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Benghazi Investigation; Manhunt for California Abductor Continues; 11th Filner Accuser Speaks Out; Manning Brothers Sing for SNL

Aired August 7, 2013 - 05:30   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's significant enough that we're taking every precaution.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama on the record on the terror threat, shutting down nearly two dozen American embassies and consulates.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A major development, charges filed nearly one year after terrorists attacked and murdered four Americans in Benghazi. We are live with new information.

SAMBOLIN: OK. So handcuffed, locked in a coffin, thrown out of a plane. It is an amazing death-defying stunt. It was caught on camera. How's that for an adrenaline rush? Oh, my goodness.

BERMAN: He's got serious mommy issues, that's all I can say.


BERMAN: Something's up with that dude.

SAMBOLIN: I felt the same way. Who would do this and why? Let's chat about this.

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 30 minutes past the hour.

BERMAN: We're hearing this morning from President Obama defending the shutdown of nearly two dozen U.S. diplomatic post overseas, this in light of a new threat of al Qaeda. The president made this revelation and others in an interview with the journalist, Jay Leno. This was on NBC's "The Tonight Show."

The president said it was not an overreaction to shut the embassies and consulates. And while he did not give specifics, he did say the threat was significant enough that the administration felt like it had to take precautions.


OBAMA: It's a reminder that for all the progress we've made, getting Bin Laden, putting al Qaeda between Afghanistan and Pakistan back on its heels that, you know, this radical, you know, violent extremism is still out there. And we've got to stay on top of it.


BERMAN: The president said Americans should still go ahead and travel overseas, but use common sense and heed the warnings. The president also defended the NSA's surveillance programs, insisting the agency is not spying, just keeping track of phone numbers and e-mail addresses associated with terrorists.

SAMBOLIN: And now to a big development in the investigation into last year's deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Sources tell CNN federal authorities have filed the first criminal charges in connection with that attack. And a prominent figure in Libya is on that list. Arwa Damon is tracking all of the developments. She is live in Cairo for us. So, we have charges, but have any arrests been made?

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, at this point, not yet. In fact, one of the main individuals you're referring to there, Ahmed Abu Khattala, he is effectively out in the open. We spoke to him just a few months ago when we were in Benghazi. We asked him about these various allegations that have already begun to surface back then from a number of different sources.

He completely denies any sort of direct involvement in the attack and is perhaps something of an easy individual to charge because he has been placed on the scene. There have been various eyewitnesses who have said that he appeared to be commanding the attack itself. He, himself, does not deny being there, but he says he was simply directing traffic that he arrived onsite at the request of one of the key Libyan commanders themselves.

Some intelligence analysts, Libyan intelligence analysts, will say that he, in fact, probably had nothing to do with it, that those who organized this attack, the key individuals were members of al Qaeda and the Islamic Maghreb, and that the vast majority of them have moved on. They are fighting in another battleground in Syria itself.

The FBI also earlier in the year released a number of photographs of individuals believed to have been involved. We had taken them to the streets of Benghazi. No one had any information about them at this point. So, while the U.S., yes, has filed these charges, they do remain sealed. This does not necessarily mean that we're any closer to seeing justice and accountability at this stage.

Add to all of this, of course, the incredibly dangerous situation, the security threat that exists in Benghazi. It's incredibly unlikely that Libyan authorities have the capability or the ability, itself, to actually go out to these people.

SAMBOLIN: Right and to get that cooperation to happen as well. Arwa Damon live for us in Cairo. Thank you.

And we also have breaking news from one of the world's major airports. A massive fire has shut down the airport in Nairobi, Kenya, engulfing the entire international terminal. And it's likely to be closed for days we're being told. It's not clear what caused the blaze, but authorities don't think it was terrorism. I do understand as I was reading reports about this, that they were -- it was under construction, that entire international terminal. So, they're taking a look at that to see if maybe that's what started this blaze.

BERMAN: They've got some serious flight --

SAMBOLIN: Terrible.

