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Tornadoes Pummel Nebraska Towns; U.S. Beats Ghana, 2-1, in World Cup Opener; 275 U.S. Troops Deployed to Iraq

Aired June 17, 2014 - 08:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's around here somewhere. Oh, yes.



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome once again to NEW DAY. It is 8:00 in the East.

As you saw right there, northeastern Nebraska dealing with the grim aftermath of catastrophic storms, including rare twin tornadoes. The twisters destroying more than half of the town of Pilger, leaving two people dead at least, including a 5-year-old child.

Indra Petersons is there for us.

Indra, first light is finally coming up, what's the very latest on the ground?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, residents here obviously used to seeing tornadoes, but what they are not used to is seeing two large violent tornadoes on the ground for over an hour with a direct hit right at their town. This morning, about 50 if not 75 percent of this town is completely leveled. We just spoke to the sheriff just a few minutes ago and he said the entire business district this morning completely wiped out.

The fire station, wiped out. About 40 to 50 homes completely leveled down to the ground. That is what they're dealing with here this morning. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case many places in the Midwest. They were talking about similar stories around Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's move, guys.

PETERSONS (voice-over): An incredible outbreak of deadly tornadoes tearing through northeastern Nebraska Monday resulting in a rare and stunning sight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where has that happened before?

PETERSONS: Storm chasers capturing not one by two massive tornadoes side by side on the ground ripping through the town of Pilger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a town, (EXPLETIVE). That's a water tower.

PETERSONS: The twin tornadoes surprising even the storm chasers who shot the video.

BEN MCMILLAN, STORM CHASER: Two possibly three. I've never seen anything like this. This is just very, very dangerous.

REED TIMMER, STORM CHASER: This is definitely the first time I've seen two tornadoes like that that violent on the same storm.

PETERSONS: They will resume searching through the rubble today, but so far no one is unaccounted for. The governor of Nebraska issuing a state of emergency, putting the National Guard on standby. The storm carved a path of destruction 25 to 30 miles long, leveling homes, farms and schools over three counties. The small town of Pilger, the hardest hit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whole blocks of houses are destroyed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to see something today I wish I never would have seen.

PETERSONS: The funnel clouds expanding nearly a mile wide, powerfully churning up the ground below.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh look at the little water (INAUDIBLE) in there. That's crazy.

PETERSONS: Tossed around by the sheer force of the winds, estimated up to 200 miles per hour in each tornado. Sirens blaring, warning residents to get underground as the twister barreled through nearby Wisner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The kind of storms you need to be underground to survive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep moving fast!

PETERSONS: Another storm chaser caught the same twin tornadoes devastating this farm around Wakefield.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are merging. They are going to merge.

PETERSONS: Before merging into one colossal funnel.


PETERSONS: All the residents here, about 350 of them, did take refuge in a Red Cross shelter in Wisner nearby. They have not been allowed to return here yet this morning. It does seem they'll be allowed to come back this morning and this is the sight they'll be looking at. Six if not seven blocks of their town completely wiped out.

Now, the sheriff did ask us to get the message out for no volunteer groups or rescue groups to come in today. What they want to do is allow these residents to come home, pick up their pieces and start building their lives.

Just keep in mind a lot these of residents, the only people they really have as their neighbors are in the exact same situation today. So, really the first step is pick up the pieces. The next step is what do they do from here -- Chris.

CUOMO: That's exactly right. In those small towns it's even harder. They have less resources, less people to rely on so the need is even greater in some ways. We will stay on that story. It's good to have her on the scene.

So, it was only one game, right? We don't want to get crazy about the World Cup, but what a huge game it was in the 86th minute of the opening World Cup against Ghana. Ghana beat them the last time. This was huge.

John Brooks uses his head, thinking perfect header shot, off the ground bounce. Takes the goalie by surprise. Wins the game. Twenty- one years old German American making history becoming the first ever substitute player to score for the U.S. in World Cup play.

Next up for the Americans, Portugal on Sunday. But, oh, boy, do they have some great momentum.

CNN's Lara Baldesarra is live in Natal, Brazil.

