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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Anthony Weiner Sexting Scandal; Gulf Drilling Platform Explodes; House to Vote on NSA Amendment; Egypt Unrest; Storm Batters Kansas; Royal Baby at Home; Airplane Investigation; Sergeant on Desk Duty; "Whitey" A Pedophile?; Apple Beats Gloomy Forecasts

Aired July 24, 2013 - 05:00   ET

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


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, the sequel. The New York mayorial candidate caught in another X-rated chat just months after resigning from congress.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Moments of impact. New video capturing the chaos inside the Southwest jetliner as it landed nose first on a New York runway.

PEREIRA: And a royal homecoming for the Prince of Cambridge. Look at that family. We are live.

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

PEREIRA: And I'm Michaela Pereira. It's Wednesday, July 24th. It is 5 a.m. in the east.

ROMANS: All right, up first, a new scandal same as the old scandal surrounding Anthony Weiner. It turns out he continued sexting with at least one woman more than a year after, after the lewd behavior forced him to resign from Congress in disgraced. Weiner faced the music at a news conference. Perhaps the most revelation came from his wife.

CNN's Pamela Brown is following developments for us. Pamela, good morning.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. You know, we have never really seen anything quite like this in politics, Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, actually spoke on her husband's behalf at the news conference. It's a very powerful assist, but is it enough to save his campaign?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANTHONY WEINER, NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I have said that other sexting photos were likely to come out and today they have.

BROWN (voice-over): Anthony Weiner admitting to online sex chats with women after resigning from Congress and undergoing therapy.

WEINER: Some of these things happened before my resignation, some of them happened after.

BROWN: The disgraced congressman once again guilty of the same behavior that publicly humiliated his wife back in 2011 while she was pregnant. Huma Abedin addressed the newly surfaced allegations this time in a very public way.

HUMA ABEDIN, ANTHONY WEINER'S WIFE: Anthony's made some horrible mistakes both before he resigned from Congress and after. But I do very strongly believe that that is between us and our marriage.

BROWN: Abedin asking New Yorkers to forgive her husband like she has.

ABEDIN: I love him. I have forgiven him. I believe in him and as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.

BROWN: Weiner's latest apology came after new pictures and text messages with a 22-year-old surfaced on the web site thedirty.com. Weiner reportedly uses the screen name Carlos Danger to carry on a sexually tinged relationship last summer.

WEINER: While some of the things that have been posted today are true and some are not there is no question that what I did was wrong.

BROWN: Back in April when Weiner announced candidacy for New York mayor, he said more allegations could emerge.

WEINER: If reporters want to go, try to find more, I can't say that they are not going to be able to find another picture.

BROWN: And with the continued possibility of more texts, there's no telling if Abedin's defense of her husband will help resurrect his political career.

ABEDIN: It took a whole lot of work and a whole lot of therapy to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: This morning "The New York Times" and "Daily News" are calling on Weiner to withdraw from the race. Several other candidates have said the same thing and that he is unfit for office, but Weiner is insisting that he's not dropping out of the race.

ROMANS: After. This is what's so shocking. This is not new pictures that have surfaced from that whole trauma and drama. It's from after he already was publicly exposed, pardon the double entendre and then he had to quit his job.

BROWN: Right. And you know, he's been saying in interviews, there could be more pictures that come out -- after he said, he was so ready for this damage control. He had his press conference. It was just a matter of time. In fact, he said, he was surprised this didn't come out sooner. But it's definitely a big surprise to see his wife, you know, she's right there, standing by him.

ROMANS: Right.

BROWN: We all saw her. We were surprised to even see her there in the first place. And then for her to come to the podium and speak out sent a very powerful message.

PEREIRA: Interesting story. We'll certainly be watching. It will be interesting to see reaction to Huma's speech as well and her comments. All right, Pamela Brown, excellent story. Thanks for that.

I want to move to a developing story in the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard said a national gas drilling platform has exploded and is now on fire some 60 miles of Louisiana coast. The Hercules drilling rig suffered a blow out early Tuesday. All of the workers on board were evacuated, which is really good news. It's not clear at this hour what has caused that gas to ignite. It is also really important to note here. There is no oil being drilled at this well. So there's no concern of an oil leak, just natural gas.

