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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Obama Pushes for Action in Congress; The Road Ahead; Snowden Breaks His Silence

Aired October 18, 2013 - 05:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Up and running! This is what it looks like when the government is back to work.

The question is for how long? What our elected official need to do to avoid another damaging shutdown. How about more jobs?

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Edward Snowden breaks his silence. Why he believes he has helped national security by leaking the secret NSA document and what he says he has in his possession now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For anyone who has him, please be kind and let him go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The desperate plea. The mother of a missing autistic teen begs for his safe return as police step up efforts to bring this boy home.

SAMBOLIN: He is nonverbal and she is so worried about him. But there's such an effort --

BERMAN: An entire city mobilized now to find this boy.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Great to see you. Even better, it's Friday, October 18th, at 5:00 a.m. in the East.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, even better that it's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

So, we're going to begin in Washington, as we have for quite sometime, where there are real questions this morning. If the end of a government shutdown might spark a new era of cooperation, no doubt Congress and the president have a lot of work to do. But after this intense fighting the last few weeks, can both sides find common ground to work for the people again?

As senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta tells us, the road ahead is not easy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Listening to President Obama chatting with the Italian prime minister, it sounded as if he was ready for a vacation in Tuscany.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You don't have to twist my arm to come to Tuscany again sometime in the near future.

ACOSTA: But the president has no room on his plate for pasta, not when he set his sight on passing a budget for immigration and, even a farm bill in less than 90 days.

OBAMA: We could get them done by the end of the year if our focus is on what's good for the American people.

ACOSTA: A task the president may have made more difficult for himself after railing against Republicans over the shutdown.

OBAMA: You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election.

ACOSTA: But he may get help from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who told "The Hill" newspaper, "There will not be a government shutdown. I think we have fully now acquainted new members with what a losing strategy is."

Former GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan called for bipartisanship in upcoming negotiations.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We want to look for ways to find common ground, to get a budget agreement.

ACOSTA: Tell that to Texas Senator Ted Cruz whose office told CNN he is not ruling out another shutdown.

The president could also have a fight on his hands over his next pick for secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, a former military lawyer and Obama campaign fund-raiser said at a conference earlier this year, the day will come when the U.S. must declare the war against al Qaeda over.

JEH JOHNSON, PROSPECTIVE HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY NOMINEE: We must no longer consider ourselves against al Qaeda and affiliated groups, and I think Benghazi is what I'm talking about, because you can't label the Benghazi attack as something conducted by al Qaeda and associated forces. It was more of a mixed bag.

ACOSTA: And that's not all. The administration still has to fix those health care Web site glitches.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Nobody is more insistent on that work be done and the experience be approved than the president.

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BERMAN: Of course, what comes next might mean even more political drama, especially for Republicans who admit, many admit, they lost this fight badly. Still, there are signs perhaps both sides my finally decide to work together.

This report now from our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These bipartisan images and conciliatory words may not be much but they are a start.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: We had a good conversation over breakfast this morning.

RYAN: We want to look for ways to find common ground to get a budget agreement.

BASH: After a 16-day government shutdown, it's understandable if you're skeptical. These are the first official budget negotiations in four years, only forced to start as part of the deal to reopen the government.

Still, several House Republicans tell CNN there is reason for optimism. Ted Cruz may not have regrets over a losing strategy to defund Obamacare which led to the shutdown, but others do.

REP TOM COLE (R-OK), BUDGET COMMITTEE: This was the right cause to be fighting for but probably not the smart pick and I think we learned some lessons.

BASH: House Speaker John Boehner never thought it was a smart fight but he stuck with it anyway.

GOP sources are near unanimous. They say Boehner earned new trust among conservatives and new power to negotiate in the future.

COLE: I think they are going to be more willing to listen and because he was proven correct and, quite frankly, without rubbing anybody's face in it, a lot of other voices were proven to be wrong.

BASH: Tom Cole is not one of those Tea Party-backed voices. He calls himself a pragmatic House Republican or as Aaron Schock calls it.

REP. AARON SCHOCK (R), CALIFORNIA: The sane caucus.

BASH: Whatever you call them, they do make up the majority of House Republicans. And Schock admits they have to speak up more.

SCHOCK: I think you're going to see more of us become much more vocal and not taken for granted when it comes to always counting on our votes.

