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Egypt in Crisis; White House Calls for Democracy in Egypt; Diplomatic Dispute; McCain in Afghanistan; George Zimmerman Murder Trial

Aired July 4, 2013 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking this morning: revolution in Egypt, truly stunning. Its first democratically elected president now under house arrest. Troops on the street. A new leader in charge.

And new questions for the White House about how to navigate through this crisis.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Evidence mounting in the murder case against former NFL star Aaron Hernandez. We now know what police found inside his secret apartment.

BERMAN: And look at this -- a woman trapped when a sinkhole swallows her car. Oh my goodness! This whole rescue, it was caught on camera.

PEREIRA: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: Indeed, you are. Look who's here.

PEREIRA: You don't even need a name tag.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. It is Thursday, the 4th of July. Happy Birthday, America. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We are going to begin this morning with a country in chaos. What is happening in Egypt at this moment is simply stunning. Events moving so fast, it's really hard to keep up. We're going to try to do that right now. A new leader sworn in there just moments ago.

Meanwhile, deposed President Mohamed Morsy is said to be under house arrest after the military forced him from power. The top general there says Morsy did not achieve the goals of the people or answer the demands that he'd share power with the opposition.

Clashes follow the announcement. And we're now told by state television there that at least 32 people were killed and 340 wounded.

Our Reza Sayah is live for us in Cairo this morning.

And, Reza, give us a sense of the situation on the ground there this morning.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right now, things are quiet. What an incredible 24 hours. Yesterday, when you and I were talking, Morsy was Egypt's president. Today, Egypt has a new president, some say a new revolution. A lot has changed.

Over the last hour, Adly Mansour was sworn in as Egypt's new president. He's head of Egypt's top board. The ceremony lasted a minute or two. Very swift.

And it was in keeping with the very fast moving series of event that saw the abrupt downfall of Morsy.


SAYAH (voice-over): This morning, after an explosive turn of events, former President Morsy is under house arrest.

The military ousted him Wednesday night after he refused to meet their deadline to form an interim coalition government and revise the constitution.

Droves of military convoys flooded the streets of Egypt's capital propelling the nation on a road to change.

General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, chief of Egypt's armed forces, announced that Adly Mansour, the head of Egypt's highest court, will replace Morsy as interim president.

While the military coup was met with cheers in Tahrir Square, across the Nile River, supporters of the deposed president chanted down with the military. And the square has 1 million marchers denouncing his ouster.

Messages sending ripples throughout the country that's seen death and bloodshed since the huge anti-government protest began this past weekend.


SAYAH: Back live here in Cairo. We are seeing what appeared to be some military jets flying up above. This is the iconic --

BERMAN: We appear to have lost Reza's signal there. Reza Sayah reporting for us from Cairo this morning. He was saying that military jets are now flying overhead.

The military clearly is clearly in charge even though a new leader has been sworn in there. And as Reza said, another stunning sight. The streets are quiet this morning.

PEREIRA: Very quiet, very quiet.

Meanwhile, we know that the Obama administration is closely watching the developments in Egypt, not calling outright for Morsy to be return to power, but saying the Egyptian people should be responsible for determining the country's future.

Athena Jones is live in Washington this morning to bring us the very latest.

Good morning to you.


This is in some ways a "here we go again" moment for this White House. The second Egyptian president to be toppled in two and a half years and a key U.S. ally in the region.

And making this more complicated: Morsy was, of course, Egypt's first democratically elected president. This administration has stressed the importance of the democratic process in Egypt.

After meeting with his national security team yesterday, the president released a statement saying he was deeply concerned about the military's decision to oust Morsy and suspend the constitution. He went on to say, "I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process and to avoid any arbitrary arrest of President Morsy and his supporters."

Of course, we now know that President Morsy is under house arrest.

What's notable here in the president's statement is he did not say the democratically elected president, but a democratically elected one, which doesn't mean Morsy's government. And he also did not call the military's move a coup. In the instance of a military coup, U.S. law says that aid in this case, aid to the tune of $1.5 billion a year must be cut off. Nevertheless, the president said the administration will be reviewing the law on that point.

And, of course, this is very important. Egypt is the biggest, most populous country in the Arab world, a key ally. And it's important for civility in the region, Michaela.

PEREIRA: Yes, it's interesting to watch the words chosen. Other voices are calling for calm as well. U.N. secretary general Ban Ki- moon urging calm, non-violence and restraint there. And we'll watch to see how the situation unfolds.

Athena Jones reporting for us, thanks so much.

JONES: Thanks.

