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More Snow Expected Across the Northeast; Christie Denies Knowledge of Lane Closures; Hackers Hit Hotel Chains; Escaped Convict Back Behind Bars

Aired February 4, 2014 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Get ready for more snow. Millions from the Midwest to the east coast will be slammed by another winter storm. More snow, more ice, sleet, and wind pummeling people across two dozen states today. Chad Myers explains how bad it will be and what's coming next.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And that's really bad, folks.

ROMANS: More snow.

BERMAN: Meanwhile, brand new poll numbers staring Chris Christie in the face this morning, plunging popularity, and there are new twists this morning about the Bridgegate investigation. We will break down all these numbers live.

ROMANS: A drastic drop on Wall Street. The Dow plummeting more than 300 points in just one day. We're watching the new numbers this morning. We'll tell you whether the sharp sell-off will continue.

BERMAN: Yes. Brace yourself, folks.


BERMAN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS (on-camera): I'm Christine Romans. Thirty-one minutes past the hour right now.

This morning, more misery bearing down on the Midwest and it's heading east, a day after snow snarled traffic from Washington to Boston. Now, there's snow, ice, rain, a winter mix of awful weather, and it's starting to fall. It will affect more than 100 million people from the Rockies to Maine.

BERMAN: All right. The snow just starting to fall in Kansas City. This is just one of the many places in the Midwest all but shut down today. Schools closed, employers being told, let your workers stay home. That city could see eight inches or more of snow.

ROMANS: New York is getting ready for the second blast of winter, a day after snow fell on Central Park. The storm turning deadly in Brooklyn where a 73-year-old man was killed after being hit by a backhoe. The machine was moving snow on the streets near his home.

BERMAN: Look at that, the accidents being caused in Connecticut by this storm. This was one is in Stanford, Connecticut. That car just flipped over. Snow piled up, leading to the awfully slippery roads. The driver is said to be OK.

ROMANS: All right. More snow is definitely not welcome in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. That city has now received 30 inches of snow so far this winter. The normal for the whole season is only about two feet. Driving there was tough on Monday. It could be even worse later today.

BERMAN: All right. This morning, the airlines are scrambling to recover after thousands of flights were canceled by the snow. A few hundred more still grounded for today, and that's just so far. This morning, those who were stuck at the airport, they are hoping, hoping to get out and get back home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We found out that we were -- flight had been canceled until 6:00 a.m. in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't our first rodeo, so you know, we know about this, but we'll get through it.


ROMANS: It's not their first rodeo. It's not our last rodeo. There's more coming! Chad Myers tracking this storm for us. Hey, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, I'm going to grab Phil by the collar and tell old Punxsutawney that I really would like him to see his -- not see his shadow next time. There's the low right there. It's moving up the east coast. It's going right there. If you are about 150 to 200 miles north of that low, that's where your snow's going to be. If you're long below, that's where your ice storm is going to be. Right goes right through New York City.

So, New York City tonight, you start off as some snow, and then you get to an ice storm tomorrow morning, and that's what everybody's panicked about. You can drive on the snow. Snowing in Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City, but it's almost impossible to drive on an ice event, and there it goes, right through Albany, Schenectady, all the way back down into Binghamton, Syracuse.

This is the area of the snow. Remember, I told you that low, that's where the snow's going to be? Not much snow for New York, why? Because it's going to be ice. It's going to be about 35 degrees at 3,000 feet, and then it's going to be 30 degrees down here. And it's going to rain into this 30-degree air and is going to be running right through New York City with the ice event, all through the Poconos as well, all of New Jersey, all the way up into Connecticut and Boston.

There goes the low, there goes the snow. It starts out for today. We get snow right through the Ohio Valley. Snows overnight tonight in New York City, snows a little, but that's the changeover, that pink. That changeover is the problem. When it gets there at eight o'clock tomorrow morning, it will be sleet. It will be freezing rain.

And eventually, it will even turn over to, probably even some rain about one o'clock, but the damage will have been done for this storm. And of course, there's another one on the way for Sunday, a very big nor'easter, potentially, for Sunday.


BERMAN: Yes. The number you used was 30 inches of snow, perhaps?

MYERS: I guarantee, just like Joe Namath in a fur coat, that someone will get 30 inches of snow.