BASH (on camera): House Republican leaders are notably silent intentionally lying low, no statements responding to the president's remarks like we normally see, but privately House GOP sources say they wish the president struck a more unifying tone in the immediately aftermath of the crisis, instead of giving the GOP a lecture.

Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Let's turn now to Russia and NSA leaker Edward Snowden, because there's big news this morning on this case. He is breaking his silence giving an extensive interview to "The New York Times" about his reasons, what he says are his reasons for leaking secret documents.

He says he has none of those documents in his possession now. That is very interesting.

Phil Black live in Moscow this morning.

Phil, what is Snowden saying here? Because there have been all kinds of speculation he could turn over a treasure trove maybe to the Russian government.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, that is one of the criticisms he has become an intelligence asset for the Russian government. That whatever classified documents he came in here with are now in the possession of Russia's spy agencies. But Edward Snowden says that is not possible because he didn't bring anything with him. He said what classified documents he had were left with journalists in Hong Kong. There are no copies and he said that would not serve the public interest in any way.

And he's also confident that China's spy agencies haven't been able to access that information because he said he knew their technical capabilities so he was able to protect that information from them.

It fits what his father Lon Snowden told me here in Moscow earlier this week when he was visiting his son. I asked him what dealings his son was having with Russia's intelligence and security service and he said absolutely none. His son had assured him he had not been debriefed by any spy agency from any country since he fled the United States, John.

BERMAN: A very interesting interview in the "The Times" this morning, Phil.

And Snowden, a little bit circumspect now about the impact of his leaks.

BLACK: Yes, he says the impact has been greater than he expected. He argues he believes he has enhanced America's national security. He argues that he believes allowing wide ranging highly secretive electronic surveillance and intelligence gathering operations to continue in the dark is ultimately more damaging to national security than exposing a few specific examples that he believes crossed the boundaries of the law.

So, his argument goes that by informing the public, triggering a national debate, the country is a safer place, John.

BERMAN: So, he's triggered this debate. What does he do now? He just sits in Russia for the rest of the year that he's got there?

BLACK: Well, his teenager told me he plans to stay here for the moment. His location is still a secret. Apparently, his father says his life is pretty comfortable here. He is happy, healthy, free to move around and he's got a network of people supporting him.

He says, though, he is done with leaking. He is not in that business anymore, but he does intend to remain a voice in the ongoing discussion about privacy and electronic surveillance in the United States.

BERMAN: Created quite a discussion already.

Phil Black in Moscow for us this morning, thanks so much, Phil.

SAMBOLIN: His father also says he doesn't know if he'll return to the United States.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: He may not comeback. Except in custody.

SAMBOLIN: Exactly.

All right. Federal air marshal under arrest this morning in Nashville, accused of using his phone to snap pictures up women's skirts as they boarded a plane Thursday. There is picture there. He is 28-year-old Adam Barsh (ph). He was on-duty.

Police say a witness grabbed his phone and when requested he admitted he took the pictures. Barsh is charged with disorderly conduct. The TSA has taken him off the job.

BERMAN: I'd say so.

SAMBOLIN: This used to happen in high school. We wore skirts. I went to a Catholic school and that is what boys would do. Very high school.

BERMAN: But not the TSA.

SAMBOLIN: No.

BERMAN: Nine minutes after the hour.

Director Michael Bay recovering this morning after being attacked on a movie set in Hong Kong. Police say two brothers approached Bay and demanded money, and when he refused, they assaulted him and three police officers. Bay apparently suffered a minor injury to his face. He declined treatment. He was in Hong Kong filming the fourth installment of "The Transformers" series.

SAMBOLIN: It is Friday and it means the weekend. What is in store in the weather department?

BERMAN: Make it good.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, make it good, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It wasn't that bad that. And we had a little cold front came through yesterday. I mean, did you guys even get rain? I mean, so minimal, right?

SAMBOLIN: Overnight. It actually happened overnight.

PETERSONS: If you can handle that, you can handle this weekend. You can see the remnants of the system now making its way in through New England. But, again, very light and very scattered rain out there.

So, that's kind of the story. We're going to have a couple of these waves moving through. Do want to show you the temperature difference we'll start to see. Yesterday, this is yesterday's high as we saw 70s in New York, Philly and D.C.

Today, you're actually going to feel a little bit milder air out there, but nothing too traffic. We are going to have a series of these cold fronts making their way through really over the next several weeks so a big change. So, there's going to be a change.

