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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Protests Continue; Controversial Cover; Royal Baby Watch; Extremely Hot

Aired July 18, 2013 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Cross country heat wave. Records breaking as more people are killed by the heat. Is there any relief in sight?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Calls for change days after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. Will Florida change its gun laws?

LEMON: Cover controversy continues. Stores pulling "Rolling Stone" from the shelves after the magazine makes a suspected killer look like a rock star.

ROMANS: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. John Berman has the day off again today.

LEMON: My gosh. And I --

ROMANS: And so I got you.

LEMON: I know. I got you -- I'm not even going to complain about the heat anymore. I'm just going to zip it.

ROMANS: Zip it.

LEMON: OK. It's really hot outside.

ROMANS: Don Lemon, quote of the day, I'm just going to zip it.

LEMON: I'm Don Lemon. It's Thursday, July 18th, 5:00 a.m. here in the East.

ROMANS: So I will begin with the heat because that is a big story this morning, scorching much of the country. And from side of the nation to the other, sizzling temperatures making things miserable, you guys. More than 130 million people, 130 million are affected by this, by temperatures reaching into the mid and upper 90s. So far at least six people have died from this heat this summer.

LEMON: And at least one of those was in New York City where temperatures hit 96 degrees on Wednesday. Officials now confirming the heat was responsible in the death of a Staten Island man earlier this month.

ROMANS: In California, a farm was shut down in the Fresno area after high temperatures apparently led to a worker's death. State officials say the owner didn't give farm hands a chance to get out of the sun or have enough water. One collapsed and died in 106 degree temperatures last week.

LEMON: And in Indiana, hundreds of seniors had to be evacuated Wednesday when power went out at their apartment complex in Indianapolis. That meant no AC in 90-degree heat. It took hours before the juice came back on and the seniors could go back home.

ROMANS: In Minnesota, the heat Wednesday overwhelmed at least one woman volunteering outside. She was taken away by ambulance. Temperatures there were in the low 90s.

Our Indra Petersons is keeping a close eye on the forecast for us this morning.

LEMON: Yes. She's in New York's Central Park right now where it's already steamy, Indra. And it's very dangerous out there.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Actually it almost feels worse out here today. I don't know what it is. The humidity is a lot higher. Temperature is currently still 82 degrees. And we are not seeing this relief in the overnight hours. And think how many days we have been dealing with this now. I mean day after day. And it looks like it's spreading.

Let's talk about this. Let's look at the entire nation. We have some maps here for you. And I want to show you that a huge chunk of the nation has been dealing with temperatures over 90 degrees. Pretty much every state, including of course Hawaii. We're talking about New Mexico not seeing those 90-degree temperatures. Everyone out dealing with that in unbelievable heat out there.

I mean it's hot. Of course the difference here on the East Coast is you're dealing with not only above normal temperatures for what is already a hot time of the year. So above normal for summertime in July heat combined with the morning humidity about 70 percent. I mean, that's what it's feeling like in the afternoon. We're not seeing that relief. So we're feeling like it's over 100 degrees.

Take a look right now. Look at this. We're actually seeing the concern spread today especially in the Hartford, Connecticut. Look at that. We're talking about a warning where we could see thresholds of 105 degrees. That's what the heat in D.C. is going to feel like, 105. Same thing with (INAUDIBLE) but you can see this is really all the way from New England, really now down to even D.C. again today. And here's the problem, it is dome of high pressure, it is building.

So even farther than it did yesterday. So even past Minnesota, we're looking at it in through the Dakotas today. So a huge chunk of the country dealing with this oppressive heat. And we're talking about the amount of days. New York already seeing four days of this. Philadelphia four days. D.C., three days of heat over 90 degrees. There will be a change, everyone is asking, when are we going to see that relief. Well, it's kind of a tricky bag. We're talking about cold fronts slipping down.

And what does that do? Well, it takes all this hot, humid air and it triggers severe weather. So yes, we're going to cool down. But I don't know that it will feel much better. You're still talking about temperatures in the 80s with thunderstorms in the picture and look at the severe weather threat. We're going to be talking about the spreading eventually over the next several days stretching through the weekend once it hits the East Coast into New York. So definitely some hot weather to deal with and then some severe weather after that.

LEMON: Yes. All right, Indra. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: Meantime a massive wildfire is growing in southern California. Officials say some 2200 homes near Palm Springs are under evacuation orders as the mountain fire expands to nearly 20,000 acres now. High heat, low humidity, shifting winds, hampering efforts to fight this blaze. It's only this morning about 15 percent contained.