ROMANS: All right, the House could vote today to block the NSA's controversial telephone surveillance program. This is part of a defense spending bill. It would essentially stop the effort that gathers up the phone records unless it's connected to an actual investigation. The Obama administration is lobbying hard to stop the bipartisan amendment calling it too hasty. NSA Director Keith Alexander was on Capitol Hill Tuesday trying to convince lawmakers to vote against it.

PEREIRA: The House is also expected to vote on two amendments blocking funding for military action in Syria and Egypt. The Syrian amendment would require congressional action to authorize giving any U.S. money or weapons to the rebels. Earlier this week, the White House said it is now prepared to start arming the rebels for the first time since the conflict began.

ROMANS: In the meantime, Egypt still on edge, as it has been since Mohamed Morsy was ousted as president. A dozen people including 11 police officers were injured in the latest violence the result of a bomb explosion near a police station near Cairo. Dozens of people have been killed, thousands injured since Morsy was forced out by Egypt's military on July 3rd.

PEREIRA: We are learning now that three U.S. soldiers were among the eight killed by Taliban insurgents in a bombing in Afghanistan. Officials say that attack occurred as U.S. and Afghan soldiers were on joint patrol near the main highway leading to Kabul. At least three more Americans were wounded in that blast.

ROMANS: Pope Francis continuing his trip to Brazil today amid increased concerns for his security. His motorcade was interrupted several times by crowds of faithful Catholics desperate to see the pontiff up close. Today, Francis will visit a Catholic shrine and a hospital that serves drug addicts. Later this week, the pope is going to hold two masses each expected to draw more than a million people.

PEREIRA: Cruise line executives expected to be grilled on Capitol Hill at the Senate hearing about the industry's recent string of problems, there had been many. The heads of Royal Caribbean and Carnival will both appear to answer questions about recent fires, illness outbreaks and consumer complaints that the cruise lines aren't doing enough to keep passengers safe. ROMANS: The Senate could vote as early as today on a compromise deal to keep student loan rates low. Under this plan, for the next few years, rates will be less than 4 percent for undergrads and about 5.5 percent for graduate students, but those rates will be tied to federal bonds going forward and reflect the markets so rates could rise.

Student low rates doubled earlier this month when Congress didn't take action before a July 1st deadline. This is a story that affects 7 million borrowers trying to plan, Michaela, for college next fall. Suddenly their bill got $3,500, $5,000 more expensive unless Congress could do something about it.

PEREIRA: If you've been scrimping and saving to make the target that you would set for yourself, this changes the whole game because we have to relook at those numbers.

All right, we've been talking about severe weather here, all summer, really, rolling through the plains this time, leaving its mark on parts of Kansas. We want to show you a picture. Look at that. It is incredible. People in Kansas, pelted with hail the size of baseballs. Look at that. The hail and ice storms lasted several minutes. One resident said it was scary and awesome at the same time. I've never experienced hail that big. I think it would be terrifying.

ROMANS: I think I would stay inside, Michaela.

PEREIRA: Yes.

ROMANS: You don't want to be in the hailstorm with hail that big.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Not at all, cars with dents literally this big -- literally with hail that big. I want to show you the radar from yesterday. You see the storms rolling through the area. Look at all the hail reports as that one large cell kicked through the area. That was between about 5:00 p.m. and 10 p.m. yesterday evening thanks to a cold front that intersects with all that warm humid air we've all been dealing with.

Here's where the cold front is today. We do not have a risk area today, but either way as that cold front continues to mark and make its way a little bit farther south, we're talking thunderstorms. More rain where we continue to see so much rain, one to two more inches of rain still expected in south.

The good news, now that the moisture out of the east, look at the temperature change, this is what we dealt with last week, 97 degrees was the high last week this time. Today, it feels so much better. I love this. Look at the cold weather kicking through today, 85 and even 70s will be in the forecast. We love that.

Also want to talk to you a little bit about the hurricane season. That's typically what we're watching this time of year. We actually have a little development off the coast of Africa. That's Africa right there about an 80 percent chance of development for this. The one thing I want to point out to you, though, notice all this dry air here, although it's likely to develop, we're not expecting it to stay long. The life cycle will be short once we encounter that dry air. We do not want those hurricanes just yet.

PEREIRA: It's interesting to see what's brewing off the coast.

ROMANS: All right, thanks, Indra.

