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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Back from Havana; North Korea's Next Move?; Texas College Stabbing Attack; Expanding Background Checks on Gun Sales; Small Business Funds to Repay TARP

Aired April 10, 2013 - 05:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: They are back in the United States. New this morning, two boys abducted by sailboat and taken to Cuba returned a short time ago, now in Florida.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Was it a sick fantasy turned to brutal reality? New information on the suspect in a mass stabbing attack at a Texas college.

BERMAN: And it could happen at any moment now. the United States and the world waiting, with North Korea expected to launch a ballistic missile.

SAMBOLIN: And do we have a breakthrough on background checks, folks? We're just hours away from a bipartisan Senate announcement on gun control in America.

Good morning to you. Thanks for being with us this morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Wednesday, April 10. Empanada Day here on EARLY START.

SAMBOLIN: He's had four empanadas this morning so far.

BERMAN: Could be a tough morning, ladies and gentlemen.

SAMBOLIN: It could be.

BERMAN: It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. We're going to start with news overnight.

The end of a kidnapping drama that turned into a manhunt and ended really under the shadow of the Cold War. The parents accused of abducting their two young sons and sailing off to Cuba are back on U.S. soil this morning where they have been placed under arrest.

It was Cuba that turned the Hakken family over to United States after they were spotted Tuesday at a marina in Havana. Also tracked down by CNN's own reporting. Florida authorities sent a plane to Havana to bring them back to Tampa overnight.

CNN's Victor Blackwell is live in Tampa this morning.

Good morning, Victor. What's the latest? VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. The latest is and this is the headline, Chase and Cole Hakken are safe at home with their grandparents. Their parents, Joshua and Sharon Hakken, are in jail.

And we have the first video of their arrival overnight in Hillsborough County on that plane that you said, John, that was sent to Cuba to retrieve them. And here is how it all went down. This is from the FBI and from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

It was the State Department that received information that the Hakken family had arrived in Cuba. Initially the FBI said that it received information that the family was headed south so they started that search on land and by boat. After the information came to the State Department that was shared with the FBI, shared with the sheriff's office, and that was late Monday when it was released to the media.

And Patrick Ottman of CNN confirmed Tuesday morning that indeed the Hakken family was in Cuba. After that, we're told the Cuban authorities were cooperative through the entire process. That plane was sent to Cuba with officials locally here, also the FBI, to retrieve the family. They arrested the parents Joshua and Sharon Hakken, took the boys into custody. They landed here last night. The parents were taken to a jail just a few hundred yards for questioning for several hours. And those boys are back at home with their grandparents.

It was just a week ago on Wednesday when they were snatched. This Wednesday they're waking up in their beds at home. And their grandfather, Robert Hauser, thanked everyone in this process for bringing those boys back home. And here's what he said last night at the news conference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT HAUSER, GRANDFATHER: Right now we're just looking forward to sitting, getting them in our arms and hugging them, and being with them and getting them home where they'll be safe again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: There were the four Hakkens that were taken into custody there, the parents and those boys, but also the family dog, a terrier. We're still working to get the name of that dog. But that dog is with the boys back home here in Tampa -- John.

BERMAN: We're thrilled that the boys are safe and the fact they have their dog, Victor. What charges will Joshua Hakken face? And what about the wife? Do we -- know any details about her involvement in this whole thing?

BLACKWELL: We do know now that she also will be facing charges. Two counts of kidnapping, cruelty to children, burglary charge with battery, also grand theft auto for Joshua Hakken for stealing Patricia Hauser's car. And also now the federal charge for flight to avoid prosecution. So there are state charges and now a federal count, both behind bars here in Hillsborough County -- John.

BERMAN: A whole litany of charges, it sounds like, Victor. Again, we are so thrilled that those kids are back in the United States and back safely.

Victor Blackwell in Tampa, thanks so much.

SAMBOLIN: And our other big story this morning, the United States and the world bracing right now for North Korea's next move. CNN has learned the White House believes that it's likely the North could test fire a mobile ballistic missile at any moment. And based on recent intelligence reports as well, it appears Pyongyang has already completed the necessary launch preparations.

Jim Clancy is live from Seoul this morning.

So, Jim, you know, a couple of things here. I have a list in front of me. It's a brief history of North Korean missile tests, and it's quite a few of them. They've done this before. There's been a lot of rhetoric before, and typically around the birthday of North Korea's leader, they like to show their military prowess. So what is different here?

