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Primary Day in 6 States; China Angered by Hacking Indictments; U.S. Ready to Evacuate Embassy in Tripoli; Families Demand Raw Satellite Data

Aired May 20, 2014 - 05:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's decision day. Critical primary elections set to shape which party will control Congress this fall. We are breaking down the big races you need to watch today.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A minute-by-minute decision. The U.S. ready to evacuate Americans from its embassy in Libya. The country in crisis. Deadly fights taking over the streets of the capital. The very latest, ahead.

BERMAN: And breaking news overnight. Finally, raw satellite data used to shape the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 set to be released. Investigators promising families they will finally get the answers they've been waiting and pushing for. We're live in Malaysia with the very latest.

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

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. About 31 minutes past the hour right now.

And this morning, you can smell it in the air. It is primary day.


ROMANS: Pollen?

BERMAN: Voters headed to the polls for some big primaries, big races across the nation that really could shape what direction this country is headed in for the next few years.

ROMANS: Polls opening just hours from now in six states and voters will decide who gets to represent their party for governors' offices and congressional districts, decisions that could change who controls the Senate.

Political editor Paul Steinhauser is here with the races to watch.

Good morning. Nice and early for you -- Paul.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Good morning. I thought I was excited. You both sound more excited about this than even me.

(LAUGHTER) But you're right, this is game day, I guess you could say. And where's the marquee battle today in that antiestablishment Tea Party fight against the Republican establishment? Let's go to Kentucky. That's where the five-term senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, he's the top Republican in the Senate. He's facing off against a Tea Party-backed guy named Matt Bevin, a businessman who enjoys support from big antiestablishment groups.

This has been one ugly race, lots of money being spent here. But if you look at the latest polls, Mitch McConnell's up 20 to 30 points. You pick the polls. He's also got the backing of Kentucky's other Republican senator, a guy called Rand Paul, who is, you know what, pretty influential on the right.

Probably going to be an easy night for McConnell, but come November, he's going to have a much tougher time against a woman called Alison Lundgren Grimes. She is Kentucky's secretary of state, she's challenging McConnell, and she's got the backing of some top Democrats, including somebody named Bill Clinton -- guys.

BERMAN: Big dog likes to play in Kentucky in that race.

Paul, the race I've been watching is in Georgia, where it's really a free for all for the Republican nomination there and a sign, perhaps, of the power of the Republican establishment.

STEINHAUSER: It sure is, John. Good point. It's a food fight there. The Republican senator, Saxby Chambliss, is retiring. You've got five major Republican candidates all battling for the nomination. And guess what? The more moderate candidates there right now have the upper hand in the polls over the most conservative candidates, an interesting race.

You know, we're seeing this establishment/antiestablishment battle play out in so many races. So far the establishment has the upper hand. You remember, in 2010 and 2012, the Tea Party candidates won some high-profile races in the primaries, but come November, they lost to the Democrats. Republicans arguably lost five Senate seats because of that. This time around, the establishment is fighting back, and that could make the difference come November when the Democrats try to hold on to their slim majority in the Senate.

ROMANS: Oh, November.


ROMANS: You're salivating for November, be honest. Be honest.

BERMAN: I can't wait.

ROMANS: You political guys.

BERMAN: It's very exciting. And today's very exciting. Six states to watch. We'll be on it all day here at CNN, stay with us.

Paul Steinhauser, great to have you with us this morning. ROMANS: Thanks, Paul.


BERMAN: Some other big news to tell you about, tension building between the U.S. and China. Officials in Beijing furious over the indictment of five Chinese military officers accused of hacking into U.S. companies to steal corporate secrets. So they're now summoning U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus and threatening to retaliate.

Want to bring in David McKenzie live in Beijing this morning. This is now a pretty serious war of words. You have a trade battle and now this diplomatic dispute to go on top of it -- David.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, add to all of that, John, the fact that the U.S. has indicted, criminally indicted five Chinese officials of the People's Liberation Army. I think that's the most shocking thing to the Chinese government, at least. They're calling these allegations, quote, "extremely absurd." They're saying that these facts are not true at all, and they are hitting back, saying that they're going to do unspecified actions against the U.S. to punish it if it goes through with these indictments.