LEMON: And check out this scene in the Tampa area after strong winds smashed a tree into a mobile home park. Gusts from that storm hit 70 miles per hour. No injuries were reported but at least one mobile home was destroyed.

ROMANS: Now to the fallout from the George Zimmerman verdict. It's been more than four days now since a jury acquitted him in the killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin but calls for change continue this morning.

Victor Blackwell has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a third day, student activists refuse to leave the office of Florida governor, Rick Scott, until they meet with him.

AHMAD ABUZNAID, DREAM DEFENDERS: We'd like the repeal of Stand Your Ground or some type of modification where we can hold people responsible to a level that, you know, humanity expects.

BLACKWELL: The group is demanding a special session of the Florida legislature. Governor Scott responded Wednesday.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I took advice from the president. We had great people on that committee. They went around the state and listened about Stand Your Ground laws and they came back saying we shouldn't change it, and I agree with them.

BLACKWELL: Justice for Trayvon rallies are scheduled in 100 cities Saturday to urge civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think George got in a little bit too deep.

BLACKWELL: One of the jurors in the Zimmerman trial who spoke exclusively with Anderson Cooper now says, in a statement to CNN, there will be no other interviews. As for her literary agent and a rumored book deal she writes, "There is not one at this time and the relationship with the agent ceased the moment I realized what had been occurring in the world during the weeks of my sequestration." And we're learning more about how the Zimmerman jury spent their 22 days sequestered when they weren't in court. The six female jurors occasionally left the hotel with court approval going bowling, shopping and to the movies.

Seeing the "Lone Ranger" and "World War Z." Seminole County officials estimate sequestration cost the county $33,000 all to isolate them from the controversy surrounding the trial.

Victor Blackwell, CNN, Tallahassee, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: There is a deal in the Senate to keep a handle on student loan interest rates. A bipartisan plan would keep rates low through the 2015 academic year then cap them after that at 8.25 percent for undergrads and 9.5 for graduate students. But the rates will be linked to government bonds back. Back on July 1st rates doubled to nearly 7 percent after Congress couldn't make a deal.

ROMANS: The president delivers a big speech at the White House today. He'll be trying to sell Americans on Obamacare. It's expected to highlight how his signature healthcare reform will hold insurance companies accountable and put rebates back into the pockets of more than eight million people. It comes a day after the Republican- controlled House voted to delay about one year the individual and employer mandates that require every American and most business owners to purchase health insurance or pay a fine.

LEMON: The House Oversight Committee holds another hearing today on the IRS targeting scandal. Republican committee chairman Darrell Issa claims IRS agents were directed by a presidential appointee in Washington to scrutinize requests from Tea Party groups asking for tax exempt status. And Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland disagrees. Cummings says he has proof that the IRS gave equal scrutiny to requests from liberal groups.

ROMANS: A federal judge today is expected to rule on a $3.5 billion lawsuit from World Trade Center --

LEMON: North Korea with weapons on board. Cuba says the weapons were obsolete and being sent for repair. But they were apparently hidden under containers of sugar. North Korea says the crew was attacked and should be released without delay.

ROMANS: All right. The coup that toppled Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi may have been a year in the making. Egyptian defense officials tell the Associated Press Morsi he clashed with the head of the military almost since the day he took office. With the military chief believing Morsi would lead the country to ruin and actively defying the president's orders. Morsi was deposed on July 3rd and has not been heard from publicly since then.

LEMON: Do you have your Kleenex right there?

ROMANS: I do. LEMON: Are you ready for this next story?

ROMANS: I do.

LEMON: Coming home, usually a sweet moment for service members and their families. But this airman did it an extra special way.

Bethany Bronson and her daughters were out swimming the other day as a friend recorded asking questions about their love for their Air Force Captain Hyrum Bronson. Well, take a look at what happens next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to send this to my Facebook.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you freaking kidding me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reporting for duty.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Daddy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I would have said something more than freaking, right? Captain Bronson was home about three weeks early and that was a big surprise for his family.

ROMANS: Can you imagine?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That's so cool.

ROMANS: They're like don't know what to do.

LEMON: Daddy.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: They are so shocked. Reporting home for duty. That's so sweet.

Coming up --

LEMON: I needed that.

ROMANS: I love that story. I needed that today.

LEMON: Yes.

ROMANS: A public outrage after "Rolling Stone" put a suspected terrorist on its cover. How the magazine is defending its decision even as -- frankly even as some retailers are dropping out, saying they're not going to carry it. LEMON: And the anticipation is growing. When will Kate's baby be born? My gosh.

ROMANS: Kate's baby. Will got something to do with it.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: We are live in London. She's carrying it, though. Come on.

