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Motivating Factors; Firefight Caught on Camera; U.S. Delegation Arrives in Dagestan; Remembering Sean Collier; Eight Storey Building Collapses in Bangladesh; "Happy to Be Vindicated"; Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Wife; Dow Drops After Fake Tweet

Aired April 24, 2013 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's condition has been upgraded from serious to fair this morning. We're hearing he could soon be transferred out of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to another facility.

And as for the terror investigation, a U.S. official tells CNN's Jessica Yellin there is no hard evidence that the Tsarnaev brothers had any accomplices or any connections to extremists.

In this new development, which is unfolding right now, a delegation from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow is arriving in Dagestan to attempt to interview the parents of the Tsarnaev brothers. They're doing that with the cooperation of the Russian government.

The U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, maybe they were the motivation behind the bombings. That's at least according to the surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And we're now hearing from the Watertown man who discovered Tsarnaev hiding in his boat in his backyard.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is here in Boston on Boylston Street Again, which is open for business this morning -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, we are actually at the memorial that was so painstakingly moved and stuck here in Copley Squarek from other parts of Boylston Street. And this down here, we're at Dartmouth and Boylston. You can see traffic flowing up Boylston for the first time in nine days.

Right down the way where you see those flashing lights, that's the finish line of the race. Right beyond that is where the bombing sites are. We have some video, and you know police, Bostonians being very sensitive about shooting this, about even going live from Boylston this morning.

The video shows them repairing the sidewalk, getting rid of all aspects, and reminder of what happened there on the store window that was blown out, it just says Boston strong. All this as we are learning more about the plot, and its aftermath.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): New pictures of the confrontation between the Tsarnaev brothers and police in Watertown. In one of them, taken by witness Andrew Kitzenberg we see the brothers firing at officers.

Hours later -- the final standoff between authorities and the younger brother, Dzhokhar when David Henneberry climbed up a ladder to look inside his normally shrink wrapped boat. First, he saw blood inside of it then a body.

DAVID HENNEBERY, FOUND SUSPECT HIDING IN BOAT: My eyes went to the other side of the engine box. The engine box is in the middle -- there's a body.

MARQUEZ: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev already bleeding before the final shoot- out and surrender. The city on high alert, and Henneberry knew he just might be the man police were looking for. And we are learning more, if it can be believed, about what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is telling investigators.

That the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated the plot, his claims, there was no outside encouragement, radicalization, or communication that he and his older brother Tamerlan were fuelled by online Jihadist videos.

And investigators say he may have consulted al Qaeda's English magazine "Inspire" for help in building their bombs. Investigators are also taking a look at an unsolved triple murder from 2011 to determine if Tamerlan Tsarnaev had anything to do with it.

One of the victims a friend and sparring partner of Tamerlan, Brandon Mess, he was found dead along with two others, all had their throats cut. Such horrible details, as Boston continues to recover and the victims of the attacks are laid to rest.

Two private ceremonies Tuesday for 26-year-old MIT Police Officer Sean Collier and for the youngest victim, 8-year-old Martin Richard.


MARQUEZ: Now we also understand that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is obviously getting better at the hospital and authorities there say that once he does get well enough they will likely move him. Because of complaints from friends, and family members of the victims who are also being cared for at Beth Israel. That could happen in the next few days or a week -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Miguel Marquez joining us this morning again from an open for business Boylston Street. I should say, I took a walk down Boylston Street a little while ago, Miguel, and I already saw flowers at the site of that first bomb blast. Thanks so much, Miguel.

As we mentioned delegates from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow are looking for answers in Dagestan right now. They're there to interview the parents of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. A mission that we're told is getting the full cooperation from the Russian government.

CNN's Phil Black live in Moscow with us this morning for the details. Good morning, Phil. PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. The U.S. Embassy sent a team to Dagestan from here in Moscow yesterday. We understand from our CNN team on the ground in Dagestan they are right now currently interviewing the parents of the two bombing suspects.

And U.S. officials here in Moscow are key to stress this is taking place with the cooperation of the Russian government. Crucially this is the first opportunity U.S. officials have had to question the suspects' parents and ask them some pretty important questions, specifically what did their eldest son, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, get up to when he visited them here in Dagestan in the first six months of last year.

