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Shutdown Showdown Day 9; Military Aid to Egypt to be Cut; New Questions in Georgia Teen Death; Money Time

Aired October 9, 2013 - 04:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's stop the excuses. Let's take a vote in the House. Let's end this shutdown right now. Let's put people back to work.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Listen, there's never been a president in our history that did not negotiate over the debt limit. Never, not once.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: War of words in Washington. The government shutdown entering its ninth day as thousands across the country feel the pain from all the cutbacks.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of people across the country sick from salmonella. Could the government shutdown be contributing to this outbreak?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you let a 9-year-old sneak past security, get on the plane without anyone stopping him, questioning him or anything?


SAMBOLIN: Well, a father demanding answers after his 9-year-old son sneaks past security and on to a Vegas-bound plane without a ticket.

BERMAN: Crazy. A lot of questions there.

SAMBOLIN: It really is a crazy story.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone, though. It's a great morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman. It is a great morning.

SAMBOLIN: Who won -- who won yesterday, Berman? Go ahead. Get it off your chest?

BERMAN: Since you asked the Boston Red Sox are going to the American League Championship Series.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. You know, I did say -- I tweeted out this morning. This man is going to be insufferable all morning long.

BERMAN: I have barely slept --

SAMBOLIN: And look at this.

BERMAN: I can't remember the last time I slept. I have all kinds of weird emotions going on here. I don't know what's going on.


SAMBOLIN: All right. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Wednesday, October 9th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East. Some other news this morning.

BERMAN: There is some other news. Not as great as the Red Sox victory. This morning, the financial markets are showing the first real signs of upheaval. The stock market is beyond jittery. Veterans' families not getting benefits and the clock keeps on tick, tick, ticking to what could be economic calamity.

The partial government shutdown is still in place and the debt ceiling deadline is just days away. We past that and the U.S. will not be able to pay its bill. Imagine that for a second.

Over the last 24 hours there have been a lot of nasty words -- ransom, extortions, deadbeat, no unconditional surrender. But there's also the beginning -- beginning of hints of a possible temporary fix maybe. Will it work? Not clear. What is clear is that the pain is being spread all around.

Here's senior White House correspondent Brianna Keilar.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Day nine the government shutdown is getting real. For families of troops killed in combat they will not get automatic death benefits during the shutdown. $100,000 to help cover funeral costs and travel to Dover Air Force Base to witness the dignified transfer of their loved one's remains.

In North Carolina food assistance for poor women and children cut off. And 27,000 furloughed government workers have signed up for unemployment as they go without pay.

Just eight days until the United States could default, President Obama phoned House Speaker John Boehner. Both sides indicating the divide is as deep as ever.

OBAMA: You got to stop repeating this pattern.

KEILAR: But later President Obama appeared in the White House briefing room opening the door to negotiations if Republicans agree to a short-term solution to reopen the government and increase the debt ceiling.

OBAMA: If there's a way to solve this, it has to include reopening the government and saying America is not going to default, it's going to pay our bills.

KEILAR: How long might a short-term measure last? Four to six weeks, one GOP source tells CNN. Republicans may agree if the president promises to negotiate. But it's far from a breakthrough without some sort of concession like a cut in spending, a stop gap measure may not clear the House.

BOEHNER: The long and short of it is there's got to be a negotiation here. We can't raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what's driving us to borrow more money and to live beyond our means.

KEILAR: The House voted Tuesday to create a congressional committee on government spending and the debt limit, as well as pay federal employees currently working without pay. But the Obama administration threatened vetoes.

A stalemate still. And the clock is ticking louder and louder.

Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.


SAMBOLIN: The Centers for Disease Control is recalling experts furloughed in the shutdown to help deal with the salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 300 people and this across 18 states. It has been traced to raw chicken parts from three California poultry plants run by a company called Foster Farms. Officials say the investigation into this outbreak began before the partial government shutdown.


