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Texas Abortion Bill Drama; Supreme Court Decides; Obama to Africa; Nelson Mandela: Critical Condition

Aired June 26, 2013 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All night drama, confusion and intrigue. The shocking end in the battle to shut down almost every abortion clinic in Texas.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: History at the Supreme Court. Just hours now, rulings that could completely redefine the status of same-sex marriage in America.

ROMANS: Critical condition. This morning, former South African President Nelson Mandela surrounded by family in the hospital. We are live.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, June 26th. It is 5:00 in the East.

BERMAN: And what a night in Texas. What a morning really in Texas. A filibuster, a contested vote, yelling and shouting -- all in a battle over the toughest abortion restrictions in the country.

Now, at first, the state Senate voted to approve the restrictions. But in the wee hours of the morning, the lieutenant governor now saying it happened too late and will not count.

This is how it all went down: a Democratic state senator trying to filibuster to block the bill which would ban most abortions after 20 weeks it required that they take place at surgical centers. The state Senate had until midnight to approve the law. And Wendy Davis spoke for more than 10 hours, a filibuster, trying to run out the clock.


WENDY DAVIS (D-TX), STATE SENATOR: An argument can be made that in the state of Texas, the consequence of the ambulatory surgical center provision of SB5 will decrease in a fairly dramatic form, the number of centers at which abortions can and will be provided in Texas.


BERMAN: Then with two hours to go, two hours to go to the deadline, she was ruled out of order. And her backers fired off procedural questions trying to stall the vote further. There was loud screaming which you heard from roar from spectators that was drowning out the chambers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will have order. We will suspend the roll call vote until we get order in the chamber.


BERMAN: As you can tell, it was nuts, and this was going on all night.

So, they had a vote. But for a moment, it appeared the bill had passed but what happened, the lieutenant governor who is presiding officer in the Senate said the vote happened too late, it happened after midnight, it happened after the session expired. So, you could say this dramatic filibuster, it worked. So the standoff for now is over.

However, Governor Rick Perry may now call the Senate back into a special session to try and pass the restrictions again.

ROMANS: Wow, what a night.

All right. It's a big day at the nation's highest court. The justices set to announce their final decisions of the session. And they may make history.

Here's Joe Johns.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two hot- button cases that could change life in America expected to be decided this morning at the Supreme Court.

In one case, it's whether the federal government can take away benefits from married couples under the Defense of Marriage Act because they're the same sex. And in the other, if it was OK for voters in California to decide that marriage should be between a man and a woman because of Proposition 8. Two gay and lesbian couples brought the case.

KRISTIN PERRY, PROP 8 PLAINTIFF: I think America is ready for that. I think America does have this founding principle around fairness and equality that we believe in, too.

JOHNS: Court watchers are wondering whether the last case the court decided overturning the key part of the Voting Rights Act is a hint about how justices will rule today.

JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: The decision on voting rights in some ways was viewed by the majority as supporting state's rights. That certainly works to the advantage of states like California in the Proposition 8 case.

JOHNS: The voting rights ruling could change life in America as well, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling. All or parts of 15 states, mostly in the South, no longer have to ask the federal government for approval before they make changes to voting laws that could affect minorities.

But other parts of the law were left standing.

TURLEY: It is still unlawful to engage in practices designed to discourage minority voting.

JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Joe for that report.

So, there is a new senator from Massachusetts. He's a familiar face in Washington and the Bay State as well, Democratic Congressman Ed Markey won a special election to fill John Kerry's Senate seat. He defeated Republican businessman and former Navy SEAL. Gabriel Gomez.

Markey is a veteran of 20 terms in the House of Representatives. He's been there a long time. Now, he will serve out the remaining year and a half of John Kerry's term. And Markey can run for a full six-year Senate term in 2014.

ROMANS: Big changes are coming to the U.S. Army. The service announcing plans to cut 12 combat brigades, relocate soldiers, and cancel millions in construction projects. That is a result of so- called sequester, the automatic budget cuts that hit parts of the government.

