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After the Verdict; Holder on Verdict; Summer Heat Wave; Senators Avoid "Nuclear Option"; Liz Cheney Announces Senate Run; North Korean Ship Seized

Aired July 17, 2013 - 05:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Verdict outrage continues. Protesters again taking to the streets overnight by the thousands across the country demanding justice in Trayvon Martin's death.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Partners in crime. New information about hidden weapons discovered on board a North Korean ship. Is the communist country secretly arming Cuba?

LEMON: And if you think it is hot now, you just wait. The summer's first major heat wave intensifies. How high will the mercury rise?

ROMANS: I don't know if I want to know.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

LEMON: Oh, you're certainly going to find out.

ROMANS: I know, I know.

LEMON: I'm Don Lemon. It is Wednesday, July 17th, 5:00 a.m. here on the East.

ROMANS: All right. We begin with more fallout from the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

The neighborhood watch volunteer was found not guilty of all charges, of course, Saturday. But as Miguel Marquez tells us, anger remains high.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The call for justice now in the Florida governor's office, a sit-in demanding the reversal of the state's "Stand Your Ground" laws.

Protesters vowing to stay until they speak directly to Governor Rick Scott.

This, as we are hearing more from the only juror speaking out. Juror B-37 saying they wanted to find George Zimmerman guilty of something, but the evidence in law just didn't add up.

JUROR B-37: I feel bad that we can't give them the verdict that they wanted. But legally, we could not do that. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think Trayvon Martin played a role in his own death?

JUROR B-37: Oh, I believe he played a huge role in his death. He could have -- when George confronted him and he could have walked away and gone home. He didn't have to do whatever he did and come back and be in a fight.

MARQUEZ: And four other jurors now speaking out, saying B-37 doesn't speak for them. In a statement saying, "Serving on this jury has been highly emotional and physically training experience for each of us. The death of a teenager weighed heavily on our hearts, but in the end, we did what the law required us to do."

Frustration at that decision turning to protest and calls for action.

(on camera): These protesters here in Los Angeles have come to police headquarters to make the point that the death of Trayvon Martin has prompted what they hope say national movement.

Why are you marching? What do you hope to achieve?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm hoping that at least the DOJ will look at this case and see that his civil rights were -- I think the civil rights were violated.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Frustration over the verdict in a few places has turned violent.

A photographer and reporter assaulted in allegation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those men just got here. You all right, man?

MARQUEZ: Juror B-37 saying the trial weighed heavily on all of them. Even bringing them to tears. Despite all, she still believes their judgment was the right call.

COOPER: In your head, you were 100 percent convinced that George Zimmerman in taking out his gun and pulling the trigger did nothing wrong?

JUROR B-37: I'm 101 percent that he was -- that he should have done what he did, except for the things that he did before.

COOPER: You mean, he shouldn't have gotten out of the car? He shouldn't have pursued Trayvon Martin? But in the final analysis, in the final struggle --

JUROR B-37: When the end came to the end --

COOPER: -- he was justified?

JUROR B-37: -- he was justified in shooting Trayvon Martin.

MARQUEZ: Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.


LEMON: In the meantime, as the Justice Department investigation continues into whether George Zimmerman should face civil rights charges in Trayvon Martin's death, Attorney General Eric Holder is slamming laws like the one in Florida.


ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if -- and the "if" is important -- if no safe retreat is available.


LEMON: The attorney general said at the NAACP convention that these laws encourage violent situations to escalate, and that undermines public safety.

ROMANS: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also commenting on this verdict. Telling a meeting of the African-American sorority Delta Sigma Theta in Washington -- no mother or father should fear for their child walking down the street in the United States of America.

LEMON: And coming up in our next half hour, more of Anderson Cooper's exclusive interview with Juror B-37. You'll hear about the emotions in the jury room before and after the six women reached a verdict.

ROMANS: And interesting, several of the other jurors issued a statement saying the Juror B --

LEMON: Very quickly.

ROMANS: Right. Very quickly issued a statement through the court that juror saying that that juror speaking to Anderson Cooper did not speak for the rest of the jury. I thought that was interesting.

LEMON: Yes, I think they would want to separate themselves, saying what I thought was what I thought, not necessarily what this juror thought.

ROMANS: Turning now to another big story this morning. It's something we've been dealing with all week, this heat.


ROMANS: It's hot.

LEMON: Is it going to be hotter today? Because yesterday, it was crazy.

I told Indra Petersons yesterday, she did not follow my advice. And now, she is Times Square -- INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hello, Christine and Don. This is the time to actually feel good outside. When you're in Times Square, well, I think the overall hours, 80 feels good.