Where did he go? Who did he meet? What was he exposed to? Because one theory that is being investigated is the possibility that his experiences in Dagestan in some way led to his further radicalization, and ultimately the events in Boston.

It's also the first chance for the bomb suspects' parents to tell U.S. officials what they think, and they've been maintaining for some days now they don't think their children were capable of this -- John.

BERMAN: Phil, as you said, one of the keys here is this is happening with the full cooperation of the Russian government. Cooperation between the Russian and U.S. intelligence services will be key to piece this all together. Phil black in Moscow for us this morning, thanks so much, Phil.

Here later today, a memorial service for another one of the victims. At noon, Vice President Joe Biden will attend a service for Sean Collier. He is the MIT officer killed during the manhunt for the suspects.

Meanwhile later this afternoon, the House Intelligence Committee will receive a full briefing on the terror attacks. In our next half hour, we'll talk to Democratic Congressman Benny Thompson of Mississippi. He was briefed by the FBI on the Boston terror attack. We'll find out what he has to say -- Zoraida.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, John. It's 6 minutes past the hour. A story developing while you were sleeping in Bangladesh, an eight story commercial building collapsing on the outskirts of the capital city of Dhaka.

Local reports say at least 70 people have been killed. Hundreds more are injured. Rescue workers are now digging through the rubble, as you can see there. They are trying to find survivors who may still be trapped underneath all the rubble.

And the mystery surrounding who sent ricin tainted letters to President Obama and two other officials deepens now, after charges are dropped against one-time suspect Paul Kevin Curtis.

The U.S. attorney handling the case says new information has come to light now. But are investigators now any closer to finding who actually sent the poison? CNN's Victor Blackwell is following all of these new developments for us. That is a big question. Who did it then?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is the question now. If Paul Kevin Curtis did not send those letters, who did? And the U.S. Attorney, Felicia Adams, is not giving any details about this new information.

The FBI is not saying much about their investigation into Curtis or into the letters that were sent to the president, and Roger Wicker, the senator from Mississippi, and Satie Holland a judge here in Tupelo.

But Curtis has said from the beginning that he was not involved. He said that he would never do anything to hurt the president. He loves his country and this is not something that he would even consider. Here's what he said about the moments after the allegations were made up until he was cleared.


PAUL KEVIN CURTIS, RELEASED FROM CUSTODY: The last seven days, staring at four gray walls like green grass of home, not really knowing what's happening, not having a clue why I'm there, just being in a state of overwhelm is the best way I can describe it. When you've been charged with something and you just -- you've never heard of ricin or whatever. I thought they said race so I said I don't even eat rice.


BLACKWELL: Well, in this case, his attorney says that he was possibly framed by someone else. He also says Kevin Curtis, says that he's been having a grudge with someone over years. Now law enforcement in this case, according to Curtis and his attorney, they were completely professional. He has no ill will against them.

And again the question you asked at the top, Zoraida, if Kevin Curtis did not send them, who did? We can tell you this, that there is -- there are, rather, media reports here that another home is being searched in connection with this case. Of course, we'll stay on top of all of this -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: You had mentioned earlier that somebody had ill will toward him. Do we know if that person is involved here at all or we just don't know?

BLACKWELL: Well, we don't know on the record, we're asking a lot of questions about if there is some connection. So we're waiting to get more information on that. Hopefully by sunrise when this building behind me opens up we can get some answers to those questions.

SAMBOLIN: All right, looking forward to that. Victor Blackwell reporting live. Thank you very much. Coming up more of our live coverage from Boston. John Berman is there. Authorities now questioning Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow. Did she know about her husband's plan to blow up the Boston marathon?


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START everyone. I'm John Berman live in Boston this morning. We're going to show you a live look of Boylston Street this morning. That is where the Boston marathon finish line was.

It's been closed since last week's bombings, but this morning for the first time it is open to the public. Officials there are really trying to scrub away all signs of the bombing. I had a chance to walk down Boylston Street a little earlier and take a look.


BERMAN: This is the site of the first explosion. The first bomb went off right here at 2:50 p.m. on marathon Monday. They're filling it in right now so it's all closed off before the streets really open to the public this morning.

