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Possible Good News for 10-Year-Old Needing Lung Transplant; Video of Boston Bombing Suspects Working Out Before Attack; Student Loan Rate to Double; Helping Wounded Wildlife; American Woman Dies Fighting with Syrian Rebels; Rocking for Boston

Aired May 31, 2013 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": OK, have an update. This could possibly be positive news for this 10-year-old Sarah Murnahan who is in desperate need of a new set of lungs.

We were just talking to Congressman Meehan about this because he has been helping, along with senators from the state of Pennsylvania, trying to get this little girl a set of lungs. She has weeks to live.

So we now have -- I'm looking at a letter that we have received from the Department of Health and Human Services. You know, it's Kathleen Sebelius who's the secretary.

So she's been in touch with this doctor from basically the group who can help -- I don't want to say change the rules, I don't want to say make an exception, but help. Let me put it that way.

And so it looks like in a letter to this doctor with this organ procurement and transportation network they have asked to initiate the process to review the lung allocation policy as soon as possible.

So bottom line, they're looking at it, they're reviewing it and perhaps, perhaps, perhaps this little girl's life can be saved. We promise we'll stay on it. Sarah Murnahan, we're thinking about you.

Now to this, some chilling video first seen on CNN showing the two Boston bombers together days before their act of terror.

On Friday, three days before the bombings on marathon Monday, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, they were working out with a friend at a Boston gym. This is surveillance video taken from security cameras in that gym.

And Deborah Feyerick can talk to us a little bit more, Deborah, what are we seeing in the videos, other than them skipping rope?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, and it is. It's simple. That's what they're doing. They're training. They're jumping rope. You can see Tamerlan Tsarnaev who is sort of, you know, doing moves, sort of punching the air there.

What it really shows, especially with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, you really get the impression of a very intense individual. He remains focused through the entire training session. He jumps rope effortlessly because he was a Golden Gloves boxer, has a lot of training under his belt.

One of the big things about the want-to-be jihadis, they're really into fitness. They train. They're in good physical shape. Other terrorists who have taken part in other plots this is part of their regime. This is what they do.

The younger brother, Dzhokhar, he's a little less serious about this. He seems -- you know, he jumps rope, he was a wrestler, but certainly not with the same kind of skill.

It's really just sort of seeing these two men who are at this gym. They're relaxed. They're calm. At one point they look to be joking. It's what they were doing three days before they were carrying out this attack and, you know, this alleged -- before they allegedly carried out this attack. Remember Dzhokhar is going to face charges.

So it just really goes to their demeanor more than anything else.

BALDWIN: What about this, Deborah, because you talked to the manager of the gym, what else did he tell you about these brothers?

FEYERICK: What he said is he really did not like Tamerlan. He said Tamerlan was opinionated, narcissistic, always had to have it his way. Talk about things like religion and Tamerlan never seemed to have any need or use for anybody else's opinion.

But he called him really arrogant. He just wasn't a nice guy, is what the manager told us.

As a matter of fact, on this day, you see Tamerlan sort of arguing with the man who is off camera. That's the manager.

And the manager said, you know, take your shoes off. He said, no, I'm not going to do it, and the manager wanted to get him kicked out.

BALDWIN: Days before, days before all those people went to that finish line.

Deborah Feyerick, thank you so much.

A woman from Michigan killed in Syria. CNN spoke with her family. They say they saw warning signs, even contacted the FBI years ago.

Coming up, you will see the actions that triggered their alarm.


TRIANA JONES, DAUGHTER OF AMERICAN SLAIN IN SYRIA: I didn't believe it was my mom the first time I saw them. And then I had to look again.



FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Seven million college students could soon be paying more for their loans unless Congress acts.

From the CNNMoney Newsroom in New York, I'm Felicia Taylor, and this is "Your Money."

Interest rates on government subsidized student loans are set to double on July 1st. President Obama welcomed a group of college students to the White House today, and encouraged congress to act to keep rates low.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Americans now owe more on our student loans than we do on our credit cards. I know this firsthand. Michelle and I, we did not finish paying off our student loans until about nine years ago.


TAYLOR: The House recently passed a bill that would prevent the July increase. But it would link student interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note, which means they would vary from year to year.

President Obama and Senate Democrats want a fixed rate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the House plan is a nonstarter. The Senate will vote on its own plan next week.

Student debt is the second biggest debt Americans carry, second only to a mortgage. Students owe a total of almost $1 trillion on their student loans. If rates double, an average monthly payment would go from $155 a month to $206.

