Return to Transcripts main page


Countdown to Government Countdown; Navy Yard Massacre; Montana Rape Sentence; Couples and Finances

Aired September 26, 2013 - 05:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: In four days the U.S. government could shut down. Is fierce partisan fight over Obamacare causing gridlock in Congress? Can lawmakers put aside their differences and end this budget battle?


VALERIE PARLAVE, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN CHARGE, FBI WASHINGTON FIELD OFFICE: There are indicators that Alexis was prepared to die during the attack and that he accepted death as the inevitable consequence of his actions.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Driven by delusions and ready to die. This chilling new video of the Navy Yard shooter as he chased and stalked his victims.


AULIEA HANLON, MOTHER: She's beautiful. But, hopefully, he'll get justice. I hope.


SAMBOLIN: Yes. That is the mother hoping for justice as a teacher who raped her 14-year-old daughter gets out of jail, having served his 30-day sentence. Just --

BERMAN: Thirty days, you heard that right.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're really happy to have you with us this morning. It's Thursday, September 26th. It's nice and early, 5:01 in the East.

BERMAN: Not as early -- well, we'll get to that later.



BERMAN: We begin now with the countdown to a government shutdown. Mark your calendars, everyone. It is scheduled to start just four days from now. But this morning there are signs of progress. Senate negotiators agreeing to speed up passage of a funding bill that would avoid a shutdown while leaving the health care law intact.

This comes on the heels of Texas Senator Ted Cruz's one-man crusade against Obamacare. A 21-hour talk-a-thon that fell largely on deaf ears in the Senate, sometimes on no ears. He spoke occasionally to an empty chamber but it did win applause from Tea Party activists around the country.

Still, all of that might be a side show. The most serious issue facing Congress now is the matter of raising the debt limit to avoid a U.S. default. That is even more critical deadline and it's coming more quickly than anyone thought.

We get more now from CNN's Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It would be one thing for the government to shut down in four days. National parks would close. Medical research interrupted. But then economic catastrophe may come 17 days later when the U.S. could default on its loan if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling.

The White House is warning not to use it as a bargaining chip.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is no negotiating over Congress' responsibility to insure that we do not default.

BASH: But GOP sources tell CNN that as soon as Saturday, House Republicans are planning to pass a bill that raises the debt ceiling but also adds several GOP priorities like the Keystone Pipeline or tax reform, or even delaying Obamacare for one year.

SEN. JOHN FLEMING (R), LOUISIANA: The real play here is going to be leading up to the debt ceiling discussion where we could get a full delay for a year, including taxes of Obamacare, and I think the president is ready to do that.

BASH: Fat chance, say Democrats.

SEN. PETER WELCH (D), VERMONT: Their strategy will fail because the financial markets will pistol-whip the Republican conference into doing then what they should be doing now, and that is pay America's bills.

BASH: But let's go back to that first deadline, the looming government shutdown.

(On camera): Senator, I know you're exhausted.

(Voice-over): Ted Cruz finally sat down after his headline grabbing --

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I do not like green eggs and ham.

BASH: Conservative celebrity making --

CRUZ: I tweeted a speech that Ashton Kutcher gave.

BASH: Twenty-one-plus hour take-a-thon against Obamacare.

(On camera): How do you feel standing there for so long?

CRUZ: Dana, to be honest, I feel terrific. I feel energized that the American people had an opportunity, I hope, to engage in this debate and have their voice heard.

BASH (voice-over): But Cruz still wants to only fund the government if Obamacare is defunded.

Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.


SAMBOLIN: Four minutes past the hour.

Federal investigators are now convinced that Washington Navy Yard shooting suspect Aaron Alexis was mentally little. They say evidence points to paranoia and to delusion when he began his rampage that ended up killing 12 people.

And authorities have now released a video showing Alexis inside the Navy Yard building during his killing spree.