BERMAN: And you can better believe they'll be watching every minute today at the White House in the Situation Room.

Other news, Bolivia's president is not happy at all with the U.S. or the European countries that he says stop his trip back home from Moscow. The plane carrying Evo Morales was forced to land in Vienna after several countries denied him access to the air space.

The reason? It was suspected that he might have NSA leaker Edward Snowden on board. But the search turned up nothing. So, now, back in Bolivia, Morales is blaming the Obama administration for forcing those nations to take action. He said the U.S. will never be able to intimidate or scare Bolivia and he called on European countries to, quote, "liberate yourselves from the imperialism of the Americans." Not happy this morning.

As for Snowden, himself, he remains in Moscow at the airport there. No country has yet accepted his request for asylum.

PEREIRA: The U.S. Postal Service reportedly tracking your mail for federal law enforcement. According to "The New York Times" two programs allow postal service computers to photograph every piece of mail processed in the United States, about $160 billion last year alone. It's not known how long the government keeps these images. But reports suggest the postal mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny the NSA gives phone calls and e-mails.

BERMAN: Senator John McCain is in Kabul this morning. We've just learned this a few minutes ago. It was an unannounced visit. He's a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and he's expected to meet servicemen there in Afghanistan.

PEREIRA: Sad update to some news we followed yesterday. A man related to two U.S. senators who made his named as an environmental activist being remembered this morning. Randy Udall's body was found Wednesday in a remote section of western Wyoming, after going missing during a hike.

He is the brother of Colorado Senator Mark Udall and the cousin of New Mexico Tom Udall. His family says his death is a reminder to live life to the fullest just as they say he did.

BERMAN: And their family has given so much to the U.S. He, of course, also the son of a great Arizona congressman, Mo Udall. Sad for all of them.

PEREIRA: Very sad. They were hoping that they'd find him.

BERMAN: Another news right now: crews finally starting to get the upper hand on that wildfire near Yarnell in Arizona. Hundreds of firefighters came off the line Wednesday to salute a precision of fire vehicles left by the 19 Hotshot crew members who were killed in the line of duty. The Yarnell Hill Fire, it is now 45 percent contained. As we said, it's a vast improvement. An interagency team is now in place to investigate the cause.

Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer has ordered flags flown at half staff for 19 days in honor of the 19 firefighters who died.

PEREIRA: It will take time for some healing there.

Thousands of people in Tallahassee, Florida waking up this morning without power. A violent storm moved through the area, ripping giant trees right out of the ground. This one came crashing down on a car. Thankfully, no one was in inside. BERMAN: Of course, everyone wants to know what will it be like today, the Fourth of July, for the big holiday picture. Another special guest in the studio.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Flying us to New York just on a nickel. I don't know.

It's going to be hotter up here in New York City than Atlanta. Still they said, yet send the weather men up to the heat. Rain in Atlanta, rain down in Tallahassee. The great news if you live along I-95, I mean, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, it's going to be dry tonight.

The fireworks are going to be great. It's going to be hot, but it's summer. So, we got a view with that.

Here is where we have been all week long, stormy weather. This conveyer belt of weather from Florida, right on up to Boston. It's where the rain has been. This has all changed. The conveyer belt is across, well, Cincinnati, Columbus, all the way down to Atlanta, Nashville. So, not so good for you tonight. Not as hot.

Still, you know, 100 degrees out west. A couple degrees colder. The rain is in the Ohio Valley, Lexington, Cincinnati, Nashville, Atlanta, you are going to be wet. It could be very, very tough to get some fireworks off there. If you want to, you may need to call ahead. Some of these events down in the South have been canceled because of flash flooding.

A lot of rain coming into the Southeast. We're OK right now here. I'm expecting a great Fourth of July here in New York City.

BERMAN: I'd say, tough luck, Cincinnati. Too bad, Atlanta. But we have been there, right?

PEREIRA: Soggy fireworks don't really work.

BERMAN: Not so much.

PEREIRA: Good to see you, Chad.

MYERS: Good to see you, guys. Thanks.

BERMAN: All right. Ten minutes after the hour. Another twist this morning. A really interesting one in the case of ex-NFL player Aaron Hernandez. The former Patriots tight end facing murder charges in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.

