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Weiner Sexting Scandal; House Turns Down NSA Restrictions; Spanish Train Crash; Snowden Still Stuck?

Aired July 25, 2013 - 05:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: The woman who exposed Weiner. Now, information about their X-rated texts and why this young woman revealed her relationship with the New York mayoral candidate.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Deadly derailment. Dozens killed when a passenger train crashed in Spain. More than 100 people injured. We're live.

PEREIRA: And rescued at sea. A lobsterman missing for hours --


PEREIRA: -- found in the water without a raft wearing only his T- shirt and flip-flops. The dramatic rescue all caught on camera.

ROMANS: Wow. Now, that is a tough day at the office. No question.

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

PEREIRA: Good morning, darling. I'm Michaela Pereira. Nice to see you, too.

Thanks for joining us. It's Thursday, July 25th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

ROMANS: All right. Let's start this morning with Anthony Weiner.

The field of Democratic candidates in New York City's mayoral race will have Anthony Weiner to kick around. The scandal plague former representative refusing to drop out of this race after revealing he continued sexting long after the same lewd behavior forced him to resign from Congress.

Months after the resignation and while working on his marriage, he was, in fact, engaged in the same behavior and is now public.

CNN's Dana Bash now with reaction from Weiner's political rivals and would be constituents.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With Anthony Weiner on the mayoral candidates panel, an innocent question about using Facebook or Twitter is really awkward. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: All I can say is, Salgado, don't ask me.

BASH: A light-hearted moment to lift the tension after one opponent confronted Weiner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People around the city called on you to withdrawal. You are distracting from focusing on the middle class and ideas.

WEINER: If you want to play to the cameras, that's your ability. I'm having a serious conversation about issues, that's what these good people came to hear. Let's honor they're being here.


BASH: A day in the life of scandal-plagued Weiner, a rousing speech on public housing.

WEINER: The fact of the matter is, that we need to change the way we do things.

BASH: Minutes after a silent protest, a handful of women turned their backs on him.

His indiscretions literally followed him. A man dressed as Carlos Danger, Weiner's screen name for lewd messaging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Carlos. Why did you steal my name?

BASH: Weiner admitted to reporters, he fumbled his comeback by not disclosing he has sent pictures and texts to strange women a year after resigning from Congress for the same thing.

WEINER: Perhaps I should have said it was coming out at this specific time and this specific person, but there isn't a lot way for me to answer these questions.

BASH: He still isn't answering all our questions.

(on camera): What do you say to people who say, yes, this is personal, but it's beyond personal, it's also an issue of judgment? And do you have the judgment to be in Gracie Mansion?

WEINER: I think it's a fair question. People have to answer that question for themselves.

BASH (voice-over): We asked New Yorkers themselves?

(on camera): Does it bother you?

UNIDENTFIED MALE: No. I mean a lot of politicians have their issues. I just I think this one we can put behind us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's kind of creepy. I don't think I would want that as my mayor. BASH (voice-over): Dana Bash, CNN, New York.


PEREIRA: Meanwhile, we are finding out more about the person on the other side of those online message. Sydney Elaine Leathers, here she is. She's 23 years old. She's an active online presence, posting regularly about Democratic politics and pictures of herself.

A political blogger who says Leathers opened up to him back in April about her relationship with Weiner tells CNN she loved him but does not anymore.


LOU COLAGIOVANNI, FRIEND OF SYDNEY LEATHERS: He manipulated her in a way she believed they were in love, that he cared about her, that he was going to provide for her in the future. This idea that Anthony Weiner somehow reformed or that he's somehow is sorry for what he did is not true. He's sorry just like every other person who gets their hand caught in the cookie jar.


PEREIRA: He says Leathers told him she thought they could make lots of money selling her story, but asked him to keep quite. He says he only came forward because he says another blog had already put the story out.

So, coming up in our next half hour, we are going to look at Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner's wife, why she decided to stand by his side despite the scandal.

To the Louisiana coast now, a natural gas rig burns out of control, more than a day after it exploded and caught. The Hercules right is 60 miles out to sea. Officials say only part of that rig is still intact. Not clear what ignited the blaze, but the crew was evacuated after a well blowout. There have -- no injuries have been reported.

