Return to Transcripts main page
EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN
Historic Decision Due; Holder Contempt Vote; Epic Wildfire Battle; Health Care Ruling Today; Colorado Burning
Aired June 28, 2012 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: History will be made in a matter of hours with the Supreme Court's health care decision due. We're breaking down what each possible ruling means for the health of your body and the health of your wallet.
ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: And also today, the "Fast and Furious" scandal comes to a head. The House votes on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
BANFIELD: And the epic battle rages against Colorado's wildfires. Tens of thousands of people evacuated. Whole neighborhoods wiped out, and a situation now so serious President Obama is getting involved.
SAMBOLIN: Saw the mass exodus yesterday from that area. It was just incredible.
BANFIELD: Those pictures keep rolling in of neighborhoods on fire.
Good morning, everybody. And welcome to EARLY START. Nice to have you with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.
SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're bringing you the news from A to Z. It is 5:00 a.m. here in the East.
So, let's get started for you this morning.
Up first, the decision that will affect every single American is less than five hours away. The Supreme Court will decide whether all or parts of the Affordable Care Act dubbed Obamacare by many is constitutional. Politically, it is considered the signature legislation of President Obama's time in office, and it's likely to be a centerpiece of the presidential election campaign as well.
Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, says he'll take action regardless of the decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whatever the Supreme Court does tomorrow, one thing we know, if I'm elected president, we're going to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with real reform.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the American people understand that we're not going to make progress by going backwards, we need to go forwards. They understand we don't need to refight this battle over health care. It's the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: One thing is for sure, today's decision will affect how you get medicine and health care.
Congressional correspondent Kate Bolduan is live in Washington and she is breaking it all down for us.
Kate, can we start with an overview of what are the key issues we should be expecting today?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Zoraida. Good morning.
The nine justices need to answer a question. They are facing four issues today, and we will finally get an answer as we've been talking about this for months now.
First off, the justices need to answer the question, should they take a kind of legal time-out here, not deciding this case, not taking up this challenge until maybe after 2014 when all of the main provisions kick in. That has to do with pretty archaic, not well known law called the Anti-Injunction Act from the 19th century. That's unlikely to happen for them, to kind of kick it off in a few years from now.
But then the big question is the centerpiece -- the individual mandate requiring most -- nearly all-Americans to have health insurance or face a penalty. Will that stand or will that go?
And then the next question right after that is, we kind of call it the domino effect. If the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional, if it's ruled to step beyond the bounds of the authority that Congress has, does the rest of the law or part of the law stand or does all of it go if the centerpiece of the law is ruled unconstitutional.
And finally, on a separate issue, a challenge to the expanded Medicaid program within the health care law combines together to argue that this is stepping on state's rights, that it is an overreach of the federal government and that this expanded Medicare program unfairly coerces states to take part in the expanded program. All four very important issues, very legally dense and finally, Zoraida, we should hopefully have an answer sometime after 10:00 this morning.
SAMBOLIN: We're sternly looking forward to it. What if there's a split decision a 5-4 either way?
BOLDUAN: Yes. There's of course a lot of talk about this. And, of course, the high court would love to have a unanimous vote on all rulings. They would love to speak with one voice on any decision that they make.
But on hot issues like health care has become, we have come to expect a divide here, an ideological split, because there is an ideological difference between many of these justices.
I'll tell you, it's interesting. Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she actually said recently that, you know, it may surprise you that we have voted unanimously and decided unanimously in some 40 percent of the cases they've taken up this year. These are less high profile cases, less big headline cases, but they do speak with one voice occasionally.
I'm not going to read the tea leaves today. We will see. I wouldn't be surprised if it is a split decision, though.
SAMBOLIN: Well, historically I was reading typically it is like that like Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg said.
I know you have a long day in store for you. So, we'll be talking to you again.
Kate Bolduan, live in Washington for us -- thank you very much.
BOLDUAN: Of course.
BANFIELD: And talk about long days. Even the laypeople are looking for some long days. Already lining up at the Supreme Court to be there when history is made and that verdict actually comes down.
So, this was the scene outside of the Supreme Court yesterday afternoon. Campers. One of them a teacher from California. Another a nurse from Florida. Both of them flying to Washington because they just wanted to be there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had the opportunity because they announced when they were going to issue the opinion in advance to grab an airplane ticket and fly up and sit out here all night, and I just thought I was going to grab the opportunity and do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really love the government class because every day there's something in the news that I can bring to my class.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BANFIELD: Thank you. Thank you.
