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Deadly Storm; Afghanistan Ultimatum; Newtown Shooting Report

Aired November 26, 2013 - 05:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A deadly storm creating catastrophe for millions across the country. The damage that is causing from the weather and chaos to come for those traveling on the holiday.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Could U.S. troops be pulled out of Afghanistan by next year? Tensions rising over tough negotiations with the country's president. We are live with the very latest on that.

SAMBOLIN: And details relieved about what happened the day a 20-year- old killed dozens inside a Connecticut elementary school. But a mystery still remains.

Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. Happy you're with us this morning.

Happy you're with us also.

ROMANS: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. I'm in for John Berman today. It's Tuesday, November 26. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Good morning, everyone.

We begin with an eye on the wintry weather and moving across the country after killing now at least 12 people. Millions of Americans now in the crosshairs and it's threatening to make get to your Thanksgiving destination pretty difficult.

SAMBOLIN: Pretty hairy.

Accidents dotting the roads in Arkansas. This was the same in Fayetteville in the northwest part of that state. Ice blamed for causing many, many cars to lose control.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get on the highway and next thing I know, I'm spinning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People just don't realize when they cross those bridges that they got ice on them and when they cross them, they lose it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Snow is the issue in Wisconsin, a nasty morning commute in Milwaukee.


ROMANS: Cars -- that's right -- slamming into each other on the highway. The sheriff there reports more than 50 accidents Monday morning alone.


MARK PRIVIDERA, DRIVER: I was just coasting going about 3 miles an hour and I just about got in a car accident right here because it's -- you can't stop. There's a point where there is nothing you can do. It's just glare ice and you're a passenger in your own car.


SAMBOLIN: Snow also falling on Colorado Springs, as part of this storm. Several inches piled up through the weekend but there is dry, warmer weather behind it.

ROMANS: Another thing we are watching is the air travel, a major concern this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Look at that.

ROMANS: One of the busiest travel days of the year. If you're flying, be sure to call your airline before heading to the airport. The storm likely will affect some of the nation's biggest hubs and could mean delays and cancellations for many trying to get away for Thanksgiving.


DANIEL BAKER, FLIGHTAWARE.COM: It can affect tens of thousands of passengers who may not even tend to fly to and from the cities but are simply connecting between those cities to try to get to their destination.


SAMBOLIN: All right. So, the timing could not be worse.

Indra Petersons is tracking the storm for us.

I said I'm going to pack a lot of snacks and sit at the airport and wait and see if I can get out.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And I'll be there with you so at least you'll have company, Z.

Definitely, a lot to be talking about today. Let's talk about what we're currently seeing. Notice, we're starting to see some snow in the Northeast and down in the Southeast, we are seeing the rain and even still, that wintry mix, including some freezing rain right in through Virginia. So, this is a tough situation. Let's talk about, again, the reminder what's going on.

Today is the day the two systems start to get close together and merge. So, let's talk about this. How much rain and how much snow are we going to see when it's all said and done into the southeast? Looking at that heavy rain.

And notice, even over a foot of snow especially closer to lakes and kind of tapering off as you get back to Kentucky and Tennessee. Why are some people getting the rain and some the snow?

Back to the basics, guys. Here is the low. When you're on that front side, you're moving all of that moisture coming out of the south and it's warm and you get the rain. Of course, the winds are the back side of the low the snow cold air coming out of Canada.

So, let's take it day by day. I know it's so important for so many of you with these travel plans. Today, we are seeing the winds and heavy rain into the Southeast.

As we go throughout the day, that snow is going to switch over to rain as the warm front makes its way closer into the Northeast. Of course, we'll start to see some heavier snow on the back side of the low as well.

So, take a look at this. Especially, overnight tonight, in through tomorrow morning, that is where we are looking for the period the heaviest rain and heaviest snow and the strongest winds. This is going to be the toughest time here, but notice, as we get through Wednesday, things quickly improve here as far as precipitation.

So, rain and snow starts to taper off. Don't let it fool you. On the back side, we are talking about those strong winds. So, speaking of winds, still going to be lingering even Wednesday and Thursday and that's going to cause those air traffic delays.

This morning, as far as flying and winds to the Southeast we are looking at that low right now. That's where you're seeing the winds, as you kind of move into tomorrow lasting through Wednesday and Thursday. Notice those winds shift to the Northeast, so there's so much going on and so many factors between icing and freezing rain and the winds that can hold any of your travel plans both in the air and on the ground.

SAMBOLIN: And I know that is quite a job to track all of that so thank you. We appreciate it.

ROMANS: Be careful out there.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Now, to an ultimatum from the White House to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. National security adviser Susan Rice is in Kabul and telling the Afghan leader no more delays. It is time to sign the security agreement he already agreed to. But Karzai is balking, even adding more additions to the 11th hour. Nick Paton Walsh is live in Beirut this morning. He's following all of the developments for us.

