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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Pres. Obama on Embassy Closures; More Surveillance Revelations?; Amber Alert Manhunt; Deadly Midwest Floods; Government Sues Bank of America

Aired August 7, 2013 - 05:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This radical, you know, violent extremism is still out there. And we've got -- you know, we've got to stay on top of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama on the record for the first time on the terror threat that shut down more than a dozen American embassies and consulates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRETT ANDERSON, FATHER: I'm begging to you let my daughter go. You've taken everything else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A father's desperate plea after his ex- wife is murdered. His children go missing. And the man police say is responsible is on the run.

BERMAN: And deadly flooding in the Midwest. A state emergency declared. A town evacuated. And there is still more rain on the way.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. Happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: Great to see you today. I'm John Berman. It is Wednesday, August 7th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

SAMBOLIN: And we begin this morning with President Obama. He is speaking out for the terror threat that led to the closure of U.S. diplomatic posts overseas.

On NBC "Tonight Show", the president said a worldwide travel alert and the temporary shut down of nearly two dozen embassies in the Arab world was necessary and that it was warranted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: It's significant enough that we're taking every precaution. We had already done a lot to bolster embassy security around the world, but especially in the Middle East and North Africa where the threats tend to be highest.

And whenever we see a threat stream that we think is specific enough that we can take some specific precautions within a certain time frame, then we do so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The conversation also turned to a wide range of other topics. President Obama called for more dialogue about the Trayvon Martin case. He defended Obamacare and insisted the U.S. does not have a domestic spying program, just systems to track phone numbers or e-mail addresses connected to potential terrorists. He also said he was disappointed that Russia gave temporary amnesty to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

BERMAN: As for Snowden's revelations about the NSA, more details could soon be out. That's journalist Glenn Greenwald. He tells Brazilian lawmakers that he plans within the next few days to release more information about what the U.S. is doing to track Internet usage. And he said what has been put out so far is just a small part of what he's found out with the documents leaked.

SAMBOLIN: And charges this morning in connection with the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Sources tell CNN several have been charged including a prominent Libyan militia figure named Ahmed Abu Khattala. The indictment is still under seal and it is not clear if any of the suspects have been detained. Four people died in that attack as you recall, last September 11th, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

BERMAN: The hunt continues this morning for a California man on the run possibly with a 16-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy. After the remains of a woman and child were found in his burned out home near San Diego. Now, the children's family is pleading for a safe return.

Let's get more now from Miguel Marquez.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Overnight, a vigil of hope for children allegedly kidnapped by this man, James DiMaggio --

HALLIE LANDY, COUSIN: We all miss you, Hannah. We love you so much. We're here. We're all here. We're all praying for you.

MARQUEZ: -- following an emotional appeal from the children's father, Brett Anderson.

ANDERSON: Jim, I can't fathom what you were thinking. The damage is done. I'm begging to you let my daughter go, you've taken everything else. MARQUEZ: Speaking directly to Jim DiMaggio, the man who investigators believe killed Anderson's ex-wife and possibly his 8-year-old son, and then kidnapped his 16-year-old daughter Hannah.

ANDERSON: Hannah, we all love you very much, if you have a chance, you take it. You run. You'll be found.

MARQUEZ: The case leading to California's first statewide Amber alert over smartphones late Monday night -- road signs calling motorists' attention to the nationwide alert, investigators anxious to catch a break.

LT. GLENN GIANNANTONIO, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: It is safe to say that he is a very dangerous person. Armed or not, it would be safe to assume he is armed. That's why we're asking any members of the public who may believe they see him, don't attempt to contact him, don't attempt to contain him or do anything. Just call 911.

MARQUEZ: Investigators updating pictures of the kids and the alleged kidnapper, even a mock-up of a bald James DiMaggio, just in case he shaved his head to disguise his appearance.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, San Diego County, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Authorities are still looking at the remains of the child in the burned out home. They will not say if it was 8-year-old Ethan Anderson. But his father did not mention the boy when he called on DiMaggio to set his daughter free.

SAMBOLIN: How horrible for that family.

It is five minutes past the hour.

