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"I Have No Excuse"; Iran Talks Continue; Army Controversy; In Search of Oswald's Widow; "Bleacher Report"; Dreamlifter Lands at Wrong Airport

Aired November 21, 2013 - 05:00   ET


REP. TREY RADEL (R), FLA.: And I'm not going to sit here and try and make any excuses for what I've done.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: Took full ownership, headed to rehab overnight, the new plan for the U.S. congressman busted for cocaine. But will that satisfy the critics?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The U.S. and Iran close it to a diplomatic breakthrough this morning. Will Iran agree or will Iran agree to this nuclear deal and is the U.S. giving away too much? We are going to be live with the latest in these negotiations.

SAMBOLIN: And as the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's murder approaches, CNN goes in search of the reclusive woman whose husband took the president's life.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I have to warn you, she got a lot of sleep last night and she is on fire this morning. I do not know what's going on.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm having a lot of coffee so that combination, look out, Berman.


BERMAN: I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

It is Thursday, November 21st, it is 5:00 am in the east.

BERMAN: And we are going to begin with cocaine and politics. It's that combination that has been in the news, a remarkable amount lately. An aide to freshman Congressman Trey Radel says the Republican plans to check himself into a rehab facility in Naples today. Radel has now admitted that he was carrying cocaine when he was busted in a government sting and overnight he delivered an emotional news conference where he said he has been struggling with addiction for years. He has no plans to step down; still some people want him out of office now. Alina Machado has the latest.


RADEL: I have no excuse for what I've done. ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Contrite and apologetic, Republican Congressman Trey Radel announced late Wednesday night that he is taking a leave of absence from Congress after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine.

RADEL: I've let down our country. I've let down our constituents. I've let down my family.

MACHADO (voice-over): The freshman lawmaker says he is accepting responsibility for his actions.

RADEL: I have been getting the help that I need and I will continue to get the help that I need.

MACHADO (voice-over): Federal agents arrested Radel back in October during a drug sting. Court documents say he bought 3.5 grams of cocaine worth $260 from an undercover officer. Radel calls his actions, quote, "extremely irresponsible," and says he has been struggling with addiction for years.

RADEL: I knew that this day would come. I've been struggling with this but I've had my wake-up call.

MACHADO (voice-over): Earlier Wednesday Radel was at Washington, D.C.'s, Superior Court where he ignored questions from reporters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this related to your alcoholism?

MACHADO (voice-over): Radel has been sentenced to a year of probation and if it's successfully completed, his guilty plea will be cleared from his record. He was facing up to 180 days in prison. Some are now calling for Radel to step down.

MELANIE SLOAN, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS: Trey Radel needs to resign right away. He committed a crime. Members of Congress swear to uphold the laws, not break them.

MACHADO (voice-over): The former journalist and father of a 2-year- old son stopped short of resigning. Instead he says he is focused on rebuilding trust with his family.

RADEL: The first thing I need to do tonight is go to begin to mend that trust and relationship with my wife, who is with me, will continue to stand with me, who I love, who is my rock. I'm going to hug my little guy, even if he is asleep tonight and I'm going to work to do everything I can to be strong, to come out as a better man.

MACHADO (voice-over): Radel also said he would enter an intensive patient program to get treatment for substance abuse. He hopes to set an example for those who struggle with addiction.

RADEL: I hope I can be a role model for millions of others that are struggling with this disease.

MACHADO (voice-over): Alina Machado, CNN, Cape Coral, Florida.


SAMBOLIN: Three minutes past the hour. Now to the latest on ObamaCare and the expectation of new headaches once gets fixed. The next challenge may be keeping your doctors and the hospitals.

President Obama promised people could keep their doctors. That was back in 2009, you know. But in many states, a new plan seems to offer a narrow choice of doctors and hospitals, less than what people get through Medicare or employer-based coverage.

Concerns are being already raised in some states and some hospitals have lodged complaints over the network issue.

BERMAN: Some spying bombshells from classified NSA documents: one memo dated 2005 says the agency can spy on British citizens and citizens of some of America's closest allies under specific circumstances and without their consent.

This even though the English-speaking countries have an official nonspying pact with each other.

Another memo from 2007 shows an agreement was reached between the U.S. and the U.K. that allowed the NSA to unmask Britain's personal data.

SAMBOLIN: And now to Geneva and the talks between the West and Iran over its nuclear program. The Obama administration insists it does not want to rush, but the longer it takes to strike a deal, the more resistance may come from friends and foes alike.

Chief national correspondent Jim Sciutto is live in Geneva for us this morning.

What can you tell us, Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning. Negotiators doing battle at the bargaining table this morning at the bargaining table. You had the first really significant meeting going on between the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif and the E.U. foreign minister, Catherine Ashton, members of the E.U. team tell us that this morning they are, quote, "locked in tough negotiations."