It's great to have you, Laura.

Big win. Didn't look like it was going to go that way but they won and that's all that matters.

LARA BALDESARRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, it certainly didn't, Chris. This was a game that was so, so crucial for the USA. This was a must- win game for them because they're in a very difficult group, the group of death. Next up like you said is Portugal and then we have Germany. If the USA did not win this game, it didn't do too well for their chances to make it out of this group to stay alive in the World Cup.

Plus, of course, this was a game of redemption for the USA. They lost to Ghana in the past two World Cups so they wanted a little payback and it started right away in last night's game.


BALDESARRA (voice-over): The USA couldn't have asked for a better start. Just 29 seconds in and Clint Dempsey opened with a big goal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the earliest goals in World Cup finals history. BALDESARRA: A shocking beginning, it was the fifth fastest goal in

World Cup history. The Team USA crowds in the stadium and back home, they simply erupted.



BALDESARRA: It was that kind of support inside the stadium that really lifted this team right from the national anthem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just hearing how loud they were and chanting the whole game. It was just really pushing us on.

BALDESARRA: But it didn't go completely the Americans' away. Ghana was no pushover, making a comeback late in the game. And with the game tied at 1-1, it was the 21-year-old John Brooks playing in his first ever World Cup that found the winning goal.


BALDESARRA: Before the game, he talked about what it's like being on the American national team.

JOHN BROOKS, TEAM USA PLAYER: It was a big dream to come to this team. It's an honor to wear this jersey.

BALDESARRA: It was a win for the USA that was remarkably hard fought.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The commitment, the determination, the fight, the mentality. Those things carried us through.


BALDESARRA: Now, Chris, you saw John Brooks there and you heard him speaking. Clearly he has a bit of an accent and that's because he wasn't actually born in the USA. He is a German American. He has a nice tattoo on his arm showing Germany on one side and Illinois on the other side, which is were his father is from, making him eligible to play for the U.S. men's national theme.

He's actually one of five players on this 23-man squad that weren't born in the U.S., seven players in total in the 23 men didn't really grow up in the United States, but, Chris, it really just shows how much of a melting pot this team is. It's really indicative of what the United States of America is.

CUOMO: Well said, Lara. Our diversity is our greatest strength. Hopefully, it continues to play out on the field of play.

Thank you so much for giving us a beautiful account of what happened against Ghana. Let's hope for the same against Portugal.

OK. We want to turn to another big story this morning, the fight for Iraq. It is real and urgent. President Obama spent last night with national security officials discussing how to slow the ISIS fighters quickly taking over the country. The key is Baghdad.

Just this morning, eyewitnesses tell CNN, ISIS got within 40 miles of the capital, storming a police station, stealing their weapons, and while the White House weighs options, hundreds of American troops already in Baghdad and the surrounding region. Why? What is their mission? What happens next?

Let's get to Michelle Kosinski live at the White House with more.

Michelle, what do we know?


You know, we've been hearing the same thing pretty much every day, no U.S. boots on the ground, right? So, this might be kind of confusing.

But let's lay out exactly what the president is doing here, sending a very small number of troops with a very specific purpose, 275 U.S. soldiers are now in the region. About 175 of those are already in Baghdad. Their job is to protect that U.S. embassy that's already been partially evacuated.

Another 100 troops are outside of Iraq but they could be called back in for airfield security if next. Keep in mind -- more than 500 U.S. Marines are also on standby in the Persian Gulf. We know that an aircraft carrier has been moved there.

And back home, President Obama continues to meet with his top White House national security advisers. They are still weighing options.

This morning in Iraq, the prime minister met with the U.S. ambassador and the Iraqis are calling that meeting productive, saying there is coordination, but that Iraq is looking for more support -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Michelle Kosinski live at the White House for us. It's going to be a busy day there. That is for sure. Michelle, thanks so much.

Joining us now to discuss more of what the options are and what's happening on the ground, Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent and the host of CNN International's "Amanpour".

Christiane, it's great to see you, as always.

