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Snowden Breaks His Silence; Egypt Unrest; "Words Cannot Describe the Loss"; George Zimmerman Murder Trial

Aired July 2, 2013 - 05:00   ET


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: On the run, with nowhere to go. The man who exposed America's secret surveillance program breaking his silence, denouncing the United States and asking more than one dozen countries to save him from prosecution.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Uprising in Egypt. A deadly protests and a 48-hour deadline. Will Egypt's first democratically elected leader could now be overthrown?

HARLOW: And the deadliest wildfire in Arizona's history growing. Still this morning, how the flames are continuing to move as the nation grieves 19 firefighters killed in that blaze.

BERMAN: So sad.

All right. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow. It is Tuesday, July 2n. It is 5:00 a.m., bright and early out here in the East.

BERMAN: Great to have you here, Poppy.

HARLOW: Good to be with you.

BERMAN: We are going to start here this morning with Edward Snowden, who this morning is something of an international hot potato, with no country willing to hold on.

Of course, Mr. Snowden is the government leaker. He's been living inside of Moscow airport for more than a week now. Apparently, he's having problems finding anywhere to go.

And this morning, a new effort is under way to find a country willing to offer him asylum. And as this is all happening, Snowden is lashing out with new words, harsh words directed right at the president.

Our Phil Black live in Moscow this morning with the latest.

Good morning, Phil.


Yes, Edward Snowden has widened his search for a country that will take and protect him. We always knew he sought asylum in Ecuador, in Iceland, he's now extended formal applications to 19 other countries, mostly European, some South American, also China and India as well.

And he has now, for the first time since fleeing Hong Kong issued a public statement, in which he says he is defiant. He says his convictions are unbowed and he also attacked the United States for using political aggression and fear to try to block his attempts of finding asylum in another country.

Here's a little more of that statement now. In it, he says this. He says the Obama administration is not afraid of whistle blowers like me, Bradley Manning or Tomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned or powerless. The Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised -- and it should be."

Now, one of the countries that we know he had recently applied for, among that new group of 19 was Russia, but he's already withdrawn that. And that's because of a condition set by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said he could stay in theory as long as he was prepared to stop leaking U.S. secrets. The Russian president said that he can stay. He would have to, quote, "stop his work in harming America partners."

Putin said it sounded strange coming from him, strange because he's a leader not known for actively or openly defending the interest of the United States -- John.

BERMAN: Yes, was on. As he noted himself, this application process from Snowden is strange in and of itself. It's like a college application process right now, sending letters to 19 countries.

All right. Phil Black in Moscow where this is still developing this morning. Appreciate it, though.

HARLOW: And we want to take you to Egypt right now live where the ultimatum facing President Mohamed Morsi, the hours are ticking by.

Egypt's military has given that embattled leader 48 hours to resolve the ongoing political crisis that has brought thousands to the streets their in Cairo or the military says it will step in. President Obama even calling Morsi from Africa on Monday, encouraging him to make sure all Egyptians are represented in their government.

According to a statement to White House, President Obama stressed to Morsi that democracy is about much more than elections.

Our Reza has been following this very closely and joins us now from Cairo -- Reza.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, that 48 hours is now down to 24 hours.

Nobody would have predicted this two and a half years ago. But this country seems to be inching forth to a possible revolution, part two. Remember, two and a half years ago, Egypt booted out the dictator Hosni Mubarak. The next president, Mohamed Morsi, was elected in a democratically elected election.

But now, the opposition factions, the liberals and moderates are gathering against him. They claim he has an Islamist agenda, pushing aside the liberal and moderate voices. They want him out and I think they sense they are getting close to doing that. It has a lot to do with a military statement yesterday.

This is the front page of today's paper. It says final warning, the armed forces giving an ultimatum to the president, to opposition factions, to get together and fix this crisis, otherwise, they say they will step in and put forth a road map for Egypt's future and supervise its implementation. It's not clear exactly what that means, and that's why all eyes over the next 24 hours to see what the president does, to see if he backs down. Also, we are looking at the opposition factions, protesters behind us, they are continuing to mount the pressure, Poppy.

HARLOW: Absolutely. Just so representative of what we saw not long ago at all with the overhaul and ousting of Mubarak. So, we'll be watching it very closely.

Thank you, Reza. Appreciate it.

