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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

What Motivated Mall Shooter?; Fiscal Cliff Deal: Holiday Miracle?; North Korea Satellite May Be "Tumbling Out Of Control"; Bieber Targeted; 12-12-12 Concert For Sandy; Coroner: Royal Hoax Nurse Hanged Herself; Massive Attack Planned on Banks

Aired December 13, 2012 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman. It is 6:00 a.m. in the East. Great to see you this morning.

We're going to start this morning with a look into the life of the 22- year-old gunman who police say killed two people and critically wounded a teenager before committing suicide at a suburban Portland mall. Friends say Jacob Roberts was a pretty upbeat young man until about a week ago when he suddenly quit his job as a sandwich shop clerk and told an ex-girlfriend he was moving to Hawaii.

That never happened. We're also finding out more this morning about the three people Roberts shot. One, a dedicated hospice nurse and a respected former radio executive were killed, and a 15-year-old girl who took a bullet to the chest. She has made it out of surgery and is expected to survive.

Dan Simon is live from suburban Portland this morning. And Dan, what are you finding out about Jacob Roberts?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. You know, we've been looking into his background and trying to look into basically every aspect of his life. Look at his family, his relationships, his work. At this point, really nothing adds up.

Authorities say they looked into his criminal background and found nothing, no violent past, so at this point it's a real mystery. Now, you talked about Facebook. We've got some new pictures of him on Facebook.

Perhaps there are some clues about sport of his psychological well- being if you look at his Facebook page. You'll see a notation, the slogan that says, "Follow your dreams," and then over it, it says "Canceled". So what do we make of it?

At this point not a whole lot to really go on, there are these reports that he was planning to move to Hawaii. You know, he was telling friends that he inherited a bunch of money.

Of course, that's not true. Everyone seems so genuinely shocked that this happened. They called him a happy-go-lucky kid, somebody who was popular in high school. His ex-girlfriend spoke out to ABC. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNAH PATRICIA SANSBURN, EX-GIRLFRIEND OF JACOB ROBERTS: This is the last thing I would have ever expected, especially from him. He was just too sweet. Never mean to anybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: Of course, we're also focusing on the victims today. The 45- year-old Steven Forsyth, a father of two, a respected executive here in the Portland area, and of course 54-year-old Cindy Yuille. She was a mother, a dedicated hospice nurse and people who knew her are also speaking out. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY NICKERSON, CINDY YUILLE'S FRIEND AND CO-WORKER: Cindy was an amazing hospice nurse. She spent her life helping other people transition to the end of life. And Cindy's family never got to say goodbye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: Well, 15-year-old Kristina Shevchenco, she is in the hospital. Some good news, she is expected to survive. She's in stable condition. She took a bullet to the torso. It bruised her lung, but did not hit any vital organs -- John.

BERMAN: Nice to hear that she is recovering. Dan Simon outside Portland, Oregon, thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: It is 2 minutes past the hour. Getting a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff is looking more and more like it might take a Christmas miracle. President Obama and congressional Republicans seem to be digging in on taxes.

But a new "Wall Street Journal"/NBC poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans are siding with the president now. The Republicans polled we are seeing a big shift. A majority now favor a compromise.

White House correspondent Brianna Keilar is following this tense negotiation. We only have 19 days to go here and it's looking like this is not going to happen.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's coming up fast. Right now, it doesn't sound like things are going very well. Speaker Boehner and the president are still talking, Zoraida, but while the speaker characterized his conversation with the president on Sunday as, quote, "cordial."

He described his conversation with the president on Tuesday as frank and deliberate. So decipher that and you realize things even just in the last couple of days have deteriorated. Both the WHITE HOUSe and the speaker were asked about reports that the discussion on Tuesday was intense and that's something that the White House didn't dispute.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'd simply say that we confirmed the call. One in a series of conversations as well as a meeting, as you know, recently the president has had with the speaker aimed towards the effort of trying to find some common ground on this important issue.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: I didn't say it was tense. Listen. There were some offers that were exchanged back and forth yesterday. The president and I had a pretty frank conversation about just how far apart we are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now, the bottom line here, Zoraida, is an impasse over tax rates. The White House, President Obama is still saying that income tax rates for anything over a quarter of a million dollars must increase. The Republicans are still saying no and also accusing the White House of not being specific on spending cuts and entitlement reforms, reforms of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Fed Chief Ben Bernanke is already saying that we are seeing the effects of the fiscal cliff. So should we be alarmed by the tone right now and there is an absolute drop-dead time to get a deal done?

