tv Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans CNN June 4, 2014 1:00am-2:01am PDT
breaking news this morning. dramatic, new video, cameras capturing the first moments of freedom for sergeant bowe bergdahl. these images released by the taliban in a prisoner swap. we're breaking down the new video, the mysterious, new details on how bergdahl was captured in the first place and the growing backlash to how president obama handled the controversial deal. live, team coverage of this breaking story begins right now. good morning. welcome to "early start," everyone. i'm christine romans. >> and i'm john berman. great to see you. it's wednesday, june 4th, 4:00 a.m. in the east. we do begin with this video just in to cnn. it is really incredible to look at. posted to the internet by the
taliban's media arm. they had cameras there. it shows the moment when bowe bergdahl was handed off to u.s. special forces. this is the beginning of his trip home. wow, you can see it unfold here as part of this prisoner exchange, of course, that sent five taliban fighters back to the middle east from guantanamo bay. you can see someone who looks like the army sergeant, not in this video, but sitting in the truck. what you're looking at right there is the black hawk helicopter. >> it looks like there, they're taking bowe bergdahl to the helicopter, american special forces, after the handoff from the taliban, loading him on board there. these pictures all just took seconds, quite frankly. >> all just took seconds. this is the first time in the course of the video -- you've seen a little bit earlier -- you've seen his face, and it's the first time that anyone had seen his face in months, so you can bet that people are poring over these images to get a sense of how he's doing, to get any clues about exactly what can be learned from this exchange itself. want to go to senior
international correspondent matthew chance, live at landstuhl medical center in germany. that's where bowe bergdahl is being treated right now. matthew, we've seen a translation of the video, and in it, the narrator says they were asked, the afghans were asked about bowe bergdahl's condition, and they say they thought he was fine, which is interesting, because that conflicts with what some in the u.s. have suggested, that his health was deteriorating rapidly. >> reporter: yeah, i think it's probably a relative term, but you're right. in the paschtu language, in the handoff in afghanistan, it said that the first question the u.s. special forces asked when they received bowe bergdahl, sergeant bergdahl, is what was his health like. they said tell us the truth, if he's not well, and the taliban fighter who's doing the
narration said that we told them that he was fine and then they handed him over. that conflicts with what the u.s. medical teams here at landstuhl medical facility in southern germany say. they've got him inside the hospital behind me, giving him medical treatment for what they say are conditions that required hospitalization. the focus very much at this stage in terms of his medical condition is on his dietary needs, his nutritional needs after being held in captivity by sort of afghan militants, taliban militants, for nearly five years. but there's also a psychological dimension to it as well. obviously, a big trauma that this guy will have endured, being in captivity for so long. and so, it's a very slow, painstaking, psychological process of healing as well that he's just now starting out on, john. >> any sense of how much of this process will take place in germany, or is it possible he be released and sent back to the u.s., or at a minimum sent back to the u.s.?
>> reporter: yeah, well, i mean, there's no predetermined time frame for that to take place. certainly, the reintegration process, as they're calling it here, the process of psychoanalysis and helping him to get back into society and back to his family, it starts in earnest here at this regional medical facility at landstuhl, but it will continue once he goes back to the united states. they're not giving at the moment any type of time scale for that to happen. it could be the next few days, a week or even longer, who knows? it will very much be determined, they say, on the pace of his healing and pace of his reintegration, john. >> a lot of work to be done on that. matthew chance at landstuhl base. thank you again for taking a look at the video that we just got in where bowe bergdahl was handed over to u.s. forces and then brought to landstuhl where we just saw matthew chance. incredible stuff to look at. it's more than 15 minutes worth. we're trying to distill it down. you can see bowe bergdahl right
there. >> and you can see the black hawk helicopter in the background. that's where the americans are coming in, and the looks of the taliban, the afghan militants who have held him for five years, standing there by the truck waiting for this handoff. this is a handoff, of course, that has been years in the making, john. >> you can only imagine what he's thinking. you saw a glimpse of him right there, what he's thinking as he looks up at that black hawk that's taking him away from five years of captivity. this is such a controversial subject right now. this new video obviously coming at the same time that some in bergdahl's own unit are growing more and more critical of him. some have called him a deserter. we do not know conclusively what led to his capture at this point by the taliban, but his former team leader, sergeant evan bhutto, tells jake tapper on "the lead," that he heard radio transmissions in the days after bergdahl just seemed to walk away from camp, radio transmissions about an american walking through a nearby village trying to find someone to serve as an interpreter. >> the fact is that we knew from
