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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

California Wildfire; Talking Trade In Mexico

Aired May 3, 2013 - 05:30   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A lot going on in California right now, as well. Massive flames forcing thousands of people to evacuate. A wildfire in Southern California has already burned some 8,000 acres, damaged some homes already. CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in Camarillo, California right now. And Stephanie, you know, what's it look like where you are right now?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what, John, we've been actually standing out here for a few hours, and we've been watching as this area behind me was burning down into the ocean, which is very beautiful (ph). That was jumped over, out of land space now at the water. But we're watching some plumes of orange over us.

We're going to keep our eyes on, but it's burning inside a ravine that's actually forced some neighborhoods to evacuate. We're still getting embers coming towards us here, but one thing that's really interesting is that in the last few minutes, it's gotten very calm. And that's something to keep in mind, that this is the calmest time of day for firefighting.

The issues usually spring up later in the afternoon when the winds start changing direction and throwing the flames around, and that's what firefighters are going to be looking out for as they're battling these fires. Also, knowing this, helps them battle where these fires are going as they venture into areas that may be closer to residential homes. So, all of this is something that we're keeping a watch on.

This certain section of the Pacific Coast Highway where we're standing, the ocean is right to my left, it is closed right now. It was closed earlier in the day yesterday. It's closed now simply because they just want to let this fire burn down on its own, because there's nowhere else it could go. John, back to you.

BERMAN: Latest right now on evacuations?

ELAM: Well, the people that we're evacuating the last couple of hours, they were -- vast in this area behind us. It's not a super dense area, but there are some homes in there, maybe some people with agricultural related businesses. But they've moved them out as a precaution as this fire was sort of shifting gears over the last few hours.

So, they just want to be safe. Obviously, people are very nervous. A lot of local hotels completely booked up as people have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter.

BERMAN: All right. Stephanie Elam in Camarillo, California with us. Fire this morning is on the move. Stephanie, our thanks to you.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the fire is fueled by dry, hot temperatures and those really gusty winds. We could actually hear it through her mic there. Jennifer Delgado is live in the CNN Weather Center. And Jennifer, we do know that they're used to fighting fires under these conditions there, but can you paint a picture for us what they're up against?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, what they're going to be dealing with today, Zoraida, as Stephanie just said, the winds are fairly calm right now. But once we get the afternoon sun coming up, we're going to start to see those winds getting gustier, especially right around 10:00 to about one o'clock in the afternoon. We are talking winds up to 45 miles per hour.

Those are gusts for parts of Southern California. So, relative humidity values are still going to be rather low. Now, where there's a lot of moisture still in the Midwest. We're looking at heavy rainfall coming down as well as snow. A bit of that wintry mix from areas including Fayetteville, Arkansas, all the way up towards parts of Wisconsin.

But we're really concerned about the flooding. In fact, let's show you some video coming in to us out of Fort Lauderdale. Remember this yesterday. Flooding is going to be bad. Look at people driving through these flooded streets. And this is certainly a dangerous situation. Some parts of Florida picked up four inches of rainfall yesterday. In Key West, they were getting around in boats.

As I take you over to our radar, you see the rain coming down on the eastern coastline of Florida. This is going to be the pattern as we go through the next couple of days. Look at this, we're talking 10 inches of rainfall in some parts. This is going all the way through Monday, and then the Midwest, where they're still trying to recover from that flooding that's been happening alone the Missouri, as well as the Illinois River.

We're also talking potentially six inches of rainfall as we go through Monday and that's why we still have those flood warnings in place, because many of those river levels are in some places moderate to major flooding. We'll send it back over to you guys, but we'll continue to follow the fire, the floods, and the snow throughout the morning.

SAMBOLIN: You have a lot going on this morning. Thank you, Jennifer.

DELGADO: Welcome.

BERMAN: Thirty-three minutes after the hour. The sister of a U.S. citizen who's been sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp is defending her brother. North Korea state news agency says Kenneth Bae is guilty of hostile acts against the regime. His sister, Terri Chung tells CNNs Anderson Cooper that her brother should not be used as a political pawn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TERRI CHUNG, SISER OF KENNETH BAE: We just prayed and asked for leaders of both nations to please, just see him as one man caught in between, and we just ask that he'd be allowed to come home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Chung says her brother owns a travel agency and was in North Korea on business. She claims he visited North Korea five times without any problems last year before he was arrested all of a sudden in November.

SAMBOLIN: And for the first time ever, a woman is on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list. Sixty-five-year-old Joanne Chesimard, now known as Assata Shakur was convicted of murdering New Jersey State trooper, Werner Forster (ph) in 1973. She escaped from prison in 1979 and has been living under political asylum in Cuba since 1984. Later this morning, on "Starting Point," a live update from CNN's Patrick Oppmann in Havana.

