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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Shutdown Ends; House and Senate Signed Off on Deal; The Markets Respond; Family Blaming Suspect's Connections; Meteorite Pulled from Lake in Russia

Aired October 17, 2013 - 04:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, let's revel in the moment, though, at least for a second, you know.

(LAUGHTER)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: I know, right.

BERMAN: Right?

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

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Thursday, October 17th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

BERMAN: And it's a different morning.

SAMBOLIN: It is.

BERMAN: This morning is very different.

SAMBOLIN: We were optimistic yesterday. That weren't (INAUDIBLE). There you go.

BERMAN: We can finally say it for real. This crisis, at least for now, averted, but it took just a crazy, crazy day in Washington before Congress got together to give its blessing to this deal that will reopen the government this morning and raise the debt ceiling.

The president signed it into law just after midnight. This is a fresh new law, folks, and these are the details.

The government will be funded through mid January. Doors are open today. The debt ceiling raised until early February. Federal workers will receive pay dating back to the start of the shutdown so folks, you're going to get paid for not working. And negotiations will begin between the House and the Senate on a longer term budget deal.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to support this bill, 81-18, with many Republicans saying yes. A majority of Republicans, in fact, saying yes. The House voting late in the evening, well after 10:00 p.m. The House gave its OK. The result there was a little bit closer. A majority of Republicans there said no, still 87 as you can see there did vote for it, joining 100 percent, every single Democrat in that chamber. Our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta now begins our coverage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The motion is adopted.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just as the nation was on the brink, the House of Representatives blinked. And passed the bipartisan Senate compromise to raise the nation's debt ceiling. And after a 16-day shutdown, the federal government will come back to life. Thousands of employees returning to work in Washington to critical medical research programs, to national parks, even the panda cam and the National Zoo.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will begin reopening our government immediately.

ACOSTA: When the end was in sight, but before the House had even voted, the president came out to say he's ready to work with both parties in the future.

OBAMA: I'm willing to work with anybody. I am eager to work with anybody. Democrat or Republican, House or Senate members, on any idea that will grow our economy, create new jobs and strengthen the middle class and get our fiscal house in order.

ACOSTA: House Speaker John Boehner gave the green light for the deal when he dropped GOP demands for big changes to Obamacare in exchange for an end to the standoff.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We have been locked in a fight over here trying to bring government down to size, trying to do our best to stop Obamacare and we fought the good fight. We just didn't win.

ACOSTA: Even some Tea Party-backed Republicans agreed the strategy failed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the folks who said we were going to lose turned out to be correct. I can't argue with that.

ACOSTA: But in a sign of potentially more battles to come one of the architects of the Obamacare or bust plan, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, vowed to keep fighting.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The way we are going to stop the suffering, the harms that are being visited on millions of Americans is the path we have seen these past couple of months, is the American people rising up.

ACOSTA: Cruz making his wish. The deal only reopens the government until mid January and pushes back another potential default to February but the president told CNN, not to worry.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, isn't this going to happen all over again in a few months?

OBAMA: No.

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Yes. That's the big question.

BERMAN: Let's see if he can keep that promise.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Absolutely.

So the deal is done. And this morning, the first step in negotiating a longer term solution is set to begin with the head of the Senate Budget Committee Patty Murray and House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan scheduled to talk this morning.

Athena Jones is live in Washington.

So what is the goal for this meeting? And I guess we should be talking about longer term because we're really on the heels of facing this again.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Zoraida. That's right.

The goal for this meeting is to begin talks on a longer term solution. These folks have to get together and come up with a budget for the rest of fiscal year 2014 which ends next September so it seems like a long way away but they really don't have a lot of time. They've got to submit a report in mid December. And the problem is there are big Challenges that have plagued this issue on both sides for a long time. They've got to talk about entitlement reforms, tax reforms, possible tax -- more tax revenue.

These are issues that the parties have not been able to agree on and that's why we are at this point in some ways. I mean, Obamacare is certainly a part of it and we also see some indications that the fight over Obamacare could live for another day. And so we could still see some efforts to make some changes to improve the law at the very least.

