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CNN International: DeSantis Campaign: $8.2 Million Raised in First 24 Hours; Biden Has Wide Lead Over Democratic Primary Challengers; Brian Laundrie's Mom Wrote a "Burn After Reading" Note; Asiana Jet Lands Safely After Door Opened During Flight; Farmer Arrested After Rampage Kills 4 in Japan. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 26, 2023 - 04:30   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us let me bring up date with the top stories this hour.

The White House and Congressional Republicans appear to be moving closer to a deal to avoid a default on U.S. governor debt. The potential compromise would reportedly raise the debt ceiling but cap federal spending levels for two years. Veterans and defense spending would be spared.

Plus, "The Washington Post" is reporting that Donald Trump staff was moving boxes around Mar-a-Lago last year, just a day before the FBI came to look for classified documents. CNN will have more on these top stories at the top of the next hour.

NOBILO: After a glitchy online campaign launch, the newest candidate in the Republican race for the White House is reportedly racked in more than $8 million the first 24 hours of his campaign. And now Ron DeSantis is sharpening his attacks on the Republican front runner, CNN's reporter Steve Contorno explains.


STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: A day after technical glitches marred the campaign launch of Governor Ron DeSantis's presidential ambitions, he returned to the more friendly confines of conservative media.

In more than a dozen interviews, DeSantis directly went after President Trump in a way he really has never done so before. In those interviews, he presented a stark contrast between himself and the way he has governed in Florida and Trump's four years in office. He suggested that Trump was ineffective, that he ran the deficit up, that he risked the lives and livelihoods of people with his COVID policies.

And he said that if he were elected president, he would be a far more ruthless user of government power in the White House. DeSantis also in one of those appearances, challenged Donald Trump to actually show up to the presidential debates. This is what he said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you plan on participating in all the debates? And would you have a word of counsel for any candidates that were maybe equivocating on whether or not to participate in all the debates?

RON DESANTIS, U.S. Republican PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I think we should debate. I think the people want to hear it. You know, I grew up blue collar, worked minimum wage jobs and learned nobody's entitled to anything in this world, Trey. You've got to earn it. And I think all of us have to go out and earn it. That's exactly what I intend to do. And I think the debates are a big part of the process.

CONTORNO: Next week, Governor DeSantis will return to the campaign trail with stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, where he will attempt to win over some of those Republican voters who will decide who will represent the party in 2024.

Steve Contorno, CNN, Miami.


NOBILO: DeSantis is in a very tricky position. A CNN poll that was conducted, shows that he is a popular second choice among first preference Trump voters in the Republican primary. So, by attacking Trump, he does risk alienating the MAGA base, who obviously see Trump is a victim of political prosecution.

FOSTER: But if he doesn't attack Trump, Trump will be attacking him and he may seem weak for not responding. It's difficult to know to what level does he take on Trump. But does he -- I mean, it could be a strategy, couldn't it, to just ignore him?

NOBILO: It could, but then you risk Trump not being attacked enough to dent his popularity to make DeSantis a viable candidate. I think there's also the risk because we know that Donald Trump is comfortable being a political attacker. And DeSantis has shown himself to not shy away from a fight either -- for example with Disney. So, if they both attack each other so bitterly, does that decrease both of their chances of being a viable candidate in the wider general election?

FOSTER: And things do happen in the primaries that you don't expect. So, it's early to judge it, isn't it?

President Biden has a wide advantage over his Democratic primary challenges, CNN survey 432 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who are registered to vote. 60 percent say Joe Biden is their first choice to be the Democratic nominee for president.

NOBILO: Controversial activist and lawyer, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is pulling a notable 20 percent. Author Marianne Williamson has 8 percent. The margin of error is at least six points.

FOSTER: Kennedy was once best known for his environmental activism and of course his family name. But he has gained attention lately for spreading COVID misinformation and anti-vaccine conspiracy theories as well.

NOBILO: A dramatic move by Republican controlled committees against a fellow Republican on Thursday.

FOSTER: The Texas House of Representatives committee voted unanimously to recommend the impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. There's been investigating allegations that Paxton abused his office to benefit a multimillionaire who was a major donor to Paxton's campaign. Paxton has denied the allegations. No word yet on when the full state house will consider the impeachment recommendation. The Texas legislation session is set to end on Monday.