Today, if you're on the Carolinas, and you look for a little bit of rain there, the tail end of the same system that went through in the Northeast last night will bring showers in through Texas and comes another system that by the Northeast come about Saturday and Sunday give you a couple of sprinkles again, very similar to what we saw yesterday.

And also keep in mind we are talking about a couple of flurries over in Colorado still right now, talking about a little bit of snow out there. By next week, I'm taking you ahead right now. There's going to be a third system that is going to bring a lot of actual, you're not going to contest this, actual cold air coming in from Canada, that's really going to drop our temperatures by Sunday or Monday.

So, it's like one cold front and then the next. We're going to start to get highs in the 50s so get ready for it.

SAMBOLIN: Really?

PETERSONS: Now I need the ah! Join the party.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Maybe lows. The lows will be a lot lower, right?

PETERSONS: Focus. The weekend is going to be good.

BERMAN: All right. We're going to focus on that.

So, what is the name, folks?

SAMBOLIN: A lot.

BERMAN: The Oregon zoo asking that question and wants your help this morning. What it should name of these five pretty darn adorable.

SAMBOLIN: This is a great morning story. Come on over.

BERMAN: Five of them. The choices for the names are three sisters. The smallest Mara, this is like kitty porn. The middle cub known for her mild temperate is Alika or Jalina (ph), the largest and most outspoken lion is Mashabu or Angalia (ph)?

SAMBOLIN: Angalia.

BERMAN: Some lovely names for some pretty adorable lions.

SAMBOLIN: I'm going to start calling you Mashabu, the outspoken one, Mashabu.

BERMAN: That's what my wife calls me.

You can vote online at the zoo's Web site. That again is the Oregon zoo.

SAMBOLIN: I could watch it all day. Is it not that adorable?

BERMAN: They are watching EARLY START and they love EARLY START, something you might not know about lions.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Coming up, a teenager missing for weeks in New York City. Now, there is a desperate search, turning to an unusual tactic to try and find that that boy right there.

BERMAN: And a very old rock, millions of years old, knocked down. The men who did it facing possible charges but was there for the right reasons?

SAMBOLIN: Plus, it is time for your morning rhyme. Tweet us with your own original verse #earlystart, #morningrhyme. We're going to read the best ones on air in our next half hour.

BERMAN: We got some candidates already. You have to send them in very good to beat the one on top right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

A desperate citywide search continues this morning for a missing autistic boy in New York. The 14-year-old, there's a picture right there. He vanished from his Queens school more than two weeks ago. He has not been spotted since.

But now, police are trying a new tool. It is his mother's voice.

Here is Don Lemon. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inch-by-inch, street corner by street corner, seemingly everyone in New York City looking for missing 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Avonte, it's mom.

LEMON: In Queens, near the school where the autistic boy was last seen two weeks ago, search vans broadcast his mother's voice in hopes he may recognize it and come to them.

(on camera): How did you come up with that message?

VANESSA FONTAINE, MOTHER OF AVONTE OQUENDO: That is something that I tell him when he comes home from school. I always say, hi, Avonte, because I want him to give the response hi mom. Sometimes he tells me, hi, mom.

LEMON (voice-over): This surveillance video was the last anyone was seen of Avonte. He can't communicate verbally.

Investigators say after approaching a security guard who didn't let him exit the school, he found a monitored side door and vanished.

FONTAINE: He is not supposed to be running to the halls without supervision. He is not supposed to be letting -- walk out the door and you're not stopping him.

LEMON: New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly does not believe the security guard is at fault.

RAY KELLY, NYPD COMMISSIONER: We see the actions of the security guard on film and also statements by the security agent and other people that we believe there wasn't any ongoing --

LEMON: A source close to the investigation tells CNN searches are concentrating on a five-block area around the school with particular focus on a marshy landfill, thinking cameras don't show the child headed to the neighborhood but he headed towards the water.

But Avonte's father believes he's elsewhere.

DANIEL OQUENDO, FATHER OF AVONTE OQUENDO: I look at part of their job to do that but I'm pretty sure he is not there. He doesn't like he -- doesn't kind of feeling towards water, large bodies of water. He wasn't about that.

LEMON: Water, an ominous fear for these parents. For now, they are keeping positive, trying to find one young boy among millions.

