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Nelson Mandela's Health; Where is Edward Snowden?; Military Investigating Top Official; Zimmerman on Trial; Chicago Blachawks Victory Parade Today

Aired June 28, 2013 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Former South African President Nelson Mandela in critical, but stable condition this morning. President Obama heads to that country in just over an hour. So, will these two leaders meet?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Wanted and on the run. The world watching and waiting. Where is NSA leaker, Edward Snowden? Will any country give him asylum and will the U.S. hunt him down?

BERMAN: Fireworks with the star witness. What will be today's shocker in the George Zimmerman trial after a friend of Trayvon Martin said that his race helped lead to his death.

ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Great to see you this Friday. It's Friday, June 28th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

ROMANS: We begin this morning in South Africa where the ailing former President Nelson Mandela remained in the hospital. Outside, well wishers sang and prayed as world emerged that the 94-year-old's condition had stabilized, but he is critical.

CNN's Robin Curnow is in Pretoria. Robyn, what's the latest?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's very important to note that Nelson Mandela is still on life support. That he still needs help breathing. He's critical, but stable.

And as you said, you probably see behind me, South Africans continue to be drawn to this hospital. Late last night, there were people still singing hymns, saying prayers, leaving candles, leaving flowers. This is a nation that is very anxious to hear news about his health.

Now, this is something that makes his family very, very angry, in fact. For a man, though, who led a public life, they say his health battles are a very private issue.


NELSON MANDELA'S DAUGHTER: The fact that my dad is a global icon, one of the 25 influential people of the 21st century does not mean that people cannot respect the privacy and dignity of my dad. You know, I don't want to say this, but I'm going to say it, there's sort of a racist element with many of the foreign media, where they just cross boundaries. It's like, truly, watch us waiting when the lion has devoured the buffalo, waiting there for the last carcass. That's the image that we have as a family.


CURNOW: Tough words from Nelson Mandela's daughter, aren't they?

Now, the focus is going to continue and perhaps will increase on his health, on his condition, because President Barack Obama is traveling to South Africa. He's been in Senegal. He's due to leave that country in about an hour. So, the focus will be on him. It's unclear whether President Obama will try to visit him in the hospital or he'll even pay some sort of courtesy visit to Mandela's family. That is unclear.

But we do know while he was in Senegal, President Obama visited a memorial to one of history's darkest times.

Brianna Keilar explains.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Obama and the first family made a meaningful trip to Goree Island, off Senegal's coast, to see a final departure point for slaves headed to the Americas.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For an African-American and African-American president, to be able to visit this sight, I think gives me even greater motivation in terms of human rights around the world.

KEILAR: Peering through the Door of No Return, known in local folklore as the door they walked through to board trips, the first lady who, unlike her husband, is descendent from slaves, joined him for a moment. As they departed, locals clamor to get a glimpse or handshake from the president.

The Obama's head this morning to South Africa, where former president and hero Nelson Mandela is on life support.

OBAMA: I think he's a hero for the work, and if and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we'll all know is that his legacy is one that will linger on throughout the ages.

KEILAR: Mrs. Obama, who posted her first picture on Instagram with school kids in Senegal told them to seize the opportunities Mandela fought for.

OBAMA: Surely, you can honor his legacy by leaving a proud legacy of your own. That's how I tried to live my own life.

KEILAR: In South Africa, President Obama will again visit Robben Island, where Mandela spent 18 years as a political prisoner, a trip Obama made as a senator in 2006.

Brianna Keilar, CNN, Dakar, Senegal.


BERMAN: No doubt, it will be an emotional trip in the coming days. Four minutes after the hour to Russia, where the NSA leaker Edward Snowden is holed up this morning, somewhere.

Snowden is considered a fugitive from justice in the U.S. is believed to be waiting for safe passage to Ecuador, but the government there says it will not be forced into a decision concerning Snowden's asylum request.

CNN's Phil Black is following these developments live in Moscow for us this morning. Phil, the question is, where is Mr. Snowden this morning?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we believe that he's still at the Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. This will be day six of the stop over there. And he hasn't been seen in that whole time.

Despite the fact, there are journalists there staking the place out, looking for him. They have not seen him. So, they assume he is somewhere there behind closed doors. We do know that officials there are enforcing a 24-hour transit deadline on other passengers that are passing through the airport.