TOM JOHNSTON, MEATINGPLACE MAGAZINE: The shutdown has not impacted USDA's food safety inspection to any major degree. The vast majority of inspection personnel are still working because Congress has generally viewed their function as a necessity.


SAMBOLIN: Well, health officials also say some salmonella strains in this outbreak appear to be resistant to antibiotics. And because of the shutdown, they are unable to track just how widespread those strains actually are.

BERMAN: So worries about the government shutdown apparently being felt in the American psyche. The latest measure of consumer confidence from a polling from Gallup finds that that measure has fallen 12 points in the last week. Now this is the biggest one-week drop since the beginning of the financial crisis back in 2008. That comparison should scare you.

SAMBOLIN: President Obama's pick to be the next head of the Federal Reserve, no big secret here is Janet Yellen. The current vice chair. A formal announcement is set for later today. She would be the first woman to head the Central Bank if the Senate gives its OK. Yellen is seen as having similar views about the economy as current Chair Ben Bernanke who is set to step down in January. BERMAN: Interestingly the announcement coming in the midst of all these financial discussions about the debt and everything else.


BERMAN: CNN, meanwhile, has learned that the White House is set to announce cuts to military aid to Egypt. It's a big decision that comes in the wake of relentless violence across the nation that only seems to be getting worse.

For the very latest, let's turn now to Ian Lee in Cairo.

Ian, this is a very big move, one the White House was reluctant to make at least a few weeks ago. How's it being received there?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, while nothing has been official yet from the White House, there are talks that there could be cuts to the $1.2 billion that the United States gives Egypt. Things that wouldn't be cut are things that the United States has to give to Egypt, the money that the United States has to give to Egypt under the Camp David Accords, and that's the agreement between Israel and Egypt. Also money to fight for counterterrorism.

But this would be another big move for the United States if it does happen, cutting the aid to Egypt. It would unlikely have much of an effect here in Egypt because the Saudi Arabia and the Gulf has said any money that is cut by the United States will be -- they will cover that aid and give it to Egypt.

But it shows kind of the weakening of ties between the United States and Egypt right now as Egypt goes through this transitional period. Any sort of blow between the two countries could have larger ramifications as -- as Egypt is looking for partners right now, as they -- as they transition to another stable democracy.

BERMAN: Transition to another stable democracy. This move clearly puts some distance between the U.S. and the current military government there. I guess the question is, on the ground there, is it being perceived as somehow giving support to the opposition?

LEE: It will be seen as giving support to the opposition. And it's funny because both sides actually accused the United States of supporting the other side. You talk to the people who support the interim government, they accused the United States of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. You talk to the Muslim Brotherhood they accused the United States of supporting the interim government and the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.

The United States really has no friends on the street here in Egypt. But this sort of move would be seen toward backing the opposition and toward backing the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies if the United States does go forward and cut certain aid.

BERMAN: All right. Ian Lee in Cairo for us this morning. As we said, this is a big diplomatic move. Appreciate you being here. SAMBOLIN: Eight minutes past the hour. It's not clear yet how well the fix has worked on the government exchange Web site. But there are new reports now that the administration was told by insurers, state health care officials, and the Democratic allies that the site was not ready to launch.

"The Washington Post" says warnings came in for months about this site which has been plagued with problems since the sign-up started a week ago. The Obama administration says the latest maintenance this week was designed to increase capacity and make it easier for you to set up an account.

BERMAN: Several Democratic lawmakers arrested during a protest outside the capitol. Eight members of the House rallied with thousands of activists as part of an immigration reform demonstration yesterday. These protesters pushing for negotiation on a comprehensive immigration reform package. No word yet if those arrested will face any charges.

SAMBOLIN: And quite a sight near Miami. Take a look.


SAMBOLIN: It is a water spout over Florida's Biscayne Bay.

BERMAN: Yes, it is.

