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EARLY START

Waking Up to Bitter Cold; Ukrainian Officials Accuse Russia of Armed Invasion; Secret Supreme Court Video; Former NFL Star Darren Sharper Turns Himself In

Aired February 28, 2014 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Dangerous weather across the country, millions this morning waking up to bitter cold, near record-low temperatures. And out west, thousands evacuated from their homes. They are facing the worst floods they have seen in years. Indra Petersons tracking what's happening right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news overnight. Gunmen filling airports in Ukraine. Officials there accusing Russia of an armed invasion. We are live with the very latest as this unfolds at this moment.

ROMANS: And new video to show you. What has two leaders of the free world running this morning?

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Wait until you find out.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

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

And this morning, millions of you waking up to, guess what?

ROMANS: Friday!

BERMAN: No, that, but another day of bone-chilling cold as well.

ROMANS: Horrible.

BERMAN: Twenty-five below zero wind chills in Detroit. That has forced public schools to close today.

ROMANS: Look at that.

BERMAN: This winter, it is one for the record books in so many places. In Minnesota, they've now had 46 days of subzero temperatures. Good morning, Duluth.

ROMANS: And a tragedy in Minnesota to tell you about. That extreme cold in Minnesota turned deadly. A six-year-old girl found dead outside the apartment where she lived. Her coat, gloves, and hat not enough to survive a wind chill 40 degrees below zero.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. JIM HESS, BEMIDJI SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT: There's always a concern when temperatures dip like this. And on any given day, you know? We live in a climate that can be brutal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Police are investigating. They believe this little girl might have been locked out of that apartment.

BERMAN: That's awful.

Out west, another major storm's tearing down on California this morning. Up to six inches of rain predicted. People outside Los Angeles have been urged to get out. Wildfires charred hillsides last month. Officials think the deluge could trigger mud slides in those hills.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SGT. JOHN MADALONI, AZUSA POLICE: We've got a recently burned hillside here with limited vegetation and a very steep slope. It's a recipe for what the experts say is the potential for a great deal of damage.

ED HEINLEIN, HOMEOWNER: This can look like Niagara Falls after the next two inches of rain, because this stuff comes down quickly, unexpectedly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Indra Petersons has a look at your forecast. Hi, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning. We're talking about how much rain or how little rain, really, they've seen the entire season. You take a look at Los Angeles, they've only seen about 2-1/2 inches the entire season. I mean, that's a good almost eight, nine inches below where they should be. Why does that matter? Well, about 26 percent of the state now is in the highest category of drought. The reason this is so important is it means that the ground is almost like concrete.

It is so dry that any rain that comes down completely washes off. So, that's the reason. There's also the concern for the burn areas, very dangerous there, but even just regular areas will really have the threat for a lot of flooding. Look at this huge low, too. This is the biggest storm they will see in three years now impacting the region, and this is something that's going to affect the entire country, because once it exits out of California, it's going to make its way across the country and bring a threat for some heavy snow.

Now, there's two, if not more scenarios. Here's just of the two models that we're showing you. One of them brings the low farther to the north with some heavy snow potentially Sunday and Monday into the northeast. But the next -- brings a little bit lower. So, D.C. getting a really big punch here. So, we're really going to have to watch where this low goes once it exits, but either way, heads up Sunday through Monday, the potential there for a pretty big snowstorm.

Also, temperatures, that cold air has pushed all the way to the northeast, so departures could 20, almost 30 degrees below where they should be. By the afternoon, temperatures below freezing. And here's the problem. Remember that second system that's expected to make its way through? That means another blast of cold arctic air is in place for next week, guys.

Just take a look at Monday. You'll notice places like Memphis, even Dallas, good 20, almost 30 below where they should be. And the northeast again, this cold air is not going anywhere, guys.

BERMAN: It's march next week. That's weather we're going to be getting in March.

PETERSONS: Perspective, right?

BERMAN: Thanks, Indra.

