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Syria & Iran Move In On Iraq; Mystery of Flight 370: Search Shifts South; World Cup Fever: USA Vs. Germany

Aired June 26, 2014 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: terrorists targeting oil fields and air bases in Iraq. U.S. military advisers working to keep the country together. Syria and Iran may have their own plans. We are live.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning: the search for Flight 370 shifts south. Investigators explaining where they now think the vanished jet liner crashed. We are live with the latest.

BERMAN: World Cup fever. Taking hold of the country, taking hold of the studio here. Team USA just hours away from it's pivotal and ultimately victorious match against Germany. We'll take you live to Brazil for a preview of the big game action.

Good morning, everyone. We're a little bit excited. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. I'm trying to figure out if I'm going to stay here to watch game, if I'm going to rush home to watch the game, I don't want to be in transit during the --

BERMAN: Everywhere you go, there will be monitors covering this game.

ROMANS: This is true. This is true.

All right. It's Thursday, June 26, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

All right. American eyes are on Brazil today where Team USA is geared up for its big World Cup match. Germany, the math is simple, a win or draw and the U.S. moves on to round 16. They could still advance with a loss, but some -- they need some help from Portugal and Ghana.

BERMAN: We're about -- oh, seven hours now to game time.

Lara Baldesarra has a preview from Recife.


LARA BALDESARRA, CNN SPORTS: All right, John. All right, Christine. Today is the day we will see what happens with this USA team if they will be progressing and staying alive in the World Cup. All they need is a draw. That seals it. They are through, no matter what.

Now, it is the USA. It is Germany. A lot has been made of this whole American/German connection.

Of course, it starts right at the top, with Jurgen Klinsmann. He is German. He was born in Germany. He played for Germany. He was a fantastic player for Germany. He in fact coached the German national team in the 2006 World Cup.

But Klinsmann is guy who's always kind of been at odds with the whole German soccer culture. He never really quite fit in. It was very rigid. It was very strict.

And for Klinsmann, especially as a player, he was a pretty emotional guy. But that being said, it's kind of an odd paradigm for Klinsmann because he doesn't quite fit in with the American soccer culture, either. He kind of hates it. He's trying to, in fact, Europeanize American soccer culture.

Now, Klinsmann is just the start of this German connection. There are, in fact, five players on the squad who identify themselves as German-American. Four of those guys were born in Germany. A lot of these guys are playing against other players on the German squad who they grew up with.

But as we heard from Fabian Johnson in his press conference yesterday, he says it's no big deal. He has done it before in terms of playing against players he grew up with. He does it in his club play because he plays over in Germany.

Now, Kyle Beckerman was asked, hey, should we call these guys German- Americans or what? And Beckerman said, yes, call them German- Americans. It's no big deal.

They are. There's a lot of people out there. It's how you identify people in the USA. They're German-Americans. They're Norwegian- American, Icelandic American, other nationalities we are seeing on this USA team.

But at the end of the day, all of these guys, they're playing for the USA. They are wearing the red, white and blue and they want this victory for the USA and a victory, just like a draw, will definitely take the USA through to the next stage of the World Cup.

So, John and Christine, today is the day. We will find out exactly what happens.

BERMAN: Indeed, we will.

ROMANS: She's got one of the best gigs in journalism right now. Anybody who's down there covering.

BERMAN: The idea of the World Cup is such a thrill. All right. Our thanks to Lara Baldesarra for that.

Some other news now, the United States not taking kindly to Syria and Iran throwing themselves into the crisis in Iraq. Syrian warplanes bombed locations inside Iraq. And now, the U.S. is concerned Syria's involvement could expand the conflict. Also, we have learned that Iran is flying drones over Iraq and providing ammunition to the military so the U.S. and it's long time faux, seem to be jostling there for influence.

Our Nima Elbagir is back with us this morning from Baghdad.

We are hearing that Iraq's parliament will convene next week. I would think the U.S. would see that as a positive development.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Secretary of State John Kerry has welcomed what he said Prime Minister al Maliki's encouraging words in terms of going ahead with the schedule as laid out for the parliament to meet, to choose a speaker. That will take us into the deadline period for the president to be chosen.

What they really want this alliance that is supporting Iraq, is to see a political solution emerge while the military solution is playing out on the ground. Without a political solution, the military solution is not sustainable. You were talking about this unlikely alliance that we are seeing come together, Syria, Iran, but even here on the ground, the Shia militias that Nouri al Maliki is relying on increasingly to bolster the Iraqi military that is being accused by many forces of having cut and run in the face of the enemy.