SAMBOLIN: It formed suddenly around lunchtime yesterday when storm clouds started dumping a lot of rain. That forced boaters back to their marinas or at least in the other direction from that funnel cloud. And it disappeared, I understand, just a few minutes later.

BERMAN: Why? Just to go to the other direction.

SAMBOLIN: It looks beautiful. Doesn't that look beautiful?

BERMAN: Yes. As long as you're going in the other direction.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. To the other direction.

BERMAN: All right. Let's get a look at what else is going on with the weather. Let's check in with Chad Myers.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, and good morning, everyone. Good evening, Hawaii, except for you.

Los Angeles, showers, Washington, Baltimore, some shower as well. Vegas, Sacramento, you're going to get gusty winds today as the next storm comes through. Seattle and Portland to some early morning fog. That's still a few hours away for you.

Mostly sunny, though, across a lot of the country today. A couple of showers in the east. Some snow in the Rockies, snow in the Sierra, other than that, it's a pretty dry forecasts across the country. Sixty-six New York, 67, D.C. Warmer, up in Minneapolis, 75, than many places, farther down to the south, 85 in Dallas, 83 down there in Houston and 64 in L.A.

Enjoy your day.

BERMAN: All right. Our thanks for Chad. And thanks to Chad for always looking out for Hawaii where it is still evening.

Diana Nyad making waves again, taking to an outdoor New York City pool at Herald Square for a twoty pool at Herald Square for a two-day marathon swim. The goal raising money for victims of Superstorm Sandy. That swim is underway right now. That's her, I guess, live, no? Is she there? Can you see her? She's live.


BERMA. There she is. She's live, she's in the pink cap on the left side. Various celebrities and other volunteers have beend other volunteers have been hopping in the pool for a chance to swim a few laps alongside her. You will notice no shark cage here either.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Well, she said after her win she said that she was going to do this but she would stay in a pool from this point forward.

BERMAN: I think that's wise. No breaks except for bathroom breaks, we're told, until tomorrow morning. And the money raised will go to AmeriCares Foundation.


BERMAN: Good for her.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Doing something good.

All right. Coming up.


KENNETH JOHNSON, FATHER OF KENDRICK JOHNSON: Someone murdered him, they should be in jail. They are covering up, they should be in jail.


SAMBOLIN: A high school teenager killed in a freak accident, they're calling it at a school, or so police say about this. The proof one parent says shows his son was actually murdered.

BERMAN: And that 9-year-old boy taking a joyride to Vegas. No ticket, no parents, no interference from the TSA. How could this happen? This morning, his father is demanding answers. That's coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fourteen minutes past the hour. There are new questions this morning about the death of a Georgia teen in a high school gym. There he is right there. The investigation is officially closed. Police calling it an accident. But as Victor Blackwell reports the graphic images you're about to see and may find disturbing paint a very different picture about what may have happened.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the only video shot inside the Lowndes High School gym the day 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson was found dead. And with his parents' approval we're showing it for the first time.

Lowndes County, Georgia, investigators say Kendrick's death was a tragic accident. That he climbed on to these rolled gym mats to reach for this shoe. At the center of one mat, slipped, got stuck upside down and died.

County officials say the blood in this photo spilled after Kendrick's heart had stopped pumping hours after he had died. But Kendrick's parents say the photo and the video shows something else.

JOHNSON: It's enough evidence that Kendrick was murdered.

BLACKWELL: CNN has exclusively obtained the 15-minute video in nearly 700 photos of the scene taking by Lowndes County investigators. And for the first time Kendrick's parents, Kenneth and Jacqueline Johnson are ready to look at them. Including these pictures of orange and black gym shoes investigators found just yards from Kendrick's body.

(On camera): Did these shoes belong to Kendrick?


BLACKWELL: When you look at these shoes that were at the scene, what stands out to you?


BLACKWELL (voice-over): But investigators show tests show the stains are something other than blood so the shoes were not collected as potential evidence.


BLACKWELL: CNN took the photos to independent private investigator and former FBI special agent Harold Copus.

