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FBI Focus On Tsarnaev Brothers' Inner Circle; Suspect's Three Friends Charged; May Day Protesters Clash With Police; California Burning; Historic Snowstorm On The Move; "Morning After" Appeal; Obama Trip to Mexico, Costa Rica

Aired May 2, 2013 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- the third man arrested allegedly for making false statements to federal investigators. Pamela Brown is in Boston right now with the latest on these developments. Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. These three suspects now in federal custody for what they allegedly did after the Boston marathon bombing. After their arrest yesterday, the big question looms, will there be more arrests in connection with this case? The focus of the investigation continues to be centered on the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev as new developments come to light.


BROWN (voice-over): Two CNN sources familiar with the investigation say Katherine Russell, the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, spoke with her husband the night the FBI released video of him in connection with the Boston bombing. Authorities questioning Russell trying to determine the nature of that call, what was said, and why didn't she notify authorities.

This as three friends and classmates of Tamerlan's brother Dzhokhar are now under arrest. Two seen here with the younger Tsarnaev on the trip to New York's Times Square are accused of obstructing justice. The third man accused of lying to authorities.

According to the criminal complaints when federal authorities released video of the bombing suspects, the three men saw it on CNN and immediately thought one of the suspects looked like their friend Dzhokhar.

Dias Kadyrbayev texted Tsarnaev that he looks like the person on TV, Tsarnaev texted back, lol. The accused three allegedly met at Tsarnaev's dorm room where they received another text from him. I'm about to leave. If you need something in my room, take it.

According to authorities, Azamat Tazhayakov never thought he would see his friend alive again. The dorm the three found fireworks in a backpack with the black powder emptied out, Vaseline, and a laptop. Authorities alleged the three took the evidence out of the dorm room to protect Tsarnaev.

The complaints also say the men then took the items back to an apartment in New Bedford, wrapped it in a garbage bag and put it in a dumpster along with some of their own trash. The bag with the fireworks was later recovered by investigators after a two-day search at a local landfill, unclear whether the laptop has been recovered.

This CNN exclusive video shows two of the men being taken into custody at the time on immigration violations. The third man, Robel Phillipos is a U.S. citizen. At court hearings on Wednesday, the three agreed to wave bail. Their lawyers say they did nothing wrong.

ROBERT STAHL, ATTORNEY FOR DIAS KADYRBAYEV: He is just as shocked and horrified by the violence in Boston as the rest of the community is. He did not know that this individual was involved in a bombing.

HARLAN PROTASS, ATTORNEY FOR AZAMAT TAZHAYAKOV: My client Azamat Tazhayakov feels horrible and was shocked to hear that someone that he knew at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was involved with the Boston marathon bombing. He has cooperated fully with the authorities and looks forward to the truth coming out.


BROWN: And one month before the marathon Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told two of his friends that have now been arrested that he knew how to make a bomb and then in the court documents when one of the friends saw Vaseline in his dorm room after the Boston marathon attack he thought it was used to make a bomb. We have learned from experts that Vaseline may have been used on the pressure cooker lid to prevent sparks that could detonate a bomb. Back to you.

BERMAN: A lot of new threads to follow here. All right, Pamela Brown, thanks so much.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: So who are these new suspects? The friend of Robel Phillipos says there's no way that he's involved.


JAMES TURNEY, ROBEL PHILLIPOS' FRIEND: Robel is a very good kid himself. He went to school, never got in trouble, took care of his mom, plays basketball. He's a quiet kid. That's about it.


SAMBOLIN: And Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick reassuring people in and around Boston that the new arrests do not mean that the threat continues.


GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D) MASSACHUSETTS: This should not raise any concerns in anyone's minds about continuing threat to the public. This is about getting out of the way to the bottom of the story of what happened at the marathon.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAMBOLIN: Brian Todd is live in Boston for us. He is following these latest developments. Brian, what more do we know about these three suspects and their relationship with Dzhokhar?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, we know that the two Kazakhstani students, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov kind of became close friends with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev when they all started attending UMass Dartmouth in the fall of 2011.

And the two Kazakh students, at least, according to one of their attorneys who told us previous to these arrests yesterday that at least his client, Dias Kadyrbayev, had become close with Dzhokhar because they spoke the same language. Dzhokhar had been in the United States for a long time and knew the ropes and looked to him as a mentor and started to hang out together.

You have that picture of them in Times Square last year. According to the complaint, there's information that they kind of hung out casually together even after the Boston bombings, two days after the bombings Kadyrbayev drove to Dzhokhar's dorm room, texted him to come down. They hang out and talk together.