KEILAR: We're not there yet. In fact, we have several days. I think really you're looking at Christmas as a really important time for the president and the speaker to be coming to a deal that they can have buy-in from some House Republicans and some House Democrats on.

That's really the issue because it takes several days to take the parameters of a deal and put it into legislative language and put it through Congress. The thing is it's hard to tell just how alarmed we should be.

We should be because of what Ben Bernanke said, that is alarming, that the economy is already suffering. But you really not going to know for at least another week as to whether this is just political posturing or whether this is really an impasse when we find out whether they come to a deal or not.

SAMBOLIN: OK, Brianna Keilar live in Washington, thank you.

BERMAN: Other news this morning, that satellite that North Korea launched may be tumbling out of control. That word comes to CNN from a U.S. official. The satellite was carried aboard the long-range rocket that was launched yesterday.

This is video from North Korea TV claiming to be from the control room in North Korea as the rocket blasted off. U.S. officials say that ground control has yet to send a key radio signal to the satellite that indicates there might be a potential problem.

SAMBOLIN: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has agreed to testify next week about the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. She will appear before the House and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

A report by a State Department Review Board on a terror attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans is expected to be released before Clinton testifies next Thursday.

BERMAN: Two men from New Mexico have reportedly been arrested in a bizarre murder-for-hire plot. Police say one of their targets, Justin Bieber. KRQE-TV in Albuquerque says 41-year-old Mark Stayke and his 23-year-old nephew, Tanner Roain were allegedly planning to kidnap and kill four people, including two witnesses to a crime by a murder convict, along with Bieber and his bodyguard.

SAMBOLIN: One of the greatest gatherings of musical talent ever on stage, really right, on stage last night for a very good cause, a 12- 12-12 concert for Sandy

I just want to hear this for a while. Long Island's Billy Joel with a little rewrite of his iconic song, "Miami 2017." The show also featuring another local boy, of course, The Boss, the Jersey Shore's own Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney filling for the late Kirk Cobain performed a new song that he wrote with Nirvana.

There were also the Rolling Stones, the who, Eric Clapton, so many to mention here. There are estimates that it reached two billion people. The show had already raised more than $30 million in just ticket sales to help end all of the misery that was caused by Superstorm Sandy.

BERMAN: That line up insane.

SAMBOLIN: And there's so much more. It's probably a shorter list of who was not there, right?

BERMAN: And Billy Joel actually sounded fantastic.

It's 7 minutes after the hour right now. Some other news we have autopsy results just released in the case of the nurse who committed suicide after a radio show prank the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated.

SAMBOLIN: Plus disturbing new video. This is just horrific. It's a homeless mentally challenged man that was knocked out. That video was then posted on Facebook, those stories and much more after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Brand new this morning from England, results of an autopsy conducted Tuesday on British nurse Jacintha Saldanha just released as part of a coroner's inquest now taking place in London. The coroner says her body was found hanging by a scarf.

According to testimony heard today, 46-year-old Saldanha took her own life three days after being fooled by Australian radio deejays posing as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.

The deejays, of course, wanted information about the Duchess of Cambridge. The pregnant royal was in the hospital suffering from severe morning sickness at the time.

We have Dan Rivers live for us in London this morning. Dan, what's the latest?

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, confirmation that this appears to be a suicide. That's not the formal verdict yet. It may take many months for them to come to that formality, but all the circumstances point to it.

As you say, she was found, according to the coroner's office, hanging by her neck by a scarf from a wardrobe door, an accommodation that she used near the hospital just three days after that prank call was put through by her, which ended up resulting in confidential information being given to that Australian radio show.

A policeman also told the inquest today that she had some injuries to her wrist and at this time, there are no suspicious circumstances.

BERMAN: One of the big questions we've asked this whole time is why, what put her over the edge, what caused this? There have been reports of a suicide note found, any confirmation of this?

RIVERS: There was, yes, in fact, three suicide notes. Two found at the scene and another note found in her belongings later on. As I say, it all points to suicide. That's not the official verdict at this point.

But the fact that they're saying there are no suspicious circumstances and the fact that she was found hanged with three notes, it would indicate that is the case.