radio interceptions that we had got that he was -- before he got in touch with the taliban, he was looking for someone who spoke english so he could talk to the taliban. and when we heard that, it told us, okay, he's actively seeking out the taliban, so at least we know that. my goal here is not to -- i don't really want to get into the political side of anything. my goal is to show that bergdahl is a deserter and he's not a hero and that he needs to answer for what he did. >> all of this as the backlash against the white house grows. his release came at a high price. five high-ranking taliban fighters returned to the middle east from guantanamo bay. this morning there are new calls for explanations. how did those men go from too dangerous to ever set free to bargaining chips in exchange for the only american p.o.w. still in custody from the afghan war? and what obligation did the president have to tell congress about those negotiations? the top republican on the senate intelligence committee, senator
saxby chambliss tells cnn both he and chairwoman dianne feinstein were never notified about this decision, even though he says the law and courtesy insists they should have been. >> there's a list down there of a very few of us that do receive these advanced phone calls. and it's hard for me to believe that both dianne and i, both of whom had objected vigorously in writing as far back as three years ago to the president as well as to secretary clinton about the release of these prisoners, that we were the two that failed to get the phone call. >> you do not have the luxury in a situation like this of opening a window and hoping that in 30 days it's still going to be open. this was touch-and-go and has been touch-and-go for years. and when you have the opportunity to execute this recovery of the last uniformed member of the military held in captivity by the enemy in either of these two long ongoing conflicts, you take that opportunity, and it was absolutely the right thing to
do. that was affirmed by the secretary of defense, affirmed by the chairman of the joint chiefs and affirmed by the commander in chief. >> the commander in chief today is in warsaw, where he met with ukraine's president-elect. this visit to europe supposed to be about ukraine and the u.s. role in europe, but of course, the bergdahl decision and the president's defense seems to be hanging over every single move there. senior white house correspondent jim acosta is traveling with the president this morning. and jim, what is the white house saying, if anything yet, about this new video? >> reporter: christine, i have asked, and we have not yet heard back from senior administration officials about this video, but one thing i can tell you from talking to a different official about this exchange, and i think you can see some of this in this video, this official was saying to me, look, this was kind of a test case between the white house, the united states and the taliban to see whether or not, basically, they could do business with each other, whether they could conduct a prisoner exchange like what we saw with bowe bergdahl, and this administration official that i
talked to said, and you can see in this video, that this exchange took place without firing a shot, without things getting too heated. it was just conducted in a very businesslike fashion, and the exchange occurred and both sides walked away thinking, well, maybe we can do business with one another down the road. and this is something that, frankly, administration officials say will have to happen in the coming months and years as the u.s. winds down the war in afghanistan, as this one official said, you don't negotiate peace with your friends, you do that with your enemies. and so, this episode may have been sort of a first test case to see whornether or not the u. and taliban can work with each other in terms of doing the mechanics of winding down the war in afghanistan. you are right, as you were just saying in that setup, there is sort of a mess that the white house has on its hands at this point when it comes to the notification of key lawmakers up on capitol hill, dianne feinstein is not happy. she said yesterday that she regretted that the white house had not have formed her prior to this prisoner exchange and that
that resulted in an apology. a top national security official, tony blinken, called dianne feinstein to say, well, we're sorry that that did not occur. then late last night, we were getting statements from senior administration officials saying, well, in spite of that, we still feel that that was the correct call, not notifying members of congress, because that notification could have put bowe bergdahl's life in jeopardy. and having said all of that, democrats are now also pointing to some inconsistencies on the republican side. they're taking exception to what john mccain has said in calling this a mistake, this prisoner exchange a mistake. they're pointing to an interview he did with cnn back in february where he said, well, maybe a prisoner exchange of some sort should be considered. so, there are inconsistencies flying back and forth. and you said it, christine, this is really overshadowing the first part of the president's trip. he is in warsaw right now meeting with the ukrainian president-elect, petro poroshenko, and they've got a lot to discuss. >> i'll bet. >> reporter: a lot to ukraine and how ukraine can emerge from that process and get