PEREIRA: Now to England and the very latest on the royal baby, we got our first look at the new Prince of Cambridge Tuesday as he left the hospital with the Duke and Duchess Will and Kate. They went to Kensington Palace and that's where Max Foster is live for us this morning in his five billionth hour of live broadcasting. Max, how are you holding up, first of all?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not about me, is it? We haven't got any more updates from the palace. They're really waiting on the name, aren't they? It's not just going to be one name. It's going to be three or four names. Kate and William said yesterday, they haven't decided on a name. Often is the case, isn't it, when you have an idea, you look at the baby and it doesn't look like that name.

They've got to think about that name that goes with the title king and prince as well, all sorts of things. And also they are very hands on. We heard how William changed the first nappy. I think it's just the two of them and their baby in their cottage in Kensington Palace right now, so kind of the sleepless nights, worrying nights. She's going to be exhausted. I think it's pretty much the standard form for new parents today.

PEREIRA: Are they giving them a wide berth in their college. There's a newborn sleeping in there, and a new family bonding?

FOSTER: Exactly. Other residents of the palace probably have heard a baby crying overnight. It's a cottage, what you see there is -- it's essentially a terrace. It's one large palace but there's lots of Georgian Mansions basically stuck together, but their cottage is a small two-bedroom cottage. And it is quite tight, but they are renovating this enormous apartment to the cost of $1 million, going to be very grand. I think they'll probably spend a couple days here and head down to Bucklebury for that seclusion that the Middletons' home offers them.

PEREIRA: We've been hearing that Kate does not want a nanny. Imagine that that is probably, you know, all new mothers think that they can do it at first, but then they realize the intensity of raising this little being that needs you at all hours. Do you think they're going to need a little more help?

FOSTER: Of course, they are. I was the same when we had kids. Also, all the public wants to know -- people want to see them together, this couple as well. They're not always going to want the baby with them. And if they are going to hand the baby over, they're going to want someone consistent and someone that knows and committed to the baby. I do think it's a fantastic nannying job coming up. You're based on the palace, working for a prince and you're not going to be working very hard because of the parents.

PEREIRA: There are a few people brushing up their resumes right now as you say that. Max Foster, thanks so much. You've done a stellar job for us. We've learned so much from your point of view and from where you've been on the ground there especially moving to Kensington Palace. We so appreciate it.

ROMANS: You want to be just with your baby for the first four or five days then you call your mother in terror. Come and help me.

Tense moments inside a Southwest plane as it landed nose first at LaGuardia Airport, we're showing to show you a new video capturing chaos.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: We're getting a new look this morning of what it was like on board a Southwest 737 as it slid down the runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport. Its landing gear collapsed. This video was taken by one of the passengers aboard the plane as it skidded for more than 2,000 feet. The hard landing left 10 people injured.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going open the doors. Open the doors. Calm down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not down. You need to take your seat, please. Please take your seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the -- it's on the ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PEREIRA: You can hear people panicking. The jet is in a hangar and investigates are pouring over the plane and flight recorders to try to figure out what happened.

ROMANS: A Massachusetts police photographer who leaked photos of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is now on desk duty as the investigation continues. But Jason Carroll reports many, many are rushing to defend this man they call a hero.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His Massachusetts state police colleagues hail Sergeant Sean Murphy as a man of honor and conscience. And as Murphy walked into a meeting with his superiors, he described his feelings this way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Life is good.

CARROLL: Murphy could lose his job for releasing these bloody and bruised photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to Boston magazine, a violation of department policy. Murphy said he was protesting, "Rolling Stone" magazines glamorized cover of the Boston bombing suspect. Murphy's superiors put him on restricted duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation. Murphy unable to comment because of the investigation so his 19-year-old son came to his defense. CONNOR PATRICK MURPHY, SERGEANT MURPHY'S SON: My dad has been a huge hero to me. If I could be one fourth of the man he is, I'll be more than happy with my life, couldn't be prouder.

LEONARD KESTEN, SERGEANT MURPHY'S LAWYER: Sergeant Murphy acted from the heart and I admire it. He saw courage in putting it out there with his name on it. I think we all recognize that.

CARROLL: Murphy received an outpouring of support after the photos were released. A Facebook page set up in his honor has some 60,000 followers and counting. Murphy's boss said it's a difficult situation, but he must maintain the integrity of the department.

