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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Snowden Possibly to Ecuador; A Father's Plea for Peace; Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova Volley Words; Jim Carrey Urges Audiences Against "Kick Ass 2"

Aired June 24, 2013 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Diplomatic drama. The man who exposed the government's secret surveillance program, was he getting international help to escape a warrant for his arrest and where is trying to seek asylum. This is all developing right now, this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: An American soldier held captive by the Taliban for years. Now, a new hope that he may soon be set free.

BERMAN: And watch out for this. Here comes monkey. Routine traffic cop becomes anything but routine for a Texas cop. The marauding monkey.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Now, now, now, buddy.

BERMAN: Oh, monkey, you can't do that to the cop.

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Twenty-nine minutes after the hour right now.

ROMANS: All right. More now on our stop story this Monday morning.

NSA leaker Edward Snowden and his journey from Hong Kong as he seeks asylum possibly in South America. He is in Moscow this morning, expected to leave soon for Cuba. His eventual destination perhaps is Ecuador. He has asked that country for refuge.

The Obama administration is angry Hong Kong lets Snowden leave and has filed formal objections. It also asked Russia to return him to this country, saying, quote, "We expect the Russian government to look at all options possible to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes of which he is charged."

Snowden is now facing espionage charges, including theft of government property and revealing classified information. As we said, Snowden's destination may be Ecuador.

CNN's Adriana Hauser is in the capital of Quito for us this morning. She joins us on the phone. Adriana, nice to hear from you. It seems as though he may be heading to Ecuador. What are official there is saying this morning, if anything?

VOICE OF ADRIANA HAUSER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Good morning, Christine. Good to talk to you. Well, yes, we're in Quito, and this is -- Ecuador is a country that could be very welcoming to Snowden. They could decide to grant him asylum and that is because the foreign minister already -- Ricardo Patino already confirmed the asylum request.

He also said he's actually analyzing and studying that request before they decide whether to grant or not. From Vietnam, Ricardo Patino, the foreign minister of Ecuador, had this to say. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICARDO PATINO, FOREIGN MINISTER OF ECUADOR (through translator): I can only confirm that we did receive a request for asylum from Mr. Snowden and we are analyzing it. We know that he is currently in Moscow and we are in touch with the highest authorities in Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAUSER: Christine, there is precedence for that asylum situation. Ecuador granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange year ago after he unsuccessfully sought extradition (ph) to Sweden in British court. Assange is now in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He's wanted in Sweden for questioning related to a rape investigation.

However, Assange does not face charges in the U.S., which Edward Snowden does. He does face charges for espionage and is considered a fugitive in the eyes of the United States. But it's important to say that asylum has not been granted yet. We know that he's accompanied by Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, who's a lawyer for the anti-secrecy website, WikiLeaks, and, he's also the lawyer for Julian Assange. And other WikiLeaks advisors are accompanying him.

So, Snowden left to Hong Kong. We all heard that he is in Russia, and he may be coming this way. WikiLeaks indicated that Snowden was going to travel to Ecuador through a safe route. That's what they called it. A state route. And as you were saying, Christine, other countries that were mentioned that were floated (ph) at countries that could either receive Snowden or grant him asylum was Cuba or Venezuela.

That he has reason to believe that he will come to Ecuador, because it's -- there's already been a precedence. The foreign minister already said that he is studying the asylum request. And he, apparently, is on his way here. We're monitoring the situation. We will let you know as soon as we know whether or not Snowden arrives here, and more importantly, whether or not Ecuador decides to grant that asylum to him -- Christine.

ROMANS: And we know that his passport has been revoked. And we know that Ecuador risks angering the United States by granting him asylum, no question. Adriana Hauser, we'll check in with you again very soon. Thank you. BERMAN: And we also know that within the next hour, he could be on the move again. There is a flight from Moscow to Havana, Cuba, which takes off 45 minutes from now. We will be following every twist and turn to the story. So, stay with us.

Meanwhile, it's just a huge news day. We're just a few hours away now from opening statements in the George Zimmerman trial. Of course, he's the former neighborhood watch volunteer who's accused of profiling Trayvon Martin before shooting the teenager. The defense claims Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.

The case could hinge on whose voice is heard screaming for help on the 911 call. The judge has denied the testimony of prosecution audio experts. That could be a blow to the prosecution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their audio expert was one of the major corner stones of their entire case. From the beginning, we've been saying whoever's voice it was crying for help, suggested, in fact, showed that the other person was, in fact, the perpetrator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The jury of six women, they're all women, they will be sequestered during the trial which is expected to last two to four weeks.