But it appears they are not doing this in the case of Edward Snowden. And that seems to go, run contrary a little to the way to what the Russian government is saying. Their consistent message on this, and it appears they're losing a bit of tolerance for his presence here.

They say that they see him as a free man. He's welcome to travel wherever he likes. But they want him to do it as soon as possible, John.

BERMAN: Six days and running, closed up behind some door that no one knows where it is in that airport right now, Phil.

At this point, what are his options? Where can Snowden go?

BLACK: He may not have many. We know that his American passport has been revoked, doesn't have any travel documents. We know that he's made an asylum request with Ecuador and possibly other countries as well.

But until one of those countries respond in a positive way and supplies him with the documents and an invitation to travel to that country, he may not be able to do. He may have little choice but to simply sit there and wait regardless of how he feels about it, regardless perhaps of how the Russian government feels about it as well, John.

BERMAN: It's like a bad movie. All right. Phil Black, at Moscow for us this morning -- thanks so much, Phil.

ROMANS: It really does.

Under investigation this morning, one of the nation's former top military officer. A source tells CNN the Justice Department is looking into retired Marine General James Cartwright and his connection to information published in a book about President Obama's use of cyber weapons. NBC News says the investigation into the former vice chairman of the joint chief of staff is for allegedly leaking classified information about the Stuxnet computer virus. That virus infected computers at Iranian nuclear facilities back in 2010, setting back Iran's nuclear program.

BERMAN: An important moment in Washington. The Senate has approved an immigration reform bill. The vote was 68-32, 14 Republicans joined with Democrats to say yes to the plan that will create a path to citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants while also boosting border security.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The strong bipartisan vote we took is going to send a message across the country, it's going to send a message to the other end of the capital as well. The bill has generated a level of support that we believe will be impossible for the House to ignore.


BERMAN: New York Senator Chuck Schumer, along with John McCain, Lindsey Graham there, Marco Rubio, also part of the so-called "gang of eight" that wrote this bill. But it does face an uncertain future in the House of Representatives. The Speaker John Boehner has said he will not bring it to a vote unless a majority of Republicans in that chamber support it and that is by no means certain.

ROMANS: All right. The surviving Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev indicted now on dozens of charges including the deadly use of a weapon of mass destruction and killing an MIT police officer.


CARMEN M. ORTIZ, U.S. ATTORNEY: As a result of the charges that have been filed today, the defendant faces up to life and possibly death if convicted.


ROMANS: The indictment also provides new details about Tsarnaev's interest in Islamic literature and reveals messages he scrolled in a boat just before his capture. Tsarnaev wrote the U.S. government is killing our innocent civilians and I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished, three people who were killed, 260 wounded in the Boston marathon bombing. Tsarnaev's arraignment is scheduled now for July 10th. BERMAN: We're finding more this morning about the plans for the trial of James Holmes. He is the 25-year-old accused of last year's shooting spree in a Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead and dozens and dozens injured. When the trial gets underway in February, the judge plans to bring in one of the largest jury pools ever, some 5,000 people. And once seated, the jury will not be sequestered.

And the judges ruled that because he's charged with a violent crime, this is interesting, Holmes will be anchored to the floor when he's in the courtroom, his harness which he will hear will be under his clothes. It will not be visible to jurors.

ROMANS: Some dramatic pictures to show from west central Pennsylvania, which has been hammered by storms. Jefferson County, that's north of Pittsburgh. Several other counties are under a disaster emergency because of severe flash flooding. The high water has closed roads and bridges.

BERMAN: Out west, they're probably saying a few four-letter words. But one of them is heat. It will impressively hot in Arizona and California throughout the weekend. The National Weather Service says valley temperatures in southern California could approach, wait for it, 100 degrees, if you can believe that. Phoenix could hit a mere 118 degrees, which was still a record.

Our Indra Peterson is tracking all this for us.

It sounds awful.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I mean, it's unbelievable. We keep saying, this is once in every 10 years. A lot of times, people, they just get numb. They think, Arizona, it's hot. It's not this hot. This is a very rare event. In fact, we are going to look at extremes as we got through the week.

What we are dealing with is the heat out west and then the rainfall as we got towards the east. Let's talk about what's going on. High pressure is out there in the west. This is building.