ROMANS: The House voted down a proposal that would have restricted the NSA's phone surveillance program. The White House and intelligence officials have been lobbying lawmakers to turn aside the amendment to a defense spending bill. They said it would -- it would have hamstrung the government's ability to stop terrorists. However despite that amendment failing, the overall nearly $600 million defense spending bill did pass.

PEREIRA: Four F-16 fighter jets will not be heading to Egypt just yet. The Pentagon is delaying delivery of those jets to the Egyptian military as the administration continues to review its options after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsy. No word yet if the U.S. will suspend other military aid to that nation.

ROMANS: Pope Francis, today, meets the poor in Rio de Janeiro. He'll visit favelas, shanty town, in a neighborhood known for violence between rival drug gangs. The police is expected to be out in force, of course, during this visit. About 20 percent of Rio's residents live in favelas.

And the pope is said to have specifically asked to see one in person during this trip to Brazil.

PEREIRA: Tropical storm Dorian, it is the fourth named storm of the hurricane season. It's churning in the Atlantic. Forecasters are certainly keeping a close watch on it.

Indra Petersons is one of those forecasters.

Where is this storm -- it's headed our way?

ROMANS: Good morning.


Yes, it's very interesting because it's early in the season. There are a lot of things that could inhibit its growth. We'll talk about that. But currently right now, it's actually a strong, tropical storm. Aside from everything else, it is trying so hard to hold together.

Currently, winds moving at 16 miles per hour. It's actually moving quickly to the west/northwest at 17 miles per hour. Let's talk about what is ahead of it in its path.

All of this dry air. We are watching all of this. Anything up here could weaken the system.

The next thing we have to look at is sea surface temperatures. So, how warm the water is? Now, a hurricane for growth needs 79 degree temperatures water.

Look where Dorian is. It's literally right on the threshold between the two. So, we're going to have to look at exactly where it goes. If you're going to say more in the 80-degree temperature waters or is it going to say in the cooler waters?

The other thing is how fast it moves over the cooler waters if it is in the cooler water. Of course, if it's in the cooler water, and if it stays there longer, we're going to be talking about that weakening as well.

Aside from all of that, the next 48 hours are going to be critical. We are going to be watching the path. Currently right now, it looks like by Monday, it should be north of Puerto Rico.

So, a lot of things could inhibit it the next 48 hours. It's very crucial. We are going to be monitoring that closely.

ROMANS: This is early, right? For storms so early --

PETERSONS: Very early -- about a month early, in fact. And very active.

PEREIRA: Thanks for keeping an eye on that. A stunning rescue off the coast of Long Island. The search for lobsterman John Aldridge, he'd been missing four hours. We're glad to say it ended with a safe recovery. But watch this video.

Coast guard crews from across New England searched nearly 800 square miles off the Atlantic Ocean. Helicopter finally spotting Aldridge in shark-infested waters some 43 miles off island Southern Fork. He is now being treated for hypothermia and dehydration. Apparently, he was found wearing T-shirt and flip-flops only.


PEREIRA: So, you can imagine the relief.

ROMANS: And imagine all of those crews looking for a guy floating in the water.

PEREIRA: Needle in haystack, right?

ROMANS: So glad -- so glad he was found safely.

PEREIRA: Incredible video.

Coming up, holed up in a Moscow airport for a month. But now, has the man who exposed the government secret service program finally found a home?

BERMAN: And could the man convicted of killing Michael Jackson blow up the wrongful death trial? What Dr. Conrad Murray is now saying.


ROMANS: Now to Spain and a deadly train derailment. Dozens are dead, more than a hundred injured after a high-speed passenger train crashed in the northwestern part of the country. Look at this. It's almost snapped in two.

Al Goodman has the latest for us this morning on the phone from near the scene of the crash. What's the latest this morning, Al?

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hi, Christine.

I am just overlooking those pictures that you're also seeing of those wrecked trains. The prime minister of Spain was her for about 15 minutes, just a very short while ago, said nothing, waved to village people and a throng of reporters. Now, 77 dead, which means that about a third of the people who got on that train in Madrid yesterday are now dead.

And a court official tells CNN that number is expected to rise. We are hearing that they still have train cars to look at. There are dozens and dozens of people who are wounded on what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of the year in the city of Santiago de Compostela, because today is the patron saint day of St. James, Santiago, St. James. It's a big tragedy instead -- Christine. ROMANS: And this is a place where a lot of people come here -- because of the patron saint. I mean, tell us about what was on the train, what nationalities, do we know?