BERMAN: President Obama is in Mexico City this morning where he will meet with college students before heading off to Costa Rica.

SAMBOLIN: Economic issues dominated the agenda earlier when the president met with his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto. CNNs Brianna Keilar has more.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John and Zoraida, after landing here in Mexico City, President Obama met with the new president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, who just took office here in December. And at a joint press conference at the National Palace, the two leaders emphasized economic ties between their new countries.

They promised cooperation on combating drug related violence even as Pena Nieto has made clear he wants to usher in a new era where U.S. officials are more restricted in how they operate within Mexico. U.S. efforts to overhaul its immigration system are of so much interest here in Mexico as well as back home, and President Obama argued that there's an economic imperative to tackling reform.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's important for everybody to remember that our shared border is more secure than it's been in years. Illegal immigration attempts into the United States are near their lowest level in decades. And legal immigration continues to make both of our countries stronger and more prosperous, and more competitive.

And this in part reflects the economic progress and greater opportunities here in Mexico. I think this progress should help inform the debate in the United States, and I'm optimistic that we're finally going to get comprehensive immigration reform passed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: President Obama will deliver a speech here this morning and meet with Mexican entrepreneurs before heading to San Jose, Costa Rica. There, he'll join a summit of heads of state from Central American nations as well as the Dominican Republic. A top concern for those leaders, American assistance in their fight against drug trafficking and organized crime in a region that has become a narco corridor for drugs heading to the U.S. -- John and Zoraida.

BERMAN: All right. Our thanks to Brianna for that.

SAMBOLIN: It's 36 minutes past the hour. A little robot is causing a big buzz among scientists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Look at that. He looks like nothing, right? Harvard University announcing a minor breakthrough for its tiniest robot after a dozen years trying. The dime-sized robo bee has successfully completed its first controlled flight. But the robot still has a way to go before it can fly off all on its own. It is still tethered for power and controls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So, there are some limitations to the robo bee?

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Yes, the robo bee.

BERMAN: Well, I'm sure Harvard will get past these limitations soon.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: I'm sure.

SAMBOLIN: Some pretty bright folks over there working on it.

BERMAN: That's what I hear.

SAMBOLIN: Up next, new information from the Boston bombings exposing a troubling lapse in U.S. security. CNNs Jake Tapper has this story. It's really interesting. You're watching "Starting Point."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back. The Boston terror attack revealing cracks in U.S. border protection. There is mounting criticism over the decision to allow Tamerlan Tsarnaev back into the U.S., of course, after his trip to Russia last year. And now, there's a new immigration issue. One of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends should have had his student visa revoked. Here's "The Lead's" Jake Tapper.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): More than a decade after the worst terrorist attack in our nation's history, it seems that the U.S. immigration system that allowed the September 11th hijackers to enter the country legally is still very flawed. Some lawmakers question whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev should have been so easily admitted back into the U.S. after his trip to Russia, Chechnya, and Dagestan last year.

After all, in 2011, the Russian government warned both the FBI and the CIA that they were worried that Tamerlan had become an extremist and would be traveling to meet with underground groups. The FBI investigated and found nothing, but should immigration officials have been told more?

And now, there's another concern. Three friends of alleged bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, have now been arrested for their alleged involvement after the Boston marathon attacks. Nineteen-year-old Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and Robel Phillipos all went to school with Tsarnaev at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Two are accused of removing evidence from Tsarnaev's dorm room after the attacks including a backpack containing fireworks and a laptop.

Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev both from Kazakhstan were staying in the U.S. on student visas. The only issue, Tazhayakov is no longer a student. Tazhayakov returned to Kazakhstan in December 2012, according to a U.S. government official. His status as a student at UMass Dartmouth was terminated the next month on January 4th.

And at this point, his student visa should have been invalidated. UMass Dartmouth took the proper steps and provided information into the appropriate system for foreign students, that he was no longer registered there, officials say, but customs and border protection never got the message. When Tazhayakov returned back to the United States on January 20th, he was granted entry.

The Department of Homeland Security says that it's reforming the student visa system to ensure that customs and border protection is provided with real-time updates on all relevant student visa information. As of January 2012, more than 850,000 foreign students were in the United States enrolled at over 10,000 U.S. schools. Tazhayakov, the DHS says, was not a threat at the time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER (on-camera): It seems as though we're looking at more holes and information sharing between U.S. agencies. We've seen that before -- John and Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Jake.