CNN's Joe Johns has more on that.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ten days after the shooting, the FBI released the gripping silent surveillance video of Aaron Alexis carrying out his deadly attack. He drives into the Navy Yard in his rented Prius. The cameras pick him up as he enters the front door of Building 197. Ready for a rampage that killed 12 before he was shot down.

PARLAVE: There are indicators that Alexis was prepared to die during the attack and that he accepted death as the inevitable consequence of his actions.

JOHNS: You can see him carrying his bag. Hidden inside, a sawed off Remington 870 which he removed in the bathroom. Photos also released by the FBI show he left the bag behind. Twenty-two minutes after he drove in, surveillance picks him up roaming the hall. He readies his weapon, hunting people. You see him move downstairs and then make his way down another hall as people flee through a connecting hallway.

In addition to seeing this chilling tape, we are also getting a sharper picture of what drove Alexis.

PARLAVE: There are multiple indicators that Alexis held a delusional belief that he was being controlled or influenced by extremely low frequency or ELF, electromagnetic waves. JOHNS: The FBI relieved photos of his gun and apparent reference to the magnetic waves carved in the handle, "My ELF weapon." On the barrel the words "into the torment."

While the investigation into the mental illness that sowed the seeds for the attack continues, agents said they found writings by Alexis that explained in plain language why he said he did it.

PARLAVE: A document retrieved from the electronic media stated, quote, "Ultra low frequency attack is what I've been subject to for the last three months and, to be perfectly honest, that is what has driven me to this."

JOHNS: Investigators don't believe he targeted specific people in his 60-minute killing spree.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: Secretary of State John Kerry is set to begin talks today with Iran's foreign minister over Tehran's nuclear program. The meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly will be the highest level talks between the two countries in decades.

President Obama directed Kerry to meet with Iran's representatives after new President Hassan Rouhani struck a more moderate tone saying Iran is not interested in developing a nuclear weapon.

SAMBOLIN: And now to the crisis in Syria where American hopes of gaining more influence with the opposition taking a big hit. Nearly a dozen of the biggest Syrian rebel groups breaking with the Western backed opposition to form an alliance now dedicated to creating an Islamic state. It throws a monkey wrench in U.S. efforts to provide aid for moderate rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al- Assad.

BERMAN: Now to Egypt, and as far as the Egyptian government is concern, relations with the United States are right now unsettled. That's according to Egypt's foreign minister Nabil Fahmy telling the Associated president, Egypt has been through two revolutions in less than three years, and his nation is still trying to define its enemies and its friends.

SAMBOLIN: And American man gets 25 years for plotting to arm the Taliban. A federal judge sentencing Alwar Pouryan for conspiring to sell missiles, rifles and other weapons to the Taliban. He had served as a translator for U.S. forces in Iraq. Pouryan and a second man were arrested in Romania and extradited to the United States to stand trial.

BERMAN: A bill designed to reign in spying by the National Security Agency is unveiled in Congress. The draft measure is a bipartisan effort to roll back the powers of the NSA. It's all in the wake of top secret leaks by Edward Snowden.

One senator behind the bill said there has been a sea change in the way the public views government surveillance.

All right. About eight minutes after the hour right now. Let's get a check of the weather.

Indra Petersons is here.

Good morning, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. At least it's nice and it's dry in the north.



PETERSONS: Because I want to tell you, again, the southeast, this is just three days.


PETERSONS: Take a look at these totals. Sarasota, almost seven inches of rain. At this point, they are absolutely sick of the rain. It's been month after months of rain and finally it looks like they get a hint of a breather. We're actually going to see some more dry air moving in and that stationary front that's been there pretty much all week long finally kind of getting out of the way.

Another way to look at, this is the water vapor. It shows you where the moisture and where the dry air is. Brown, that would be the dry air. Look at all this. It's finally kind of exiting the region and yes, they are going to get the break and for them that is a huge celebration today.

You guys deserve it, you need it.