All right. So there ease a live picture right now of the Supreme Court. You can't see it, but there are people outside waiting right now -- apparently somewhere around 50 tickets or so available to the onlookers, people who want to be inside the gallery.
What we can also tell you is it is not broadcast live, folks. They do not do live television inside the Supreme Court. They have made concessions, though, to do radio recordings that they often release later, but you'll have to rely on the live reporters literally sitting through the readings of the opinions and then rushing out to the cameras outside.
So, we're keeping a live eye on it for you.
SAMBOLIN: It is six minutes past the hour. And keep it right here on CNN. We have special coverage of the health care fight all morning long.
Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, will tell us how the health care decision will affect your medical coverage if the entire law is upheld or killed.
National political correspondent Jim Acosta tells us what this will mean for the election in both the Obama and Romney campaigns.
And then business correspondent Christine Romans breaks down what this means for you and for your money. How much will you end up paying if the law passes, will your costs go up or will they go down?
BANFIELD: Also, make sure you stay tuned with "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien in less than two hours. Our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin will be here to break down the arguments and the decision.
Also, Soledad is going to speak with Republican Senator Mike Lee from Utah, and also Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer from New York.
All of it beginning at 7:00 Eastern Time, right here on CNN.
SAMBOLIN: And special coverage begins at 9:00 Eastern. CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley and John King will lead the network's live coverage when the Supreme Court issues its decision on health care reform.
BANFIELD: You thought that was it for politics and law today. Not so fast. An unprecedented House vote scheduled for later on today. And this to decide whether or not to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt of Congress.
Eric Holder was among lawmakers last night actually, but it was a White House event, the annual congressional picnic. The Republicans have already gained access to more than 7,000 documents regarding that "Fast and Furious" operation, the gun walking operation, but they have their sights set on something more, like those internal communications within the Justice Department after the gun walking operation failed. President Obama has asserted executive privilege over many of those subpoenaed documents.
SAMBOLIN: As Debby moves away from Florida, more rain is in the forecast unfortunately, along with rough surf and hazardous boating conditions. Scattered showers and storms are expected in Florida over the weekend. Some areas are already hit with at least 26 inches of rain this week. More than 5,000 people in 17 counties are without power. Officials in Florida say four people died in separate incidents there.
BANFIELD: Food and Drug Administration is approving a controversial diet drug called Belviq, the first new prescription drug for long-term weight loss in over a decade. It's designed for overweight or obese adults with one or more health issues like diabetic or cholesterol problems. The drug works by fooling the brain so that patients eat less and still feel full. It could be on the market by early next year.
"Today's" show co-host Ann Curry is expected to officially announce on this morning's show that she is leaving. Curry told "USA Today" she will really miss her viewers. Speculation had been rampant about Curry's future at NBC. The "Today's" show ratings have slipped since curry replaced Meredith Vieira last year.
BANFIELD: We may actually have a glimmer of hope today, a break glow of those awful flames that we've been looking at out West. Weather, it could actually change and it could turn the tide in the fight against all these fires in Colorado. We're going to take you live out there from the wildfire zone and find out just exactly what is in store.
BANFIELD: Explosive wild fires in Colorado that are swelling to, and I will say this and not lightly, epic proportions. Top officials say they've never seen anything like this. Multiple fires burning out of control at the same time. President Obama now making a trip to this region, planning this for tomorrow.
In the meantime, "The Denver Post" is showing just a few hundred of the homes that are just burned to the ground. Thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad called me. He's like, there's flames a block away from your house right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just total devastation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like somebody put on orange glasses. Everything you could see was completely orange.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: So the Waldo Canyon Fire has doubled in size just over the course of the day and that mostly because of high winds. Rob Marciano is in Colorado Springs.
So, here's the question. We hear about the high winds, we hear about the dry conditions. It looks like there may be some rain in the forecast, but even that may not be what they need at this point.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's a bit of a double edged sword, Ashleigh. Like yesterday, rain was in the forecast and some parts of Colorado got the rain. Unfortunately, the rain did not fall here. We got the outflow of those thunderstorms that developed and that made the winds and the fire behavior even more erratic.
So, after a terrifying night on Tuesday night, yesterday was a nerve racking day for residents and firefighters alike as they try to get a handle on this thing. There's been estimates of maybe 200 or 300 homes burned in a community just north and west of Colorado Springs, actually, in Colorado Springs proper.
And there you see, this is not some hillbilly mountain community. This is a verified city with big homes, four, five bedroom homes that have been burned to the ground. Residents frustrated, not knowing whether or not their homes out. They've been coming up on hill tops with telescopes, trying to see into their neighborhood in a vantage where we are, and very frustrated and scared, of course.
