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EARLY START

More Calls for Shinseki to Resign; Tensions Rise in Ukraine; Police Did Not View Rodger Videos

Aired May 30, 2014 - 05:30   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It could be game over for Donald Sterling. His bid to keep the L.A. Clippers taking a turn. His wife selling the team for a record-breaking $2 billion. So is this the end or does Donald Sterling have any more tricks up his sleeve?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I vote for tricks.

New calls this morning for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down. Top lawmakers from both parties outraged by systemic problems at VA hospitals across the country. The embattled secretary set to face President Obama as soon as today. The very latest ahead.

BERMAN: Edward Snowden, patriot or liar? New e-mails revealing the NSA leaker may not have raised concerns about U.S. surveillance programs before he exposed them to the world.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Great to see you today. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Thirty-one minutes past the hour this Friday morning.

And this morning there is a deal in place to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. A source tells CNN former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has signed a binding agreement to buy the Clippers from the Sterling family trust for $2 billion.

Now the sale was negotiated by Shelly Sterling comes days before the league is scheduled to meet and possibly vote on terminating Sterling's ownership for those racist comments. The NBA hasn't agreed to the sale yet. Donald Sterling's attorney says he hasn't agreed either.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAXWELL BLECHER, DONALD STERLING'S ATTORNEY: Mr. Sterling does not believe she has the authority to, quote, "sell the team." He believes he gave her authority only to negotiate an arrangement and bring it to him for approval.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Maxwell Blecher also appeared on "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer, saying they're still considering taking the NBA to court. They're just waiting to see what the league does at next week's meeting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLECHER: We have an option of filing it before Tuesday or we have an option of filing it after Tuesday. There is no detriment to our filing it either way. So we'll make that decision. We haven't made it yet. We did not want to interfere. I'll be very candid with you. We did not want to interfere with Mrs. Sterling's efforts to sell -- to try to arrange for a sale of the team.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: If the reported $2 billion deal goes through, it would be the most ever paid for an NBA franchise. Sterling bought the team in 1981 for just about $12.5 million.

BERMAN: This morning we are set to hear publicly from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki as he fights to keep his job. The secretary is set to speak to a veterans advocacy group a day after he went to Capitol Hill for private meetings with top lawmakers. This amid the shocking revelations that in an inspector general's report that, yes, a CNN investigation was correct, hundreds of veterans in Phoenix were kept off the official waiting lists.

This is a situation that may have led some veterans to die. So more and more members of Congress, including nearly a dozen Democrats in the Senate, say the secretary should resign. Now he seems to be losing the support or at least not gaining support from his boss, the president.

Jim Acosta has more from the White House.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, the writing may be on the wall for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki for the first time since the VA scandal broke, the White House is declining to say whether Shinseki has the confidence of the president. White house Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to answer that question of whether Shinseki has the president's full backing. Instead, Carney said the president wants to see the findings of an internal audit Shinseki is expected to hand over to the president any day now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: How does he run the department if he doesn't have the full confidence of the president? How does he conduct this investigation if he doesn't have the full confidence of the president?

JIM CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president looks forward to the preliminary review that he asked the secretary to provide to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: A growing list of Senate Democrats, many up for re-election, are calling for Shinseki to go. The last straw for those senators? An inspector general's report pointing to systemic issues in the VA system, noting in Phoenix, 1700 veterans were never put on a waiting list and were likely lost or forgotten.

As for the White House, an official cautions the president's loyalty only goes so far. Mr. Obama stood by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius because officials were confident here that the broken Obamacare Web site could be fixed. The White House is not so sure about Shinseki's ability to repair the damage at the VA -- John and Christine.

BERMAN: All right, our thanks to Jim for that. All this comes at the same time that more Democrats are joining the chorus calling for a larger investigation and calling for the secretary's resignation, including Congressman Steve Israel, a member of the House leadership and the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

He tells Jake Tapper on "THE LEAD," he now wants the secretary to step aside and he is asking the attorney general, Eric Holder, to launch a criminal probe to find out what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: I want to know if anybody, anybody at the VA doctored papers, engaged in a cover-up, withheld health care for veterans. They need to be investigated. They need to be prosecuted. They need to be fired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The inspector general's report finds the VA awarded bonuses to top officials based in part on performance goals, including shorter appointment wait times. That may have been an incentive for some to cook the books.

