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Biden, McCarthy Sealed Debt Ceiling Bill; World Leaders Congratulate Turkish President on his Fresh Term; Explosions Reported in Two Russian-occupied Areas in Ukraine; Nigerian President Swears In Today; Mawar Headed Northern Philippines, Eastern Taiwan; Italian Authorities Investigating Grand Canal's Water Color Change to Green. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired May 29, 2023 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAILA HARRAK, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from the United States and all around the world. I'm Laila Harrak.
The debt ceiling deal is done. We'll take a look at the challenges President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy face as they sell it to lawmakers.
Biden, among world leaders, congratulating Recep Tayyip Erdogan on an unprecedented third term as Turkey's president. We'll look at why the good feelings between the two countries may not last long.
And a colorful mystery authorities want to know, why the waters in Venice's Grand Canal turned green?
UNKNOWN(voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Laila Harrak.
HARRAK: We begin in Washington where there is an urgent push to pass a tentative deal that would raise the debt ceiling and avert a government default.
U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy struck that deal and are now trying to build support even as they face pushback. Well, Mr. Biden says the agreement, quote, "takes the threat of catastrophic default off the table," and that critics will find he did not concede much in the negotiations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: They said they'd only do it on condition that it had all these cuts in it. I said, I'm not going to do that. You pass the debt ceiling, period. I'll negotiate with you on the cuts. So something totally different attached than was attached before. So if you want to try to make it look like I made some compromise on the debt ceiling, I didn't. I made a compromise on the budget. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRAK: Well, McCarthy has released the text of the 99-page bill, which includes raising the debt ceiling for two years, increasing spending on defense and veterans issues, and imposing new work requirements on food assistance programs. Some Republicans have been critical of the deal, while others say the GOP will walk away with wins.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KELLY ARMSTRONG (R-ND): We're getting really legislative wins that are going to be hard to unwind. You know, taking just the food stamps in TANF and making go down from 12 percent to 8 percent and phasing the age in from 49 to 55, those are wins that are going to exist long after this. And we're going to, I mean, rescinding of the IRS agents in the first year, rescinding of the COVID funding, this rescinding federal money will be more than all of them combined.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARAK: And CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is following developments and has more now from the White House.
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Biden announced on Sunday that the White House and House Republicans have finalized an agreement on the debt ceiling in hopes of averting a debt default later in June.
Now, President Biden said that this was good news and heralded McCarthy for negotiating in good faith. And he also spelled out the consequences should there be a default of the catastrophic consequences that would impose on the economy.
But President Biden also acknowledging that in an attempt to avert that and send this over to Congress, not everyone got what they want. So this will be important in the coming days as both members of Congress and both parties review the legislative text.
But President Biden was also having to answer to questions about whether he should have negotiated sooner. The position from the White House since early this year has been that they would not negotiate on the debt ceiling. But President Biden saying that he was not doing that, but rather negotiating on spending cuts.
And so, that is part of the spin that both the White House and Republicans will be giving in the coming days as they try to get both parties on board with this in a very short amount of time. It wasn't only reaching the agreement but also now looking at the legislative text getting a floor a house vote on the floor as well as the Senate.
Now, President Biden when he spoke to reporters earlier on Sunday said that he was confident that this was going to reach his desk and at the time said that there no sticking points after a long 48 hours, but still a long road ahead of that June 5th date where the U.S. Treasury will run out of funds.
Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, the White House.
HARRAK: Joining me now is CNN senior political commentator Scott Jennings. Scott, so good to have you with us. Cautious optimism all around, but we're not yet out of the woods. Looking at the outline of the deal, if this goes to the floor for a vote, will it get passed?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SR. POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's going to pass. I believe you may have some fringe on the right and fringe on the left that don't like it, and they may vote against it. But broad majorities of both parties I think will support it in both chambers. And so, I'm quite optimistic about passage right now.
HARRAK: Now, looking at this deal and what we know about it, what do you make of it?
