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President Biden Optimistic of Debt Ceiling Negotiations; Turkey Elections Heading to Runoff; More Additional Support for Ukraine from European Allies; Ceasefire in Gaza Ends Five Days of Intense Fighting; Deadly Storm Hits Bangladesh and Myanmar; Mocha Batters Myanmar's Rakhine State With Winds And Rain; Voters Deliver Powerful Rebuke Of Kingdom's Military Elite; NBA Star Ja Morant Suspended Over Video Of Him With Firearm. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 15, 2023 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead on "CNN Newsroom," a consequential week in the United States. President Biden expected to meet with Capitol Hill leaders trying to calm nerves and avoid default as the debt ceiling deadline looms.

Pivotal elections in Turkey, it appears the country's presidential race is headed for a runoff. We're live in Ankara with the latest details. Plus, the U.S. border crisis, you will meet a Venezuelan mother separated from her family after crossing into Texas and hear her agonizing quest to find them.

And thanks for joining us. It is a new week in Washington, which means we are another day closer to the U.S. defaulting on trillions of dollars of debt. Talks between the White House and Congress have caused tempers to flare, but now sources tell CNN the temperature could be just right for bargaining. U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have been mostly at odds during the process.

The president is set to meet with congressional leaders on Tuesday to discuss the discussion or continue the discussion, I should say, and he thinks a deal is within reach.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I remain optimistic because I'm a congenital optimist, but I really think there's a desire on their part as well as ours to reach agreement. I think we'll be able to do it.


CHURCH: Ron Brownstein is CNN senior political analyst and a senior editor with "The Atlantic." Great to have you with us. RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi Rosemary.

CHURCH: So, probably the most pressing issue for this country right now is the looming debt ceiling crisis. How likely is it do you think that republicans and democrats can find a compromised solution to this problem before June 1st when the U.S. could default on its debt and plunge this country and indeed the world into economic chaos?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, this is historically been one of those issues where predictions work backwards, you know, where people assume that default is so catastrophic that it became unthinkable. So, the question wasn't whether, it was how. And even in 2011, the last time we had a confrontation of this magnitude, there was a widespread assumption the political system that somehow, some way, Barack Obama, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Joe Biden would find a way to get it done.

I think there is less confidence today. The markets I think still believe that in the end, political leadership on both sides of the aisle will not drive the U.S., and potentially the global economy, off a cliff in a completely, you know, self-forced error. But compared to 2011, the Republican caucus in the House that is driving this confrontation is further to the right, the majority is smaller, and the speaker is even weaker.

And when you take all of those together, you see the possibility that we could indeed be running through this plate glass window in a way that people never thought was possible before.

CHURCH: Yeah. And that is a nightmare scenario, indeed. So, I want to take a look now at the GOP race for the presidential nomination. We are seeing a major escalation and tension now between former President Donald Trump and his biggest rival, Ron DeSantis, who has criticized Trump over the weekend in Iowa.

Now, we are hearing that the Florida governor's political staff will move into a new base of operation in the coming hours, which signals an official run may very well be imminent. When do you expect DeSantis will make that call and how will Trump likely react to it?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, the pre-primary period, the pre-announcement period for DeSantis has a been as bad as it's been for any candidate, I think, since maybe Teddy Kennedy in 1980 when he challenged Jimmy Carter, the sitting president, and had a disastrous interview on "60 Minutes" where he couldn't answer why he was running.

DeSantis was seen as kind of the great hope in the party among those who wanted to move past Trump.


But he has had a very rough time in moving from a very insular environment that he's created in Florida where he really doesn't talk to the mainstream media at all, to one in which he has kind of edged out onto the national stage. And of course, the answer he gave on Ukraine calling it a territorial dispute really was a turning point. Trump has gone after him from left and right in different times and also in his kind of uniquely personal style.

DeSantis may be at a low end, right? I mean, there is -- still Donald Trump is the dominant figure in the Republican Party, but there is still a piece of the party that does not believe he should be the nominee in '24 especially again after watching him this week on that a CNN or last week on that CNN town hall.

I just do not think that he can get elected. None of the other 24 candidates really used this kind of stumbling period for DeSantis to generate any momentum of their own. So, I suspect that he will get another look and I suspect that given everything that he experienced over the last few weeks, he's going to feel the pressure to announce sooner than later.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, Trump had to cancel that Saturday night rally in Des Moines, Iowa due to tornado warnings, while DeSantis was not deterred and made a surprise visit there. But that doesn't change the fact the recent primary polls show Trump leading DeSantis by nearly 20 percentage points in that critical primary state.