All sorts of equipment and personnel on this fire to try to beat back the flames. It has grown, as you mentioned, to 18,000 acres. Only 5 percent containment and another day of erratic winds expected today. Yes, thunderstorms and more potentially dry lightening in the forecast.
So, there you see the results, crowning fire getting into neighborhoods. Frightening situation here in Colorado Springs.
Just up the road near Boulder, Colorado, this is a time lapse of smoke and fire there just south and west of Boulder, in the higher terrain that was spreading quickly throughout the day yesterday. And this likely started by a lightening strike. You see that little bit later on in this time lapse.
So, the entire state for the most part has been having to deal with at least the threat of fires burning here and that threat is going to continue.
Here's what the fire looks like on a map, at least how close it is to Colorado Springs. There's the lightening strike. That is surreal for sure.
And this thing continues to grow. And it is frighteningly close to where we stand right here. The five-day forecast shows temperatures that will remain very, very high, obviously dry, slight chance of thunderstorms. But that doesn't mean good things. That increases the winds in all sorts of directions.
Fire weather threat out west today, looking forward to be critical in spots but actually it's moving to the east. The lower Great Lakes going to be under be the gun because the heat that this area has endured, record-breaking heat the past five days, that is beginning to shift off to the East. Now the fire threat, guys, moving to just south of the Great Lakes. So that's kind of surreal as well.
We are about five miles from the fire zone on the east side of I-25 and I haven't been to a fire since San Diego several years ago where you would look across city lights and see fire and smoke and that's what we've been seeing the past couple of days. We'll have to wait to see what sun up brings.
But little bit cooler and calmer now. Hopefully, they have a little bit more of a handle on the fire last night. It's big and continues to grow.
BANFIELD: So bizarre. Just so bizarre to think they could be getting thunderstorms coming, but it's so dry you get the lightening from the thunderstorms and the rain doesn't even end up hitting the ground. It gets sucked up to the dry heat.
Rob, keep an eye on things. We'll come back to you in a little bit.
And also, folks, if you want to find out how you can help the wild fire victims in Colorado and other Western states, you can go to CNN.com/impact. There you'll find all the organizations that you can tap into, ways that you can help those people in need. Once again, at CNN.com/impact.
SAMBOLIN: Seventeen minutes past the hour.
Let's get you up-to-date. Here's Christine Romans with this morning's top stories.
Good morning to you, Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And the top story -- good morning, ladies -- is the Supreme Court and the future of health care in America in the hands of the court today. In less than five hours, we'll know whether the court decides to strike down portions of the law, the whole thing, or uphold it. The biggest issue, the individual mandate which would require nearly all-Americans to buy some form of health insurance beginning in 2014 or face fines and penalties.
A Canadian search and rescue team says there are no survivors inside the rubble of a mall that collapsed in Lake Elliot. Workers removed two bodies yesterday, 22 others were injured when a rooftop parking lot collapsed into the two story mall over the weekend.
Earlier this week, rescuers heard tapping from the location. According to local media reports, the mall has had story of roof problems, leaking ceilings and rusted beams.
Just months after beating a murder rap with Florida's stand your ground law as a defense, Greyston Garcia was shot and killed. Police say the 26-year-old was hit by a stray bullet as he drove his truck through Miami's Liberty City neighborhood. They believe Garcia was an innocent victim of a shootout between rival gangs.
A medical emergency for R&B singer R. Kelly. The Grammy winner was on his way to New York to promote his new book when he suffered complications from throat surgery. Last year, Kelly underwent treatment for an abscess on his vocal cords. It's not clear how long he will be sidelined -- Zoraida and Ashleigh.
SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you very much.
Eighteen minutes past the hour. We're getting an early read on local news that is making national headlines.
We'll start in Chicago. It stands to save millions of dollars for decriminalizing pot. The city council has voted instead to find people caught with 15 grams or less. How much is that? That's the equivalent of about 25 cigarette sized joints.
"The Chicago Tribune" says tickets will range from $250 to $500. The new rule is also expected to save in $1 million in paid police time. There are about 18,000 people arrested last year for possession of pot. It should generate millions of dollars as well.
BANFIELD: Sounds like a familiar move. New York mayor had the same plans.
SAMBOLIN: They keep on happening. Yes.
BANFIELD: Maybe it's a wave, folks, going across the nation.
Politics makes strange bedfellows, sometimes charity does as well. The ACLU, yes, the ACLU is backing the KKK.