Nick, is this deal falling apart?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really risks that being the case, Zoraida. I mean, we've seen a very lengthy negotiating process here, taking (INAUDIBLE) to agree to text. Then Karzai saying he wanted some more delicate things approved by council elders, loya jirga.

They approved much of it and added much extra conditions. Then he said he wanted to delay signing until the elections next year. To ensure I'm sure his successor has some kind of say in all of this. And then, in this most repeat talk with Susan Rice, he said he had two more conditions. So, really moving the goalposts constantly here.

Bear in mind, too, Susan Rice, she's not the friendliest person to Kabul to send. They have sent John Kerry, secretary of state, has a great relationship with Karzai, if they wanted to butter him up. This is clearly the U.S. saying, enough is enough. Sign or forget about it.

SAMBOLIN: Nick, why is Karzai doing this?

WALSH: That's obviously the huge question here. I think if you look at his end goal, he seems to be focusing on the elections next year. This is the last time when he seems to have a bargaining position with the U.S. Once this deal is done U.S. troops can be there 10 years and aid not set in stone but laid out more clearly.

The last time presidential elections the U.S. were very critical of the procedures around that and I'm pretty sure he'll look ahead to make sure the next president of Afghanistan is someone who he approves of and doesn't want the United States necessarily at that to raise concern how the procedure went through.

But bear in mind, this is extraordinarily important. America's longest war and we're looking at a position here now where in the next month or so, the U.S. could simply stop, not just our troops, but aid contributions to effectively lose its way what happens next in Afghanistan, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, watching all of these developments very closely for us -- thank you.

ROMANS: All right. President Obama is defending the international nuclear deal with Iran this morning. Before a speech on immigration in San Francisco, the president responding to critics who called the agreement a mistake and those who've said the White House gave too much to Rouhani regime. The president said bluster may be an easy political solution, but it does not help promote security and he insisted this nuclear deal is progress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This will help Iran from building a nuclear weapon and over the coming months, we're going to continue our diplomacy with the goal of achieving a comprehensive solution that deals with Iran's threat once and for all. And if Iran seizes this opportunity and chooses to join the global community, then we can begin to chip away at the mistrust that has existed for many years between our two nations.


ROMANS: (INAUDIBLE) interrupted the immigration part of the speech, chanting the president had the power to stop deporting immigrants. President blamed Congress, saying he'd change the laws if he could but needs lawmakers' help to do so.

SAMBOLIN: You know, it's interesting. He actually engaged him in conversation and then allowed to stay afterwards.

President Obama is in Los Angeles this morning, continuing his West Coast trip and he visited last night with the family of TSA officer, the officer that was killed at Los Angeles international airport earlier this month and with two TSA officers who were injured in that shooting as well.

Gerardo Hernandez was the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty. The injured officers Tony Grigsby and James Spear (ph) are said to be recovering.

ROMANS: More troubled reported for the Obamacare Web site. "The New York Times" says is not moving quickly enough to verify the identities of potential users, leaving them in limbo and then unable to sign up for coverage. Some have been waiting more than six weeks to hear the status of their applications. "The Washington Post" is reporting insurers are receiving error-filled lists who signed up for coverage. In some cases, misreporting children as spouses or even deleting records.

The White House is promising the site will be operating much better by next week.

SAMBOLIN: Eight minutes past the hour.

Dispute over Obamacare's birth control mandate could be headed to the Supreme Court. About 40 companies have filed suit saying they should not be forced to provide contraception coverage because doing so would violate their religious beliefs. Lower courts have split over this particular issue. Now, both sides want the high court to settle it. A decision to take up the case could come as soon as today.

ROMANS: Potential problems with one emergency contraceptive for women. The European manufacturer of a pill identical Plan B has discovered the pill does not work for women who weigh more than 176 pounds and will change its label to reflect these weight limits. European regulators approved earlier this month but the FDA is not yet commenting nor is the manufacturer here in the United States.

That's important information for women there.

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely.

Nine minutes past the hour.

Coming up, new details released in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. But one mystery remains unsolved.

ROMANS: And a teenage girl raped. Two high schoolers found guilty of the crime. But now a new twist: school employees accused of trying to cover it up.

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


ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back to EARLY START.

We are getting more details on the gunman who opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year, killing 20 children and six adults before turning the gun on himself. A report from a state prosecutor summarizing some of the evidence against Adam Lanza, painting the 20- year-old as troubled to say the least and obsessed with mass murder. He apparently spent hours playing violent video games, wrote stories about killers and saved newspaper articles on mass homicides. In fact, creating a spreadsheet of the worst murderers in history.

