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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
North Korea Continues Provocative Rhetoric Against U.S. and Allies; No Suspects in Murder of a Texas County D.A.; Interview with Frank Meeink; Fallon and Leno, Reconciling Through Song
Aired April 2, 2013 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Our STARTING POINT this Tuesday -- North Korea says it's jump-starting a dead nuclear reactor and plans on using it for both economic and military reasons. This morning, how the U.S. is responding.
BERMAN: New details in the murder of a Texas D.A. and his wife. Where investigators think the clues are leading them even as security is stepped up for every prosecutor in the state.
BALDWIN: And hear about this coach yet? Remember the Cinderella team all the way to the Sweet 16? But Florida Gulf Coast University's coach, Andy Enfield, will now call a new school home.
BERMAN: Plus, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon address their alleged late-night feud in song. A "Tonight Show" duet in its entirety, coming up.
It is Tuesday, April 2nd, and STARTING POINT begins right now.
Great to see everyone. Our STARTING POINT this morning, new threats by North Korea that could lead to more and stronger nuclear weapons for that country. This propaganda video has been playing on state TV there, showing soldiers shooting at paper targets of American soldiers. That as Pyongyang announcing this morning it plans to restart the nuclear power complex in Yongbyon that's been idle for six years. They're going to use it for economic and military reasons, they say.
Barbara Starr joins us live from the Pentagon with the latest on these developments. Good morning, Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Well, there are more military moves by the United States to challenge any North Korean provocation, but still a lot of questions about what exactly is North Korea up to.
STARR: The U.S. Navy is moving a warship closer to the North Korean coastline. It's also sending this ocean-going radar. The worry, North Korea may be planning more ballistic missile test launches. U.S. officials say this missile might be fired in the coming weeks, with a 2500-mile range, it threatens South Korea, Japan, and southeast Asia. If fired and headed for land, the Navy ship would then try to shoot it down. The ship along with two F-22 fighter jets and B-2 bombers are Washington's latest moves on the chess board to challenge a North Korean provocation. The U.S. strategy --
GEORGE LITTLE, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: It's about showing the South Koreans and our friends in the region that we are ready to protect them in the face of any threats.
STARR: There are new images of Kim Jong-un looking ready for war. But is that his goal?
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I would reiterate that we haven't seen action to back up the rhetoric in the sense that we haven't seen significant changes, as I said, in the north in terms of mobilizations or repositioning of forces.
STARR: But analysts say that's small comfort.
VICTOR CHA, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: This new leadership that's very unpredictable that will fire off a missile then at the same time sit down with Dennis Rodman and say that he wants Obama to call him.
STARR: Victor Cha says North Korea's recent successful missile and nuclear tests play, perhaps, into the regime's ultimate goal, to not give up its weapons crown jewels.
CHA: You can't put it past them the idea that they are also trying to establish a new equilibrium at which they are accepted as a nuclear weapons state.
STARR: And that underground nuclear test might have been more advanced than initially thought. Analysts say there were very few emissions, radioactive emissions from that test which is an indication that North Koreans succeeded in burying it deep underground, shielding it, doing everything they could to keep the United States from figuring out what was going on. John?
BALDWIN: Obviously, Barbara, one of the concerns with this young leader is the possibility of flexing the country's nuclear might. The other question I had, though, what about the possibility of them selling, you know, nuclear bombs to -- to terrorists?
STARR: Well, you know, it's always possible. And that would be a concern. And for the North Koreans, that would give them what they need most, which is cash. So they'd like to sell everything they can. One can only suspect that the U.S. intelligence community, satellites watch North Korean ports and shipping very carefully. We know that they do. So getting any of that material out of North Korea might be very problematic. But still it might be very tempting for the North Koreans to look for a cash sale.
BERMAN: As you said, no doubt, U.S. intelligence watching this very, very closely. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, our thanks to you.
BALDWIN: This morning we're also following developments out of Kaufman County, Texas, a procession, and a solemn salute held there last night as the bodies of Mike and Cynthia McLelland were taken to a local funeral home. A public memorial for the couple is set for Thursday. The funeral will be held Friday morning. Meantime, we are learning new information about the crime scene as investigators are combing through evidence in the couple's shooting death.
BERMAN: Also an interim district attorney Randy Fernandez has been named to lead the office while Governor Rick Perry begins the process of finding a permanent replacement. Our George Howell is live in Kaufman County, Texas. George, what's the latest this morning?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, good morning. When we talk about Kaufman County, Texas, we're talking about a close-knit community where neighbors know one another. In fact a lot of people, they knew the McLellands, and they want answers in this case. But with no new leads coming from investigators the unanswered questions are taking a toll.