According to the complaint Kadyrbayev observed that Dzhokhar had changed his appearance. That he had gotten a shorter hair cut. A lot of details like that about how these three people, at least, the two Kazakhstani students and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were friends, hung out together. The relationship between this third suspect Robel Phillipos and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a little less clear.

SAMBOLIN: All right, so we do have those details about that one particular friend. Is there any evidence that they knew what Dzhokhar and his brother were allegedly planning or that they were involved in any way or does this just have to do with what happened after the bombing?

TODD: This is all really just having to do with what happened after the bombing. They're accused of obstructing justice, making false statements all in relation to what they did to allegedly cover up his tracks after the bombing. No evidence at all, Zoraida, that they had any involvement in the planning or the plot, that they knew anything about it.

There is one interesting footnote in the complaint saying that about a month before the bombings the two Kazakhstani students were having a meal with him and he said casually that he knew how to make a bomb, but again, 19-year-olds say a lot of things casually. No evidence at all that they were involved in this plot.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Brian Todd, I know that you've been following this since it broke. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

BERMAN: It's 6 minutes after the hour right now. Some scary moments on the streets of downtown Seattle overnight where a May Day protest turned violent. Police say demonstrators tossed rocks, bottles, even a skateboard. They threw it at officers who used pepper spray to disburse the crowd. This May Day protests on effort to demand better working conditions apparently.

SAMBOLIN: Christine Romans has more details for us.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning you guys. Seattle police say the demonstrators who marched through downtown Seattle last night did not have a permit. It followed an earlier May Day demonstration in the city that was peaceful. For safety reasons the police officers save the unauthorized demonstrators an escort when they headed downtown. But when the crowd turned violent and officers started making arrests, things really heated up.


CAPT. CHRIS FOWLER, SEATTLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: The crowds surged around several officers on foot. Those officers felt that their safety was in danger so they deployed what we call a blast ball. That created some distance and we were able to then coordinate a response to the crowd.


ROMANS: Police used flash bang grenades. They used pepper spray to disperse this crowd. Seventeen people were arrested for property destruction and assault. Eight officers sustained injuries, mostly bumps and bruises. These May Day protests happen all over the world every year at the national holiday in more than 80 countries.

Also known as international workers day, hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets each year to celebrate the labor movement and to demand better working conditions. Again, this was an unauthorized group of people after what had been an peaceful and authorized May Day parade in Seattle.

SAMBOLIN: All right, thank you very much, Christine.

It's 7 minutes past the hour. Happening right now, fire crews battling a wildfire in Southern California. It's already consumed nearly 3,000 acres. It's burning in Riverside County, California. Some residents of the town of Banning, about 25 miles from Palm Springs, had to evacuate. At least one home has been destroyed. Officials say hundreds of others are threatened now. High winds, extremely dry conditions are fueling that fire.

CNN's Kyung Lah is live this morning in Banning, California. What can you tell us?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, that home that you were talking about that burned down actually standing in front of it. I'm going to step out of the way so you can take a better look at what's left of Joe Kiener's home. You can see the roof has melted in. The windows were completely blown out. The house gutted.

This is the power of a fire in California. He saw the fire coming. He thought he was going to be OK. The reason he's alive, he says, is he was outside already in his car when his home was suddenly engulfed. Here's what he told us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE KIENER, HOMEOWNER: Thank God I wasn't in the house when it happened. Thank God I was able to get my dog out and my mom was watching over me so the neighbors that are around. I have good support. Tonight, probably go over to my neighbor's for an evening and collapse for a little bit and cry a whole lot, but right now I'm not going to.


LAH: You can see that he's kind of calm and that's really the shock of having lost something so suddenly. And something else, Zoraida, the power of these fires also driven by wind. This house completely lost. I can see a house 50 yards away that is still standing -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Kyung, I got to tell you I bet that guy was just grateful to be alive when you look at the home and how it was destroyed. So I know the conditions there are really grim, right, 80 degrees I thought I was reading. You've got some pretty strong winds in the area. So those fires could actually spread.

LAH: Yes. Strong winds now expected to get even stronger in the next hour or so. And these winds are really critical, especially when you look at the low humidity that we're seeing here as the temperatures rise, the flames expected to pick up. Here's what firefighters told us.


JULIE HUTCHINSON, BATTALION FIRE CHIEF: It could. It could a very long, hot summer with a lot of potential for fires if they get started. And if we continue to have the hot, dry weather, which we're heading into those months right now in the western United States and especially in California. It's only going to get hotter and dryer as we go through the summer.