Here's the problem, though, this is where we're getting the relief from the heat. It's only getting warmer from her here. We know what it felt like the last couple of days. In fact, we're getting that intensity again, in the large metropolitan cities today. We're talking about starting the morning off, temperatures 79, 80 degrees here in New York City, 70 percent humidity. I mean, you can feel the stickiness in the air.

As we go through the afternoon, remember, it is July, temperatures are normally high. But we're talking about temperatures 10 degrees above normal today. So, we're talking about temperatures in the mid-90s. We're adding in that humanity.

So, that's where we have these heat indices. You combine those two factors, and we're talking about feeling like 100 degrees out here. It's not just New York. We're talking about southern New England, where we have Boston throughout. D.C. does not have advisories, but still, you're dealing with that sticky weather.

The difference between today and yesterday was that big dip of high pressure that was really focused on the East Coast. Well, that's going to be pushing farther west today. So now, it's not just the Eastern Seaboard. We're talking about all the way from Minneapolis, feeling that hot, sticky air.

Advisories from Minneapolis, even from Ohio right through the Ohio Valley, all the way across the Eastern Seaboard. That is what we're going to be dealing with. And we're going to be continuing to see that all the way up until the weekend. We're actually seeing thunderstorms that will bring us the relief. We're going to hang in there.

ROMANS: Hang in there. All right. I think sometimes you get the blame for the weather but I get the blame for the stock market. The stock market is doing great. So, I'll take that.

But poor Indra and all this weather we've had lately. Thanks.

LEMON: Well, the weather is soaring, too, just like the stock market.

ROMANS: You're right. Well, the feeling is different.

LEMON: Yes, it's different.

Other news now:

Senate Democrats won't have to deploy the nuclear option after all they've reached a deal with Republicans that ends the fight over a handful of presidential nominees whose confirmations have been stalled by filibusters. The first vote on Tuesday was to approve the head of the Financial Consumer Financial Protection board and the president has agreed to replace two of his appointees. Democrats had threatened to use a nuclear option that would have involved rewriting the rules to make it easier to approve executive branch nominations.

ROMANS: The Republican-controlled House votes today on several bills that would delay key elements of Obamacare.

The White House has already delayed the employer mandate which would have required small businesses to buy health insurance next year, or face penalties. Excuse me.

Today, the House votes on a measure that would delay the individual mandates.

LEMON: Well, after days of speculation, a political daughter is now in the running for the U.S. Senate. Liz Cheney is challenging Wyoming three-term Republican incumbent Senator Michael Enzi. She made the announcement in a six-minute video that did not mention Enzi by the name, but was highly critical of President Obama.


LIZ CHENEY (R), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: President Obama has launched a war on our Second American rights. He's launched a war on our religious freedom. He's used the IRS to launch a war on our freedom of speech. And he's used the EPA to launch a war on Wyoming's ranchers, our farmers, and our energy industries.


LEMON: Cheney faces a tough battle because the national GOP is supporting the incumbent.

ROMANS: All right. The more than 80 passengers who survived the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco are filing a lawsuit, going after Boeing, the company, and companies that made parts for the 787. Attorneys say it looks like a faulty auto throttle might have caused the crash. They also say the inflatable seats trapped people in the burning wreckage. Three people died, more than 180 were hurt in that crash.

LEMON: Now to the continuing saga of the leaker. NSA leaker Edward Snowden has made it official, applying formally for temporary asylum in Russia. He's been stuck in the Moscow airport for weeks now. And if the request is granted, he could be given the freedom to live in Russia, or possibly even travel abroad for up to a year. It is expected to take up to three months before the government responds.

ROMANS: Microsoft is appealing to Attorney General Eric Holder to allow the tech giants to share more information with the public about how it handles NSA requests for customer information. In a blog post, Microsoft says it tried to open public discussion on information sharing only to be ignored or denied by government lawyers. It claims there were quote significant inaccuracies in recent media reports about leaks to government documents. It denies giving the government direct access to any of its products. LEMON: This is in one of those "you've got to see this" category. OK? Are you paying, Christine Romans?

ROMANS: It's a big fish story?

LEMON: It's a --

ROMANS: Sorry!

LEMON: You stole my thunder. What is it --

ROMANS: I know, I know, I'm sorry.

LEMON: So, everybody at home watching, sometimes, the rod and reel just aren't enough. A fisherman in Nantucket hooked a seven-foot, 200-pound shark and spent about 45 minutes trying to reel it in. But he had no success.