ROMANS: All right. Dramatic developments overnight in Ukraine to tell you about. (INAUDIBLE) claiming Russian forces have staged an armed invasion in the Southern Crimea region. An official says pro- Russian gunmen are now patrolling two airports. It comes as Russian troops are massed at the border with Ukraine for large-scale military exercises, 150,000 taking part. Moscow says these drills were planned in advance of the Ukraine's government upheaval.

And we're expected to hear from the ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych today. CNN's Phil Black following it all live in Kiev. And Yanukovych on the run says he's still in charge?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's what he says, still in charge but from another country. He's now in Russia where he has requested personal protection and the Russian government has granted him that. He's expected to hold a press conference in the Southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don where we expect him to repeat that claim to be the legitimate leader of the country, but what's he going to do about it? To what extent will Russia support that?

Meanwhile, here in Ukraine, things are really escalating, particularly in that region of Crimea where more people appear to be taking up arms in response to the changes of government here in the capital Kiev. The latest development, as you mentioned, two airports now have pro- Russian government -- pro-Russian gunmen patrolling a perimeter around them. One is a civilian international facility, the other a dual-use civilian-military airport.

It is not clear precisely what their intentions are, but from the Ukrainian government, a very strong accusation. It says that some of these gunmen are not just civilian militia that want to be close to Russia but actual professional Russian soldiers that have been deployed from a nearby Russian naval base. Today, Ukraine's parliament has passed a resolution calling on Russia to stop aggressive behavior, to stop infringing Ukraine's sovereignty, and to stop fanning the flames of separatism in Crimea as well, because after gunmen stormed the local Crimean parliament yesterday, some pro-Russian parliament members of that parliament passed a resolution calling for a referendum to take place on May 25th that will ask the question, should Crimea split away from the rest of Ukraine? It is another escalating crisis for the new government of this country to deal with -- Christine.

ROMANS: It certainly is. Phil Black for us live this morning.

Meantime in this country, U.S. Customs and Border Protection now being pressured to make its use of force policies public.

Homeland Security secretary, Jeh Johnson, telling a House committee it could happen any day now. A leaked report showed agents unnecessarily shot at rock-throwers and intentionally stepped in front of vehicles as an apparent excuse to flee -- to shoot, rather, at fleeing drivers.

BERMAN: A report by the government accountability office addressing a perceived pilot shortage in this country. The report says there are more than enough pilots, but many are just not willing to work for lower wages being offered by regional carriers. Pilots' salaries fell nearly 10 percent between 2000 and 2012. On most regional airlines, the average starting pay is between $21,000 and $24,000 a year. And the GAO report says would-be pilots, they're obviously noting these starting salaries.

ROMANS: New revelations about the NSA, courtesy of fugitive leaker, Edward Snowden. "The Guardian" newspaper reports Britain's spy agency intercepted 1.8 million video chats during a six-month stretch in 2008, yielding an enormous collection of intimate images from unsuspecting users.

BERMAN: Intimate.

ROMANS: Intimate. Services like Yahoo! messenger were reportedly among those hacked. "The Guardian" says the operation dubbed "optic nerve" was still active in 2012.

BERMAN: I think intimate means dirty, in this case.

ROMANS: It does mean dirty, Berman.

BERMAN: All right. Here at home, the NSA surveillance operations are costing big technology companies billions. Many tech firms have cooperated with the spy agency, and now, businesses like Cisco, IBM, the Microsoft say they're losing revenue because overseas companies are very suspicious and reluctant to work with them. One research firm estimates that potential losses for U.S. companies could hit $180 billion.

ROMANS: Yes, something the CEOs of those companies have been complaining about. All right. Thank you, Janet Yellen. The S&P 500 at a record high, only the second time this year after 45 highs last year, in case, you're counting. Even though stock futures are lower this morning, the new Federal Reserve chief, she has brought some calm to Wall Street. She doesn't seem to be too worried about the recent round of weak economic data. Job growth has been slow, home sales and consumer spending are both down, but Yellen says it might not be the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANET YELLEN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Part of that softness may reflect adverse weather conditions. But at this point, it's difficult to discern exactly how much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Listening to Ben Bernanke for the past few years. That's the woman in charge now.

BERMAN: She makes the economy sound exciting.