HOWELL: Just off the town square in Kaufman, Texas --
LISA HAUK, KAUFMAN RESIDENT: In the front room, most of the time, and it's a little private area, so they would like him and his wife and some friends, and whatever.
HOWELL: Lisa Hauk and Debbie Ray say the McLelland's were regulars at the especially for you tea room. They saw Mike and Cynthia here just a few days ago. Just days before the county's district attorney and his wife were shot dead in their own home.
You heard about what happened.
DEBBIE RAY, KAUFMAN RESIDENT: It was heartbreaking. Just shocking, very shocking. Not really soaking it in, I don't think.
HAUK: This is a small town. It hits very close to home. People are on edge a little, and afraid for the rest of the city employees.
HOWELL: It's the second prosecutor to be killed in two months in Kaufman. First assistant D.A. Mark Hasse gunned down on January 31st and then his boss, D.A. Mike McLelland and his wife found dead Saturday, shot multiple times. There are many questions, but answers are in short supply. Even public officials are taking precautions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm certainly aware. Fear, I don't know that that's the right word. But awareness, all of us are cautious now. HOWELL: Police say they have no suspects. The motive is unclear, and authorities have not officially said whether the killings of the two prosecutors are connected. But that's what most people here seem to think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One and one makes two. You can't keep from connecting these. And so, of course, our concern is what is going to happen next.
HOWELL: So no new information from investigators, but we do know some information from a search warrant affidavit now. We know that the bodies of the McLellands, they were discovered by friends who were trying to reach them several times during the day. We also know that McLelland spoke to relatives on Friday. And we also know that investigators are trying to track down mobile phone records from a cell phone tower that's near the home. They've asked the judge to help them start that process. John?
BERMAN: Looking for some clues of any kind to move this investigation along. George Howell live this morning in Kaufman County, Texas, thanks.
BALDWIN: And now a shocker from Colorado this morning. The ex-con suspected of killing the state's corrections chief should not have been free. Evan Ebel was released from prison four years early because of a clerical error. Ebel was supposed to serve more time for punching a prison guard. The court papers failed to specify the assault sentence should be consecutive, translation, after the one he was already serving. The mistake has led officials to now review their procedures.
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THOM LEDOUX, FREMONT COUNTY, COLORADO D.A.: I am confident that they will fix the problem going forward and that won't happen again. And I think it's probably worth the effort to go back and make sure that we don't have any other cases out there where this problem has occurred before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Ebel is also suspected of murdering a pizza delivery deliver last month. He was killed in that shoot-out with police in Texas two weeks ago.
BERMAN: Coming up we're going to reaction from a former skinhead and a former member of the Aryan Nation. He'll talk to us about Colorado and Texas.
Meanwhile, Connecticut lawmakers have reached an agreement on a strict new gun law. Christine Romans has that and the rest of the day's top stories. Hey, Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to both of you. New this morning a bipartisan task force of lawmakers agreeing in Connecticut on what's being called a major overhaul of that state's gun laws. And parents of children killed in the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, they are voicing their support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKIE BARDEN, SON KILLED AT SANDY HOOK: It's our job to make sure it doesn't happen, for our son.
MARK BARDEN, SON KILLED AT SANDY HOOK: Everybody needs to think about it. And look into their hearts, and try to do what's necessary to make the changes that have to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: The legislation adds more than 100 types of guns to the state's list of banned assault weapons. It limits ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. It requires background checks for all weapon sales and sets safety standards for school buildings. It's expected to pass easily when the legislature votes as early as tomorrow.
The National Rifle Association will offer its own strategy today to prevent gun violence in schools. The quote "National School Shields" program details training recommendations for armed school guards, and guidelines for local officials on how to modify ordinances in order to allow the armed guards in school. President Obama is expected to talk about gun control tomorrow during a visit to Denver. Colorado passed tough new gun control measures less than two weeks ago.
Happening now in south Florida, heavy fog shutting down Alligator Alley, the Florida highway patrol closing I-75 due to extremely limited visibility this morning. Smog and smoke from brushfires are combining to bring visibility down near zero.
President Obama taking on the role of a comforter in chief at yesterday's White House Easter egg roll. Things didn't turn out so well for five-year-old Donovan Fraser of Scranton, Pennsylvania. When the president saw the little guy crying, he walked over, gave him a hug, and told him to shake it off. And it worked like a charm.
Every one of those holidays has candy involved has children crying. Have you ever noticed?