And we're hearing this morning from a man many are calling a hero. Mark Kresh was one of two people who helped stopped a gunman who opened fire at a municipal meeting in eastern Pennsylvania. We first told you about this early yesterday morning killing three and injuring several others. Kresh did not want his face shown on camera.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK KRESH, HELPED STOP SHOOTING SUSPECT: People needed help, I helped. That's it. I was -- after the second round of shooting, I could not take any more shooting. I got up and ran, and I'll be honest with you, my wife was behind me, and I did not want her to be shot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Wow, he risked his life. The suspect Rockne Newell had an apparent long-running dispute with township officials that's him there about his property which had just been condemned. He was arraigned Tuesday on murder charges but did not enter a plea. BERMAN: Flash floods leading to tragedy in Missouri. Authorities say a 4-year-old boy was killed when a car he was riding in was swept away by the rising floodwaters in the town of Waynesville. It was about 80 miles northwest of Springfield. The boy's mother is still missing.

As much as eight inches fell in some areas, leaving many homes under several feet of water.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER ELLIS, WAYNESVILLE RESIDENT: I want to cry. That's all I can say, I want to cry. I've never had to deal with anything like this. I feel like a big (INAUDIBLE) gets in my chest every time I look at it. I want to cry, but got to be strong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Missouri's governor has declared a state of emergency in areas hit by the flooding.

SAMBOLIN: Indra Petersons is watching the flooding and the national forecast.

What can Missouri expect today? That's just awful, devastating for them.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I mean, truly devastating, and, unfortunately, almost identical pictures today that we saw yesterday. We actually pulled up yesterday's radar and you could see the heavy rain. We reported anywhere from seven to nine inches of rain yesterday.

Now, let's look at the current radar, almost an identical picture. We're still talking about rainfall rates, about two inches per hour. You're seeing actually a couple of bands.

You see Kansas and Missouri dealing with this rain, that just doesn't seem to let up. And keep in mind, we already have that ground that's so saturated. So any additional rain at this point is obviously, yes, devastating.

Look at Waynesville. We're still talking about these flash flood warnings and plenty of flood advisories really throughout the region.

Let's talk about what we're expecting the next several days. You can see where the biggest chance for more severe thunderstorms today are going to be Oklahoma and Kansas. So, kind of the same region, as we stretch into tomorrow, we're still seeing the training thunderstorms in the same region. In fact, the severe weather will stretch even to Missouri and Illinois as we go in through tomorrow.

So, the reason why we have that low in Canada, but it's actually that trailing cold front, we're seeing the thunderstorms really develop right ahead of that line. Eventually, this will bring rain all the way into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast as well. As far as the rain totals, we're going to see the heaviest of course in that same region today. And they're kind of spreading into Kentucky and Tennessee, eventually see several inches into the Northeast. I mean, really, day after day, it's not letting up. It looks like the severe weather still expected, even after the weekend.

BERMAN: The picture is tough at the Midwest.

Thanks, Indra. Appreciate it.

BERMAN: Ask yourself this question, do you feel lucky?

SAMBOLIN: I feel very lucky.

BERMAN: How about $425 million lucky? Do you feel that lucky?

SAMBOLIN: I would love to be feeling that lucky.

BERMAN: You are not going to win, I make you that promise right now. The Powerball jackpot continues to climb --

SAMBOLIN: Now, if I do win, you're not getting any, OK?

BERMAN: You're going to give me so much already.

SAMBOLIN: I would have.

BERMAN: The jackpot Zoraida will not win is close to half a billion dollars, $425 million. This is the fourth largest jackpot ever in this country and yet another one Zoraida will not win. Lottery officials say ticket sales, they are brisk. But do not start spending the winnings yet. Your odds of winning are 1 in 175 million.

SAMBOLIN: You know what? You have two really cute kids. If I win, I will give it to them, though.

BERMAN: That's right. Just it put it in a trust right for them. You don't have to give it to me.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, exactly.

BERMAN: I appreciate that. You're so caring.

SAMBOLIN: Nine minutes past the hour.

Coming up, it's a chilling confession in court from the accused Ft. Hood shooter.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

OPERATOR: Is he breathing?

CALLER: Is he breathing? Is he breathing?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Ooh, my goodness.

BERMAN: And a frantic 911 call for help. Usher's son rushed to the hospital. We'll tell you that story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: A startling admission at the court martial for army psychiatrist accused of gunning down more than a dozen people and wounding many others.

Ed Lavandera has the report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dressed in an army combat uniform and an American flag decorating his sleeve, Major Nidal Hasan quickly admitted to killing defenseless fellow soldiers.

"The evidence will clearly show I am the shooter," he declared in opening statements.