on a path to peace. >> and jim, as you're speaking, we're showing again these ima is of the black hawk helicopter landing and the transfer of the prisoner, bowe bergdahl. and it's so fascinating, because right now what our viewers are seeing is bowe bergdahl walking over to the american members of the military special forces, and there's a quick shfighters, the american military and the handoff of bowe bergdahl. i think it goes great to illustrate your point that they did business together for the first time successfully ever in this handoff. >> reporter: that's right, and this is something that when you talk to senior administration officials, christine, they will tell you that at some point, this war has to end. and for the war to end, both sides are going to have to talk with each other. this happened in vietnam, you know. and eventually, enemies have to do business with one another, or else conflicts like this will never come to a peaceful conclusion. and so, that is, i think, something that you do see in that video. the other thing that can be talked about in that video, john
and christine, is the physical condition that bowe bergdahl is in, and the senior administration officials i've spoken with will say, listen, that last proof of life that emerged in december-early january showed a declining in health on the part of bowe bergdahl, and that is what really prompted the urgency to conduct this exchange and get him out of there. >> all right, jim acosta in warsaw this morning. thanks, jim. >> the "wall street journal" reporting overnight they had seen video evidence between videos of a serious deterioration in health. that's what prompted them to make this exchange. there are those in congress who question whether it was really as urgent as all that. we will continue to look at this video we just got in minutes ago, because honestly, it's riveting, amazing to look at. meanwhile, a lot of other big news breaking overnight, including a closely watched republican senate primary in mississippi that is still too close to call at 4:12:00 a.m. eastern time. the race between six-term incumbent thad cochran and tea party challenger chris mcdaniel is likely to head to a runoff
now. >> whoa. >> with most of the votes counted, mcdaniel holds a slim, slim lead, but he does not have the 50% needed to declare victory. the winner of this likely runoff will face travis childress, who won the democratic primary, a former congressman himself. another race we were all watching overnight. in iowa, it was an easy win for state senator joni ernst in the republican senate primary. she had support from both the tea party and establishment republicans, a much different situation than mississippi. ernst faces democratic congressman bruce braley in the fall. the gop is trying to flip a seat there. that's the retiring senator tom harkin's seat in iowa right now. other races in alabama, california, montana, new jersey, new mexico and south dakota went largely as expected. time for an "early start" to your money this morning. here's a look at stocks around the world right now. in the u.s., stocks not at that record, the first time we've said that all week. all three major indexes closed
down slightly tuesday. news this morning on gm. "the new york times" reports gm officials expect ceo mary barra to be cleared of any wrongdoing tied to the botched ignition switch recall that resulted in at least 13 deaths. results from gm's internal investigation are expected as early as this week. it's expected to name executives, employees and departments that screwed up, but officials, again, telling "the new york times" they expect barra to be cleared. one thing is certain, barra has kept sales at gm strong. look at this, john. the company's may sales jumped 13% from last year. >> that's unbelievable. >> that is double the expected increase and the best since august 2008. that's even with a big recall over memorial day when some really popular crossovers were not even available to be sold. they still had these mega, mega sales in the month. >> it's exactly the kind of platform she needs to try to weather this storm with these recalls, to be sure. amazing results there. all right, breaking news this morning, millions waking up to severe storm damage, tornadoes, baseball-sized hail,
flooding so deep, some had to be rescued from the water. and the threat isn't over. we are live with what's on tap for today after the break. listen up, thunder dragons, it's time to get a hotel. hey, razor. check this out. we can save big with priceline express deals. hey you know what man, these guys aint no dragons. they're cool. these deals are legit. yeah, we're cool. she's cool. we're cool. priceline express deals are totally legit. check this, thousands of people book them everyday and score killer deals. now, priceline is piling on even more savings with its summer sale. so grab your giant beach towel and enter code summer14. look at me enjoying the deals. over 150 years of swedish coffee experience.xists that's 150 years of experience in refining and perfecting the rich, never bitter taste of gevalia. and we do it all for this very experience. this very second. this exact moment. [woman] that's good.
