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Crisis in Iraq: Secretary of State Kerry Visits; Tornadoes Touch Down; World Cup: Upset Ending for Team USA

Aired June 23, 2014 - 05:00   ET


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news overnight. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry landing in Iraq as terrorists fight inches closer to Baghdad. Is the country on the brink of civil war? We are live.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Tornadoes touch down. Communities cleaning up, after storms tore through their streets. And this morning, there's a threat for even more severe storms. Indra Petersons is tracking the very latest.

MARQUEZ: And a World Cup shocker. What a shocker it was. Team USA jolted by Portugal's last minute heroics. Shot that tied the match. This morning, a play-by-play of the stunning finish and what's next for the U.S.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez.

KOSIK: And I'm Alison Kosik. It's Monday, June 23rd, it's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Up first, they were this close.


KOSIK: In the last 20 seconds, just moments away from a thrilling come from behind win that would have sent them to the World Cup's knock out round of 16, but Portugal had other ideas, getting the equalizer in the final minutes of play.

CNN's Lara Baldesarra has more on the stunning finish and the victory celebration that wasn't.


LARA BALDESARRA, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Are you guys over the absolute shock that we experienced just moments ago behind me? This was a match that really could have been the biggest moment in American soccer history. But that was snatched from them with 30 seconds left in the game. The score was 2-1, there were 30 seconds left in extra time and Portugal managed to score tying this game, 2-2.

Now, you can hear the despair in my voice. It isn't totally over for the USA by any stretch of the imagination. The USA can still progress. They can still move on by tying Germany. They can even move on by possibly losing against Germany in their final match. But that does all depend on the other results and goal difference as well.

However, that being said, right now the move feels like the Americans lost because they were so close to winning, which would have secured their progression.

But let's not focus too much on the negative. Let's take a look at even some more of that positive, that being the tremendous goal that is we saw. Jermaine Jones, people would have said he was more likely to get a card, a red card before scoring a goal. But the German-born midfielder is the one that put the Americans on the board first.

And then who was it who score that second goal to give that Americans a 2-1 lead before results were tied at 2-2? That was Captain America, that was Clint Dempsey, who had a phenomenal game.

We are waiting to see what happens as the USA plays Germany.


MARQUEZ: Oh, my God, we are waiting to see what happens. This was going to I was going yes, yes, yes, what just happened.

KOSIK: Twenty seconds to go.

MARQUEZ: It was unbelievable. It was like the bookend match. They scored the last five minutes, and I'm like it, oh God, that's it. And in the last five seconds --

KOSIK: You can bet all the enjoyment you got out of the game. See? There's a positive.

MARQUEZ: Oh, don't be positive. Now we have to face Germany. We'll get them.

All right. Now to something more serious, Iraq. Islamic militants continue to run roughshod over Iraqi armed forces. The latest military victories for ISIS include two border crossings, one with Syria, the other with Jordan. Meantime, Secretary of State John Kerry arriving overnight in Baghdad with talks with Iraqi leaders as the crisis grows and ISIS fighters move ever closer to Iraq's capital.

CNN's Nima Elbagir is live in Baghdad.

Nima, how are things going there?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Miguel, Secretary Kerry arrives in a very tense Baghdad, after 72 hours of almost back-to-back gains for the militant groups. They have taken, as just two very strategic border crossings which have opened up, the entire border with Syria for them. They have also taken almost three courses of Anbar province which lies between Syria and Iraq. That gives them a very clear run to begin reinforcing, bring in men, moving assets, effectively creating one battlefield for them of Syria and Iraq, and setting their sights ever closer to the capital.

We have been hearing of clashes in the Sunni towns, on the outskirts of Baghdad, like Abu Ghraib, which is right on the doorstep of Baghdad. And just now, before we came to air, Miguel, we have confirmed 71 prisoners were killed during a convoy move, five militants and five police officers in an attack in a predominantly Shia town. This will only really ramp up the pressure on these talks and ramp up the pressure that Secretary Kerry is expected to start exacting on Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to start looking for a political way out of this -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Look, there's been so much frustration amongst the Sunnis so long. ISIS is clearly not representing them. But there must be acquiescence by Sunni tribes and groups in all these areas where these towns are falling. What in the world can Kerry do, anything that he can do there to bring this -- to bring the temperature down there?