BANFIELD: You heard right. KKK wants to adopt a highway in Georgia, but officials there weren't so keen on the idea, rejecting the application, saying that program is only open to, quote, "civic- minded organizations in good standing." The ACLU telling "The Journal Constitution" that the Klan does have a First Amendment case here. In 2005, the court ruled Missouri had no right to ban the KKK from the Adopt a Highway program in that state.
So first Missouri, now Georgia. We'll watch it for you.
You can also continue to watch what we're doing. Expanded look of all of our top story is sitting all nicely all tied up with a bow on CNN.com/EarlyStart on our blog. Take a look.
SAMBOLIN: Today's health care ruling will mean a lot for our nation, but what will it mean for your wallet. Christine Romans, you know, tells us what each possible decision would cost you. That's coming up.
BANFIELD: Good morning and welcome back. It's 23 minutes now past 5:00.
We are minding your business this morning.
SAMBOLIN: Christine Romans is here talking about Obamacare and your money.
What is it going to cost everyone?
ROMANS: I want to tell you this, a lot of people still don't -- look, most intelligent people can't figure out their co-pays and their co-insurance. How are we supposed to understand a dramatic remaking of how we are insured in this country?
So, I want to be clear about the costs here, health care reform as it stands, as it's passed now, and what we all face here, how this is going to work. First of all, the cost is about a trillion dollars over 10 years. This is according to the Congressional Budget Office. There will be cuts to federal spending. There will be taxes on hospitals, employers, and you to pay for it, right?
On balance, the CBO says this will not add to deficits, in fact it will make deficits better over the next 10 and 20 years because there are big cost to health care reform. But then, there are ways they're going to pay for it.
Here are some of the ways they're going to pay for it. If you make $200,000 or more a year for you, some taxes for you are going to go up. You're going to pay higher Medicare taxes. You're going to pay higher taxes on some of your investments.
If you're uninsured, you're going to pay a fine or penalty for being uninsured, or you're going to pay to get some insurance with subsidies from the government to help you get that insurance.
If you misuse your flexible spending accounts, there are going to be some fines and fees for that and changes to flexible spending. That's how they're going to help pay for health care reform.
If you go to a tanning booth, you're going to pay an excise tax, or the tanning people are going to pay an excise tax. And that's how they're going to pay for it as well.
If you are uninsured, this is the cost per family if you don't have insurance. There will be a penalty if you decide -- hey, I'm not going to get insurance. You'll pay a penalty. The whole idea is to try to push you into the system because you're also getting subsidies that are bigger than the penalty. So the government is trying to really get people to be insured.
The maximum penalty in 2014 for a family is $285. That goes up to $2,000 by the year 2016 if you do not have health insurance, you will be fined. It is capped at the percent of your income.
It's very complicated. It is sprawling. It is huge.
Millions of people are going to be affected one way or another. If you have health insurance through your company and health reform stays in place, there are estimates that companies are going to start moving people into the state exchanges and have them go off and buy their own insurance and they won't -- maybe 3 million a people a year starting in 2019, the one government estimate is 3 million people a year will start losing their employer-based health insurance and you'll go into these state exchanges.
BANFIED: You can lose it? I mean, literally you could lose it or have it changed on you?
ROMANS: Both. But the thing is that you might get a better deal if you go to one of the state exchanges.
This has always been about access to insurance. This has never been something about keeping costs low, about helping you have more affordable insurance. It's about getting the uninsured insured. That is what this has always been about.
SAMBOLIN: It is because the costs are spiraling out of control.
SAMBOLIN: And you go to an emergency room visit, you don't have health care insurance, somebody is going to pay for that.
ROMANS: Absolutely. And we have all this people uninsured, it's just making the costs go up for everyone.
But this is my bottom line for you folks -- with or without a repeal, your co-pays are going to go up. Your out-of-pocket expenses are going up. What your company can afford to pay for your insurance is going down.
So, you know, one way or another we are paying more for health care in this country and that's going to continue.
BANFIELD: Important for you to stress -- with or without this legislation.
ROMANS: With or without this legislation, your cost --
BANFIELD: Because everybody's fighting to say one side means you're going to pay more. It's critical to know it's both.
All right. Christine, thank you very much.
A North Carolina father, if you can believe it, is fighting against a hospital for the right to take care of his own young son. His father is fighting. We're going to have that story for you in a moment.
SAMBOLIN: Counting down to today's healthcare ruling, literally, actually, on the left-hand side of your screen we're doing that. What the Supreme Court says today could force strategy shift in the race for president.