Now, this morning, court documents ay police found a hat, a white hooded sweatshirt and ammunition inside an apartment that Hernandez quietly leased just a few miles from his house. Kind of a secret apartment. The sweatshirt and hat are said to be similar to ones that Hernandez was seen wearing the night that Lloyd was killed. Documents show police found out about the apartment from an acquaintance in Carlos Ortiz. Ortiz now in jail facing charges connected to that case. PEREIRA: Baseball's latest doping scandal may be about to blow up. "The Miami Herald" reporting the commissioner's office has closed a deal to a deal with a whistleblower from biogenesis. That's clinic that is at the center of the drug probe. His stash of records, allegedly names leaguers including Alex Rodriguez and Rick Braun who have been using the steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. The players for their part deny taking any banned substances.

BERMAN: -- baseball you may be able to buy those documents from those whistleblowers.

PEREIRA: Things are about to change dramatically.

BERMAN: It could lead to major development.

All right. Now to some pictures that made us gasp a little while ago. Some terrifying moments for a woman in Toledo, Ohio, who's driving along when her car suddenly plunged --

PEREIRA: You think this never will happen.

BERMAN: I can't imagine what must go through your mind when something like this happened. Pamela Knox (ph) was trapped briefly. But emergency responders used an extension ladder to rescue her. Look at that!

Authorities say a water main break may have created the sinkhole. Knox, she didn't appear to be hurt but she was taken to the hospital for precaution.

PEREIRA: That is a day she will never forget.

BERMAN: I was thinking about that. You know, you think you're having a bad day, but you can say, at least a sinkhole didn't open up and swallow my car.

PEREIRA: I have a new way to look up my day now. Thank you, John Berman.

Coming up, George Zimmerman's past on trial. Is he lying about how well he knew the law when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin?

BERMAN: And a big day at the Statue of Liberty, a very special day. And just in time for the holiday.

PEREIRA: My, she is gorgeous. I got to see her finally. I took a boat tour around the --


PEREIRA: A holiday break today in the trial of George Zimmerman. But prosecutors are expected to wrap up their side of the case when court resumes Friday. They spent Wednesday trying to paint a picture of Zimmerman as a well-educated police officer wannabe.

George Howell reports from Sanford, Florida. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The day started with a parade of witnesses from George Zimmerman's past, from the professors who taught him about criminal justice.



HOWELL: To a representative from a Virginia police department that rejected his application to be a police officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Zimmerman had a problem with his credit?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would be a reason why you wouldn't be accepted as a police officer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the reason why we did not consider him further based on that record. Yes, sir.

HOWELL: Zimmerman's past could haunt him if jurors are swayed by the picture prosecutors are trying to paint -- a wannabe cop who went too far and then less than forthcoming on how well he knew the law on national TV.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Prior to this night, this incident, had you heard stand your ground?


HANNITY: You never heard about it before?


HOWELL: Captain Alexis Francisco Carter told the court part of the course he taught covered the practical application of self-defense laws, with a special focus on Florida laws, like "Stand Your Ground" and Zimmerman aced the class.

CARTER: He was probably one of the better students in the class.

HOWELL: Zimmerman's defense team argued his past training and education had no relevance to the case.

Next, prosecutors called Amy Siewert, a firearms expert with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Siewert testified through tests on Trayvon Martin's clothes, she was able to determine it was a contact shot that killed him.

AMY SIEWERT, FIREARMS ANALYST: It is consistent with the muzzle of the firearm touching the outer sweatshirt and the inner sweatshirt being in direct contact with the outer one, yes. HOWELL: The final witness, Anthony Gorgone, a crime lab analyst who examined DNA samples on all the evidence in the case. Attorneys focused on the question of whose DNA was found on Zimmerman's gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were able to exclude Trayvon Martin as having DNA on the pistol grip, is that correct?

ANTHONY GORGONE, CRIME LAB ANALYST: Yes, Trayvon Martin was excluded as being possible contributor to this mixture on the grip.

HOWELL (on camera): Court resumes Friday when we are likely to hear from a member of Trayvon Martin's family to testify about who was screaming on that 911 audio tape. The state is then expected to rest its case, and then the defense will start calling its witnesses.

George Howell, CNN, Sanford, Florida.


PEREIRA: All right. We want to go live to Cairo now and show you some images, where interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour is being sworn in right now. He's addressing the nation. He is the head of the Egyptian supreme constitutional court. Sixty-seven-year-old from the supreme constitutional court addressing the nation now.

HOWELL: He became chief judge of the court only two days ago. So, he went from judge to chief judge to president over the week this long period. He's been serving for 30 years.

He was close to the Mubarak regime a little bit. But now, he will run the country. Our Christiane Amanpour says she expects it to be nine and 12 months.

PEREIRA: In 12 months, exactly.

All right. We'll be watching this, this morning.