JENNINGS: Well, look, it's divided government, right? You have Democrat in the White House, you have Republicans in control of half of Congress. And so you get what you get, which is not much for either side. I think Democrats think it could have been worse. I think Republicans think it could have been better. But ultimately what happens? The debt ceiling gets increased for a couple of years, the world keeps spinning, the average voter won't notice much of a difference.
And a lot of this fiscal policy is gonna get litigated in the next presidential election. So, I really think Kevin McCarthy did a nice job of bringing Joe Biden to the negotiating table, and Joe Biden is telling this to his Democrats as, you know, not much really changed here, and we didn't go over the edge of a default. So both sides actually are claiming victory, and I think that's broadly probably true for both of them.
HARRAK: So everybody's claiming a win-win, but this has been a very bruising exercise.
JENNINGS: Yeah, maybe, but at the same time, a lot of these debt- stealing negotiations over the last several times this has happened, going back more than a decade, have gone right to the end of the line. I do think Joe Biden, frankly, could have settled this much earlier. He spent several months saying he would not negotiate and that he would accept nothing but a clean increase of the debt ceiling. That obviously turned out not to be true.
I think Kevin McCarthy showed his political chops by getting the House Republicans to pass their plan a few weeks ago. I don't think Biden was expecting him to be able to do that. And when he did, that brought Biden to the table. And look, McCarthy has delivered a checklist of things that most Republicans are gonna be perfectly happy with. So overall, this thing's gonna come and go, and I don't think we'll be thinking too much about it in the next couple of weeks after it passes.
HARRAK: Are we though? Because, you know, taking things to the breaking point, it's quite damaging.
JENNINGS: Well, look, again, I think these debt ceiling fiascos, if you wanna call them that, have often gone right up to the line several times, especially when you have divided government. I remember back during the Trump years, when the Democrats had part of Congress and Trump was in the White House, you had some back and forth between the two parties.
But look, if you're a Republican, conservative Republican, and you're mad about this deal, you need to take a look, a hard look in the mirror and say, hey, this is the wages of losing elections. This is the wages of Donald Trump losing the White House, and these are the wages of Donald Trump's Senate candidates losing in 2022. If you had more Republicans in office over more branches of government, you wouldn't have to be so disappointed.
So really for the political lesson here for Republicans, but maybe for both parties is try to win more elections because divided government obviously isn't giving you what you want.
HARRAK: And how would you describe the position of Speaker McCarthy right now?
JENNINGS: Pretty strong, actually. He is really, I think, overperformed expectations. A lot of people didn't think he'd be a very strong speaker when he got elected on the 15th ballot late that night, back in January, but he has time and again, I think, overperformed on this one, getting the Republicans a few weeks ago to pass a debt ceiling plan on the floor of the House that put Biden on the back foot.
Biden never expected them to do that. It brought Biden to the negotiating table. So, I think McCarthy can claim a real victory here, in that he was able to get some concessions out of the White House that, for months, Joe Biden said were not even on the table. So that's a big win for the speaker.
HARRAK: A big win for the speaker, but he still has to get this over the line.
JENNINGS: I think he will. You're going to have over 100 Democrats vote for this. You'll probably have at least 160, 170 Republicans vote for it. It's got plenty of votes in the U.S. House, and I think you'll get easily over 60 in the U.S. Senate. You've got both Leader Schumer and Leader McConnell backing it in the Senate. All the pieces are in place here. I'm not expecting a lot of drama, actually.
HARRAK: All right. Well, we'll check in with you about that. Scott Jennings, thank you so much. Good talking to you.
JENNINGS: Thank you.
HARRAK: President Biden and other world leaders are congratulating Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his re-election to an unprecedented third term as president after a highly contested runoff vote.
With almost all votes counted, the results show Erdogan won just over 52 percent of Sunday's vote, defeating opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who received almost 48 percent. Erdogan told supporters one of the government's main priorities would be fighting his country's inflation.