serious weather to tell you about overnight. severe storms wreaking havoc in states from the midwest to the northeast. look at this video from nebraska. >> whoa! >> that's real. oh, my goodness! it looks like you're in the middle of a driving range right there, but no, that's hail. i make a joke about golf, driving range. some of the hail is actually the size of baseballs. more of the same on the roads, pellets of hail clattering into the windshield. ominous, ominous clouds. and then the skies opened up. this was just an epic storm there. >> thunderbolts could be seen for miles as the storm moved in. look at that. on the ground, trees toppled by winds blowing more than 100 miles an hour leaving drivers to navigate some pretty dangerous streets. and where there weren't trees, there was water, lots of water. some people, including this
family, had to be rescued. rainfall lasting through the night in some areas. tornado threats in others. let's get to meteorologist karen maginnis for more on what we can expect today. good morning. >> good morning, christine and john. ferocious storms wrecked across the midwest, as you just saw, now making its way towards the east and slightly further towards the south, but sandwiched in an area pretty much from chicago all the way to omaha, and from mt. vernon, illinois, all the way to kansas city. if you're driving along this route, this is where you can expect some very heavy downpours, reduced visibility, very frequent lightning and flooding the main issue. but overnight, we saw hail reports in excess of 200 reports of very large-size hail, at times grapefruit-size hail, if you can imagine that. also, this cluster making its way towards the east. by thursday morning, it should mostly be off the eastern seaboard, but not before affecting the northeast. i'll show you that in just a second. across the ohio river valley, a
slight risk of thunderstorms for today. the big threat, the tornado threat has diminished. but as we go into thursday, new york city, washington, boston, you're all looking at showers and storms with the rainfall that could be quite heavy as well. back to you guys. >> all right, karen maginnis, thank you, karen. >> keep an eye on that all day because it is serious. meanwhile, more breaking news overnight. new recordings released that some say could be the sound of missing malaysia airlines flight 370 crashing into the ocean. we will play this sound for you so you can decide for yourself right after the break. sea captain: there's a narratorstorm cominhe storm narrator: that whipped through the turbine which poured... surplus energy into the plant which generously lowered its price and tipped off the house which used all that energy to stay warm through the storm. chipmunk: there's a bad storm comin! narrator: the internet of everything is changing how energy works.
all right, we'll get back to the dramatic, new video of bowe bergdahl in just a moment, but meanwhile, this morning we're hearing a new sound that could possibly be related to the disappearance of flight 370. it was a noise detected deep under water in the indian ocean, and some say this could be the sound of the plane crashing. listen. >> you'll have to judge for yourself. researchers analyzing the audio say they're not sure what it is. it could be from the plane or easily something else. they talk about possible underwater earthquakes or landslides. they do know it originated thousands of miles to the northwest of the search zone right now. and for that reason, there are those who are skeptical it's
connected, but the sound did come roughly at the same time that they think the plane did go down. all right it was 25 years ago today that one of the defining moments of the 20th century played out in the heart of beijing. a government crackdown on protesters in tiananmen square, ending with this indelible image, a single man standing up to a chinese army tank. today china is a very different nation, but many of the tensions between government power and personal liberty remain. david mckenzie live in beijing for us this morning. and david, we understand china is doing everything possible to make sure no one thinks about tiananmen square today. >> reporter: well, it's really enforced amnesia. you saw iconic shots like the tank man, shot by cnn at the time of the man standing up to the almighty force of the people's liberation army. very few people of a certain age here in beijing would even know that image. and amazingly, would even know
what happened on june 4th. take a look. does the date june 4th mean anything to you, we ask? "what is it, a national holiday," she says. "no. no, i haven't," he says. >> a little bit sensitive. >> reporter: because you never know who could be listening, she says. have people forgotten history here? >> no, people have not forgotten history, but i should say, in china, people are really tolerant. people know that things happen, and we need to focus on the future. >> reporter: many of the young people i've spoken to say that, really, they want to just get on with their lives, make money and deal with the freedoms they have. but there have been activists who have said this has been the most severe crackdown prior to this anniversary in many years. more than 66 people detained, some of them criminally,
according to amnesty international. and they say that, really, the issues underlying in china remain that have not been dealt with. certainly, if you went on to the square today and unfurled the banner just as a lone protester, you'd be thrown into the back of a van very quickly. christine? >> and we know that google was blocked yesterday in china, and we know that if you tried to google or you tried to use a search engine to learn about these events, the chinese government very successfully can use technology to enforce amnesia, as you put it. david mckenzie, thank you so much. >> enforced amnesia. all right, this new video just in to cnn this morning. take a look at it. days after sergeant bowe bergdahl -- we're getting this video days after he was turned over to u.s. forces. this is the moment he was turned over. we're seeing it for the first time, the dramatic scenes when his captivity ended. >> look at that. >> that handshake, a handshake between the taliban and u.s. special forces. we are poring over this video, analyzing it.
