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Progress on Debt Ceiling?; Libyan Prime Minister Detained; Gun Battle in West Virginia

Aired October 10, 2013 - 04:30   ET




REP. EARL BLUMENAUER (D), OREGON: The electricity, the hot water, the towels, they are not provided by gym fairies. They are provided by taxpayers.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Gym fairies now in the mix there. Paychecks for thousands of furloughed workers or a private gym for Congress -- guess which one has been deemed essential during the government shutdown?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Panic within the office. Members of my staff either crawling on the floor or running off to his office telling people to get away from the windows.


SAMBOLIN: A deadly attack shoot-out at a courthouse, this time in West Virginia. Why police had to turn guns on one of their own.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was so tiny. The scratch (INAUDIBLE), it was just that my leg swelled up so big.


BERMAN: Silent killer lurking in the coastal waters of Florida. One woman sharing her miraculous recovery.

SAMBOLIN: Incredible.

All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. We are really happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Thirty-one minutes past the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: And this morning, we may be the slightest bit closer to holding off a default that could have led to economic catastrophe. CNN has learned from several House Republican members and sources close to the House leadership that a proposal is being put together to raise the debt ceiling on a temporary basis. The increase would only be four to six weeks, and it's only designed to open the door to negotiations to a more permanent solution.

So, today, 18 top House Republicans go to the White House to meet with President Obama. That a day after senior Democrats met with the president to discuss a way forward. But it looks like the government, though, is likely to remain shut down, at least for now.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Our message in the House has been pretty clear, we want to reopen our government and provide fairness to all Americans under the president's health care law.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm happy to negotiate on anything and have been willing to do so for the last year. What I've simply said is that there's no reason to have to negotiate with the government shutdown or with the prospect that we don't pay our bills.


BERMAN: One thing that will now be paid, military death benefits. Not by the government, though. A private charity has stepped in to restore the funds frozen by the government shutdown. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announcing the agreement with Fisher House, a nonprofit group that assist the military families. Thank goodness for them.

The families of four soldiers killed in Afghanistan last weekend were forced to pay their own way to Dover Air Base to meet the remains of their loved ones. Fisher House will be reimbursed when the government reopens, if the government reopens at this point.

SAMBOLIN: So, we are 10 days into the shutdown now. CNN's Erin McPike looks at the wide ranging impact of having the flow of government services shut off.


ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is this what it's come to?

CHRIS COX, RESIDENT OF SOUTH CAROLINA: It's like a golf course around here. I have over 100 hours logged in eight days.

MCPIKE: With the National Mall shut down, Charleston, South Carolina, resident Chris Cox trekked up to Washington to clean it up himself.

COX: I brought the blower and the lawn mowers, and I started cutting the grass this morning. At the end of the day, the citizens are the stewards of the memorials. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. I'm sorry. The park is closed today.

MCPIKE: Inside Grand Canyon National Park, another problem. The park is closed and seasonal workers without pay are running out of money to buy food. Local food banks are pitching in to help out.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Thousands of people inside the park without food or pay. In this great nation, we're having to have charities deliver food to people who are trapped in the Grand Canyon.

MCPIKE: And back on Capitol Hill, the gym where members of Congress can work out? Open for business. It was deemed essential for the members who voted to shut down the rest of the government.

REP. EARL BLUMENAUER (D), OREGON: The electricity, the hot water, the towels, they're not provided by gym fairies. They're provided by taxpayers.

MCPIKE: Though some want to hold onto their exercise routine.

REP. BRUCE BRALEY (D), IOWA: I find it ironic there's a big push to shut down the House gym, when it's one of the rare places people come together and actually talk about how we can build relationships. There's hardly anybody working down there. There's no towel service.

MCPIKE: Meanwhile, federal workers are getting whiplash from who is in and who is out on the essential list. Tens of thousands have applied for temporary unemployment insurance. The intelligence community, which furloughed 70 percent of its staff last week, decided some CIA staff are necessary after all. Those who carry out, quote, "core missions" like foreign intelligence and covert actions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks for your service.

MCPIKE: But over at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the money ran dry. And today they furloughed thousands, with Congress yet to guarantee they will be paid for the missed work.


MCPIKE: Erin McPike, CNN, Washington.


SAMBOLIN: We have breaking news.

The Libyan prime minister has been detained by members of a militia group who apparently stormed the hotel in Tripoli where he lives. We understand from our reporter there Nic Robertson that it was about 150 armed gunman.