ROMANS: Day nine of the Whitey Bulger trial in Boston. Defense lawyers for the 83-year-old have asked the judge to lift a media gag order so he, Whitey Bulger, can respond to personal attacks and negative news coverage. Prosecutors say Bulger is free to talk on the witness stand. Bulger is accused of playing a role in 19 murders while allegedly running Boston's Winter Hill gang.

BERMAN: A funeral service for actor, James Gandolfini, will be held Thursday here in New York City. His body was returned to the United States late Sunday from Italy. Gandolfini died last week of a heart attack while on a working vacation in Rome. Today, New Jersey is paying tribute to one of its own. Governor Chris Christie there has ordered all state building to fly flags at half-staff to mark Gandolfini's passing.

ROMANS: An American is said to be among the dead in a shooting on tourist in Pakistan. It happened in a remote village in the northern part of the country, the base of Pakistan's second highest peak. Authorities say gunman burst into a hotel and opened fire. Nine people were killed. The Associated Press says one was an American.

A Taliban affiliated group claimed responsibilities saying it went after foreign tourists in revenge for a drone strike that killed the Taliban leader.

BERMAN: So, the Taliban making promises to return an army sergeant missing in Afghanistan since 2009 and presumed captured. Those promises giving some new hope to his family even if diplomacy might get in the way. Here's Ed Lavandera.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Peace talks that could help bring army sergeant, Bowe Bergdahl, home appear to be crumbling. The Taliban has said it's willing to exchange the only known captive American soldier for five of its imprisoned leaders. But the Afghan government's anger over the Taliban's newly opened office in the country of Qatar threatens to derail the talks.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: You know, it's sort of been stepped back from. Now, we need to see if we can get back on track. I don't know whether that's possible or not.

LAVANDERA: Half a world away in a weekend rally in Bowe Bergdahl's honor, his father is making a passionate plea for all sides to talk.

ROBERT BERGDAHL, BOWE BERGDAHL'S FATHER: To the people of Afghanistan, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). May the peace of God and the blessings that come from God be upon you. May we somehow, after 12 long years, find peace in Afghanistan so that our soldiers, our American personnel can come home.

LAVANDERA: Yellow ribbons still line the streets of Bowe Bergdahl's hometown of Hailey, Idaho. And "Bring Bowe home" banners hanging from store fronts show four years of weathered strain.

(on-camera): There is reason for hope here in Hailey. There have been very little new information of Bowe Bergdahl's condition until a few weeks ago when Bergdahl's parents received what they believe is a handwritten letter from their son, delivered to them through the Red Cross from the Taliban.

(voice-over): At this weekend's rally, you could sense his parent's anguish.

BERGDAHL: A father does not leave his son alone on the battlefield. I do not live here. I live in Afghanistan. My cell phone is set on Afghan time. I will not leave you on the battlefield, Bowe. These people here will not leave you on the battlefield. Your country will not leave you on the battlefield. You are not forgotten.

LAVANDERA: The Bergdahl sense this is the best chance they've ever have had to bring Bowe home. They pray this moment doesn't slip away.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Hailey, Idaho.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. In Colorado, a trio of fires coming together has turned a popular tourist spot in Southern Colorado into a ghost town. Hundreds of visitors and residence in the town of South Fork had to evacuate. 108 square miles have already burned. So far, no structures have been lost and no injuries, thankfully, have been reported. BERMAN: Hands across Arizona. Donations said to be pouring in from all over the state to help victims of the dozy fire near Prescott. Crews have made significant progress there fighting the fire which began almost a week ago. Most of the people evacuated are now being allowed to return to their homes.

ROMANS: And a major clean up underway in parts of Minnesota this morning after powerful weekend storms. The guy driving this car is, wow, he's the definition of lucky. He was behind the wheel when, suddenly, there was a giant tree riding shotgun.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRET RADEMACHER, CAR CRUSHED BY FALLING TREE: I thought I hit something, but, I kind of looked up and I there's a tree in my car. The first thing I thought is, I mean, it's so close. If it'd had been inches one way or the other or if I had left maybe a little earlier, I don't -- I don't know what would have happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Wow. Lucky, blessed, both. Who knows? Nearly 100,000 people are still without power in the Twin City.

BERMAN: What about today? What will the weather hold? Indra Petersons tracking it all for us.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: -- a lot of rain across the -- I want to show you what it looks like over the weekend in Minneapolis. I mean, look at the storms after storm. This is Friday through Sunday. It really didn't stop. What happens is you see all those warm, humid air coming out of the gulf. It kind of builds up and then it waits for some kind of trigger. A low, a cold front, and that's exactly what happened.

The short wave pulled through, and you start to see all these large thunderstorms as you went through that weekend. But here we go, we're talking about the rain today. Look at how much of the country has it. Now, necessarily large amounts rain, only about a half an inch some afternoon thunderstorms our through the mid-Atlantic and the northeast.

