Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

U.S. Debt Ceiling Looms Large over G7 Summit; Interview with E.U.'s Ursula van der Leyen on Ukraine; Ukrainians Recount Horror of Russian Attacks; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Arrives at G7. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 20, 2023 - 03:00   ET




LAILA HARRAK, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from the United States and all around the world. I'm Laila Harrak.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy arrives in Hiroshima for an in-person meeting with G7 leaders as the U.S. plans to announce more military aid to the country worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

On again, off again, as talks to extend the United States debt ceiling start and stop. The hope of a deal happening this weekend becomes dimmer.

And Syrian president Bashar al Assad welcomed at the Arab League summit after a 12-year suspension. I'll talk to an expert on how he's being received.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Laila Harrak.

HARRAK: Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy touched down in Hiroshima, Japan, just moments ago to take part in the G7 summit. It's the latest stop on his whirlwind diplomatic tour to boost support ahead of his country's expected counteroffensive against Russian forces.

CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak joins me now live from Hiroshima, Japan.

Well, arguably the guest of honor has touched down.

What kind of reception will he get?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we did see him land here around 3:30 local time. He was carried in that French government plane. We saw him step from the aircraft, wearing that trademark drab green

T-shirt, descend the stairs and now he is in a motorcade of cars, heading here into the Hiroshima city center, where he will meet with G7 leaders tomorrow.

Of course, he is bolstered as he enters these talks by this decision from President Biden, to allow the transport of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. That, of course, had been something that President Zelenskyy has been asking for, for quite a long time. He called it a historic decision ahead of these talks.

So he is really entering quite an important moment in the war in Ukraine. Now President Zelenskyy just tweeted a few moments ago, saying that he was here for important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine and that peace will become closer today.

Of course, you cannot separate his arrival here in Hiroshima without the backdrop of what this city means and the significance that it lends to his warnings about Russian escalation. Of course this is the city that was leveled by an American atomic bomb in 1945.

And so certainly he is eager to harness the symbolism of this moment.

The Japanese government said earlier today that President Zelenskyy and the prime minister, Fumio Kishida, had spoken and that Zelenskyy expressed a strong desire to come to this meeting face to face, in person, to talk to these leaders and talk about the importance of maintaining unity in Ukraine.

But it's not just the G7 itself who are here in Hiroshima. There are several other leaders who were invited to participate in the summit, including from India, Brazil, other nations, who have not been as forthright as the members of the G7 in condemning the Russian aggression.

And I think it will be hard for them to maintain that stance potentially as they hear from Zelenskyy himself, see him face to face. That will be quite an important moment.

You know, it really is so interesting; it was only less than 10 years ago that Russia was a member of then the G8. Of course, it was removed after it invaded Crimea. Now less than 10 years later, it will be President Zelenskyy, who is sitting around that table, really quite a historic moment, historic time here in Japan, Laila.

HARRAK: A turning point indeed. President Biden also at the G7 summit obviously. A very pressing matter is facing the president, the crisis at home, with the debt ceiling debate still unresolved.

LIPTAK: Yes, and the president did speak about that a little earlier today. He was actually a little more optimistic in his remarks than what you've been hearing from aides on both sides of these negotiations.

The talks on Capitol Hill were paused momentarily. They resumed briefly. They broke up without any agreement and it's not clear when those negotiations will begin again.

But the president said that this is essentially how he expected things to go. He said that the two sides talk, they break up; they talk, they break up. He did express confidence and optimism that they would come up with an agreement eventually.


LIPTAK: This has been something that is shadowing these G7 talks here in Hiroshima. For all the talk of Ukraine and China, the threat of American default really is the most pressing threat to global stability at this very moment.

It has come up in the president's meetings with fellow leaders. They want to know what he's doing about the situation. Of course, he did have to cut his trip early to go back to the United States, to deal with these negotiations. He'll leave on Sunday. But certainly, a matter that remains unresolved at this hour in Japan -- Laila.

HARRAK: Kevin Liptak reporting from Hiroshima, Japan. Kevin, thanks a lot.

Earlier I spoke with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Here's what she had to say about the war in Ukraine.