BERMAN: Militia men.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. They say he has been arrested for crimes against the country, connected with the U.S. raid that captured an al Qaeda operative. The militants say he is in good condition but the government says they are working to try to understand the situation and hopefully get him freed.

The justice minister there calls this a kidnapping. The big question you talked to Nic Robertson earlier is, about who is running things now?

BERMAN: He says the country is being run at least ostensibly by a council of ministers. But they don't know what is going on. They're trying to figure out the situation. A tremendous amount of chaos in Libya, as it is, this will only further unsettle the situation.

And the word from militia he is in good condition, well, how meaningful is that? If you're seized, as a prime minister, by 100, 150 militiamen --

SAMBOLIN: Who storm a hotel room. At first, we were calling this a kidnapping. No, they say he has been detained and crimes that are leveled against him.

So, this is a tenuous situation. We have Nic Robertson who is covering this story carefully for us and we'll bring you an update soon here.

BERMAN: As soon as we get it.

Meanwhile, 37 minutes after the hour.

A gun battle in West Virginia ending in the death of a former police officer. Officials say the former officer armed with an assault rifle opened fire on a federal courthouse in Wheeling. Thomas Piccard served on the force for 20 years and on Wednesday he was killed by some of his own.


CHIEF SHAWN SCHWERTFEGER, WHEELING: Responding officers engaged the gunman who was continuing to discharge that firearm. That person was incapacitated by the gunfire from a Wheeling police officer, as well as a court security officer who responded from across the street at the federal building.


BERMAN: Witnesses say Piccard fired around two dozen rounds at the courthouse and a nearby YWCA. Two federal court security guards were treated for minor injuries. Still no word on the motive.

SAMBOLIN: The jurors chosen to decide the fate of accused Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes should expect the whole process to take eight months. Up to three months for jury selection and another five for the trial. The judge's estimate included an order released Wednesday. Jury selection is expected to begin in February. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the 2012 rampage which killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others.

BERMAN: Now to the latest in the teen rap case out of Steubenville, Ohio. A school technology indicted by a special grand jury pleading not guilty to charges of tampering with obstructing justice and providing false system.

Fifty-three-year-old William Rhinaman is now out of jail on bond. The indictment claims he tampered with evidence on the night of the alcohol fueled party where two high school football players raped a 16-year-old girl.

SAMBOLIN: Prosecutors trying the murder case against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez are planning to file a motion to remove the judge from the judge from the case, but they have not given a reason as to why they want that done. Hernandez was called to the stand during a pretrial hearing Wednesday, the judge asking him about a potential conflict of interest. One of his lawyers works with the wife of one of the prosecutors. Hernandez saying he did not have a problem with that.

BERMAN: In Detroit, former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick learns his fate today. A federal judge is set to sentence him on 24 counts of bribery, extortion, racketeering, fraud and tax evasion. That's quite a list. Prosecutors want a minimum of 28 years saying city hall for sale while Kilpatrick was in office. They also want him to pay back more than $10 million in profits he made steering city contracts to a friend.

SAMBOLIN: Well, father of a 9-year-old man who got past airport security and stowed away on a flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas is begging again for help. The father who hid his face and not making his identity known, told reporters that he has had issues with his son for years. One time, police returned him home only to threaten the father if he disciplined the boy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An officer told me, if I see you hit your son, we're going to have to lock you up. I said, sir, what can I do? I've been asking for help. There's no one helping me. I'm in what you call a double jeopardy. If I whop, my son, I get locked up. If I let my son keep on doing what he is doing, I get in trouble. Somebody please help! Please!


SAMBOLIN: It's quite a plea there. The 9-year-old has a long history of run-ins with authorities, reportedly stealing a delivery truck and crashing it into a police car. Even sneaking into a water park and pretending to be part of a large family. Remind you this boy is 9 years old. Last week, he was suspended from school for fighting.

BERMAN: All right. Let's move on now. Let's take a look at our weather this morning.

Chad Myers with an early look at that.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And a very good early morning to you.

New York City metro is going to be rainy and cold, just wind all day long and could see delays there. D.C. metro and also into Philadelphia, the low clouds from that coastline storms and then for thunderstorms, Albuquerque, a couple of wind events out there. Rain across the East Coast, there's the low I'm talking about, kind of pushing moisture back all the way from Philadelphia, right on down even into Virginia. And then severe storms could be some strong weather that planes may have to fly around from Denver, all the way back down to the Texas Panhandle. Those thunderstorms popping up like a spring day out there.

Seventy-nine Kansas City, 82 in Memphis today, a cold day in the Northeast. It just doesn't warm up, 59 D.C., 60 New York, and D.C. with the wind' cold, it will feel much colder than 60 out there today.