You know, these acts they went through, stealing information from companies, including vital national security information, if the indictment is to be believed, would be very serious. They could get up to 15 years in jail. And the U.S. Justice Department says that this could have taken up billions of dollars of profits from U.S. companies, and ultimately, U.S. workers. So this is a big deal that has a lot of impact on real people, but the Chinese government hitting back, saying it's got nothing to do with this and that everyone hacks and that the U.S. is being hypocritical -- John.

BERMAN: Difference, the U.S. says it spies in military and intelligence purposes for those purposes. They're saying China spies for corporate profit here, which is something the U.S. claims not to do. But as you say now, this criminal indictment in place.

David McKenzie in China for us this morning, thanks so much.

ROMANS: Chaos in Libya's capital city. The United States doubling the number of aircraft standing by in Italy, just in case hundreds of Americans need to be evacuated from the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. The order could come at any time as fierce fighting erupts throughout the city.

We get more from Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: John, Christine, with violence rising every day in Libya, the question now, is that country falling into civil war? And if it is, can the U.S. embassy remain open, could diplomats stay on the job? If the violence gets any worse, the State Department is prepared to evacuate the 200 or so Americans that are there. A package of heavily armed Marines waiting just to the north in Italy, across the Mediterranean, about 250 Marines equipped with eight V-22 aircraft that can fly very quickly to Italy.

They are on a two-hour string. What does that mean? That means if the evacuation order comes, they will be in the air and on their way to Libya within two hours or less.

Just a couple of years after the disaster in Benghazi, the administration is taking no chances. It has the troops and the firepower ready to go to get Americans out of Libya if it comes to that -- John, Christine.

BERMAN: Our thanks to Barbara for that one. We'll keep our eye on that all morning here for you.

Meanwhile, the State Department closely monitoring a potentially explosive situation unfolding this morning in Bangkok. Thailand's army declaring martial law is in effect nationwide. This is an announcement that caught the Thai government off guard. Army officials say this is not a coup. They claim it's not a coup, just a move to maintain peace after six months of sometimes antigovernment protests that turned violent.

ROMANS: Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse pleading guilty to criminal conspiracy. The bank admits helping wealthy Americans hide billions of dollars of taxable assets in offshore accounts. The U.S. Justice Department says illegal activity at the bank was pervasive and spanned decades. Credit Suisse will pay nearly $3 billion in penalties. And again, a guilty plea very rare for a company.

An EARLY START on your money this morning. European stocks slightly lower but still close to six-year highs. Dow futures slightly lower, but one stock market having a blockbuster year, can you guess? It's India. India's benchmark Sensex up 15 percent this year, the best performer of the so-called BRIC companies, that's Brazil, Russia, India and China. Those are the hottest emerging markets.

The Dow even after hitting records last week is down 0.4 percent for the year. So India has had a lot of action. Indian stocks hit new highs after the country elected a new prime minister last week. The stock market still climbing. India is the tenth fastest growing economy in the world.

BERMAN: Big day for Vice President Joe Biden. He leaves Washington for a four-day visit to Romania and Cyprus. He'll be reassuring European allies that the U.S. is committed to the region. This is in the face of the Russian aggression in and around Ukraine. The vice president will urge officials in Cyprus to step up sanctions against Russia. A lot of Russian money in Cyprus.

And in Bucharest, the vice president plans to discuss how the Romanians can help Europe with its energy needs, lessening dependence on Russian gas supplies.

ROMANS: The subject of jobs will be front and center at the White House later this morning. President Obama's expected to greet leaders of business giants from across the country and around the world. Ford, Honda, Lufthansa among those who will be represented at this meeting. It's to discuss the importance of investing in and creating good-paying jobs here in the U.S. Two-thirds of the jobs created in the recovery have been low-wage jobs. They have not been those jobs that, you know, you can send a kid to college on. And that's a real problem.

BERMAN: Speaking of kids, some little leaguers in Washington, D.C., had a surprise visitor at their little league game last night. Yes, that's the president. Now the White House says he was dropping off press secretary Jay Carney to see his daughter play, and the president in this elaborate carpool decided to stick around.

The president got to throw out the first pitch right there. Nice of them to let him do that. And you can see the kind of the stunned little leaguers and their parents shaking hands and taking pictures with the president. It's a really kind of cool moment to see something like this in D.C.

ROMANS: You know, just dropping off Jay Carney.



ROMANS: All right, breaking news overnight, new information set to be released in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. We are live.

BERMAN: Plus, the NBA now formally trying to terminate Donald Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, but it doesn't look like he's going quietly.