The other big issue is the idea of these forced spending cuts. This January 15th deadline, the fact that the government is reopened until January 15th is seen as a good thing by Democrats because they didn't want to lock in these forced spending cuts and so that's going to be another big issue on the table. So you hear words like common ground but you also hear words like big challenges ahead.

SAMBOLIN: No doubt. No doubt. They got a lot of work ahead of them.

All right. Let's talk about the winners and the losers in this. The Tea Party took a hit here. President Obama being called a winner this morning. Let's talk a little bit about that. JONES: Well, certainly the president stood his ground here. I believe a lesson that the White House learned in 2011 from the debt ceiling debate at that point was that they, in effect, caved. That's why we have what is called the budget control act. That's why we have these forced spending cuts that many, many Democrats don't like.

And so the president held firm this time saying that he refuses to negotiate over raising the debt ceiling, over reopening the government. Now we can talk about whether these meetings he had with members of both parties at the White House over the last several days are negotiations but in the end, you didn't see changes, big changes to his signature law, the Obamacare law.

And so you could -- many people say the White House won here. Of course, Republicans took a battering in the polls and even though Speaker Boehner, we're told, got a standing ovation from his caucus yesterday, talked about how they fought the good fight and will live to fight another day, it certainly looks as though Republicans bore the brunt of the blame in all of this. And so we have even seeing some prognosticators saying that this puts them in much worse shape entering the 2014 elections.

So it'll remain to be seen what happens in the end even those elections are a long way away but as of right now it's certainly looking like Republicans are the big losers here -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Let's talk about the government workers. They've been furloughed -- some government workers have been furloughed. So when do they get back on to the job?

JONES: Well, they're supposed to come back today. There was a statement put out by the Office of Management and Budget and the quick question for some is how is everyone going to find out? People aren't supposed to be checking their BlackBerrys. Were they supposed to stay up until midnight to find out that they were coming in?

We learned that even some of the civilian workers who were furloughed by the Defense Department and called back to work on that next day that they were supposed to come in, we're talking about over 300,000 workers, a lot of people didn't show up just because they didn't know. And we've heard that some people spent that first day calling employees and telling them to come in.

So we expect we could see some more of that today. But bottom line they're supposed to be back to work. Government is supposed to be reopened and operating normally starting today -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: It'll be slowly but surely, I suspect.

Athena Jones, live in Washington for us, thank you.

JONES: Thanks.

BERMAN: You know for the tens and tens of government workers who are watching EARLY START right now, let us send the message to you that work begins anew today. So you know, wipe the sleep out of our eyes and get going.

SAMBOLIN: They've been saying that for days, though, if in fact we averted the deadline, you -- the crisis that you were going to have to get back to work so --

BERMAN: And I got to say, I am sure they are dying to get back to work.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Yes.

BERMAN: They wanted to be working all along through this mess so --

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Missing paychecks.

BERMAN: Happy for them that they're going to get their paychecks and get the backpay that they need to really survive.

SAMBOLIN: But that backpay, so that you know, the wording in there was that they will, you know, get around to it. It's not something that happens retroactively immediately. It takes time to get that up to speed as well.

BERMAN: Untangle this mess.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BERMAN: A lot going on with this. There've been warnings for days now that had we hit that debt ceiling, there could have been a default. That default could have sunk the economy. The question now that we have this deal is there already damage done?

Maribel Aber is here with that.

Great to see you this morning.

MARIBEL ABER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Damage done. Yes, we've been saying this all morning, right, this deal only funds the government until January 15th. It will raise the debt limit until February 7th saying -- saving the country from defaulting on its bills. So we can all so look forward to this more political back and forth in the not-too distant future.

And some analysts say a default threat could reemerge in February as the Treasury Department approaches its extended borrowing limit. Once again, here we go again, so now what?

First, let's look at the effect on the markets, OK? Asian markets rose today on the news. Japan's Nikkei rose 1 percent. Markets Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong and Shanghai also were higher and the U.S. futures were actually lower as investors may have already reacted to the settlement and moved on. They base that in there, right?