BERMAN: Meanwhile, it is the last day of President Obama's trip to Africa. He met this morning with NBC staff in Tanzania. They took part in a ceremony honoring the Americans killed in the 1998 terror bombings there. Also in attendance, you can see it right there, former President George W. Bush, a very interesting sight to see. They lay a wreath together at this ceremony.

And the first ladies, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama, participated in a forum there as well, which was remarkable to see. The first family is due back in Washington later today.

HARLOW: Very nice to see them doing that together in remembrance.

Let's go to Arizona now where the wildfire that killed 19 members of an elite firefighting crew still raging out of control. The Yarnell Hill fires are the deadliest in history. It's burned nearly 9,000 acres so far. Arizona's governor has ordered flags to be flown half staff to honor of the Hot Shot team killed in that blaze.

And our Stephanie Elam is live in Prescott, Arizona, this morning. Good morning, Stephanie.


Here in Prescott, the memorial outside Station 7 continues to grow as this town tries to deal with the immeasurable loss of 20 percent of this one fire department, lost to a blaze.


ELAM (voice-over): Prescott, Arizona, a town where everyone knows each other and everybody here is mourning the loss of the 19 firefighters who died battling the nearby Yarnell Hill Fire. DAN FRAIJO, PRESCOTT FIRE CHIEF: They were the type of people that keep themselves in the condition to take 70-80 pounds five miles into the wilderness and put themselves between a fire and you.

ELAM: Called Hot Shots, the men were highly trained firefighters tasked with getting close to the blaze and digging a fire line to help contain the flames.

WADE WARD, PRESCOTT FIRE DEPARTMENT: The Prescott Fire Department is the only municipality that has a type 1 Hot Shot crew in the country.

ELAM: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer came to offer her support.

GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: The Yarnell fire claimed the lives of more first responders than any single disaster since 9/11. As we honor the firefighters lost that day as they charged into the burning towers, we will remember the brave men of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots.

ELAM: All 19 deployed their safety shelters, as a last ditch effort, but they weren't enough.

WARD: They are made to with -- handle intense heat for a short period of time. So, given the circumstances with the heavy fuels and the speed of the fuel, it had to be the perfect storm for these guys.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't know the specifics, at this time, of why the events added up the way they did. That's part of the investigation.

ELAM: As the investigation and firefight continue, the people of Prescott are honoring their hometown heroes leaving an array of water, flowers and an American flags outside of Station 11.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When something like this strikes, you have to make a gesture. You have to put yourself in the place of the families and know how much this hurts.


ELAM: These units work in groups of 20. And there was one firefighter who was not with the team at that time. He was on assignment doing something else. He survived. But everyone else perished.

It's important to know the fire is not contained. So, while dealing with this immense loss, firefighters are still out there battling the blaze -- John and Poppy.

HARLOW: You can't say it enough. Our thanks to the first responder who run to danger when we all run away. Stephanie, thank you.

BERMAN: As Stephanie pointed, the conditions there making fighting this fire is so much more difficult. It will be another day of searing heat out West. Temperatures in Death Valley, California, expected to approach 130 degrees, again. June was the hottest record on month in the Desert Southwest. Forecasters got excessive heat warnings for much of California, Nevada, and Arizona, through the Fourth of July holiday, expecting dangerously hot temperatures.

HARLOW: All right. Well, back east, this storm system doing plenty of damage in Connecticut. It was powerful enough for large trees to be uprooted from the ground. The storm brought down a sports dome. You see it right there. That was in Windsor, Connecticut. Two dozen young soccer players were inside. They were able to escape before it happened.

BERMAN: The whole tri-state area affected. And in New Jersey, it was a small tornado causing damage in an area. This is just west of New York City. No injuries reported after the National Weather Service said an EF-0 twister, about 50 yards wide hit, not very big. But it was big enough to tear up some trees in a nearly five-mile path through this suburban area.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw the water twirling in the street. And we heard a big bang and the limbs went down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw all the trees swaying, the house was shaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was a thunderstorm like usual. But then I woke up and I came downstairs and like this big tree was in my backyard.


HARLOW: And that same storm system also led to flooding in the Garden State. Look at this. Rain falling so fast, cars stranded on highways in New Jersey. Within hours, though, the water receded. No injuries reported from that.

BERMAN: It was crazy weather yesterday. Indra Petersons is tracking it all for us today.