BANFIELD: The billboard says, quit the church. One group's fight against catholic leaders is going public in a big, big way.
SAMBOLIN: A computer you can wear. Google's new glasses make a big splash with an awesome stunt-filled debut. You're not going to want to miss that.
Welcome back to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.
BANFIELD: Good morning, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's 30 minutes past the hour. Let's start with this, shall we?
Big story today, and this happens to be one of Mitt Romney's favorite lines on the campaign stump. It's to tell the audience that, "If I'm elected, I will appeal Obamacare," and that line gets traction, folks. It works. The Republicans love to hate President Obama's healthcare reforms, and this really gets them fired up when they're out on the stump.
But what happens if Republicans actually get their wish and Obamacare is no more, because that's the possibility in just a couple of hours from now. Will Mitt Romney lose his rallying cry? And what about the president? What about President Obama? He has a ton politically invested, like, how about this, an entire year spent fighting to get Obamacare passed.
But the Supreme Court overturning healthcare might not actually be a total loss for the Obama camp. Thoroughly confused? Well, then Jonathan Allen is the person for you. He's Politico's senior Washington correspondent. He joins me live now. Good thing you're here today because there are a lot of issues that are very chewy, as I like to say.
Let's start with this. Is it possible that this could be really the reverse of what we think it is? That Mitt Romney could suffer on the campaign stump because he won't have that thing that he loves to push, Obamacare, he won't have that anymore if it's struck down today?
JONATHAN ALLEN, SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: That's truly possible. You know, Mitt Romney, if the law is left intact, it gives him something to contrast himself with the president on. I'm going to repeal it versus President Obama who would keep it. If there's a muddle, it makes it harder for him to contrast himself with the president on an issue where there's a similar law in Massachusetts. So, it's certainly possible it will work out that way.
BANFIELD: And then, what about the president, could he actually find that if Obamacare is struck down today, it could be a boon to him because the Democratic base could get so angry they'll fire themselves up?
ALLEN: Yes. I don't think there are very many people in the administration, if any, who are rooting for this to be struck down. However, they could have a silver lining, which is they could, for the first time, see Democrats really rally behind the president on this issue. You know, this was not something where Democrats found it easy to counter the Tea Party momentum and fervor back in 2009 and 2010.
You'll remember, the two parties essentially grew out of the healthcare fight. Democrats have never really matched that. If they feel like their backs up against the wall, if they feel like the president has been dealt an embarrassing blow by a court that a lot of Democrats believe is partisan at this point, that might get them energized. BANFIELD: A lot of republicans have felt that the court was partisan at other times as well, shall I say in the 1970s? All right. So, let me ask you this, a lot of people have said this is a litmus test, that, you know, if Obamacare goes down, so goes the president as well. But then when you look at the numbers about what Americans really care about, healthcare isn't that high.
In fact, the last poll that I have just in front of me here was from May 29th through 31st. Fifty-two percent of the Americans thought the economy was critical. And, healthcare didn't even come in until third at about 14 percent. Are people going to be watching the news today saying, wow, that's fascinating, but who-hum. It doesn't apply to me as much as the economy does and jobs.
ALLEN: I think that's right. I think that -- first of all, people today are going to be watching that healthcare decision with interest. In November, when the election occurs, I think the economy will blot out the sun. However, I think what a lot of folks don't understand is just how interrelated the healthcare decision is with the economy.
You know, both on the micro level, both for individuals, how much money they pay for healthcare out of pocket. Now, more also on the macro level, what the healthcare system costs the government, costs taxpayers, and that's a huge factor in our economy. It's eating up a larger and larger portion of our economy. And so, I think that's something the people will start to understand more and more over time.
BANFIELD: And something tells me that the economy of fundraising for both Republicans and Democrats will be severely affected by whatever the Supreme Court does today as well.
ALLEN: Positively affected.
BANFIELD: Yes. No kidding, right? Well, it depends on how you look at it. But, hey, you've been doing some great work on this, so I encourage people who are watching today to go to Politico and check out a lot of your writings on healthcare. It's been very good. Jonathan, thanks for being with us today. Appreciate it.
ALLEN: So kind of you. Thank you.
BANFIELD: I aim to please. Thanks very much.
And by the way, folks, we aim to please as a network, too. We've got special coverage of healthcare all day. That fight that has been going on for so long will we have (INAUDIBLE) on today. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to be here live. He's going to talk about healthcare decision and how that specifically affect you and your medical coverage.
Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, is also live with what it means for both the Obama and the Romney campaigns. And then our business correspondent, Christine Romans, with more on just how much you're going to end up paying if this law passes. SAMBOLIN: And also be sure to watch "Starting Point" with Soledad O'Brien in less than two hours. Senior legal analysts, Jeffrey Toobin, weighs in. Soledad will also speak with Republican senator, Mike Lee, from Utah and Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer, from New York. That is beginning at seven o'clock eastern.
BANFIELD: And then, as the clock strikes 9:00 on the nose this morning eastern time, there is your fantastic team. Our special coverage will get on board. CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley, John King are going to lead the network live. Special coverage when the Supreme Court issues its decision, and it is a landmark decision, folks.
Perhaps, the biggest decision since Bush v Gore back in 2000. Make sure you stay tune for that all gets underway at 9:00 a.m. eastern time.
SAMBOLIN: And it is 36 minutes past the hour now. Hours after the Muslim Brotherhood's victory in the Egyptian presidential elections, a British journalism student was sexually assaulted by a mob of men in Tahrir Square. Natasha Smith was working on a woman's rights documentary. There she is right there.
And, she was with two friends at the time. They became separated, and that's when she was brutally attacked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATASHA SMITH, SEXUALLY ASSAULTED IN TAHRIR SQUARE: Men started ripping off my clothes, and first of all, it was my skirt, and that just went straightaway. And I didn't even feel my underwear being removed. And then my shoes went and then my upper -- my clothes on my upper half were being just ripped off me, and that was quite painful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: Well, she was eventually rescued and taken to a medical tent. Listen to this, an Egyptian man disguised her in a burqa to get her away from the crowd and headed to a hospital. Natasha is back in the U.K., but she is promising to return to Egypt to finish her film.
And this isn't the first time female journalists have been attacked covering Egypt's revolution. CBS' Lara Logan and columnist, Mona el-Tahawy, both were sexually assaulted by a mob while they were covering this story.
BANFIELD: It is 37 minutes now past 5:00. And a legal fight over a North Carolina teenager who has been in a coma for more than a year is raging this morning. He's 18 years old and he suffered a brain and a spinal cord injury. Real terrible trauma. All of this from a car accident. And now, the hospital in Raleigh where he's been receiving care has filed a lawsuit to replace the boy's father as his legal guardian.
Now, for its part, the hospital says this is to make sure that it can secure Medicaid coverage because his father has failed to file the paperwork, but the family's attorney says this hospital is overreacting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This kind of a drastic measure over paperwork is just, to me, unbelievable. I just -- to think that you could lose guardianship of your child -- well, I know he's 18 but, still, your child, because of obtaining benefits or delaying obtaining benefits is just absolutely just horrifying to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: As the argument rages on, the family has launched a Facebook petition asking for support.
SAMBOLIN: A highway billboard with a message for Catholic Church leaders is stirring up quite a bit of controversy in Texas. The billboard urges Catholics to quit the church saying, put women's rights over bishops' wrongs. The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation is behind these billboards. And the group says it chose the Dallas Fort location because both from the diocese in that area are suing the Obama administration over its contraceptive mandate.
BANFIELD: OK. This one is from the dumbest criminals file. Are you ready? Two burglars accidentally bust themselves after pocket dialing 911 right in the middle of their own crime. You cannot make this stuff up. Smoking gun.com loves it. It happened in Lufkin, Texas.
Here's what happened. Police say they were trying to steal copper wire from a construction site. That's kind of a regular crime, actually. But the dispatchers could overhear them as they were planning to make their profits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: if I had your help dog, I could lift that copper thing. It's maybe a thousand pounds there. That's a couple thousand dollars. We could sell those.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: It's a couple thousand dollars or it could be a few days, months, weeks, who knows in the hooscou. Both of the suspects were arrested, and both of them charged with theft. Big surprise.
SAMBOLIN: And Google making a splash at its annual developer conference in San Francisco. The web search giant unveiled a new seven-inch tablet computer yesterday. The Nexus 7 will go on sale next month and compete with Amazon's Kindle Fire. Both are about 200 bucks. But the nexus 7 will weigh less, and it will have more features including a front-facing camera.
BANFIELD: Speaking of the cameras, while everybody seems to be talking about the keynote stunt at this point that included sky divers and stunt cyclists, Google's computer you can wear was making this huge demo. It began with a plunge out of a blimp that was being streamed live.
The project glass will be available for people to test. Prototypes of the device can be purchased for $1,500 only at the conference this week, though. The consumer version, you might have to wait until early 2014 for that. All cool though no matter how you slice it.