Army chief of staff, General Ray Odierno, says they hope the cuts will have a small impact as possible.

BERMAN: Big trip for President Obama, he heads to Africa today, visiting Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. He'll spend seven days on the continent.

It's only the president's second trip to Africa since he's been in office. He plans to meet with leaders in the countries he will visit. But he has for now at least to see ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela.

As for the condition of the president, the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader remains in a Pretoria hospital. He's said to be in critical condition. The archbishop of Cape Town prayed with Mandela's family on Tuesday, calling for a, quote, "peaceful, perfect end."

The family is said to be meeting to discuss the situation.

We want to go to now to Pretoria. CNN's Robyn Curnow, she joins us on the phone.

Robyn, we hear from the archbishop of Cape Town praying for a peaceful end. You see these meetings there. It does seem as if a lot of the people in South Africa, including the family, are preparing the nation for the end.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): It does seem that way, doesn't it? The language has changed both significantly. I'm staring at one of the front pages of one of the big newspapers. And if you can just imagine the major headline on this, it says "The Final Struggle." And I think there is a sense that many people are being prepared.

Just how long is the struggle, how critical is he, how imminent is the inevitable, we don't know. I spoke to Mandela's family over the weekend, they said, only he will decide how he bows out. And, remember, he's a fighter.

But there really does seem to be a somber atmosphere here, as people try to come to grips with the fact that he might not be here for very much longer.

BERMAN: What's the activity around the hospital this morning, Robyn?

CURNOW: Well, you know, we've been outside of this hospital for nearly three weeks now. In the last 24 hours, there's been increased activity, definitely more media, also significantly more security. The police blocking off the street in front of the entrance to the hospital. A lot of extra security, stopping people going into the entrance, and a lot of barricades going up.

So, I think, you know, there is this anxiety, it seems from the authorities perhaps preparing for some announcement. We just don't know. I mean, there's very little information coming out from the authorities, very little information coming from the family. Just, remember, this is a family who is very sensitive about any discussion about funeral arrangements, about this, even his medical condition. There's cultural taboos around talking about that.

So all of that put together, but, you know, not just the media, but South Africa, perhaps those around the world, those who love Mandela are just watching and waiting, hoping for the best, but perhaps in the back of their mind expecting the worse.

BERMAN: It's important to remember, for whatever he means to the world, he's a father, he's a grandfather, he's a grandfather. There's a family who loves him and wants to spend this time with him as well.

Robyn Curnow for us in Pretoria this morning following the condition of Nelson Mandela, our thanks to you.

ROMANS: Now to the state of NSA leaker Edward Snowden he's apparently still at a Moscow airport days after fleeing Hong Kong. Snowden was supposed to fly to Cuba and then to South America on Monday but he never got on the flight.

And Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has no plans to turn the former defense contractor over to the U.S. since he is not officially in his country.

CNN's Phil Black is watching the latest developments. He's live in Moscow.

This is certainly a tense situation for the United States and Russia at this point?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed, Christine. We know that Edward Snowden is in transit at this airport for days now. But Vladimir Putin is the first Russian official to confirm that's where he is. Putin said he's not going to intervene and help the United States get Snowden back.

But at the same time, nor will Russia take advantage of his presence by trying to extract more secret intelligence from him.


BLACK (voice-over): Ravings and rubbish, that's how Russian President Vladimir Putin described any suggestion that his country is helping Edward Snowden. Speaking on a visit to Finland, Putin said Snowden's arrival in Moscow was completely unexpected. And despite the wealth of knowledge Putin claims to have about intelligence around the world, Putin says Russia's own security forces have not spoken to him since his arrival.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Mr. Snowden is a free man, the sooner he chooses his destination, the better it would be for us and for himself.

BLACK: Putin seemed to rule out any chance, Russia will return Snowden to the United States.

PUTIN: We can hand over foreign officials on which we have appropriate international agreement of extradition with criminals. We don't have such an agreement with the United States.

