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CNN International: Bill to Avoid Default Passes U.S. Senate, 63-36; Trump Ignores Questions Over Classified Docs; Republican Candidates Jockey to be Trump Alternative; Ukraine: 36 Drones, Missiles Downed Around Kyiv; Three Killed Trying to Get in Locked Kyiv Bunker; NATO Chief Vows Continued Support for Ukraine. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 02, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, a happy Friday and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster joining you live from London. Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Now Democrats are feeling very good tonight. We've saved the country from the scourge of default. We may be tired but we did it.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's no way I can lose Iowa. Let's see what happens. I don't think so. We'll have to do some really bad things to lose at this point.

BILLY JOEL, SINGER, SONGWRITER: It's hard to end. You know, 150 lifetime shows, to me my band, Madison Square Garden is more than just our office, it's home.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo.

FOSTER: It is Friday, June 2, 9:00 a.m. here in London, 4:00 a.m. in Washington. A week' long battle to raise the government's debt limit is finally over.

NOBILO: The Senate narrowly voted in favor of a compromise deal removing the risk of an economic meltdown in the U.S. that would have been felt around the world. The bill cleared the lower House a day earlier and was passed by the Senate last night 63-36.

FOSTER: The U.S. Treasury had warned it was just days away from running out of money. Once the president signs the bill into law, Treasury can finally resume borrowing money to meet its many obligations until the year 2025.

NOBILO: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement: Thanks to House Republicans' efforts, the Fiscal Responsibility Act avoids the catastrophic consequences of default and begins to curb Washington Democrats' addiction to reckless spending that grows our nation's debt.

FOSTER: U.S. President Biden called the deal a big win for the U.S. economy and the American people. He's expected to speak more about it in his first Oval Office address to the nation this evening.

But it was tough. And it was a touch and go as well during week of hardball negotiations leading up to this moment with no guarantee of success. We get the latest from CNN's Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill.


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, after weeks of intense negotiations and with just days to go before the default deadline, Congress has averted an economic disaster. And the Senate Thursday night passed a bill that would raise the debt ceiling until 2025 and also limit future spending. And the final vote tally in the Senate was 63-36. They needed 60 Republicans and Democrats to come together to pass this bill and they did. Take a listen to Chuck Schumer talking about this bill after the vote.

SCHUMER: So many of the destructive provisions in the Republican bill are gone. Because we persisted and we kept insisting that default is off the table. We will not be defaulted. And we will not be passing the hard right's extreme agenda, virtually no part of it. And that is thanks to the Senate and House Democrats and to President Biden.

ZANONA: The bill now heads to President Biden's desk for his signature, but it was not always an easy road to get here. First of all, they had to hammer out the deal, which took weeks. Usually they try to do these things in a matter of months. It was a very complicated fiscal agreement. There were blowups. There were points where it looked like it would go completely off the rails.

And the other half of the battle is that they had to sell this deal to their members. And there was opposition from both Republicans and Democrats. Democrats don't like the stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients. They don't like some of the energy permitting reforms. And Republicans thought the bill does not go far enough to cut spending. They also don't like that it will hike the debt ceiling for two years until after the next presidential election.

But ultimately a coalition of members came together in the middle to get this done and avoid what would have been the first ever default.

Melanie Zanona, CNN, Capitol Hill.


NOBILO: Donald Trump now says that he doesn't know anything about a new report on his handling of classified documents. CNN has learned federal prosecutors have an audio recording of the former president talking about a classified plan to invade Iran. Here's what he said in a Town Hall Thursday night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, do you know who this call may be with, do you know anything about it?

TRUMP: I don't know anything about it. All I know is this. Everything I did was right. We had the Presidential Records Act which I abided by hundred percent.


Biden has 180,050 boxes with a lot of classified stuff he is not supposed to have in his case. I have the right to declassify as president. It's a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all-time. It is a hoax.


FOSTER: More from CNN's senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former President Donald Trump campaigning in Iowa, refusing to take questions on the bombshell revelation he was recorded discussing classified information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, why did you take classified documents?

REID (voice-over): But continued to claim he's a victim of federal investigators.

TRUMP: I'm a victim of it. They've come after me. They've come after me on many things.

REID (voice-over): This after CNN's exclusive recording that prosecutors now have an audio recording of Trump talking about a classified plan to invade Iran while he was at his Bedminster golf club months after he left the White House.

Among those attending the meeting, several Trump aides and two people working on an auto biography for former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. None of them had security clearances.

During this time, Trump had aides record his conversation with journalists and writers.

TRUMP: They become automatically declassified when I took them.

REID (voice-over): Trump, under investigation for his handling of national security secrets, has previously insisted that he declassified any sensitive material in his possession. TRUMP: If you're the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it's declassified, even by thinking about it.

REID (voice-over): But sources tell CNN on this recording, Trump claims to still be in possession of a Pentagon document, suggests he would like to share it and then acknowledges the limits of his ability to declassify it. All of this undercutting his own defense.

Asked if he had ever shared any information at CNN's Town Hall --

TRUMP: Not really. I would have the right to. By the way, they were declassified after --

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: What do you mean not really?