Louisville guard Kevin Ware up and walking on crutches this morning just two days after his gruesome leg injury. Ware's mother recalling the conversation she had with her son right after he broke his leg during that victory against Duke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA JUNIOR, KEVIN WARE'S MOTHER: He didn't say hello. He didn't say anything. All he said was, I need you to calm down, and he kept saying that. And then him saying that it made me do that. I mean, he knew that I would be devastated about what happened. And not, you know, be able to help him in any way. But he was OK and him being OK helped me be OK. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: After visiting his injured player coach, Rick Pitino said Kevin was in good spirits and anxious to get out of the hospital. At 8:00 this morning on starting point, former redskins quarterback Joe Theismann joins us live. Back in '85 he suffered a similar gruesome broken leg. We're going to talk to him about what lies ahead for Kevin Ware.
BALDWIN: They've been texting back and forth.
BERMAN: Thanks so much, Christine.
More college hoops news. It's good-bye dunk city, hello Hollywood. Coach Andy Enfield, who led the underdog Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles to the NCAA sweet 16, he's just been named the new head man at USC. Bleacher Report's Vince Cellini joins us from Atlanta with more.
VINCE CELLINI, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, John. It's interesting. I don't think that Andy Enfield was on USC's radar just a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure if they could find Florida Gulf Coast University on a map. It shows you the power of the NCAA tournament. Being successful there and taking a number 15 seed with a flashy style of play, with alley-oop dunks running the floor all over great tenacious defense, and turning that into an opportunity, and that's what Enfield did, as now USC is going to get their new head coach a reported six-year deal for him, as he is moving as you said.
Here's a statement from Pat Hayden, the athletic director at USC, upon hiring Andy Enfield and why he reached there to pick him up. He said Andy's success this season at Florida gulf coast was not a flash in the pan. He has a consistent and proven record of success for more than 15 years in college and the NBA. And that's true. He's a longtime assistant at Florida State. And before that, with the Milwaukee bucks and the Boston Celtics in the NBA, successful businessman, as well. And he fits the profile. He's 43 years old. Has an ex-model wife. Beautiful wife, beautiful three little kids. They will fit very well into that whole southern California scene. And his style of play is going to be very appealing for recruits, as well. It's fresh in the minds of players, and those who will compete against him so it's very attractive in all of those aspects. So, off he goes to Hollywood.
BERMAN: Dunk city means show time?
BALDWIN: There you go. Hello, Hollywood.
BERMAN: Thank you so much.
Ahead on STARTING POINT, more on one our top stories. We're talking to a member of the Aryan Nation about the possible involvement of white supremacists in the murder of two Texas prosecutors.
BALDWIN: Then there were the Sharks and the Jets, and now Leno and Fallon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And the song will get stuck in your head the rest of your day. The late night titans address their supposed feud singing.
It's 13 minutes past the hour. We don't want them to go away. You're watching STARTING POINT.
BERMAN: I won't sing anymore.
BERMAN: Funeral services will be held Friday for a Kaufman county district attorney and his wife, gunned down over the weekend. Investigators are looking right now at whether white supremacists may be involved.
BALDWIN: And Frank Meeink is a former skinhead and former member of the Aryan nation. He's now left that movement and joins us live from Des Moines, Iowa.
Frank, good morning. So we have you on. You're very familiar specifically with this group the Aryan brotherhood of Texas. From what I understand you do think that this was the work of this group. Why?
FRANK MEEINK, FORMER SKINHEAD: I do. You know, the Aryan brotherhood is trying to relay a message that they are not only going to get you if you're behind the law, but they're going to get their enemies outside the walls. The indictment that happened a year ago to this group really hurt the Aryan brotherhood of Texas. They -- when the indictment happened, it didn't just -- this isn't an ideology battle here. This was financial. They took away some of their drug mules, they took away people on the outside who were supplying them. This --
BALDWIN: So this was over money?
MEEINK: -- happened it really -- it's financial. It definitely is financial. That's the difference between sometimes what the outside Aryan groups and groups that are in the -- behind the walls, is that it's more of a criminal element. We're now seeing the most rawest criminal element of the Aryan movement right now.
BALDWIN: So, Frank, you keep referring to inside and outside. In prison and out of prison. How can they execute this kind of operation from behind bars?
MEEINK: Well, they have members that are now getting out. People that have gotten out over the last couple of years and people that are staying loyal to probably a gang that saved their life once they got into prison. So they still have these guys' loyalty to them. BALDWIN: How sophisticated are they?
MEEINK: You know, the sophisticated part is more of the outside groups, more of the internet savvy-type groups. But these guys are good at running con games, running scams, and more of the criminal element of, again, of the movement. So, the sophistication probably running credit card scams, and stuff like that, and is more of the Aryan brotherhood on the outside game of raising money. So --
BERMAN: Based on what you know about this group, Frank, how much --
MEEINK: There are also a -- I'm sorry. You know, I don't know. Who knows. Until they catch you, who is doing this, we -- we do need to look out. You know, we need to try to fix this problem. You know, we need to start helping, and it sounds kind of crazy. But we need to start helping some of these guys getting out of the penitentiary so their loyalties will start to drop because they're getting jobs and going to what we call a normal life. That's what people did with me and with T.J. Leyden, other ex-former guys that have now changed our lives is people showed us empathy and gave us a chance. And, I know it kind of sounds crazy to think, give these people a chance --
BALDWIN: But that's what's made all the difference.