More coming?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Kind of like making the space right now. Like yes.


PETERSON: That's it, right? Put it on paper.

We are talking the same pattern. I mean, look at the heavy rainfall we saw yesterday. In the last 24 hours, we are talking four inches of rain anywhere from the Midwest all the way to the Northeast, stretching down to the Southeast. It really is not going to be changeable. We look at is, where is the high pressure? You can actually see the water vapor all this moisture creeping up the Eastern Seaboard. So, that's what we're still going to be dealing with as we go forward. What we have to watch is exact positioning of this. Remember when go clock wise around the high, it pools the moisture.

By Wednesday, we're looking at it shift a little bit farther, closer to the coast, which is unique. You think the coast is going to get more rain, but it actually means we'll see that rain farther inland. So, that's what we're going to be watching, is that the positioning of the high.

Meanwhile today, I think we know, heavy rain is in the forecast. Northeast, one to three inches to the South. Heavier rain, two to four inches of rain possible today. By now, I think we all know that flooding threat remains high on the West Coast, high pressure up, we are talking temperatures 20 degrees above normal in the state of Washington.

Spokane, today, 99 degrees. Really, I don't have good news West Coast or East Coast.

HARLOW: Ninety-nine degrees in Spokane, Washington?


HARLOW: It's wrong?


BERMAN: All right. Indra, thanks very much.

To this question, what goes better with a burrito than $3,600 cash? Three fans in Michigan did the Taco Bell drive-thru, but when they opened their bag, there was no burrito supreme, no gurgida (ph), not even any salsa.

What there was -- a lot of cash. Look at this, $3,600 worth.

So, it turns out, the trio, they were not hungry -- sorry, they were hungry, they were not greedy. So, they brought the money back.


KENNIDI RUE, RETURNED CASH TO TACO BELL: I went to my bag to get the food and it ended up being three bags of money, a lot of money and another wad of a ton of 20s. If we would have kept it, I don't know if that guilt would have stayed with us. Now that we brought it back, we won't have to feel guilty about it.


BERMAN: What's going on here right now. First of all, she's awfully dressed up for the taco bell drive-thru, all right? Let's just stipulate that.

HARLOW: She looks great.

BERMAN: They say they went back. They went back and delivered the cash. The drive-through attendant wept, cried, so happy they brought the money back.

HARLOW: Do we have any idea where the money came from?

BERMAN: I think apparently, it must have been the cash register haul, put it in a paper bag.

HARLOW: Can you imagine? That's good karma for life, by the way.

BERMAN: I would say, and they got their food. It's the best treat of all.


HARLOW: All right. Well, coming up, the jury hears George Zimmerman in his own words telling police how he killed Trayvon Martin. But did his tape, play-by-play, help or hurt his defense?

BERMAN: And new this morning, incredible pictures. A Russian rocket explodes, midair. You're going to have to see this. It's coming up next.


BERMAN: All right. This is some amazing video you have to see. It's from Russia this morning.

An unmanned Proton rocket carrying navigation satellites lifting off from Kazakhstan. You can see this is not the way it's supposed to go. Something is going wrong. It starts to pivot.

It goes out of frame for a little bit. Then when you see it again, it's broken up. It bursts into flames there.

Crazy, right? Amazing pictures to see. Luckily, no reports of injuries.

Further launch is suspended as the authorities in Russia try to figure out what happened.

HARLOW: And the trial of George Zimmerman resumes in just a few hours with the lead investigator back on the stand this morning. He and other officers have been testifying about what Zimmerman told police in the days after he killed Trayvon Martin.

The jury has now heard Zimmerman's words for themselves.

Here's our George Howell.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first investigator to interview George Zimmerman took the stand on day six of the trial, Doris Singleton explained the process.

DORIS SINGLETON, WITNESS: It was recorded on a -- just a voice recorder that they give us.

HOWELL: Then prosecutors played the tape. The jury listened closely.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, MURDER DEFENDANT: There have been a few times where I have seen a suspicious person in the neighborhood. We call the police, the non-emergency line and these guys always get away.


HOWELL: A key witness for the state, Singleton told the jury Zimmerman agreed to be interviewed without an attorney present. She says he didn't realize Trayvon Martin died from the shooting until she told him. She told defense attorneys Zimmerman dropped his head to the table.

MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Did he evidence that he was angry with Trayvon Martin?