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all right, breaking news this morning, breathtaking, new video we just got our hands on a few minutes ago, showing captured soldier bowe bergdahl the moment he was freed by the taliban, turned over in this trade for five terror suspects. we're going to bring you these tense moments all caught on camera. plus, we're going to discuss the new allegations about just how
sergeant bergdahl was captured in the first place. was he seeking out the taliban? and as these images come in, we're going to talk about the controversy of how this exchange played out, because it does rage on. we have live, team coverage, all the angles beginning right now. so, welcome back to "early start," everyone. i'm john berman. >> a lot to go through this morning. i'm christine romans. 32 minutes past the hour. this morning we're seeing for the very first time the moment bowe bergdahl was handed off to u.s. forces as part of this prisoner exchange with the taliban. i want you to look at these pictures. these were posted on the internet by the taliban's media arm. they show bergdahl sitting in a truck moments -- there he is -- moments before a chopper lands. so, in the distance, a chopper is coming in, a black hawk helicopter. that's a helicopter that would take him back into american hands for the first time in five years. what you are watching right now are the last moments of captivity of bowe bergdahl sitting in that truck. as armed men watch, the people on the chopper then jump out, they greet bergdahl, then they bring him on board. what's remarkable to me is how
quick and efficient american special forces are, a handshake, a quick handshake, go, go, go, arm around his back, pointing to the helicopter, giving the signal. and one of our producers pointed out that if you look at american special forces, as we scrutinize this tape, there's always one of them looking at the taliban. they never turn their backs fully on the taliban. there had been assurances this would be a smooth handoff, there would be no violence, but clearly, tense, tense moments here. bergdahl right now being treated at landstuhl medical center in germany where our senior international correspondent, matthew chance, is following the latest on the very beginning of his recovery and then also this breaking news overnight, this video, matthew, showing, showing this handoff. remarkable. 18 fighters, up in the hills with guns, some of them sort of camouflaged in the bushes. this was an elaborate handoff that went very smoothly, matthew. >> reporter: yes, and the authenticity of the video is not
in doubt, according to the u.s. department of defense. it's interesting what you said about american special forces there not turning their back on the taliban. the paschtu language commentary that overruns this video also says that the taliban didn't entirely entrust their enemy as well. that's why they say they took 18 armed taliban fighters with them, because they say you cannot entirely trust your enemy. so, it was a mutual distrust between the two sides, but as you say, the handoff apparently went across without incident and very peacefully. sergeant bergdahl looking gaunt, his head shaven. the first question that was asked, according to this taliban voiceover that runs throughout, commentary of this video, is that the special forces asked the taliban what the condition was, what the health situation was of the american soldier, and they said tell the truth if he's ill. and the taliban said he seems fine. now, that's in contradiction to what u.s. officials here at the landstuhl regional medical facility here in southern germany have been saying about the condition of sergeant
bergdahl, saying his condition required hospitalization, particularly a focus on dietary and nutritional needs after nearly five years in taliban captivity. i spoke to one of the medical officials earlier on, within the last half hour or so, and he tells me it's a relative concept. there's a situation with stomach problems, immunization problems that exists on a sort of relative level in afghanistan. it has to be treated here in hospital. so, he's in a stable condition, is continuing to be treated. there's still psychological issues, of course. there will be a long time in healing, christine. >> and the reintegration issue is something that officials there have talked about. i mean, this is the very beginning of a process for sergeant bergdahl. again, matthew, we're looking at these pictures, just remarkable. there you see the handoff right now of sergeant bowe bergdahl, the signal from a member of the american special forces, three -- it looks like three special forces members walking him into this chopper. we know they're surrounded by 18 fighters in the hills. and as you point out, matthew, mutual distrust here, but a
handoff that went well. what happens next for sergeant bergdahl? any sign of when he will be sent back from germany to the u.s., matthew? >> reporter: they're not giving us a time frame as to that. they're saying there is no predetermined time at which he has to go back to the united states for that next phase of his reintegration. what they're looking at now is, first of all, his medical condition, his psychological condition as well. he's also going to be debriefed. remember, this is the first opportunity that u.s. officials, u.s. investigators have had to talk to sergeant bergdahl to get his side of the story to get his account of how exactly he fell into the hands of afghan militants, of taliban fighters in eastern afghanistan, where he was stationed, of course, back in 2009. there's been an investigation that's indicated he left of his own accord his station in afghanistan. it's not clear how he managed to be captured. for that kind of questioning to take place for sergeant bergdahl to give his side of the story,
while u.s. investigators, perhaps, decide if there's going to be any charges against him for possible desertion. that decision, of course, has not been taken yet, christine. >> matthew chance in landstuhl, germany. you're watching pictures of bowe bergdahl's last moments of captivity and first moments of freedom in 5 1/2 years, and you're watching the american black hawk helicopters, the special forces unit coming in and retrieving him in his handoff. >> look how calm, in a way, it is there. look how -- >> cool professionalism of the american special forces. >> deliberate but calmly they are walking back to that black hawk helicopter. as we were looking at the pictures of sergeant bergdahl just minutes ago, whatever circumstances may surround his capture, you do have to wonder, what's going through his head right now, as he looks at that black hawk, as he looks at these u.s. special forces, the first time he's seen an american face in nearly five years. look at him gaze up right there, and you're left to wonder just what might be going through his head. and again, there is the exchange
right there, the handshake with the u.s. special forces. i guess we counted some 18 members of the taliban or those -- >> afghan militant fighters. >> -- militants around there involved in the handoff, enough to film it, by the way, quite skillfully. this shows you how attempt they are at media, and they just released this video, you know -- >> this is the picture that's remarkable to me, his last moments of captivity, really. there's a moment here where somebody leans in and is explaining something to him and he's just sort of listening and squinting, and you just wonder what words are being exchanged. >> we should point out, this is the taliban releasing this video. the u.s. defense department says there's no reason to doubt its authenticity. they're going over it. but they believe it's probably real. but this does have propaganda purposes for the taliban. >> yeah. >> there was a narration under this video we've been showing you right now, translated for us. among other things, they say long live mullah omar, long live the taliban. it's seen by this group as something of a great victory for
them, this exchange. >> in his left hand, there's a plastic bag. you wonder, after 5 1/2 years, what is -- it's just remarkable to get a glimpse of these last moments here. this video, of course, comes as we're hearing from bergdahl's former team leader in afghanistan, sergeant evan buetow. he tells jake tapper on "the lead," he considers bergdahl a deserter. he insists bergdahl just walked away, intending to talk with the taliban. >> the things that he did prior to him leaving at the time weren't alarming. however, when he comes up missing and all of his sensitive items are left behind, it just kind of hit us in the head. it was like a light that went on. man, he just walked away. that's exactly what happened. it's hard to explain, and i've tried to explain it to people and it's hard for people to understand, but it was just -- we knew that he had left. i was standing right next to the radio when they heard that there
is an american in a village called yayakale, which was about two hours from where we were at, and it's a village that has a very, very large presence of taliban, that there is the american is in yayakale, he's looking for someone who speaks english so he can talk to the taliban. >> as we said, the u.s. defense department says it is poring over the video we're showing you right now, trying to determine what might be in it. they say they have no reason to doubt its authenticity. meanwhile, as the controversy surrounding the exchange and all its implications swirls about, the white house is insisting still that it made the right call, defending the decision to trade five high-ranking taliban fighters for bowe bergdahl. congress is not one bit happy about it. some are demanding an investigation into whether the white house broke the law by not notifying congress about the plan in advance. the law stipulates they're supposed to notify congress about any prison transfer 30 days in advance.
