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Border in Crisis: Republicans and Obama Gridlocked; Gaza Turning Into a Battlefield; Is Summer Over Already?

Aired July 11, 2014 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Border in crisis. Ominous warning on Capitol Hill as the flood of immigrants illegally crossing into the country will only get worse. Republicans and President Obama gridlocked on how to solve the problem, as a new call is issued for thousands of armed citizens to secure the border.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Gaza turning into a battlefield. Violence intensifies as Israel and Hamas fire more rockets at each other and the death toll rising overnight. We are live with what's happening right now.

BERMAN: So, it's barely even July and this question, is summer over already?


BERMAN: A rare summer chill is on the way. Is Indra Petersons is to blame? That's coming up.

ROMANS: Pack your sweatshirt for summer vacation.

BERMAN: Summer vacation? Is someone going on summer vacation?

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

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's Friday, July 11th, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And the gloves are off. We begin with the intense acrimony between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner taking on a whole new level. We now know that Boehner's lawsuit against the president will focus on the Affordable Care Act.

Boehner is saying that changes to the health care law should have been left to Congress. The president overreached his authority by taking executive action. Boehner says he doesn't have a problem with the president's right to issue executive orders, only his right to change legislation without congressional approval.

Listen to the heated sparring between Boehner and the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Listen, this is a problem of the president's only making. He's been president for five and a half years. When is he going to take responsibility for something?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You hear them. All right. Sue him. Impeach him. Really? Really? For what? You're going to sue me to do -- for doing my job? OK.


ROMANS: John Boehner in that clip is specifically upset by the border situation.

All of this playing out as a funding deadline looms on the president's $3.7 billion plan to fix the border crisis. At a Senate hearing Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said doing nothing is not an option. Time is of the essence because agencies involved in the president's plan will start running out of money next month.

BERMAN: Of course, caught in the middle of this, 51,000 unaccompanied children that entered the U.S. since October. Federal law mandates they spend only 72 hours at the detention centers. But they are not moving that quickly. Most do not get deported.

Some opponents of this influx are taking the matters into their own hands. The founder of Minuteman Project says he is launching Operation Normandy, and planned to gather volunteers on the U.S.- Mexico border to avoid what he calls an invasion of undocumented immigrants.

For those risking it all and making the dangerous journey, it's really about changing their lives.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We work under the sun and know that if you were born over there, your life is going to be different. You're going to work in office, go to a nice high school, a nice college, you know. I don't think we are taking their money or their jobs, you know?

It's really an American thing. You can make money and live better.


BERMAN: After meeting about this crisis, Texas governor, Rick Perry sent a follow up letter to the president reiterating the government's request for the president to take immediate action to secure the border and address the influx of unaccompanied children. There's that meeting.

After they met, of course, they traded political accusations back and forth.

Iraq under attack. The United Nations saying nuclear material seized by the extremist group ISIS when it took over Mosul, in Iraq is low grade, and does not pose a significant safety security or nuclear proliferation risk. The agency was responding to a letter from Iraq's U.N. ambassador that said the nuclear materials could enable terrorists to carry out attacks to make weapons of mass destruction if they had more expertise or if used in combination with other materials. ISIS took control of about 40 kilograms of uranium that were seized in scientific research.

ROMANS: All right. Nine military officers rebuffing GOP claims that a stand-down order held back a Special Ops team that could have saved the four Americans killed in Benghazi. Transcripts of the closed door House hearing show the military officer who issued the instruction and the detachment leader who received it testified it was the right call. He said the team helped protect and care for people evacuated from Benghazi and from the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, when team members credited with saving the lives of an evacuee.

BERMAN: A delicate meeting in Afghanistan. Secretary of State John Kerry gathering with the two presidential candidates as well as the current Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai. U.N. officials also attend this meeting. The secretary will try to broker a resolution to last month's disputed election. Abdullah Abdullah who in the first round is calling the second round which declared that his opponent Ashraf Ghani was the winner. This dispute threatens to stir up ethnic tensions and determine a smooth and peaceful transition.

I said the second round declared Ghani the winner. The second round at this point only shows him as the leader. No winner has been declared yet.

ROMANS: All right. Unanimous support from top military brass for the Obama administration deal to bring Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl home. In letters released Thursday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all heads of all five military branches, express their support saying the U.S. doesn't leave soldiers on the battlefield. Five Taliban affiliated detainees at Guantanamo Bay were released, of course, as part of that controversial deal.

BERMAN: So, huge strain right now between the U.S. and Germany. The German government ordering the top American spy in that country to be expelled. Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly announcing the expulsion of the CIA's Berlin station chief who works undercover. His predecessor in the job oversaw the recruitment of the German intelligence officer arrested last week who reportedly told his interrogators he was spying for the CIA.