BERMAN: A call for reconciliation in Egypt from two top U.S. senators. John McCain and Lindsey Graham were in Cairo yesterday, meeting with the interim government and senior officials from the Muslim Brotherhood. And both sides were encouraged to take steps towards solving the crisis there.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We also urged the release of political prisoners. We also urged strongly a national dialogue, a national dialogue that is inconclusive of parties including the Muslim Brotherhood. And at the same time, we expect the Muslim Brotherhood to refrain from violence.


BERMAN: Both senators, McCain and Graham, said it is critical that the U.S. maintain its relationship with Egypt, but the only way to do that is if the political situation there, they say, is resolved soon.

SAMBOLIN: Iran's new president is insisting his country's nuclear program is peaceful and that he is willing to negotiate with the U.S. over it. Hasan Rouhani says Iran is not out to threaten anyone with its nuclear activities which he calls legal. The White House said earlier this week it is open to talks if Iran wants to engage.

BERMAN: Huge manhunt continues this morning from man to believe -- believed to be on the run possibly with a teenage girl and an eight- year-old boy. James DiMaggio disappeared earlier this week after his home near San Diego burned down. And inside that home, authorities found the remains of a woman and a child.

Two of the women's children, 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and 18-year- old Ethan are now missing. And their father had this message for DiMaggio who had been a family friend.


BRETT ANDERSON, FATHER OF HANNAH AND ETHAN ANDERSON: I can't fathom what you were thinking. The damage is done. I'm begging you to let my daughter go. You've taken everything else. Hannah, we all love you very much. If you have a chance, you take it. You run. You'll be found.


BERMAN: It is unclear at this hour if the body of the child found inside the home is that of Ethan Anderson. But his father, as you just heard, did not ask Dimaggio to let his son go. Just --

SAMBOLIN: All right. Former president, George W. Bush, is on the mend this morning after undergoing surgery to open up a blocked artery in his heart. That blockage was discovered during the former president's annual physical. And a spokesman tells CNN the procedure to insert a stent went perfectly. Bush is expected to leave the hospital today and be back on his normal schedule by Thursday.

BERMAN: Back out biking soon.

Former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is warning members of his own party, a government shutdown, he says, is not the answer. Some Congressional Republicans have proposed not letting any spending bills pass unless Obamacare is defunded. But Romney told donors at a New Hampshire Republican event that the consequences of such a move could be dire.

If soldiers don't get paid or seniors don't get their Social Security checks, they could hold it against the Republican Party in the future, Mitt Romney says.

SAMBOLIN: We're hearing now from an 11th accuser against San Diego mayor, Bob Filner. Michelle Tyler alleges Filner asked her to engage in a sexual relationship with him in exchange for his help in the case of an injured former Marine who had been battling with the V.A. Tyler says Filner asked her if he could spend time with her and made clear he wouldn't help if she didn't.


MICHELLE TYLER, 11TH FILNER ACCUSER: I believe a person in power should not take advantage of their position to gain the sexual advantage for themselves. It is wrong and that's why I'm speaking out.


SAMBOLIN: Filner is currently in what he called intensive therapy and has said he does not believe he's guilty of sexual harassment.

BERMAN: To New York City now, a New York City mayoral forum nearly turned ugly when Democrat, Anthony Weiner, referred to a Republican rival as grandpa. Sixty-nine-year-old George McDonald has frequently mocked Weiner's texting scandal in the confrontation. The candidate forum began when Weiner apparently made physical contact with his opponent. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard what you said. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep your hands off of me. Don't put your hands on me ever again.



BERMAN (voice-over): The candidate forum ironically sponsored by the AARP.


SAMBOLIN: All right. Parts of Missouri dealing with more rain this morning after deadly flash flood. Officials in Wayneville in the central part of the state say a four-year-old boy was killed when he was swept away from a vehicle. His mother is still missing. At least 100 homes and businesses were damaged in the flood. And that town is now in a disaster area.

BERMAN (on-camera): Indra Petersons is tracking all the weather for us. Indra, what's the latest out there?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, the hardest thing for me to hear every time, it only takes six inches of water. That's all it takes two feet of water takes away a car. I feel like to say it all the time, and yet, we keep hearing these stories. It's so important to get that information out there, especially on days like this.