Farther (ph) south made about an inch possible, but really out towards the west as we start to see some of those heavier showers. Very atypical for this time of year. Lot of moisture heading towards the pacific northwest. Where we can see the thunderstorms, the heaviest rainfall amounts maybe in the thunderstorms, themselves. It will be kind (ph) of Dakotas out through Iowa.

This is that same area that saw the rain over the weekend. We will have some flooding concerns in this area, but also, college world series, yes, there's a chance for thunderstorms. They do not like this. (INAUDIBLE) some winds gusting up in the area. Even some 20 to 25 and 30-mile-per-hour winds by the afternoon today which that is not good for game day.

BERMAN: Rain delay. Sounds like a rain delay. All right. Indra, thanks so much.

All right. Attack of the angry monkey. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You sign right here?

BERMAN (voice-over): That was, in fact, a monkey snapping at a Texas police officer who was trying to get a signature from a driver there. The driver had been pulled over. He had to sign the citation, but the monkey jumped when the cop reached inside the car there. That is crazy. The driver, apparently, actually had told the officer that there was a monkey in the truck.

The cop did warn. The monkey is apparently trained, a trained angry monkey. He makes appearances at carnivals where he gets angry at people, apparently, for money. The cop said, afterwards, that's you're taught to be on guard at all times, but the police was not on guard, not on guard for a monkey. He wasn't expecting a monkey to lunge at him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: That's about four pounds of aggression. Don't mess with my driver.

BERMAN (on-camera): Do not mess with my driver. That guy was awesome.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Coming up, an American high school student vanished overseas. What is being done to find him today?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: The parents of a freelance journalist looking for answers this morning and headed overseas to try to find these answers. Austin Teiss (ph) last contacted his family last August. He was in Syria to cover the civil war there and was said to be on his way to Lebanon when he was detained. Now, his parents are headed to Beirut.

A family spokesman tells CNN they want to find people who've been helped facilitate his release. It's not clear if Teiss' being held captive, but the Syrian government has told the family it does not know where he is.

ROMANS: The family of an Oklahoma teen missing in Ecuador is no closer to finding out what happened to their son. Eighteen-year-old August Riger (ph) was hiking with his family last Sunday when he vanished. Vanished. Now, his father says another search on the mountain has turned up no clues. The family meets today with Ecuadorian officials. His father says he remains simply baffled by what happened to his son.

BERMAN: The winner of the Boston marathon is giving back. Men's champ, Lelisa Desisa, has returned his medal to the city. He said he wanted to honor those who lost their lives in the April bombings. The Ethiopian runner told the thousands gathered that the sport should never be used as a battleground. You can see him there Boston mayor, Thomas Menino. A moment of silence was also held for the three victims killed in that attack.

We want to take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY". Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan join us now. What's up, guys?

ROMANS: Hi, guys.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happy Monday.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, guys!

CUOMO: It's good to see you. You've been doing a great job this morning. I know you started even earlier than usual. Good stuff, guys.

BERMAN: A lot going on.

CUOMO: We're going to be following up because there is big news this morning. We got to follow Mr. Snowden who seems to be able to stay one step ahead of the United States with the help of just about every other country, it seems. So, we're going to ask why Russia now? Why first Hong Kong? What about South America? Is this about the U.S. position as a super power? Is there anything we can do? We'll go through all of that.

BOLDUAN: And we're also going to be talking about a big day for the George Zimmerman case. Opening arguments today in the case, and our Nancy Grace is going to be joining us here in studio with a look at the case and also what we could expect and should expect to hear from both sides. Very big day for this case that we've been tracking for more than a year now.

CUOMO: And a very cool exclusive. There he is, the king El Rey, Lebron James, sitting down with CNN's Rachel Nichols talking about what it is like to be the MVP and what could be in his future. Remember, after next year, another contract year for that guy, JB.

BERMAN: Oh-oh. Decision, part two.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: You know, I should say, guys, I've seen reports right now that that flight from Moscow is boarding right now. That's the one where Edward Snowden, we believe, will be on. So, this story is developing all morning, and we know you guys will bring us every twist and turn as this thing really unfolds on several continents all at the same time.

ROMANS: Thanks, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

ROMANS: International intrigue. Keep following us on "NEW DAY" for more of that.