HARRAK: We're now well over a year into Russia's war in Ukraine.

How do you see the E.U.'s role right now?

And do you see a path to peace?

URSULA VAN DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: The European Union is a strong supporter of Ukraine's fight for independence and the restoring of its territory, integrity and the serenity because it is the just cause they are fighting for.

Therefore, we support them financially, up to 68 billion euros so far, of course with military abilities but also we support them to hold, for example, Russia accountable by sanctions. We have issued now 10 sanctions packages.

But you are also asking for, where does this lead to?

We are working very hard together with Ukraine for a just peace. This is our goal. And, therefore, we are supporting the peace formula of President Zelenskyy. I think this is an excellent starting point to work toward a just peace that Ukraine really deserves.

That means that Russia has stopped -- has to stop its illegal aggression and that Russia has to withdraw its troops so that the territorial integrity of Ukraine is restored.

HARRAK: Now at the G7 where you are, new sanctions have been unveiled. Up to now, the sanctions imposed on Russia have not had the effect of halting Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

How big of a problem is it, Russia's sanctions invasion infrastructure?

And should Europe now completely ban exports to Russia?

VON DER LEYEN: So first of all, the 10 packages of sanctions have a huge impact on the Russian economy. We see that we have, for example, cut 120 billion euros of trade between the European Union and Russia. This is extraordinary.

And most importantly, we have cut completely Russia's access to technologies. And we see already degradation of the military base, the military industrial base. We see effects on the economy. We see the shrinking revenues that Russia has from its fossil fuels.

For example, the oil price cap has a strong effect. And what we also see is, of course, that there is -- if you have sanctions, there are always some who try to do a sanctions circumvention or evasion. And therefore we now issue the 11th package of sanctions that focuses on circumventions.

So we are discussing how to target companies, entities, where we see literally that they buy goods in the European Union and, by a third country, bring them to Russia. But we also target the transit via Russia that might contribute to circumvention of sanctions.

So there's a whole package that looks at these evasion, this sanction evasion, and this is a package we're going to issue in a few days.

HARRAK: Madam president, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to join you momentarily in person at the G7 meeting in Japan, where you are. And it's expected that he will ask for more support against Russia. And there seems to be a real urgency right now behind his request.

How will you answer his call?

What will you tell him when you meet with him moments from now?

VON DER LEYEN: It is very good news that President Zelenskyy is coming personally here to Hiroshima. Indeed, we're going to discuss how we can strengthen the support for Ukraine.

The friends and supporters of Ukraine have enormously stepped up their support if you compare to one year ago, the last G7 meeting in person. But indeed more has to be done and this will be discussed here.

I think it's also very important that President Zelenskyy meets the partners that are invited to this G7; for example, India and Indonesia, because, with some of them --


VAN DER LEYEN: -- he has not been in touch in person since the beginning of the war. And as I know him, he's going to make a very persuasive case for

Ukraine and for restoring peace in Ukraine. And indeed, the path toward peace will also be a big topic here in Hiroshima.

HARRAK: European Commission president Ursula van der Leyen, Madam President, thank you so much for joining us. We know you have a very tight schedule, so we appreciate you coming on.

VON DER LEYEN: Thank you very much.


HARRAK: Ukrainian officials have reported several explosions in the Russian occupied city of Mariupol. An adviser to the mayor says the blast on Friday hit a base that Russian forces use to install air defense systems.

The city council added that, if the information is confirmed, the occupiers, quote, " have suffered significant losses." CNN's Nada Bashir joins us now with more.

What have you been able to learn about events in the Russian occupied city of Mariupol?

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The last time we saw an attack of this scale on Mariupol, it was used as an example of Ukraine's reach on the battlefield. Now as you mentioned, Ukraine is hailing this as succeeding in establishing several significant losses in Mariupol when it comes to the Russian armed forces.

The adviser to the mayor of Mariupol there saying they believe 150 Russian fighters were stationed at this base, which was used to install air defense systems. That is, of course, according to Ukrainian authorities. We are still waiting for further details on this attack and, of course, for reaction and official reaction from Moscow on this.