ROMANS: She's just as exciting as Ben Bernanke. So, she's not entirely sure, but Wall Street is focusing on the positive and banking on a spring thaw. Stocks are set to end this month with solid gains.

BERMAN: All right. New this morning, you have to take a look at this. What has the president and vice president on the run?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president's ready to move.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Absolutely. Let's do this thing. Let's move!

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right, you can watch the president and vice president run for a disturbingly long time.

ROMANS: I love the music!

BERMAN: With this music in the background there.

ROMANS: This music is so 1970s half-hour, you know, action sitcom, isn't it?

BERMAN: They are action heroes based on their running styles right there. It's posted on the first lady's "Let's Move" YouTube page. The first lady had said during her appearance on "The Tonight Show" that if they got enough responses from people across the country showing how they move, that she would give a glimpse of how the president and vice president move. ROMANS: They work out in a tie, you know, always business in the oval office.

BERMAN: The vice president looks actually a little bit winded there. My question is --

(INAUDIBLE)

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: If they're working out together, does there have to be like a designated slacker? Does the secretary of agriculture like need to be up on like lazy (ph) boy if they're working out together or something.

ROMANS: That's true. Very cute.

All right. New vide this morning, secretly recorded inside the Supreme Court, the first time ever deliberations have been on camera. Look, what you're seeing right there, you've never seen it before, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

New revelations in the New Jersey Bridgegate investigation, just- released unredacted portions of documents show exchanges between Bridget Kelly, the former top aide for New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, and David Wildstein whom Christie appointed to the Port Authority. Wildstein expresses frustration in these unredacted sections with a prominent New Jersey rabbi.

Kelly replies, "we cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?" And this came just six days after Kelly's infamous e- mail to Wildstein, which said "time for some traffic problems in Ft. Lee." The documents also show that Wildstein was actually on the George Washington Bridge on the first day of those what seem to be politically motivated lane closures.

ROMANS: All right. A treasure trove of documents being released by the Clinton Presidential Library today. 5,000 pages of previously unreleased papers, including confidential communications between the former president, Bill Clinton, and his advisers, and possible communications involving former first lady, Hillary Clinton.

All that, of course, could play a role if she runs for president in 2016. This is just the beginning. 25,000 more pages are expected in the coming weeks. There goes your weekend, Berman.

BERMAN: I want you to take a look at something you have never seen before.

ROMANS: Wow!

BERMAN: This is a Supreme Court first. A video camera inside the Supreme Court during actual arguments. It was somehow smuggled in, the camera was, by an advocacy group that later posted the video to YouTube. No cameras, no electronic devices of any kind are permitted during public sessions of the Supreme Court, and spectators, including journalists are thoroughly screened before they go in.

Now, only two photos, still photos of the court in session actually exist at all, and both still shots are from cameras that were smuggled in in the 1930s. Again, this is historic and not at all what the Supreme Court says should be happening.

There are people, however, who say that all these deliberations and arguments should be televised.

ROMANS: But there are members of the court who say it would change the texture of the process, and they are not for it. David Souter (ph), I think, was the one who said over his dead body, he never, ever wanted to see cameras in there.

All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo joins us now. Hey, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Hey, good to see you guys. We've been listening to you about Ukraine this morning. We're going to follow up on that because there is somewhat of a desperate effort to confirm who these armed men are who have allegedly taken control of Ukrainian airport. That's what the Ukraine government says, such as it is right now.

This is very important to people back here in the U.S. If Russia has moved in, what does it mean? It means, certainly, they're ignoring the warning. What will the U.S. do next? This is a situation that could become very U.S.-centric very quickly. So, we're going to follow it.

Also, President Obama, you're going to see him in a way that maybe you haven't before, talking about his past in front of an audience of largely young men of color. He was talking about a new initiative called "My Brother's Keeper," but he was also talking about his own struggles and responsibilities that are on these young, Black men to take control of their own lives.

It's really raw and real. We're going to have adviser, Valerie Jarrett, here this morning giving us a little perspective on this initiative, what it can do, why now.