We have been down this road before. Last year, Congress agreed to a last-minute one-year extension of lower rates. Now 7 million Americans are hoping for a repeat performance out of Washington.

That's it for me. Watch "Your Money" with Christine Romans tomorrow at 9:30. Brooke's back after this break.


BALDWIN: We have a CNN exclusive. This is the grief-stricken family of Nicole Mansfield.

If you don't know who that is, take a look. This is Nicole Mansfield in happier times. This is Nicole with her daughter, who you will hear from in just a moment. And this is Nicole Mansfield as well. This is her Michigan driver's license as shown on Syrian TV.

In an exclusive interview, Nicole Mansfield's grieving father tells CNN he had asked the U.S. government to revoke her passport, which might have prevented this. Nicole Mansfield apparently has died in the Syrian civil war, and according to the Syrian government, she was fighting on the side of a rebel group linked to al Qaeda.

And you saw the pictures of the car, the bullet riddled car in which Mansfield and two other westerners reportedly died at the hands of the Syrian armed forces.

In this exclusive CNN interview, Mansfield's father says he went to the FBI, he had feared his daughter was heading for some kind of trouble after converting to Islam.


GREGORY MANSFIELD, FATHER OF WOMAN SLAIN IN SYRIA: Just knowing in my heart that something was not right.

You know, they need not let her go on like she was, you know?

They needed -- and, obviously, my feelings and my intuition was right because this has gone on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was it, though, specifically, three years ago that concerned you?

MANSFIELD: That she, because of stuff that was being said, that Easter, about Israel ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you be more specific?

MANSFIELD: Well, I -- you know, it was three years ago. All I know is I went to the FBI about my concerns, and I know that they did follow up because they were following her for a while.

They needed to revoke her passport and then this wouldn't be going on. We wouldn't be sitting here right now.

JONES: I didn't believe it was my mom the first time I saw them. And then I had to look again and I looked at her body, her feet, her hands, and her nose and her mouth and I just knew. I knew it was her.

And it makes me mad that they're all over the Internet and the media. Like, they can take that down. And they don't need to -- I shouldn't have to see my mother's body like that, all over the media, and the Internet.

There are people calling her a terrorist. There are people calling her a CIA agent and she was neither.

She was just an American woman who was misguided by people who had bad intentions, good intentions, but were extreme about it.

CAROLE MANSFIELD, GRANDMOTHER OF AMERICAN SLAIN IN SYRIA: She wanted people to know who she was, she sure got it. That's all I can tell you.

Loved her. Loved her dearly. Dearly.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say to her? What do you say to her right now?

C. MANSFIELD: Your grandfather's going to be mad at you, very mad at you. He was a true American.

But I'll never stop loving her, in spirit, always.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't control ...


BALDWIN: Hard to watch.

Jake Tapper, clearly this family is just absolutely broken over the loss of this woman.

I know you're talking about this on "THE LEAD," and we have to get this in, though, that Syria is claiming that this woman was somehow in league with this rebel group called al Nusra, which has links to al Qaeda, and without accepting that claim at face value, I want you to tell me, why is al Nusra important?

JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": It is important for a number of reasons. One of them is that people who are looking to arm the Syrian opposition constantly have to face questions about the role of al Nusra.

Al Nusra just recently the U.N. Security Council said that al Nusra was an alias of al Qaeda in Iraq. It is being considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department since December.

The goal is to achieve an Islamic state in Syria. The leader is a man named Abu Muhamad al-Julani. There are a lot of concerns and individuals who want to support the people of Syria have about the role of this Islamist organization.

BALDWIN: So many questions, you know, part of the video we didn't show was, you know, the family says she had some sort of healthcare background. Perhaps she just went to try to help.

The thing is, we don't know. There are still so many gaps in the story, so many blanks that need filling in.

But we'll look for your reporting on "The Lead." Jake tapper, I appreciate it. We'll see you at the top of the hour.

TAPPER: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: And rockers, they came from all over the country to celebrate "Boston Strong."

From Aerosmith to New Kids on the Block to James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett, Dropkick Murphys, it goes on.

A star-studded helping raise money for Boston's One Fund and the show, let me tell you, I was there last night. It brought down the house.


BALDWIN: When a shopping mall is built in your town, most likely the developer knocked down a wooded area, and that destroys wildlife habitat and oftentimes injures animals.