The senior administration officials have been talking to say that the West is unified now in their position. They have gotten over whatever disagreements broke up the last round of talks. It's really now up to the Iranians. But before these talks have started, the administration officials have been doing their own round of expectations management, including Secretary of State John Kerry. Let's listen to what he had to say.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We will not allow this agreement, should it be reached -- and I say should it be reached -- to buy time or to allow for the acceptance of an agreement that does not properly address our core fundamental concerns.


SCIUTTO: And their core fundamental concerns are about Iran's enrichment of uranium. The West appears comfortable with allowing Iran to continue enrichment of uranium within strict limitations and up to only certain levels well below bomb grade.

But this is something -- the question now is whether the Iranians are willing to accept it in exchange for what is being offered, which seems to be very mild relaxations of the sanctions regime, something in the single digits in billions of dollars according to administration officials.

So that's what they're going to be battling over. It's a third round of talks here. They have gotten close before. We're going to see in the next 48 hours or so if they are able to pull it off this time.

SAMBOLIN: So, Jim, how damaging are these talks to relations with United States' closest ally in the region, Israel, especially in light of this? Iran supreme leader referring to Israel as the "warmongering rabid dog of the Middle East." That was during a military speech to commanders.

SCIUTTO: Yes, not very friendly words coming out of Iran. I think that he was actually targeting those comments specifically at the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has done a very vocal personal campaign against any deal really. He has now been in Moscow lobbying the Russians, who are also taking part in these talks, not to accept anything too weak.

And that is a problem because it's coming out so much in public. You've heard very sharp disagreements between the Israelis and the Americans on this. Now American officials will say that that disagreement is just tactical but it's a pretty big tactical disagreement here where the U.S. administration appears ready to accept a deal under circumstances that the Israelis truly are not comfortable with.

Now that's not going to end the relationship; it's too important a relationship between the U.S. and Israel. But rarely have we seen it, this kind of disagreement become so public between the two countries. That's a problem, because for a deal like this to work, really the U.S., the West, they need Israel on board. If not on board, at least not publicly lobbying against it, which is what they are doing.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Jim Sciutto live in Geneva for us, thank you.

BERMAN: Another round of serious diplomacy going on in Afghanistan, where Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, is set to present tribal leaders with deal to keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan through 2024.

Karzai and Secretary of State John Kerry finalized the security agreement in a phone call. Afghanistan's Grand Assembly must improve the deal, which would extend America's post-combat presence well past the official date for withdrawal for most forces in 2014. SAMBOLIN: And Secretary of State Kerry is also speaking out on the situation in Egypt, saying the Muslim Brotherhood stole the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak back in 2011.

Kerry told a meeting of multinational firms at the State Department that the young people who protested in Tahrir Square were not driven by religion or ideology, and he says the Brotherhood appropriated the fight from them. Now ousted president Mohammed Morsy is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The party is now banned in Egypt.

BERMAN: All right. This is an interesting story. The Army is facing criticism this morning over an internal e-mail advocating just how to show women's roles in combat. The e-mails from a female colonel, who has been analyzing how best to integrate women into combat roles, and it says that Army PR materials should use photos of quote, "average looking women," not pretty ones, because it says beauty shots undermine the message that women can do tough jobs.


BERMAN: An Army spokesman says the comments were not an official position.

This is all stemming from one apparently PR pamphlet that went out that showed a woman in combat and appeared to have lipstick or makeup on and this Army colonel was suggesting they should show women in more realistic combat roles with mud on their faces, all about the image that it sends.

SAMBOLIN: So not necessarily pretty but maybe prettied up?

BERMAN: Well, she sort of said both at the same time. And the language has been criticized by members of Congress now, created quite a discussion.

SAMBOLIN: I bet it has.

BERMAN: One that I'm way too scared to weigh in on.

SAMBOLIN: To partake in, yes.

BERMAN: Exactly.

Let's get a check now of the forecast for today. Indra Petersons is here.

Good morning, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. We are definitely talking about snow on the West Coast and that eventually will impact us by this weekend. So pay attention. We are talking about a cold enough system to produce -- producing over a foot of snow today in Colorado. Also around Wyoming and notice even a little bit left over towards Mammoth. What we're looking at is a system is making its way south, that's producing the snow. But something else to notice on the back side of this. I'm going to take you way out into the ocean again towards Hawaii. Look at the stream of moisture going all the way towards the West Coast.

Once we bring you in a little bit closer you see all that moisture is coming all the way out and then wrapping around this low. So we are talking about heavy rain in the Southwest this weekend. This is going to be a big story as we go through the weekend with a lot of flooding concerns in through the deserts.