BERMAN: Dan, as you know there's been quite an uproar here in the U.S. over this whole situation. How are people in England reacting to the nurse's death and those deejays who called the hospital?

RIVERS: Well, completely bemused and horrified, I think most people that this happened. In fact, Jacintha didn't actually betray any confidential details, she merely put the call through, but she was the most senior nurse on shift at the time.

It was 5:30 in the morning. I'm sure they're all tired after a long night shift. People have sort of said how could she have fallen for these Australians pretending to be the queen? Clearly it was the end of a long shift.

She put the call through and felt incredibly responsible. We don't know too much about the background, whether she had been suffering depression or anything before this. She's the mother of two teenage children.

Her husband and children living in the west of England and she sees them on weekends. Very religious, hard working, lots of glowing tributes from all her colleagues.

BERMAN: So sad, of course, the contents of those suicide notes could reveal so much. Dan Rivers in London, thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: It's 14 minutes past the hour. It's time to get you up to date. Here's Christine Romans with her other top stories.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning again. Let's start in Oregon today. We're beginning to learn more about 22- year-old Jacob Roberts, the sandwich shop clerk who killed two people and wounded a teenager in a packed Portland area mall.

An ex-girlfriend said Roberts quit his job last week, said he was moving to Hawaii. It's not clear why he decided instead to go on a shooting rampage before committing suicide. On his Facebook page, Roberts stamped the word "Canceled" over the slogan "Follow your dreams."

Two men have been arrested for allegedly beating a mentally challenged homeless man on camera and then posting it on Facebook. We want to warn you. You may find this video hard to watch. This happened in Florida.

Investigators say they agreed to pay the man $20 if he agreed to get slapped. The homeless man was punched and knocked out cold. This incident happened back in September. A concerned Facebook user alerted authorities once that video was posted.

Honda is recalling more than 800,000 minivans and SUVs over an ignition system defects. The recall affects 318,000 Odyssey minivans made in 2003 and 2004, 259,000 Pilot SUVs also made on those same years. Also recalled 230,000 Acura MDX SUVs made from 2003 to 2006.

Honda says the defects let owners remove keys from the ignition before putting the vehicle in park, which can cause vehicles to roll way. It caused several crashes and at least two reported injuries. Honda recalled close to 400,000 cars for the same issue back in 2010.

And lost tapes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. discovered hidden in a box in a closet in a couple's South Carolina home. Laura Crosby says the tapes were passed down by her dad, a newspaper reporter.

Listen to the civil rights leader, he's talking about accusations that he caused the race riots in Detroit in the summer of 1967.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: As much as I preach about nonviolence and as much as I talk about love, I don't see how anybody would ever associate me with organizing a riot.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ROMANS: Wow. The family that found the tapes now in the process of preserving them with the help of historians. And two police officers in Providence, Rhode Island, have given a little girl the best Christmas gift ever. Yes, this story could have had a bad ending. Eight-year-old Anisa Otaro, who is autistic, wandered away from her home on Sunday. Thankfully, she was found by the two officers a short time later, but her iPad was missing and she was devastated. The iPad was her window to communication. So the officers went to buy her a new one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK DECECCO, PROVIDENCE PATROLMAN: When I saw her face and the innocence on her, that's what really got myself and John Reposa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And this story gets even better, because when employees at Apple realized what the officers were doing, that they were buying her this iPad so this little girl could communicate, they donated the iPad.

BERMAN: That is awesome. Good for all of them.

ROMANS: Yes.

SAMBOLIN: It makes you fall in love with these officers. This is just fantastic.

BERMAN: He's loving it. You could see the smile on his face.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, fantastic. Thank you, Christine. That's a great story.

BERMAN: It is now 17 minutes after the hour. Time for "Early Reads" -- your local news making national headlines.

First from "The Newark Star Ledger" and nj.com, they're reporting on the arrest of an undocumented immigrant who worked as an intern in the office of Senator Robert Menendez. Menendez said he had no idea about the young man who was from Peru he was in the country illegally. Menendez didn't know that. Menendez also didn't know that this intern was a registered sex offender.

A spokeswoman says the intern was there for only two months and the senator didn't know him. The young man now faces deportation. It's embarrassing.

SAMBOLIN: And now to the "Chicago Tribune," my hometown. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reacted to a federal appellate court ruling that happened this week. The court tossed out a long standing ban on carrying concealed weapons and ordered the legislature to revise state law and allow some people to carry concealed firearms.