Of course, Mariupol is a key base for Moscow. We understand, of course, earlier in this month, that Russia had looked to mobilize further Russian troops in the city. So this is a significant development, a key concern for Moscow.

This comes as we continue to see fierce fighting in the east as well as in the country's capital over the last few days and, indeed, overnight in Kyiv. We saw an air attack by the Russian armed forces.

The Ukrainian authorities now, just in the last hour, giving updates on the situation in the capital, saying that the Ukrainian armed forces were able to target and destroy the Russian drone attacks on the city. They say that there has been debris, though, however, in the city, calling for residents to remain in shelter until it is safe to leave.

According to the Ukrainian authorities, some residential buildings have now sustained damage as a result of these air defense systems or shot down the drones over Kyiv, including one residential building, which did, in fact, catch fire, although that fire is said to have now been extinguished with no casualties reported.

Of course we are continuing to see that fierce fighting across the east as well as in Bakhmut, where that is intensifying.

HARRAK: Nada Bashir reporting for you. Thank you so much.

Ukrainian civilians around Bakhmut say Russian attacks have utterly devastated their homes and upended their lives. Many have lost their loved ones and are struggling to cope with the trauma of war. CNN's Nic Robertson has their story.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Twenty miles from the Bakhmut front line, a house erased from this tiny village. Its fate sealed by a random Russian rocket three days ago. Luckily, no one in it at the time.

Next door, Olena (ph) and Serhei (ph) salvaging what they can, also luckily not at home. They had evacuated hundreds of miles away to Kyiv last year but even there they don't feel safe.

The bombers there too, Serhei says, the night before coming here we didn't sleep. Six missiles were shot down over us.

Both want to come back to the village but flinch at the bang.

Both say yes. Olena adding I just hope they're not coming here.

But all too often, Russian munitions do. This house on the edge of the village hit three weeks ago.

Everything scorched and scattered in the ferocity of the explosion.

And over here, a piece of the drone that blew up the house. Iranian made, fired by the Russians, a Shahed. Look at all that.

Olena (ph), a 52-year-old nurse. Alisa (ph), a 16-year-old school girl both terribly burned. Mother and daughter died days later in hospital.

Nataliya (ph), a close relative, escape through a window.

I am left alone. I buried everybody, she says.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Her last memories of her in-laws cannot be unseen.

I heard a thunderous explosion and a firestorm. They were running out, windows were shattering, glass flying. Their feet were sticking to the floor, because the floor was on fire. They could not save them, she says.

What she could save were the pets. The cats come running out, as she takes us back to the house. You can see the whiskers on the cat there, they're all burnt. She is struggling with survivor's guilt.

I spoke to my relatives before I buried her daughter and before she died, Nataliya says.

She was at the hospital. She told me, it's not your fault, it's just random. I'm just happy she forgave me and her son forgave me and my soul is calm.

She loved to go someplace safer but promised her relatives she look after the pets. More days, risking Russia's ugly roulette -- Nic Robertson, CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


HARRAK: Northern Italy is under warning for more heavy rainfall on Saturday, adding more misery to the already flooded region, where more than a dozen people have been killed. A live report from Rome after the break.





HARRAK: More now on our top story. Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived just a short while ago in Hiroshima for the G7 summit.


HARRAK (voice-over): And these are the first pictures of the Ukrainian president there after he arrived on a French government plane.

Mr. Zelenskyy has tweeted that he will hold important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine, saying peace will become closer today. His arrival at the G7 comes as we're getting reports that the U.S. plans to announce more military aid to the country potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.


HARRAK: The death toll has risen to 14 from what experts call once-in- a-century floods in northern Italy. And the northwest region is under warning for more heavy rainfall on Saturday.

According to researchers, the intense flooding is a sign of the accelerating climate crisis with rising temperatures intensifying years of severe drought in the region. Up to 20,000 people have been forced to evacuate because of the rising waters. Let's get more now for you from CNN's Barbie Nadeau, standing by in Rome.

What's the latest on Italy's deadly floods? BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is really devastating in the area and it's raining again right now. You know, they've had 500 roads washed out, which makes it very, very difficult to get supplies in. We're hearing of shortages of water and food in some of the outlying areas, not just for the people but for the livestock.