Now, this is yesterday's radar in the area. And the reason I'm showing you this is because it's almost an exact replica today. Now, I'm going to show you -- from this morning and there you go again. We're talking about heavy rainfall. I mean, yesterday, seven to nine inches of rain in the area. And today, we're looking at not only in Kansas, but here's the other line right there in southeastern portions of Missouri.

So, that rainfall, about two inches per hour. A lot of flooding concerns out there. In fact, we actually have flood warnings this morning and plenty of advisories, obviously, throughout the region. The problem of ground is already saturated. Yesterday was bad enough, adding even more additional rainfall.

That is never a good thing. As far as the severe weather, unfortunately that threat right in the same region again. And by tomorrow still talking about these training thunderstorms even stretching tomorrow into Missouri and Illinois. So, heavy thunderstorms likely in these regions as we move forward.

Here's the reason why the cold front trailing off the low moving through Canada. We're going to continue to use these storms ahead of that. See, our rain in that area, we're going to be talking about rain here in the mid-Atlantic, even in the northeast by the end of today. SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Indra.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Indra.

So, could this be the future of crime fighting? Check this out. So, that is not a real police officer.

SAMBOLIN: He looks real.

BERMAN: It's a cardboard cutout. It's put up along with cameras in a Boston subway station to help stop bicycle thieves. Apparently, it's working, because bike thefts are down dramatically since the posters were put up.


BERMAN: The bill is, as you might imagine, much less than actually having to pay for a real officer.


DEPUTY CHIEF ROBERT LENEHAN, MBTA POLICE: He's not on overtime. As a matter of fact, he saves a lot of money. Somebody asked me to do some quick math, and if we actually station an officer here physically 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it would be over $200,000.


BERMAN: The message this sends me is that bicycle thieves are really, really dumb.


BERMAN: The image is based on this real transit cop. He was happy to do it, he says. Perhaps, he's helping remind potential criminals that are authorities are always watching.

SAMBOLIN: I don't know. Eventually, they're going to catch on, don't you think, Berman?


BERMAN: I don't know. You know, I don't know many bike thieves, but they do not seem like smart people.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Coming up, an incredible skydiving stunt, handcuffed, locked in a coffin, and thrown out of a plane. How it all turned out? After the break.


SAMBOLIN: All right. So, this seems to be happening more and more, unfortunately. This is a backhoe swallowed up by a sinkhole on a busy street.

BERMAN: What? SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness. This is Montreal. A crew was on the scene to deal with a faulty sewer pipe when the road simply gave away. The driver was inside the backhoe at the time. We are happy to report he's OK.

BERMAN: That is crazy.


BERMAN: On the subject of crazy, some incredible death-defying pictures to show you this morning from Illinois.

SAMBOLIN: That guy's insane.

BERMAN: That's a box. It's been called a flying coffin being thrown from a plane and an escape artist named Anthony Martin (ph) was inside that flying coffin.


BERMAN: His hands were cuffed. His arms chained. His crew jumped with him, steadying the box until he could get out. He did about 30 seconds. This was his second time trying the stunts. He first did it 25 years ago. Apparently, those 25 years of therapy did not help, and he still insists on doing this --

SAMBOLIN: There are plenty of things in life that will kill you so why do you do this? I don't understand. That cannot possibly be a good adrenaline rush.

BERMAN: Strange, strange man. But congratulations to him.


SAMBOLIN: Yes, I know, right? He's alive!

Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan join us now. Good morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Good morning. That is crazy. I think that's just an objective statement.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Yes. You do it because people don't think they can do it and because you wind up on national TV being talked about by John and Zoraida.

BERMAN: I wake up at two to be on national TV. I don't get in a coffin and jump out of a plane. There are better ways to doing it.



CUOMO: All right. So, here's what we're doing on "NEW DAY" today. We're following this desperate manhunt in California. A man is on the run. This is a bizarre story. This is what the police believe, that he may be with one or two children right now having kidnapped them and maybe killing their mother. The father of these children is now speaking out.

He's working with the San Diego County sheriff's department to help get his kids back. We'll take you through all of it. We'll talk to the sheriff as well.