BLACK: But the United States argues there is still a clear legal basis for Russia to expel Snowden.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We're not looking for confrontation, we're not ordering anybody. We're simply requesting under the very normal procedure for the transfer of somebody, just as we transferred to Russia, seven people in the last two years that they requested that we did without any clamor, without any rancor, without any argument and according to our sense of the appropriateness of meeting their request.

BLACK: Russian officials have told CNN passengers can only remain in transit at the airport 24 hours. For Snowden, that window has long passed.

But Russia seems ready to wait for Snowden to make his decision on where he goes next.


BLACK: So, Vladimir Putin says Snowden is a free man. But he clearly doesn't want him lingering too long, doesn't want him camp out at the airport indefinitely. Putin says he hopes this situation will not hurt the business-like relationship between Russia and the United States. He said he'd rather not be dealing with this situation at all. In his own colorful way, he compared it to shearing a pig, too much squealing and not a lot of wool -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Phil Black, thank you so much.

Meantime, a massive storm cleanup under way in Iowa. Parts of that state severely damaged by recent storms. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad got a first hand look of some of the hardest hit areas. He told reporters the damage was worse than he expected.

BERMAN: Violent storms in northeast Iowa leaving tens of thousands of people in the dark this morning. Heavy rains, high winds that brought down power lines, wind gusts 80 miles an hour were record at one point. Thankfully, there has been no major property damage.

ROMANS: Indra Petersons is tracking extreme weather for us this morning. Good morning, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. You can actually look, right to the Ohio Valley right now, and yes, they are still dealing with this intense weather. I mean, day after day, as long as you see that front in place, you're going to see this activity, especially through the day that buildup.

There you can see the low starting to move across. It's going to mean two things, heavy rainfall in the same region but also a bench will make its way to the Northeast and the heat wave we've been experiencing, notice, all these temperatures will cool down. So, that's good news for the Northeast. We always know when it cools down somewhere, it heats up somewhere else. Unfortunately, this is a huge heat wave.

We're going to be talking about record breaking temperatures, a one in 10-year event have temperatures are soaring above 115 degrees in many places. Yes. It looks like even the Death Valley. We're talking temperatures even as high as 125, 127 degrees this weekend.

So, unfortunately, this is going to be the biggest depth (ph) of all weather events for many fatalities throughout the area.

ROMANS: Stay inside in Phoenix.

BERMAN: That is very hot.

ROMANS: All right. Indra, thank you.

Coming up, the dramatic testimony of the Trayvon Martin trial. What witnesses say about the day the unarmed teenager was killed.

BREMAN: And Michael Jackson's son ready to testify in the wrongful death case. What he is expected to say, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: There were dramatic words and graphic images in the trial of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, accused of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed Florida teenager.

As George Howell reports, the jury heard details of the scene and saw pictures of Trayvon Martin dead on the ground. A warning, some of these images may be upsetting.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was too much for Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, the parents of Trayvon Martin had to leave the courtroom, leaving jurors and the public to see this -- the lifeless body of their 17-year-old son. Some images too graphic for TV. They were shown during the testimony from Sergeant Anthony Raimondo, the second Sanford police officer to arrive at the scene who tried to perform CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where you able to get a pulse?


HOWELL: The state also known on police crime scene technician Diane Smith, the jurors saw the evidence she collected, like George Zimmerman's handgun, clothing, Skittles and the fruit drink Martin was carrying. Smith told prosecutors she couldn't find any blood on the sidewalk where Zimmerman said he slammed his head. But during cross examination, her answer left room for the defense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you're walking down the sidewalk with a flash light, the idea was to see if there was obvious blood?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it was raining?

SMITH: That is correct.

HOWELL: In fact, the defense was able to turn the table on several of the state's witnesses like Wendy Dorival who trained Zimmerman about neighborhood watch guidelines.

WENDY DORIVAL, WITNESS: He seemed like he really wanted to make changes in his community to make it better.