What is high pressure? It's sinking air. So, you get stagnant sinking air. Unfortunately, we get these very high temperatures. This is what we are talking about.

Remember, the highest temperature recorded on earth, 133 degrees. Look at Death Valley, 128 this weekend. It's potentially possible they could see 130 this weekend.

And, of course, places like Lake Havasu, very popular spot, 126. We're also looking at 118 in Phoenix, and even out towards Vegas. On the East, the opposite problem. We are talking about all this moist air and a very slow moving cold front. That's the key. Slow moving. It's almost like having that rain cloud over your house and doesn't stop pouring.

With that, the flood threat is high. Look at the amount of rain we're talking about. Two to four inches, anywhere from five inches in the Northeast. Same in the Southeast. The flood threat is high for the weekend.

ROMANS: So, either hot or wet. Have a great weekend.

BERMAN: This sounds really awful. Thanks, Indra. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: Happy Friday.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up, a key witness in the Trayvon Martin case going toe-to-toe with the defense. What a day what she said Martin told her on the phone moments before his death.

ROMANS: And Milwaukee police to the rescue when a woman in labor couldn't wait for the hospital.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

Just a few hours from now in Florida, testimony will resume in the murder trial of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, charged, of course, with killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

But so many people are still talking about the dramatic, contentious debate between the prosecution star witness yesterday and the defense that really at times which seemed to try to discredit her. It was quite a day.

Here is CNN'S George Howell.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Day four in the trial against George Zimmerman started as Rachel Jeantel take two. A key witness for the state who appeared Wednesday to be emotional, one moment, combative the next. What a difference a day makes.

DON WEST, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Are you OK this morning?


WEST: You seem so different than yesterday. Just checking. Did someone talk to you last night about your demeanor in court yesterday?

JEANTEL: No. I went to sleep.

HOWELL: A more subdued Jeantel endured more than three hours of meticulous questioning from defense attorney Don West, who challenged the 19-year-old's account of what she heard when she was on the cell phone with Trayvon Martin, a little more than a minute before the fatal shooting.

JEANTEL: Trayvon got hit.

WEST: You don't know that, do you?

JEANTEL: No, sir. WEST: You don't know Trayvon got hit.


WEST: You don't know that Trayvon didn't at that moment take his fist and drive it into George Zimmerman's face, do you?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

HOWELL: But moments later, when asked the same question during the grilling, the teen held firm to her account of who attacked who.

WEST: I thought, in fact, that you said that it could have been, for all you know, Trayvon Martin smashing George Zimmerman in the face is what you actually heard?


WEST: Yes. Just earlier today.

JEANTEL: By who?

WEST: By you.

JEANTEL: You didn't get that from me.

HOWELL: The next witness, Jenna Lauer, the woman whose 911 call captured exact moment Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara questioned about who she thought was screaming on the tape.



911: So you think he's yelling help?


911: All right. What is your --



MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Did it seem like the screams of somebody who was getting beat up?

JENNA LAUER, WITNESS: They were being hurt somehow, yes.

O'MARA: Maybe somebody who was having this done to them?

LAUER: It's possible.

HOWELL: The final testimony of the day came from a witness who said she heard the gunshot and saw two people on the ground. Selma Mora testified with the help of a Spanish translator that she remembered seeing the man on top wearing a red and black jacket, the same jacket George Zimmerman was wearing.

O'MARA: There was a person crouching down over another person?

SELMA MORA, WITNESS: Correct (ph).


HOWELL: George Howell, CNN, Sanford, Florida.


ROMANS: All right. Was he or wasn't he an informant?

The question of being played with murder and racketing trial of reputed mob boss, James "Whitey" Bulger. A disgraced former FBI supervisor took the stand Thursday, admitting he took bribes from Bulger. But when John Morris said there was no question Bulger was an informant, Bulger was heard muttering the retired agent was a liar. Morris will be back on the stand today.

BERMAN: More major companies are saying so long to Paula Deen in the wake of her admission that she used racially insensitive language in the past. Home Depot and Target both announcing that they will stop selling Deen branded products. Home shopping channel, QVC, says Deen will not appear on air and they will stop selling her items as well. And drugmaker Nova Nordisk says it and Deen have mutually agreed she will suspend her role as a spokeswoman for a diabetes medicine.