Now the system will eventually make its way to the Midwest today. We're going to start seeing some of those showers in, unfortunately, Washington, Illinois, today, looking for these thunderstorms to cruise into their area.

The same system will continue farther to the east by Friday in through Saturday, bringing the Northeast and mid-Atlantic some light showers. The story behind this, though, is really going to be the temperatures. Look at those 20s. Then I'll take you all the way to Sunday because this is key. Highs in the 20s and 30s by the time we get to the end of the weekend.

I know that's a big jump; when it's that low, people need to know.

BERMAN: Thank you for preparing us. Bracing us for this. The fireplace going, it will be OK.

PETERSONS: It'll be nice. You can cuddle.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Not with each other.


PETERSON: No, no, no.

BERMAN: Thank you, Indra.

President John F. Kennedy murdered by a stranger nearly 50 years ago. Now CNN goes in search of the woman who knew the killer best, Lee Harvey Oswald's widow.

SAMBOLIN: And Singer Chris Brown was ordered to rehab again. The violent rage that got him into trouble this time.

BERMAN: Again?

All right. Plus it is that time for your morning rhyme. Tweet us with your own original verse. It can be about anything; the hashtags are #earlystart and #morningrhyme. The best one, we'll read it in the next half hour.

SAMBOLIN: Do you know some people send them the night before now?

BERMAN: They're good. They're smart. Get a jump. (MUSIC PLAYING)


BERMAN: All right. You have to look at this. This is a bizarre situation unfolding overnight in Kansas. A massive cargo jet -- look at this thing -- a 747 Dreamlifter touches down at the wrong airport.

SAMBOLIN: How is that even possible?

BERMAN: Great question. It landed in a small general aviation field in Wichita, not the Air Force base where it was supposed to land, and the runway where it is right now may be too short for it to park.

So -- for it to get out of there -- so get comfortable, 747 Dreamlifter. You may not be going anywhere. We're going to have much more on this in our next half hour, including the very confused conversations with air traffic controllers, saying things like, what are you doing at my airport, giant airplane?

SAMBOLIN: To give you a little perspective, if you haven't flown a 747, it's typically a 400-passenger airplane, can load more cargo by volume than any other airliner in the entire world.

BERMAN: And it's in a wee tiny airport now.

SAMBOLIN: How do you get it out of there?

BERMAN: Very carefully.

SAMBOLIN: All right. It was 50 years ago tomorrow that President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

Our current president was only 2 years old at the time. But President Obama spent Wednesday remembering this country's 35th leader, laying a wreath at JFK's grave at Arlington National Cemetery and handing out Medals of Freedom at the White House.

The honor was created by President Kennedy, who died before he could ever award one. This year's honorees included former President Clinton and, as you're seeing there, Oprah Winfrey.

BERMAN: The anniversary of JFK's assassination is of course raising questions who was really responsible. Was it lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald or as so many people have conjectured for so long was it part of a larger conspiracy?

Brian Todd went in search of Oswald's widow, a woman who has spent the last 50 years largely avoiding the spotlight.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's one of the last people still alive with a deeply personal family connection to that weekend in Dallas 50 years ago. Marina Oswald Porter, the Russian- born widow of John F. Kennedy's assassin, a woman who now who simply wants to be left alone.

KEYA MORGAN, FRIEND OF MARINA OSWALD PORTER: After 50 years of being harassed like that and having reporters show up at your home and anywhere you go and everyone is trying to only speak about one subject and one subject only.

TODD (voice-over): Filmmaker Keya Morgan, a friend of Marina Oswald Porter's, says in recent years she has become reclusive. She lives in a house behind these trees outside Dallas, signs clearly indicating visitors aren't welcome. She married Kenneth Porter two years after Kennedy's assassination and raised the son she had with him along with her two daughters with Lee Harvey Oswald.

PAUL GREGORY, FORMER FRIEND OF MARINA OSWALD PORTER: I understand they have grown up to be quite outstanding citizens, holding good jobs. So I commend her and her children and her husband for what they have done.

TODD (voice-over): A friend says in recent years, she turned down a network offer of $3 million for an interview. But decades ago, she did speak out, revealing a change of heart about her husband, to TV station KRLD just two months after the assassination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that your husband killed President Kennedy?

MARINA OSWALD, WIDOW OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD: Well, I've been wanting to believe but I have too much fact and fact tell me that Lee shot Kennedy.

TODD (voice-over): But later, she came to believe Oswald was set up as she told NBC News in 1993.

OSWALD: Well, he definitely did not fire the shots according to all the evidence that I have right now.

TODD (voice-over): Why the about-face? Former "Dallas Morning News" reporter Hugh Aynesworth has known Marina for decades.