One person who knew Lanza years earlier things he designed the shooting to get back at bullies who went after him when he was younger.


MARVIN LAFONTAINE, KNEW ADAM LANZA: What Adam was trying to do was come up with an act of revenge that was so awful that he would stab every American in the heart.

DR. JEFF GARDERE, TOURO COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: It seemed like as time was going on, it was starting to decompensate more towards a psychotic behavior. As well, you see some obsessive compulsive disorder traits, paranoia going on and paints a picture of someone who was extremely difficult to manage.


ROMANS: Like garbage bags on his window, lived in his room, no one allowed there. Didn't correspond with anyone, not even his mother in the final months. The report sheds no light on Lanza's motivate or why he may have targeted Sandy Hook Elementary massacre.

He would only talk to his mother via e-mails in the same house.

SAMBOLIN: Crazy details, aren't they? They paint a picture. All right. A school superintendent, a principle, and two coaches have now been indicted in connection with the rape of a 16-year-old girl. This is in Steubenville, Ohio. This all happened last year. Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the indictments from a special grand jury, looking into whether any adults tried to cover up that rape.

Steubenville school superintendent Michael McVey now stands accused of tampering with the evidence, obstructing justice and also making false statements. Also charged, elementary school principal Lynnett Gorman and wrestling coach Seth Fluharty. Volunteer assistant football coach Matt Belardine is accused of several misdemeanors, including allowing underage drinking and making false statements. All could face years in prison.


MIKE DEWINE, OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: I hope this does send a strong message. You know, people need to cooperate with investigations. They need not to hide evidence, and we hope that this frankly brings an end to this.


SAMBOLIN: In October, the district IT director was charged with tampering with evidence, also charged with perjury. Last March, two Steubenville football players were convicted of the rape. Both are serving time in juvenile g detention.

ROMANS: One week ago, George Zimmerman was asked to be declared indigent. But now, he's dropping his public defender in favor of a private attorney. The man acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin was charged last week in an alleged domestic dispute, accused of pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend. In court filings, Zimmerman says he is $2.5 million in debt. He wants several items back from police including an iPhone and a pocket knife.

SAMBOLIN: And there's growing pressure this morning for Florida Republicans Trey Radel to reassign, less than a week after pleading guilty to buying cocaine. Three key Florida Republicans are calling for deeds to step down. The state's GOP chair says his constituents need a congressman who was 100 percent focused on the job.

Radel is currently in rehab, dealing with his self-acknowledged addictions. He plans to return to work when he is released.

ROMANS: The mother of a Florida girl who committed suicide is taking legal action against those she says were responsible for her daughter's death. Tricia Norman plans to file wrongful death suits against people she blames for her 12-year-old daughter's suicide and she's also pursuing a new state law called Rebecca's law to crack down on bullying. Prosecutors last week dropped aggravated stalking charges against two girls for lack of evidence.


TRICIA NORMAN, MOTHER OF REBECCA SEDWICK: People keep asking me, "How do you feel?" I don't really know how to answer. I feel like I'm living a nightmare and I can't wake up. I keep waiting for it to be over but it never ends.

My heart aches constantly. My body is numb. I can't sleep. My happiness no longer exists. My baby is gone.

I have recently become aware that the current laws in Florida do not allow for bullies to be punished. This makes me very sad because I think it sends a message that bullying is OK. Kids will now think they can get away with this type of behavior.


ROMANS: Norman says she keeps waiting for an apology. One she realizes will likely never come.

Tricia Norman will sit down with Chris Cuomo coming up on NEW DAY. That's the 8:00 Eastern hour.

SAMBOLIN: I'm looking forward to that.

A developing situation on the Mississippi Rivers, where a tug boat was sunk near Le Claire, Iowa, that is north of Davenport. Oh, it's also Christine Romans' hometown.

Authorities say (INAUDIBLE) struck some sort of object in the river and began to go under. There were nine crew members on board, all did get away safely but there upwards of 100,000 gallons of oil products on board, some of which has now spilled.


CHIEF SHANE THEMAS, LACLARE POLICE DEPARTMENT: There's 89,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board and another 1,100 gallons of some type of load.


ROMANS: That is a big stretch of river and an important part of the river there.

SAMBOLIN: So, the authorities have closed about eight miles of that river. They are working to go contain the spill as well.

ROMANS: They pull the big tugs up there. It's very shallow right there. So, it sunk right there, in shallow water next to river.

All right. Another sinkhole -- sinkhole in the Tampa Area. This one happening Monday night. Officials say five adults and two children sitting in their living room in the middle of the floor buckled. Now, the house is off limits. The family is staying in a hotel and neighbors are concerned.