and some question whether the u.s. paid too high a price for who was the only p.o.w. in the war in afghanistan. the administration as of now echoing the president's statement that no american service member should be left behind ever. >> the principle can't have caveats and exceptions to it. when you put on your uniform and fight for your country, if you're taken captive, you should know that your commander in chief and every other person on the national security team and the entire apparatus is going to focus on bringing you home. as commander in chief, the president believed very strongly, and the secretary of defense believed very strongly that it was the right thing to do to move quikly in this case and secure his release. >> these guys are bad guys. one of them is suspected and two of them, actually, are suspected of being involved in maybe mass murdering thousands of individuals. two of them had direct ties with osama bin laden, very, very close, personal ties. they will be mullah omar's board of directors to carry out
additional, long-term terrorist attacks against america and americans. >> all right, this controversy is following the president as he tours europe. it's a very important trip for the president, trying to build relationships with european countries, especially in the face of russian aggression in the ukraine, but again, the bowe bergdahl situation there very much surrounding this trip. the white house apologized to members of congress yesterday for not informing them at least a little bit sooner. let's go now to senior white house correspondent jim acosta live in warsaw. jim, any sense of how the white house will treat this issue today? >> reporter: well, i think one thing that has already caught them somewhat off guard, john, is this video release from the taliban of bowe bergdahl being set free by his captors, back into the hands of u.s. forces. and we do have a statement from the pentagon press secretary, rear admiral john kirby, who said -- and you've been talking about this as well, john -- it says "we are aware of the video allegedly released by the
taliban showing the transfer into u.s. hands of sergeant bowe bergdahl. we have no reason to doubt the video's authenticity, but we are reviewing it regardless. we know the transfer was peaceful and successful and our focus remains on getting sergeant bergdahl the care that he needs." and that really echoes, before this video even came out, what i heard from a senior administration official yesterday, who was talking about the actual exchange, noting the fact that it did go down somewhat peacefully, that there wasn't a shot fired, there was no aggression being showed by either side, but simply bowe bergdahl was handed over by the taliban, by those militants into the hands of u.s. forces. he climbed on the helicopter and then was back in u.s. custody. this administration official saying that this is an example, perhaps a test case, one of the first test cases, that yes, the u.s. and the taliban, while bitter enemies, and while the taliban is very dangerous, that these two sides can do business when it comes to the mechanics of winding down the war in afghanistan. so, one perhaps takeaway from this prisoner exchange that
occurred between the united states and the taliban. getting back to the notification issue with congress. you're right, john, this is a big mess for this white house, because there are some inconsistencies that are starting to emerge when it comes to who was told when all of this occurred. dianne feinstein, chair of the senate intelligence committee, saying yesterday that she regretted that the white house had not have formed herks and then she got an apology from somebody inside the administration, saying you know what, we should have informed you sooner. but at the same time, senior administration officials were putting out statements saying, well, you know, we still defend the way we did this notification, because had we been notifying members of congress sooner, that might have put the entire transfer of bowe bergdahl back into the custody of u.s. hands in jeopardy. and so, there is a bit of a back-and-forth going on between the u.s., the administration and democrats up on capitol hill. but john, keep in mind, democrats are pointing out there are some inconsistencies on the
other side. they heard john mccain saying yesterday that this was a mistake to trade bowe bergdahl's release in exchange for those taliban fighters. i talked to a democratic source last night who said, wait a minute, john mccain was on cnn back in february saying that perhaps something like this should be considered. so, some inconsistencies flying back and forth, and it does have the potential to continue to overshadow this trip in europe. >> you raise a good point, there are inconsistencies on both sides and there are republican candidates who first tweeted congratulations and their joy about bergdahl being released who have removed those tweets and deleted them, jim. jim, we're about to lose you in about 30 seconds right there. do you expect that the president will face more questions about this today, tomorrow as he tours through europe? >> reporter: well, his next news conference, as i understand him, john, will be with the prime minister of the uk, david cameron, tomorrow. he is right now about to give remarks in poland to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the solidarity movement's triumph during the fall of the soviet union, and then he heads off to