CNN's Scott McLean joins us now from London with more on this. Scott, a closely fought campaign, a very contentious campaign, and a country split almost right down the middle.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Turkey is very much a country divided when you look at the election results. This is the closest the President Erdogan came to losing an election, losing the presidency in two decades. It's also the first time in Turkish history that this actually went down to a runoff election. And there were plenty of real divisive issues that were front and center in this campaign, Syrian refugees and what to do about them.
The issue of the government's response to the earthquake back in February was a big issue as well, on top of the fact that the Turkish economy has really been sputtering and faltering under the weight of inflation, which in the past year hit 85 percent, some say even higher. And the government's response to it has been quite bizarre to actually lower interest rates rather than hike them, which is what conventional wisdom tells the government they ought to be doing.
So given that, it's actually quite surprising that Erdogan did as well as he did in the first round of voting, but being the incumbent comes with a lot of built-in advantages, especially in Erdogan's Turkey.
State TV in the month of April, for instance, gave him 32 hours of coverage compared to just 32 minutes of coverage for his opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who said in this vote that it was one of the most unfair political eras that his country was in, filled with all kinds of black propaganda and slander.
He also said that the result, despite the loss, shows the will of the people to change the authoritarian government. He also pledged to continue on the fight. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEMAL KILICDAROGLU, TURKISH OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): We will continue to fight until we have established a real democracy in our country. And we will continue to be the vanguard of the struggle. My greatest sorrow is about the difficulties awaiting our country. But I want you to know that we will be the first to stand up to the problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: So, President Erdogan, after the first round of voting two weeks ago, came within a half a percentage point of winning on the first ballot. And so, his real risk, one of the risks for him, as he pointed out, was complacency that the people who voted for him in the first round wouldn't bother voting in the second round. Clearly, that didn't happen.
In his victory speech in Ankara, Erdogan recommitted himself to rebuilding after the earthquake, to sending back Syrian refugees and also getting inflation under control. He also called for the country to put the election behind them. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): It is time to unite and unify around our national goals and national dreams, leaving aside all discussions and disputes regarding the election period. No one has lost today. All 85 million people have won.
MCLEAN: So, you hear him there calling for national unity. He also took a swipe at his opponent, though, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, pointing out that his party's, the number of seats that they have in the national parliament decreased since the last vote in 2018. Turkey votes every five years, so Erdogan's position is very much safe for the next few years, which will undoubtedly give him more strength, at least on the world stage. Laila?
HARRAK: And Scott, how much of this election came down to personality?
MCLEAN: Personality, yes. Also, some would say identity. Erdogan, many analysts would tell you, really tried to exploit divisions in his country, focusing on nationalism, on Islam, and things like that, to try to really gin up his base, which might explain why even many of the regions that were worst affected by the earthquake actually voted for President Erdogan, surprisingly.
When it comes to strength of personality, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, a lot of people would say is maybe not the most charismatic leader for the opposition. Erdogan may have had a much stronger candidate in Ekrem Imamolu. That's the mayor of Istanbul who won election back in 2019, but then the vote, there was accusations of fraud. He won again, but then he was actually accused of insulting public officials and sentenced to a jail term of almost three years.
Now, he's appealing that, so he's still in office but essentially handicapped his ability to even potentially run in this election and critics would say that is very much by design on the part of President Erdogan's government and his party, Leila.
HARRAK: Scott McLean reporting. Thank you.
Later this hour, I'll speak with an expert on Middle Eastern studies about what Erdogan's win means for the somewhat rocky relations between the U.S. and Turkey. Do stay with us for that.
Thunderstorms and soggy conditions could dampen the Memorial Day holiday in parts of the U.S. today. Cool and dreary weather is expected for some areas from the mid-Atlantic to the eastern Ohio River Valley. And isolated severe storms could bring damaging winds, large hail, and possible tornadoes from South Dakota to southwest Texas.
In the coming hours, U.S. President Biden will honor America's fallen soldiers for Memorial Day. The President and First Lady Jill Biden will visit Arlington National Cemetery and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Mr. Biden will deliver his Memorial Day address minutes later from the cemetery. On Sunday, many Americans placed flowers and it's a way of honoring service members whose remains have never been identified.