FONTAINE: There's a lot of people out here, a lot of people feel my pain, a lot of mothers and families who have autistic children. It could happen to them. It could happen to any kid, whether you have a special needs kid or a regular kid, it can just happen.

LEMON: One family want entire city behind them.

Don Lemon, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: The entire city is indeed helping right now and let's hope it makes a difference.

In Oregon right now, a 3-month-old baby in state custody after a man tried to surrender him to a convenience store clerk. This happened Sunday night in Eugene. The man apparently walked in and told the worker to call 911 and that the baby's mother could not care for the child and the man walked out.

Oregon does allow parents to legally turn over newborns but only at hospitals, doctor's offices or birthing clinics and police stations.

SAMBOLIN: That is part of the safe haven law. If you go to your particular state, it will tell you exactly whether or not they have that law in the state and where you can drop off a baby if you cannot take care of that baby.

Nineteen minutes past the hour.

Was it vandalism or a move to protect the public? An investigation under way to three men in Utah who intermediate themselves pushing over a 200 million-year-old boulder in a state park. State officials are concerned someone would purposefully knock over a prehistoric wok formation.

One man says the police was barely in place and could have easily rolled and hit someone.

They admit they probably should have called the park ranger rather than doing the moving of that rock themselves.

BERMAN: Wow.

All right. Frightening images from the Philippines as part of 450- year-old church came crashing to the ground during an earthquake. The Basilica of the Holy Child is the oldest church in that country. At least 144 people are said to have died in this earthquake which hit on Tuesday. That's a terrifying picture.

SAMBOLIN: A deportation protest to show you from San Francisco, about 100 protesters surrounding a bus, carrying people and slated to be deported. It's not clear how many people are on board. The protesters want federal action on immigration reform. The stalemate lasted two hours before the bus was allowed to leave.

BERMAN: Coming up, records set on the markets. Why investors are happy with Washington's debt deal. "Money Time" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Fink Floyd, money. Welcome back to EARLY START. It is "Money Time."

We are joined by CNN's freshly named supreme ruler of chief money correspondents, Christine Romans.

Congratulations.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESSC CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. But you can call me old beautiful one. That will be all right.

BERMAN: That's in the contract. My agent couldn't get that in my contract. I tried really hard for that.

ROMANS: Your highness will also work. But thank you, John.

Nice to see you this morning, Zoraida.

The market celebrating a reopening of the U.S. government with a new record! The S&P 500 closing 11 points to finish 1,733. That's the highest close with S&P ever.

I want to show you how we have done this year. The S&P is up 22 percent. The Dow is up 17 percent. The NASDAQ was up 28 percent. What a year.

After the close, Google a big now flirting with a thousand dollars a share. Why? Google had the best profit growth in more than a year. Google able to offset lower mobile ad rates by selling more ads.

We also get earnings this morning from General Electric and Morgan Stanley. G.E., of course, a key reading of the industrial sector. Morgan Stanley, another important report today after Goldman Sachs surprised Wall Street with a big drop in revenue and that slide forcing the CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, to cut back on the compensation put aside for each employee down to $320,000 from $336,000.

That's look at money. That doesn't mean everybody gets paid that, but it is a metric the company uses when figuring out how much pay to give its nearly 33,000 employees.

So, how badly did all of the shutdown craziness in D.C. scare investors? We've got a good reading of that now. (INAUDIBLE) Analytics says investor pulled $43 billion out of money market funds the latest week. They were so spooked because of the budget fiasco. That was biggest one-week decline since August of 2011. That's a good read to show you how Washington craziness were affecting how people were moving their money.

And one last point, one last point. The jobs report comes out Tuesday, finally delayed. We will know with the September jobless rate was and I think the next jobs report will probably be delayed as well and that is where you'll see the impact of the budget shutdown and the Washington fiasco on job creation.

BERMAN: Delayed pain. All right, Christine -- ROMANS: It's really important to have a jobs report and shows you how crazy it was. Government shutdown. You wouldn't know what the jobless rate was. Insanity.

SAMBOLIN: Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Coming up --

BERMAN: Now the shutdown is over, could there be a new era of cooperation starting in Washington? What do you guys say? Well, some say it's on the horizon, but reality could intervene.

SAMBOLIN: And some really pricey whisky missing from a Kentucky distillery. Why police think it was an inside job.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)