ROMANS: This morning, the NSA insists Edward Snowden never complained to them, refuting his claims in an NBC News interview that he repeatedly raised concerns about the agency's spy programs when he worked for them as a contractor. He says he was told to stop asking those questions.

The NSA made public one e-mail, one e-mail it says he sent asking about the legal power of an executive order, not about these concerns that he told NBC News he had raised to them. Says it has no records showing any other communications from him. In the reply, Snowden is told to get in touch with any additional questions he might have. Snowden called the e-mail release incomplete.

BERMAN: Weeks after the U.S. alleged Chinese military officials were responsible for stealing trade secrets from U.S. companies, we are getting a new sense this morning of just who else might be working to break into U.S. computer systems.

The "Wall Street Journal" says it appears many of those trying to get access to systems in this country are Chinese contractors, not government employees. Security experts say that means it is difficult for the Chinese government to stop them, even if they're doing work for state-owned firms.

ROMANS: All right. Time for an EARLY START on your money this morning. Record number 13, lucky 13 for the S&P 500. 1920, topping 1920. Futures basically hovering right there near that record right now. All three major averages there ending the month of May higher. The NASDAQ up about 3 percent this month.

Stock market records have helped your bank account. One thing you could spend it on? How about a trip to space? Virgin Galactic has been given the go-ahead to start planning commercial space flights by the FAA. Flights will leave out of New Mexico. They're expected to start later this year. The cost, a cool $250,000. So, actually, probably your bank account is not going to be able to send you there.

But here's who's going, the rich and famous. Six hundred people have already signed up, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber, all on that list. But it's big milestone for Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic, this FAA approval has gotten a lot of -- it's never been done before, a private company sending someone to space. So they've got this other dot the I's, cross the T's, and they're getting --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: I'm very supportive of the effort, especially with Justin Bieber, but as I've been saying, for the last 10 years, I feel like we've been told it is next year or later this year. So they say later this year, we will see.

Thirty-seven minutes after the hour. A college student who survived a California massacre that left six others dead shares his story and why he thinks something can be learned from this tragedy. That's after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: California police now say they were told of Elliot Rodger's disturbing online videos back in April, when deputies performed a welfare check after his mother and therapist raised concerns about the clips. But during the visit, they concluded Rodger was not a threat and chose not to put him on any kind of mental health hold, but they did not look at the videos.

That was just three weeks before the rampage left six people dead, 13 wounded. And now we're hearing from one of the survivors run down by Rodger's car while he was riding his skateboard.

Nick Pasichuke suffered two broken legs, multiple facial fractures. He told Anderson Cooper he hopes others learned from what he went through.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK PASICHUKE, UCSB RAMPAGE SURVIVOR: I just kind of want to come out here and, you know, not -- you know, not like shed light on the situation but really just like show kind of a positive side to it, you know? It's a time where a lot of people are feeling sad and a lot of people may be feeling down. But I just -- I just don't want people to be so distracted by that whole side of it that they forget like that people are still alive. People survived this thing.

And like although we still should mourn those people it should be something that we kind of look towards to better ourselves in a way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Pasichuke is recovering at home this morning.

ROMANS: Suspected Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes doesn't want the public to see how his jury is picked. His lawyers making that request in court. Prosecutors agreed to bar the public and media individual questioning but said the last step, when 12 jurors and 12 alternates are chosen, should be open.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2012 massacre that left 12 dead and dozens wounded. Jury selection is scheduled for October 14th.

BERMAN: The measles making a big comeback in the United States. This is alarming to medical officials around the country. 288 cases have been reported this year, the most since it was all but eliminated from the U.S. in 2000. This morning, health officials say it is time for a wake-up call, warning that the disease can be deadly, urging people to get vaccinated.

This year, adults make up more than half of those infected. Almost all cases have linked to transmission overseas.

ROMANS: New federal oversight is coming to tanning beds. The FDA is reclassifying the devices so manufacturers will have to seek federal approval over their designs before they are sold. The agency is also requiring so-called black box warnings on tanning beds, saying they shouldn't be used by anyone under the age 18. Now this federal health officials they stopped short of prohibiting minors from using tanning beds, but there will be strong warnings.