ROMANS: True. True.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: There's more fallout this morning for a popular magazine and its controversial cover picture.

Here's Melissa Rainey.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA RAINEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Rolling Stone" magazine's latest cover brings outrage the moment some people see it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to talk about that nutcase.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why the heck are you going to put an alleged bomber, knowing that, you know, he's caught and then all of a sudden talk about him like he's a rock star?

RAINEY: The August 3rd edition of the magazine features Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In a photo that the accused Boston marathon bomber himself posted online. The cover reads, "The Bomber, How a Popular, Promising Student was failed by His Family, Fell into Radical Islam and Became a Monster."

It has ignited a firestorm online with people taking to social media to express their dismay. New England based businesses CVS Pharmacies and Tedeschi Food Shops say they will not sell the magazine. The governor of Massachusetts and the mayor of Boston have also spoken out.

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The cover is out of taste.

MAYOR THOMAS MENINO, CITY OF BOSTON: Why are we going to publicize a guy who destroyed people's lives? It doesn't make any sense to me. Very poor taste.

RAINEY: The magazine posted a response on its Web site saying its hearts go out to the victims and adding, quote, "The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone's longstanding commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day."

Dzhokhar faces 30 federal counts stemming from the Boston marathon attack. Last week, he pleaded not guilty to the charges. I'm Melissa Rainey reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Some bizarre courtroom behavior from a man accused of unspeakable crimes. Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro could not keep his eyes open in court Wednesday. The judge even asked him to look at her so she knew that he understood what was going on.

Castro is accused of holding three women hostage for more than a decade. He pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 counts now against him. Among those charges, kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder.

LEMON: OK. So he was once in charge of preventing lewd behavior in the military. Now Lt. Col. Jeffry Krusinski is accused of drunkenly groping a woman. He'll be charged with assault and battery today in a Virginia court. Krusinski is the former head of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention Division. Prosecutors say the drunken grope happened at a Pentagon parking lot.

ROMANS: A military judge today is set to decide if some charges should be dismissed in the court martial against admitted government leaker, Bradley Manning. He's the army private who gave hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. His lawyers argue he didn't know the information might, quote, "aid the enemy," and only leak the material to blow the whistle on what he thought were government missteps.

LEMON: Well, now to the murder and racketeering trial of reputed mob boss, James Whitey Bulger. A key witness is expected to take the stand today. Steve, the rifleman Flemy was once a close associate of Bulger and turned government witness after pleading guilty to 10 murders. He's expected to tell the court that he was Bulger's front man collecting money for him and challenging those who wouldn't pay up.

ROMANS: All right. To London now where we've been watching and waiting for days to see just when the next member of the royal family will be born.

LEMON: Oh my god.

ROMANS: Don is so excited. The son or daughter of Will and Kate will be third in line to the throne.

Max Foster outside St. Mary's Hospital this morning where, you know, the Queen is ready for her holiday. The world is waiting to see Diana's first grandchild and it's hot out there, isn't it Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It is hot. There's a heat wave. There's been weather warnings. It's quite something. The Queen speaking for the country saying she wants to see this baby, saying she wants to go on holiday. And now, Christine, the latest concern is that we're actually at the wrong hospital. What's that based on? Well, basically, Kate is at home in Bucklebury at the moment. The nearest hospital -- and we know she's overdue. The nearest hospital, we could show you pictures of it, the Royal Berkshire in Redding, which is about half an hour away from home.

We're currently about an hour away from where she is right now. So will she be having her baby in the hospital where she was born, Royal Berkshire, possibly, as we get later and later in this overdue process. Talk is that the baby will be born there. But the palace tells me the plan is still to have it here. So I'm sticking here, for now, at least.

ROMANS: You know, Max, having not been a duchess, but having had had children, I do know that it takes usually the first child more than a half hour, an hour. She could, you know, frankly she could fly to New York if she wanted to to have a baby.

(LAUGHTER)

Because it takes -- it takes quite awhile. Do we know for sure her due date? We know early on, she has said mid July.

FOSTER: Yes, I mean, there is a debate still about whether it was last Saturday or last Monday. I was told by a senior source that it was definitely last Saturday. So we're definitely in -- she's definitely overdue at this point by a few days at least.

ROMANS: One thing about impending motherhood it certainly wrecks your schedule. You don't run that schedule. That schedule runs you.

Max Foster, we'll check in with you again. Try to stay cool, my friend.

LEMON: You have to say it properly, schedule.

ROMANS: Schedule.

LEMON: Yes.

ROMANS: Yes, that's right. That's right.