the g-7 summit in brussels. note, the g-7 summit, not the g-8 summit. russia, vladimir putin won't be participating. but we'll be watching some of that body language. these two leaders, putin and president obama, may be crossing paths in the next 48 to 72 hours, so another bit of drama that will be unfolding during this trip that we'll be watching. >> a lot of important events you are following right now in warsaw. jim acosta, thanks so much for being with us, my friend. >> we will keep watching this breaking news, these first images of sergeant bowe bergdahl leaving the hands of the taliban/afghan militants and going into the hands of american special forces. but first, severe storms slamming the midwest, millions waking up this morning to dangerous winds, hail, flooding. we are going to break down the damage and where the threat is today. that's a man interviewino.for a job. not that one. that one. the one who seems like he's already got the job 'cause he studied all the right courses from the get-go. and that's an accountant, a mom, a university of phoenix scholarship recipient,
there by winds that were up to 100 miles per hour. there are about a dozen unconfirmed reports of tornadoes the there. where trees didn't block the streets, the water from the thunderstorms did. it was just a mess. this family was among many people who had to be rescued. rainfall lasting through the night in some areas. >> even before the rain came, there was plenty of noise from mother nature. look at this. huge chunks of hail blanketing the ground from all directions. >> crazy. >> more of the same on the roads, hail driving into the windshield with those threatening clouds overhead. let's get to meteorologist karen maginnis with more on what we can expect today. quite an event last night. are we going to see more of that today? >> it looks as if this is primarily a wind, thunderstorm, heavy rain event right now. we do have a number of severe thunderstorm watches, but nebraska especially hit hard, as you reported there, with lots of trees down. we have reports of tornadoes. they will still be investigated by the local national weather service. here are the watches out now,
extending all the way from nebraska and into central sections of illinois. but here are the severe storm reports, all the way from montana and into illinois with the primary report being hail. and we had grapefruit-sized hail reported in some areas. so, this morning, if you are traveling, both on the ground and in the air, some of the airports could be affected, maybe chicago, kansas city, st. louis with low visibility and very high winds. some of the winds were gusting around 100 miles an hour. kansas city, a number of people there lost power. and today the threat shifts to the ohio river valley and the northern great plains. christine, john, back to you. >> stay safe out there. thank you, karen maginnis. we're continuing to cover breaking news this morning, new video released showing bowe bergdahl's handover, these moments after five years in taliban captivity. also, a dramatic primary day that could cost a veteran senator his job. details on both of those stories next. bulldog: [yawning] it's finally morning!
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all right, we're following breaking news this morning. this. this dramatic new video showing the moments when bowe bergdahl was set free by the taliban, handed over to u.s. forces in a black hawk helicopter with a handshake, a quick handshake. and it's the first time we've seen his face in months. at least 18 militants on the hills nearby watching the whole thing. it went through peacefully. the pentagon saying this morning it has no reason to doubt the video's authenticity, john. >> we're going to have more breaking news coverage of bowe bergdahl's video-taped release from the taliban and more right after the break.
sergeant bowe bergdahl. as we said, this was released by the taliban. this was the prisoner swap, the beginning of it. we're going to break down this new video, the mysterious details of how bergdahl was captured in the first place, and the growing backlash over how president obama handled this controversial deal. we have live, team coverage on this developing story, beginning right now. good morning, everyone. welcome to "early start." i'm john berman. >> i'm christine romans. it's wednesday, june 4th. it's 5:00 a.m. in the east. and really dramatic, new video to begin with for you, posted to the internet by the taliban. bowe bergdahl handed off to u.s. special forces to begin his trip back home. this is part of a prisoner exchange. that sent five taliban fighters back to the middle east. you can see him sitting in the truck. they came