The Dow was up 200 points yesterday. And kook. We were very close to all-time highs there. And S&P 500 was up more than 1 percent. Look. Fitch trading had warned that it might downgrade the U.S. credit rating if the situation were to drag on. We'll see, you know, if that happens if they change that. It's totally within their purview, right? Even though there was no default, though. Analysts from Standard & Poor's say the partial government shutdown took a big bite here. $24 billion bite out of the U.S. economy. The rating agency projects that the U.S. economy will grow by an annual pace of around just $2.4 percent in the fourth quarter. That's a down from its original forecast of roughly 3 percent growth rate predicted prior to the shutdown.

BERMAN: Yes, think about that. 0.6 percent out of GDP for this quarter because of what Washington did to itself. That is a self- inflicted wound.

ABER: Self-inflicted wound.

BERMAN: On the U.S. economy right there and not a small one either.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So all we did was push this deadline further. How is that going to affect the economy?

ABER: Push it -- I'm going to call it to be continued. We're hurting the economy, right. as it is. Remember, just the possibility of a default sends a really bad message to the rest of the world. China is the largest creditor of the U.S. The Chinese ministry said -- foreign affairs -- welcomes the resolution of the debt ceiling crisis by the U.S. government, but not just for the sake of the U.S. But this is because what happens has an impact on entire world economic stability. Right. Everywhere.

And again, we are just talking about the self-inflicted wound. We're doing this to ourselves. We could have avoided this. We could righted the ship. We are our own worst enemies. At a time when the economy -- it's already fragile. So we were talking about it last night, too. It's what we lost, that's what we're afraid of. The growth that we've already lost and we're already in a fragile territory here.

BERMAN: All right, Maribel. Thank you so much. I hope we are not here talking about this again come January when we hit that next government shutdown date. Let's hope there is no shutdown.

ABER: Exactly.

BERMAN: Thanks, Maribel.

Let's get a look at the weather right now. Let's check in with Alexandra Steele.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, everyone. Good morning.

Well, if you're traveling today, pretty quiet weather around the country. Could see a few delays maybe around the New York metro airports, LaGuardia, Kennedy, even toward New Jersey. Also Washington and Baltimore, some low clouds and rain, and in Atlanta, expect some low clouds and thunderstorms.

So here's the culprit. It's this cold front slowly moving not as much moisture as we had with it but you can see it's slowly reaching the eastern seaboard. Cooler temperatures, you're behind the second cold front but the northwest from Los Angeles all the way to Seattle things quiet and pretty comfortable.

Temperatures here in the southeast, the warmest around the whole country. 88 in Tampa and Miami, 76 in Washington, 72 in New York. Expect more clouds than sun with some late day rain showers there, 57 and cool in Minneapolis.

Have a great day.

BERMAN: All right. Our thanks to Alexandra for that.

All right. I have some sad news to report this morning.

(LAUGHTER)

The American League Championship Series, it is all tied up. The Tigers --

SAMBOLIN: You said -- wait, wait, wait. You said, you came in this morning saying this is no big deal.

BERMAN: We're still there but you're looking at Jake Peavy right there, walking in a run in the second inning. That's a bad thing to do in the playoffs, by the way. The Tigers played strong here. You can see Dustin Pedroia bobbling a ground ball that could have been a double play. They only got one out there. That extended the inning. The next stint here was a double that really brought in a number of runs.

There you go. Just like I said it was going to happen, it happened. There is the double two-run score. The Red Sox go down 4-0. I'm a very sad man at this point, folks, and it doesn't get better after this. The Red Sox ended up losing this game 7-3. Game five is tonight at Comerica Park in Detroit.

But you know what?

SAMBOLIN: I woke up to the headline this morning. The Red Sox smacked.

BERMAN: They lost. They lost badly last night 7-3 but, you know --

SAMBOLIN: Tough luck.

BERMAN: Just tied 2-2.

SAMBOLIN: They're still in it. They're still in it.

BERMAN: Still in it. It's tied. They still have home field.

SAMBOLIN: I know. I know. BERMAN: They are more than in it. And we're going to take it.

Now as for the National League Championship series, the Dodgers stayed alive last night. They played a great game. They hit four homeruns against the Cardinals right there. It was pretty impressive. St. Louis is still in the driver's seat right now. They're up 3-2 needing just one win back in St. Louis.