TIMOTHY ALBEN, SUPERINTENDENT, MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE: If we get into a situation where we allow employees to cherry pick and to choose what confidential information can be shared with the public, then we've lost the integrity of the Massachusetts State Police.

CARROLL: State Police say they expect their investigation to take several weeks. During that time, Murphy's superiors will decide what further punishment, if any, he is likely to face. Jason Carroll, CNN, Framingham, Massachusetts.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: It shows how emotional that story was.

Back in court today, the Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive for years, Ariel Castro will appear for a pre-trial hearing as the judge and lawyers wrap up issues ahead of trial. A trial is expected scheduled to begin August 5th. Last week Castro pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 charges of kidnapping, rape and murder. His three captives were rescued in May after being held for upwards of a decade in his Cleveland home.

PEREIRA: Startling accusations of pedophilia at the murder and racketeering trial accused former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger. One of his closest confidants admitted murderer Steven "The Rifleman" Flemmi said Bulger took a 16-year-old girlfriend to Mexico on vacation and he said Bulger killed her another woman with whom Flemmi was having a sexual relationship. That woman was Flemmi's common law stepdaughter. Flemmi is due back on the witness stand today.

ROMANS: All right, in today's road warriors, there are a lot of perks you can get if you fly a lot. Like a free checked bags, early boarding, upgrades. But here's a new benefit that might make you hop on a plane even more often perhaps. United Airlines has started a new program that will have a Mercedes waiting to drive you from one flight to another inside the airport. This is only for elite members and it's only at Houston's Bush Continental Airport.

And you won't know in advance if you'll get this trip. If you're lucky enough to get selected, a customer service representative will meet you on the jet bridge and escort you to a waiting car. And then a chauffeur will drive you to the next gate. The airline says it will mostly be used be for passengers in danger of missing connecting flights.

I'm just racing through the airport sweating and swearing. If all goes well, United could offer this service at other airports. It's not the only airline sort of pampering its passengers. It's elite passengers. Delta began using Porsches for transfer in 2011. Again, something I have never experienced. For any of you who have encountered --

PEREIRA: Christine Romans at the airport, we apologize for her behavior and for cutting you off.

ROMANS: Three children and a sippy cup exploding. I am that woman at the airport.

PEREIRA: We've all been that person. We really have. Let's take a short break here.

ROMANS: Coming up, Apple biting back beating analysts' expectations. How the tech giant managed to surprise Wall Street. I'm going to tell you what's in store for your money this morning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's money time this morning. Stock futures are stronger after a better than expected earnings report from Apple. Also, another record high on Wall Street Tuesday, the Dow Industrials finishing at a closing high, the 28th this year, 28 closing highs this year. The Dow finishing with a gain. The Nasdaq and the S&P closing a little bit lower.

All right so now the details on Apple's earnings. Turns out that iPhone demand was better than Wall Street thought. Apple sold more than 31 million last quarter. That helped Apple beat -- look, they were pretty gloomy expectations. It's not to say everything is great over there at Apple. Profits sank, 22 percent. Overall sales were up only 1 percent. Remember, this is Apple. Apple is a company you that expect to just give you great news, year after year, quarter after quarter. But Apple's stock is down 20 percent year to date.

Another thing Wall Street will be watching today, earnings from the world's largest social media company. They want to know how well Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is growing advertising revenue especially on mobile devices. Facebook has now more than 1.1 billion users.

And it seems that prosecutors just won't quit when it comes to hedge fund heavyweight SEC Capital Advisors. Reports say reports the federal prosecutors are preparing to announce criminal charges as early as this week. The firm founded by Steven Cohen is one of the biggest and most successful hedge fund firms around.

This is a really famous guy and a famous firm on Wall Street. Cohen is fighting civil allegations that he failed to supervise his firm properly. His company has been the target of a multiyear investigation into alleged insider trading. So watch for that on the Street. Lots of earnings this morning, just a reminder, stocks have been doing so well. The housing market has been doing so well. There's this finally good news to report after a five-year drought. There's good news to report about your money. There really is.

PEREIRA: We hug her.

ROMANS: I know.

PEREIRA: She needs it. It's been long -- we're going to take a short break. Coming up, actress, Amanda Bynes hospitalized for mental evaluation after she set herself on fire. That story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)