German investigators are also looking into a second case of an official who may have been working for the United States.

ROMANS: All right. Now, to Gaza Strip, where more rockets have been fired overnight. At least one of them coming into Israel from Lebanon. Israel responding with an artillery strike, calling up some 30,000 reservists. In case conflict keeps intensifying, all this as President Obama reaches out to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling him the U.S. is willing to broker a ceasefire.

Diana Magnay is on the Israel-Gaza border for us this morning -- Diana.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. President Barack Obama called the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday from Air Force One. He repeated that he respects Israel's right to self-defense and the rockets streaming out of Gaza should cease immediately, and that he wanted to help to broker some kind of talks, some kind of cease- fire.

Going back to the cease-fire that was struck after the operation in November, 2012.

So, you see the U.S. here trying to take a lead in helping facilitate the talks between the two parties. Of course, the U.S. does not deal with Hamas, which it designates a terrorist group in the same way as Israel does. There are other regional power brokers who the United States says that it hopes will also lend a hand -- Egypt, for example, also possibly Qatar and Turkey.

But it's a very different now. The Egypt now to the Egypt which brokered the peace deal in November 2012. Then, it was Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood in charge. They have very close relations with Hamas, which is effectively a Muslim Brother offspring here in this area. Now, President Sisi doesn't have relations with Hamas. So, it's going to be more difficult for them to broker a deal.

But, really, what we're seeing here is the U.S. trying to give Benjamin Netanyahu a sort of exit strategy before Israel considers ground troops, because every day, more troops are amassing on the border, and Israel has already called up 30,000 of the 40,000 reservists that the Israeli Defense Forces are authorized to call up for this operation.

Back to you.

ROMANS: All right. Diana Magnay for us this morning on the border, and every day, it more tense in the region.

All right. A pivotal ruling on Obamacare could come down today, and the decision could gut the Affordable Care Act if it declares the majority of health care subsidies illegal. A three-judge panel on the D.C. Court of Appeals deciding whether tax credits and subsidies can be used by individual consumers looking to buy health insurance on federally run exchanges.

BERMAN: New developments in the controversial IRS scrutiny of Tea Party groups for their tax-exempt applications. A judge ruling Thursday that the IRS has to explain by August 10th how it lost e- mails sought during a Republican inquiry. He also appointed a federal magistrate to look into a possibility of recovering any former IRS official Lois Lerner's lost e-mails.

ROMANS: All right. Time for an EARLY START on your money this Friday morning. European stocks are up after five harrowing days of losses. Asian stocks ending the day mixed.

Futures in the U.S. rebounding this morning, pointing to a better day for stocks. Stocks that have slumped most of the week. The Dow lost 71 points yesterday.

Amazon is in legal trouble for profiting off children's unauthorized purchases. Federal regulators are suing Amazon for billing parents millions of dollars for purchases made by their kids without their consent. The suit focuses on charges from games downloaded to the app store. The lawsuit is full refunds for parents. No estimates on how much that could be.

Apple reached a settlement with the FTC over the same issue in January, refunding 32.5 million bucks. But Amazon says it will fight the allegations in court. Has this ever happened to you?


ROMANS: Me either. I actually don't -- I'm careful about letting them cruise around too much on Amazon or on Apple. But I know there are cases where people have had thousands of dollars of charges in the stores.

BERMAN: I think most of the charges come from me, for whatever reason.

All right. It is, in fact, summer, we think. But, we have to put away the shorts and tank tops, which for me is very difficult.

ROMANS: A big -- tank, John Berman?

BERMAN: Two top?

ROMANS: Two top, John Berman, Friday morning. A big drop in temperatures expected. How cold will it get? A mesh tank top is what Berman like wears on the weekend.


INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I just can't get the visual out of my head. I just think, two top, two top, I'm completely stuck there.

BERMAN: I'm being mocked here.

PETERSONS: Yes, exactly. Well, let's talk about next week.

This is the big story -- what everyone is talking about is the threat of cool temperatures. That means morning lows, the further north you are, even dipping potentially into the 40s. Marquette looking for that 45 degrees as we go through next week.

So, let's explain it all. Normally, if weather is normal, a nice jet stream, like a straight line. You can see some kind of extreme weather, but you start to see, looks like a roller coaster, like a big dip.

Remember we had that big typhoon right out towards Japan? Neoguri, it's almost like taking a ribbon and going like this. That's what it did to the jet stream, calling big lows and highs. What did that do? Well, by next week, it's going to make its way here. This cool air from Canada is going to dip down again.