New developments overnight, right after the break.


BERMAN: No comment yet from the NBA this morning on a report that the lawyer for banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is demanding three months to respond to disciplinary charges. On Monday, the NBA formally charged Sterling with damaging the league with those racist comments, and they gave him until May 27th to respond.

A special board of governors meeting was set for June 3rd, at which the other NBA owners could vote to terminate Sterling's ownership of the Clippers.

ROMANS: Two planes involved in last month's near-miss at Newark Liberty Airport came mere feet from a collision. That's according to a new report from safety regulators, which says the planes were separated by just 150 feet laterally and 400 feet vertically. Some 200 people on board these planes, which were operating on intersecting runways. A final report on the incident expected to take several months.

BERMAN: The VA hospital scandal widening this morning. Another medical center under investigation after allegations that it kept a secret wait list for patients. Three staff members at the Gainesville, Florida, facility have been placed on leave. Whistleblowers at other facilities have claimed they were ordered to doctor records to conceal long wait times. In Arizona, some 40 veterans reportedly died while waiting for care.

ROMANS: New Jersey legislators will question a former top aide to Chris Christie today in an effort to determine whether those lane closures on the George Washington Bridge were an attempt at political payback. The staffer, Matt Mowers, was the governor's liaison to Ft. Lee mayor, Mark Sokolich, the alleged target of the scheme.

Sokolich -- Sokolich, how do you say it?

BERMAN: Sokolich.

ROMANS: Sokolich, a Democrat, refused to back Christie's re-election bid.

BERMAN: All right. Touchdown dances not recommended right now at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee.

ROMANS: Come on.

BERMAN: Why? That's a 40-foot-deep sinkhole in the end zone in that stadium. Workers noticed the earth start to open up weeks ago but they couldn't stop the sinkhole from growing. It's now 50 feet wide. Governor Stadium was already undergoing renovations. Probably a good idea. It is expected to be ready for the fall season.

ROMANS: Whoa. That is scary.

BERMAN: Indra Petersons with that and much more in today's forecast.

ROMANS: Hi, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi. At least the good news we have is the fire danger is going down, the East and the West Coast completely gone today. Where are we looking at the red flag warnings? That's going to be farther to the east where they're not seeing the onshore flow, but even in these areas, they are going to be seeing relief in just a couple of days. Why? We've completely switched the weather pattern.

Instead of having high pressure over here, it's over here on the east. So, on the west coast, what are we looking at? Low pressure eventually going to be sliding into the southern plains, especially out towards Texas, where they've had horrible drought conditions. They're going to be getting well-needed rain by the middle of the week. That is huge. The down side of this is we're looking at all the moisture still in the upper Midwest again today, and not just all the moisture.

You combine that, the hot, the humidity, right, and you have these very warm temperatures. You know what's coming, and that is the threat for severe weather.

So heads up, especially flying through Chicago. O'Hare today, yes, the threat for severe weather is going to be out there. Also Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Toledo, Columbus and even portions of Colorado, so maybe watch out through Denver as well for some potential delays getting in and out of that airport.

Watching the same system making its way across. Light showers, not a biggie, but enough for severe weather. And then by the northeast, by tonight we start to see some rain over there. Not a lot. We're talking about this couple into the rain. So not a biggie. If you're Chicago O'Hare, you may want to call ahead and check.

ROMANS: Call ahead, all right.

PETERSONS: Kind of a big hub, right?

ROMANS: Yes, a big hub. Indra Petersons, thanks.

Let's look at what's coming up on NEW DAY.

Kate Bolduan joins us. Good morning, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Good morning. You guys were just talking about O'Hare airport. This morning we're going to be taking a close look at another airport. A story you've also been talking about. A frightening near collision over Newark's airport. A jet landing, one jet landing, one jet taking off, came within yards of each other. How does this still happen? It just seems to happen oh so often. What can be done to prevent it, if anything?

This is one of the country's major airports, some of the busiest air space in the country. We're going to be looking at it and just how close they got.

Also, after many weeks of waiting, the families of those on Flight 370 are closer today to seeing for themselves the satellite data used to trace the jet's path. Malaysia, the government of Malaysia and Inmarsat, that company that's been -- we've talked about so much, they say they're going to work together to make that information public, but the delay, of course, isn't making families happy.