SAMBOLIN: Wow.

BERMAN: That was Adrian Gonzalez who hit two homeruns last night.

SAMBOLIN: Did you just watch all the highlights or did you watch the game?

BERMAN: I watched much of the Dodgers/Cardinals game. The Red Sox/Detroit game was very, very, very late. And I fell -- I mean, I fell asleep when they were losing so -- I mean 5-0 at 8:45 at night --

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Is a pretty good sign that I should go to sleep.

SAMBOLIN: I should go, yes.

All right. Thirteen minutes -- 14 minutes past the hour.

BERMAN: Just to be exact.

SAMBOLIN: Coming up.

(LAUGHTER)

Yes, you have to be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to have people listen and look at it with an objective eye. It's huge for us at this point because we haven't had that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Did you hear about this? It's a new hope for justice in the case of a teenage girl who says prosecutors refused to go after the high school football star who raped her.

BERMAN: And an airport shutdown because of what? Look at that. A kangaroo?

SAMBOLIN: Visiting for the day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

A controversial rape case is now being re-examined after a Missouri prosecutor changed course. As Ana Cabrera told us, he now wants the case involving a teenage girl and a powerful family to get a second look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAISY COLEMAN, ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM: I was more than excited. I felt like I was going to be able to work with someone who was actually excited about this case and willing to put forth the real effort.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alleged sexual assault victim Daisy Coleman and her mother say it's a small victory to have their case reopened.

ROBERT RICE, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, NODAWAY COUNTY: I've asked the court to point a special prosecuting attorney to conduct an independent review of the facts and determine whether to re-file charges.

CABRERA: For the first time, the man at the center of a controversial case is speaking out. Prosecutor Robert Rice under fire after dropping charges in the alleged sexual assault of 14-year-old Daisy Coleman. While now asking for a separate review of the case, he stands by his actions claiming Daisy and her friend Paige, another alleged victim, refused to testify.

RICE: I can't go into their minds. I don't know. I can just tell you this, we were very careful, very deliberate to make sure that we recorded that there was no misunderstanding that they understood by when they, at that time, invoked their fifth amendment right that by doing so was going to force the dismissal of the case.

CABRERA: The Coleman family believes Rice dropped the charges against 17-year-old Matthew Barnett not due to lack of evidence but because Barnett's deep rooted ties to the community.

MELINDA COLMAN, MOTHER OF ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM: I think because it was football players from Maryville had lots of power and connection, and we didn't matter.

CABRERA: Matthew is the grandson of longtime Republican State Representative Rex Barnett.

(On camera): Can you understand people's suspicions about that?

REX BARNETT, MATTHEW BARNETT'S GRANDFATHER: Sure, I can understand why they would think that. I knew that if this thing dragged on very long I would be pulled into it somewhere just for political reasons so I made a point not to talk to the prosecuting attorney, to the sheriff, any of the witnesses directly or indirectly, and I stuck to that.

CABRERA: Do you have a relationship with the prosecuting attorney Robert Rice?

BARNETT: We're acquaintances. Not close friends or anything like that.

CABRERA (voice-over): Rex Barnett retired from politics in 2002. Rice became Nodaway County prosecuting attorney in 2010.

One thing is for certain, outrage is growing. Maryville Mayor Jim Fall says he and many others have started to receive threats from supporters of Daisy Coleman.

JIM FALL, MAYOR OF MARYVILLE: The language, the tone, the vulgarity is unbelievable.

CABRERA: He too wants action that could bring about a swift resolution.

Ana Cabrera, CNN, Maryville, Missouri.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Our thanks to Ana for that.

The attorneys for the man accused of killing 12 people at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater are trying to have all evidence found in his car and computers thrown out. Lawyers for James Holmes says police didn't have a search warrant when they took things from his car. And the warrant for the computer, as they say, was not proper.

The trial is set for February. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors in this case are seeking the death penalty.

SAMBOLIN: Setting the record straight. The owner of the boat where the surviving Boston marathon bombing suspect hid said he is not crazy and he is not a hero. David Henneberry tells "The Boston Globe" he would never have gone into his backyard if he actually knew that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was there. He says when he spotted Tsarnaev, all he did was ran inside and call 911.