TOM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is coming during these military maneuvers. It's also coming at a time when Pyongyang itself and Kim Jong-Un Himself have really raised the stakes with some fiery rhetoric. Talk of thermonuclear war on the Korean peninsula. It's upset a lot of people including the neighbors, the Russians, the Chinese especially.

The Japanese have upped their -- their Patriot ant-missile defense system, so do the South Koreans for that matter. Everybody is more or less on edge, precisely because of what we've been hearing coming out of Pyongyang over the course of the past three weeks.

SAMBOLIN: So, Jim, is there any way to gauge how far Kim Jong-Un is willing to go this time?

CLANCY: Well, there isn't -- you know, we don't know that much about this young leader. We don't know who may be pushing him to do this. There are some older relatives of his that are also involved in the government there. They may be counseling him that he's got to take it further than did his father or his grandfather.

But, you know, here in South Korea, I talked to the Unification Minister today, and he was very clear. He doesn't see a war here on the Korean peninsula. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYOO KIHL-JAE, SOUTH KOREAN UNIFICATION MINISTER (Through Translator): It is impossible for war to break out on the Korean peninsula unless North Korea makes unreasonable and insane decisions. The U.S.-South Korea alliance creates a strong deterrent, and also China and Russia will never allow war to break out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: You know, it may also be, Zoraida, that North Korea is saying one thing and doing another. They told us, if you recall, 24 hours ago that diplomats should be leaving Pyongyang, considering getting out of the country. Well, now today we find out that they're inviting athletes from 16 different countries who are going to be in Pyongyang to run a marathon for, guess what, Kim Il-Sung's birthday that comes up on the 15th -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Jim Clancy, thank you very much.

BERMAN: Seven minutes after the hour right now. New developments this morning on the stabbing rampage on a college campus in Texas. The suspect under arrest, 20-year-old Dylan Quick, is accused of injuring 14 people in yesterday's attack. Officials say quick told investigators he planned the assault, and that he has fantasized about be stabbing people to death since he was in elementary school.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Cypress, Texas, for us this morning.

Good morning, Ed. What's latest?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, John. Classes here at the Lone Star College campus in Cypress, Texas, will resume. Everything back to normal today. But yesterday everything was far from normal, but it thankfully came to an end when three students jumped into action and took out an attacker.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Investigators say Dylan Quick unleashed a rapid and frightening attack on 14 people as he walked through a hallway at the Lone Star College campus in Cypress, Texas.

Cassie Foe says it was surreal to watch the horrific scene unfold. She was in a classroom when she heard students screaming.

(On camera): How in the world did someone stab 14 people?

CASSIE FOE, WITNESSED STABBING: Basically he used his backpack as a shield and he gets close to the person, kind of bumps into them and stabs them at the same time. So it's --

LAVANDERA: So it was that quick?

FOE: So it's that quick just -- and then out and down the other way.

LAVANDERA: So this guy is walking and he's just leaving this trail of pain behind him, right?

FOE: Basically. He was just stabbing anyone in his way. There was no pattern. There was no method. It was completely random.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Fourteen people were wounded in the surprising assault. Four had to be airlifted to hospitals. For many, it was all over before they could figure out what had happened. The wounds were gruesome, a piece of a blade broke off in one victim's cheek. Others were stabbed in the throat and face. As students ran from the chaos, a group of three students went after the attacker. One of them was Steven Maida.

STEVEN MAIDA, WITNESS STABBING: And the next thing was there was a guy stabbing girls in the face. I was like, all right, I've got to go in there, I got to go help, and see what I can do.

LAVANDERA: Maida says he and two other students started chasing Dylan Quick through the buildings and finally caught up with him outside by a parking lot.

MAIDA: I jumped on him. And I didn't want to take a chance. I put him on his stomach and put his hands behind his back, and that's when the first cops came and put the cuffs on him and started searching him.

LAVANDERA (on camera): And when you guy get on top of him, what did he say?

MAIDA: He did -- he's like, I give up right away. I give up. And I was on top of him, it's like, why did you do this? What made you want to stab these girls?