We'll be right back.
HARRAK: A new video out of North Carolina shows a violent shootout between a bus driver and a passenger while the bus was moving. Both men were injured and now CNN has learned the driver has lost his job.
CNN's Isabel Rosales has more on what exactly happened.
ISABEL ROSALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And before seeing this video, I want to set the stage a little bit. According to the interim CEO of CATS, the Charlotte Area Transit System, this argument lasted for about two minutes before any shots were fired between the driver and a passenger.
The argument concerning the passenger wanting to be let off of the bus, the driver refusing to do that, saying that it needed to be the next authorized stop within the route. That is when the passenger, you can see in the video, and according to the interim CEO, pulled out a gun, that driver -- that passenger being Omari Tobias, the driver of the bus seeing that gun, his name is David Fuller, pulled out his own gun, then a shootout occurred. Before showing you this part, we do wanna warn you the video is graphic.
And you can see Fuller stopping the bus, and then he starts to approach down the hallway. There's two bystanders inside of the bus that were unharmed. They're trying to exit as well, one moving to the rear of the bus. And then the suspect crawling on the floor of the bus, the driver Fuller firing another couple of rounds and then continuing to follow the suspect once he's able to exit the bus. Both of them were shot. The driver shot in the arm, the suspect shot in the abdomen, and sent to the hospital in stable condition.
Here's what the CEO, the interim CEO of CATS, had to say about this incident. BRENT CAGLE, INTERIM CEO, CHARLOTTE AREA TRANSIT SYSTEM: I understand
everyone's need to protect themselves. I also believe that this incident may have been avoided.
ROSALES: And the passenger there, Tobias, faces several charges. Police have not indicated whether the driver will also be facing charges. According to the interim CEO of CATS, the driver did not follow de-escalation protocols, saying that it would have been reasonable for him to stop the bus and allowed the passenger off in that situation. The bus driver was hired by a third-party contractor, and they're not allowed, per policy, to have any weapons. That driver was terminated.
Now, our CNN affiliate, WSOC, spoke with the driver's attorney who said he's been working on the bus for 19 years, working on that city bus, and that him having a weapon is an indicator of how these drivers feel about their safety. Listen.
KEN HARRIS, BUS DRIVER'S ATTORNEY: Anyone in the workplace who is consistently confronted with dangerous scenarios, could reasonably be expected to find a way to protect themselves so that they can get home safely.
ROSALES: And the CATS Interim CEO says that there's three ways for these drivers to try to get some help if something goes wrong, including a radio to contact other employees and two silent alarms, adding that this driver did not trigger any of those systems.
Isabel Rosales, CNN, Atlanta.
HARRAK: Authorities in New Mexico have charged a man with an open count of murder, after gunfire at a motorcycle rally left three people dead and another five injured. The man who was charged, Jacob David Castillo, is currently in the hospital since he was also injured in the shooting. Police said everyone involved has been taken into custody. It all happened Saturday night at the Red River Memorial Day motorcycle rally, which draws nearly 30,000 bikers annually. Authorities said the event will continue through the holiday with heightened security.
Ukraine's military says it destroyed almost 70 aerial targets launched by Russia in its latest onslaught overnight. And that includes more than three dozen cruise missiles, as well as Iranian-made drones and a reconnaissance drone. A police official in Kyiv says residential buildings and infrastructure in several districts were damaged, but no one was killed or injured. This comes just a day after Ukraine said Russia had launched one of its largest drone attacks to date against Kyiv.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is in London with the very latest for you. Salma, Hi. Russia ramping up missile and drone strikes targeting the Ukrainian capital just as crowds were marking Kyiv Day.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so yet again overnight there was a huge assault by Russia on Ukraine. As you mentioned some 67 air targets shot down according to Ukrainian officials, 37 cruise missiles and 29 drones were destroyed. Ukrainian officials say that this latest assault was targeting military facilities and critical infrastructure and it comes as you mentioned just a day after on Sunday, Ukraine saw the largest assault since the conflict began by drones. Some 59 drones were shot at Ukraine on Sunday, all but one were shot down.