(On camera): If you were on this scene, would this have been something you would have left?

COPUS: No, bag and tag.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): There's no indication investigators ever even looked for the owner of the shoes or this hooded sweatshirt, found a few feet from Kendrick's body.

COPUS: And if you look real close, there's something on this particular cuff. And then the question is, was it blood? Did you test it?

BLACKWELL: According to the crime lab report, no.

K. JOHNSON: They know something happened in that gym and they don't want it to come out.

BLACKWELL: For the Johnsons there's no stronger indicator than this photo. It's what appears to be blood dripping down a wall.

Here's what Lowndes County Lieutenant Stryde Jones told CNN about that wall in May.

LT. STRYDE JONES, LOWNDES COUNTY, GEORGIA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: When we tested it, it was the blood. Now we did DNA testing, it was not the blood of Kendrick Johnson.

K. JOHNSON: If it wasn't Kendrick's blood, whose blood was it?

BLACKWELL (on camera): Did you ever find out who it was or any involved --

JONES: No -- as of now we haven't. But it didn't appear to be related to our crime in any way.

BLACKWELL: What do you think about the decision not to test it further?

COPUS: You can't explain it. If you're running the crime scene, then you're going to say that's potential evidence. Obviously, we're going to check this out and find out who does it belong to.

JONES: This is an athletic gym. I mean, obviously this is where they conduct various athletic classes and instructions at.

K. JOHNSON: Is a kid going to scrape their knee and get that much blood on the wall?

COPUS: There's one, two, three, four, five, six. Six impacts.

JONES: The opinion of our crime scene personnel, after looking at it closely, the blood, it appeared as it had been there for an extended period of time. It wasn't -- didn't appear to be very fresh.

COPUS: School gym, there was no way that they would allow whoever was supposed to clean this gym, leave that blood on that wall.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): And there's the question, why was there no blood where they expected to see lots of blood? Remember the photo of that shoe investigators say it was inches below Kendrick's head? Look at it again.

K. JOHNSON: If he was inside the net, reaching for that shoe, inside this shoe, reaching for the shoe and the shoe is beneath him, why isn't that shoe covered with blood?

BLACKWELL (on camera): And what do you think about that shoe not being covered with blood?

K. JOHNSON: It was placed there.

BLACKWELL: Sheriff Prine? Hi. Victor Blackwell, CNN.

(Voice-over): The sheriff's department has denied a cover-up but we took the Johnsons' concern to Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine.

(On camera): I've got some questions about the Kendrick Johnson case.


BLACKWELL: Why not, sir?

PRINE: Because our case is closed.

BLACKWELL: The family has some concerns about why some things were not taken into evidence. There was blood on the wall --

PRINE: I'm not going to discuss the case with you.

BLACKWELL: Why is that?

PRINE: Because I don't want to.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Then less than a minute after he'd invited us in --


PRINE: What did you not understand then I'll say it?

BLACKWELL: He ushered us out.

(On camera): Thank you, Sheriff Prine.

COPUS: I don't believe this was an accident. I think this young man met with foul play.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): The Justice Department is reviewing the pictures and the video to decide if it will launch a federal investigation into Kendrick's death. For Kendrick's father, the evidence is clear.

K. JOHNSON: Someone murdered him, they should be in jail. If they're covering up, they should be in jail.

BLACKWELL: Victor Blackwell, CNN, Valdosta, Georgia.


BERMAN: A compelling piece with a lot of compelling questions.

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely.

BERMAN: Hold on, Victor Blackwell.

SAMBOLIN: Poor family.

BERMAN: All right. Twenty minutes after hour right now.

We're hearing now for the first time from the father of that Minnesota 9-year-old who managed to stow away on that flight from Las Vegas last week. The father who does not want his name or face revealed said that his son's behavior has been a problem since he was 5. On the night that he disappeared, the boy took out the trash and he never came back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I don't understand, you have so much security check at these airports, how you can let a 9-year-old sneak past security, get on the plane without anyone stopping him, questioning him or anything?