So, kind of a recap for you -- New York City metros some afternoon rain. D.C. metros low louder and also with Philadelphia and thunderstorms in Denver.

BERMAN: Our thanks to Chad for that. A really nice story here.

SAMBOLIN: I say it's hip, hip hooray for this woman. She is a fighter.

BERMAN: Gets good.

All right. Imagine learning to walk again at age 84. Just a few months ago, Margaret Freiwald was clinging to life and diagnosed with a potentially flesh eating infection. This is the bad part. She contracted the bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite complications that ravaged her body, the Florida residents kept on fighting even after doctors amputated her leg.


MARGARET FREIWALD: Only when I woke up and they told me they took my leg. It really didn't bother me that much because I was thankful that I was alive. I'm going to go right back home and do the things I've always done. We are going on vacation. We're going to the Keys!


BERMAN: There they are.

SAMBOLIN: We are going to the keys!

BERMAN: Good for her, 84 years old.

Freiwald says she remembers very little about her hospitalization. Her family calls her recovery nothing short of a miracle. Nine people have died from the bacteria just this year alone. But she is up and walking.

SAMBOLIN: The smile on her face, the attitude probably had a lot to do with her recovery, right?

BERMAN: I'm sure it did.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Coming up --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to talk about it. Sometimes I'm very removed from the situation it seems like, but when I see the photograph and other photos of victims or people that I knew, that's when I realize, I was there.


SAMBOLIN: Inside a Kenyan mall when terrorists began to kill. It is an emotional story of survival headed your way next.


BERMAN: All different angles.

SAMBOLIN: Don't you love that?

BERMAN: We did think it was Wednesday at one point today.

SAMBOLIN: I did. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I apologize for that. It is Thursday morning but apparently for some reason, I thought it was Wednesday.

BERMAN: We did some fact-checking.

SAMBOLIN: I'm a little sleep deprived so I'm sorry. Happy Thursday!

BERMAN: Yes, happy Thursday. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

It is time for "Primetime Pop". That's the best from CNN's primetime interviews.

First up, Erin Burnett on the shutdown shame.

SAMBOLIN: She was talking to Virginia Senator Tim Kaine about the military death benefits now being restored.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: These benefits are benefits that should be paid.

But the bigger picture is this, that I do think the White House is right that you can't let people shut down the whole government and then selectively decide what they want to reopen, because if you do that, you're going to have a shutdown every year. People who cannot get what they want, who refuse a budget negotiation, will shut the entire government down and then they'll decide who they want to let up off the mat, and that's just no way to run the government of the greatest nation on earth.

At any point, a compromise and a conference is a good idea. If they finally come to it after six and a half months, of course, we want to sit down and do it. But there is no reason to keep all these people laid off, private contractors. I met with a bunch of employees and private contractors in my office today, they're all laid off, furloughed. They're all worried about their paychecks.


KAINE: Why would we keep them laid off? They can come back and we can negotiate.


BERMAN: And on "AC360", this was a gripping interview with a survivor of the deadly terror attack in Nairobi that left 67 people dead. American Elaine Dang was injured in the attack. She described what happened next.


ELAINE DANG, NAIROBI MALL ATTACK SURVIVOR: I just thought, OK, my next thing to do right now is just pretend that I'm dead. And so I just laid and I made it a point to lay towards where the shooting was happening because I still wanted, one, to have eyesight and vision to see what is happening and, two, I didn't. To be shot in my back. I didn't want to be paralyzed if I needed to run.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: When you see that photo taken of you now, what do you think?

DANG: I go back and forth between like was I really there? Or -- because when I talk about it, I talk about it like sometimes like I'm very removed from the situation but when I see the photograph and other photos of victims or people that I knew, that's with when I realized I was there.

So it actually puts me back, which I actually think at this point is a good thing because I think removing myself too much this early is probably not healthy for my mind, but that's how I've been coping with it is to actually make it seem like it's removed from me.


SAMBOLIN: And Piers Morgan spoke with the widow of Charles Roberts. He shot 10 Amish school children in 2006, killing five of them. Marie Monville describes the incredible act of forgiveness that followed.


MARIE MONVILLE, WIDOW OF AMISH SCHOOLHOUSE SHOOTER: I saw some Amish men walking down the street. I knew they were coming to my house. I said, what do you do? Do I talk to them? I'm sure they are coming here.