This is a very important agricultural area. We've got on Tuesday an emergency meeting. Giorgia Meloni will be coming back and holding this emergency meeting, which should release some funds to help the people.

But right now the situation is still one of search and rescue. They're still trying to get people into safe areas, into evacuation centers, out of harm's way. The rivers are cresting. The rain is falling. The situation remains very, very difficult, Laila.

HARRAK: Very difficult indeed. Barbie Nadeau reporting, thank you.

Still to come, communication breakdown: U.S. President Joe Biden says he isn't concerned over a pause in debt talks with House Republicans. We've got the latest on the standoff next.

Plus, Arab leaders give a warm welcome to Syrian president Bashar al Assad and his return to the bloc. Coming up, his first comments to the group after a 12-year suspension for leading a war against his own people.





HARRAK: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States, Canada and all around the world. I'm Laila Harrak and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. President Joe Biden says he isn't concerned at all over a breakdown in talks with House Republicans over raising the debt ceiling. Speaking from the G7 summit in Japan, Mr. Biden said the talks were progressing as expected. Meanwhile, the White House repeatedly struck a positive tone following Friday's latest round of talks on Capitol Hill.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has been there before, right?

He has dealt with these types of negotiations, these types of conversations before. He knows how this all works. This is not new to him and this is why he is optimistic and this is why these conversations are going to continue and he's going to stay on top of them.


HARRAK: President Biden's national security adviser says the debt talks have been a subject of interest among fellow leaders at the G7 summit. CNN's Phil Mattingly reports from Hiroshima.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The second full day of President Biden's high-stakes appearance on the world stage clouded by one reality.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We've got to get movement by the White House. And we don't have any movement yet.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): As he wakes up 7,000 miles away from Washington, Biden is no closer to resolving the looming crisis he left behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until people are willing to have reasonable conversations about how you can actually move forward and do the right thing then we are not going to sit here and talk to ourselves. So that's what's going on.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): House Republicans hitting pause on negotiations with the White House over a fiscal deal that would address the debt limit less than two weeks before the U.S. is set to default for the first time in its history, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the global economy.

Biden leaving a working dinner of G7 leaders here in Hiroshima on Thursday night to be briefed on the talks, his second briefing of the day on negotiations that are in desperate need of a breakthrough.

A White House official telling CNN, quote, "There are real differences between the parties" but that "the president's team is working hard toward a reasonable bipartisan solution."

Biden's domestic political challenge coming at the same moment --


MATTINGLY: -- U.S. officials are pressing to maintain and accelerate the steadfast support for Ukraine. G7 leaders putting the conflict front and center in the first day of their summit in Japan, launching new sanctions and export curbs, designed to squeeze Russia's ability to wage war.

At the same time, Biden marking his own dramatic shift, delivering a message to his counterparts that the U.S. will support a joint effort with allies to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter jets, including F-16s.

Those fighter jets have been a top Ukrainian priority, as Russia's invasion of the country grinds toward its 15th month. And the war sits at an inflection point, with allies rapidly moving to provide new defense capabilities, as Ukrainian forces prepare for a counteroffensive.

Those efforts set to receive a dramatic boost by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy's last-minute decision to travel to the G7 leaders' summit this weekend.

It's Zelenskyy's latest visit to rally support after securing commitments for additional aid in European capitals last week before a stop in Saudi Arabia, where he addressed the Arab League summit.

MATTINGLY: And President Zelenskyy is expected to participate on Sunday in meetings with G7 leaders. Today, throughout the course of Saturday, President Biden is expected to be meeting on issues like climate, issues like infrastructure.

But a central focus or an overarching focus on the issue of China. It's something that President Biden speaks about often. It is a critical component of the great power competition ongoing between the U.S. and its allies trying to navigate that dynamic.

The president to have a bilateral meeting with the Australian prime minister, with the group of Quad leaders as well. If that sounds familiar, it was supposed to happen in Sydney, Australia. Again, part of the trip that was canceled because of what's happening back in Washington -- Phil Mattingly, CNN, Hiroshima.