Prosecutors are fighting for the death penalty, but Major Hasan is waging his own war. He's on a mission justified to killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others in the horrific Fort Hood massacre four years ago.

Hasan went on to say, "I was on the wrong side and I switched sides." Prosecutors say Hasan felt a jihad duty to kill as many soldiers as possible and that he was targeting soldiers preparing to deploy to fight the war in Afghanistan.

Heavy security is in place for Major Hasan's court-martial. The courthouse is blocked by stacks of sand baskets and rows of massive steel containers. Major Hasan is flown in by helicopter from the nearby jail where he's being held. Hasan is acting as his own attorney and will likely question his own victims as the trial continues.

CHRISTOPHER ROYAL, FORT HOOD SURVIVOR: I got shot twice in the lower back.

LAVANDERA: Forty-one-year-old Christopher Royal is one of those victims preparing to stare down Hasan in court. The chief warrant officer is still recovering from his wounds, nerve damage down his arms and legs, but the trauma is more mental for this married father of a young boy.

ROYAL: I can't go to crowded places anymore. I don't even really go to the mall anymore. I can't take my child to Disneyland because I can't deal with it. I can't take my child to Six Flags, because I can't deal with it.

LAVANDERA: Royal has found solace and healing in the gym. Since the attack, he works out twice a day for a total of four hours while the government classifies the Fort Hood massacre as an outbreak of workplace violence. Royal says he considers Nidal Hasan a terrorist but has forgiven him. Every day, he goes by the Fort Hood memorial honoring his fallen comrades.

ROYAL: I talk to the soldiers out there. I don't know, it doesn't make sense. But I see that I can go because they can't. So that's what helps me throughout my day, to keep going, and then when I go by the site, it continues to help me go on because there was 13 that day that did not make it past that site. So, that kind of pushes me through.

LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, Ft. Hood, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Ed.

Fifteen minutes past the hour. It's a victory of sorts for convicted Army Private Bradley Manning. A military judge reducing his maximum term for giving secrets to WikiLeaks from 136 years to 90 years. The judge ruling there was some overlap in his defenses.

Meantime, Manning's father Brian tells CNN's Anderson Cooper believes his son is innocent and was grandstanding when he confessed to the leak in court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN MANNING, BRADLEY MANNING'S FATHER: Logistically, I can't understand, because knowing the computers as well as I do, how you could get that much data out of a room with three other people in there, you know, sitting close proximity, where everybody could see what everybody was doing. It's -- I can't understand how that could be done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The sentencing phase of Manning's court-martial is now in its second week. He was convicted of the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history.

BERMAN: This morning, demolition crews will begin tearing down the house in Cleveland where Ariel Castro held three women for upwards of a decade. Security is going to be very tight there to discourage any souvenir hunters. And when the work is done, there were really not be anything left. Every single piece of debris from Castro's home will be shredded and then sent on for disposal.

SAMBOLIN: I'm sure people that live in that community are going to be happy to see that house demolished.

BERMAN: The sight they will not want to see anymore.

SAMBOLIN: Nope.

Researchers have been given permission to dig up remains buried at unmarked graves at a now defunct reform school. The Dozier School for Boys shut down in 2011. So, for years, former students have claimed that they were subjected to severe physical and sexual abuse at that facility. University of Florida researchers say at least 96 children died there between 1914 and 1973.

BERMAN: The singer Usher's 5-year-old son recovering this morning after a serious accident at his Atlanta home. The boy was swimming with his aunt and housekeeper when he apparently dove in and tried to recover a toy. His arm apparently became stuck in a pool drain. Two contractors at the house helped with the rescue there.

The aunt frantically called 911. Take a listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

RENA ODEN, AUNT OF USHER RAYMOND V: My nephew was in the pool, and he went -- and I couldn't get him. I tried to get him. They got him. They're doing CPR on him, he's 5 years old.

DISPATCHER: OK, stay with me.

Is he awake?

ODEN: Huh?

DISPATCHER: Is he breathing?

ODEN: Is he breathing? Is he breathing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is.

ODEN: He's breathing, yes, ma'am.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BERMAN: Just last year, Usher won custody of his two sons after a bitter dispute with his ex-wife. The ex-wife not commenting about reports that her lawyer has asked for an emergency custody hearing.