Let me show you something. Look at this building, Marathon Sports. The fourth floor, all the way up to the fourth floor here, they have windows boarded up. Those were shattered by the force of the blast.


BERMAN: One other thing I saw on the sidewalk there and this is before 5:00 a.m., there were already flowers on the street there on the sidewalk on Boylston Street. But again the good news is right behind me, it is open for business today.

And this morning there is another new development, a delegation from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow arriving in Dagestan to attempt to interview parents of the bombing suspect with the cooperation of the Russian government.

Meantime bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow says she's doing everything she can to assist with the investigation, but it appears so far that agents have only been able to speak to Katherine Russell's lawyers.

CNN's Chris Lawrence has more this morning from the Russell home in Rhode Island.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow hustled out of her parents' Rhode Island home Tuesday. Investigators want her help as they piece together the alleged Boston bomber's plan.

MIRIAM WEIZENBAUM, KATIE RUSSELL'S ATTORNEY: The reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all.

LAWRENCE: Her attorney says Katherine Russell lived with Tamerlan in a cramped Cambridge apartment. As authorities try to determine when and where he may have assembled the bombs, investigators want to find out what, if anything, she knows.

AMATO DELUCA, KATIE RUSSELL'S ATTORNEY: She is doing everything she can to assist in the ongoing investigation.

LAWRENCE: Russell's attorneys say she didn't know anything. They say she last saw Tamerlan before she went to work Thursday before the FBI released this video. They say she worked as a home health aide while Tamerlan stayed home with the couple's young daughter.

AMOS TROUT PAINE, RUSSELL'S FORMER TEACHER: Very outgoing, very friendly, very smart and very talented.

LAWRENCE: That's the Katie Russell Amos Trout Paine remembers. Her high school art teacher says she talked a lot about earning her college degree.

(on camera): Are you surprised how her life turned out so far?

PAINE: I was surprised to find out that she had dropped out and I hadn't seen any indication of a particular interest in a lot of religion.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Russell was raised Christian in suburban Providence. She moved to Boston for college, met Tamerlan, and dropped out. Attorneys say she converted to Islam and was an observant Muslim who wore the hijab, or head scarf.

(on camera): Sources close to the family say Katy Russell didn't speak Russian and didn't always understand everything that was being said around the apartment. Her attorneys have been speaking with federal investigators on her behalf, but they won't say whether she has spoken to authorities and investigators directly.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, North Kingstown, Rhode Island.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Our thanks to Chris Lawrence.

According to Russell's attorney, she and her family are trying to come to terms with everything that happened. They say the injuries and loss of life at the marathon have caused profound distress and sorrow to their family -- Zoraida.


Sixteen minutes past the hour.

House Republicans releasing a report on the September 11th terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. It claimed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally signed off on cuts to security at the compound, contradicting her testimony before Congress. It also says that the White House and State Department deliberately altered intelligence community talking points to remove any references to extremists groups linked to al Qaeda.

Democrats also say Republicans are sacrificing accuracy in favor of partisanship.

And a multimillion dollar settlement for two women injured during the manhunt for ex-cop Christopher Dorner, that was back in February. The city of Los Angeles has agreed to pay Margie Carranza and her mother, Emma Hernandez, $4.2 million. They, if you recall, were delivering newspapers when the LAPD mistakenly fired on them while they were inside their truck.

Hernandez was shot twice in the back. Carranza was injured by the broken glass. "The L.A. Times" says both have been recovered.

And the Justice Department suing Lance Armstrong in an effort to collect millions of dollars that Armstrong was paid through his endorsement contract with the U.S. Postal Service. That suit claims the disgraced cyclists violated his contract when he admitted using performance enhancing drugs while winning seven Tour de France titles. ESPN reports an attorney for Armstrong has dismissed the suit as, quote, "opportunistic and insincere."

And a bill legalizing same-sex marriage is one signature away from becoming the law of the land in France. In a 331-225 vote, the French national assembly Tuesday approved a marriage bill that would also give same-sex couples the right to adopt children. President Francois Hollande is expected to sign the bill and when he does, France will become the ninth European country to legalize same-sex marriage.