MEEINK: It's what you have to do. It is.
BERMAN: Frank Meeink thanks to you on a story that's got a lot of people worried down in Kaufman county, Texas.
Twenty minutes after the hour right now, and ahead on STARTING POINT
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, TALK SHOW HOST (lip synching): Tonight, tonight my ratings were all right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Jimmy and Jay finally addressing their supposed late-night feud, and they're doing it in song. You want to hear this. Stay with us.
BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. So Jimmy Fallon versus Jay Leno. A lot of buzz over who will win the battle to host "The Tonight Show."
BALDWIN: And a little singing, as well, here as you'll see. The two late-night stars may have settled the feud thanks to" West Side Story."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY FALLON, TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, Jay.
LENO: Hey,kid. How you holding up? FALLON: Okay, I guess. You?
LENO: I'll live. I've been through this before, you know. Got to admit I'm getting a little sick of all this.
FALLON: Jay, can I ask you something? We're still friends, right?
LENO: Yes. Of course, of course we're still friends.
FALLON: That's good.
FALLON (singing): Only you every night you throw to me Jay Leno. In the news all they do is say I'm replacing you they think I can woo the demo
LENO (singing): Oh, the network said here's an idea pack your bags take a hike and see ya.
FALLON (singing): Tonight, tonight, who's gonna host tonight? Is it gonna be Jimmy or Jay? Tonight, tonight, where will they tape tonight in New York, will it stay in LA?
LENO (singing): Tonight, tonight, my ratings were all right. 20 years and I'm still in first place. Tonight, tonight I've got Fox on the line or maybe I could take over for Dave.
FALLON AND LENO (singing): Tonight, tonight, why do they say we fight. I like you, you like me, we're okay. Tonight, tonight who cares who owns tonight . People just want a line the next day (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So -- It's incredibly well done, I think. Incredibly creative. But my question for you guys, is it really funny or is there some kind of underlying --
BALDWIN: Sort of melancholy almost tone?
BALWDIN: That's what some of us were saying. Obviously this is all addressing the rumors and the speculation that Jimmy Fallon would take "The Tonight Show" gig. I don't know. It's sort of brilliant in terms of the PR from NBC. Like Jay Leno said, he's been through this before. This is a way to say we're buddies.
ROMANS: It was super well-written. Obviously those guys have ranges as showmen. And harmonizing. Gosh. Come on.
BERMAN: Look --
ROMANS: Funny, but more sad than funny I thought.
BERMAN: You would never have seen Jay Leno doing this with David Letterman back in the 90's. Jay and Conan wouldn't have been doing it last time he went through this, so the fact the two of them are doing it now maybe that means something in and of itself.
ROMANS: Well, they're stirring up publicity for both of them.
BALDWIN: And showing there's no bad blood.
BERMAN: And you'll never go wrong with "West Side Story." Which we will be singing, throughout the show.
BALWDIN: That's for bringing that up, because that is my take away for the morning, that this guy played a Jet in the eighth grade.
BERMAN: I was Riff.
BALDWIN: And that is when your singing should have ended.
BERMAN: I was the leader of the Jets.
BALDWIN: The leader.
BERMAN: Actually the leader.
BALDWIN: Be glad you're not here during commercial break.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, a popular reality star, this is a sad one out of West Virginia. This guy was found dead, will the MTV show "Buckwild" go on without Shain Gandee? A live report on that, next.
BERMAN: Then? That had to hurt right there.
BERMAN: Oh, man look at that. A man grabs a woman's purse, runs to the exit, smashes through the glass door. We will show you that video again and again and again and tell you the story behind it. After the break. You're watching STARTING POINT.
BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT everyone, I'm John Berman.
BALDWIN: Good morning, I'm Brooke Baldwin. It is a real-life tragedy for the reality show cast this morning a favorite on MTV it's called "Buckwild," and this young man, 21-year-old Shain Gandee was found dead. First reported missing Sunday night, Gandee and two others, one of whom was his uncle, were found dead inside a Ford Bronco on Monday. So this truck was partially submerged in mud in a wooded area of Kanawha county in West Virginia. And Nischelle Turner is live for us in Los Angeles to sort of unravel some of these details. What do we know this morning?
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, things are becoming a little bit clearer, Brooke, like you said. You mentioned that the truck was found partially submerged in mud.