So, as Michelle just laid out, the president is still considering his options. I spoke with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee earlier this morning and he said, Mike Rogers, said that airstrikes have to be an option on the table. But the question is, of course, once you begin that, you need to have a clear end game.

Do you have a good sense yet, has the White House, the administration laid out that end game yet?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, but clearly the end game is to beat back ISIS, which is al Qaeda's offshoot, in many ways worse than al Qaeda, and it now has established a statelet, Kate. There is an al Qaeda state in Iraq and straddling parts of Syria, the biggest amount of land this group has ever had. This is a major problem.

So, while there's consideration going on about what to do, these people keep moving forward and they are banging on Baghdad's door now. So, it seems to me and certainly it seems to the Iraqis as you can imagine that the first priority must be to beat them back, to stop their advance.

And the second priority if it can happen together all the better, but certainly the second priority has to be a political resolution and political unity and political inclusion, because otherwise, most of the country says they have nothing to fight for because they don't believe the government represents them. That's a big problem. Absent those two things happening, it's going to be partitioned of Iraq. And part of Iraq is going to be owned by al Qaeda 12 years after 9/11.

So, this is a really major, major issue here that has to be dealt with by all means necessary. I spoke to the Iraqi ambassador to the United States yesterday and he said in Afghanistan you had one Osama bin Laden. Here you could have 1,000 Osama bin Ladens. That might be a rhetorical flourish, but certainly intelligence officials from the United States to Europe to the region are really, really concerned that this is going to destroy the neighborhood and destroy or deeply damage possibly targets in Europe and in the United States as well.

CUOMO: On that question, the very important question of political reconciliation, Christiane, Mike Rogers also said he believes Nouri al Maliki must go. But can the United States, do you think, realistically, push him out? Is there leverage?

AMANPOUR: Well, look, they obviously had a lot more leverage when they had a lot more troops in Iraq. They don't right now. They don't have that big stick or at least that insurance policy that they did have. Whether those troops were combat troops or whether they were troops there to stay to maintain security and keep training the Iraqi forces who clearly were not ready when the United States pulled out. We've seen that over the last week.

So, the leverage was when those troops were there. That was the maximum leverage. Not just physically, but also politically.

As former Ambassador Ryan Crocker has said, we were there to be the mediator. There were always issues between certainly the Sunnis and the Shiites. The Kurds are pretty much doing their own thing. They practically got not only autonomy, but are carving out their own state up there in the north.

But between the Sunnis and the Shiites, the United States at least could be a political broker, and it hasn't been able to play that role and it hasn't been playing that role, at least not to effect, over the last couple of years. So this is, you know, another major issue.

So, the U.S. now has to really use all the leverage it has, and it does have leverage because the Iraqis are desperate for some kind of military help. So, that's perhaps some leverage right now.

BOLDUAN: But aren't they also looking at two conflicting time lines? I mean, they have the immediate needs of getting ISIS on its heels and stopping its push forward, but also the concept of political reconciliation. That's no short ordeal.

AMANPOUR: Right. As Mike Rogers said to you, and I alluded to, you have to stop the march of ISIS. It has to happen. Otherwise, forget political reconciliation. There is no reconciliation. With who?

So, you have to stop the march of ISIS and you have to concentrate the minds of people like Prime Minister Maliki and others to attempt to get their political house in order. You know, what we've been hearing is that the second thing that we mentioned has to happen before the first thing, but that seems to be a strange way to go about it, according to many of the former military commanders I've spoke to and many of the political leaders. They're just concerned that they need to stop the march of this al Qaeda offshoot and now.

BOLDUAN: It may be an impossible proposition doing the second (AUDIO GAP) Iraq and how she would handle it, handle the current situation, I assume is going to be one of the big questions that Hillary Clinton will face in the town hall that you're going to be hosting with her this evening. You've been gathering, you've been pulling in questions from the public. Is this one of the big topics?

AMANPOUR: Absolutely, this and many other of those big existential problems that are around the Middle East and the world right now. Obviously, personal issues too, people wanting to know what her political plans are, but I've been very impressed with the number of questions people want to ask. We don't know all the questions but we know topics people are interested in, and certainly matters of grave national security are on people's minds right now.