Look at that. Finally, he handed the pole to his cousin, ran into the water and wrestled shark to shore. He took posed for some pictures with the catch, and then let it go. He says the shark wasn't hurt, though.

ROMANS: But everybody was very tired.

LEMON: How cool is that?

ROMANS: And now, we've got a big fish story.

LEMON: I'd see he's little crazy --

ROMANS: There are a lot of sharp teeth. Rows of rows of sharp teeth.

LEMON: Now, that's a real man. Arr!

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, international concern this morning. Weapons hidden on board a North Korean ship. Why Cuba is claiming responsibility.

LEMON: And cover controversy. A suspected terrorist looking like a rock star?

ROMANS: Oh my!

LEMON: The story, next.


ROMANS: A major international terrorist is now apparently dead. An Internet posting purportedly by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said al-Shihri was killed in April by a U.S. drone strike. It doesn't say where the strike happened.

Al-Shihri was the second in command of al Qaeda in Yemen. He'd been rumored dead many times. But this is the first confirmation that he had been killed. LEMON: In Egypt, a new government in place is in place, minus members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The interim president sworn in his cabinet Tuesday. The Brotherhood was offered positions but refused to participate, insisting deposed President Mohamed Morsy be returned to hour.

Meantime, clashes continue. Egyptian state media reports at least seven were killed. And more than 260 injured in fighting late Monday. Police used what appeared to be tear gas on the crowd. And the Muslim Brotherhood says they fired live ammo at the protesters.

ROMANS: We're finding out more this morning about the violent seizure of a North Korean ship in Panama and what was on boards that ship may have international implications.

Our Barbara Starr has the latest.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. intelligence had been tracking the ship for days and knew that the Panamanians would stop it, a senior U.S. official tells CNN.

Officials now believe the cargo on board was a radar used to help Cuba SA-2 surface to air missiles hit their targets and that Cuba was possibly sending it back to North Korea for an upgrade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to take some time to confirm the details of this case, but that kind of export will be a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

STARR: According to the British military publisher Jane's, on May 31st, the North Korean ship first entered the Panama from Cuba at its stated destination. It went through the canal on June 1st, and next reappeared on the northern end of the canal on July 11th.

Jane's says the ship was riding differently in the water, a strong suggestion of a new cargo load. Bags of sugar marked "Cuba" now visible in the cargo, laid on top of the weapons material.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's provocative is that it wasn't declared. It had to be discovered. It had to be uncovered. So, the North Koreans clearly were trying to get away with something.

STARR: But the discovery of the cargo wasn't the only drama. Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli said the ship's 35 crew members resisted arrest and the captain initially suffered what seemed to be a heart attack and then he even tried to commit suicide.

(on camera): Panama is now asking for a team of inspectors to board the ship and find out what was exactly hidden under those Cuban bags of sugar.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: All right, Barbara.

A controversy this morning over a magazine cover some say paints the Boston marathon suspect as a rock star. It's this cover on the latest issue of "Rolling Stone". That picture is a self-portrait of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and has been published elsewhere.

And inside the magazine is an in-depth article on the accused marathon bomber with revelations about how he may have been radicalized. But some are asking online, why put Tsarnaev on the cover instead of a bombing victim. And they're calling for a boycott of the magazine.

"Rolling Stone" has not responded to a CNN request for comment.

ROMANS: And some people are really uncomfortable, like the groupies with this guy -- in the days after the bombing, the groupies, young women and not even that many young women, but women in particular, and some men, who are just quite frankly kind of enamored with his guy and his story.

LEMON: Because he's handsome, yes. Very odd.

ROMANS: Very -- right.

All right. Nearly four years after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, trial is finally about to happen. A military jury is set for Nidal Hasan's murder trial, 13 senior officers make up the court martial panel. The former army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 peopling wounding dozens more.

Hasan will represent himself and could get the death penalty. Opening statements set to begin August 6th.

LEMON: The Cleveland man accused of keeping three women captive in his house is back in court today. Ariel Castro faces over 1,000 charges, including rape, kidnapping and murder. He's expected to plea not guilty to all of them. The trial is set to begin August 6th.

The women released a video last week thanking the public for their support.

ROMANS: We now know what killed "Glee" star Cory Monteith. The coroner in Vancouver says it was a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol. The 31-year-old's body was found Saturday in his hotel room. And authorities say it appears to just be a tragic accident.

Monteith has a history of substance abuse. In April, he checked himself into rehab.

LEMON: Really sad.

ROMANS: Really is.