All right. And we're learning more about the Pennsylvania woman who reappeared last Friday after vanishing 11 years ago. Brenda Heist's family is now speaking out. Heist admits that she walked away from her husband and two kids in 2002 to live a life of homelessness in Florida. Last night on "Piers Morgan Live," her former husband and daughter talked about what it was like to find out that she is still alive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEE HEIST, WIFE TURNED UP AFTER 11 YEARS: So, that was small talk because we know him and then just came right to it and said, your -- your ex-wife is alive. And we were both very shocked. MORGAN HEIST, MOTHER TURNED UP AFTER 11 YEARS: It makes me really mad. I can't believe she would do that because she was a good mom. She was when she was there. She was -- she was great. But, I mean, I guess something happened, something snapped in her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Well, Heist is in protective police custody now. An officer says no charges have been filed because it is not illegal to walk away from your family.

BERMAN: Lindsay Lohan could be in trouble with the law.

SAMBOLIN: Again.

BERMAN: Again this morning. The troubled actress was supposed to start 90 days in lockdown rehab starting Thursday, but apparently, the facility she went to did not meet her standards. She stormed out after just a few hours. Lindsay's father, Michael, said, quote, "she was not happy with the place."

Lohan could be arrested for the move. Rehab was supposed to be an alternative to a three-month jail term for two misdemeanor convictions and a probation violation. That finding came back --

SAMBOLIN: I wonder if she's really happy in prison.

BERMAN: Just one of the questions.

SAMBOLIN: Right.

All right. Forty-five minutes past the hour. Ahead on EARLY START, swarming killer bees on the move, threatening people and property.

BERMAN: And it may not have been her finest performance. Newly released dash cam video of Reese Witherspoon. I admit I've watched this several times, this from the night that she and her husband were arrested. It's something, that's for sure.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Forty-eight minutes past the hour.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): It is man versus Mother Nature in Southern California. Firefighters battling a wildfire that's already consumed 8,000 acres in Ventura County. And right now, it's just 10 percent contained. Residents or hundreds of residents have been forced to evacuate and more than a dozen homes have been damaged and thousands of others are threatened this morning. And I thought we reported earlier that there have been thousands of evacuations so far as well.

BERMAN (voice-over): A tough scene there in California.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it's terrible.

BERMAN: So, heavy metal fans around the world, music fans around the world, mourning the death of slayer guitarist, Jeff Hanneman. The 49- year-old Grammy winning guitarist and songwriter died Thursday of liver failure in Southern California. Hanneman had been recovering from a flesh-eating virus that was caused by a spider bite.

SAMBOLIN: Rhode Island becoming the tenth state in the nation giving same-sex couples the right to marry. Governor Lincoln Chafee signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage Thursday after the state legislature approved the measure. Well, celebrating there. Rhode Island joins Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington State, and the District of Columbia.

BERMAN: All Of New England, interestingly enough.

So, swarming killer bees leaving three people hospitalized in a neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona. This is tough. Even the bee keeper who was called in to get rid of the pests realized he was no match. These bees are really angry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAPT. ADAM GOLDBERG, NORTHWEST FIRE DEPARTMENT: At some point, he even realized that he was not able to do that on his own, and then we went in to a folding operation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So a more calm swarm of bees also invaded a schoolyard in Oregon. The principal kept students inside the building while an amateur beekeeper cut down and removed a branch with 5,000 bees.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

BERMAN: I'm a little allergic. They gather to protect their queen.

SAMBOLIN: You're a little allergic?

BERMAN: I am.

SAMBOLIN: What's a little allergic? It's either you are or you aren't.

BERMAN: I had to go to the hospital once.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Yes. That is little allergic.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN (on-camera): I survived, so, yes, OK.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. All right. Fifty minutes past the hour. Anthony Bourdain's next stop involves smoking Cuban cigars in an ice shelf. (LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Tough work. And he eats a surprising delicacy for the very first time. Here is a sneak preview on this Sunday's "PARTS UNKNOWN."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in a wooden shack over three feet of ice, over three feet of water

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are hopeless, hopeless romantics, gentlemen. Oh. Jesus, look at that. Oh, it is perched atop an ethereal suspension of (INAUDIBLE) inspired potato puree. of course --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is cornos (ph) from the Reynard vineyard --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's wonderful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes, it is. Really, is there a billionaire or anyone on Earth who at this precise moment is eating better than us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that. Cheese. There must be cheese. In this case, a voluptuously reeking a plus with some outdoorsmen (ph) might call overripe but not us. This is awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you have here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A few Cubans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait a minute. You guys have a much more relaxed attitude towards the importation of Cuban cigars. Chartreuse, of course, and a dessert as rare as it gets, the dinosaur era monster long believed extinct. Who does this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's none of those like painful nostalgic things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

Layers of almond, and hazel nut meringue chopped with butter cream.