A letter Brian Laundrie's mother supposedly wrote to his son is now at the center of a civil case in Florida.


You may remember the story, Brian Laundrie returned from a cross- country road trip without his fiancee Gabby Petito in the fall of 2021.

NOBILO: Her remains were later found in Wyoming. And now we're learning Laundrie's mother wrote him a note marked "burn after reading." CNN's Jean Casarez has the details.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we all know, the letter references burying a body, bringing a shovel, and burning a body, baking a cake, and putting a shiv in it.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gabby Petito's family and Brian Laundrie's family battle it out in a Florida courtroom over a letter written by Roberta Laundrie to her son. Investigators found the undated letter in Brian's backpack, close to his remains when they were discovered on October 20th, 2021 at Florida's Carlton Reserve.

You are my boy. Nothing can make me stop loving you. Nothing will or could ever divide us no matter what we do or where we go or what we say. We will always love each other. If you're in jail, I will bake a cake with a file in it. If you need to dispose of a body, I will show up with a shovel and garbage bags.

The Petito's say the letter is evidence the Laundries already knew Gabby was dead when Brian returned home alone in the fall of 2021. The Laundries say the letter was written well before Gabby went missing.

MATTHEW LUKA, LAUNDRIE FAMILY ATTORNEY: She wrote the letter because she and Brian were experiencing a difficult period in their relationship and he was about to leave home. He was about to go on this long trip with Gabby. And she was hoping to repair their relationship before he left.

CASAREZ (voice-over): The Petito say the Laundries should be found liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, because the Laundries refused to talk with them or give them any answers. The Laundries argue they had no duty to respond to them.

Weeks after Gabby was reported missing following a highly publicized nationwide search, the 22-year-old's remains were found in Wyoming. A coroner ruled her cause of death to be strangulation and the manner of death, homicide.

Brian disappeared during the search for Gabby. His body was discovered soon after hers. A notebook found near his remains revealed he claimed responsibility for Gabby's death, according to the FBI. A medical examiner ruled he died by suicide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only permits discovery regarding matters that are relevant.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Laundrie's family attorney argued the letter should not be interpreted literally pointing to other parts of the letter.

If you fly to the moon, I will be watching the skies for your reentry. If you say you hate my guts, I'll get new guts.

In her affidavit, Roberta Laundrie referenced two children's books that she says the letter was based on. The Petito family attorney rejected that premise.

PATRICK REILLY, PETITO FAMILY ATTORNEY: Because there's nothing about bearing a body or bringing a shovel or putting something in a cake if somebody goes to prison. Although Mama Bear did say she would bake little bear a cake on his birthday.

CASAREZ (voice-over): And written on the front of the envelope, "burn after reading".

Jeanne Casarez, CNN, New York.


NOBILO: Outrage is growing in Mississippi after a police officer shot 11 year old Aderrien Murry in the chest after the boy called 9-1-1 for help.


CARLOS MOOR, ATTORNEY FOR MURRY FAMILY: Time is up. We give you 48 hours to do the right thing. An 11 year old Black boy in the city of Indianola came within an inch of losing his life. He has done nothing wrong and everything right.


Aderrien had phoned police on his mother's request after she felt threatened by a man in their home with whom she had another child. The responding officer ordered people to exit the house.

FOSTER: That's when Aderrien's mother said her son was shot. Aderrien is recovering from his wounds. Now the officer is now on paid leave as an investigation continues.

An American tourist has reportedly lost her leg in a shark attack in the Caribbean. According to police, it happened on Wednesday when the 22-year-old Connecticut woman and a friend were snorkeling at a sort in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Police say the woman is in hospital in serious condition.

NOBILO: And excursion company in the area says the Caribbean reef shark probably attacked the woman in what is known in diving circles as a case of mistaken identity. Here's what one expert told us.


ANDY CASAGRANDE, DISCOVERY CHANNEL SHARK WEEK EXPERT: In my opinion, in this situation, based on what I've read and what I've heard, you know, they're swimming in clearwater. They're offshore, there was a reference that it could potentially be a Caribbean reef shark. But what I'm hearing about the loss of limb, it could have been a tiger shark, a bull shark, I would put my money on either of those two species. You know, at the end of the day, they are predators, we are protein so it is a risk you take.