CHURCH: What chance does DeSantis have in Iowa starting so far behind do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, Iowa is a place where you can make up ground, right? I mean, it's small. They're probably only going to be about 120,000, maybe 140,000 -- and he's is already more than 125,000 people voting on the Republican side in the caucuses there. So, it's a contained universe. You can obviously pummel it with television. You can meet a surprising number of voters. So, Iowa does give you a chance to get off the mat.

I mean, the challenge is, if you can think about who doesn't like Trump in the Republican Party? It's heavily tilted towards voters with a college degree who find his cultural grievance and his belligerent persona excessive. DeSantis's problem is that he based his whole candidacy really so far on being Trump-ism without Trump, and by signing a six-week abortion ban, by being so absolutist on the permit- less carry a gun, and by having this sustained war with Disney in Florida is where (inaudible) goes to die and all of that.

It's not clear that he is really much more acceptable to those college educated Republicans who are more economic conservative voters than Trumpist. He should be more acceptable in the end, but the way he has chosen to run, trying to squeeze around Trump to his right, I think in many ways alienates his natural constituency in the primaries.

CHURCH: It's going to be a fascinating primary to watch for sure. Ron Brownstein, many thanks for joining us.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: Turkey's hotly contested presidential election is likely headed to a runoff. State run news is reporting preliminary results that show President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leading with 49.36 percent of the vote from this weekend. Opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu has 45 percent. Nearly all returns have been counted. While results are not official, neither candidate seems to have reached the 50 percent threshold required to win the presidency outright. But both expressed confidence as they addressed their supporters early Monday.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translation): If the decision of our nation shows that the elections have been completed, then there is no problem.

KEMAL KILICDAROGLU, TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translation): If our nation decides on the runoff, with our pleasure. We will definitely win this election in the second round. Everyone will see it.


CHURCH: Ragip Soylu is the Turkey bureau chief with the Middle East Eye and he joins us now live from Ankara. Welcome. Appreciate you being with us.


CHURCH: So, preliminary results suggest this presidential race is headed for a runoff. Do you expect Erdogan to cling on to power or could we see an end to his two decades in power do you think?

SOYLU: I mean, you know, if you look at the third candidate which is Sinan Ogan, the Turkish nationalist who got 5 percent of the vote, it is very likely that Erdogan can win the second round really easily because when you make the calculations and the vote that's Sinan Ogan got, he basically stole votes from Erdogan.

And in the runoff, the voters will say no, we have a choice. They are going to either vote for Erdogan or Kilicdaroglu. They are more likely to vote for Erdogan because Kilicdaroglu is in direct alliance with the Kurdish nationalist at the Turkish parliament.


And you know, the Turkish nationalists both want to basically vote for a candidate that is in indirect alliance with the Kurdish nationals. That's the main reason that they are likely to vote for Erdogan instead of Kilicdaroglu in the second round.

CHURCH: How surprised are you that this election was not more decisive and is poised to go for a runoff and why should the rest of the world care about the outcome?

SOYLU: It is extremely surprising that after 20 years in power, a cost-of-living crisis, the refugee crisis, an earthquake that Erdogan managed to edge 50 percent, is extremely surprising. An opposition, after all the campaign period and the hype and the momentum failed to pass 45 percent. It is really important for the role in the sense that democratically elected presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in time started to impose somewhat autocratic rules still in power and the opposition that is basically ushering more democracy based on, you know, alliance building, is basically failing to take him down.

CHURCH: And Elon Mu0sk has been slammed for censoring content on his social media platform, Twitter, ahead of these pivotal elections in Turkey. Critics suggest Musk's actions worked against free speech and silenced critics of Erdogan. What do you say to that and what impact did this likely have on the outcome?

SOYLU: I think the criticisms levied against Musk, you know, they are not really fair because the Turkish government basically threatened Twitter -- they just basically gave (inaudible) a choice. First, you are either going to comply with the requests and, you know, just remove this account, or you're just going to block access to twitter. Twitter absolutely essential news source for the general public in Turkey.

And in a (inaudible) contested election, if the Turkish government cut access to Twitter, it would be disastrous. There will be questions of the ballot you have at the election. And that the number of accounts that Elon Musk censored, even, you know, it's unfortunate, is really low. The Turkish opposition have millions of accounts on Turkish social media, and so really lively, you know, arena, and it's really important for the Turkish general discourse, we should have it.