So there's a couple of things to take away from -- from this information as you mentioned. It appears that Russia is ramping up its attacks far from the front lines. Of course, this serves to terrorize the citizens of Ukraine, who are, again, not on that battlefield. But it also expends Ukraine's very valuable munitions. When you think about the Shahed drones in particular, these are very low cost. They cost about 20 times less than the missiles required to take them out. So, it's a way of forcing Ukraine to expend very valuable resources.
But for Ukrainian officials, what they take away from this is that their air defense systems are working, is that those weapons that help, that poured in from NATO and its allies, those are effective, those are saving lives. If you take again the example of the air assault today, so far no reports of casualties. That means they're able to be effective in taking out again these huge barrages that are being fired by Russia.
HARRAK: And Salma, what more have you been able to learn about the series of explosions that have happened in and around the Russian occupied cities of Berdyansk and Mariupol?
ABDELAZIZ: So, both Ukrainian-backed officials and Russian-backed officials giving indications that the cities of Mariupol and Berdyansk were sites of explosions. Over the course of the last day, what we understand, and again, it's great for you to pull up the map there because these are two very important cities, critical cities on the Sea of Azov.
Mariupol in particular, of course, has become emblematic to Ukrainians of the brutality of Russian forces after it was taken in a months-long siege last year at the beginning of the conflict. It is very much Russian-occupied.
So is Berdyansk right now. Ukrainian-backed officials there saying that they were targeting sites for the Russian military in both those locations. At least five sites were targeted in Berdyansk. Another site was targeted in Mariupol. Russian officials did indicate that their air defense systems were activated.
What this all of these mean? It means, potentially, that we're looking at Ukrainian forces conducting what they call shaping operations, so taking out critical infrastructure, critical Russian positions ahead of this counteroffensive again, Laila.
HARRAK: Salma Abdelaziz reporting. Thank you for your continued coverage.
Gunfire rang out Sunday on the streets of Sudan's embattled capital one day before a shaky ceasefire expires.
Khartoum residents trapped in the conflict say both sides have repeatedly violated the seven-day truce negotiated in Saudi Arabia more than a week ago. And right now, there's no agreement to extend the ceasefire when it expires in the coming hours.
The U.N. says the fighting that erupted in April between Sudan's Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has displaced almost 1.4 million people. Almost 350,000 of them have fled to neighboring Chad, Egypt or Ethiopia. The U.N. also says there are increasing reports of gender and domestic violence among the displaced, particularly among those who have remained inside Sudan.
Still to come, they've reached a tentative deal. Now the U.S. President and the House speaker need enough support in Congress to get it passed and avert a U.S. default. Details, next.
Plus, what will President Erdogan's victory mean for Turkey's sometimes rocky relationship with the United States. We'll get some insight now from an expert on Turkish politics after the break.
HARRAK: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States, Canada, and all around the world. I'm Laila Harak, and you're watching "CNN Newsroom."
U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are racing to sell a tentative debt ceiling agreement to Congress. A live look now at Capitol Hill, where that urgent push is going on as the clock is ticking June 5th marks the day the government will run out of cash, which means if the deal isn't secured, the U.S. could default on its debt for the first time ever.
The President says a long-term solution is needed to avoid these partisan standoffs. But for now, Congress just needs to get behind this agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's happened more than once. It will probably happen again, but it's not going to happen at least for another two years here. And I don't think beyond that, it won't either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRAK: But the deal has faced pushback from some in Mr. Biden's own party. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says she, like other progressives, have concerns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): I think that we can get where we need to be. I think it will be tough. I am not going to in any way speak for those who feel particularly agitated about what they have found. I want to be a deep dive on what the impact is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRAK: CNN's Eva McKend is tracking developments and has details now from Washington.
EVA MCKEND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy racing to sell this tentative debt ceiling agreement to lawmakers, but so far pushback from hard-right conservatives like Congressman Chip Roy of Texas and Ralph Norman of South Carolina. They both sit on the powerful House Rules Committee that ultimately plays a role in shepherding legislation to final passage.