BERMAN: An investigation now underway into a scary engine fire on the Spirit Airlines jet flying from Dallas to Atlanta. We told you about this yesterday. An engine burst into flames just minutes after takeoff. Smoke, as you can see it there, filling the cabin. The NTSB says it recalled workers furloughed by the government shutdown to begin looking into just what happened there.

SAMBOLIN: OK. Tell me if you've heard this one before.

BERMAN: No.

SAMBOLIN: A kangaroo walks into an airport.

(LAUGHTER)

This is not a joke. This actually happened yesterday in Melbourne. A wayward kangaroo --

BERMAN: That's not walking, by the way.

SAMBOLIN: No. no. Yes.

BERMAN: It's jumping vigorously, I would say.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Qantas terminal. That's where he was. Inside a pharmacy. Authorities had to lock down part of the building --

BERMAN: What a (INAUDIBLE) kangaroo.

SAMBOLIN: Until he could be rounded up. The kangaroo apparently had some injuries to his feet and the teeth. That explains why he was at the pharmacy. Is now resting in the care of a vet. Officials say it's not unusual to see the marsupials outside the airport. Inside, however, a whole other story.

BERMAN: I just need some Advil.

SAMBOLIN: Some pain meds. Yes.

BERMAN: OK --

SAMBOLIN: Funny. They're taking care of him this morning. He'll be fine.

All right. Coming up, a mystery from the sky pulled from the bottom of a lake. How researchers recovered a massive chunk of meteor. Look at the size of that thing.

BERMAN: This is really cool.

SAMBOLIN: Coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: What are you laughing about?

BERMAN: Zoraida just told me to come home with some flowers. Bring my wife some flowers so when I come home, she said, amazing what happened.

(LAUGHTER)

I said, what do you mean by that? I'm just thinking. Sorry. I was distracted. I was distracted.

SAMBOLIN: I just mean that she'll be happy, she'll be smiling, she'll be thrilled about it. Unbelievable where his mind goes.

Twenty-five minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START.

Russian divers raising a giant chunk of space rock from the bottom of a lake. It's believed to be the biggest piece of a meteorite that fell from the Siberian sky eight months ago.

CNN's Isha Sesay has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the scene back in February as a massive meteor streaked across the sky, turning night into day, the fireball sent shockwaves across Russia, shattering windows, injuring some 1200 people and causing millions of dollars in damage.

Scientists say fragments of the space rock crash landed here beneath the ice of this frozen lake near the city of Chelyabinsk. Now eight months later, the ice is gone and on Wednesday, in an operation covered live on Russian TV, divers entered the murky water. At the bottom of the lake they found what is believed to be the largest single fragment of the meteorite. The 1.5 meter long gold that was dragged to shore then weighed where it literally tipped then broke the scales.

ANDREI KOCHEBOY, CHELYABINSK UNIVERSITY (Through Translator): If it weighs more than 500 kilograms then the object is unique in itself and is likely to be one of the biggest meteorites ever found.

SESAY: The suspected space rock crumbled into several chunks but still weighed in at more than 570 kilograms. Now scientists want to confirm this is indeed the meteorite they have been searching for.

KOCHEBOY (Through Translator): The initial digital survey which we are talking about now doesn't give us 100 percent certainty. We still need to conduct more research, a structural analysis and other tests.

SESAY: When it entered earth's atmosphere, find (INAUDIBLE), the meteor weighed about 10,000 tons. It's just a fraction of that size now. But scientists seemed confident they made an out-of-this-world discovery.

Isha Sesay, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: I got to say, this is really, really cool.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, if you were wondering how much is 570 kilograms in pounds? 1,256.

BERMAN: That's a heavy meteorite that they pulled up from there. Congratulations to them. Very, very cool.

Twenty-seven minutes after the hour, coming up for us, an 11th hour save. The debt disaster.

SAMBOLIN: More like the 13th hour.

BERMAN: Yes, I know. It's really like the 13th hour. This disaster averted this morning. The government reopens but what else is in this great compromise? It might shock you.

Athena Jones breaking down the billions of dollars in What some people are calling pork. That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)