Many of those were among those who fought the U.S. during the U.S.-led invasion, the U.S.-led war here in Iraq, they are very uncomfortable about finding themselves perhaps shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. in fighting off this Sunni extremists threat. But what we're also seeing, because this is a very fluid military situation, John, what we're also seeing is that ISIS is evolving the strategy it's been showcasing.

So, while it was preliminary, very much about this march to Baghdad, in the ground force, now we're seeing them ratcheting up some of these horrible, irregular warfare tactics, suicide bombs in Kirkuk, and another suicide bomb to the south of Baghdad in areas they can't get their ground force to. They are using some of these horrifying terror tactics and it's reflecting in the death toll, John.

The U.N. has said that just in the weeks of June, over 1,000 people have been killed in this conflict. And that death toll is only set to climb -- John.

BERMAN: Thousand people killed, a million people forced from their homes. Nima Elbagir in Baghdad this morning, the situation as you said is fluid. There's another way of saying it is a mess right now.

Thanks, Nima.

ROMANS: To Texas now where investigators will have their chance to speak with Bowe Bergdahl about how he came to be captured by the Taliban. That discussion will happen in about two weeks. That issue, whether the Army sergeant did indeed dessert his post in 2009 as many have suggested. Bergdahl is now receiving outpatient care in Texas. Anything he says there could be used against him in that probe. The only questions he's faced so far are about his time in captivity. BERMAN: President Obama may have to defend himself from a legal

challenge in the use of his executive powers. House Speaker John Boehner says he is going to move ahead with a lawsuit accusing the president of abusing his authority.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Congress has its job to do and so does the president. When there's conflicts like this between the legislative branch and the administrative branch, it's, in my view, our responsibility to stand-up for this institution in which we serve. It's not about impeachment. This is about his faithfully executing the laws of our country.


BERMAN: The president expanded his use of executive powers to push his agenda when he had trouble getting his bills and ideas through Congress.

ROMANS: Other presidents use executive powers to get things do and you get there --

BERMAN: Other presidents have used executive actions and executive orders. If you count, you know, President Obama isn't in the top of the list right now in terms of the numbers. But what Republicans say is the types of things he's using it on are different in the past presidents. It's not just an executive order. It's also unilateral action or inaction like on health care, not implementing the employer mandate for a year, just deciding to wait. That's the kind of thing that upsets Congress.

ROMANS: Interesting. All right. Newly uncovered e-mails show a disgraced former IRS official suggested an audit for a Republican senator. The e-mails appear to show Lois Lerner had her eyes on Iowa Senator Charles Grassley. It came after she got a note meant for him from someone offering to pay for his wife to attend an event.

Lerner floated the idea of an audit, but a colleague pushed back and it never went anywhere. The IRS says audit cannot be initiated from personal requests.

BERMAN: You people from Iowa are suspicious.

The scandal engulfing the V.A. has cost two more top officials lost their jobs. Robert Jesse, the acting undersecretary for health, will depart next week. He had been in a top role with the V.A. since 2010 and only served in his new role overseeing the V.A. health system for about a month. The department's general counsel, Will Gunn, also has resigned.

ROMANS: Privacy rights advocates are hailing a Supreme Court ruling saying police must have a warrant to search a suspect's cell phone. It was a rare, unanimous decision. It could have greater impact if it's extended to tablets, computers or beyond. Writing to the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said cellphones deserve constitutional protection.

BERMAN: Really interesting concept in terms of space, what is your private space? It's interesting this day and age.

Nine minutes after the hour.

Another setback from G.M. The carmaker telling dealers in the United States and Canada to stop selling 2013 and 2014 Chevy Cruz because of a potential air bag defect. The G.M. spokesman says the move involves some 33,000 cars. Another recall could soon follow. The issue stems from beleaguered air bag supplier, Takata, whose faulty product has already led to a recall of about 10 millions cars world.

ROMANS: It's been a record year, record number of recalls already and it's only June.

Time for an EARLY START on your money. European shares mixed. Asian shares ended the day higher. Driving some of that increase, a terrible reading on U.S. GDP, sounds counterintuitive. But a 2.9 percent contraction in the first quarter could encourage the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low.

Futures are down slightly this morning. Stocks ended the day higher yesterday. The Dow gaining about 50 points.

And a big win for broadcasters. The Supreme Court ruled that streaming television startup Aereo violates the copyright act. Aereo has been an alternative to the cable bundle, since the 2012, using mini-antennas to pick up signals from local stations. The company says the ruling is a setback for consumers.

BERMAN: Hillary Clinton acknowledging she stumbled a bit when she was speaking about her family finances. In an interview with PBS, Mrs. Clinton called her choice of words inartful. The comments about not being truly well-off led to widespread to criticism that Mrs. Clinton is out of touch, trying to refocus on her likely candidacy or possible candidacy.

The former secretary had a surprising admission about running.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: You have to be a little bit crazy to run for president, let me just put it like that, because you have to be so totally immersed and so convinced that you can bring something to that office.


BERMAN: Meanwhile, sales of Mrs. Clinton's memoir, new book, took a dramatic downturn in the second week in the shelves. Nielsen figures show a nearly 50 percent drop, prompting concerns that publisher Simon & Shuster might not be able to make up for her multimillion dollar advance.

ROMANS: So much publicity around the book. I mean, so many parts of it, we've talked about.

BERMAN: I feel like I have read it already, right?

ROMANS: The publicity for the publisher at the same time does it lead into sales, I don't know.

All right. Breaking this morning, the search shifting south for missing Malaysia Flight 370. Investigators revealing where they think the jet liner really crashed and sank. We are live with how they plan to find it.

BERMAN: Plus, breaking overnight. More than 80 people hospitalized when something goes wrong at a concert in Boston. What witnesses saw. We'll tell you right after the break.


BERMAN: Breaking overnight, the search for Malaysia Flight 370 moving even further south in the Indian Ocean. The search zone, not small, more than 23,000 miles. That's about the size of West Virginia. Officials are already mapping the sea floor, hoping start the underwater search in August.

I want to get to Saima Mohsin right now live in Bangkok with more on what officials have to say about this new, although in some way, old search zone -- Saima.

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi, John. Yes, you're right. This is actually probably an area they almost had started on, but then they got slightly diverted by those pings, hopeful that that was an indicator of Flight MH370 was.

So, they were kind of distracted over the last few months, searching that zone of 860 square kilometers. Today, they have come out with a pretty comprehensive document. It's more than 60 pages, really trying to explain the complex calculation that went into finding out where they believe the flight went to and to work out where they should be searching.

Another thing that came out today, John, really striking. When they were trying to work out where the flight was headed was that they believe that the flight was actually on auto pilot. Take a listen.


MARTIN DOLAN, CHIEF COMMISSIONER, ATSB: The best, highest probability flight path is one on a straight course and the sort of straight course would be associated with the aircraft being operated on auto pilot. So, by nature of the process, we have concluded it was on autopilot, just as we can conclude that 777 had run out of fuel.


MOHSIN: Some striking information there, John. But, what they are pained to say is actually reserved for investigators in Malaysia, but this gives us some kind of insight onto what may have gone on on board. But, crucially, this is a new refined search area, that's what Malaysian officials are telling me late last night before this was announced.

They are saying look, this isn't an entirely new area. Yes, it's further down along that southern arc. You remember, they came up with that southern arc that went into the Indian Ocean. They are moving further down there, but it is quite a distance away, 800 to 1,200 kilometers away. And let's forget, John, we are talking a huge, expansive ocean, 3,000 to 4,000 meters, three to four kilometers deep and, of course, 60,000 square kilometers to search.

Now, they are looking at a big area. And as I said, today, look, they are hopeful we may find the plane on day one, but it could take up to a year and we're prepared for that and they're going to bring in the right vessel to that, but the search wouldn't start, likely until August -- John.

BERMAN: It's big, it's far away. They have already searched part of that area from the air, found no debris. So, this will not be an easy task.

Saima Mohsin covering this for us -- thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. To the weather now. The dangerous storms just don't seem to stop these days. Take a look at College Station, Texas. Roads inundated by heavy rains, cars doing what they can and navigate that water. Trucks brought to a crawl along flooded roadways and more rain -- get this -- more rain possible today, John.

BERMAN: Same story up north in Middle River, Minnesota, who's had to clean up after flash flooding for four inches of rain, just two hours, 7,000 sandbags were used to try to keep that water a bay.

ROMANS: Dramatic images out of Wyoming. Seems like we see this every day now. Look at that, a funnel cloud developed out of the thunderstorms in Cheyenne, prompted a tornado warning. But fortunately, that one did not touch down.

BERMAN: Residents assessing damage, cleaning up from an EF-1 tornado in central Indiana. Some people are in for months of work with trees uprooted. Homes damaged. Crazy stuff to look.

Indra Petersons is here with us this morning, telling us what's in store for today.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: So close to the weekend, right? I always call it, Friday eve, right? We always want to know, where is the rain and how long is it going to be raining?

Let's look at the Northeast first, definitely seeing some showers in the morning hours. But slowly making its way offshore, of course, the further north you are in the Northeast, you're still going to be hanging on to that rain a little bit longer. So, Boston still hanging out in the showers to about noon or so today. Otherwise, looking at the low, you can actually see the front making its way up. And look what is building in, a high pressure. That is good news for

the Northeast for the weekend. That means it's going to be drier out there as we go forward in time. Further to the south, the cold front by the Carolinas, you are still going to be a threat for showers as we go forward.

Otherwise, rain totals, higher amounts in the Northeast. Two to three inches could be out there. Again, the bulk of it king of falling in the morning hours, kind of kicking out of here. Temperatures pretty much where they should be. But notice, kind of hot and muggy. We are talking the moisture funneling in from the Gulf.

The hot and muggy feeling is lasting. Speaking of the Gulf, look at the heavy rain, they're still talking about there, two to five inches from Houston all the way out to about New Orleans, of course, closer to the coastline itself. And then the Midwest, that's going to be the story. We start watching again, the next system making its way in the plains and eventually spreading into the Midwest, as we get closer towards the weekend. We are going to watch that. We have a couple days before we get there.

ROMANS: All right. Indra, thank you.

BERMAN: Breaking overnight, dozens of people, many of them just in teenagers taken to a hospital from an Avicii concert in Boston. Local media put the number of patients up around 80. Authorities told CNN affiliate WHDH that most patients had a combination of dehydration, drugs and/or alcohol. Witnesses say some of these patients even got rough with people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was one kid, it took four cops to get him down. He was on something, I have no idea. But he was just trying to fight back. It took four of them to take him down.


BERMAN: No official word yet on the conditions, how they're doing, those people who have been hospitalized.

ROMANS: All right. An intense nail-biting night ahead for the NBA. It's draft night. And last minute shake ups could bring some surprises. Andy Scholes breaking it all down in the "Bleacher Report", next.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone.

Some big news in sports. The NFL has removed the $675 million cap in their landmark concussion settlement with former players. The league hopes that this move can clear the way for this deal to finally get approved by a judge.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more on the "Bleacher Report". Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys.

You know, this cap has been a sticking point holding up the deal of getting approved by a U.S. district judge Anita Brody. She said back in January that she didn't feel like $765 million was going to be enough to cover claims by as many as 20,000 retired NFL players. So, in this revised agreement, the NFL has agreed to lift the cap on damages. The league also eliminated a provision that bar players receiving damages from suing the NCAA or other amateur football leagues.

All right. Giants pitcher, Tim Lincecum, may not be the dominant force he used to be, but he was vintage Lincecum yesterday. The two- time Cy Young Award winner, no hit to the Padres for the second time in less than a year.

How did he celebrate? Well, by rocking a team USA soccer jersey in the clubhouse with a gladiator helmet on his head. He had big plans for when he got home later.


TIM LINCECUM, 2ND CAREER NO HITTER: I just said I was going to go to my house and, I don't know, drink a little bit. Did I say that? Yes, I guess I can. We're going to party.


SCHOLES: There's going to be plenty of moving and shaking tonight in the NBA as the league holds their annual draft in New York City. The Cleveland Cavaliers have their pick, again. Who they pick? Still up in the air. Will it be Kansas' Andrew Wiggins or Duke's Javari Parker? We're going to find out tonight. The draft starts at 7:30 Eastern. We can expect plenty of trades this year as teams gear to make run to LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in free agency.

All right. Turning on this morning is, of course, today's pivotal match up for Team USA against Germany. And win or tie and we advance. The game kicks off at noon Eastern.

Of course, everyone wants to skip work to watch this game, right? Well, don't worry. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has this all covered. He wrote everyone a get out of work letter. The team tweeted it out, guys. So, you just print this off, bring it to your boss and you should be good. You know, if for any reason this doesn't work, I guess call your boss un-American and take an extended lunch.

ROMANS: My favorite is the boss in Richmond, Virginia, who sent out an email yesterday, saying there will be an important companywide meeting from 12:00 to 2:00. I have reserved the conference room. You all must be there. We'll discuss the results after. Of course, they are going to watch the game.

BERMAN: Everyone should watch. Andy, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

SCHOLES: Have a good one.

ROMANS: All right. Terrorists gaining ground in Iraq as the U.S. plans to keep the country in one piece could be derailed by other countries with their own agendas. We are live after the break.