BOLDUAN: And good news for you this morning. For the first time in decades, obesity rates have fallen among low-income children in many states. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to be joining us to explain what's behind the drop, how significant it is, and what this means going forward, where have we learned our lessons, and how can we keep on and keeping on with that. So, some good news.

CUOMO: That is good news. And more good news. We have Oprah on the show. She's starring in the new critically-acclaimed movie "The Butler." Many already talking Oscar nomination for Oprah. Nischelle Turner sat down with her, talks about the powerful film. Good interview you're not going to want to miss. That's what we've got, guys.

BOLDUAN: A lot of big names in that movie.

CUOMO: Big names.

BERMAN: Was that Oprah just kissing? Zoraida wanted to know.

SAMBOLIN: Was she kissing someone in that? Were you guys watching?

BOLDUAN: I was captivated by my colleague's words.


CUOMO: I've heard it my eyes. And yes, you're right.

BERMAN: Look away. Look away.

SAMBOLIN: I'm looking forward to that. Thank you.

BERMAN: Guys, appreciate it.

Coming up here next, you know, he's been facing boos and taunts since his return to baseball, but last night, Alex Rodriguez did something that finally had fans cheering. What, you ask? You'll have to come back to find out.

SAMBOLIN: Good tease.


BERMAN: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, Riley Cooper, back in training camp after taking a few days off to seek sensitivity counseling, this, after he was caught using a racial slur. Andy Scholes joins us now with more in the "Bleacher Report." Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys. Well, Cooper was back on the field with his teammates yesterday, and he said that he met with each and every one of them individually to talk about that video that caught him using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert. Cooper said he hopes people judges him on the future and not his past going forward. And when he met with those teammates, Cooper apologized for his actions, but he did not seek forgiveness.


RILEY COOPER, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: I told them, I don't want you to forgive me because that puts the burden on you. You know, I want it all on me. And you know, I told them that and I told them I apologize. And they can (ph) tell it's from the heart.


SCHOLES: Now, A-Rod playing his second game since deciding to appeal a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. In his second bat, White Sox pitcher, Chris Sale, hits him in the elbow, and the Chicago crowd lets out a big cheer. They love seeing A-Rod get plunked. Yankees with going to lose again. You can go to right now and read about where A-Rod ranks among the biggest scandal in sports history.

All right. When you're on the disable list like Albert Pujols, you have to find something to keep yourself entertain during the game. The Angels Brent Green (ph) gets his first hit in a major league career in the second inning. That's a ball you definitely want to keep. Pujols get it and he throws it into the crowd. But, wait, take another look.

Pujols pulled the old switcheroo. He kept Green's ball and gave away a meaningless one. Everyone had a good laugh about that.

All right. You see these two handsome fellows with the crazy haircuts. That's the Manning Brothers, both Peyton and Eli. They've shown off their comedic skills before on "Saturday Night Live," but this new commercial may be their greatest work ever.


(SINGING) So, now is your chance to have football on your phone and football in your pants. Look at this guy using his phone as a phone. Your phony -- the football all the time do you want that he does she does dad does. Football on your phone.


SCHOLES: And you know what, guys, I didn't have Sunday ticket on my phone before this commercial, but after watching it, I'm sold. I'm getting Sunday ticket on my phone after this.

BERMAN: The Manning Family convinced you. Archie, Peyton, and Eli all together convinced you to spend an extra money. That's --

SAMBOLIN: Can i go back and say yea, White Sox?

BERMAN: Oh, for plunking A-Rod?


BERMAN: You have a big heart.

SAMBOLIN: Not for that. Just for winning.

BERMAN: Oh, for winning. Just for the winning part.

SAMBOLIN: Just for the winning part.

BERMAN: Andy, thank you. Appreciate it. You make me nervous.


BERMAN: Once again, we have a lot more to say to you, but --

SAMBOLIN: That's it for EARLY START. It's time for "NEW DAY." Take it away, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys. We'll see you in a little bit.

CUOMO: All right. It is the top of the hour and that means here on "NEW DAY," time for your top news.