And a home owner in San Bernardino County, California, has been forced out because of a landslide. A broken water line beneath the house saturated the hillside, causing the dirt to slide to the bottom of the hill. KABC-TV reports the slide under the home's patio is 40 feet wide and it is 10 feet deep, leaving the home in danger of collapsing.

And a hacker hits Twitter and moves the stock market. More on the tweets and the retreats, coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 21 minutes past the hour.

This morning, somebody on Facebook asked for some happy news. And I said, maybe Christine can deliver.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I can give you a lot of happy news.

Stock prices are higher. The market closed higher a little bit yesterday. Rallies in Asia and Europe are helping this morning and there's a bullish report from Goldman Sachs creating some optimism overall.

But it follows a big drop in the middle of trading yesterday after that fake tweet. I don't know if you saw this but the Dow plunged 145 points from top to bottom just after this tweet came out at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. It was a tweet where "The Associated Press" tweeted that its account was hacked. Hackers tweeted about an explosion near the White House.

But the Dow recovered. Sanity prevailed and it closed up 152 points by the closing bell.

We're going to also watch shares of Apple today. That company reaching into its big pile of cash raising its dividends. That's the amount it pays back shareholders, its dividend yield. Apple used to be the hottest stock in town. Of course, topped $700 a share last year, it's dropped now 30 percent over the past 12 months but it's looking higher this morning.

OK. So what has happened to people about in the new -- in this recovery? New numbers this morning showing that despite the great recession, the rich getting richer. During the first two years of the recovery, the healthiest 7 percent saw their mean household net worth jump 28 percent, hitting more than $3 million in 2011. That's the mean household net worth.

The rest of us, the lower 93 percent, their mean household net worth fell. It dropped 4 percent during a recovery it dropped to $133,000.

Why? Pew researchers say affluent households own more stocks and they have other financial holdings. Those investments have been growing. So, if you have money, money has been growing. And you've been making more money.

At the same time, the housing market has remained flat, mostly. That's the biggest investment for many people in the lower 93 percent. It's another side of an income gap and uneven recovery since the last recession.

If you've got money, if you've got investments, that's been working for you over the past few years. If you don't, you're slipping further behind after the recession.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I was reading it this morning, I thought that's a really big jump, too.

ROMANS: It really is.


All right. What's the one thing we need to know about our money today?

ROMANS: Well, this is day four of air traffic control furloughs. Two-hour delays reported at JFK, LaGuardia, Newark here in the New York City area. Some of that was blamed on the weather. But the FAA warns Hartsfield-Jackson, Los Angeles International, Chicago O'Hare will also experience longer delays because of the furloughs. It is, you know, your --

SAMBOLIN: It affects the bottom line.

ROMANS: Your elected officials at work. Now you're going to feel it, pack your patience. SAMBOLIN: Yes.

ROMANS: Pack your patience at the airport.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you very much, Christine.

Twenty-four minutes past the hour. Proud milestone for the city of Boston this morning. Just nine days after the marathon bombing, Boylston Street is reopening the public, we are happy to report. And we are going to take you there live.


BERMAN: You are looking at live pictures of Boylston Street. That is the finish line of the Boston marathon. Or where it was for the first time since the attacks, open to the public this morning.

New information about the suspects. What was behind the attacks? What was the motivation? New this morning, investigators in Russia speaking to the mother and father of the suspects.

SAMBOLIN: And, John, we're expecting new developments today in the alleged plot to blow up a train out of New York. A suspect is due in court just hours from now.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin in New York.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman live in Boston this morning. It is Wednesday, April 24th. About half past the hour right now. So great to have you with us.

And at this hour, a delegation from the U.S. embassy in Moscow is in Dagestan, they're trying to meet with the parents of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They're doing that with the cooperation of the Russian government, which is significant.

Also, a proud milestone here in Boston this morning. I want to show you that picture again. It is a live look at Boylston Street. Again, that is the street where the Boston marathon finished. That is where the attacks were, about nine days ago.

And while you were sleeping, crews worked through the night to make sure that this street would be open to the public, and again, it is open this morning, which is a lovely, lovely sight.

There are some new developments from the suspected bomber who is charged with causing all this bloodshed. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's condition has been upgraded from serious to fair and we're hearing that he could soon be moved out of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to a different facility.

We're going to begin here in the heart of the city which has been given back to its people this morning.