And progressives, they're pushing back as well. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who leads the 100-plus members in the House Progressive caucus saying the White House has reason to worry and that the decision to negotiate to make work requirements more stringent for some food stamp recipients, she referred to that decision as unfortunate. So passage is not guaranteed. And all this is unfolding as the June 5th debt ceiling deadline ticks closer.
A consequential week ahead here in Washington. The House will return on Tuesday giving leadership a chance to whip its members in person, ahead of an expected Wednesday vote.
Eva McKend, CNN, Washington.
HARRAK: And recapping our other big story this hour, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won Sunday's runoff vote, defeating his rival and opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and cementing his rule into a third decade. Preliminary results show Mr. Erdogan received more than 52 percent of the vote, his opponents got nearly 48 percent. Mr. Erdogan's supporters erupted in celebration as the results were announced.
Stephen Cook is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies with the Council on Foreign Relations, and he joins us right now. Stephen, always good to have you with us. Welcome.
Mr. Erdogan defies the odds. He secures another record-breaking term as president of Turkey. As the dust now starts to settle, what did you come away with? Give us some of your key takeaways.
STEPHEN COOK, SR. FELLOW FOR MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, I think that it's clear that despite the allegations of fraud on the part of the opposition, that President Erdogan has a message that, despite very tough economic times, a horrific earthquake last February, that his message continues to resonate with people.
That is not necessarily a good thing. It is a message that is built on divisiveness on the manipulation of ideas around nationalism, identity, culture, and religion, but clearly about half or a little bit more of the Turkish people do respond to these messages. And the idea that people would just vote based on their pocketbook was an inaccurate assessment on the part of analysts who thought that Erdogan was doomed because of the terrible economic situation in Turkey and because of the earthquake.
HARRAK: How do you explain that? Because it's -- according to some analysts, it's kind of like voters voting against their own self- interests. Can you explain that a little bit more?
COOK: Well, we have a wealth of data that suggests that voters don't solely assess how they're doing based on what's in their wallets. We have loads of evidence of that in the United States. There was once a famous book written called "What's the Matter with Kansas?" in which the author investigated why Kansans voted against their economic interests.
And I think the answer to that is a combination of culture and identity and nationalism. And those are the themes that President Erdogan really hammered away on, not just in the run-up to the first round of elections on May 14, but in the past two weeks. And it clearly worked.
HARRAK; Let's focus now on foreign policy. Turkey, a hugely important country, as you know better than anyone else. What does his win mean now for his relations with Washington, which are at times rocky?
COOK: Yes, the relationship between the United States and Turkey is quite difficult over a variety of issues, but mostly having to do with the support that the United States has lent to a Kurdish fighting force that Turks regard as a terrorist organization. And of course, on the Washington side, it's Turkey's purchase of the Russian manufactured air defense system that is designed specifically to shoot down NATO aircraft. Of course, Turkey is an important member of NATO.
The Turks have been seeking a reset in the relationship, but what they mean by a reset is essentially the United States accepting Turkey's view of issues and adjusting accordingly. And I don't think that the Biden administration or, importantly, Congress, which has become an important actor in the U.S.-Turkey relationship, is ready to accede to what are essentially Turkish demands.
So, Erdogan will likely respond to his victory by, once again, perhaps in a more aggressive tone, seeking a change in relations with the United States. He's already requested new F-16 fighter planes and a variety of other things.
We'll just have to see how President Biden weighs the importance of keeping Turkey in the tent, so to speak, or continuing to have these tense relations with Ankara.
HARRAK: Well, on that note, do you see the Biden administration maybe wanting to patch up things just for peace sake?
COOK: I will note that President Biden has congratulated President Erdogan on his victory, despite the fact that the opposition insists that the vote was reeled by fraud.
So it does seem that President Biden, who did stay away from Turkey during this long campaign period, is willing to continue to have a relationship. I think that the United States wants to have a strategic relationship with Turkey, but I think that they believe that much of the problem lies with the leadership in Ankara. So my sense is the White House is going to take a wait-and-see attitude beyond the congratulations that they transmitted to President Erdogan today.