So, we're going to see this unseasonably like temperatures. Some places, good 20 degrees, even 30 degrees below average for that time of year. No, we are not talking freezing temperatures, but your highs out towards Marquette, 20 degrees below, just in the 50s starting off the morning in the 40s. But the further south you are, yes, we'll see some 60s out towards Chicago.

But you're not dying here, guys, it's not just 85 degrees like you typically would see. Just keep in mind, for the weekend, showers in the Southeast, Northeast seeing the high pressure and a couple by the end of the weekend, spreading from the Midwest to the Northeast.

So, yes, it is a big story. It is not a polar vortex. I'm going to say it over and over again, a lot of misused of the word out there.

BERMAN: So, what you're saying is there's a polar vortex?


PETERSONS: That's exactly what I said, not.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Indra.

BERMAN: Torturing everyone I can this morning.

All right. Twelve minutes after the hour.

Donald Sterling unfit for TV. His wife explains why Barbara Walters pulled the plug on his interview, and why that shows he should not be able to stop her from selling the Los Angeles Clippers.

ROMANS: All right. Plus, new information about this tragedy in Texas.

Six people murdered, four of them children. The suspected killer's grandparents are opening up this morning.

BERMAN: And breaking news overnight. Homes evacuated as a wildfire rages out of control. Look at those pictures. That's coming up next.


BERMAN: The court battle between Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his estranged wife over the future of the team is taking a breather. Still, time is of the essence. The $2 billion deal to sell the team to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has a Tuesday deadline. It does also include as provision to extend it to August 15th.

Shelly Sterling testified Thursday that Barbara Walters canceled an interview with Donald Sterling because of his erratic behavior at a hotel. She also testified that her husband was initially excited about the sale. But within days, his mood changed. Now, his attorneys say she, Shelly, was not acting in good faith. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a vicious conspiracy put together with her and the lawyers and at that day, Don Sterling said, "I'm not going to sign," they notified me he was discharged as a trustee. Does that sound to you like it wasn't a preplanned conspiracy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe we've shown overwhelmingly that these two distinguished doctors certified him as incapacitated and he was removed as of May 29th. And we are here to get a judge to confirm that, because the agreement with Mr. Ballmer requires a court order.


BERMAN: The trial will resume until July 21st. One of the attorneys is going on vacation. Closing arguments are set now for the 28th.

ROMANS: Really disturbing story here. We are learning more about the suspect in the Houston area mass shooting that left a husband, wife and four of their children dead. Prosecutors have identified the gunman as 33-year-old Ronald Lee Haskell. They say he tied up his victims and shot each one in the head execution-style.

We are now hearing from the grandparents now mourning the loss of four of their grandchildren. They say they have spoken to the lone survivor, a 15-year-old girl, the oldest daughter who was able to call police after pretending to be dead when she was shot.


JOYCE STAY, GRANDMOTHER OF VICTIMS: She is a strong spirit. She will be very good. I mean, she's going to have a tough time, but she knows her parents. She told me when I talked to her on the phone last night from the hospital, I said I was so sorry about everything that's happened, but I'm so thankful you are still here with us. But I said, she said, my mom and dad are in a better place.


ROMANS: Just horrific.

Investigators say the gunman was looking for his ex-wife. And there had been a long history of reported domestic abuse. Haskell has been booked on multiple charges of capital murder and is undergoing a mental evaluation.

BERMAN: A horrible story. The fact she survived is a miracle.

ROMANS: It really is.

BERMAN: Hundreds of firefighters are battling a raging wildfire in Washington. The Mills Canyon fire has burned over 28 square miles since it began on Tuesday. Firefighting conditions improved Thursday, as winds died down.

So far, none of that fire has been contained. But 200 homes near the city of Entiat are threatened by these flames. Residents of several homes in the fire's path have been told to evacuate.

The trial of a friend of accused Boston marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, an FBI agent testifying Thursday that Azamat Tazhayakov watched a garbage truck hauled away a backpack containing fireworks that he and two other men took from Tsarnaev's dorm room. The agent also says that Tazhayakov's laptop had searches of the news coverage of the bombings, a YouTube clip of surveillance video near the finish line and specific searches on Tsarnaev. Tazhayakov is accuxed of removing items from Tsarnaev's dorm room in the days after the bombings.

BERMAN: The mother of the toddler who died in a hot car last month has hired an attorney. Leanna Harris was not been charged or named in her son's death. But her behavior following her son's death has been heavily scrutinized by investors. There's also word Harris has fled to Atlanta to be with her mom -- has fled Atlanta to be with her mother in Alabama.

Meanwhile, her husband Ross Harris is behind bar, charged with felony murder and second degree cruelty to children.

A Mississippi baby thought to be cured of the HIV virus is infected again. The child who is now 4 had been tested regularly for the virus. Now, the virus has not only returned, but researchers say it showed signs of damaging her immune system. This news is a real disappointment to doctors who thought they were on track to cure the infection once and for all.