MYERS: I guarantee it.

ROMANS: I hope it's not me.

BERMAN: Yes, exactly. As long as it's someone else.


BERMAN: Thirty-five minutes after the hour.

Chris Christie defending himself again. Overnight, New Jersey's governor telling a radio interview that he knew nothing about plans to shut down the George Washington Bridge. He insisted he didn't tell others to do it for him. He's snapping back at critics, including a former top aide who says that there is evidence that Christie knew what was happening.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: Here's the thing that I find so interesting, because what's going on now with all this other stuff, it's just a game of gotcha, you know? You know, when did I first learn about this or that? Well, the fact of the matter is, I've been very clear about this. Before these lanes were closed, I knew nothing about it. I didn't plan it. I didn't authorize it. I didn't approve it. I knew nothing about it.


BERMAN: All right. Meanwhile, a big no from Christie's former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, she's accused of actually ordering the lane closures on the bridge. Her lawyer is refusing to turn over documents which were subpoenaed by a state legislative committee. Her lawyer writing that doing so would violate her Fifth Amendment rights.

All right. A lot going on overnight to talk about, including some new poll numbers which show just how big the problems really are for Chris Christie and his future. We're joined by CNN political editor, Paul Steinhauser. Paul, I found these numbers fairly, fairly staggering, almost. PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes. They are troubling for Chris Christie, if he decides to run for president in 2016. And of course, he is seriously considering that, John. Take a look at this. This is our new CNN/ORC poll. We did it over the weekend, and one of the questions we asked was the Republican nomination for 2016.

Last time we asked back in November, Chris Christie was on top of the pack at 24 percent, leading all the other possible hopefuls there in the race for the nomination. Now down to 10 percent, in the middle of the pack. Here's another striking number. This is a possible matchup, Chris Christie, the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.

Look, back in December, Christie had a slight two-point edge. Now, Hillary Clinton with a 16-point lead over Christie. A lot of that coming from independents who went from Christie to Clinton. Troubling numbers for Chris Christie, John.

ROMANS: The numbers for Hillary Clinton, how are they -- how are potential voters viewing still the, you know, hangover of the Benghazi stuff? How is that affecting her?

STEINHAUSER: This is interesting, because you hear a lot of attacks Against Hillary Clinton. Benghazi, of course, and the killing of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans came while her watch when she was secretary of state. A lot of Republicans criticizing her over this. But, look at her approval rating, how Americans thought she did as secretary of state when she left, just a month before she left in December 2012, 66 percent approval of how she was handling her job.

Now, only down to only 62 percent. And hey, let's throw one more Hillary Clinton number out there, the race for the Democratic nomination, if she decides to run, our poll, like every other one, indicates she would be the overwhelming front-runner. Look at that, seven in 10 say she would be their choice for the nominee.

BERMAN: You know, we're spending a lot of time talking about who the next president might be. There's actually someone who has that job now, Paul.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, yes, there is.

BERMAN: What is our poll saying about his standing right now?

STEINHAUSER: You know, we talked a lot about President Barack Obama's poll numbers at the end of last year, and they were at or near all- time lows in a bunch of polls, including ours. A slight rebound. Check this out. Here's our brand-new numbers, up to 45 percent. You can see he was down to 41 percent in our November and December numbers. One more figure, though. I guess, that's the slight good news, but the bad news from our poll is this, this is for the first time -- we've asked this question a lot over the years, our polling director, (INAUDIBLE).

For the first time, a majority said they think it's more likely the president's numbers will fail. Actually, those numbers should be turned around and majority saying thta the president's numbers would likely fail. Remember, with all polls, people change their minds, polls go up, polls go down. So these numbers could obviously -- all these numbers could obviously change over the months to come.

BERMAN: All right. And we'll bring you back to talk about it when they do. Paul Steinhauser, thank you.


ROMANS: If it changed, that doesn't mean that every politician watches them like the clock. Thanks, Paul.

All right. All the whole world following big selling here in the U.S. yesterday, and it's ricocheting around the world. Japan adding another four percent. It is officially in a correction. It hit that yesterday. Now, it is still moving lower. That market down 14 percent so far this year. No Chinese New Year rally in Tokyo, either. The Chinese market down nearly three percent. European stocks also lower.