BOLDUAN: She has said in her book that she apologizes essentially that she was plain and simply wrong in her vote for the Iraq war. But going further tonight would be an important step to see where her position is, especially if she does become candidate Hillary Clinton.

Great to see you, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: We're all going to be watching this evening. Thank you so much.

A reminder to our viewers, Christiane is hosting CNN'S global town hall with Hillary Clinton. She's going to be taking your questions. Christiane will be moderating and following up. That's tonight live at 5:00 Eastern, again, 9:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's take a look at more of your headlines. Sixteen minutes after the hour.

Another major blow for General Motors, recalling 3.4 million more vehicles Monday addressing problems with faulty ignition switches. The problem, though, is different from an earlier ignition defect tied

to 13 deaths, which the company knew about over a decade before they issued a recall in February. This morning, G.M. says the same engineer signed off on both designs.

Another 41 Palestinians have been detained as Israel searches for three teens abducted last week. That brings the total now to more than 200 arrests. Israel blames the terror group Hamas for kidnapping the teenagers, which includes an American.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says there will be grave consequences for those responsible.

A suspect is behind bars this morning in the fatal shooting at a Catholic Church in Phoenix. Police say this man, Gary Moran, admitted to involvement in the crime. Moran was identified by DNA evidence found at the scene. Father Kenneth Walker, just 29 years old, was shot to death; 56-year-old Father Joseph Terra was severely beaten with a metal rod. Police call it a burglary gone bad.

President Obama will be in Pittsburgh today, highlighting technological developments as part of his emphasis on the economy. The president will visit a workshop designed to give entrepreneurs, inventors and creators the space and resources to develop ideas and create manufacturing jobs here in the U.S. He'll also stop in New York for a -- to attend a fund-raising dinner for the Democratic National Committee.

Those are your headlines at this hour -- guys.

CUOMO: Boy, I tell you, when the president comes to town, it is a hard time in New York City.

BOLDUAN: Oh, getting around?

CUOMO: It is just -- it changes everything.

BOLDUAN: When he was in L.A., it was the same thing. Forget about getting anywhere.

CUOMO: They've got to fund raise, I get it, but man, does he kill this city.

PEREIRA: He should parachute in.

BOLDUAN: Parachute in.

CUOMO: Talking to that pilot on the show yesterday. They'll figure it out.

PEREIRA: Yes, exactly.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, started strong, finished even stronger. Boy, oh boy, the U.S. in its first game of the World Cup. We're going to tell you about a historic win and what this means for our chances going forward. And also ahead, remembering Casey Kasem. His son joins us for an

exclusive interview to talk about the loss of his father and also the family strife that really occupied the headlines at the end days of his life.


PEREIRA: That's a moment right there. Historic. The winning goal that locked in a huge win for the U.S. over Ghana in the team's first World Cup match. What a way to start.

Despite several injuries, the U.S. managed a 2-1 victory.

The question, though, does the team have what it takes to defeat soccer juggernaut Portugal next? That's on Sunday.

Joining us now, Rachel Nichols, host of "UNGUARDED WITH RACHEL NICHOLS".

Boy, look, this is exciting. We're all hopped up on this win. So, have you seen anything like it?

RACHEL NICHOLS, UNGUARDED: That early goal, right, amazing. And when you think about all the tension that was built up beforehand, controversy over the roster, leaving off soccer hero Landon Donovan, the comments by the coach saying he doesn't think the team can really win.

And then you're playing Ghana, the team that has knocked us out of the World Cup the past two world cups and you go on the field and, boom, it's all lifted with that. Afterward you've got agony, you've got ecstasy, you've got blood, you've got revenge.

Who needs the movies? You got U.S. soccer. Amazing!

BOLDUAN: We should just stop now, it's good.

NICHOLS: It's good, it's good.

PEREIRA: If only.

NICHOLS: There's a lot to go.

PEREIRA: The show must go on. There's a lot to go. That's an important thing to point out.