Also, it's Oscar weekend. So, we're going to try and do that right. We sent out Michaela Pereira. She's out there, and she's going to give us the scoop on the red carpet, a little buzz, what her plans are, where she's going to dinner, you know? We'll try to mix it up and see how much about Mickey we can learn as well.

ROMANS: She works the early shift. She's not going to dinner in L.A.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: I don't know. I don't know.

BERMAN: She gets the award for best actress every time.

CUOMO: Ahh. I think she's real.

BERMAN: You get Best Actor and Best Picture. Best Cinematography. They make you look great on that show.

CUOMO: Best make-up. I want best make-up.

ROMANS: Special effect.

CUOMO: Just for the hair.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: I don't know how they do that. That's magic. Like the people with "E.T." do that.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: All right. Chris, we'll see you in a little bit, maybe.

All right. Breaking news overnight, a former Super Bowl champ turning himself in to police. This is a long, complicated story you will want to hear. We'll have that story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Breaking news overnight, former NFL star, Darren Sharper, surrendering in Los Angeles after police in New Orleans obtained arrest warrants for him. Sharper facing rape charges in Louisiana. He faces similar charges in California. Last week in L.A., he pleaded not guilty to drugging and raping two women.

He's also under investigation in Arizona and Nevada and Miami Beach police are investigating a sexual battery complaint against him.

BERMAN: Some serious issues facing Darren Sharper right now.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: Attorneys for a son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden who's now awaiting trial in New York says the prosecutors are confusing him with another man. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith faces terrorism charges for conspiring to kill Americans. His trial is set for next week, but his attorneys are asking for a delay saying the government may have put forth evidence related to another man, one with a very similar name, being held in Guantanamo and charged with very similar crimes.

ROMANS: A California man sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for trying to blow up a bank. The 29-year-old tried to detonate an SUV loaded with chemicals. Those chemicals were actually provided by an FBI agent. Matthew Llaneza allegedly made contact with the undercover agent because he was hoping to join the Taliban after touching off civil unrest in the U.S. The sentence was part of a plea agreement taken into account the suspect's his history of mental illness. BERMAN: A Los Angeles cemetery agrees to a huge settlement which could exceed $80 million after a lawsuit claimed it damaged graves and dumped human remains. The lawsuit accuses Eden Memorial Park of breaking burial vaults to make room for new graves and trying to maximize profits by squeezing graves in, leaving at most just three inches of space between them. The cemetery owner in this case denied any wrongdoing.

ROMANS: NEW concerns over a radiation leak at a nuclear dump in New Mexico. Officials say they're not sure how much radiation workers were exposed to during the February 14th leak. Preliminary tests show 13 workers inhaled radioactive particles, but more tests are planned to get a greater understanding of any potential health issues. The dump is located outside Carlsbad in Southeastern New Mexico.

Coming up, the price of advertising on Oscar night hits a record high. "Money Time" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's "Money Time."

Stock futures pointing lower this morning just a day after the S&P 500 closed at a record high. The fed chief, Janet Yellen, she's blaming the weather for recent economic weakness, and she says interest rates will stay low for some time. But you know, investors are cautious. We've got a new GDP report later this morning. It could show that fourth-quarter economic growth wasn't as strong as expected.

Take a look at these stock numbers on this, the last trading day of February. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, your 401(k) should probably be positive for the year again.

OK. Think the Super Bowl is the only big advertising event? Oh, no. Oh, no. A 30-second commercial in the Oscars goes for $1.8 million, not nearly as much as the $4 million plus that you get for a Super Bowl commercial, but for the Oscars, this is now a record high for ad prices. And the types of commercials are a bit different.

Instead of chips and beer, you know, for the Oscars, you're more likely to see ads for retailers and credit cards. A little more upscale, perhaps. JCPenney and American Express are among the top spenders over the past few years.

BERMAN: You're watching the Oscars until 11L30 on Sunday night into Monday morning?

ROMANS: No. I'm going to come in. I'm going to race through it without any commercials before we go to work.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Happy birthday to my two boys.

ROMANS: Yey!

BERMAN: I hope you're sleeping. I know you're not.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: "NEW DAY" starts right now.