CHURCH: All right, Ragip Soylu, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy is winning pledges of more support from key European allies as Ukraine's military prepares for a widely expected counteroffensive against Russia.


President Zelenskyy held a working dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Sunday. In a joint statement, France promised to send more armored vehicles and light tanks to Ukraine this year. Mr. Zelenskyy also traveled to Germany, which has announced $3 billion worth of military aid for Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany is committed to helping Kyiv for as long as it takes.

And for more on this story, I'm joined now by Clare Sebastian live from London. Good morning to you, Clare. So, President Zelenskyy is visiting Europe in an effort to shore up military support now and of course in the future, and he wants the war to end this year. He has specified a timeline. What more are you learning about all of this?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Rosemary, I can actually tell you that he has confirmed that today via his social media channels, that he will be visiting the U.K. and visiting London. He said the United Kingdom is a leader when it comes to expanding our capabilities on the ground and in the sky, and at this tweet and telegram post, there's clear reference to the Storm Shadow missiles that the U.K. has now provided as of last week to Ukraine. He said he'll be meeting with his friend, Rishi Sunak, the prime

minister. They'll be holding some stand-up talks one-on-one, he said, and in delegations. So that following on from an extremely busy weekend that saw him in Rome, meeting with the Pope at the Vatican, Paris, Germany, all of those countries in one weekend, securing significant additional weapons pledges, particularly from Germany, that $3 billion package including an extra 30 Leopard tanks.

Very significant because Germany has of course wavered on this issue in the past. It's very thorny politically and historically for them. So, this is a sign that Germany is now standing behind this policy. It's also about optics. Don't forget, with less than two months for a very important NATO summit, the Italian leader affirming that they would be standing behind any Ukrainian bid to join the alliance.

So, Zelenskyy as always, with him, a master of the optics, the optics of him standing with all of these European leaders, Ukraine taking its place in the European block, as it were.


But he was also in Germany in particular, at pain to point out what he has done since the beginning of this conflict, that this is about much more than just Ukraine. Take a listen.


VOLODOMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translation): Our territorial integrity and security, as well as the territorial integrity and security of all European nations must be guaranteed. Now, is the time for us to determine the end of this war this year. This year, we can make the aggressor's defeat irreversible.


SEBASTIAN: Irreversible I think is a key word because it was one of the fears, is that there will be some kind of negotiated cease-fire and this conflict will end up being frozen, which is something that Ukraine obviously wants to guard against. There were also, because everyone looking for clues in his comments as to the stage of an upcoming or expected or even perhaps underway, counteroffensive. Zelenskyy simply saying that he believes that the first important steps will be taken soon. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right, many thanks to our Clare Sebastian joining us live from London.

And still to come, life is slowly returning to normal in Gaza as a cease-fire eases five days of violence. But can this peace be a lasting one? We will head to Jerusalem for an update.



CHURCH: Life in Gaza appears to be returning to normal as a fragile truce between Israel and the Islamic jihad group is holding for now. It comes after five days of intense fighting killed more than 30 Palestinians and one Israeli. Israel says Islamic jihad launched nearly 1,500 rockets towards them last week. It was the third conflict in as many years between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

But the latest truce fails to address the underlying issues that have led to several rounds of fighting between the two sides over the years. For more, let's go to CNN's Hadas Gold. She joins us live from Jerusalem. Good morning to you, Hadas. So, what is the latest on this peace effort?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORESPONDENT: Yeah. What's been interesting is about this latest round is that it was longer than previous rounds we have seen. You know, in August it was about two and a half days or so between Islamic jihad and the Israeli military. But the intensity was a bit lower. There was an expectation that a cease-fire was going to be reached much sooner, but that's not what happened.

As you noted, more than 30 Palestinians were killed in Gaza. The Israeli military saying that least 22 of them, they called them combatants, while actually two people were killed in rocket attacks towards Israel, but one of them actually happen to be a Palestinian from Gaza who happen to be in Israel working at the time of that rocket attack.

But when you talk to military officials, here they say that, you know, it was a strategic success. They believe they took out the top-level commanders of Islamic jihad. They struck more than 400 Islamic jihad targets. They say more than 1,000 rockers were fired towards Israel, but 95 percent of them were intercepted either by the Iron Dome or by actually a new missile defense system, David's Sling, that for the first time was actually successful in intercepting missiles. They had tried it once before in 2018. It was unsuccessful.