GOODMAN: OK, I can tell you that I have been on this train many times, even a few months ago. And because it seemed to be just pulling into the Santiago station, it's possible. This often happened on a Spanish train, that a lot of people got up, were moving to the doors with their suitcases, which may have made the moment of impact even more crushing for everyone.

Clearly, a lot of Spaniards and a lot of people from this region were aboard. But also foreigners coming to do this pilgrimage way of St. James, which goes back for centuries because of the shrine cathedral that's here in this city -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Al Goodman, we'll check with you again to get the latest on that. Again, a deadly train accident in Spain. Dozens killed. More than 100 injured. Thanks, Al.

PEREIRA: There's some confusion this morning over what exactly is next for NSA leaker, Edward Snowden. Russian media have reported that he was given a document that would have let him finally leave the Moscow airport. But his lawyer now says that's not so. It looks as though Snowden may indeed still be stuck.

Phil Black is live this morning in Moscow with the very latest.

What's the disconnect? Did he not receive the proper paperwork?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, essentially, yes, Michaela. That's right. It looked like he was going to leave the airport after almost five weeks here. Russian media, as you mentioned, started reporting he was there. He received the necessary documentation -- not approving his asylum application here, but the paperwork that would let him enter the country while that asylum application is being considered.

They said he was passing through immigration at one point. That his lawyer came to meet him, went into the secure transit zone and emerged from the meeting said absolutely not true. He has not received any documentation not (INAUDIBLE).

His lawyer thought that he would receive the paperwork by this point because he applied for asylum more than a week ago. That's the usual process. But he had no explanation for the delay except to say that it's an unprecedented case. There's a lot of paperwork, a lot of bureaucracy and he would no longer speculate on just how long it could possibly take for Snowden to walk free. But as I say, it's now approaching five weeks -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Five weeks, he finally got a change of clothes and some reading material. It would be interesting to see what the next move is.

All right. Phil Black, thank you. ROMANS: A 17-year-old is in the hospital this morning charged with suffocating a young neighbor and shooting a police officer who tried to arrest him. Tyler Holder was shot in the head after police say he pulled a gun on them at the family's home near Ft. Worth. He now faces murder and attempted murder charges. Authorities hey believe he sexually assaulted a 6-year-old girl, then suffocated her. Her body was found wrapped in a tarp about a mile from her home back on July 1st.

PEREIRA: New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick speaking publicly for the first time since former Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder. Belichick says he was shocked and disappointed to learn that one of his players was involved in something so tragic.


BILL BELICHICK, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS COACH: It's a sad day. It's really a sad day on so many levels. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim and I extend my sympathy, really, to everyone who has been impacted. A young man lost his life. And his family suffered a tragic loss. There's no way to understate that.


PEREIRA: Meantime, Aaron Hernandez was back in court Wednesday for the first time since pleading not guilty in the death of Odin Lloyd. Prosecutors claim Hernandez orchestrated Lloyd's murder. Two alleged accomplices, Earnest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, have also been charged.

ROMANS: Is Stephen Flemmi telling the truth this time? That's the question jurors may have to grapple with in the murder and racketeering trial of accused Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger. Flemmi was once an associate, a close associate of Bulger. He testified he saw Bulger kill people. He admitted under defense questioning that he lied before his own murder trial and before he turned government witness. Now, he says he is telling the truth, this time, telling the truth about what he says he saw Bulger do.

PEREIRA: A man accused of threatening to kill CNN anchors Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell may have been in the process of carrying out the threats when he was arrested in upstate New York. Authorities say David Lee Simpson was apparently angry over coverage of the Jodi Arias murder trial. When they arrested Simpson, police found several guns, ammunition, handcuffs, zip ties, vernaculars and a knife, and a police radio in his car.

ROMANS: All right. Closing arguments today in the court-martial of attempted document leaker, Bradley Manning. The Army private stands accused of aiding the enemy by handing hundreds of thousands of pages of documents to WikiLeaks. The government argues that helps terrorists because documents wound up in the hands of al Qaeda. But his lawyers say Manning was just blowing the whistle on foreign policy mistakes.