HARRAK: Steve, I want to get a final thought from you, obviously on NATO, everybody waiting with bated breath to see if Mr. Erdogan will give Sweden now the green light to join, or will he try to get concessions? And will he try to get concessions from the United States?
COOK: I think we're going to see some drama around Sweden's entry into NATO. And you're quite right. I think this is not necessarily going to be a negotiation between Turkey and Sweden, but it's going to be a negotiation between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Joe Biden over what President Biden is willing to give Turkey in order for Turkey to give the green light for Sweden's entry into the alliance.
HARRAK: Steven A. Cook, thank you so much. Great to have you.
COOK: My pleasure.
HARRAK: Nigeria swears in a new president today. Coming up, we'll take you to Lagos for a look at the promises he's making and the challenges he'll face carrying them out.
HARRAK: Nigeria's Bola Tinubu is calling for national unity amid deep social divisions and other problems the country faces. And now, he'll have a chance to put his words into action. Tinubu is set to be sworn in as Nigeria's president in the coming hours. He ran for office promising a broom revolution to sweep away corruption. But Africa's most populous nation faces many other issues, among them deep mistrust of the government, including his own election.
CNN's senior editor for Africa Stephanie Busari is in Lagos for you Nigeria and she joins us now, so good to see you Steph. The list of challenges for the new president is daunting. What is going to be his first priority and what can Nigerians expect to see?
STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN AFRICA SENIOR EDITOR: Good morning, Laila. It's very tight security in Eagle Square in the capital as President-elect Tinubu waits to be sworn in as president and expectations are very high from Nigerians as he embarks on this presidential journey. He's long harbored ambitions to be a president of this country to rule Nigeria and he's been a power broker behind the scenes really cementing his position and he's finally got to the top.
Now, Nigerians are saying that now is the time to work, now is the time to bring the country together and really deliver on some of the promises that he made during the campaign.
I went along to the streets of Lagos to speak to some Nigerians, take a listen to what they had to say.
BUSARI (voice-over): He's the man on a so-called broom revolution. Bola Amitinibu is poised to become Nigeria's president on Monday, promising to clean up Africa's largest economy.
BOLA TINUBU, NEWLY-ELECTED NIGERIAN PRESIDENT: Sweeping corruption away.
BUSARI (voice-over): But that's only one of the challenges he faces. His first is slightly more immediate, a legal one from the country's opposition.
Tinubu from the ruling APC party may have been declared the winner back in March, but many have criticized the election for voted irregularities, violence and attempts to disenfranchise voters.
TINUBU: To those who didn't support me, I ask that you not allow the disappointment of this moment to keep you from realizing the historic national progress we can make by working together.
BUSARI (on-camera): Former two-time Governor Tinubu has long harbored ambitions to rule Nigeria, but it will be a challenge of a lifetime to unite a fractured nation, fix an economy on life support, and tackle spiraling insecurity.
(voice-over): Now, U.S. total debt stands at more than $103 billion. And some analysts say the incoming president must get to grips with this urgently.
ROLAKE AKINKUGBE-FILANI, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER, MIXTA AFRICA: It is now really a focus on the structural aspects of building sustainable economic development. How are we going to plug some of the inefficiencies and end the wastages in the system?
BUSARI (voice-over): But that's not all. The country is grappled with violence, insurgency and crime, leaving some wondering which way forward?
AKINKUGBE-FILANI: One of the challenges of Nigerian society here is there's still huge polarization between the ultra-rich and the super- poor. And in some ways, successive governments have lost the social contract with the majority of the population.
BUSARI (voice-over): Nigeria also faces a multitude of social problems, including inadequate access to education and health care, widespread poverty and gender inequality. And expectations are high that Tinubu will hit the ground running.
UNKNOWN: I believe there's future. And I believe he will be -- he is fitting for the position.