So, strategically on the military front, they do believe that it was a successful military operation for them. But even military officials who you talk to admit this doesn't change life on the ground either in Gaza or in Israel. You know, Islamic jihad still exists and especially Hamas, the militant group that runs Gaza where nothing happens there without their approval, they are still there. They are still in power and in a sense, they almost got to play both sides here because Hamas was expressing a lot of support for Islamic jihad, saying that they were part of this resistance.

But they didn't actually, according to Israeli military officials, they didn't actually get involved in terms of, you know, launching rockets towards Israel and they didn't have any of their commanders or really many of their targets focused on by Israel. So, they kind of come out of this, also helping to negotiate the cease-fire.

And so, they come out of this potentially with even in a way the upper hand because they got to be supportive of an armed resistance, but didn't have to really suffer any of the consequences. So, in a way, this is just another round, this sort of this endless cycle where nothing really has changed for people on either side. Now, Islamic jihad, of course, was dealt a heavy blow, lots of their

commanders were gone but essentially, they are kind of like the minor league, they are the B team of the militant groups. And Israel, when you talk to officials, they are still very concerned about Hamas getting involved in something that (inaudible) involved in something that doesn't really change much for people in Gaza or in Israel, and there is still very much the possibility that something like this could happen once again.

Now, there has been a bit of a change politically. Before this took place, Itamar Ben-Gvir, National Security Minister, he is in charge of a right-wing party here in Israel. They were boycotting votes in the parliament even though they are part of Benjamin Netanyahu's government, because they believe that the Israeli military was not responding strongly enough to the more than 100 rockets that were fired by Islamic jihad before this latest round took place.

But the moment this operation started, they came back into the government, came back in supporting the government. Also, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his poll numbers are back up. Before this operation, they were sliding. There was even talks that former defense minister, Benny Gantz, was having better poll numbers than he was.

Now, he is doing better, not as good as he was before, but his poll numbers are now back up. So, politically, it's had a benefit to the Israeli government. Now, they are cohesive once again, this coalition is back together once again, and Benjamin Netanyahu's poll numbers are back up.

Now, of course, things can change here very quickly and all eyes are on later this week on Thursday. It's what's called the dance or the march of the flags. This is when Israelis celebrate when Israel took control of both east and west Jerusalem in 1967 war. It's become a sort of a major event especially for the right-wing of Israel where you see thousands of Israelis marching through the old city of Jerusalem.


It's become a bit controversial in the past because they often go through the Muslim era parts of east Jerusalem and there's a lot of concerns that there could still be potential violence, or potentially even rockets from Gaza during this event on Thursday.

So, a lot of concerns, although there is a cease-fire right now and it does appear to be holding, that that could change by the end of this week. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right, Hadas Gold, joining us live from Jerusalem. Many thanks.

Well, people are cleaning up and assessing the damage in Southeast Asia after Tropical Cyclone Mocha battered Myanmar and Bangladesh with heavy rain and damaging winds. We'll have details for you after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Here in the United States, driving was dangerous if not impossible in St. Louis after up to six inches of rain fell on the city. The fire department responded to at least 15 calls from drivers who were trapped in their flooded cars. So far, there are no reports of any injuries.

I want to go to Asia now. The remnants of what was Tropical Cyclone Mocha have moved on to Southwestern China with little more than rain. But not before leaving a trail of destruction in parts of Myanmar and Bangladesh. The storm made landfall early Sunday along the coast of northwest Myanmar.

Winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour blew the roofs off buildings, uprooted trees, and knocked down power lines in Myanmar's Rakhine State.


Heavy rainfall and strong winds hit the Cox's Bazar area in Bangladesh, but no fatalities had been reported in refugee camps there.

So, joining us now from Bangladesh is Johannes van der Klaauw. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representative in Bangladesh. Thank you, sir, for talking with us at this difficult time.


CHURCH: And now we know that tropical cyclone Mocha is hitting me and Maura and Bangladesh where it was at least with the strong winds and heavy rain and there was concern for the one million Rohingya refugees sheltering in Bangladeshi camps there. What more are you learning about those camps and how everyone is recovering after the onslaught?