O'MARA: That he had hatred for him?


O'MARA: Spite or ill will?


O'MARA: Anything that would suggest to you some type of bad attitude towards Trayvon Martin?


O'MARA: Rather, he seemed to be affected by the fact that he realized that Trayvon Martin had passed?

SINGLETON: He seemed affected by that.

HOWELL (on camera): One day after the shooting and George Zimmerman returned to this neighborhood with lead investigator Chris Serino to do a video re-enactment.

(voice-over): Serino later conducted a more aggressive interview, challenging Zimmerman on some points. For instance, in the first statement, Zimmerman talked about Trayvon Martin jumping out of bushes to ambush him. In the re-enactment, he didn't mention that.

But in court, Serino's final analysis --

O'MARA: Did you notice anything to bring to the jury's attention today that caused you concern? SERINO: Not that I can articulate, no, sir.

HOWELL: There was also the testimony from Dr. Hirotaka Nakasone, an FBI audio analyst for the defense who was called to the stand by prosecutors. His focus: the 911 call, where you can hear screaming in the background.

While he told jurors it's not possible to determine age or analyze this tape through science, Dr. Nakasone left one possibility wide open.

DR. HIROTAKA NAKASONE, FBI AUDIO ANALYST: For this particular case, the best approach to be would be voice recognition by individual who have heard him in his or her whole life.

HOWELL: George Howell, CNN, Sanford, Florida.


HARLOW: Our thanks to George for that. There's speculation that Trayvon's mother, Trayvon Martin's mother could take the stand as early as today. We will wait and see. CNN, of course, will carry the Zimmerman trial live at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

BERMAN: It has been riveting.

Twenty minutes after the hour.

The Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people during a shooting spree of Fort Hood is set to enter a plea today. Major Nidal Hasan is representing himself in this case, and the military judge has already barred him from pleading guilty to charges that could result in the death penalty.

Selection of a jury for his court martial could begin as soon as next week.

HARLOW: There's fast and there's Berman fast.

BERMAN: Wicked fast.

HARLOW: Wicked fast. Like this guy, Robert Gill of the Arizona Cardinals. Watch as he gets up to speed and flies on the treadmill. They posted this video on YouTube, claiming he was sprinting 25 miles an hour.

We gave him a break. He couldn't do it for very long. I can't believe he didn't fall off the treadmill.

He's 29. That makes him the oldest rookie on currently NFL roster. But, boy, can he run.

BERMAN: I can't believe what I'm seeing there. It's totally not how I look at the gym.

This guy is 29-year-old rookie. He's been bouncing around from team to team. There's speculation the video may help him finally land with the cardinals there. Amazing.

All right. Coming up, are America's biggest companies dodging taxes? A new report revealing just how little some are paying Uncle Sam. Here is a hint. Your tax rate is probably higher than some of these big companies.


HARLOW: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is money time.

Stock futures are higher this morning, following a winning day on Wall Street Monday. The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 started the second half of the year with gains, ranging from half a percent to nearly 1 percent there for the tech heavy NASDAQ. The Dow at one point was up 174 points but closed with a gain of about 65 points.

Well, do you like Farmville? The man who may have had you checking your livestock from your iPhone is stepping down from the company that he founded.

Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus says it is time for someone else to take the lead of the company after a very rough year. Pincus and his company first gained attention with popular games like Farmville, that became a Facebook phenomenon.

The person that's being brought in now to help turned Zynga around is Don Mattrick. He headed Microsoft's Xbox business, helped turned that into the number one selling gaming consul in the United States.

And shocker here -- big American companies paid on average one-third of the corporate tax rate in 2010. Berman is groaning over here. This is according to a report from the Government Accountability Office that said that big companies paid an effective tax rate of 12.6 percent on average in 2010.

The federal corporate tax rate stands at 35 percent. If you add in state rates to that, you are at in about 39.2 percent. But this is because of credits, exemptions, offshore tax havens. The GAO coming out saying it was 12.6 percent. You know going into the break, probably lower than most of us pay.

BERMAN: Yes, there's nothing like a good offshore tax haven.

HARLOW: Yes, we haven't had tax reform in decades, so this is what happens.

BERMAN: Tax havens.

All right. Twenty-six minutes after the hour.

Coming up: another New York midair collision. Passengers screaming. They all say they thought they were going to die. Where it happened this time and what's being done about it.