FOSTER: Experts also say shark attacks are rare but advised that hitting a shark on the nose can temporarily stop an attack. Also screaming I heard as well.

NOBILO: Did you? I actually didn't know if that nose thing was true, I have heard that before. Well, now you're prepared.

A Japanese farmer is now in police custody for allegedly killing four people in a violent rampage rarely seen in Japan. A live report from Tokyo is coming up for you.

FOSTER: And strong gushes of wind are not what you want to feel when you are on a commercial flight, not like that anyway. Why that plane door was open in what happened next.


FOSTER: Police in central Japan say they have arrested a local farmer after four people, including two police officers were killed in a brutal rampage on Thursday.

NOBILO: Guns are extremely difficult to get in Japan, making violent attacks like this one extremely rare. Police are now investigating how the man obtained the weapon at what might have triggered the attacks.

To discuss, CNN's Marc Stewart joins us now from Tokyo. Marc, what can you tell us about a possible motive and obviously an attack like this is very rare. What's the reaction been from people in the country?

I think we have got communication issues with Marc. We'll see if we can get him back up.

This is a very good point though about the fact that it's so unusual in Japan. For example, in 2018, in the U.S., they're about 40,000 gun relate deaths annually. Whereas in Japan there are only nine. So that just underscores how difficult it is to obtain a weapon and how shocking this must be for the country.

FOSTER: And the Shinzo Abe case was a real shock, and now they're sort of two similar, you know, incidents happening closer together when it is so rare.

Now, this is a story to terrify you, Bianca, as a nervous flier. Terrifying moments during a commercial flight after door was opened while the plane was hundreds of meters above the ground. And we're now hearing that a passenger has been arrested as well.


Let's speak to Paula Hancocks who's live for us in Seoul. I mean, the video says it's all, and people are wondering how it happened.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Max. And aviation experts are wondering how it could have happened. Now what we know at this point from Asiana is that it is a flight from the South Korean island Jeju to Daegu. It should have just been over 40 minutes this flight. Now it did land safely at 12:45 p.m.

But 2 to 3 minutes before landing the emergency door opened. Now, they're about 700 feet, just over 200 meters above ground at this point. As you say, Daegu police say that they have arrested a man in his 30s. They say that he actually opened the door. And according to police, they say that he has confessed to opening it but it is not telling them why he did it. Now, you can see the vision there of just how the gusts of wind are affecting the passengers within the plane. But I have spoken to an aviation expert who is flabbergasted. He is confused as to how it is even possible, technically, for this to happen.


GEOFFREY THOMAS, AVIATION EXPERT: It seems implausible that the door could be opened in the first place and then against the air stream, technically impossible. But somehow, rather, it has happened. Possibly some malfunction.


HANCOCKS: So, there is investigation obviously ongoing into this, with Asiana also, with Airbus. And we know that at this point, 12 people, 12 of those 200 on board did suffer from hypoventilation, nine of them went to hospital. But we're being told that all nine of those were minor injuries. So, experts say that the fact that it was so close to the ground and about to land, meant that at least everybody had their seatbelt on. So there is not any significant injuries. But obviously, a terrifying incident for those on board. And the question does remain, how is it technically possible for this door to be able to be opened whilst still in the air against the air stream -- Max and Bianca.

FOSTER: It's a big question. Paul, thank you. The trauma that you would suffer from that, even if you are OK.

NOBILO: Yes, this is why I choose to sit in emergency exit aisle, so that I can proportionately subdue somebody that tried to do something like that.

FOSTER: But you shouldn't because someone could open the door.

NOBILO: Now, but I would take them down proportionately.

CNN's Marc Stewart joins us live from Tokyo to discuss the story that we were just speaking about a moment ago. Marc what more can you tell us about the motive in this gun relayed incident and the reaction from the country?

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, there's no question this is an unsettling story for people here in Japan. People had to be evacuated from their homes. Schools were close. We heard one woman talk to a local reporter who said something to the effect of, she was very scared, she couldn't believe this was happening here, especially in central Japan. A part of the country that is seen as peaceful and calm.