Dean is now getting help from noted crisis management expert Judy Smith. She's the aspiration for the TV show and has assisted Kobe Bryant, Wesley Snipes, and some other high profiles stars.

ROMANS: And Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. was tweeting about this.

BERMAN: He was.

ROMANS: He is saying not to -- he was talking about a Southern culture, not to turn it into a gotcha moment. So, kind of interesting there.

All right. We know having fish as a regular part of your diet was healthy. Now, a new study suggest fish may actually reduce the risk of breast cancer. Chinese researchers found women who consume high levels of omega-3 fatty acids from eating fish were 14 percent less likely to have breast cancer than those who ate lower amount.

BERMAN: If only it didn't taste like fish.

BERMAN: Today, Chicago is Hockeytown, USA. It's OK. They are a good, likable team. And at the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, they are in a victory parade throughout the city. The parade kicks off in just a few hours, starting at the United Center, and winding up with a championship rally at Grant Park. The Hawks defeated the valiant Boston Bruins in six games to win their second Stanley Cup in the last four years.

Can I just tell you that one of the Bruins players played Game Six with a punctured lung, Patrice Bergeron? That's how heroic the Bruins effort was. But congratulations to the Blackhawks.

ROMANS: I have to say to my little nephews in Chicago, this is basically the best moment of their life. Their short life, this is the best moment of their life. So, congratulations, Chicago.

All right. The Milwaukee cops. Milwaukee cops who pulled over a speeding car, they never expected this. The driver is flying through red lights, blaring the horn. The cops gave chase and the reason for that speeding, the driver's wife was having a baby. They were not going to make it to the hospital.

So, the cops jumped in to help, delivering a healthy, baby girl.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was beaming ear-to-ear.

OFFICER ADAM BRADLEY, MILWAUKEE POLICE: Able to bring a life into the world is just amazing.


ROMANS: The girl and the mom both said to be doing well.

You are a dad. I mean, I can't imagine being the one driving the car.


ROMANS: No? I mean --

BERMAN: Take a cab. In New York City, you take a cab. That's traumatic enough.

The cop looked so moved by the experience. I love that guy.

ROMANS: That's awesome. It's really awesome.

BERMAN: Coming up, I should say, mortgage rates are soaring, huge.

ROMANS: Lock it in. Lock it in.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, what is going on? What is it going to cost you to buy a home?

ROMANS: Please, lock it in now.


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

Here's the bad news: it was the worst quarter for stocks in a year. Here's the good news, the S&P 500 coming off its biggest three-day rally since January. Stock futures are higher this morning. The Dow and NASDAQ jumped yesterday, giving the stocks the boost soothing talk from Federal Reserve officials that they are in no hurry to take away the billions of dollars that the world is used to that we have been dumping into the market.

All that soothing talk hasn't stopped the rise in mortgage rates. No calm tones there. The rate on the 30-year fixed taking the biggest jump in 26 years. That's right. That rate spiked a half percentage point in a week to 4.46 percent, instead of 3.35 just a month ago. That extra percentage point and the 30-year fixed will cost you about $56 more a month for every $100,000 borrowed.

BERMAN: That adds up.

ROMANS: It really adds up. Mortgage rates are still low by -- you know, still directly low. They are not close to 2007, almost 7 percent back then. And while we are talking rates, don't forget the clock is ticking on student loan rates, subsidy student loans will double come Monday, 6.8 percent unless Congress steps in to find a solution. That's going to be, I mean, maybe about $5,000 extra, the kids are going to be paying for education of those loan rates.

All right. CEO pay, though, is back to pre-recession levels. You can all breath more freely now. Look how it compares to the average worker. The average worker earns 273 times more than the average worker. Thirty years ago, CEO just 38 times the average worker. CEO compensation stood at more than $14 million last year, $14 million.

BERMAN: That's a fair amount of money.

ROMANS: Same 40-hour week.

BERMAN: Bigger house, bigger car.

ROMANS: They work a little more. They work a little less.

BERMAN: Bigger summer home.

Twenty-six minutes after the hour.


BERMAN: Yes, you did. That was the outside voice.

ROMANS: My outside voice.

BERMAN: Coming up, a new twist in the murder mystery that landed a former NFL star behind bars. Aaron Hernandez linked to two other murders. Is that possible? The evidence against him mounting, next.