BERMAN: All right. Meanwhile, the judge in Cleveland ruling Castro is mentally competent to stand trial. Castro is charged with kidnapping and holding three women captive in the basement of his home for nearly a decade. The judge says the 52-year-old Castro is able to understand the charges and assist in his own defense.

He also denied Castro's request to visit the 6-year-old daughter that he fathered with one of his alleged victims.

PEREIRA: Should a jury get to hear what James Holmes told police in the hours after a deadly shooting rampage. That question now before a judge. Court filings show Holmes did talk to police and asked them a question before they requested a lawyer. Prosecutors want to use that conversation in his trial. His defense says it should be barred since he had not yet been read his rights.

You'll recall 12 people died and 70 injured in the shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theory last July.

BERMAN: It is a big day for a special lady. I'm not talking about you.

PEREIRA: Not me? It is a big day for me, too.

BERMAN: You are a special lady.

PEREIRA: She is way more special.

BERMAN: She is very special. You are both special. Statue of Liberty is reopening for visitors today. Liberty Island in New York harbor was swamped, of course, by water during superstorm Sandy. The storm flooded building and broke docks and damaged electrical system.

But after months of repairs, a lot of hard work, too, the nearly 130- year-old symbol of the U.S. is now ready to welcome visitors, again. Ellis Island nearby remains closed for the time being. Storm damage at the former immigration center is said to have been severe. They're still working there.

PEREIRA: Extra celebration. My first year in New York and I get to see this today.

BERMAN: We're doing it just for you.

PEREIRA: Yes, I thought you might have pulled some strings there.

Five-twenty, coming up: Martha Stewart cutting back on perks. Why the domestic diva may be taking a pay cut.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is money time.

Zain Asher is here with all the business news.


PEREIRA: Happy Fourth to you.

ASHER: Yes. So, fears about the instability in the Middle East, following the unrest in Egypt, has been putting pressure on oil prices. They're up over $100 a barrel. While oil production in Egypt is small compared to other Middle Eastern nations, the country controls the Suez Canal and pipeline which moves about 4 million barrels of oil a day.

Here in the United States, the markets are closed today for the Fourth of July holiday. But traders enjoying a day at the beach will probably still be preoccupied with tomorrow's June jobs reports. One of the most accurate indicators that predict the jobs report might surprise the upside. The ADP national employment report showed a gain in payrolls of 188,000.

And the doyenne of domesticity has agreed to a pay cut.

BERMAN: No. ASHER: Martha Stewart will receive a scaled back salary and abide by a new expense policy as part of the company's effort to return to profitability. She will accept a $200,000 reduction in her base salary to $1.8 million. Top perks package will be trimmed by $300,000 to $1.7 million.

PEREIRA: She won't be cutting any coupons.

ASHER: I know. But something tells me she's going to be fine.

BERMAN: It's the suffering she must be going through right there. We are all pulling for you, Martha. We are here for you if you need us. All right. Thank you so much, Zain.

Meanwhile, coming up next, what is coming up next? The hunt for NSA leaker Edward Snowden is causing a disaster, pitting country against country. We are live with this drama that is more dramatic by the day.


PEREIRA: Egypt in chaos. Within the past hour, a new leader sworn in as deadly fights fill the streets. We are live.

BERMAN: International fury. The hunt for the NSA leaker creating a global diplomatic feud around the globe. How Edward Snowden's plea for asylum created so much drama.

PEREIRA: Severe storms, flooding and unbearable heat across the U.S. But is it over? What will the weather bring this holiday weekend?

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman. But the headline is --

PEREIRA: I'm Michaela Pereira. It is 29 minutes past the hour.

Uncertainty this morning in Egypt where the military has deposed the democratically elected president after demanding he find a way to share power with the opposition. Mohamed Morsy said to be under house arrest now. The head of the country supreme constitutional court is now the interim leader, sworn in moments ago.

The move sent hundreds of thousands into the streets. State television says clashes have left at least 32 people dead and more than 340 wounded.

And in this nation, the White House closely monitoring the situation, demanding democracy return, even if Morsy does not.

Let's go live to Cairo now and CNN's Reza Sayah.

Reza, we saw the new leader, Adly Mansour being sworn in. What is reaction there happening right now?

SAYAH: The reaction is more celebration, Michaela. Adly Mansour sworn in within the past hour. This is -- was the head of Egypt's top court. Now, he's Egypt's new president. Indications are that he was appointed for his political credentials.

There's lots of claims that this is a military coup. And I think all parties involved here in this transition want to make the claim that this is not a military coup. And casing point: the man leading the transitional government will be a former head of the top court.