They've been demanding this information for weeks now. We're going to talk with Sarah Bajc, the partner of one of the Americans on flight 370. Guys?

ROMANS: All right.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Kate.

You know, we're going to talk about that satellite data in just a moment. Why is it being released right now? What might be in it? Why the long delay? We're going to have a live report from Malaysia just after this.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. The raw satellite data that was used to determine the final path of Flight 370 could soon be made available to the public. The Malaysian government and officials from the British satellite firm Inmarsat -- there's been this dispute over who has and does not have the data. The Malaysian government says they don't have it. Inmarsat said they turned it over to the Malaysians. But now they've issued a joint statement saying they're working together to release it in the name of transparency.

So let's bring in our Saima Mohsin, she's been monitoring these developments live from Kuala Lumpur this morning.

Good morning, Saima.

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Morning, John. Yes, this is -- this is something extraordinary, isn't it? We've heard so much about this raw data. A simple explanation would be, yes, we have it, we're going to give it to you, be completely transparent, but we've had so many different statements from the Malaysian government, from Inmarsat, the satellite data company that said it had developed this data, all kind of throwing the ball in one another's court.

And the families were pulling their hair out. We've been speaking to them, saying, please, share it with us, because this is what everything rests upon. This is the data that led everyone to take their search to the southern Indian Ocean. Well, finally, late last night -- and I can tell you, we have been phone-bashing here in Kuala Lumpur. Finally, the Malaysian government, the acting transportation minister -- that's the man that we've been seeing holding all these press conferences, Hishammuddin Hussein, said, yes, we are going to release this data.

Now this morning early Kuala Lumpur time, a joint statement, as you say, was released. And what they're saying is that the satellite data company and Malaysian authorities are going to present the data in a -- what they said is a presentable way, which means they're going to release the raw data, and alongside it an explanation from Inmarsat of how to read the data. But the family members are actually saying, look, we don't want you to tell us how to read this data.

We want somebody else, an independent body, a body that doesn't have a vested interest in any of this. Clearly, there's a lot of suspicion. Some of them have told me, look, it's been more than a month searching in the southern Indian Ocean and we've seen no evidence that the plane went down there. So how do we know that this data is even correct? And of course, as I said, everything is resting on this data. So they want to get the data and they want another independent body to verify this.

So this is going to go on and on for some time. But a small victory at least for the family members, as we have also been pushing here in Kuala Lumpur to get that data released. They say they're going to do it. We just don't know when yet -- John.

BERMAN: No, I think everyone wants to get a good look at this to see exactly what they do release because there's been so much distrust over the last weeks and really months.

Saima Mohsin in Kuala Lumpur. Thanks so much for being with us. ROMANS: All right. Coming up, an extreme IPO, GoPro going public. Business news is next.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's "Money Time" this Tuesday. Dow futures pointing to a lower open on Wall Street. Fear still driving the market. CNN Money looks at what's driving investors. Zero is extreme fear, 100 extreme is greed, 31 fear reading right now. A year ago, it was extreme greed, and that greed drove the S&P 500 to gain 30 percent last year. Now even as we hover near record highs in stocks, investors, they are largely cautious.

GoPro is going public. That's the maker of those cameras that attach to everything, made popular by extreme athletes who stuck them to snowboards, helmets, handlebars, anything. The company plans to raise $100 million. Sales were nearly $1 billion last year. Considering camera prices range from $200 to $400, that's an awful lot of cameras.

All right, the best retirement savers in America live in Silicon Valley. Fidelity analyzes savings data of 13 million Americans and found people who live in Silicon Valley were stashing the biggest percentage of their paychecks into their 401(k)s, saving on average 14.6 percent of their paychecks. Raleigh and Houston were also super savers. As far as overall balances, the people of Bridgeport, Connecticut, they win that title. Their average more than $150,000 in their 401(k)s.

I guess they've got more money in Bridgeport.

BERMAN: Congratulations, Bridgeport. You have a great day. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Decision day. Six states across the country have key primaries. Control of the Senate hanging in the balance. Will establishment candidates like Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell survive?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Way too close. A near-miss on the runway at Newark Airport. A landing passenger plane barely avoids hitting another plane taking off. How did they get so close, just yards separated the two.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Firing back. China rips into U.S. allegations that their military officers were spying on American companies. This morning they're summoning the U.S. ambassador and warning that this could threaten U.S./China relations.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.