The other side of this. We are watching for potential of a low to develop and make its way up the coastline and if it did so that could have meant that all our beautiful dry weather could have turned into a rainy weekend, but for now, it looks the latest model run has brought the low off the coastline so good news for the northeast.

It is staying dry, at least at this point, and things will be pretty nice. So temperatures, here you go, New York City, looking for about 70 today, staying that way through the weekend.

Love this, fall weather in the 70s. Pittsburgh looking for about 75. So overall, it's good news that Florida is drying out and we are also staying dry. Everyone is happy.

BERMAN: Well done.


PETERSONS: You're welcome.

(LAUGHTER) We're waiting for this day. It's a big day.

SAMBOLIN: Hip, hip, hooray.



SAMBOLIN: Do you have $100 bill handy?

BERMAN: Never.

SAMBOLIN: You don't?


SAMBOLIN: Well, it would have been so old school, right?

BERMAN: I know.

SAMBOLIN: Because Ben Franklin is getting a makeover. The new C note is cutting edge with more color, a 3-D security ribbon and greater texture on Ben's color as well.

Government officials say with the modifications people will be able to check for fake 100s without going to a bank or using that backlight that they use now. The new $100 bill is scheduled to go into circulation on October 8th.

BERMAN: The problem is getting this thing out in the public. This cost a lot of money but -- I mean, I've never -- I've had like $300 bills in my life. But when do you ever have a $100 bill? OK. None of my business. I don't know.

SAMBOLIN: Never, never. They're heard to break. So I never keep $100 bills.

BERMAN: That's the problem.


BERMAN: Yes. All right.


CUOMO: Coming up, a mother's call for justice as a teacher who raped her 14-year-old daughter finishes his one-month prison sentence.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I wasn't part of the disrespect, but I saw it go on just as much as everybody else. And I'm just as much at fault for not making it stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness. My favorite story of the day. Community shocked when a high football coach suspends his entire team. The life lesson he demanded his team learn.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Thirteen minutes past the hour.

It is anger over 30-day sentence for rape, it is rising again in Montana. Protesters are calling for the judge who delivered that sentence to step down. Just as a man convicted of the crime finishes serving his time.

We're going to get more from CNN's Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the last 31 days, prison has been Stacey Rambold's home and later this morning the former high school teacher is set to walk out, having served just one month behind bars for raping his 14-year-old student Cherice Moralez, as she waited for her teacher to face trial, Moralez's mother says Cherice was tormented by bullying and victim blaming. Before Rambold's case was heard, Cherice Moralez committed suicide.

HANLON: She's beautiful. But hopefully, he'll get justice. I hope.

LAH: Justice has failed at every step, says Cherice's mother. Not only did she lose her daughter, but then the judge, Todd Baugh, handed down the short sentence saying Moralez looked older than her chronological age and was as much in control as then 49-year-old Rambold.

(On camera): Hi. I'm Kyung Lah from CNN.

(Voice-over): The judge who has ducked CNN's questions has since admitted the sentence may have been illegal. State laws mandate a two-year minimum for this crime.

The sentence and the judge's comments sparked national outrage. Earlier this week, petitions with 140,000 signatures were delivered to a Montana judicial watchdog panel demanding Judge Baugh's removal. In the courts prosecutors have appealed Rambold's sentence to the state's Supreme Court, hoping to send him back to prison and for the victim's mother, a cry for justice. A hollow search along a trail of anguish.

(On camera): Does that pain ever fade?

HANLON: No. No. I think we just get used to it, so you don't cry every day.

LAH (voice-over): Kyung Lah, CNN, Billings, Montana.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Kyung for that report.

Jackson family attorney set for rebuttal this morning as he tries to convince the jury the concert promoter AEG Live was responsible for Michael Jackson's death on Wednesday. An attorney for AEG said Jackson was responsible for his own health that he overdosed in his bedroom behind closed doors. He also said AEG never hired Dr. Conrad Murray and that AEG had no idea that Murray was giving Jackson propofol.