Coming up, Serena Williams apologizing, this time, it's to a tennis rival. What she said that had Maria Sharapova all up in arms?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: So, the first big trade of the NBA off season near completion, but not players changing teams. No. Saying goodbye (ph) to my favorite coach. Andy Scholes joins us now more with the "Bleacher Report." Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes. Good morning, guys. Well, this is a deal you don't see happen very often. According to reports, the Boston Celtics have basically agreed to trade their head coach, Doc Rivers, to the Los Angeles Clippers for a first round draft pick in 2015. Now, negotiations for this deal have been on and off for weeks. And the two sides finally came to terms yesterday.

Originally, the Celtics had discussed that trading Rivers along with Kevin Garnett to the Clippers for draft picks in the DeAndre Jordan. However, the league stepped in and said the teams are not allowed to trade coaches for active players. So, Rivers goes to L.A. by himself. In his addition, he's expected to help team re-sign superstar free agent, Chris Paul.

It's going to be a party in downtown Miami this morning as the Heat celebrates their second consecutive championship with a parade. Around 400,000 fans packed the streets for last year's victory parade. Another huge crowd is expected today. The celebration will end at the American Airlines Arena where King James will address his loyal subjects also known as the hEat season ticketholders.

The Chicago Blackhawks could secure themselves a victory parade tonight as they're just one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup. Both the Blackhawks and the Bruins could be shorthanded for tonight's game six in Boston. Bruin's Patrice Bergeron left game five with an undisclosed injury.

He's questionable for tonight's game. Though, the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews may also be out of action. He remains day to day with an upper body injury. The puck drops in game six tonight in Boston at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

Well, if you haven't been following the he said/she said saga between the two top tennis women's players in the world, then hang on tight. Serena Williams gave an interview to "Rolling Stone" magazine recently where she seemed to take a shot at Maria Sharapova's dating practices and interview style.

And then Sharapova's Wimbledon press conference on Saturday. She fired back at Serena making a reference to Serena's alleged current boyfriend, her tennis coach. Yesterday, Serena took a podium at the Arlington (ph) Club to try to set the record straight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: I said look, I want to personally apologize to you. If you are offended by what -- by being brought into my situation. And I want to take that, this moment, to just pour myself and be open and say I am very sorry for this whole situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Interesting apology there. She said she's sorry if she's offended.

BERMAN: It was, still, it was reasonably heartfelt. I mean, these are such great athletes. I'd like -- you know, it would be great to see them get this back on the higher level of just playing great tennis.

ROMANS: And it must be hard to give the interviews, because writers want to get news from them, right? We push them to get them to say something, and then, they have to turn around and apologize.

SCHOLES: Always want the juicy stuff.

BERMAN: All right, Andy. I appreciate it. We won't talk about you behind your back. Promise.

Coming up, Jim Carrey pulling his support from his latest film. Why he doesn't want audiences to see "Kick Ass 2"?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back. Fifty-six minutes after the hour right now, taking a look at the top CNN Trends on the Internet right now. Looks like monsters are little stronger than zombies this weekend. "Monsters University" took the top marks of the box-office, earning a whopping $82 million on its opening weekend. This was the second biggest opening ever for a Pixar film.

Brad Pitt's big budget zombie film, "World War Z," it came in second. It took in a respectable $66 million. It's on pace, perhaps, to even break even. It costs $200 million to make that movie. So, it needs a big opening.

ROMANS: This is interesting story this morning. Jim Carrey distancing himself from his latest role, the actor not happy with "Kick Ass 2." It set to come in August. He plays a military colonel who does things like letting dogs attack his enemies. Carrey tweeting, post, "I did "Kick Ass" a month before Sandy Hook. And now, in all good conscience, I cannot support that level of violence."

And he apologized to those involve in the film, writing, "I'm not ashamed of it, but recent events have caused a change in my heart." The movie is based on a comic book, and the author says he was surprised by the criticism since Carrey had the screenplay for 18 months.

BERMAN: But it does give the chance to say "Kick Ass" in the morning. Speaking of which, let's bring in "NEW DAY" anchors, Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan, starting an amazing second week on your show. How is that for an intro?

CUOMO: Thank you very much.

BOLDUAN: Every day, every day I'd like to have that intro. Thank you so much. Week two. It's like -- this is old new (ph) at this point. Thanks so much. We, obviously, got a lot developing this morning. A lot. Let's tell you what's coming up on "NEW DAY" this morning.

Paula Deen backlash. It's one thing that we're watching, and it continues. She's already lost her show on the Food Network. Now, the home shopping network, QVC is quote/unquote, "re-examining" its business relationship with her. The question today is, can she recover and how long will it take?

CUOMO: And more than a year after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman goes on trial today. What will the prosecution put forward? What are going to be the main points? How will the defense counter? We're going to go all through that. We'll bring in Nancy Grace. So, it will be very interesting to see what the analysis is there.

We're also almost at the top of the hour. You know what that means on "NEW DAY," time for the top news.