LAH: And it is expected to be extremely dangerous, the summer, because, Zoraida, there has been so little rainfall so far this year.

SAMBOLIN: I know. Kyung, in some parts of the country, totally under water and getting snow this time of year, as well. Kyung Lah live for us, thank you very much.

BERMAN: Zoraida just mentioned, strange weather happening all over the country right now, wild, unpredictable history making weather. Look at this. I want to show you something right now. What does that look like to you?

SAMBOLIN: A winter wonderland.

BERMAN: It doesn't look like spring, that's for sure, but that was Denver. That storm hit Denver, you know, making it look like the middle of winter there. Now the storm has set its site on Minnesota. We are covering the story from every angle, Jennifer Delgado in the weather center giving us the latest. Where is the storm headed next?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, we are going to see the storm moving and continuing to spread through parts of the Upper Midwest. If you're looking at the radar right now, you see the snow is coming down really good. There are parts of Iowa as well as into parts of Wisconsin.

Now, what we're going to see is potentially two to four inches of snowfall across Iowa, but up to the north, we're talking even more than that 6 to 12 inches of snowfall for areas including southern parts of Minnesota as well as in Wisconsin.

So here's the snow and the rain they've been talking about. You can see where the freeze line is and moisture trying to change back over to snow. Look at the thunderstorm activity down in the southern part including Oklahoma City. It is going to be a wild day out there.

We will continue to see more of this snow even through tomorrow. Right now a lot of those advisories are in place until Thursday. I do suspect we'll start to see more than that. The snow as I said coming down. It looks like through the Upper Midwest for today.

And then tonight, Kansas City, could you see some snow? You're supposed to be enjoying the warm temperatures. Reality is you have a very late winter storm moving through. Now, I also want to talk to you about the fire danger out west, red flag warnings in place for parts of Arizona as well as into Los Angeles region to the north of that.

We're going to see wind gusts 50 to 60 miles per hour. Red flag warnings in place through Friday evening and that means those winds are still going to be gusting through early Saturday morning. On a wider view, still expecting flooding problems for areas down towards the south, including Louisiana, Mississippi, as well as over towards Florida.

Look at these high temperatures out there. Dallas today, you're only going to see a high of 50 degrees. Los Angeles, near 90 degrees, but all that cool air you're seeing, guys, that's what we call blue northern. It brings all that cold air from the north down to the dirty south.

BERMAN: Dirty south, all right, Jennifer Delgado. Thank you so much. Making it sound interesting, appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN: All right, it's 13 minutes past the hour. New this morning, an investigation under way after two planes collided on the tarmac. This is Newark International Airport. So take a look at the damage. You have to look closely. There it is left-hand side of your screen. It's top of the tail of the United Express jet.

It was clipped by the wing of a Scandinavian Airlines jet as both planes were taxiing for departure last night. Passengers aboard the United Express flight say they clearly felt that impact. Both planes returned to their gates. Luckily, there are no injuries reported.

BERMAN: Legal battle escalating over the morning-after pill. The Justice Department is appealing a rule big the federal court judge in New York ordering the FDA to make the "Plan B One Stop" emergency contraceptive available over the counter with no age restriction. Before filing the appeal, the FDA relaxed the rules allowing females as young as 15 to buy it without prescription or parental consent.

SAMBOLIN: Coming up, another airline, another set of new fees. The airline is now charging you if you use any web site other than theirs.

BERMAN: That's new.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it is new.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

In just a few hours, President Obama departs on a three-day trip to Mexico and Costa Rica. He hopes to focus on economic issues, especially business with Mexico, when he meets with the country's newly elected president.

The cross border drug violence will be a major part of the discussion

CNN's Dan Lothian previews the trip.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In an unusually close relationship, the U.S. and Mexico have aggressively fought drug cartels, sharing intelligence and cross-border training.

But there is uncertainty as President Obama heads south to a new political landscape. His old partner, Felipe Calderon, who launched a major crackdown, has been replaced by new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, who appears to be limiting the U.S. role in his country.

JOSE CARDENAS, FORMER STATE DEPT. SENIOR ADVISER: We've seen some signals in recent days that the New Mexican government wants to tone down, wants to scale back on the integrated cooperation. And that's no doubt very, very concerning to U.S. law enforcement agencies.

LOTHIAN: The Mexican government announced it is tightening the flow of intelligence and still evaluating whether a U.S.-backed program to use polygraph testing to root out corrupt Mexican security officials will continue.

