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Train Tragedy in Spain; Huma Abedin: Standing By Her Man; Federal Judge Allows Detroit Bankruptcy; US Men's Soccer Team Advances to Gold Cup Finals

Aired July 25, 2013 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Weiner won't quit. What Anthony Weiner's saying now about his run for New York mayor and when his wife, when she learned about his latest sexting escapade.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama back on the road pushing his economic agenda. Question is: Is America listening?

ROMANS: Inside a historic shipwreck, Texas researchers excavated 200- year-old wreck, 4,300 feet beneath the sea. What they found inside.

PEREIRA: Ooh, I'm so curious.

Welcome back to EARLY START, I'm Michaela Pereira.

ROMANS: It's always good to have a story about buried treasure, right?

I'm Christine Romans. It's 29 minutes past the hour. Let's begin now in Spain, the latest on this deadly train derailment. The death toll keeps climbing after a high-speed passenger train crashed. Al Goodman live at the scene for us this morning. He's joining us on the phone.

Tell us first, Al, what exactly happened here.

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Christine, I am on a terrace of a village house looking at this pronounced curve in the tracks. The train came by all accounts down this way heading towards me, heading towards the town of Santiago de Compostela. You can see the force of the impact. Some of the cars slid down an embankment. There's all sorts of train track - things that help keep the trains running which are pushed off onto their side.

And at this point we have cranes that have lifted, heavy cranes that have lifted some of these absolutely mangled cars up to the street level, and that's the area the Spanish Prime Minister visited in the last hour, spending about 15 minutes here. He is from this area, Christine.

ROMANS: Al, what caused this crash? Do we know yet? What are they zeroing in on?

GOODMAN: Well, I can tell you the Spain's media is zeroing on excessive speed. Possibly twice as fast as this train was supposed to be going around this curve. That's been the lead in various newspapers. The Spanish government in the development administer, she's charge of the rail system has said that there is no firm hypothesis yet on what happened.

But we have been hearing straight through (ph) that it does not appear to be terrorism. And no Spanish media, no government officials are talking about terrorism. So, now, they're focusing in on was there human error or is it mechanical error? That's what we are now -- Christine.

ROMANS: Tell us a little bit about the death toll and the number injured. Is that expected to rise?

GOODMAN: Unfortunately, yes. Seventy-seven people are confirmed dead by the court system here, because it's the court officials who confirm those figures, but they are still working on the scene. And a spokeswoman tells me that they expect to find more bodies possibly in other cars that haven't been fully searched yet.

Dozens and dozens of people injured, some of them in serious condition, in hospital. But just to give you an idea, 218 people aboard this train, passengers with some small number of crew, a third of those people, passengers are now dead -- Christine.

ROMANS: What a tragedy in a beautiful town. A town of pilgrims who take a beautiful walk there. It is some place that Spaniards loved. And of course, it is known around the world, that particular town. Al Goodman, thanks so much. We'll check in with you again later on the program.

Meanwhile, a train derailment in Tampa leading to a dangerous situation. Authorities there say 15 cars toppled spilling ethanol near the port. Crews were on sight trying to right the cars and clean up that spill. No word yet on injuries.

PEREIRA: Embattled New York City mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner, is holding firm despite the growing scandal now around him. He won't leave the race to be the city's next chief executive, even though newspapers at his political rivals say he should drop out. That after admitting he did he share explicit online text messages with a woman even after he resigned from Congress and disgraced for sexting.

That woman has been identified as 23-year-old Sydney Elaine Leathers who is acting online, talking about Democratic politics. She is said to have once loved the former congressman, but is now disgusted by how he treated her. Despite all of this, Weiner's wife is expressing her support.

Alina Cho has this look at the woman standing by Anthony Weiner's side despite the revelations.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Huma Abedin spoke of her devotion to her husband, Anthony Weiner, Tuesday -- HUMA ABEDIN, WEINER'S WIFE: I love him. I have forgiven him. I believe in him.

CHO: The public may have been surprised, but not those who know her. Members of her inner circle say Huma was out there because she wanted to be. A good wife, she is not. Look no further than this September issue of "Harper's Bazaar," a revealing essay written in Huma Abedin's own words.

She writes, "Yes, I'm out on the campaign trail. It's where i want to be, because the choice for me is simple. I love my husband and we both love this city."

KIMBERLY CUTTER, EXEC. EDITOR, HARPER'S BAZAAR: I was struck by how much I could feel her love for her husband and her clarity about why she believed in him.

CHO: One friend from the Clinton White House days who did not want to be identified says back when the sexting scandal first broke in 2011, she, meaning Huma, wanted him to keep his Congressional seat, not resign.

ANTHONY WEINER, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: My wife is an enormous asset to the campaign. She's the not so secret weapon of this campaign.