SAMBOLIN: A 16-year-old Nevada boy initially considered a missing person now arrested in connection with the killings of his own mother and his younger brother. Detectives taking Adrian Navarro Canales into custody without incident Wednesday. He was in an open air food court near the Vegas Strip. A judge had formally signed an arrest warrant Monday charging him as an adult with two counts of murder.

BERMAN: We now know more about how two cars containing six bodies pulled from an Oklahoma lake after more than 40 years. We now know more about how they got there. A trooper says there is no evidence of foul play. He says engine damage to the 1969 Camaro points to a collision and that a second car, a 1952 Chevrolet, may have rolled into the lake. Both cars were brought to the surface last week after they were spotted during a sonar training exercise. The makes of the cars is so old it tells the story right there, that they've been missing for so long.

SAMBOLIN: Incredible. Just incredible.

All right. It's 17 past the hour. I am -- I'm looking forward to John Berman chiming in on this story. So just days before their homecoming game, players from a high school football team in Utah have been banned from the field.

Union High School's entire football team has been suspended. Coach Matt Labrum made the decision after repeated complaints of bullying, disrespect and poor grades among his players. So instead of practicing, the team spent the week doing community service, attending character education meetings and going to study hall.


MATT LABRUM, UNION HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH: It's an honor to put on your school's jersey and I think sometimes we lose that fact that, you know, in this world of me, me, me, you're representing the whole school, the whole community.


SAMBOLIN: So players that we spoke with are behind the suspension saying the lesson is sinking in. Coach Labrum says he will still play the game tomorrow but players have to complete the week of character building before they can hit the field.

So I'm celebrating this story. I am so excited, I am so happy, and proud of this coach, and you say?

BERMAN: Well, they're still playing the game. I mean, look --

SAMBOLIN: It didn't go far enough, is what you're saying?

BERMAN: By all accounts -- by all accounts, the team got the message. They seemed that they -- you know, they did the community service and now they're going to change the way that they're living life in that school, but they're still playing the game tomorrow. These kids, they missed a week of practice, which may have hard. They may have wanted to miss a week of practice for all we know so they didn't have to run laps.

So, you know, I think that missing a game would have been the sacrifice that a lot of people are treating this to be. I'm not sure this is the sacrifice that it's being given credit for.

SAMBOLIN: It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out. Right? If there is really a change in culture there.

BERMAN: That's all that matters.

SAMBOLIN: That (INAUDIBLE) achieve this call. Yes.

BERMAN: All that matters if they change the behavior instead of -- it doesn't matter.


BERMAN: My issue, it doesn't matter, as long as the behavior changes.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. I can't wait to see. I loved it. Loved it.

BERMAN: All right. Nineteen minutes after the hour.

And coming up, a money time battle of the sexes. This does not bode well for me. Who is better at handling household budgets?


BERMAN: Men or women?


BERMAN: No, no, no.


BERMAN: This is a news story. We'll find out the actual news --


BERMAN: -- answer from Christine Romans.

SAMBOLIN: That is the news.

BERMAN: As if she's going to be honest with us.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. What?

BERMAN: That's coming up next.

SAMBOLIN: Of course, she is. It's women. This is an easy, no- brainer.



BERMAN: It is "Money Time." Time for the money time dance, everyone.


ROMANS: We love music in the morning.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, here with the actually "Money Time" news.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. I hope so. I hope it's good news.

ROMANS: Well, you know, why the world of stocks to be at record highs if there is no good news happening in Washington?

That is the question I bring to you today. And Congress might shut down the government and even worse, Congress might refuse to pay the bills when they come due. Bills have already racked up so why would you be at record highs?

We are not. We are in for a month of very scary financial brinkmanship and so it's no wonder we had Dow day number five down for the Dow and the S&P. Stocks fell across the board. The Dow losing more than 60 points yesterday.