Look at that.

Hmm. Damn, it's good

For these guys, this is normal. This is lunch.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BERMAN: I hate you Anthony Bourdain.

SAMBOLIN: Just the thought of Berman's face, he was salivating. I think a saw a little drool coming out the side of your mouth.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: I'm starving. I'm like, you know, it's 5:00 in the morning. How do I get that timeslot --

SAMBOLIN: And that's in the middle of nowhere. Unbelievable.

BERMAN: That looks awesome. And you can watch the entire episode this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.

SAMBOLIN: And still ahead, Reese's regrets. New video of Reese Witherspoon's arrest from the police car dash cam. If you haven't seen this folks, you're going to want to stick around. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Trending this morning, brand-new video of Reese Witherspoon's arrest last month. TMZ posting the police dash cam video that shows a lot. The Oscar-winning actress confronting an officer who just arrested her husband for DUI. You got to look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REESE WITHERSPOON, ACTRESS: I'm an American citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told you to get in that car and stay in there, didn't I?

WITHERSPOON: This is beyond. This is beyond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You fight with me, i promise you --

WITHERSPOON: This is harassing me. You're harassing me as an American citizen. I have done nothing against the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reese, can you please --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you have. You didn't obey my --

WITHERSPOON: I have to obey your orders?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you do.

WITHERSPOON: No, sir. I do not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reese. Reese.

WITHERSPOON: I've done absolutely nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relax.

WITHERSPOON: I'm now being arrested and handcuffed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

WITHERSPOON: Do you know my name, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't need to know.

WITHERSPOON: You don't need to know my name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not quite yet.

WITHERSPOON: Oh, really? OK. You're about to find out who I am.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: And find out, we did.

BERMAN: Totally not how she acted in sweet home Alabama.

SAMBOLIN: No, it was not.

BERMAN: She's much sweet in the movies.

SAMBOLIN: Will the real Reese Witherspoon please come forward? So, she admits to have a one drink too many that night. She said she panicked and said crazy things to the officer, like, telling him that she was pregnant. So, she has cleared the record. She said she is not pregnant. She has apologized.

She called the police officers, and said that she was very sorry, and police officers in my own family and you know, I would never behave that way.

BERMAN: Except the time that she actually behaved that way.

SAMBOLIN: -- particular time.

BERMAN: You know, her husband, if you keep watching the video, it kind of sells her out, too. It's like guy tells the cops, look, I'm sorry, I'm not involved with this.

SAMBOLIN: I have nothing to do with this.

BERMAN: I had nothing to do with that.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. She's watching this, too. So, you can take a little heat for that. EARLY START continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN (voice-over): A chilling revelation from one of the Boston bombing suspects, the original plan possibly a suicide strike on a national holiday. SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Happening now, the race to save homes and save lives from a massive wildfire. Big flames burning through thousands of acres this morning.

BERMAN: And new this morning, smarter than the average bear. A bear climbs into a truck, locks the door behind him. The best part, it is all caught on camera.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN (on-camera): It's a hilarious story. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's Friday, May 3rd, just about 6:00 a.m. in the east, and we're going to begin this morning with major developments in the Boston marathon terror investigation. A law enforcement source tells CNN that the bombs allegedly detonated by the Tsarnaev Brothers were built in Tamerlan Tsarnaev's apartment.

And the Boston marathon was not their original target. Also, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body finally claimed by his family. His parents now are demanding an independent autopsy, and we have learned there is controversy about where to bury the body.

Let's get the very latest from Jason Carroll. He is in Cambridge, Massachusetts this morning. Good morning to you, Jason. What can you tell us?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Zoraida. I am outside the Tsarnaev apartment building where this plan was hatched. And what we're learning is not just insightful, it's also very frightening because the original plan was not to have the bombs detonate on Patriots Day here in Massachusetts, the original plan was set for Independence Day.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL (voice-over): A U.S. law enforcement official tells CNN the Tsarnaev Brothers initially considered a suicide attack during the fourth of July celebration, when Boston's Charles River esplanade is typically packed with spectators for an open-air concert and fireworks.

All of this according to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who told investigators they moved up the date to the Boston marathon because the bombs were ready sooner than expected. Bombs, Tsarnaev says, built in the very home his older brother Tamerlan shared with his wife and child. Late Thursday, a van believed to be carrying Tamerlan's body, transferred it to a funeral home outside Boston.

All this as investigators continue to focus on his widow, Katherine Russell, yet, it is unclear what, if anything, Russell may have known or suspected.