Here in the U.S. yesterday, brutal. Friday was ugly. The Dow and the S&P each losing about three percent in their value in the last couple of days. We're talking big losses for household names like Disney, 3M, maker of scotch tape, post-its, Hewlett-Packard, the banks (ph). The good news, futures trading right now indicate there could be a bounce.


It might be that investors are sensing a buying opportunity. They think that finally after a year of going straight up, you have some cheaper names in the stock market, things they want to buy. Futures right now, stock futures are higher. We'll watch this closely again about four hours to go.

BERMAN: Yes. We could take that bounce. Let's hope.

All right. A warning today to anyone who stayed at a hotel owned by White Lodging. Look at your credit card statements and do it now.


BERMAN (voice-over): The company which owns more than 150 Marriott, Sheraton, Westin, and Holiday Inn hotels says that credit card data was stolen at 14 hotels in Chicago, Austin, Denver, other cities as well.

White Lodging is not revealing how many card numbers were actually taken, but it will offer customers free credit monitoring.

ROMANS (voice-over): Meanwhile, expect Target's chief financial officer to be grilled today on Capitol Hill. A Senate committee is going to ask some pretty tough questions about the retailer's massive data breach. About 110 million Target customers had their data stolen or accessed. Critics have complained Target hasn't done enough to explain how this breach happened. It is currently facing federal and state investigations and numerous lawsuits from customers.

BERMAN: So, a scathing, new report is due out today. It's taking the government to task, claiming the federal agencies are not prepared to defend their networks against hackers. The report is from the Republican staff of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. It says that security software has not been updated. And get this, the most common password on government systems is the word "password."

Yikes! And double yikes here? It says the Homeland Security Department is one of the worst offenders here.


ROMANS: All right. Breaking overnight, a teacher behind bars this morning accused on YouTube of sexual abuse. The dramatic confrontation and new accusations against this teacher after the break.


ROMANS: A convicted murderer is waking up behind bars this morning after an intense manhunt that ended more than 150 miles away.


ROMANS (voice-over): Michael David Elliot (ph) was captured in Indiana after spending a day on the run.


ROMANS: He had broken out of prison, a prison in Michigan, apparently after crawling underneath a fence, then carjacking a woman using a box cutter. Police say he stole four cars before sheriff's deputies caught up with him, throwing down these tire deflation sticks to stop the car, forcing him to crash into a snow bank. And then they grabbed Elliot as he tried to crawl out a window.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We took him out of the car and we laid him on the ground and placed him in handcuffs, and I asked him his name, and he told me his name was Michael Elliot. I asked him if he was the Michael Elliot, and he said yes.


ROMANS: Deputies say Elliot looked tired. He was quiet and polite. He's serving five life sentences for the 1993 murder of four people. He insists he's innocent.

BERMAN (voice-over): This morning, a former California educator is waking up in jail facing sex abuse charges after a former student's shocking allegations against her in a YouTube video. All right. You can't hear that, but the voice on the phone, if you did hear it, is said to be 40-year-old Andrea Cardosa (ph). She was arrested Monday night. The 16 counts against her involve two alleged underage victims.

Jamie Carrillo (ph) recorded the phone call and posted it to YouTube. Carrillo says she is gratified by this arrest.

ROMANS: Possible new clues today about what happened to a missing Virginia police officer. Waynesboro reserve, Captain Kevin Quick (ph), disappeared last Friday. State police investigators say they have located his vehicle and are searching it for information about his whereabouts.

Police also have photographs of two men. These two men they believe may have information about Quick's disappearance. Authorities have expressed grave concern for the officer's safety.

BERMAN: We could find out more today about the death of actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman. The medical examiner tells CNN that the autopsy is not yet complete. Its tests are still ongoing, but authorities are said to be looking for the person who may have sold Hoffman the heroin that is believed to have killed him. The academy award-winning actor was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday with what police say was close to 50 envelopes of what is believed to be heroin.

Also in the apartment, a wide range of medications. It is not clear if Hoffman had prescriptions for them.


BERMAN (on-camera): This has really started a conversation about heroin and what is becoming an epidemic all across the country. Just some of the things that details in the northeast are staggering.

ROMANS (on-camera): Absolutely.