VAN DER KLAAUW: Thank you. We were indeed very, very concerned that if the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar would have been in the eye of the storm, that the damage would be devastating, that there will be losses of life, et cetera. But fortunately, the camps themselves are not really in the eye of the storm. Unfortunately, that is happening in Myanmar, Rakhine State, as you mentioned. But still, of course, the camps have been affected.

As you mentioned, fortunately, we have not seen casualties, but we do see a lot of damage to the shelters, to the community buildings, to roads, to bridges. Many, many trees has fallen, topple and a few of -- you see we are still assessing today. The damage the extent and the severity. Because no matter what storm there is, even if in the end, it was not the cyclone as we feared, there's still a lot of damage.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed.

VAN DER KLAAUW: I think we have -- (CROSSTALK)

CHURCH: Sorry. I just wanted to ask you.

VAN DER KLAAUW: We have been preventing --


CHURCH: So, what emergency plans are in place to handle the possible threat of flooding and landslides in this part of Bangladesh? Is there a concern about that?

VAN DER KLAAUW: Definitely, because, you know, a storm will also -- is also accompanied by heavy rains. And that causes flooding. And that causes landslides, as you mentioned. And we have prepared to refugees, those who lived in lower areas, which are prone to flooding and landslides, to move them higher up in the campsite but also to move them into more protective buildings within the parameters of the camps.

So, the most vulnerable people we managed to relocate to safer places in the camp site. But we have teams in place, which immediately address the results of landslides and flooding, by -- as I said, moving people further away, but also already starting to stabilize slopes, if you will to do that anyhow and also analyzing the floods. So, all this is work which we are very well equipped to do. And they do this. And this is another point I would like to stress this the refugees themselves.

We have thousands of volunteers who have been trained in not only preparing a community for an incoming disaster, today, it was a cyclone a few months ago (INAUDIBLE) to be -- the people -- the people on the alert and to move away. But also, when in this case, the storm hits, you immediately know how they can start rebuilding, reconstructing. So, all these preparedness messages have been paste -- had been put in place and now they show the value.

CHURCH: So, what are various aid agencies doing to ensure that these refugees receive the support that they need in the aftermath of this devastating weather that would have destroyed parts, if not, all of the camp that serves these one million refugees or so?

VAN DER KLAAUW: Yes. So, we have here a very well-coordinated humanitarian response put in place for a long time together with the local authorities. And as I say to refugees themselves. So, we have it all sector by sector arranged how much food is needed, how much toppling the shelter, a package, medical support, we have ambulances ready. We have distributed tablets for purifying water so that refugees can continue having access to clean drinking water, (INAUDIBLE) to be rebuilt, et cetera.

So, it's a well-rounded, well-coordinated response system, which we do together with these authorities and that's again (INAUDIBLE)

CHURCH: Johannes van der Klaauw, thank you so much for talking with us. Appreciate it. Well, still to come. A surge in young voters demanding change in Thailand. Why this election could deal a blow to the military's influence. Back with that and more in just a moment.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Sunday's general election in Thailand saw the highest turnout in the country's history. The Election Commission says more than 75 percent of voters participated. And they made it clear they want change. With nearly all votes counted, opposition parties have swept the board.

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me now from Seoul with more on this. So, good to see you, Paula. So, voters have delivered a powerful rebuke of Myanmar's military elite. But the big question, of course, will the military respect that result?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a big question. Rosemary. And we simply don't have the answer to that. They have insinuated that they will respect the vote. But certainly, we will have to wait and see. Most experts assuming that a military coup this time around is far less likely than it has been in the past when there's a party in power that is not favored by the military itself.

So, this party that -- the unofficial vote shows has the most votes is move forward. It is a progressive party with policies basically have a deep structural reform of the country. So, restructuring the economy, the military, making sure that the military is kept out of politics, and also wants to boot a topic. The issue of monarchy reform, this was once an untouchable issue, which has now become one of the main policies of this move forward party.

Now, analysts say it is quite remarkable what this party stands for.


THITINAN PONGSUDHIRAK, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, CHULALONGKORN UNIVERSITY: Move forward as welfare policies but move forward is mostly a new frontier, is no longer about populism. So actually, they have tapped into a lot of sentiments that have been feeling I think that Thailand needs to change. And that change has to do with the reform of the military, the monarchy. Getting rid of the draft, amending the Article 112 Lese-Majeste. That's what move forward proposals and people chose them just.