ELBAGIR: Absolutely, I mean, that's what we have been hearing from all our sources. When the Sunni tribes in al Qaeda and Iraq, which was effectively an earlier iteration of ISIS that they no longer had a place amongst them, they rose up and they worked for the American operation at the time, and that AQI was pushed out, there has to be some kind of at the very least acquiescence as you put it. It's not alliance for ISIS to have been able to move as far and as fast as it has, which is why there is so much emphasis right now on the international pressure that has to be put on Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to show he's going to put together a more inclusive government, that Sunni tribes don't need Sunni extremists to get them a piece of the pie, to get them a place at the table that al Maliki can give that to them.

And we have some deadlines coming up, that the Iraqi parliament needs to choose a speaker by the end of this month, it needs to choose a president by the deadline, the end of the month after. And what Secretary Kerry is looking is he doesn't us he -- doesn't want the Iraqis to go right up to those deadlines, he wants faster movement and putting together a government that can be representative of all the Iraqi people. It's how the State Department is putting it, Miguel.

MARQUEZ: My God. It feels like we are back in 2005-2006.

Nima Elbagir in Baghdad for us -- keep yourself safe. Thank you.

KOSIK: Meantime, the politics of Iraq taking center stage here at home with voices on both side of the aisle weighing in on whether the Obama administration is doing enough to address the crisis.

CNN's Erin McPike has more on that story.


ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What's most politically interesting here is just how divergent the voices are in the Republican Party on this.

First, you have Dick Cheney who, more than a decade ago, was really pushing for more serious action that, of course, led to the war in Iraq. Well, he was on ABC News just yesterday. He was calling Rand Paul an isolationist. But here is the point that he made.

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I'm not sure we have addressed the problem. I would definitely be helping the resistance up in Syria, ISIS backyard with training and weapons and so forth in order to be able to do a more effective job on that end of the party. But I think at this point, there are no good, easy answers in Iraq.

MCPIKE: So, obviously, Cheney is saying there that he thinks the Obama administration needs to do a lot more. On the other end of the spectrum is, as I mentioned, Rand Paul, who is likely to run for president in 2016. Here is how Rand Paul addressed this on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" yesterday.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: You have to ask yourself, are you willing to send your son? Am I willing to send my son, to retake back a city, Mosul, that they weren't willing to defend themselves? I'm not willing to send my son into that mess.

MCPIKE: And then in the middle, you have House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, of course, a Republican as well, right now, he is backing what the president has suggested, as is his counter part in the Senate, though a Democrat, Dianne Feinstein.

And here she is on "STATE OF THE UNION" just yesterday.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I think the president is doing the right thing. He's being circumspect. He's being thoughtful. I think we are building our so-called ISR assets so that some pinpointed action can be taken.

MCPIKE: But just what that pinpointed action is could be the next controversial issue in this story, Miguel and Alison.


KOSIK: OK. Erin McPike, thanks.

And Iraq was just one of the topics our Kate Bolduan talked to President Obama about during their one-on-one interview. And much more on that ahead on NEW DAY.

MARQUEZ: And developing this morning, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl entering a new face in his recovery, being transferred from a military hospital in San Antonio for treatment in an outpatient facility. Officials say his reintegration is proceeding with exposure to more people, a gradual increase in social interactions. Bergdahl was freed after five years as a prisoner of war in exchange for five Taliban leaders.

KOSIK: The Border Patrol canceling plan to fly 300 detainees from Texas to California. A surge in illegal border crossings especially by children has overwhelmed holding facilities in the Southwest. The administration announced that it is working to speed up deportation proceedings. A new detention center is being built in New Mexico to hold families while they are being processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

This afternoon, Texas Governor Rick Perry is scheduled to tour one of the facilities where the children are being housed.

MARQUEZ: And new troubles this morning for the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to the scandal over long wait times at V.A. facilities, the agency is reportedly falling short in its duty to female veterans. According to "The Associated Press", one in four V.A. hospitals did not have a full-time gynecologist on staff and female vets are placed on the V.A.'s electronic waiting list, at a higher rate than men. Nearly 400,000 women were seen at the V.A. facilities last year.

KOSIK: Time for an EARLY START on your money.

Asian markets ended the day mixed after stocks got a boost from some strong Chinese manufacturing data. European markets are lower.

And futures in the U.S. starting the week mixed. This is after a stellar end to last week. All three indices saw at least 1 percent gains for the week. The S&P 500 and Dow topped record highs on Friday.