HOWELL: Selene Bahadoor told prosecutors she heard what sounded like running from left to right, outside her unit the night of the shooting, a detail the defense challenged her on, as it was first time she offered that version of events publicly on the record.

Mark O'Mara further attacked Bahadoor's credibility by showcasing her online behavior.

MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Tell me what that says on your Facebook front page right there. Just read that.

SELENE BAHADOOR, WITNESS: Prosecute the killer of our son, 17-year- old Trayvon Martin. Sign a petition.

HOWELL: George Howell, CNN, Sanford, Florida.


BERMAN: Our thanks to George for his reporting.

Eighteen minutes after the hour.

Two incidents involving police and guns in Los Angeles to tell you about very much ongoing. There was a standoff in south Los Angeles where an officer wound up shot in the face during a probation check. The suspect is still holed up in that home.

This morning, the officer, we're told, is being treated at a hospital. Meanwhile, police are still looking for a suspect involved in what the chief called the ambush shooting of two officers Tuesday. One was grazed. The other shot in the hand. Both are said to be recovering. No word yet if the two incidents are in anyway connected.

ROMANS: Michael Jackson's eldest son is expected to take the stand today in his family's wrongful death trial against concert promoter AEG. Prince Jackson is the next scheduled witness and will likely talk about the days leading up to his father's death.

Meantime, the judge is letting Jackson's kids stay under the guardianship of his mother and a cousin. A judge ordered a review after Paris Jackson was hospitalized earlier this month after an apparent suicide attempt. After receiving an investigators report, the judge said he would take no further action.

BERMAN: So, you want to go behind the candelabra? A Las Vegas mansion once owned by Liberace now up for sale. This YouTube video showing what it looks like inside.

ROMANS: Oh my.

BERMAN: You're talking lots of mirrors, lots of fountains, even a painting of the Sistine Chapel with Liberace's name on it. The 14,000 square foot home, just have two bedrooms, two bedrooms, 14,000 feet. But 10 bathrooms, and a lot of special touches that will remind you of Liberace.

The price, you know, it sounds like a bargain to me, just half a million dollars, 14,000 square feet for half a million dollars. That's not bad.

Here's the catch, though, the no mortgages. The bank that owns it wants cash only. So, you have to be ready to pony up.

ROMANS: Cash only.

All right. Coming up, what's in the most American vehicle? We're going to tell you what won that honor. A little spoiler: it's an American truck.


ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back to EARLY START. It's money time.

Another triple-digit move on Wall Street. This one it move higher. Stocks rebounded yesterday. Investors were cheering about strong housing data and consumer confidence.

The Dow jumped 101 points, the S&P tacked on nearly 1 percent. This is a major change from a nine-week low. The S&P touched just a day earlier. Dow futures this morning are up about 40 points.

The Ford F-150 tops the list of the most American made vehicles. It's the first time in four years a domestic automaker is the most American. That's right. The Toyota Camry had held that title. Camry is number two followed by Dodge avenger. based it on being all American, where it's assembled, how many parts are in the U.S., and vehicle sales. The F-150 benefiting from strong sales, thanks to a rebound in the housing market, right? It makes sense.

And continuing on that American theme, a study says U.S. tops China as the most favorable place for foreign companies to invest. The U.S. beats China in this category for the first time since 2001. Brazil came in third. Consulting firm AT Kearney says China is becoming less attractive because labor costs are rising in China.

The survey also said half of the participants said the foreign investment budgets are back to pre-tax crisis levels.

All right. Tax breaks are meant for company, they're meant to bring in new jobs. So, which states have the sweetest deals? CNN Money has the list. The winner is New York, $11.4 billion in business tax breaks over the past 35 years. Michigan, Oregon and New Mexico and Washington round out the top five.

Most the tax breakers givens to manufacturers to get them to set up shop in a specific state.

BERMAN: You see commercials, come do business in Oregon --

ROMANS: Exactly.


ROMANS: Exactly.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up, the president on his way to Africa. Next, we will have team coverage on this big trip for the president, where he will go and what is he is hoping to accomplish.