MARIETTA GREGORY, NEIGHBOR: I got shook up. Like I said a lot. But I feel calmer now. We have a prayer going on at church and I know a lot of prayers are going on.


ROMANS: Just a few weeks ago, massive sinkhole swallowed two homes in nearby Dunedin, Florida.

Sinkholes are common in that region because of the type of rocks that make up the soil.

SAMBOLIN: Boy, that is scary, huh?

ROMANS: Sure is.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Murder charges for a contractor in connection with the deadly Philadelphia building collapse. Authorities say Griffin Campbell used unsafe methods in tearing down a building. That was back in June and he was relying on heavy machinery instead of having his crew do the demolition by hand and that they say caused the building to collapse into a Salvation Army store. It killed six people and injured more than a dozen.

ROMANS: Decision day for Detroit's historic bankruptcy filing is next Tuesday. The judge overseeing the petition will rule on whether the city qualifies as bankrupt under federal law. Detroit, of course, is the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy. It owes some $18.5 billion, almost half of that for health care and union pensions. No matter how the judge rules, it is expected the decision will be appealed.

SAMBOLIN: And Chicago may soon become the first major U.S. city to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes. "Chicago Sun-Times says Mayor Rahm Emanuel and two powerful aldermen are pushing for e-cigarettes to be treated as tobacco products under city laws. So, that means you cannot smoke them in any place where traditional cigarettes are prohibited. State law will ban selling e-cigarettes to minors starting January 1st. This is actually headed to the city councils for a vote today. We'll see what happens.

ROMANS: Fair of would-be robbers in west Seattle, they got more than they bargain for, Zoraida, walking into a minimart on Saturday night. They apparently tried to rob the place but the clerk didn't believe they were serious. The gun didn't look real to him, so then he challenged them.



ROBERT MOORE, STORE CLERK: One of them said this is a robbery. I said I have a bigger gun than you do and they took off running.


ROMANS: Police looked for the robbers but couldn't anyone. I don't think law enforcement officials tell you, you should challenge robbers. SAMBOLIN: They don't recommend this, I'm sure.

ROMANS: But it worked out OK in this case.

SAMBOLIN: All right. The 49ers taking on the Redskins last night. Was San Francisco able to come back and stay in playoff position? We have some opinions about this. Andy Scholes is breaking down your big game headlines in "The Bleacher Report". That's coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: After a dominating performance last night against the Redskins, the 49ers are starting to look like Super Bowl favorites again. Andy Scholes joins us now with more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

I can't say I'm happy, Andy. I can't say I'm happy.


You know, this is a big road win for the 49ers. Coming into the game, they had lost back-to-back games and just 6-4 on the season so a dominating performance is just what they need.

Colin Kaepernick who has taken plenty of criticism this season showed up in a big way last night. He threw three touchdowns in the game. His counterpart RG3, on the other hand, he had a rough night. Griffin was sacked four times by the Niners "D" as San Francisco went on to win this game easily 27-6.

Ten former pro hockey players have filed a class action lawsuit against the NHL claiming that the league hasn't done enough to protect players from concussions. This comes just three months after the NHL settled their lawsuit with its former players. The NHL suit argues that the league continues to contribute to injuries today by refusing to ban fighting and body checking. The lawsuit seeks damages and NHL sponsored medical monitoring for the players.

One of the top stories on today is about the new two-year, $48 million extension --


SCHOLES: -- for Kobe Bryant. That's right. Wow!

This came out of nowhere yesterday, guys. The Lakers tweeted out a picture of Kobe.

SAMBOLIN: How old is Kobe?

SCHOLES: Kobe is 35 right now and he's coming off that torn Achilles.

Now, many people are, you know, questioning this deal and criticizing it saying, he's getting up there in age and coming off a season ending injury and now, he's not only going to be the highest paid player this year, he's going to be the highest paid player in the NBA for the next two years.


SCHOLES: It's going to make it really hard for the Lakers to put a lot of good players around him.

ROMANS: So, I put 40 percent of that in real estate, plus 50 percent straight in the stock market. Some bonds --

SAMBOLIN: Tweet him with your advice, Christine.

ROMANS: He can live off the interest better than any of us.

SAMBOLIN: He is OK already. Andy, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

SAMBOLIN: All your top headlines and everything you need to know for the day right after the break.


SAMBOLIN: A deadly storm threatening to ruin Thanksgiving travel plans for millions. There's ice coating the roads and the rain, snow, and sleet grounding planes. Indra Petersons is tracking the damage that is already done and what is still to come?

Welcome back to EARLY START. We're glad you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. I'm sitting in for John Berman this Tuesday morning. It's 30 minutes past the hour. We're glad you're with us.

Our top story this morning is the weather. It's making this November week very treacherous for many people in the East Coast.