But it does lead to a lot of questions about motive. What prompted this. And the investigation is really centering on this 31-year-old man who police say is the son of a local politician. He is a farmer, the father is a farmer, and so as the son. He, according to public broadcaster here in Japan NHK, he did have the proper license to have firearms. But it's still not clear what prompted this alleged rage. It's a question that the local police chief has been confronting. Take a listen to a briefing we heard just a few hours ago.


IWAO KOYAMA, NAGANO PREFECTURE POLICE CHIEF (through translator): This is an extremely heinous incident that causes great anxiety to our society and the citizens of the prefecture. Since it is necessary to undertake an investigation to clarify the full extent of the incident, including the circumstances and motives behind the crime. As of today, in an investigative headquarters for serial murderers involving the use of firearms Nagano city will be launched, with a staff of about 100. And the investigation will proceed with full force.


STEWART: Sub context here, gun violence in Japan is extremely rare. Last year in Japan, there were four deaths related to gun violence in a population of 125 million -- Max and Bianca.

NOBILO: Marc Stewart for us in Tokyo, thank you very much.

FOSTER: Still ahead, the Heat is on for the Boston Celtics. We'll have the highlights on the game five right after the break.



FOSTER: The Boston Celtics seemed to have found new life in their NBA playoff series against the Miami Heat. Jayson Tatum and the Celtics won game five on their home court in Boston Thursday night, 110-97. Derrick White led all scorers with 24 points. Marcus Smart added 23 point to the Celtics the entire game, but Miami saw a leads the series three games to two. The action moves back to Miami for game six on Saturday night.

NOBILO: Now to the NHL where it was do or die for the Dallas Stars against the Vegas Golden Knights and Jason Robertson answered the call. This goal in the first period tied the game at one apiece, but Robertson was not done yet. He scored his second goal near the end of the second period to tie the game again, Joe Pavelski hit the game winner in overtime to give Dallas the win 3 to 2. The Golden Knights lead the series three games to one. And, game five will be in Las Vegas on Saturday.

FOSTER: Look forward to that.

In the spotlight this hour, Virgin Galactic is one small step from taking tourists to the edge of the space for the astronomical price of $450,000.

Billionaire Richard Branson's company successfully tested at supersonic playing on Thursday carrying its crew about 80 kilometers above earth.

NOBILO: Commercial passengers are expected to experience a few minutes of weightlessness, and see earth's curve horizon.

About 90 minutes after takeoff Virgin Galactic tweeted: Touchdown. Our crew and spaceship are back on earth.

FOSTER: More space news?


NOBILO: Yes, something is happening right now in the sky that's rarely seen. In the consolation of the Big Dipper, astronomers are zeroing in on a faint point of light that is actually a supernova in a galaxy far, far away.

FOSTER: An exploding star was only discovered a week ago and it's the largest and brightest in a decade. The virtual telescope project is live streaming images on its website.

NOBILO: I know you'll be doing after the show.


Barbie getting ready to trade her perfect pink and sparkly world for the real world. The trailer for the new movie has just dropped.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the best day ever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is the best day ever, and so was yesterday, and is tomorrow and every day from now until forever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you guys ever think about dying?


The Greta Gerwig directed film features Barbie having an accidental crisis and Ken gets to go along with a ride. The trailer says the movie is for those who love the iconic doll and for those who hate her and everything that she represents. Barbie hits theaters on July 21st.

FOSTER: Sensory overload, look at that.

NOBILO: I know, I'm excite. I'm excite --I am Borrell, as well.

FOSTER: Are you? Did you have one?

NOBILO: Yes, of course I had one. I also had action man. And I had a really cool one that swam in the bath when you flipped a switch on its back.

FOSTER: We shall continue this discussion online if you want to do that. Follow her @twitter -- what's your handle on Twitter?

NOBILO: @Bianca_Nobilo.

FOSTER: Ask her any Barbie questions.

Thanks for joining us here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster.

NOBILO: And I'm Bianca Nobilo. "EARLY START" starts next, right here on CNN. Have a great weekend.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: Right now on "Early Start," debt limit talks creeping closer to a deal, with the default deadline coming up fast.