CHO: Another close friend who spoke to her just before she gave her remarks Tuesday says Huma found out about this latest transgression last fall, months before the public, and in the friend's words, was furious and this close to walking out the door, for a second time. Now, she writes in "Bazaar," the scandal has made her husband a better man.

Alina Cho, CNN, New York.


PEREIRA: A source tells CNN while Abedin was close to leaving Weiner, she ultimately decided against it because she decided it wasn't the right thing for their son.

ROMANS: And we're hearing this morning from the blogger who broke the news of Anthony Weiner's indiscretions. Nik Richie writes for "The Dirty" and tells CNN he was tipped off by Sydney Leathers back in April.


NIK RICHIE, WRITER FOR THE DIRTY: I personally didn't believe her at first. I really was duped by Anthony Weiner and thought he did her change. And obviously, that wasn't the case. And, I just did my homework and kind of matched up the evidence that she provided and run with the story.


ROMANS: Richie says Leathers originally wrote to Weiner on Facebook in 2011, blasting him for his sexting scandal. And he apparently didn't write back until 2012 starting an online conversation then that lasted for months, if conversation is the right word to use, I'm not sure.

PEREIRA: Another woman has now come forward claiming sexual harassment by San Diego's mayor. This time, it is a school psychologist named Morgan Rose (ph). She tells CNNs that she met Mayor Bob Filner at the restaurant back in 2009 to discuss a nonprofit but claims that he tried to kiss her during that meeting at least four times.

She now joins at least two other women who made public their allegations that Filner treated them inappropriately. He has, so far, not reacted to Rose's claim but said earlier this week that he will vigorously defend himself.

ROMANS: All right. Day two of President Obama's renewed economic offensive. He's going to deliver a speech in Jacksonville, Florida. After two speeches yesterday in small college town in the Midwest, the president stressing the need to grow the middle class. He blamed Washington and politics for the still struggling economic recovery.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What are your ideas? If you're willing to work with me to strengthen American manufacturing and rebuild this country's infrastructure, let's go. If you've got better ideas to bring down the cost of college for working families, let's hear them.


ROMANS: Yes. He said you can't just be about ending Obamacare and cutting budgets. He said the GOP needs a plan. The House Republicans need a plan. The new economic push comes as an NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows the majority of Americans disapprove of this president's handling of the economy.

PEREIRA: Well, the Senate has given an overwhelming OK to a compromise deal to roll back student loan rates. Under the plan approved 81-18, undergraduates would be able to borrow at less than four percent this fall. However, rates will eventually go up and be tied to government bonds. If the house also approves that the new rates would be retroactive to July 1st, that's when student loan rates doubled after Congress failed to reach an agreement. So, a little reprieve --

ROMANS: A little reprieve, but it's really important for people to know that these rates can go up in the future.

PEREIRA: Exactly.

ROMANS: They can go up in the future. So, you know -- the rates you've had over the past couple years, very likely in the next five or six years, you will be paying higher rates for student loans. All right. A former first daughter set to become the next U.S. ambassador to Japan. A White House source tells CNN Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy has accepted the post. It will be announced today. Kennedy is an author and an attorney. She was a major player in President Obama's 2008 and 2012 elections.

PEREIRA: The world's largest cruise lines are defending themselves after a series of accidents, illnesses, and other issues. Appearing before a Senate committee, the heads of Carnival and Royal Caribbean said they're working to make their ships safer and will do so under a recently adopted passenger bill of rights.


SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: I have been assured repeatedly by the industry that things will get better. Take a look at the events over the past 16 months and tell me if this is what you think better looks like.

GERALD CAHILL, CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES: We really seriously put our guests in an uncomfortable position. And, that bothers us a great deal.


PEREIRA: Three of the biggest lines are also agreeing to make public more information about crimes on their ships. Those details will be available online by August 1st.

ROMANS: A federal judge siding with the Detroit's emergency manager. This federal judge blocking state court challenges to the city's $18 billion bankruptcy filing. The judge ruling jurisdiction for the proceeding lies (ph) in the federal not state court. Some retired city workers have sued to block Detroit's bankruptcy.

They say it violates the state's constitution. A county judge agreed. But this ruling temporarily puts those challenges on hold. The bankers (ph) to court has yet to make any decision about the merits of the case. And of course, those retired workers and current workers, what they're so concerned about, Michaela --

PEREIRA: Pensions.

ROMANS: Pensions. Big cuts to their pensions. They rely on their pensions. And they think that in bankruptcy, the bankruptcy proceedings --

PEREIRA: -- will go away.


ROMANS: -- or they be cut dramatically and that will have a big impact on their ability to retire.

PEREIRA: -- to be able to retire and have some money there. It is a concern. ROMANS: -- librarians and people depending on a pension that it will not be there in bankruptcy.