SAMBOLIN: Well, bath salts were first blamed for a zombie-like attack in Florida. And now, new test results are painting a different picture. We're going to have the whole story coming up.
SAMBOLIN: Well, there is new hope in the fight against the explosive wildfires in Colorado. The winds are finally starting to calm down this morning. Right now, multiple fires are burning out of control. "The Denver Post" publishing just a few of the hundreds of homes that have simply just gone up in flames. President Obama is planning to visit the state tomorrow.
Rob Marciano is in Colorado Springs this morning for us. Rob, yesterday, we were talking about the fires actually jumping the containment lines. They were worried about the winds. Do we have a little bit of good news for anyone this morning?
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We think that the winds are going to be just as erratic today. Thunderstorms popped up across Colorado yesterday. None of that rainfall from the thunderstorms got to the fire here, just the gusty and erratic winds. So, the fire did not behave anything like they thought it would. Much like the night before, which was just unbelievably terrifying as thousands of residents scrambled to get out of their homes and out of harm's way.
And there you see some of the pictures. These are from the grounds. Some aerial photography also showing that potentially over 100 if not 200 or 300 homes burned. That's not official, but certainly, from some of the pictures we've seen, it's not out of the question. And residents here are still in shock and very frustrated to not be able to get to their homes.
Nobody can get to west of I-25. Media, residents, nobody but firefighters, because it's just struggling, struggling with this blaze. It has burned 18,000 acres. Only five percent contained, but into the city limits of Colorado Springs, into the southwest boundary of the Air Force Academy, which has 1,000 cadets for the incoming class about to arrive today.
Not sure what they're going to do with that. All right. The weather, not necessarily cooperating, although, will be a little bit cooler today because the bulk of the extreme heat has moved off toward the east, but any thunderstorms that pop up will cause those erratic winds. Here's a look at the fire weather map. It goes from Colorado, Utah, Nevada area, but actually shifts a little further to the east into places like the Great Lakes because that's where the core of this record-breaking heat will be going, and there will be some gusty hot winds with that as well. Take a look at some of the high temperatures from yesterday. Somebody's all-time record highs across Kansas, also across Pueblo, Colorado, just south of here.
They hit 105 degrees. And, some of that heat and humidity will get into over 20 states under heat advisories, heat warning. So, the heat that did not help the fires here, Zoraida and Ashleigh, is moving to the east affecting even more people out of the fire zone.
SAMBOLIN: Rob, I want to read something to you that is alarming to me that I read in the "L.A. Times" this morning. It says experts are warning already fire weary Coloradoans that (ph) this could be the routine for their state now that the blazes could rage all summer long into the arrival of autumn rains. Is that true?
MARCIANO: Well, I mean, you know, it's possible. And the problem is we had very little snow this past winter. And, it's often when that happens, you'll get a couple of big snow events in April and May, and we didn't really see that either. So, the snow pack is not there.
We haven't seen much rain this spring. And obviously, as we get into the summer months, we don't get much of either of those. So, it's going to be a long haul for sure for folks here in Colorado.
SAMBOLIN: Boy, that is really tough. Rob Marciano live for us in Colorado. We appreciate it. Thank you.
BANFIELD: Now, 47 minutes past 5:00 on the east coast. Time to get you updated with top stories, and Christine Romans has that for us this morning. Hi, there.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, you two.
ROMANS (voice-over): How you get your medicine and your healthcare coverage could all change this morning at 10:00 eastern. The Supreme Court will rule whether President Obama's healthcare bill is constitutional. The key issue, the individual mandate which would require nearly all-Americans to buy some form of health insurance beginning in the year 2014. If they don't, they face fines and penalties.
An update on that zombie-like cannibal attack last month in Miami. According to a new report just released by the county medical examiner, the suspect was not high on bath salts, was not high on bath salts as police had first suspected. Rudy Eugene (ph) was killed by a police officer after his 18-minute gruesome, unrelenting attack.
The report says marijuana was found in his system, but no traces of other drugs. No alcohol was present. It looked like smooth sailing for a bipartisan Senate measure providing flood insurance for millions of Americans. Pretty cut and dry. But abortion stopped the bill in its tracks with Republican senator, Rand Paul, calling for a vote on an amendment defining when life begins in a flood insurance bill.
Majority leader, Harry Reid, says Paul's request is outlandish, and he won't let the bill go forward with that amendment.
Midwives are growing in popularity. According to a study of CDC data published this week, midwives delivered 8.1 percent of the country's babies in 2009. A record high. Advocates say that's because midwives focus on a holistic pregnancy and birth. They spend more time with the mother during labor. They're not as quick to induce labor.