Governor Quinn insists some people must be barred from carrying weapons. Mayor Emanuel called the court's decision wrong-headed. You know, Chicago has the highest crime rate in the nation, if not the highest. So, a lot of people are concerned that folks are going to take these matters into their own hands. But then some folks are saying that's a good thing because if somebody is attempting to rob you, for example, maybe you're going to think twice about somebody carrying a concealed weapon.

BERMAN: The gun control debate now on the streets of Chicago.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Huge, huge.

So for an expanded look at our top stories, head to our blog, CNN.com/EarlyStart. And you can follow us on Twitter or on Facebook. John Berman has got all sorts of goodies on there for you. Just search for EarlyStartCNN. I set you up.

BERMAN: So, make her happy, follow us.

All right. A massive cyber attack said to be in the works.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness.

BERMAN: Scared yet? You should be. Your bank could be one of the targets. We'll have the details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-three minutes past the hour. Welcome back. Good morning to you. We are minding your business this morning. U.S. stock futures are flat ahead of the opening bell after closing mixed yesterday.

BERMAN: The driving force in the markets: the big Federal Reserve announcement yesterday -- Ben Bernanke. Christine Romans has all the details for us.

ROMANS: You know, the driving force in the markets, but the stocks didn't drive very far, they barely moved yesterday and they barely moved this morning. I've seen them up and down. So I would call it flat this morning.

Ben Bernanke giving some clarity on what the Fed wants to do. The Fed setting this threshold. They're going to keep stimulus going. They're not going to reverse this really unbelievable stimulus they have had into the economy until the national unemployment rate goes to 6.5 percent and the inflation rate -- as long as the inflation rate doesn't go to 2.5 percent, which it isn't. These are sorts of the limits, the threshold that they set.

They lowered their expectations for growth. GDP, 2.3 percent to 3 percent is the range. The jobless rate, 7.4 percent to 7.7 percent for next year. That's not great growth. The economy hobbling along still. The Fed says if we have the fiscal cliff, it will be worse. It's already affecting the economy.

So that's what you're hearing from the Fed. They're going to be doing a lot of purchases of bonds and mortgage-backed securities to keep money flowing into the system.

Now, another interesting story this morning.

SAMBOLIN: That we're scared of. We're going to lose all our money if we keep it in the bank. I'm just kidding.

ROMANS: It's the second report from a cyber security firm about this massive planned attack in 2013 to siphon money from your bank account. That there's this Trojan -- this malware, it's called Project Blitzkrieg. McAfee, the security firm, is calling it a credible threat.

This malware lying dormant in the U.S. financial system scheduled to go active spring 2013 and it has targeted some of the biggest names out there. JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Wachovia, Wells Fargo, Capital One. Also some of your investment accounts. Fidelity, E-Trade, Charles Schwab, PayPal.

So, this is something that the cyber security industry is watching. They have been monitoring these hacker web chat rooms in Russia, and at first they thought it was maybe some kind of a -- I don't know, they thought that it was fake and then started to looking into where whether we have this stuff on our systems.

SAMBOLIN: What are they saying? What are they saying, to make us feel safe?

ROMANS: Well, the government says -- there's no comment from the government. The Department of Homeland Security monitors this. They're not saying anything.

One bank said they take their security seriously. Other banks haven't returned our phone calls. Usually, they don't advertise much about what they're doing or thinking about these malware things. They don't like to antagonize the hackers and they clearly are going to try to fix it.

BERMAN: Hopefully, they have time to get this thing right.

All right. So what's the one thing we need to know about our money.

ROMANS: One thing about your money today. We're going to find out some important data about how much people spent in November. It's the retail sales report. Economists think it rose maybe 0.4 percent in November.

Retailers really want you to keep spending the rest of the year, right? They want to make sure you keep spending your money into December. This is my daily reminder -- that don't spend money you don't have.

BERMAN: You've seen mixed reports on the confidence.

ROMANS: We really have. We really have.

And Ben Bernanke yesterday said that household confidence is starting to wane. Businesses aren't spending money because of the fiscal cliff. So it's so elusive. It's almost right there.

You know, next year could be a good year if we can get some of these uncertainties settled.

SAMBOLIN: They can do it together. Thank you so much, Christine. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-six minutes past the hour.

Without it, a lot of iPhone users were lost, literally. Coming up, the app that just made a big comeback.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)