HUGH AYNESWORTH, FORMER "DALLAS MORNING NEWS" REPORTER: I guess manipulation might be a crude way of putting it, but she certainly changed her mind because of some of the conspiracy theories that have been given to her.

TODD: We tried several times to reach Marina Oswald porter for an interview. After going to her home and calling repeatedly, we finally got an answer on the phone and realized what others meant when they said that her husband, Kenneth, is polite but fiercely protective. He told me, quote, "We are not talking to the media right now, but thank you," and then he hung up -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: Just one of the fascinating aspects to this.

And of course I've been telling you this all week, tune in tonight at 9:00 pm Eastern for CNNFilms' "The Sixties: The Assassination of President Kennedy." That's tonight at 9:00 pm Eastern, right here on CNN. It is a terrific documentary.

SAMBOLIN: Nineteen minutes past the hour.

A Los Angeles judge is sending singer Chris Brown back to rehab. The R&B star checked into anger management last month after an assault arrest in Washington.

Brown was reportedly discharged after he threw a rock through his mother's car window. The judge cited the incident while handing down three months of therapy, along with drug testing and he added some community service. Brown is due in court in Washington next week.

BERMAN: A settlement in the $3 million lawsuit against Lance Armstrong; the disgraced former cyclist was sued by an insurance companies that paid him every time he won the Tour de France. Of course, turns out now he didn't win any Tour de Frances (sic) or Tours de France.

Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his wins and admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs earlier this year. No word on the settlement round. Armstrong still faces two more potentially multimillion-dollar lawsuits.

SAMBOLIN: I'm not even going to ask you for more on that because you may lose your head.

All right, coming up...

BERMAN: A huge trade, a blockbuster trade in Major League Baseball, literally one of the biggest players in the game is on the move. Andy Scholes breaks it all down in the "Bleacher Report."



BERMAN: Brace yourself, folks. A blockbuster trade going down in Major League Baseball yesterday between the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers.

SAMBOLIN: This is all anyone is talking about. Andy Scholes joins us now with more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys.

Well, rarely do you see two playoff teams swapping superstars, but that is what we saw with the Rangers and the Tigers yesterday. Texas is sending All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler to Detroit in exchange for slugger Prince Fielder. Now the Rangers were looking for a big left-handed bat and they got it with Fielder but they also got his monster contract. Fielder is owed $168 million over the next seven seasons, but according to reports the Tigers are going to pay for $30 million of that. But by trading Kinsler some think the Rangers are now also going to go after Yankees' free agent second baseman Robinson Cano.

As feared, Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn has reinjured her surgically repaired right knee and is now in jeopardy of missing the Olympics. The latest injury occurred when she crashed while practicing on Tuesday. A spokesperson for Vonn said in a statement that she has a mild knee sprain and a partial tear to her right ACL. Vonn will now rest a few days and then pursue progressive physical therapy to see if she can compete in the Sochi Games February.

Packers fans, Kyle Dryer and his wife, Crystal (ph) gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Sunday. There was just one issue: the baby had a broken left collarbone just like quarterback Aaron Rodgers so the couple took it as a sign and did what every Green Bay couple would do, they named their son Aaron Rodgers Dryer.

Now Dad says little Aaron Rodgers Dryer going to be a quarterback just like his namesake.

All right, turning on, there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop when it comes to Jose Canseco. Check it out. The former slugger was pulled over by the cops yesterday with goats in his car.


SCHOLES: Canseco tweeted this picture as proof, guys, and look closely. One of the goats is wearing a diaper.

BERMAN: Of course he is.

SCHOLES: Canseco says the animals are part of a fainting goat adventure documentary that he is currently producing.


SAMBOLIN: (INAUDIBLE) bizarre. We need more details on that, Andy.

BERMAN: I confess one of my guilty pleasures is actually following Jose Canseco on Twitter. And I --

SAMBOLIN: Can you explain this?

BERMAN: No, I saw this yesterday and I had no idea what it was. I'm like, oh, there are goats in the back of Jose Canseco's car. Of course there are.

SCHOLES: Don't need to know anymore. But I'm going to watch this documentary.


BERMAN: All right. Andy Scholes, important news. Thanks for bringing that to us. Appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So an enormous cargo plane is stuck on the runway after the pilots land, unaware that, hmm, they are at the wrong airport.

BERMAN: Wrong airport.

SAMBOLIN: How does that happen? We have the stunning audio from the cockpit coming up next.



RADEL: I grew up with a mom who struggled with alcoholism. It is not an easy thing to deal with. And I don't want my son to go through that.

BERMAN: Wow. The U.S. congressman busted with cocaine. Overnight, his new plans for the future.