And all eyes are going to be on the Dow today as it continues its march toward 17,000. The average is just 50 points away from the milestone. It's only been seven months since it reached 16,000. But took it almost six years to reach the 15,000 milestone after the recession. The Dow, of course, is an average of 30 of the biggest American brands and it's considered a gauge of the health of corporate America.

MARQUEZ: Crazy, crazy, crazy how it's growing so fast, 17,000.

KOSIK: It is. But many say it doesn't really mean anything. It's a nice confidence boost to America to see that 17,000.

MARQUEZ: In Colorado, a big clean up under way. The National Weather Service says five, count them, five tornadoes touched down in two Colorado counties. People in the town of Brighton say the twister came out of nowhere.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stuff was flying everywhere. You could see the funnel -- white funnel cloud coming down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boom, things were flying. Ducked down, just the whole structure starts to just go up in the air.


MARQUEZ: Amazing, that guy's barn was destroyed with him hiding inside. He escaped without a scratch. Amazing.

And more stormy weather on tap for the middle of the country.

Indra Petersons is here with the forecast.

Indra, how is it looking?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, definitely happy Monday. We are still talking about some storms out there, but the good news, it's a little bit more concentrated today. We are looking at the risk areas that include 2 million of you right around Denver. So, definitely we're going to be watching that especially if you have flights today. That is a major hub, guys.

But generally speaking, if you have a lot of extreme weather, this is what your weather looks like. It's kind of a big roller coaster, some highs and some lows. That is not what the weather pattern looks like right now. Instead, notice, it's almost like a straight line all the way across. That means the weather is zonal, pretty much average, what it should be like this time of year.

So, kind of generally speaking, a quiet time of year. We have thunderstorms. For a lot of you that typically like the afternoon thunderstorms, as you go toward the afternoon. That's kind of the weather pattern for the week.

So, temperatures where they should be. Warm, Boston 70s and 80s. New York City, 70s and 80s. D.C. the same, little hot there, right, some upper 80s out there, going to the southeast 80s and 90s.

Just want to point out, though, it's kind of calm out there. There will be a change into the Northeast around Tuesday night through Wednesday and Thursday. You will start to see some light showers. But over all, kind of a nice break this week, nice calm weather except in Colorado.

MARQUEZ: Easing us into the summer.

KOSIK: I'm loving the heat, I am.

PETERSONS: I'm with you. No complaints here.

KOSIK: I'll take it, exactly.

MARQUEZ: No humidity for me, though. It's terrible on --

KOSIK: Terrible on --


KOSIK: Has Pope Francis made himself a target of the mafia? The controversial sermon that could have mobsters retaliating. We're live in Rome, next.


KOSIK: Welcome back to EARLY START.

Breaking news out of Egypt, three al Jazeera journalists were found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison by an Egyptian court. Mohammed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohammed, have been behind bars since December. They are accused of spreading false news and conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt government has branded a terrorist group. The three have denied the charges.

MARQUEZ: Shocking.

Now, Israel is striking back, hitting at least nine strategic targets in Syria, including its military headquarters. The airstrikes are in response to a cross border attack in the Golan Heights this weekend that killed an Israeli teenager. It's the first fatality on the Israeli side of the border since Syria's civil war began more than three years ago.

KOSIK: Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for a unilateral cease-fire in Ukraine. On Sunday, he said the only way for Ukraine to bring an end to the insurgency in the East would be to open a dialogue with pro-Russian separatist leaders. His words come as NATO accuses Russia of sending troops back to the Ukrainian border.

MARQUEZ: And this week, Australian investigators will announce a new search area in the hunt for Malaysian flight 370. The search will focus in an area hundreds of miles from the first suspected crash site. Sonar will scan of square miles of ocean floor for wreckage from the jet liner. A British newspaper reported that Flight 370 pilots Zaharie Shah is considered the main suspect in the plane's disappearance.

But Malaysia's acting transport minister denied the report, calling it irresponsible. It's been more than three months since Malaysia Flight 370 disappeared with 239 passengers and crew aboard.

KOSIK: There's concern this morning that Pope Francis could become a target of organized crime. It comes after the pontiff used a weekend sermon to take on the Italian mafia, saying their actions are in conflict with the church and declare them excommunicated.

CNN's Delia Gallagher is live in Rome.

Good morning.