News Corp's board of directors approving the company's split. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting a formal announcement is expected later today. This move would divide the media conglomerate into separate entertainment and publishing entity.
And five years ago, this week, Steve Jobs changed the way we look at phones. The first iPhone was launched, and it's been a big money maker for Apple ever since. Analysts say, according to estimates, the company has raked in $150 billion in sales to date. $150 billion. IPhone 5 is expected to be released this fall with loads of extra features.
ROMANS (on-camera): I mean, every time you do an Apple story, ladies, we didn't even know we needed it. And now, people can't get enough of it.
BANFIELD: You need to get your "B" key on your computer working for the billion that you constantly report, right?
ROMANS: I know. Right.
SAMBOLIN: And you said five years ago, right?
ROMANS: Five years ago.
SAMBOLIN: I feel like we've had iPhones forever.
ROMANS: I know.
BANFIELD: All our lives.
SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Christine.
ROMANS: You're welcome.
SAMBOLIN: Rielle Hunter revealing new secrets about her affair with former senator, John Edwards. She told CNN's Piers Morgan Edwards went temporarily insane when their relationship was exposed, and he wasn't in his right mind when he tried to cover it up. Morgan asked Hunter if there's any chance the two will get back together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIELLE HUNTER, FMR. MISTRESS OF JOHN EDWARDS: I have no idea. I really don't. I -- I -- we have such a great relationship in communicating and a lot of love for each other, so it wouldn't surprise me if we were able to work things out. Whatever happens between us, we will continue being loving, great parents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: Hunter also said she is sorry for the pain their affair caused Edwards' children and his deceased wife, Elizabeth.
BANFIELD: Yes. Might be the reason for the breakup last week coincides perfectly with the book tour. Go figure.
It's 51 minutes now past 5:00. Picture perfect shot of a boy and a beast. Take a look. Whoa! This was not planned, and there's a good chance that little boy had no idea what was going on behind him. We're going to have that story in a moment.
SAMBOLIN: That's a great picture.
So, if you are leaving the house right now, do not fret. You can watch us any time on your desktop or your mobile phone. Just go to CNN.com/TV.
BANFIELD: Welcome back. Fifty-four minutes now past the hour. Time to take a look at what's trending on the interweb. This one we bring to you in honor of the big interview that Piers Morgan had last night with Rielle Hunter.
BANFIELD: Yes. You think your spouse has a wandering eye? You might want to give him or her the anti-cheating ring. Kid you not, folks. It's sold by the website TheCheekey.com. It may look like a regular wedding band, but if you try to take this ring off your finger, it leaves an imprint that says, I'm married.
Look at it. I'm married. That's the best. I love it. John Edwards, you should have had this thing. Price of fidelity? Not too bad. $550 for a lifetime of happiness. Go figure.
SAMBOLIN: I kind of like it.
BANFIELD: It's very pretty.
SAMBOLIN: And not just anti-cheating, just you know, committed folks who don't mind.
BANFIELD: I'm married.
SAMBOLIN: All right. No matter how good at rock, paper, scissors you think you are, you will never beat this robot. I love, rock, paper, scissors. I play it with my kids all the time. It is the ultimate champ beating human challengers 100 percent of the time.
How did you do it? Well, you know, it turns out the robot is a cheater. Scientists programmed it with a camera that detects hand movements in under a milliseconds, so it knows which play you're going to throw. I'm going to play against it.
BANFIELD: Clever. Clever.
We may have the best zoo photograph of all times.
SAMBOLIN: Yes, I think so. This is very cool.
BANFIELD: Check it out. Little guy named Alex Hawker (ph) from Fort Myers. His dad snapped this picture of him at the Miami Zoo.
SAMBOLIN: Look at his face.
BANFIELD: And here's what Alex says happened right before the photo was taken.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED KID: He was almost pressing the button and then the lion said, oh, that's a good treat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: That's a good treat. Alex's dad says the lion woke up and leapt six feet into the air. He says that he's always going to treasure this once in a lifetime photograph.
SAMBOLIN: That is too adorable. Look at his face.
BANFIELD: I know. Which one?
SAMBOLIN: The little boy. The little boy.
BANFIELD: There was a lot of happiness in both of those faces. One thinks he's about to get the treat of a lifetime.
SAMBOLIN: All right. Anticipation is building in Washington and around the nation. The Supreme Court's landmark ruling on healthcare reform comes down later this morning. We are live at the high court. And we'll have analysis from every angle imaginable. That is coming up.