The five-day losing tally now for the Dow, 404 points. I want to be really clear here. Budget battles really matter to investors but they really matter to main street, right? If there is a government shutdown it will be irritating and costly and stupid. But mandatory spending will continue like Social Security and Medicare.

Be very clear. If the government shuts down, you'll likely still get your Social Security check. If we go off the debt ceiling, if we do not extend the debt ceiling, you will not get a Social Security check. There will not be Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements going to hospitals. It will cause a ripple effect. It will be dangerous.

Let's watch this space.

All right. It was a really volatile day for the world's largest retailer. I want to show you this Bloomberg chart. Look at that. You see that? What happened in there? There was a Bloomberg News report that said it was cutting orders to suppliers and Wal-Mart came back, basically said it was true and crazy and absolutely false report. The stock immediately turned around and bounced back.

Some really crazy drama on the Wal-Mart stock yesterday, but it did manage to recover those losses. Now here is what we teased for you. The relationship of money and love. A complicated relationship, right? But few things are more misunderstood in a relationship than money.

I wanted to bring you this new Fidelity study this week. It seems to show things are improving overall with couples and their money. Surprisingly 9 in 10 couples agree that they communicate well about money but here is the surprise. For some reason, many women still defer to men on money issues at a time when women are earning more.

BERMAN: Who are these women?

ROMANS: It is surprising. Fidelity's head of retirement strategy -- investment strategy thinks that while men are more aggressive, women are more savvy investors. Listen.


JOHN SWEENEY, EVP, FIDELITY INVESTMENTS: Target date or balance funds at a higher proportion than men. Those tend to be very well structured and very well design products that help weather the downturns in the market and help maintain the disciplined investing approach. So women tend to be a little bit more conservative but that conservative actually plays out in a very strong way towards investment success.


ROMANS: Interesting. Right? I just think it's so interesting that women are taking control of the finances at such a large rate and they are earning more money, they're in the workplace more. In a large and growing share of couples, they are earning -- out earning their husbands or their partners but men are more aggressive and project more confidence about money.

It's just -- it's really interesting. Fidelity says the study underscores the need for women to take more financial responsibility in relationships because they have increased life expectancy.

Honey, you're going to outlive him, you're going to outlive him, so you need to know everything about the money.

Sorry, John, I hate to tell you this.


SAMBOLIN: Poor guy. You knew this, right?

BERMAN: Just really meet one bad news item after another here.


The end is near for me is what you're saying?

ROMANS: Let's remember, the headline here is that 9 out of 10 couples say they do communicate well about money. SAMBOLIN: No, I think that's great. But I'm -- I'm just really surprised. You did say, you're going to be surprised, you're going to be surprised, and I thought you were kidding but I am really surprised about that.

ROMANS: I know.


SAMBOLIN: Because I thought the women were handling the overall budget. But is it just when they are investing that they're feeling a little uneasy about the investments?

ROMANS: Women are a little more conservatives as investors which makes them more savvy, according to Fidelity, right?

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely.

ROMANS: Because you don't take the --

SAMBOLIN: Take the reins, ladies.

ROMANS: You don't take the big risk. That's right. And then there is the work force part of it, too, where women now we're talking about leaning in. Men are much more likely to ask for a race. Men are more likely to ask for a raise at their very first job. A woman takes the first salary.

Over the course of a lifetime it's $500,000 difference in your lifetime earnings, right? Just because women might be -- not all women, you're all going to hate me. I didn't do that. Not all of them. I'm generalizing. But this is what the studies and the research show about behavior in the workplace --


SAMBOLIN: It's good to know, ladies.

ROMANS: -- and investment.

SAMBOLIN: This is all good to know. Thank you.

BERMAN: We can never hate you.


BERMAN: Right. We'll be right back.

ROMANS: At least right now.

BERMAN: At least right now.