BERMAN: All right. Let's look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Kate Bolduan with us now. Good morning, Kate.

ROMANS: Good morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. I know you know, it. I know you've been feeling it. These winter storms just will not let up. Before people even have enough time to dig out from Monday's snowfall, another storm is pounding the U.S. from the plain states to the northeast, and we haven't even talked yet about the weekend.

What you need to know is basically stay inside and plan on your kids having their schools canceled quite a lot. Plus, we're going to look at whether or not all of this snow and ice has made this the worst winter to fly. We can all say probably the answer is yes.

Also, this is coming up in the show. The tiger mom is roaring back. The new controversy and her new book claims that certain ethnic and cultural groups do better than others. Is she fueling racism or are her assertions backed up by fact? We're going to talk to her about it. We're going to talk to Amy Chua and her husband who co-authored the book. They're going to be joining us live. ROMANS: I can't wait to hear that.

BERMAN: An interesting conversation.

ROMANS: Always is.

BERMAN: All right. Kate, thank you so much.

All right. Coming up for us, stocks in retreat. The Dow had its worst day in months. We've got a huge sell-off overseas. Also, Asian markets plummeting. What does that mean for you? Should you be afraid this morning or should you get out that checkbook? "Money Time" is next.



ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's "Money Time," and you want to know what in the world is going on with your 401(k). Well, right now, a sell-off in the stock market is circling the globe. Sharp declines in overseas stock markets. Asia suffering massive declines. Stocks in Europe are down, but you know what, I can tell you, they're not hit quite as hard. Look at London compared with Tokyo.

European stocks seem to not be in such bad shape as the Asian markets. Now, U.S. futures right now showing some buying, potentially, in the early going. We've got futures up a little bit. But you know what? It's what we saw yesterday that's the real problem here, huge declines, 326 points down in the Dow. A lot of people saying don't be surprised if selling continues, because there are a lot of good reasons.

The Dow and the S&P 500 have had runaway years recently. Last year, basically, a shot straight up. There's also U.S. economic uncertainty. A big jobs report is due out Friday. You've got worried about the health of some U.S. corporations, concern about the fragile state of emerging markets, places like India, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey and Indonesia.

The U.S. has not had a technical correction in The S&P 500 in almost two years. April 2012 is when it got the closest. You've got the S&P down 5.8 percent now. Ten percent is a correction, so it could be logical that you would see more losses, and many are saying that could still be overall good for the market.

Now, Amazon Prime. Members of Amazon Prime, you might be in for some sticker shock here. Amazon considering raising prices of Prime membership by as much as $40. The online retailer struggling with rising cost. If Amazon goes through with it, the cost of prime could jump from $79 a year to 99, maybe 119 a year. Prime offers two-day shipping, Kindle borrowing, and movie streaming.

Big money was placed on Super Bowl XLVIII. Nevada gaming control board says $119 million was wagered on Sunday's game. That's according to the state's 183 sports books. The amount of money placed on the game each year has been growing steadily since 2009.

BERMAN: That is a lot of money. All right. Christine, thank you so much.

Coming up for us next, he insists that he is innocent. The former boyfriend of Amanda Knox speaking to CNN about his conviction, his second conviction for murder. You're going to hear from him, next.



BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. This morning, he is pledging to fight. Raffaele Sollecito, the ex-boyfriend of Amanda Knox, was convicted again, along with Knox, for the murder of her roommate, but Knox is in the United States. Sollecito is an Italian citizen and in Italy facing more than two decades in prison. He spoke to Anderson Cooper about what he thinks comes next.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, AC 360: When you first heard about this new verdict, what did you think?

RAFFAELE SOLLECITO, EX-BOYFRIEND OF AMANDA KNOX: Well, it's really unbelievable to me. It was kind of unreal. I'm trying to be as positive as possible in a situation like this. It's very dramatic, this situation here now. But on the other side, I still have to fight. I have chosen to be here and to fight against this. We all know that the focus was only through Amanda, to her behavior, to her peculiar behavior. But whatever it is, I'm not guilty for it.


BERMAN: The appeals process could take years and Knox is pledging to never return to Italy. Both she and Sollecito, they insist they are innocent. That was quite an interview.

All right. "NEW DAY" starts right now.