HARRAK: While Western allies continue to ratchet up sanctions aimed at isolating Russia, one NATO member, Turkiye, has been pursuing closer ties with the Kremlin.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Becky Anderson, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended what he called "a positive relationship" with Moscow and said he feels no obligation to impose sanctions.

Erdogan's comments come ahead of a crucial presidential runoff on May 28th that could shape the region for decades. Here's some of what he had to say.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Up until last Sunday, you had comfortably won every election that you have competed in. That is a remarkable record over 20 years. Now your leadership is challenged and you are competing in a first ever presidential runoff in Turkish history.

How confident are you, sir?

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): The current competitor has challenged us 15 times and he was defeated. This is a new experience for Turkish democracy.

I believe my people will turn out for a strong democracy in next Sunday's elections because the turnout in the last around was around 90 percent. Very significant. It's unprecedented on a global scale. And I hope our people will not let us down.


HARRAK: Syrian president Bashar al Assad received a warm welcome at the Arab League summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday. Arab leaders brought Syria back into the fold earlier this month after a 12-year suspension from the bloc.

Syria remains heavily sanctioned and Mr. Assad remains a global pariah for his role in the Syrian civil war.

During his speech, he accused the West of dividing the world and called for an end to foreign interference in Arab countries.


BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Arab League summit is an historic opportunity to address the regional issues without foreign interference, which requires us to reposition in the world that is forming today in order for us to play an active role in it.

As we take advantage of the positive atmosphere following the reconciliations that precede the summit until today.


HARRAK: The Syrian president also met with the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, where they discussed improving relations between their countries.


HARRAK: Rime Allaf is a Syrian born writer and political analyst who sits on the advisory council of the Middle East institute.

A very good day to you. Let me get your reaction.

What went through your mind when you saw Assad embraced, welcomed at the Arab League?

RIME ALLAF, SYRIA PROGRAM ADVISORY COUNCIL, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE: I can't say that anybody was surprised. We all saw this coming.

I mean there's been this gradual disengagement from the West, from the U.S. in particular, about what's happening in Syria and a gradual, you know, shifting of moods in the Arab world, which was started mostly by the United Arab Emirates.


ALLAF: Saudi Arabia was the last one and we knew that the minute that the Saudis would say, yes, let's do it, it was going to be a done deal. I think most of us are pretty numb by now. We saw this coming. I personally see this not only as a victory for

Bashar al Assad but really as a victory for the entire authoritarian nature of the Arab world.

And, you know, putting everything that the -- the young people in particular in the Arab world have gone through for the last 12 years and saying, we are not going to talk anymore about the Arab Spring. It's not going to happen again and making everybody face the new reality that we have today.

HARRAK: Face the new reality.

How is this looked at in Syria itself, do we know?

ALLAF: Well, we do know because a lot of people have been discussing this. Syrians in Assad-controlled areas have been resigned to their fate for a long time. And they're very tired. Everything is blamed on sanctions. And certainly sanctions do have some effect on the population.

But overall, I think they -- I consider them hostages for the most part. They have no say in what happens. Syrians are divided. We have roughly half of the population that has become displaced. A lot of them are refugees, over 6 million of them.

And they are terrified right now because they realize that this rekindling of relations that begins with the Arab League means that the West will now not notice anymore when sanctions are breached, for example.

And they know that slowly this means that refugees will be pushed back to a country that's not theirs anymore, to circumstances that are very difficult. So for Syrians, on whatever side they may be, these are uncertain times.

I think Syrians in Assad-controlled regions will be more relieved right now and, you know, they also deserve a break. That's for sure. That doesn't mean that any improvements are going to be made. That doesn't mean that the Arab world is interested in reconstruction. That goes without saying.

But this is pulling their weight once more in the region and proving themselves as leaders who can also turn affairs.

HARRAK: This session of the Arab League was quite something. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addressed Arab leaders, asking for their political support, telling them, please do not look away from what is happening in Ukraine.

And there was Russia's closest regional ally, Bashar al Assad, listening to the Ukrainian leader, watching the scene play out.

What was your read?