PEREIRA: All right. We know it now has a name. We're not talking the prince, we're talking about the storm


PEREIRA: It is Tropical Storm Dorian. Is it a threat to us? Indra Petersons tracking that and all the weather. We watched it yesterday, a tropical depression, weren't sure if it was going to make the turn to a storm, but it looks like it has.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's the perfect (ph) where there's so much uncertainty really surrounding Dorian. One of the things that's kind of unusual typically this time of year, the warmer water close for the coastline and that's where we would see the formation. Nonetheless, it's formed way out where we typically see more formation in August right off the coast of Africa.

Now a strong tropical storm currently thing about 60-mile-per-hour winds and moving pretty quickly. So, that's kind of key, about 17 miles per hour. A couple things could inhibit its growth. We're looking at a lot of dry air ahead of it, not a good thing. So, that would weaken it. We're also looking at temperatures here. It needs to be in waters above 79 degrees.

You can actually see it's really right on the borderline. So, where it goes and how fast it goes over cold water. In fact, it does go over colder water really depend on -- or determine how much it will weaken. The other thing is, if it even stays together after all of this, we have a lot of wind shear. We're talking about winds at upper levels that could weaken it.

So, all of these factors will determine whether or not it actually holds together. Either way, a dome of high pressure. We know the direction it's going to go. Thanks to that dome of high pressure, we're going to see just directly pretty much west, west-northwest. With that, the current thinking is it's going to be right above Puerto Rico around Monday staying a tropical storm.

Keep in mind, it is a pretty small system. So, no effect to the islands, currently, at least in this track, but we are going to be talking about some rough seas and strong winds. The big question is, if it does hold together, what happens after that? And of course, it's so far out, really, these next 48 hours are pretty key --

ROMANS: Watching Dorian.

PEREIRA: They really do take personalities on of their own --



PEREIRA: Well, the new Prince of Cambridge, the other name that we were waiting on.


PEREIRA: Prince George might be enjoying a bit of quiet today. I hope he understands what is about to happen to him. Four days after his birth brought the world in London, the witness -- to witness this (ph), well, George Alexander Louis and his parents, Prince William and Duchess Kate are in her hometown, Bucklebury, where they are having what the palace calls quiet time together.

ROMANS: I don't know how quiet it is with a brand-new baby.


PEREIRA: Queen Elizabeth did pay a visit to the newborn on Wednesday. He is now third in line to the crown. The name, by the way, was one of the favorites, getting 2-1 odds with millions of bookmakers.



PEREIRA: It was amazing. They were betting on hair color, the time of birth, all of those things.

ROMANS: A lot of people yesterday were putting out that it's a boy. The acronym is G.A.L.

PEREIRA: Yes. GAL. I know it's pretty funny.

All right. Coming up. Under the sea, we're going to take you inside a 200-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Texas. Very cool indeed. We'll be back.


ROMANS: Welcome back. Good morning to you. A six-year-old boy swallowed by a sand dune. There he is. He is now out of the hospital. Nathan Wesner (ph) has been transferred to a facility for rehabilitation therapy. He's expected to stay there for several days. This is the little guy who was trapped in a sand dune along Lake Michigan earlier this month.

It took nearly four hours to get him out. Frantic search. He is in good conditions. Doctors say he did suffer some lung damage from inhaling the sand.

PEREIRA: His survival, in some people's mind, is nothing short of a miracle. Eleven hours --

ROMANS: Yes. His grandfather actually said this is the definition of a miracle.

PEREIRA: An incredible effort to get him out. All right. We want to show you some really fascinating pictures, at least, you and I think so. From the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, we are looking at a 200- year-old shipwreck, about 150 miles from Galveston. Researchers are collecting all of these artifacts from the wrecks so they can study them in hopes of figuring out more about where the ship was traveling from, how it went down.

They think it might have been moving weapons and soldiers during Mexico's war with Spain back in the early 1800s. Really, it's amazing. All of those artifacts are pretty well-preserved when you think about how far down they are.

ROMANS: Wow. What a fun find. And what a mystery to unravel. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY" this morning.

PEREIRA: No mystery there. They are back.

ROMANS: They're back together again.

PEREIRA: Oh, they are back.

ROMANS: The team.

PEREIRA: You know, I've always respected you. But sitting beside that crazy man for two days --



PEREIRA: He's lovable.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": When I hear things i don't like, I pinch my pocket.


CUOMO: Yes. You need the tail. It's called the tail. All right. You two are prized for your intelligence. Let me try a trivia question on you. What TV show started with one of the main characters doing this? Ready?

BOLDUAN: Is this happening right now?

PEREIRA: Oh, isn't that "Good Times"?

CUOMO: Close.


PEREIRA: "Happy Days." It was "Happy Days."

CUOMO: There it is.

PEREIRA: Didn't he have a comb, though?