HANCOCKS: Now, Pita Limjaroenrat, this is the leader of this party who is expected to be put forward for prime minister role by his party. It is important from the progressive point of view that they have a coalition. This is where the horse trading starts. The deal making. We have already heard from him at a press conference and he has said that he has welcomed the second-best performing party per tie, which in the past has always been winning elections since 2001.

And has asked that party to form a coalition, saying they already have five other parties that will be within their coalition as well. And this is key because over recent years when the military-backed parties have been in charge, they have changed the Constitution. They have stacked the deck if you like in favor of military-backed parties. So, what it means is there are 500 M.P.s who will vote for a candidate for prime minister.

But there are also an additional 250 Senate members, and each one of those has been elected by a military-backed party. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Paula Hancocks on Thailand's elections joining us live from Seoul with that. Appreciate it. And thank you for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. For our international viewers, World Sport is up next and for our viewers here in the United States and in Canada, I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM after a short break. Do stick around.



CHURCH: Welcome back to our viewers here in North America. I'm Rosemary Church. Well, it's been more than three days since the expiration of Title 42. The pandemic era policy that slowed the number of migrants allowed into the United States. With Thursday's expiration, many border communities were bracing for a surge of migrants. But that hasn't happened yet. Homeland Security officials say there were about 4200 encounters on Saturday.

That is a big drop from Friday. And it's less than half of the 10,000 encounters seen at the southern border in the final days of Title 42. U.S. President Joe Biden offered his take on the situation at the border on Sunday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you think things are going at the border, sir --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- with Title 42 lifted?

THE PRESIDENT: Much better than -- much better than you all expected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any plans to visit the border?

BIDEN: No. I think -- pardon me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any plans to visit the border?

BIDEN: Not in the near term, no. No, it would just be disruptive, not anything else.


CHURCH: With the end of Title 42, much of the focus is on the numbers. But for the migrants at the heart of this crisis, the focus is on family. And that's what drives them to make the grueling and dangerous journey. And for those who enter the U.S., the agonizing wait is only beginning. CNN's Rosa Flores introduces us to a Venezuelan mother desperately hoping to find her family.


DIOCELINA QUERALES, MIGRANT FROM VENEZUELA (text): How is it possible that they are sending back a mother with children? They shouldn't do that. I would have preferred that they send me back and not my daughter with the baby.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Diocelina Querales is one of the thousands of migrants who crossed the border into Brownsville, Texas shortly before the COVID era border restriction policy Title 42 expired.

QUERALES (text): People are crossing like crazy because whoever doesn't cross is going to be stuck there. So, people went crazy crossing, crossing and for nothing, because they are sending people back.

CARLOS NAVARRO, PASTOR, IGLESIA BAUTISTA WEST BROWNSVILLE (text): Guys, we are going to do one thing right now, I would like the ladies to be first to go, and if we have children too, please. The ladies, please, rows of three guys. Rows of three. One, two, three. One, two, three.

FLORES: Some residents of Brownsville are helping like Pastor Carlos Navarro whose church Iglesia Bautista West Brownsville provides food, supplies and shelter to migrants passing through.

NAVARRO: You see this number of people here, this has never been seen before. And what we're trying to do just to give them alleviate something with them, give them food, some cloth and all that. But this number they used to here, we haven't seen it before.

I have to be emphatic because I'm a migrant myself. I came from Guatemala 41 years ago. So, I see myself in them. And I understand, you know, how to take care of a little bottle of water. Not taking a shower for two, three days, four days. No shoes, no underwear. So, I was there. I was in the other side.

People from Venezuela, those are the most -- the larger group is coming

QUERALES (text): If we're crossing this way, it's because we're not in a good way there. There, in Venezuela things are bad. There is no work.

FLORES: Diocelina left Venezuela with 10 of her family members. She said she cross the Rio Grande clinging to an inflatable mattress while other relatives swim beside her before the family was separated at the border.

QUERALES (text): We came all in a group, as a family. And they sent my daughter back. They sent my daughter and the baby back and I am worried about this.

FLORES: Now her family is split up. Her daughter and grandson were sent back to Mexico. While Diocelina, her mother and brother waiting the U.S. hoping to reunite with her daughter-in-law and other grandchildren.

QUERALES (text): I am in so much distress worrying. Starting at 4:00 a.m. I am there waiting, looking, looking at the buses to see they've arrived or they haven't.

FLORES: Without any other way of reaching them, Diocelina must wait for buses filled with migrants who were detained by Customs and Border Protection desperately hoping to be reunited with her family.