LEMON: Can't get a handle on the stigma that comes with addiction because addiction -- ROMANS: He had tried. He had tried. He's just on rehab, and he said he started trying drugs even at 13. By 19, he knew he had a problem. His mother and family had pushed him into rehab at the young age of 19. He told "Parade" magazine in 2011, he felt lucky to be alive, that he dodged bullets so many times in drug and alcohol front.

LEMON: So young, so talented. Good looking guy. Everything ahead of him, really sorry for the family.

Convicted killer Jodi Arias is back in a Phoenix courtroom. Arias was found guilty in May of murdering her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. The jury was unable to agree in whether to sentence her to death or life in prison. The judge in the case said a new jury will be seated in September to complete the sentencing phase of trial. Arias claimed she killed Alexander in self defense.

ROMANS: Some advice for dealing with unwelcome guests. Bed bugs. How do you prevent them from coming home with you on your next trip? And where should you be most careful.

Terminix released its annual list of top bed bug infested cities. Cincinnati topped the list, followed by Philadelphia, Detroit, New York, Columbus, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Houston and Baltimore. Those are big cities where we travel frequently on airplanes.

Terminix also revealed which cities have the highest increase in bed bug activity. Don, you'd be happy to hear, New York didn't make that unto the list. Apparently, New York might be already saturated, I'm not sure.

Sacramento is number one, with a 54 percent increase. Milwaukee had a 53 percent increase. Las Vegas cashes in at number three now, with 50 percent increase in bed bug activity.

Staying in a hotel, you can avoid taking the bugs home by keeping your bags on the desk or on the luggage rack. Have you heard of it?

LEMON: I do that.

ROMANS: Don't put anything on the floor. Also, don't put your bags on the bed. Pull back the bed, pull back the sheets. Check all the mattress and behind the headboard. If you see anything, let the hotel know immediately.

And one thing about bed bugs, I have this story about recently, when you got bed bugs is -- sometimes, you'll never see them. But you can look for little pricks around the seams of the mattresses.

Good morning, everyone.

LEMON: As I move away from you --

ROMANS: People in the hotel rooms are waking up this morning, going, oh, my gosh. They're waking up and pulling back the sheets.

LEMON: I never do that. I used to put everything in the drawers, too. I kind of stopped doing that.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, another great story will make you so happy: $4 gas has arrived in California. Watch out, the Golden State will soon get some company on the $4 gas mark. How high the prices are going to soar? That's coming up next.


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

Today, it's all about Ben Bernanke, what he says or doesn't say in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. Federal Reserve chairman will begin speaking at 10:00 a.m. His comments are going to be released at 8:30. These will be closely watched by Wall Street.

How can a speech, six pages of printed words be so important? Because it's Ben Bernanke. And everyone wants to know whether the Fed will begin cutting back its bond-buying program. That has helped propped up the economy, of course.

Jitters about Ben Bernanke helped break the rally for the Dow on Wall Street. For the Dow, it was the largest one day point in percentage climb since July 2nd.

Earnings will be another closely watched event. We're going to hear from Bank of America, IBM, Intel, eBay and American Express. They all report their quarterly report cards.

Besides worries about rates, consumers are seeing sticker shock at the pump. Gasoline prices up 16 cents from a week ago. Experts say the surge is going to continue as we continue into the heart of the summer driving season.

LEMON: That's not that high.

ROMANS: You don't think that's high?


ROMANS: The guy riding the subway now.

LEMON: I've been in New York for almost two months, I haven't driven -- I've driven one time. Comparatively, when you look at prices in Europe or whatever and inflation, these are not high gas prices.

ROMANS: But most people look at what they were paying last week or the week before. Most people in this country live pay check to paycheck. So, for them, an extra $4.50 comes from some place else.

LEMON: I get that.

I get that. But relatively speaking that's not that high. You had to put everything into perspective.

ROMANS: So you don't think we should be taxing like the Europeans --

LEMON: No, I don't think it should be higher. But I mean, you just have to be realistic, it's not really high gas prices. It's higher gas prices.

ROMANS: They go up and they go down.

In the meantime, IRS employees will be paid next Monday after all. The IRS is cutting costs elsewhere. And canceled the scheduled furlough day, remember? This was all part of the sequester, there were five days that the IRS employees weren't going to work.

Well, now, the chief Danny Werfel says because of a lot of hard work across the IRS to cut costs, they're able to pay people. He can't make a decision about another furlough day scheduled at the end of August just yet, though. So, there you go. You'll get paid, IRS workers, on Monday.

LEMON: And we'll be right back.



JUROR B-37: I don't want people to think that we didn't think about it. And we didn't care about Trayvon Martin, because we did.