CUOMO: "Happy Days." Yes. With JJ from "Good Times" --

PEREIRA: Well, I mean, he had -- CUOMO: Dynomite.

ROMANS: I don't know.


CUOMO: That's what's on our show.



BOLDUAN: Back to the news.


ROMANS: Cuomo is off the rails.

CUOMO: In other news, we're going to be talking about Anthony Weiner. Why? Because it means something to people about why he's staying in the race. Some can't believe it. other people want to know what the tap of his resolve is. All the speculation about his wife, is it brave? Was it ill-advised, you know?

And then, there's the woman that was involved in this latest round of sexting. Who is she? We have new information for you about that. So, we're really going to get involved in that, because it still a big topic of conversation. Political circles and outward about what do we value as a society. Who's going to be a leader.

BOLDUAN: And there's a lot of shock factor. It happened once, and --

CUOMO: And again.

BOLDUAN: Then again. Yes.

Also, we're going to be looking at, the meaning behind Prince George Alexander Louie's name. How many names do you have? I only have a name and a middle name. So, what's next for the royal family and why are they staying, those two and their little baby, why are they staying with Kate's family instead of his at the moment? Hint, hint. They want some privacy.

CUOMO: Also, for a new mom, it's always good to be around your own.

BOLDUAN: Are you kidding? I'm not yet blessed with children but I will want my mom near me.

CUOMO: Yes. I have three children. They are --

BOLDUAN: You still want your mom near you.


CUOMO: I want my mom near me every day, but you do -- calling the kid Bruno. His name is George, but they're calling him Bruno. BOLDUAN: He is so factually -- you're so accurate on everything except for this. Bruno. And by the way, to remind you, guys, Jeremiah never made the list.

PEREIRA: Yes, saw that.

CUOMO: Everyone is saying that.

BOLDUAN: No, they're not.

CUOMO: Bruno.

BOLDUAN: You could take this away.

PEREIRA: Nobody is saying it.

CUOMO: The queen gave him a bracelet that says Bruno on it.

PEREIRA: We'll check in on you a little bit later. I'm on my way. See you, guys, soon.


ROMANS: Yes. You want tune in to find out what Chris Cuomo is saying that's really true and what he's just joking about. We're going to be right back.


ROMANS: OK. So, the relationship between Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees, it took another bizarre turn yesterday. A-Rod had a doctor go on a media tour and say that, yes, A-Rod is fit to play. Andy Scholes is here with more on this morning's "Bleacher Report." Wow.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes. Good morning, Christine. It basically boils down to this. According to a story (ph), A-Rod believes he is healthy enough to return to the lineup, but he thinks the Yankees are conspiring against him to keep him off the field just so they can collect the insurance money for the more than $25 million he's owed this season. Now, without permission from the Yankees, A- Rod hired his own doctor to take a look at the MRI of his quad.

Now, the doctor said he didn't see any signs of a strain. The Yankees say that A-Rod is the one who first complained about his quad. They continue to insist that they want him back on the field as soon as he's physically able to play. But of course, we are all waiting to see when and for how long Major League Baseball suspend A-Rod for his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Well, New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick is speaking publicly for the first time since former Patriot tight end, Aaron Hernandez, was charged with murder. Belichick who was usually very vanilla when it comes to speaking with the media was much more forthcoming and genuine while discussing the Hernandez situation yesterday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL BELICHICK, PATRIOT HEAD COACH: I and other members of the organization were shocked and disappointed in what we had learned. Having someone in your organization that's involved in a murder investigation is a terrible thing.


SCHOLES: Well, the U.S. soccer team extended their record winning streak to ten games last night by beating Honduras, 3-1, to advance to the Gold Cup Finals. Landan Donovan had another great performance in this when he scored two goals and assisted on another. The U.S. will now face Panama on the Gold Cup Finals Sunday in Chicago.

All right. We want to warn you about this next video. Look away if you're eating a blueberry scone this morning. Tim Hudson going to cover first base and Eric Young Jr. stepped right on his ankle. Young Jr. knew right away that Hudson's ankle was broken. He's ran right over to apologize to Hudson.

He was taken out on a stretcher. And Christine, Hudson's ankle is, in fact, broken. He's going to require surgery and he's probably going to miss the rest of the season and the playoffs.

ROMANS: Ouch. Unbelievable.

SCHOLES: Tough break for the braves.

ROMANS: Tough break, literally and figuratively. We wish him the best. Thanks, Andy. We're going to be right back.


ROMANS: It's been a long morning for us. It's not even six o'clock in the east. That's it for EARLY START. Time now for "NEW DAY." Hi, guys. Take it away.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Christine. We'll see you in a bit. Thanks so much.

CUOMO: Look at the time, it's almost the top of the hour and you know what that means here on "NEW DAY," time for the top news.