States this year alone.


FLORES: And we should add that the influx of children coming into the United States without their parents actually has nothing to do with U.S. immigration policy. Immigration attorneys will tell you that it has all to do with violence in central America -- Christi, Victor.

PAUL: All right. Rosa Flores, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: The U.S. Navy has rescued 282 people in the Mediterranean Sea. Here's why. Two Navy ships launched helicopters and swimmers to save the apparent African migrants after one of their six ships began to sink. Five of the rescued were medically evacuated. The military did not provide further details of the rescue of their destination, but the Mediterranean is a frequent gateway for African refugees seeking to enter E.U. countries.

PAUL: OK. Take a listen to this for a second. The music, the crowds, dancing, it looks like a nightclub, doesn't it? Can looks be deceiving. Wait until you see what this is.


PAUL: Have your mortgage update now. Rates rose this week. Take a look.


PAUL: All righty, 28 minutes past the hour so you have a little bit of time to breathe this morning before everything gets going. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: And I'm Victor Blackwell. Let's set up the half (ph) with five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

PAUL: No. 1, take a look here. That is Tonalist, winning last month's Belmont Stakes and denying the favorite, California Chrome, the coveted Triple Crown. After the race California Chrome's co-owner railed against the rules which allow horses which did not to run the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness to compete at Belmont. He called it, quote, "the coward's way out."

BLACKWELL: No. 2, things are all clear at the U.S. Capitol this morning after it was evacuated briefly yesterday. Authorities say a small aircraft entered restricted air space. Air traffic control was not able to communicate with the pilot. Two F-16 fighter jets escorted the plane to a North Carolina airport. A U.S. official tells CNN the pilot said he had outdated maps, and they confused him.

PAUL: No. 3, a Georgia truck driver is facing multiple charges, including death by auto. He's accused of causing a massive car crash that killed one person and critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan and two other people.