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Maida said he didn't get an answer, but investigators say Dylan Quick said he's had fantasies of stabbing people since he was in elementary school and had planned this attack for some time. Investigators also say Dylan Quick used a razor type knife and has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: And, John, the latest we have heard is that two of those students that were wounded are still in critical condition. We'll continue to monitor the updates on those students. And a lot of thoughts and prayers going out to them this morning. But as I mentioned off the top here, classes resume as this campus tries to get back to normal today -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Ed Lavandera, thanks so much.

A lot of questions still about this story. And coming up a bit early on EARLY START, we're going to speak with Maya Khalil. She's a student at Lone Star College. She was on campus yesterday as that violence erupted. That's going to ahead. That discussion at 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time this morning.

SAMBOLIN: She actually also took pictures throughout. So we have those as well.

And also new this morning, President Obama's budget for fiscal year 2014 will be released in just a few hours. Copies will be delivered to Capitol Hill to both the Senate and the House. Then later this morning in the Rose Garden, the president will make a statement. His budget will propose changes to Social Security and Medicare and calls for new tax increases.

BERMAN: In France, the Senate there passing a key portion of legislation that would make marriage and adoption legal for same-sex couples. The "Marriage for All" bill as it's called passed the Lower House of France's parliament back in February.

SAMBOLIN: And the University of Connecticut rewriting the history books last night by winning the NCAA Women's Basketball championship for the eighth time.

BERMAN: Eighth time.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Freshman sensation Breanna Stewart scoring 18 of 24 points in the first half as the Huskies crushed Louisville 93-60.

BERMAN: Look at that steal.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it was the most lopsided win ever in a final.

BERMAN: Wow.

SAMBOLIN: UConn and Tennessee are now tied for the most women's national titles with eight each.

Congratulations, ladies.

BERMAN: That's awesome. What a program they have up there in Connecticut.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Exactly.

BERMAN: Fantastic to see. Eleven minutes after the hour. And we could out in a matter of hours whether a deal has been reached to turn a major gun control proposal into reality. We'll give you the details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 14 minutes past the hour.

There's word that a bipartisan deal may be near in the Senate that would expand federal background checks on gun sales. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Senator Pat Toomey has scheduled a news conference for 11:00 a.m. today.

And a new CNN poll shows there is overwhelming support for it. Nearly 9 out of 10 Americans are in favor.

And all day today on CNN, we're taking an in depth look at the legislation, the debate, and what's at stake in our coverage "Guns Under Fire: A CNN Special Report on Background Checks."

Here's Brianna Keilar.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Family members of some of the 26 students and teachers killed in the Newtown shooting visited Capitol Hill, lobbying lawmakers to take up gun legislation. Jillian Soto, whose sister Vicki died at Sandy Hook Elementary School, met with Democrats and Republicans.

JILLIAN SOTO, SISTER OF SLAIN SANDY HOOK TEACHER: It's hard to even wrap your arms around that this even happened. But we're, you know, just taking it day by day, and, you know, going to Washington and demanding something happen.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Thank you. Thank you for being here.

KEILAR: The high profile visits come as the Senate's top Democrat Harry Reid announced he will force a vote this week on whether to start debate on tougher gun laws, and they coincide with a weeklong White House offensive.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Safer for our children. So let's do the right thing.

KEILAR: Monday President Obama pressed the Senate from Connecticut with a campaign style event. Tuesday at a White House event with law enforcement officials, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder applied more pressure as a growing group of Republicans say they plan to block the Senate from even debating the Democratic authored bill.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: Won't even proceed. Now, maybe, between now and the time it gets to the floor, they will -- as my mother says, they will have seen the light. Maybe that will change. What an embarrassing thing to say.

KEILAR: Democrats are hoping for support from at least a handful of Republicans like Georgia's Johnny Isakson. He met with the Newtown families Tuesday and told CBS News that despite his opposition to the bill he won't filibuster it.

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R), GEORGIA: But I think it deserves a vote, up or down.

KEILAR: Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Our thanks to Brianna. It is 17 minutes after the hour right now. Let's bring you up to date.

The Florida couple accused of abducting their two sons and sailing off to Cuba are back in Florida this morning, where they have been placed under arrest. Cuba turned the Hakken family over to the U.S. after they were spotted Tuesday on a 25-foot sailboat at a marina in Havana. Florida authorities sent a plane to fly them back to Tampa. The two boys will be returned to their maternal grandparents now. SAMBOLIN: A U.S. officials tells CNN North Korea is likely to test fire a ballistic mobile missile at any time, and it could come without advanced warning. Intelligence reports indicate the North has already completed launch preparations. Pyongyang now telling foreigners in South Korea to take steps to protect themselves.