SAMBOLIN: And there are new details about the final moments of Southwest Airlines Flight 335 whose nose deer broke during a hard landing at New York's LaGuardia airport. This was last month. Ten people were injured there. The NTSB now says the captain took control of the aircraft from his co-pilot when the plane was below 400 feet. So, that's a critical phase of the flight and something that rarely happens. The report says the pilots reported a wind shift during landing.

BERMAN: Some good news when it comes to childhood obesity. The CDC says rates are falling in many states for the first in decades. They're reporting small but significant declines in obesity among low- income preschoolers in 18 states and U.S. Virgin Islands. That happened from 2008 to 2011. The CDC says even though obesity is still an epidemic, it looks like the tide is beginning to turn. That's great.

SAMBOLIN: On the heels of that story, I have this one. Are you hungry? Well, you may be after this.

Let's take a look. This is the waffle taco. It's the latest creation from Taco Bell. So, it's scrambled eggs and sausage that you see there in the middle, with that waffle for the shell, and it has syrup, because it has to. It's coming later this week to about 100 Taco Bell locations after being tested in southern California earlier this year.

This may not be the healthiest way to start your day, though. Each waffle taco has 460 calories, which I actually thought wasn't bad, but it has 30 grams of fat.

BERMAN: What's 30 grams of fat amongst friends, though, really?

SAMBOLIN: That's a lot.

BERMAN: That's a lot, isn't it?

SAMBOLIN: That is a lot. An obesity epidemic and then a waffle taco.

BERMAN: You're tempering fighting each other, at odds here.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

All right. So, coming up, CBS in a war with Time Warner Cable. Viewers, well, you are paying the price. Is there any agreement in sight for you? "Money Time" is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back. For those of you who do not win the lottery, you need to know about finances. It is "Money Time".

SAMBOLIN: He's a hater on the lottery. You don't trust anybody.

BERMAN: Alison Kosik is here to talk to us. "Money Time".

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I'm skeptical about this Powerball, too. I'm with John on this.

SAMBOLIN: You're going to join the pool when John isn't?

KOSIK: I think I will, I will join the pool. Here? OK. Let's look the at stocks. Maybe you can make some money maybe not this week because stocks taking a hit this week. Dow futures are down 70 points this morning.

This is going to be the third straight decline. Who do you want to blame? Blame the Federal Reserve.

Two Fed presents are talking about that "T" word again, tapering. They hinted yesterday that the Central Bank could pull back on its stimulus program as early as next month. That's the stimulus program in the form of $85 billion a month. That is what's been pushing the market higher and higher.

Look at the S&P, it's clocking in with a 19 percent gain so far this year. Yes, big time. That's more than double than what we usually see. But now, the fear is how long did this good feeling last? Things are getting down and dirty between Time Warner Cable and CBS. Les Moonves, the head of CBS, released a letter to the media, saying Time Warner Cable hasn't reached out to him wit ha meaningful way to resolve the dispute, which has led to a black out of CBS in New York and L.A. and other cities as well.

But the day before, the CEO of Time Warner Cable also released a letter to the media with a proposed resolution. But Moonves says it went to the public and not to him, he's calling it a P.R. stunt.

Time Warner Cable removed CBS from its lineup on Friday, turning it into a quite a cat fight.

The Department of Justice suing Bank of America for defrauding investors in what it calls reckless behavior. The government claims that back in 2008, B of A sold mortgages that were risky.

Here's the problem, though, Bank of America allegedly knew it and didn't say anything. So far, almost a quarter of the mortgages in those investments had failed. The bank says it will fight the charges. It also says that securities were, quote, "sold to sophisticated investors who had ample access to underlying data," meaning the investigators could have figured it out on their own.

The SEC announced a similar case against B of A.

Warhol, Monet, Rockwell, if you want a piece from one of these iconic artists, you may think you have to go to a gallery. Not anymore. You can buy them on Amazon. The online retailer is launching Amazon Art with more than 40,000 works from galleries and dealers. Norman Rockwell piece is listed at $4.8 million, but Amazon Art also lists items for under 200 bucks.

The company is trying to tap into a growing market. Online art sales are expected to double in the next four years.

BERMAN: Is the shipping including with $4.8 million?

KOSIK: You know what, if you can afford that, I don't think you worry about the shipping. Kind of like if you can buy like a Bugatti, you don't have to worry about insurance.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Alison. Appreciate it.

KOSIK: You got it.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, coming up, four Americans murdered by terrorists. CNN learning criminal charges have been filed in the Benghazi attack.

Our Arwa Damon is live with who the government says is behind those murders. This is right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)