UNKNOWN: We really don't need a government (inaudible) going to give us all the job. We just need a government that puts things in place for us to achieve what we can naturally achieve as very strong-willed people.
BUSARI (voice-over): As he assumes office, Tinubu must work to provide real solutions to these pressing problems. And only time will tell if he can live up to the aspirations of the Nigerian people.
BUSARI (on camera): Now, Laila, not everybody is celebrating this presidency. Currently, there's a hashtag on social media saying, Tinubu, not my president. So the president-elect and the president when he's sworn in will have to work very, very hard to bring these factions, bring these parts of the country who do not believe in his mandate, who reject his mandate, he will have to work very hard to bring them together.
Already, the streets are deserted. It's a public holiday here in Nigeria, tight security, the armies weren't warning people not to come around the site of the inauguration. So for some Nigerians it's feeling very much like a private party between the APC ruling party and its supporters, Laila.
HARRAK: Stephanie Busari reporting from Lagos. Thank you so much Stephanie.
Now to Spain, where conservatives made big gains in local elections this weekend, and even a losing candidate is calling the results a tsunami by the opposition. Conservatives swept away ruling Socialist Party candidates in nine of the 12 provinces where voters went to the polls. The People's Party is now set to control key provinces, including Valencia, Aragon, the Balearic Islands, and Extremadura, among others.
It's also won mayors races in big cities including Valencia and Seville and an absolute majority in Madrid. It's a stark wake-up call for the nation's ruling socialists who face national elections in December.
And after lashing Guam, Typhoon Mawar is heading towards the Philippines and eastern Taiwan. It's now with equivalent to a category 3 Atlantic hurricane with sustained winds of 193 kilometers an hour. It's not expected to make direct landfall in either of those two places, but it could unleash heavy rain, strong winds and a storm surge. [03:50:06]
Well, the storm will eventually weaken. And as it moves north and heads into cooler waters, even losing its typhoon status
Just ahead, a mystery at one of Italy's most iconic sites, authorities are looking for clues as to how Venice's Grand canal has suddenly turned green.
HARRAK: Authorities in Venice are trying to figure out what's turning the water in the city's famed Grand Canal green. For more, we're joined now by CNN contributor, Barbie Nadeau, in Rome. Intriguing. Are authorities any closer to finding out what caused the canal to turn a fluorescent green, not just any green?
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. It is fluorescent bright green. And some of the pictures we've seen are just really shocking. The authorities right now are saying it's not toxic. It's very likely a tracing agent that's something used in small quantities all the time in Venice when they try to determine if there's a water leak.
Not to be used, obviously, in this sort of great quantity that would have turned the entire canal system green. But the authorities are saying, at least for the moment, that's what they think it is. They don't know how it could have escaped into the canal. Usually, that's used like by a teaspoon or so of this of this material and everyone who uses it has to be registered.
So they'll be doing some investigations today. They're still testing, still checking some CCTV tape, things like that to see if it was dumped intentionally, but at the moment it seems like it could have been an accident, Laila.
HARRAK: Oh, could have been an accident. Okay, but this is not the first time that the canal has been turned green.
NADEAU: That's right. 1968, an Argentinian artist used the same sort of material to turn the canal green. And that was a moment of climate activism, even in 1968.
But, you know, they really checked all of the usual suspects in terms of climate activism here in Italy. We've seen attacks all across the country on a number of very important cultural heritage sites. And all of them said, no, it wasn't us. It wasn't us. Now they're worried that there could be a copycat incident because they know it works so well to turn the canal green, Laila?
HARRAK: Barbie Nadeau, reporting. Thank you so much.
Next, American driver Joseph Newgarden won the 107th running of the Indy 500 on Sunday. It was his first victory in the race. And it was a wild finish with three crashes in the final 16 laps and 52 lead changes. Newgarden passed last year's winner Marcus Ericsson during the final lap. And this was the third time in Indy 500 history that a driver won the race from the 17th starting position.
Congratulations to him. That wraps up this hour of "CNN Newsroom." I'm Laila Harrak. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Bianca Nobilo next, and I'll see you tomorrow.