Fighting words from the pope this weekend. Here is what happened -- he went to Calabria, in southern Italy. It is the heart of Ndrangheta territory. And the Ndrangheta, you heard of course, well, Ndrangheta is one of the most powerful crime organizations in the world. It's heartland, it's territory is in Calabria. The pope went down there at an open air mass in front of 200,000 people in that region and middle of mass said, "By the way, all you members of the mafia are excommunicated."

That is a huge slap in the face to the mafia. Many of them attempt to portray themselves as upstanding religious members. They go to mass. They participate in processions.

The pope said no. He told the people at the mass, "We must stand-up to the mafia and say no." And the pope, himself, proving he is going to be the first to do it with the strongest condemnation that a pope can offer, which is excommunication. The first time a pope has done so.

As for his personal safety, you know, Alison, he said before, he doesn't want to travel in bullet-proof vehicles. He feels like he's on the inside of a sardine can and he can't communicate and greet people from the inside of a sardine can. He's also said in the past that he's old and he has nothing to lose, especially I think when it comes to speaking the truth and attempting to turn the tide of a phenomenon such as the mafia which has plagued Italy for decades -- Alison.

KOSIK: Delia, do you know of indications his life could be in danger? Has there been any movement at all? Anything, any activity at all?

GALLAGHER: There are no reports at the moment, Alison. Of course, you know, the history of Italy is unfortunately marked by mafia violence. There are many outstanding cases of political figures who have been killed by the mafia in attempt to infiltrate and to bring them to justice. It is a long and difficult problem in this country.

At the moment, however, no reports of problems for personal safety for Pope Francis.

KOSIK: OK. Delia Gallagher, live in Rome, thanks.

MARQUEZ: We love Papa Francesco.

The thrill of near victory, the agony of having to settle for a tie. More on the heart stopping finish between the U.S. and Portugal at the World Cup. Andy Scholes with "The Bleacher Report" has the details. He's coming right up. You have a big job ahead.


MARQUEZ: A great performance by Team USA turns into --

KOSIK: I think I saw you shed a tear.

MARQUEZ: Oh, so frustrating. The U.S. was seconds away, seconds from advancing. The last goal by Portugal changed it all.

Andy Scholes with the "Bleacher Report" -- make me feel better.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Oh, Miguel, 20 seconds. We just needed to hold the ball for 20 more seconds and we would be talking about moving on to the round of 16 this morning. Instead, now, we're going to have to sweat it out against Germany.

Now, last night's game, of course, taken place in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. For the first time in world history, a water break was called. No orange slices were served, but they got the chance to rehydrate. Now, the U.S. is down 1-0 at the half, has never come back and won a game when they were trailing at the break. In the 50th minute, Jermaine Jones gets the USA on the board with an

incredible strike from outside the box. That tied the game. In the 81st minute, Graham Zusi finds Clint Dempsey, USA, takes the lead. We were almost able to hold on to it.

But in the 95th minute, last chance for Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo, just beautiful cross into the box. Portugal gets the equalizer. And while it was going to be the greatest comeback win in team history turns into a heartbreaking draw.


CLINT DEMPSEY, U.S. TEAM CAPTAIN: There were some good chances. It showed a lot of character considering the first goal and fighting our way back into the game and then even going ahead with the go ahead goal. But, yes, just three points, but still, we are happy with four points and there's everything to play for in the last game.

TIM HOWARD, U.S. GOALKEEPER: Draw is just bluff (ph). You know, had we been down 2-1 and we came back and scored, everybody would be happy. So, it ebbs and flows. It's a draw, it's a point, it keeps in the hunger, and that's what we always want though (ph).


SCHOLES: So, here are the scenarios for the U.S. to advance. The easy way to make it happen is a win or draw against Germany. If we lose on Thursday, we would automatically still make it if Ghana and Portugal tie. Now, if we lose and one of those teams win, it's going to come down to goal differential.

So, guys, I can already tell you, Thursday afternoon is going to be a very stressful, stressful day watching both of these games.

KOSIK: Miguel is cracking his knuckles every second. He's just growling. I mean, I can feel the tension.

MARQUEZ: Oh, my goodness, what a game.

SCHOLES: Yes, I'm already having anxiety about Thursday. It's still three days away.

MARQUEZ: The Americans were so aggressive. The Germans are going to be tough, man. It's going to be tough. Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

MARQUEZ: Happening now, terrorists in Iraq advancing on Baghdad. We are live with the latest on the ground coming up after the break.