PEREIRA: Could the doctor convicted of killing Michael Jackson be a surprise witness in the wrongful death trial against the concert promoter? And attorney for Conrad Murray now says he finds it increasingly difficult to stay quiet as his name keeps coming up. And he would drop major secrets if he's asked to testify. Neither side has made any indication they plan to call Murray to the stand.

In the meantime, the defense continues making its case that it was Jackson's addiction that caused the death, not the concert promoter's actions. Jurors heard Wednesday from the doctor who tried to help Jackson stop taking Demurral.

ROMANS: A family rescued from a car by George Zimmerman are choosing not to speak out after all. The adults and two kids were helped out of an SUV that overturned on the Sanford, Florida, street last week. Zimmerman and another man are said to have stopped to assist. It's not clear if it was actually a rescue or George Zimmerman was there on the scene helping with other people, this family.

The family planned to speak to reporters Wednesday, but Zimmerman's lawyer Mark O'Mara tells CNN they fear being linked to the former neighborhood watch volunteer. So, they're keeping quite for now.

PEREIRA: The latest chapter in the Alex Rodriguez saga involves doctor who A-Rod sought out on his own for a second opinion on a quadriceps injury. The doctor disputed the diagnosis by a Yankee team physician claiming that Rodriguez's MRI shows no damage. Rodriguez is facing a likely suspension in baseball's performance-enhancing drug investigation.

ROMANS: Guess who's gone bald? Former president, George H.W. Bush, on purpose, shaving his head in support of a child, the child of one of his Secret Service agents. The 2-year-old battling leukemia. Other agents and the former president together, look at that, they all shaved their heads.

PEREIRA: They all look great.

ROMANS: The former president went along with the plan in solidarity. The Bushes, they lost a daughter, in case you didn't know, to leukemia back in 1953. This is incredibly personal for this family.

PEREIRA: It really is.

ROMANS: A real show of support there.

PEREIRA: It really is. I love that. That's really great. Look at the smiles. They are wearing matching blue shirts and everything.

ROMANS: I know. Best of luck to that little guy.

All right. Coming up, an earnings report that Facebook investors are sure to like --

PEREIRA: She made it there.

ROMANS: -- after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PEREIRA: Perhaps one of the most photographic -- photographic, really -- photographed images in America. What a beautiful, beautiful sight. At night, I don't think I have seen her illuminated at night. Statue of Liberty at 23 minutes after the hour.

Good morning, New York. Good morning.

ROMANS: She's French, but she's wearing green for the color of money.

PEREIRA: The color of money.

ROMANS: Speaking of money, earnings this morning telling the story of the digital economy from social media marketing, to e-commerce, to credit cards. We're going to start with Facebook.

The stock took off after the close, stronger than expected earnings, and word that the mobile business is growing faster than most thought. Facebook shares were up 20 percent in after hours trading. The stock jumped more than 30 bucks. It hasn't seen that level since January. Still $8 below the IPO price.

But, we give it a break there. If you look at the stock, it hasn't approach that level right there of the initial public offering back in May of last year. That could certainly change, of course.

Wednesday's earnings showed that Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was able to take mobile advertising from virtually nothing a year ago and make it 41 percent of its total ad revenue of $1.6 billion. That's what Wall Street wanted to see, mainly because the number of people using Facebook on mobile phones or on tablets increased by 51 percent -- 819 million people are using Facebook now on mobile phones or tablets.

The other big story, Apple. Apple shares had their best day in a year. Apple shares rose 5.1 percent. At $442 a share, it's the biggest one day percentage gain in 2013. Apple beat earnings expectations, better than expected iPhone sales, we told you. Overall profits, though, was down 22 percent. The silver lining in all of this, according to analysts, is that Apple does have new products in the pipeline that it hopes can reenergize sales, even though it hasn't launched something really new in several quarters.

And Visa raised its outlook because credit card spending grew. Visa earnings better than expected. The company also authorized $1.5 billion share buyback program. That's helping boost for stocks afterhours trade.

Visa reported strong growth in the U.S. where it makes more than half of its revenue.

So, earnings, Michaela, earnings are what's going to drive this here. We are very sitting close to all time highs for the Dow and S&P. It's all about the earnings how they are coming in.

PEREIRA: We'll keep an eye on that. Thanks so much. Coming up, Anthony Weiner's wife opening up about her husband's sexting scandal. Why she ultimately stayed with the New York's mayoral candidate?