My dad said, you can stay inside and I'll go out and talk with them. He knew them. You know, they were from our community. And so, as he met them on the drive, I continued to watch from the window. And although I couldn't hear the words they spoke, I saw the embrace. You know, I saw them put their arms around my dad and put their hands on his shoulder and everything about their gentleness conveyed the words that I couldn't hear.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: An amazing thing to happen, but indicative of the protective blanket that the Amish community put around you.

MONVILLE: Absolutely.

MORGAN: At a time when your husband had decimated a large number of that community.

MONVILLE: Yes. Absolutely. When my dad came back in, we all were waiting to hear from him what they said and he collected his thoughts. I knew that it had been a deeply moving time for him as well. He said that they had forgiven Charlie and that they were extending grace and love to our family. They were concerned about me and concerned about our children.


BERMAN: Amazing.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. That was riveting. I was watching it this morning. Just incredible.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up next for us, the Cardinals taking on the Pirates for the right to play in the National League Championship Series. Who goes on? Who goes home? Andy Scholes with the game time drama is coming up next in "The Bleacher Report."


SAMBOLIN: I'm very sad now. After 20 straight losing seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates finally made it back to the playoffs but their magical run came to an end last night with a loss to the Cardinals. I'm devastated.

BERMAN: With apologies to the tens of people watching us from St. Louis right now. Everyone was rooting for the Pirates, I have to say.

Andy Scholes joins us now with the "Bleacher Report."

Give it to us, Andy.


You know, the Pirates, they were looking to win their first postseason series since 1979 last night but unfortunately for them, they ran Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in the decisive game five. David Freese, he got things started for Cards with a two-run home run in the second inning and that is all Wainwright would need. He threw a complete game giving up only one run. Cardinals win 6-1. They advance to the National League Championship Series and take on the dodgers. We have another winner take all game five tonight. Tigers and A's battle it out for the right to play the Red Sox in the ALCS. First pitch is 8:00 Eastern on TBS.

All right. Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is doubling down on the commitment not to change the name of his team after receiving a lot of negative publicity lately. Snyder sent a letter to Redskins season ticket holder saying he wants to preserve the team's heritage by keeping the controversial Redskins name. This comes just days after President Obama said he would consider changing the name.

All right. Despite the government shutdown the Air Force Academy will be hitting the field tonight for their game against San Diego State. Officials announced on Wednesday that all of Air Force's athletic teams can resume playing immediately. The games will be funded with nongovernment money and no official announcement made for Saturday's game between Army and Eastern Michigan and Navy and Duke. But they are scheduled to play the games as scheduled.

Hopefully, guys, we don't have to talk about this again next week. Hopefully, this whole government shutdown thing will go away.

SAMBOLIN: Wouldn't that be lovely? But --

BERMAN: Let me ask you this -- the way Wainwright is pitching, kind of think the Cardinals may be the favorites to win it all.

SCHOLES: Wainwright, now, Michael Wacha coming up from the minors, just shutting people down. That Dodgers/Cardinals series is going to be a good one.

BERMAN: It is. All right. Andy Scholes, thanks so much. See you in a little bit.

And we will be right back.


SAMBOLIN: I'm shocked.

Fifty-eight minutes past the hour.

Taking a look what is trending this morning.

BERMAN: Nothing bigger than this.

SAMBOLIN: It's crazy. The Jonas Brothers are calling off their planned fall tour amid what is being called a deep rift between these three boys! They were slated to launch the tour tomorrow in Pennsylvania but their spokesman says the brothers are in the midst of a big disagreement over their musical direction. That despite their work together on a planned fifth studio album and sold-out concert tours.

What is going on with the boys?

BERMAN: Yes. What is going on with the boys?

You have an article up here that says, you know, they say they scrapped the tour over creative differences. The jerk in me wants to suggest, I didn't know they were creative! So how could they have differences?

No, we don't know what is happening with the Jonas brothers here.

SAMBOLIN: No. We do feel terrible about this though.

BERMAN: If you have any information, please tweet us because this is of great concern to us! She is ZoraidaCNN. I'm John Berman. Find us #earlystart.

What is going on with the Jonas Brothers?

SAMBOLIN: Some young girls are going to be really, really disappointed about this.

BERMAN: What is our world coming to?

EARLY START continues right now.


OBAMA: A real simple solution. The speaker of the House could solve this today.

BOEHNER: Our message in the House has been pretty clear. We want to reopen our government and provide fairness to all Americans under the president's health care law.


BERMAN: All right. Some shocking news on the government standoff here. There maybe the first teeny, tiny signs of at least a partial deal, that with House Republicans heading to the White House today.

SAMBOLIN: And the money flowing again to military families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice.