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Crisis in Iraq; Team USA Advances to World Cup Knockout

Aired June 27, 2014 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Crisis in Iraq. Terrorists gaining ground, moving closer to Baghdad. But Iraq's leader now turning to Iran and Russia for help, claiming the U.S. isn't acting fast enough. But will the U.S. be pushed out of this fight? We are live in Baghdad with the latest this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Dangerous storming barreling across the country. Millions in the path of violent weather for the weekend. Indra Petersons is tracking what you need to know.

BERMAN: A loss never looked so good. Team USA alive and kicking at the World Cup, moving on to the next round. This morning, we are looking ahead at the U.S.' road to victory.

You're going down, Belgium. Jurgen so mean to the Belgium before.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans, it is Friday, everybody. It's June 27th. It is --

BERMAN: I'll take it.

ROMANS: It's Friday 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Happening today, the U.S. looking to strike a delicate balance as it tries to slow the ISIS surge in Iraq. Secretary of State John Kerry headed to meet with the king of Saudi Arabia. It's part of a push to get nations in the Persian Gulf to rally behind Iraq. The situation getting more and more complicated by the minute, quite frankly.

Iran now apparently sending in military advisers to help fight off militants. In a move sure to burn President Obama, Iraq now turning to Russia for fighter jets saying the U.S. is not moving fast enough.

Nima Elbagir is in Baghdad for us this morning with more.

Bring us up to speed. A lot of conflicting interest in Iraq now, although everyone is trying to stop the flow of ISIS -- the flow of ISIS, rather.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is very much a balancing act, Christine. The reality is that the U.S. cannot be seen to prop up a government that has come under so much criticism for what's been seen here as the disenfranchisement of other sectarian groups, the marginalization of the Sunni who are now being drawn or threatened or pushed or pulled towards the Sunni extremist side.

So we're now hearing from senior U.S. administration officials that that timetable for military strikes, that is going to be very much governed by the timetable for the constitutional process here. Parliament is set to convene on Tuesday, and then pick a speaker of parliament. And then we're going to move on to the next day where the president will then be named. So it is a slow process but it is a process the -- that the U.S. just cannot be seen to circumvent.

And that's the process that it's going to govern when the U.S. will be able to strike at ISIS military targets here. Other actors in the region, though, are not quite as balanced. Syria has been carrying out cross-border raids on ISIS camps. Iran, as you said, sending in, bolstering the Iraqi forces now with ammunition and light weaponry coming across the border.

The other issue that the U.S. military advisers are facing here is they really don't as yet have a very good intelligence pictures -- picture on this. They know there are roughly 10,000 ISIS fighters. They know that they are between Syria and Iraq but they don't yet -- as yet have a sense of where they are. So even if you did want to strike, where are you going to strike without having a big impact on the civilian operation.

So these are all the issues that are slowing this military fight back down, while ISIS is continuing in its battle for Baghdad. Yesterday evening, a suicide attack killed 19 here to the north of the capital. Very close. One of the holiest of Shia shrines in Iraq. And that's really ramping up the tension here, Christine, today.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much for that, Nima.

BERMAN: Syrian rebels will get a huge cash infusion if President Obama gets his wish. The administration wants Congress to green light $500 million to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition. The request is part of a larger $1.5 billion initiative to help stabilize the region with help from Syria's neighbors.

ROMANS: The suspected mastermind of the deadly rampage on the U.S. mission in Benghazi is nearing American soil. Ahmed Abu Khattala could arrive as soon as this weekend. That's according to a senior law enforcement source. He spent about two weeks being interrogated by the FBI on the USS New York. Khattala was captured earlier this month in Libya.

BERMAN: The future of presidential recess appointments radically changed after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled three appointment to the National Labor Relations Board were made improperly. The justices ruled the Senate was in a pro-forma session so technically not shut down which would have paved the way for the appointments. The decision could invalidate hundreds of moves by the Labor Board since the appointments were made.

ROMANS: Happening today, lawmakers are beginning a firsthand look at the Mexican border crisis. Representatives from Texas and Mississippi will tour a Border Patrol facility in Texas. They'll meet with agents and volunteers before speaking with children who crossed into the U.S. illegally. There's increasing concern about an epidemic of unaccompanied children crossing the border.

BERMAN: Also happening today, a push for immigration reform by top officials in New York including Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Senator Chuck Schumer. This comes despite little real hope for a deal in Washington. Advocates from both sides say the issue is likely to go nowhere, perhaps until President Obama leaves office.

ROMANS: The federal government taking steps to simplify the process of renewing coverage under Obamacare. Most of the five million people who signed up online will be able to renew automatically. Changes in policy or subsidies will require action. The move is also expected to lighten the load on the Web site, which of course had major trouble when it was launched.

BERMAN: More trouble for General Motors this morning. Newly released e-mails show a current vice president was made aware of the deadly ignition switch problem as early as 2005. Doug Parks who was a chief engineer at the time received an e-mail about potential fixes to the problem. The carmaker's recent internal investigation had claimed no top executives were aware of the issue. A federal grand jury is also now looking into GM's handling of the problem.

ROMANS: Time for an EARLY START to your money. European shares up right now. Asian shares ended the day mostly down. U.S. futures looking a little bit lower right now as well. One stock moving higher right now -- GoPro. Today is the stock's second day of trading. It's up before the bell after a stunning 30 percent rise during its debut.

Brand-new on "CNN MONEY" this morning, millennials are placed to move out of their parents' basement and buy their own houses. This is a bullish new report on housing. It finds by the year 2025, millennials could form 24 million new households. A big plus for the housing market. Home ownership rates for millennials of course collapsed during the recession. Unleashing pent-up demand will give the housing market a big boost according to this report.

It is counterintuitive. A lot of people have said that millennials are out of the housing game. They don't want to buy a house. This report says, oh, no, when they're finally ready to do it, expect just an explosion on home buying.

BERMAN: We could use them.


It makes me feel happy. Team USA now has its eyes on Belgium and the knockout stage of the World Cup.

BERMAN: Happy.


ROMANS: It wasn't -- it wasn't pretty, but the Americans made it out of the group of death. The squad fell short against Germany, but advancing thanks to Portugal's win over Ghana. And my second grader was very careful explaining to me how you can be a winner and a loser at the same time.

BERMAN: Goal differential, baby.


We can only go through life with goal differential. So now the U.S. can shift focus from the Germans to the Belgians. I'm never going to see Flemish. They have the same colors on the flag. But this time, it will be at a different result.

Lara Baldesarra with more now from Brazil.

LARA BALDESARRA, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, well, Christine, does it seems a little weird to you that we're all celebrating and happy after the USA lost? It does. It feels like -- feels a bit odd. But that loss to Germany did not matter. Because as we all know, the USA is progressing in the World Cup. They are staying alive. Their next fixture is the round of 16 fixture. That will be against Belgium.

Now Belgium is the dark horse of this tournament. This is the team that everybody said you need to keep your eye on. There's a lot of young players on this. In fact the average age of the squad is just 26 years old. This team is fast. They are physical. They are very good, very skilled players. But I think that the USA can definitely handle this Belgian team.

The one area that the American team will really have to concentrate on, that will be to breakthrough this Belgian defense. Belgium, they have only conceded one goal in their first three matches. That is pretty impressive. That goal, it was actually a penalty. So the USA certainly has their work cut out for them. But they made it through the group of death. So now anything seems doable.

They have surpassed all expectations. Jurgen Klinsmann knew that really he would be judged based on if this American squad, if he could get it out of the group of death, he did that. Everybody is over (INAUDIBLE) about this. So now it is on to Belgium and the round of 16 in Salvador, which I will be right there covering and hopefully it won't be a horrible, horrible rainy day.


BERMAN: It's all about you. All right, Lara Baldesarra.

ROMANS: It was so rainy for her yesterday.

BERMAN: You know, I have seen the film "In Bruges", right? But I think that's all I know about Belgium. They have a good soccer team but hopefully not too good.

ROMANS: You just told me Pommes frites.

BERMAN: Pommes frites, you know, fries, a lot of people think originated in Belgium. So we can boycott those for four days.


BERMAN: Trying to think of ways -- I could do without Belgian beer, Belgian pale ale.

ROMANS: Belgian horses.

BERMAN: Belgian horses. Big day -- are they dancing horses?

ROMANS: I don't know.

BERMAN: They have good things around there. We are going to beat you, Belgium. If you are Belgian and watching the show, tweet us and I'll talk you back.

All right. Nine minutes after the hour right now. Glad you're here.

We do have some disturbing new developments in the case against the father charged in his young son's murder. Do police have proof that he meant to leave the child in the hot car?

ROMANS: Plus days of dangerous storms across the country. Tornadoes, hail and flooding. This is going to -- this is going to affect millions of you. Indra Petersons is tracking it all after the break.


BERMAN: Developing this morning, Israel on the hunt for two men named as the prime minister in the recent abduction of three Israeli teenagers. Authorities say they have been missing since the teenagers disappeared. Both are well known activists from the Hamas militant group and has served time in Israeli prison.

ROMANS: A dark twist in the investigation to the death of a Georgia toddler who died when his father left him inside an SUV. Sources tell HLN one of the dad's computers contained a search for, quote, "how long it takes an animal to die in a hot car." 33-year-old Justin Harris has pleaded not guilty to murder and child cruelty charges. He says it was all -- all of this is just a tragic mistake.

BERMAN: Police will speak again today with a 12-year-old Detroit boy who turned up in his father and stepmother's basement after missing for almost two weeks. Charlie Botheull met with child psychologists before talking with investigators Thursday. Michigan Police say he did not appear to be held against his will. They are also not ruling out abuse. He is now in custody -- in the custody of his biological mother. The boy's father discovered his son was found alive during an interview with HLN's Nancy Grace.

ROMANS: Two hundred, seventy-five alleged child predators are in custody after a major bust in California. Operation Broken Heart targeted people using technology to target children. A teaching assistant, a retired sheriff's deputy and a member of the L.A. Fire Department were among those who are arrested. Officials say parents need to remember isn't just over the Web but also through portable devices which can go unchecked.

BERMAN: Families at the Granite Mountain Hotshots killed in the Yarnell Hill fire are suing agencies in Arizona. They're seeking definitive answer on how 19 lives were lost along with damages. The families had offered to settle for more than $220 million, but their attorney says the state wasn't willing to talk openly about the fire.

ROMANS: Advocates for abortion patients are vowing a fight after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law creating a 35-foot buffer zone around clinics. Lawmakers said the intent was to limit harassment and violence but the high court said the 2007 law violates free speech. State lawmakers say they will work on a new bill to protect women seeking abortions and counseling.

BERMAN: Gun rights advocates are expected to appeal a ruling by a Colorado judge allowing the state's tougher gun laws to stand. The law mandates background checks on private sales and limits magazines to 15 rounds. They were passed by the state's Democratic-controlled legislature after mass shootings, including the movie theater massacre in Aurora.

ROMANS: And I also know a study this morning from the CDC. The agency says one in 10 deaths in -- among Americans between 20 and 64 are due to alcohol abuse. One in 10 deaths. That's 88,000 people every single year, 70 percent of those deaths are men. The study cites deaths from drunk-driving incidents and chronic conditions caused by overconsumption of alcohol.

BERMAN: That is eye-opening.

Sixteen minutes after the hour. Extreme weather taking its toll on Texas. A tornado blew through the southeastern part of the state Thursday afternoon. Wind reaching 85 miles an hour ripping roofs off of buildings. And as you can damaging the homes there.

ROMANS: And flood waters are making a nightmare for St. Paul Minnesota. The Mississippi River expected to crest more than 20 feet last night. Governor Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency for 35 counties in Minnesota.

BERMAN: Residents and campers were sent rushing for higher ground because of flooding in New Hampshire. More than seven inches of rain fell in some places. The force of the storms ripped some trees out by their roots.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A whole big tree, you know, big roots, the whole base of it just flying down the river.


BERMAN: Wow. More dangerous conditions in store for the weekend as well. Just what you want to hear.

Indra Petersons is here with the forecast. ROMANS: Good morning, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I have news synonymous with bad and weekend. These things are not allowed to go together.

Let's start from the bad and then we'll make our way to the good. Right? We're talking about who's going to be getting the rain as we go for the weekend? The Midwest. Look at these numbers. Now this is over the next three days. But again the Midwest is going to be the area we're going to be focusing on the most, is we're going to see a low pressure area move through the region, meaning yes, that's when we're going to have our largest threat for severe weather.

About two million, almost about three million people out there today, from kind of Bismarck down to about Dodge City. But then it's going to slide a little bit farther east, really affecting more of you as we go in through tomorrow. So that's going to be the concern especially a threat more tornadoes can be out there, again kind of in Minneapolis down through Oklahoma City by tomorrow.

Now making our way into the southeast, the Gulf is open. That means all that humid air, all that moisture is fueling in there, too, you know this. This is very typical for you for this time of year. A lot of storms are going to be out there. And on top of it, it's going to be hot, 80s and 90s plus the rain.

How much rain? You're talking about a good amount, especially in New Orleans, again three days, about three to four inches there. Tampa, Florida, also kind of seeing those similar numbers there. And then we end on a good note.

And may I add, it is right here in the northeast. High pressure building in. You see that lovely sunshine? That means it is staying dry and the numbers are nice. 80s are out there. And I say 80s are nice. I never complain about 80s when it is dry.

ROMANS: I love that forecast.

BERMAN: Exactly. Your priorities in check, Indra Petersons.

PETERSONS: Now Indra and good go together.


PETERSONS: There's a lot of good in the Midwest.

ROMANS: Thanks, Indra.

BERMAN: Eighteen minutes after the hour right now. More trouble to tell you about for actor Shia LaBeouf. He is waking up this morning in a New York City Police precinct following a violent outburst during a Broadway show. Police are charging him with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. They say LaBeouf appeared to be drunk and refused to stop smoking inside a theater.

You know what show he was seeing, Christine Romans? ROMANS: What?

BERMAN: "Cabaret."

ROMANS: Was he really?

BERMAN: Our favorite.

ROMANS: It is our favorite.

BERMAN: He was then taken out in handcuffs during intermission.

ROMANS: Really?

BERMAN: Odd, right?

ROMANS: That is odd. Yes, no smoking.

All right. Big changes coming to "The View." Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy are out leaving Whoopi Goldberg as the lone host. Shepherd has been with the show since 2006. She says it is time to move on. And McCarthy tweeted Thursday, "My view will be changing, too."

Barbara Walters, the co-creator and a longtime host, she stepped down just over a month ago. Rumors are swirling that men --


ROMANS: -- could be invited to take permanent seats on the program.

BERMAN: We are coming. We're going to get there.

All right. Nineteen minutes after the --

ROMANS: Not at "The View," Berman.

BERMAN: Coming up, we box in, you could say. I don't think so. I think the way we got in was perfect. Team USA advancing to the knockout stage of the World Cup just like we earned it.

Andy Scholes has the details and dramatic events in draft night. The "Bleacher Report" next.


BERMAN: Everyone is calling it a loss, but it's what we needed to do to move on. Team USA got the job done and advanced out of the group of death.

ROMANS: I know. And the American football haters say this is why soccer is so crazy because, you know, we can't count how long the game is and we don't know when we win, when we lose, blah, blah, blah. But I love it.

Andy Scholes, he's got more on this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hi, Andy.

ANDY SCHOOLS, CNN SPORTS: Yes. Good morning, guys.

You know, soccer is a funny sport.

ROMANS: Funny.

SCHOLES: You know, tie with Portugal and that's not like a devastating loss. Then yesterday, we lose to Germany and it kind of felt like a great win. But you know no matter how we got here, the fact is Team USA did make it out of the group of death. Germany was only able to score one goal on us yesterday in the pouring rain. And with Portugal beating Ghana, we ended up moving on due to the goal differential.

You know, Team USA obviously pumped about that. Here they are celebrating in the locker room after the game. Now it's on to the knockout round.


CLINT DEMPSEY, U.S. TEAM CAPTAIN: We are in the knockout stage. Anything can happen. It doesn't matter what you've done in the group stage. It matters what you do today.

OMAR GONZALEZ, U.S. TEAM DEFENDER: We always said that we wanted to get to the next round. And after that, anything can happen. And so here we are now. And I think we can get pretty far in this.


SCHOLES: Up next for Team USA is Belgium on Tuesday.

Trending on this morning, the Cleveland Cavaliers made Andrew Wiggins the number one pick in the NBA draft last night. Wiggins rocking an unbelievable suit. The Cavs' GM David Griffin said he almost changed their pick after seeing what Wiggins was wearing. And I think he was only half-joking. Duke's Jabari Parker went number two to the Bucks.

Now the best moment of the draft came midway through the first round when the NBA honored Baylor center Isaiah Austin. Just a few days ago Austin was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome which is a rare genetic disorder that affects the heart that ended his playing career. But the NBA still wanted Austin to realize his dream of walking across the stage after being drafted. It was an awesome moment for him and very classy move by Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA.

All right, five-time national champion Alysia Montano competed in the 800-meter run yesterday in the U.S. track and field championship. It was just a normal race for the 28-year-old, other than the fact that she's 34 weeks pregnant. Montano said she's been running anyways and the doctors gave her the OK to do the race. Her goal was not to get last. And she accomplished that. Finishing just 35 seconds slower than her personal best. The crowd gave her a standing ovation at the end.

And, guys, she did finish last, but her unborn child finished second to last.


Get it?

ROMANS: I get it.

SCHOLES: Crossing the finish line first.

ROMANS: That's quite a ride. That is quite a ride for baby on board. That's awesome.

BERMAN: Puts us all to shame. Very impressive.

All right, Andy.


BERMAN: Have a great weekend.

SCHOLES: You, too, guys.

ROMANS: Twenty-six minutes past the hour.

Happening now the fight raging in Iraq to stop terrorists from taking over that country. But as military advisers arrived there, Iraq's leader may be turning elsewhere now for help. We'll tell you where, next.