LEMON: Speaking of buns in the oven, it looks like Americans -- really miss their Twinkies. Hostess says that demand for a snack cake is at a high record. Record high since they were reintroduced early this week. Sales are now seven times their all-time highs. And the Hostess bakeries are having trouble keeping up with the demand. You'll recall Twinkies and other Hostess products were taken off store shelves last fall after its parent company went out of business.

ROMANS: All right, coming up, that might be the most important business story I've covered all year.

LEMON: Yes.

ROMANS: The Twinkies' return.

JPMorgan could be paying a record-breaking fine. What did this banking giant own up to? I'm going to tell you next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Whoa.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Is that 82 degrees already?

ROMANS: I was looking at the time. Oh, my gosh, it's only 5:22.

(LAUGHTER)

Are you kidding me? I got like 10 more hours of this.

LEMON: In New York City. But it's 82 degrees, I mean, come on at 5:23 in the morning?

ROMANS: I hope you're on the treadmill inside, folks.

LEMON: Yes.

ROMANS: Because it's hot outside. Not a good day to take a big run once you're doing it right now in the park.

Welcome back to EARLY START this morning. It's money time, Don Lemon. He could be called gentle Ben after Wednesday's performance before a House panel. In prepared testimony Fed chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress the Fed plans to begin slowing its bond buying program later this year, will end it in 2014. But Bernanke made clear several times it all really depends on the economy.

He said our asset purchases depend on economic and financial developments that are by no means on a preset course. Bernanke takes the show to the Senate today where he'll present his testimony followed by Q&A. Stay tuned for that.

Stocks seemed to take Bernanke's comments to heart and resumed their winning ways. The Dow Industrial closed higher. Eighth time out of the past 10 trading sessions the Dow is up. (INAUDIBLE) earnings closely too. We have reports from Morgan Stanley, Verizon, Google and Microsoft.

Two very different earnings stories for two tech bellwethers on Wednesday. Intel said its profit tumbled 29 percent on a PC sales slump, 29 percent. It was the fourth straight quarter of sales declines and the third quarter in a row in which profit fell year over year. But for IBM, it was a good quarter. In fact IBM topped estimates, raised its forecast for the year, it wasn't a perfect picture. IBM also said revenue continued to decline. It's able to boost profits through cost cutting and focusing on higher margin of businesses.

JPMorgan Chase and energy regulators are close to a record billion dollar settlement. The agreement follows allegations that JPMorgan Chase manipulated electricity markets in California and the Midwest. The "Wall Street Journal" says the deal could still fall apart. But that the bank and regulators are now exchanging drafts of a final agreement. So watch this space for JPMorgan and that deal.

LEMON: So that's everything we need to know about money. Money, money --

ROMANS: There's so much. How about I come back in five minutes to tell you --

LEMON: Yes. Much more.

We've been joking about the heat, but it's really serious.

ROMANS: Yes.

LEMON: Heat wave warning coming up. We're going to show you just how quickly a parked car can heat up and become really dangerous.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: A dangerous heat wave from coast-to-coast. Millions in its path. Just how hot will the mercury rise today?

LEMON: West Coast wildfire. Thousands evacuated as flames spread towards a popular California resort.

ROMANS: And slingshot bride video you have to see to believe. What could be the most daring bouquet toss ever.

I can't stop watching it. I don't know. Maybe because it's Thursday.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Are you kidding me? Really?

ROMANS: You have to stay tuned to see what that's all about.

LEMON: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Don Lemon.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's 29 minutes past the hour this morning.

LEMON: You know, it promises to be another brutal day for much of the country with hot, humid air oppressing residents from D.C. to the northern border. So far this summer the heat is killed at least six people.

And as Tom Foreman tells us Wednesday saw the mercury rise to near record levels.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The heat has come down like a hammer and nowhere is it pounding harder than in the east.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hot.

FOREMAN: All across the region, temperatures are crowding 100 degrees. In New York, subways are turning into saunas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's too hot. I can't take this.

FOREMAN: And public parks are being transformed into tanning salons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's sweat on just about every inch of my body. So it's pretty gross. Pretty disgusting.

FOREMAN: With electrical grids struggling to support the soaring demand for air-conditioning, some people are being warned to conserve in whatever way they can.

In Baltimore a power outage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just separate it out. I'll talk (INAUDIBLE).

FOREMAN: In a suburban county outside of Washington, D.C., the failure of a massive water line worried hundreds of thousands of customers and prompted mandatory usage restrictions while utility crews rushed to repairs. And in the capital itself, roofers saw the thermometer closing in on 120 degrees, but the breaks long and workdays short.