BERMAN: Could former Congressman Anthony Weiner be planning a run as mayor of New York City? Weiner stepped down in 2011 after he was caught sending out explicit messages and photos on Twitter but now there are reports that Weiner is polling New York City residents to see if they would consider him as a candidate for mayor. He confirmed as much to the "New York Times." Weiner still has more than $4 million in his campaign fund and he still maintains a campaign office.

SAMBOLIN: The FBI has confirmed they are looking into the secret tapes that recorded a strategy session in Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office. The tapes revealed the Kentucky Republican was considering attacking then prospective candidate Ashley Judd over her religious views and battles with depression. McConnell was furious.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: As I indicated, last week they were attacking my wife's ethnicity and apparently also bugging my headquarters, much like Nixon and Watergate. That's what the political left does these days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Actress Ashley Judd released a statement responding to what was said in the tape saying, in part, quote, "We expected nothing less from Mitch McConnell and his camp than to take a personal struggle such as depression, which many Americans cope with on a daily basis, and turn it into a laughing matter."

BERMAN: A lot of politics at play here. A lot of people saying that McConnell's response to this yesterday was sort of textbook rapid response, instead of talking about the accusation, of course, that McConnell was having meetings talking about Ashley Judd and depression. He turned around immediately and said, I was bugged. I was bugged. This is dirty tricks.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BERMAN: I'm the majority leader.

SAMBOLIN: Would have been much nicer.

All right. Ninety minutes past the hour. What does waste in Washington have to do with catfish? The answer coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We're "Minding Your Business" this morning. A very busy day for business news. Looks like the Dow is going to add to yesterday's record close at the open today. But Christine Romans has only one story today.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This is a rare day when there's so many business stories, so many stories about your money that I can barely choose.

Let's start today with the president's budget. This is a big story. It's expected to include $25 million in wasteful spending cuts. Based on recommendations from an extensive report by the GAO, the Government Accountability Office. It includes $14 million in savings if we eliminate one of two federal catfish inspection programs.

There are bigger fish in this budget, too. $87 million on military uniforms. If the Defense Department cuts back on the number of camouflage patterns that currently we pay for. $1.2 billion in savings available through limiting crop insurance for high-income farmers. And at least $615 million in additional revenue can come in if the government taxes pipe tobacco at the same rate as roll your own tobacco and taxes small cigars at the same rate as large cigars.

Yes, everybody, that's what's in the budget.

(LAUGHTER)

That's what we parse over and that's how you come up with money. Still an awful big gap to close.

Another story I'm watching this morning. This is a story that every family should prepare for. Because Americans need to start looking for cost savings of their own in their private nursing home care bills. Those bills have sky rocketed 24 percent in the last five years. This is according to Genworth Financial.

It now costs, the median cost of home nursing care, $83,000 a year.

SAMBOLIN: Wow.

ROMANS: Genworth blames -- and that's for a private room, I should say. Genworth blames a combination of factors -- higher insurance, food, labor cost. All that gets passed on to customers.

Also this morning, a shocking report from the Treasury Department that shows that bank funds did not -- banks did not use funds -- they used -- let me say this again. They used funds from the small business lending program. They used those to pay back their TARP, their government bailout loans. That's right. They used money that was meant to be pushed to small business and instead used it to pay back the government.

Christie Romero, the special inspector general for the Troubles Asset Relief Program, TARP, she says in her special report small business lending funds, "They serve as a vehicle for a significant number of TARP banks to exit TARP using government funds, with little resulting benefit for small businesses."

That's outrageous. That's exactly what people who hated the bailout, hated the bailout said was going to happen and that's exactly what happened here.

BERMAN: That the little guy wouldn't benefit and it would just go to the --

ROMANS: And the small business wouldn't benefit, too. The banks would always get the best end of the deal. When the government is handing out free money, banks would find the best way to use it to their advantage and that's what our report found.

SAMBOLIN: All right, thank you.

BERMAN: Christine, thanks so much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: So when EARLY START returns, new this morning, the parents who abducted their children and took them to Cuba, they are back in U.S. custody. The latest in the case when we come back.

SAMBOLIN: And if you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop or your mobile phone. Just go to CNN.com/TV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)