BERMAN: Same-sex marriage becomes law in Illinois this weekend. Starting Sunday, couples will be able to tie the knot statewide months after a court said marriages could begin in some of the counties, including Cooke, which includes Chicago.

One think tank expects same-sex marriage in Illinois will generate up to $75 million a year in new wedding business.

ROMANS: This next one's for all of you who are afraid of heights. A major scare hundreds of feet in the air over Chicago. One of these glass boxes hanging off the observation deck of the Willis Tower seemingly started to crack. Those standing inside were terrified and ran out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALEJANDRO GARIBAY, WITNESS: I hear the crack and I feel the track on my -- on the palm of my hand and on my hand I feel like glass just completely shattered or cracked, however you would like to say it. And I just feel that, and as soon as I feel it and I hear it, I look down and I'm like, oh, my god.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Officials at the tower insist no one was ever in danger. It wasn't the glass that cracked, it was the protective coating on the glass. It wasn't the underlying structure. Those ledges, by the way, they hang some 1300 feet above the ground.

BERMAN: To me, it is a distinction without a difference when you're 1300 feet in the air. If something cracks, it cracks. I don't care what it is.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: I was afraid of it before it cracked.

BERMAN: Yes.

ROMANS: I mean, let's be honest with you.

BERMAN: All right, Indra Petersons here with a check of your weekend forecast. Make it better, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: First of all, look at the pictures. It's not a tiny little crack. When you hear a crack, look at that picture, look at the whole thing is shattered. I'd be crying at that point.

Yes, let's talk about the weekend. Some people may be crying into the south, because still, it's been a full week. I mean, look at the systems that have been ruining their days and now it looks like the weekend will be ruined as well with more showers in the south, more rain and a heavy rain, 2 to 4 inches of it expected as this very slow- moving low continues to pull all this moisture out of the gulf and produce day after day of showers.

Watch it really blow up as we go through Saturday. There you go. But finally, by Saturday night, that's what you've been waiting for. Finally, we'll see the system die down and kind of fade and kick out of here.

Northeast, the bigger story, yes, mild showers barely along the cold front that kicks through. Biggest thing you'll notice is a little bit of a temperature drop by Saturday. Don't worry, it rebounds by Sunday, so it's going to feel a lot better out there. Want to look at it a different way, Boston goes from 67 today, by Saturday down to 58, but already by Sunday, you're kind of back up again.

Same kind of story really across the area. Not as drastic as it is in Boston because it's a little colder since it's closer to the cold front. Otherwise, severe weather into the northern plains also for Saturday and Sunday. Won't affect too many flights in the northern plains. But either way.

ROMANS: Thanks, Indra.

BERMAN: Thank you so much. No matter what the weather, Indra, the sun is always shiny on Kate Bolduan.

Kate Bolduan here telling us what's coming up on "NEW DAY."

Good morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: I was looking away, and all of a sudden I was like, excuse me? What was that?

ROMANS: Tell me more. Tell me more.

BOLDUAN: Tell me more, yes, please, John Berman, don't stop.

Good morning you, guys. We're going to continue to follow the big developments in the Donald Sterling saga. Sources telling CNN an agreement has been reached to sell the Clippers for a cool $2 billion or so, and the potential buyer is former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but will Donald Sterling actually go through with the sale? How painful will it be if it does?

Our legal experts are going to be joining us to discuss.

Plus, the embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, he's going to be speaking to veterans groups this morning. This is, of course, as more and more lawmakers are demanding his resignation amid the growing scandal in the VA system.

Is it time for President Obama to take action? What will push him over the edge to make that decision? We will see.

BERMAN: All right, thanks so much, Kate. See you in a bit.

BOLDUAN: All right.

BERMAN: Happening now, violence escalating in Ukraine. A military helicopter shot down. More than a dozen dead. Bloody battles between troops and pro-Russian separatists. They are raging on. We are live with what's happening this morning, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: In Ukraine this morning, there are new fears that days of fighting could escalate into all-out war. This after militants shot down a Ukrainian military helicopter, killing 14 people on board, including a top general.

Senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh live in Donetsk this morning.

This latest incident, Nick, how does it escalate the situation?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, it is the largest death toll that the Ukrainian military had on one day since the start of this crisis, and I'm sure it will provoke further calls in Kiev for this military operation here to intensify. In fact, we're hearing today ministers again saying they're going to continue this right through to the end, but their scope for actually doing that successfully is, of course, limited by the separatist militants here in large number.

And yesterday admitting for the first time that Russian citizens were amongst those fighting for them and amongst those who died in the violence for Monday's attack on the airport. Thirty-three Russian citizens, they said, out of 70 militants killed, making that potentially on Monday the most deadly day yet since this whole crisis began when a shooting happened in Kiev back in February.

But today, two people trying to work through what's been happening behind me. The main administration building here in Donetsk was long seized by separatists, a rag tag bunch with masks, sticks. A new group of separatist militants turned up yesterday, cleaned them all out, took down all the barricades, and now we just met the self- declared prime minister of the separatist republic here near our hotel, and he said look, you know, we're going about the business of government.

That was all about a police operation clearing out looters. So, a sense, I think, of them trying to recast themselves here, the separatist movement, perhaps even with moreover ties to Russia and people still asking one key question, Christine, right now. There are four OSCE monitors whose fate hasn't been really (INAUDIBLE) since they lost contact with their headquarters at Monday at 6:00. People anxiously waiting for news about that today -- Christine.

ROMANS: A lot of new developments there for us on the ground in Ukraine.

Nick Paton Walsh -- thanks, Nick.

Good news in this country for new graduates. It might be a little easier this year for you to land a job right out of college. The details -- got the details in an early check of your money, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back. Let's get an EARLY START on your money. I sound like a broken record on stocks, because stocks keep breaking records, fattening your 401(k). The S&P 500 closed above 1920 for the first time ever. Futures slightly lower this morning.

And rare good news for college graduates. They're having an easier time, a little easier time getting a job this year. A new study shows that about 48 percent of college seniors who applied for jobs got at least one offer. That's up from last year. The biggest surprise, liberal arts majors are seeing some of the biggest jumps in offers. Offers to art majors jumped by more than 15 percent, communications majors up more than 9 percent.

Meantime, it's College Savings Awareness Week. Yesterday was May 29th, 5/29, that's of course, the same name as the College Savings Account. It's got planners encouraging parents to save more.

According to Fidelity, even though an all-time high number of families, 69 percent are saving for college, an average of $5,000 a year, most families won't have nearly enough to meet their goals.

We're going to have more on the debate over paying for college this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. on "YOUR MONEY." Make sure to watch.

Sticking with college, Evan Spiegel, CEO of the disappearing message app Snapchat, very rich man after he sold it, right? Probably wishing he could make some messages he sent in college disappear. Gawker recently published a slew of racy e-mails Spiegel sent in college. In them, he calls women sororisluts, jokes about wanting to, quote, "shoot lasers at fat girls," and yes, he spelled lasers wrong.

In a more PC e-mail to CNN via Snapchat, Spiegel apologizes. He says this, "I'm obviously mortified and embarrassed that my idiotic e-mails during my fraternity days were made public. They in no way reflect who I am today."

Spiegel's age today, he is 23.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAXWELL BLECHER, DONALD STERLING'S ATTORNEY: There is no sale. He has not yet agreed to sign off, period.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, we have a deal. Or do we? Shelly Sterling agrees to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a whopping $2 billion, but can she sell without Donald? And his lawyer says he is spoiling for a fight.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Pressure mounting. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki set to speak this morning as more and more lawmakers say it's time for him to step aside. Will he resign? And if he does, will it help the troubled VA system?

CUOMO: Terror at 1300 feet. Look at this. The glass on the viewing ledge of the Willis Tower in Chicago seemingly cracks. Terrified tourists fearing for their lives. The video you just have to see.

Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. TGIF alert on this May 30th. 6:00 in the East.

We begin with a reported deal which would make history on two levels. Biggest sell of an NBA franchise and biggest ouster in sports. Certainly for the NBA. Could it be the end for Donald Sterling's career as an owner?

CNN has learned former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has agreed to buy the L.A. Clippers for $2 billion.