President Obama says he's keeping an open mind.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not going to yet judge how this will alter the relationship between the United States and Mexico until I hear directly from them, to see what exactly are they trying to accomplish. LOTHIAN: A recent Pew Research poll shows Mexicans overwhelmingly welcome U.S. involvement in fighting the drug war. Seventy-four percent support assistance in training their police and military, 55 percent approve giving them money and weapons.

But President Pena Nieto's institutional revolutionary party has historically been suspicious of outside influence and fiercely protects its sovereignty.

CARDENAS: Ultimately, the president is going to be accountable to the Mexican people as to how that -- how his policies will quell or suppress the violence brought about by the cartels.

LOTHIAN: The Obama administration is downplaying the shift in security cooperation.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Our relationship with Mexico is broader than that. We have deep economic, cultural and familial ties with Mexico.

LOTHIAN: Dan Lothian, CNN, the White House.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Dan for that report.

Meanwhile, new clues this morning in the disappearance of a Michigan mother. Coming up, more on the mystery vehicle caught on a surveillance camera the night she vanished.


SAMBOLIN: Twenty-two minutes past the hour. We are minding your business this morning.

Sell at May and go ahead. That is a saying on Wall Street. Investors went away yesterday. Stocks sold off. But are not going away.

Stock futures are looking up. New jobless claims could move the market today.

BERMAN: Meantime, news that will shock you. New fees coming to, guess what, an airline. Frontier says booking anywhere other than its Web site will cost you more.

Christine Romans, what's going on here?

ROMANS: Under what circumstances would you pay $100 to bring a bag on to an airplane? There's one on Frontier. Frontier has a circumstance for you.

SAMBOLIN: I'm thinking about it.

ROMANS: I know. It's already a low-cost carrier. Now, they're going to be ultralow-cost carrier, they say. It's only ultralow if you book your ticket in the right place. Starting in the summer, if you don't book on Frontier's Web site and if you're not an elite member, you're going to have to pay to carry your bag on. Twenty-five dollars if you pay in advance, $100 at the gate. You've also get fewer frequent flier miles.

Frontier says one reason its doing this is because its elite members have complained about overhead bins filling up before they get their bags on board. Another change: coffee, tea, soda, juice, will now cost you $1.99 but, hey, they say you get the full can of soda, and you get free refills on coffee.

Again, there are ways to avoid the fee. You got to book the ticket on Frontier's Web site and you can't buy the cheapest fare. That's how you do that.

SAMBOLIN: I'd say let elite members board first, right? And then you solve that problem. There you go, Frontier. I have solved the problem for you. Get rid of the fee.

ROMANS: Free consultation.


BERMAN: Business history just made here on EARLY START.

SAMBOLIN: New results from Facebook. It's been a tumultuous year for the company. What is the verdict?

ROMANS: Yes. Facebook earnings missed forecast. Facebook expenses skyrocketed. Growth on the mobile users is slowing. Facebook has 751 million active mobile users. Big number, but the growth rates is slowing.

Here's the key, it is positive. Advertisers are moving to mobile. And this is where Facebook future is, the place where it will make the most money, mobile. Mobile ad sales accounts for 30 percent of the total ad revenue. Still not a majority but it's a lot better than zero a year ago.

And you know what's so interesting to me when I look at the numbers and I see how much money Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Sheryl Sandberg, I think, her stock options, $800 some million. He had like 2 billion, 200 --- numbers are so staggering that it just reminds me that we all get paid the same amount every week, day-to-day workers that we are, but a lot of money for those people.

BERMAN: Thanks for putting it in perspective.

SAMBOLIN: There you go.

BERMAN: Happy morning here.


BERMAN: Twenty-five minutes after the hour. Coming up, some stunning new developments in the Boston marathon bombing investigation. Why three friends of a surviving suspect are now considered suspects, too. Stay with us.


BERMAN: So, what does the widow know? New information that the wife of one of the Boston bombing suspects talked to her husband while he was on the run.

SAMBOLIN: And questions about the shooting death of a 2-year-old girl.

Take a look at her picture there, at the hands of her 5-year-old brother, with a rifle given to him as a birthday gift.

BERMAN: Tensions on the rise after an American citizen is sentenced to 15 years hard labor in North Korea.

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

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. I couldn't say my name yesterday or today.

BERMAN: It's a hard one though.

SAMBOLIN: It's Thursday, May 2nd. Glad you're with us this morning.

And we begin this morning with the scope of the Boston bombing investigation widening this morning, with new questions about several people in the Tsarnaev brothers' inner circle.

Sources tell CNN the wife now widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev spoke to him after the FBI released his photo and identified him as a Boston terror suspect. Plus, three friends of surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev now charge with trying to cover up for him.