ALLAF: You know, we were quite surprised to see President Zelenskyy address the Arab League. I think it was -- for us, it was good to point, not just for the Arabs but for people watching from across the world, that there is a lot of double standards in the world.

And these Arab leaders, I believe under the leadership of Mohammed bin Salman, want to show they are regional and international players in their own right, not just as allies of different countries. And we've seen a very certain shift to the East.

That doesn't mean that we don't have relations anymore with the West. I mean, Saudi Arabia alone has invested in half of Silicon Valley, as you know. But I think that they want to say that, you know, we make our own decisions.

Mohammed bin Salman has been very open about his ties with Putin. China is a huge investor now financially and, increasingly, I believe, politically.

And that's why they wanted to show not that they sympathize with Ukraine but that they are players and that Zelenskyy should also ask them for help, as he has done in Europe and around the world.


ALLAF: -- very quickly, Sisi from Egypt and other regional leaders are much more aligned with Russia politically right now than they are with the U.S. So interesting days ahead.

HARRAK: Very interesting regional dynamics that are playing out. This is actually a very difficult question that I'm going to ask you, especially in light of the scale of the atrocities that have been committed in Syria.

I mean half a million people have died; thousands forcibly disappeared; millions displaced. Even chemical weapons have been used against the Syrian people.

Was it worth it?

ALLAF: I think any quest in the history of humanity for freedom, for dignity, you know, when we look back on this, maybe people will say it was worth it. It's very difficult to say, especially as someone with Syrian heritage. So much was lost.

It's always worth it to fight for your rights, I believe, in the long run. But it makes better sense when somebody helps you. And I think Syrians today don't think of it in the terms of was it worth it --


ALLAF: -- but why were we abandoned to this fate?

HARRAK: Rime Allaf, thank you so much.

ALLAF: Thank you.


HARRAK: Still ahead, a judge says a U.S. airman put countless people at risk when he allegedly leaked classified documents. We have more details on the suspect's court hearing up next.




A federal judge has ruled the U.S. airman accused of leaking classified documents will be detained while he awaits trial. The suspect, Jack Teixeira, appeared in court Friday.


HARRAK: In his ruling, the judge said the 21-year-old showed a lack of integrity.

Teixeira was arrested in April and charged under the Espionage Act for allegedly removing a trove of classified military documents and posting them on social media. The judge said Teixeira's alleged actions put countless people in the U.S. and abroad at risk.

The suspect's family said they were disappointed with the outcome of the hearing. Teixeira has not yet entered a formal plea.

And there's a new twist in the re-election campaign of embattled U.S. Congress man George Santos. In a filing with the Federal Election Commission late Friday, Santos named himself as the treasurer of his campaign committee.

While this is not illegal, it's rare for candidates to do that. The latest move comes more than a week after federal prosecutors unveiled a 13-count criminal indictment against Santos, including charges of wire fraud and lying about his personal finances. The New York Republican Congress man has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A father of four is among the two bodies recovered after a fire at a North Carolina construction site. The family of Demonte Sherrill says they watched him plead for help on Facebook Live before he died in Thursday's five-alarm fire.

Crews tried to follow the calls of two trapped construction workers but were unable to find them because of the limited visibility from the flames and smoke. Officials have not identified the second body recovered but the construction contractor says another worker died in the fire.

Sherrill's family remembered him as a hard worker, a loving father and a family man.

Still ahead, the Boston Celtics might need the luck of the Irish to advance in the NBA playoffs. The Eastern Conference finals are heading to Miami, right as Jimmy Butler and the Heat are fired up.






HARRAK: Jim Brown, one of the most memorable and powerful players in NFL history, has died. Brown played nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns in an era when the Super Bowl did not yet exist in 1971.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of the game's greatest running backs, racking up more than 12,000 yards in his career. He quit football in the mid-1960s to pursue acting and would then appear in some 50 films.

He also became a prominent figure in the civil rights movement and is remembered for his charity work with underprivileged youth. Brown was 87.

I'm Laila Harrak. Paula Newton picks up our coverage after a quick break. Do stay with us. I'll see you tomorrow.