We're not bad parents. We don't think nothing of it. We thought he was at a friend's house.


BERMAN: The father says he and his fiancee are not bad parents as you just heard him say. And they've been trying to get help, they say, for his son's behavior problems for years. He insists that they will not give up on the boy.

SAMBOLIN: The mom says also that he's very challenging.

BERMAN: Apparently so.

All right, coming up, Apple possibly revealing when they will unveil their newest iPad. Maribel Aber gives us all the dirt on this in "Money Time" coming up next.

SAMBOLIN: I need a new one.


SAMBOLIN: Is that the alarm? Good gracious.

BERMAN: It's just David Ortiz. It's Big Papi there. He's a money player which is fitting.

SAMBOLIN: Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead.

BERMAN: David Ortiz is a big money player. Fitting because it is now "Money Time" with Maribel Aber with my coffee.

SAMBOLIN: So much fun. Here we go.


BERMAN: Sorry. SAMBOLIN: Coffee everywhere this morning. He's a little wired. I'm sorry, Maribel.

MARIBEL ABER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, of course he's wired. Yes.

SAMBOLIN: But the Red Sox, they won and so he's had very little sleep.

BERMAN: But I'm dying to hear about money. Tell me everything.


ABER: We've got actually some big news in money this morning. Let's get right to it.

BERMAN: All right.

ABER: Especially what has futures trading higher this morning. The White House says the official announcement will come at 3:00 this afternoon Eastern Time. President Obama will nominate Janet Yellen to be the first female head of the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history. She certainly is no stranger to the Fed. She currently serves as the Fed vice chair. And her views are considered to be pretty closely aligned with current chairman Ben Bernanke. So if she is confirmed by the Senate there shouldn't be a big change in policy. Bernanke's current term ends in January.

And cold weather is just around the corner and it looks like higher heating bills won't be far behind. According to "USA Today" the Energy Department says prices for natural gas, electricity and propane should be about 13 percent higher than a year ago but that would still be about 4 percent below the average for the previous five winters. So good news there.

The report says homeowners who use heating oil will pay less but still near record prices, electric heat will run you about 2 percent more than a year. No matter which way you look at it, you're going to pay more for staying cozy in the wintertime.

All right. We haven't had any -- heard any Apple rumors since the release of the new iPhones until now. AllThingsD says Apple is preparing to launch a couple more new products. People familiar with Apple's plans tell AllThingsD that the company will hold its next invitation-only event on Tuesday, October 22nd.

BERMAN: That's pretty soon.

ABER: Mark your calendar. Yes. And they the event will feature the unveiling of the latest updates to the company iPad line. They will reportedly be the new Mac Pro and OSX Mavericks so stand by for more explanation on this.

A couple others, too, on Nokia launching more stuff. Lumia and Microsoft surface, all this tech toys coming out for the holidays.



BERMAN: IPad, they're not talking about a whole new device. It's more just the software, the inner workings, the inner --

ABER: Right, the retina, the display, maybe thinner, lighter. That kind of thing.

BERMAN: All right. That's on my Christmas list.

ABER: Really?

BERMAN: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: You can have one for me as well. Actually I'm looking for one.

BERMAN: Yes. Right.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Maribel.

BERMAN: Maribel Aber, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up families of America's biggest heroes being hit the hardest by this crazy government shutdown. The price they are paying for the standstill in Washington. That's coming up next.



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Shouldn't we as a body, Republican, Democrat, no matter who we are -- shouldn't we be embarrassed about this? Shouldn't we be ashamed?


BERMAN: The families of fallen soldiers paying the price as the government shutdown enters its ninth day. The critical support they are not getting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the families is horrified and confused.


SAMBOLIN: I would say so. Horror in a San Francisco Hospital. A patient missing for days turns up dead inside a rarely used stairwell.

BERMAN: That's awful.