BOLDUAN: What's this group called, the death group?

PEREIRA: The group of death. Say it with us, the group of death.

Although, I will say coming up they play Portugal, who came in a little bit more big and bad and scary than they look now. They've got Ronaldo who's one of the world's great players, and we've all seen great players take over a game.

Plus, he's playing on a team that the rest of the team doesn't have that much talent. They have had a couple key injuries and their best defender got a red card in the last game which means he can't play the U.S.

So, the U.S. is leaving this last match said set up pretty good here.

CUOMO: Speaking of history, they made history with that first goal being so fast.

I mean, we've just made history here on NEW DAY. You talked about Ronaldo, they did not show a picture with no shirt on. Isn't this like captain abolicious (ph)?


BOLDUAN: I thought I made myself clear, whenever we talk about Ronaldo --

PEREIRA: When we talk about Jurgen Klinsmann, it's interesting there's been so much controversy about this statement that he made that the U.S. won't win.

NICHOLS: It's not realistic that the U.S. will win the World Cup is what he said.

BOLDUAN: Was that strategy?

PEREIRA: Yes, is that a fair thing for a coach to say?

NICHOLS: Look, he's German. We know the German character, right?

I mean, this is not candy-coated rainbows to sit there and project out. The U.S. character, of course, is to say we can do anything. We believe.

I mean, it is the character that literally shaped this country. It got us across the Rocky Mountains in a covered wagon.

So we like to project out that we can do the impossible. Look, if you were going to tell anybody who follows soccer that a 21-year-old kid was going to score the game-winning goal as a substitute defender, defender, nobody would have believed you except maybe -- by the way, I've got to point out this kid had a dream two days ago saying he was going to score a goal at the end of the game.

He told his teammates and they were like, yes, whatever. And of course he scores the goal. You've got to love the Internet in the United States.

Just after he scored, you look up his bio Wikipedia. It says where he was born, it said where he played, "John is the greatest American since Abraham Lincoln." It's good that we just reshaped history in that way.

CUOMO: He should stop reading twitter now before the next game.

NICHOLS: It's all good. PEREIRA: Back to that coach, though, I think that he fed right into

that psyche. Also one thing you know about Americans, if you tell us we can't, then it's like oh, yes? We'll show you. So, maybe this is just the gas in the tank the team needs.

NICHOLS: I think if he could do it again, he'd do it differently.

BOLDUAN: Who, Jurgen?

NICHOLS: I do think it was a miscalculation. I don't think it was strategy. I think he was saying what he believes and I think that Americans like to think we believe that we will win.

CUOMO: Our coaches think we can win.

NICHOLS: Yes, which is the chant.

BOLDUAN: What a novel idea.

NICHOLS: The chant for American soccer they're trying to get going is I believe, I believe that, I believe that we will win. And when the coach says I don't believe we will win, that's a problem. People don't like that so much.

But, you know, maybe he's changed his mind after today.

PEREIRA: I don't know if you like predictions. Any predictions about Portugal?

NICHOLS: I feel so much better about Portugal than I did a week ago. This is a very depleted team and you have to feel much better about them getting out of the group of death. You know, this often sometimes is a group of death so you guys know you don't let guys out of the ring easy, especially with Chris there. I saw an interview earlier today.

BOLDUAN: Rachel is a striker.

NICHOLS: Exactly.

PEREIRA: If you believe, we believe. Don't miss "UNGUARDED WITH RACHEL NICHOLS" Friday at 10:30 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

Good to have you here.

NICHOLS: Thanks, guys.

BOLDUAN: Welcome back. It's been forever since you've been here.

NICHOLES: Basketball, we've got it all.

BOLDUAN: You've got it all covered.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, we'll talk about the big stories of the day. As the crisis in Iraq worsens, what should the United States do? We're going to talk to a congresswoman who is also an Iraq war vet. What does she think should happen next?

CUOMO: And we have an exclusive here on NEW DAY. Remembering a legend. Casey Kasem's son will join us exclusively to talk about his father's legacy and this bitter family battle that really marred the end of his life. Stay with us.