And that is when this week's CNN Hero comes to the rescue.


MONA RUTGER, CNN HERO: In this fast-paced world, we do forget that we are animals, and part of the natural world.

This is a beautiful, female bald eagle.

Humans, we are wildlife's worst enemy in many, many ways.

She had been clipped by a small jet. We don't want her to live in a cage. We want her to get back out there in the wild.

I'm Mona Rutger. I rescue, rehabilitate and release injured wildlife back into their natural habitat.

I think we can get her fixed up and back out there.

When I started this center, I thought it was going to get 25, 30 animals a year. Once people found out, the phone never stopped ringing.

This Cooper's hawk is ready to go.

It is all-consuming, but I'm doing something I love.

One ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALES AND FEMALES: ... two, three, be free!

RUTGER: With an injured animal, everyone says, let nature take its course, but 90 percent of these animals' injuries, they're human- related. That's not nature. It is us.

We need to become more responsible caretakers of the earth. Each animal has a role to play in the food chain. If just one link breaks, the whole chain falls apart.

This is a big day for these little baby ducks.

We've successfully released thousands of animals back to the wild. It's the same thrill every single time.


We're counting on the children to do a better job than we have in the past.

Where do wild animals really belong?


RUTGER: In the wild.

I desperately want them to feel the excitement that I find in nature. We can make a difference.


BALDWIN: We'd love it if you visited because you can nominate someone just like you just saw who is making a difference and deserves to be recognized.


BALDWIN: Love that "Dirty Water." Bostonians, I know you feel me.

Star-studded bands and artists, take a look at my little souvenir, fresh off a plane this morning, the "Boston Strong" show.

So these bands and artists -- here you go -- thank you -- all with ties to Boston performed for free last night and helped raise money for the survivors of the marathon bombings.

Actually many of those survivors were sitting front row in the TD Garden last night. A lot of them got up on stage and the proceeds, estimated to be more than $1 million, will be added to the nearly $38 million already raised by the One Fund in Boston.

And so I was there last night for the show. We were covering it and it was, in two words, "wicked awesome."


BALDWIN: It's the quintessential Boston song, originally by The Standells, normally reserved for wins at Fenway, Foxboro, and the TD Garden.

But Thursday night a whole new level of victory taking center stage.

Ten star-studded bands and artists, all with ties to Boston, sharing the stage and helping raise money for Boston's One Fund, the likes of Aerosmith, New Kids on the Block, Jimmy Buffet, and James Taylor.

JAMES TAYLOR, SINGER: You know, we'll sing "Sweet Baby James" because it's got that line ...

BALDWIN: Stockbridge to Boston.

After the bombs went off on Boylston Street, Boston-born James Taylor got a call from an old pal to help.

Taylor didn't hesitate. He knows his music helps heal. TAYLOR: Yeah, I don't know. You know, a lot of my songs were written to make me feel better, sort of, as -- and sometimes that resonates with other people, too, you know, so you write a piece of music or a song that sort of has the purpose of seeing you through a tough time or putting something out there that you feel internally.

BALDWIN: And the 15,000 fans, "Boston Strong."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're celebrating the city and the pride of the city and hopefully making something good out of a bad event. So we're here to celebrate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just something that means a lot to us. We want to be part of it and support it. I wouldn't not be here.

BALDWIN: "Dirty Water," ending the whole show with "Dirty Water," it's a special Boston song.

JIMMY BUFFETT, SINGER: It is. You know, I forgot about it until there was -- it seemed like the perfect song to play.

BALDWIN: Jimmy Buffett, an Alabama native who fell in love with New England many years ago back when he was still playing gigs as an opening act, before the concert, he and his good friend James Taylor met with bombing survivor Jeff Bowman back stage.

BALDWIN: What's your message to Boston?

BUFFETT: Well, you know, I'm going to quote my old friend, James Taylor, because we were talking to Jeff, one of the victims of the bombing, and he's a guitar player.

And we were talking about it was interesting to see the statue of Paul Revere that is very much revered in the city with a kind of an image of an Les Paul electric guitar in there.

And I said, well, maybe they should just keep that in Paul's hand. They did a poster. But wouldn't that be nice if Paul had one from here on out in his hand?

And then James said and somebody said, well, what do you think it should be? I said, don't let the bastards get us down.

BALDWIN: Don't mess with Boston. This city is something wicked special.


BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks so much for being with me. Have wonderful weekends.

"THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.