BERMAN: It's a real blow there. Very, very disappointed by this.

Former Congressman Todd Akin regrets apologizing for his remark that legitimate rape as he called it rarely causes pregnancy. Those words sparked a huge firestorm in 2012 that led or contributed to his defeat for a seat in the Senate. In a book due out next week, he said the liberal media twisted his words. He writes, quote, "By asking the American public at large for forgiveness, I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said."

It's interesting. As Todd Akin's book, and excerpts come out, conservative and Republicans are saying gosh, Mr. Akin, please stay quiet. We wish you weren't talking so much right now, again.

ROMANS: Or writing so much right now.

All right. Florida's congressional district map illegally favors Republicans. That's what a judge ruled Thursday, saying it violates constitutional provisions that require fair districts. In his quite scathing decision, he said Republican political consultants had made a mockery of the redistricting process, tainted it with partisan intent. He ordered the two districts be redrawn. The tenth district now held by Republican and the fifth held by Democrat.

In redrawing them, other districts will likely be affected.

BERMAN: County clerks in Pueblo, Denver, and Denver, Colorado, now following Boulder's lead, issuing same sex marriage licenses while courts consider the state's ban on gay marriage. A district court judge ruling Thursday that Boulder County clerk Hillary Hall can ignore a federal stay. When same-sex couples heard the news, they started rushing over.


HILLARY HALL, CLERK: I'm pleased with this decision. I'm going to continue moving forward, issuing licenses as we now have a court saying I may do so.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were running to the courthouse to get married so we could beat the clock.


BERMAN: As part of the ruling, Hall has to warn same-sex couples the validity of their licenses might be overturned by a higher court.


All right. Trending now, a military reminder, that's a blast from the distant past. The service system keeps a roster of men who could be enlisted in the military. It sent out mailings to more than 14,000 Pennsylvania men born 1893-1897 reminding them to register for the draft. The old school leaders were sent because of modern day mistake, a computer error. The Selective Service has apologized.

BERMAN: I'm sure they would be brave men, but difficult to serve at that age, 117.

ROMANS: Bureaucratic --


BERMAN: Love bureaucracy.

ROMANS: Love government bureaucracy.

All right. A king holding court -- LeBron James keeping the world waiting. Will he stay in South Beach or give Cleveland the homecoming they are asking for? We are awaiting his decision. I feel like we have been here before.

Andy Scholes, the latest clues on all of this in the "Bleacher Report", next.


BERMAN: The LeBron-a-thon, still going. Where will LeBron James sign? Will it be Miami? Will he go back home to Ohio?

ROMANS: Are those the only two choices technically?

BERMAN: Only two that that's being discussed right now.

ROMANS: When will all this end? When will we know? Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

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

You know, we have never seen anything like it in sports. I spent a whole another day just reloading Twitter every 90 seconds, hoping LeBron would make his decision, but still nothing. LeBron's camp in Las Vegas wrapped yesterday and afterwards, he and Dwyane Wade flew back together to Miami. That reportedly was always the plan. We shouldn't read much into it.

Meanwhile, at LeBron's house in Akron, Ohio, fans started gathering in mass numbers due to rumors that LeBron was about to make his announcement. It, of course, never came.

That prompted LeBron's front lawn to take to Twitter to get people to leave. LeBron's lawn tweeted, "You all need to get off me." It's very funny.

To baseball, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw scoreless inning streak finally came to an end last night with this home run from Padre's Chase Headley. Kershaw went 41 straight innings without giving up a run. Amazingly, that's only the 15th longest streak, ever. The Dodgers' Orel Hershiser had the all-time record at 59 straight innings. Kershaw finished with a complete win for the Dodgers.

Trending on this morning, Yankee's star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is out at least six weeks with a partial tear in his elbow. This is a huge blow to the Yankees. Tanaka currently leads all pitchers in the American League with 12 wins. The team hopes the injury will eventually heal with treatment and Tanaka will not have to get Tommy Johns surgery and miss the rest of the season.

And, John, I'm sure you are devastated that Tanaka is now out of the rotation.

BERMAN: Well, you never want to see anyone get hurt, especially someone playing as well as that guy. And it is -- in a way hopeful news for the Yankees. I think there was a lot of fear that he would have the full tear and need Tommy Johns. That would take him out of this season and possibly next season as well.

SCHOLES: Next season at least.

BERMAN: I hope he gets better. I hope the Yankees lose every day, but I hope he gets better.

Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

BERMAN: All right. It is 27 minutes after the hour.

Crisis at the border and a warning something must be done. Will Congress pass the president's $4 billion plan or will gridlock reign in Washington? That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)