QUERALES (text): I looked and the girls are not in there. I looked like this, and they did not come. It's all men. Horrible, horrible, you want to explode, to cry but I have faith. Because I think there are still buses coming. Oh, here comes one. I get excited every time I see a bus. If the buses keep coming, I will stay here. I can't leave until they get here. I have to wait for them. I have to wait, to wait.

Let's have faith, we have to have faith. They are going to come.

FLORES: Nearly a week after she reached the United States, Diocelina received news that her daughter-in-law and grandchildren are being processed for release. However, the question of when her family will be reunited still remains unanswered.


CHURCH: Our thanks to Rosa Flores for that report.

Well, even though the border crossings have not been as high as expected, the head of U.S. Homeland Security says it's too soon to tell whether the migrant surge has peaked.

CNN's Arlette Saenz has our report.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden told reporters that things at the border are going better than expected. And he acknowledged that numbers have gone down and when it comes to the number of encounters on the border and said that he hopes they ultimately will continue trending that way. But he also argued there is still much more work to do.

And that includes Congress acting on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Something that we have not seen any tangible of movement towards in recent months. But what you've heard from the administration today is them really defending their policies and also arguing that the policies and plans that they've put in place for months and the warnings that they've been sending out to migrants that that has led to these lower encounters at the border.

Take a listen to what the Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on CNN.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We have communicated very clearly a vitally important message to the individuals who are thinking of arriving at our southern border. There is a lawful, safe and orderly way to arrive in the United States. That is through the pathways that President Biden has expanded in an unprecedented way. And then there's a consequence if one does not use those lawful pathways.


SANEZL Now, Mayorkas also said it's too early to say whether there has been a peak yet in the surge of migrants. But, of course, there are other challenges facing this administration amid the lifting of Title 42 including capacity issues at those CBP facilities.

Arlette Saenz, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: In Buffalo, New York, residents have marked one year since 10 people were killed in a racist attack at a grocery store. The victims were all black. A moment of silence was held Sunday at a memorial for the victims, followed by church bills in remembrance of those lost.



CHURCH: President Biden also addressed the anniversary in a USA Today op-ed writing that the plague of gun violence only appears to be getting worse and once again called on Congress to pass urgent gun reform.

Police in Arizona are investigating a fatal shooting that left two people dead and five wounded, including teenagers. It happened Saturday night at a gathering in a residential area in Yuma. Officers found several gunshot victims who were all male. Their ages range from 15 to 20 years old. A suspect has not yet been taken into custody.

Well, as the new week begins, it's another day on the picket line for Hollywood's writers. A strike by the Writers Guild of America is now entering its third week. And it's casting a shadow over the annual television up fronts. That is the time of year when major media companies make their best presentations to advertisers. But some companies including Netflix are turning down the bright lights and going all in online.

CNN's Chloe Melas reports.


CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: The upfronts like you said, this is the moment where networks they come and they put on a dazzling display with their biggest stars to showcase their upcoming slate of shows and projects in an effort to, you know, get advertisers on board and usually you see -- you see big names like Jimmy Kimmel and others at their respective networks up front and you're not going to see that.

And like you just said Netflix, they're going virtual and a lot of these really big glitzy events that were going to happen this week in Manhattan where I am are not going to be happening anymore.



CHURCH: Taylor Swift is showing why fans love this antihero during Saturday's concert in Pennsylvania. She interrupted her own performance of bad blood to defend a person in the crowd.


CHURCH: It's unclear what prompted Swift's reaction there, no comment from the stadium or the popstar. Swift has been on her latest tour since March.

The NBA is reviewing the suspension of Memphis Grizzlies star player Ja Morant. The 23-year-old was suspended by the Grizzlies after another video surfaced in which he appears to be displaying a gun. The video was streamed on Instagram and shows Morant flashing the weapon while in a car. CNN has reached out to Morant's representative, the Grizzlies and the NBA for comment.

Morant just received or just recently served an eight-game suspension for a separate social media incident involving him holding a gun at a bar.

In the NBA Playoffs. A record setting performance by Celtic star Jason Tatum has helped Boston reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year. Facing the 76ers on Sunday. Tatum scored 51 points, breaking the game seven scoring record set just two weeks ago by Golden states Steph Curry. And Boston crushed Philadelphia 112-88. The Celtics will now face the Miami Heat in a rematch of last year's conference finals.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM after a short break. Do stay with us.