TRUMP: Not that I can think of. Let me just tell you, I have the absolute right to do whatever I want with them.

REID (voice-over): The summer 2021 recording comes out of Trump's New Jersey golf club, now the second confirmed state where he's had classified information after the FBI walked out of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida with boxes of top-secret documents. The Trump campaign saying the DOJ's continued interference in the presidential election is shameful, and this meritless investigation should cease wasting the American taxpayers' money on Democrat political objectives.

JIM TRUSTY, TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: When we searched Bedminster, there were no classified documents or marked documents there.

REID: Former Trump lawyer, Tim Parlatore, who left Trump's legal team in recent weeks, says the classification status of the document is irrelevant based on the laws that are cited in the search warrant that was executed in summer of 2022.

TIM PARLATORE, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Really what DOJ is investigating is willful retention of national defense information. Whether it's classified or declassified is not an element of that offense.

REID: Former President Trump's lawyers have asked for a meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland to express their concerns about the special counsel's investigation. One of Trump's attorneys tell CNN there have been some communications between DOJ and the Trump legal team about the possibility of this meeting. But the fact that there is this recording in the hands of investigators really undercuts their key concern, which is an allegation that this is just a politically motivated investigation. But if they forget this meeting with the Attorney General or some other Justice Department official, they will clearly have much to discuss.

Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FOSTER: Joe Biden's ego may have been bruised a bit, but the White

House says the U.S. president was fine after taking a tumble on stage at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.

NOBILO: Mr. Biden had just handed out diplomas to the graduating cadets and was heading to his seat when he tripped off a sand bag he says and fell. The 80-year-old president didn't appear to be hurt and later made light of the mishap as he returned to the White House.




FOSTER: The video of the stage shows the president had tripped over one of several quite small sand bags that had been placed around the podium.

NOBILO: Republican presidential hopefuls are ramping up their efforts to take the spotlight off former President Donald Trump who has so far dominated the polls.

FOSTER: But as more candidates enter the race to stop Trump, analysts say that's exactly the scenario that could him win the nomination again. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports from Iowa.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So far Donald Trump is getting most everything he wanted from the Republican presidential campaign.

TRUMP: There's no way I could lose Iowa.


Let's see what happens. I don't think so. We'd have to -- we'd have to do some really bad things to lose at this point.

ZELENY (voice-over): Including a list of rivals that's growing by the week with the anyone but Trump lane of the race becoming remarkably crowded.

JULIE MARLAY, IOWA VOTER: I think it is advantageous to Trump. I don't like that.

ZELENY (voice-over): Julie Marlay is a loyal Republican who came to see Florida governor Ron DeSantis the other night and is sizing you up several contenders. But she offered pointed words of advice for those entering the race.

MARLAY: Stay for a while, see what happens, but then don't stay too long because we need -- we need to beat the Democrats.

ZELENY (voice-over): As summer approaches, the Republican field is starting to burst at the seams with former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie set to jump in next week. Joining former Governor Nikki Haley, and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy who are already in the race. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is also poised to announce next week. And New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu promises a decision soon. And Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is not ruling out a run later this year if some contenders flame out.

BOB VANDER PLAATS, PRESIDENT, THE FAMILY LEADER: Well, if that many candidates stay in the race, that benefits Trump. Trump will win by the power of division. And that's why we'll see if we learned our lesson and learned our lesson well.

ZELENY (voice-over): Bob Vander Plaats, an influential evangelical leader in Iowa said the party should not repeat the mistakes of 2016 when Trump claimed the nomination with a divided Republican electorate. Rather than facing a head-to-head match with one strong opponent.

VANDER PLAATS: Well, my concern is not how many get in, it's when do they get out and when did they give America a clear choice between the former president and an alternative.

ZELENY (voice-over): A big field is precisely what Trump is banking on and basking in as he shook hands and took questions at a series of small events in Iowa while making clear he's fixated on one rival above all.

TRUMP: Ron as I call him, Ron DeSanctimonious.

ZELENY (voice-over): The former president seized upon a leading argument DeSantis made to voters here this week.

RON DESANTIS, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We could bring back George Washington. I don't know that he would be able to get it done in just four years.

ZELENY (voice-over): And sought to mock the Florida governor's pitch that he is eligible for two terms not simply one more like Trump.

TRUMP: You don't need eight years. You need six months. We can turn this thing around so quickly. Who the hell wants to wait eight years? You don't need it.

ZELENY (voice-over): And in New Hampshire today, DeSantis hitting back at Trump.

DESANTIS: Why didn't he do it his first four years.

ZELENY: As the campaign intensifies, signs are emerging that it's far too early to presume it's a two-man contest as candidates begin blanketing the state that begins the Republican nomination battle early next year. Lorri Hartson also believes the field is cluttered. In her mind it's already a one-man race.

LORRI HARTSON, IOWA VOTER: President Trump already made America great. Now we need him back to fix it.

ZELENY (voice-over): She drove four hours to catch a glimpse of the former president outside one of his Iowa stops.

ZELENY: Do you think that others should step aside and let him run and focus on President Biden? Or do you think a competitive Republican primary is fine?

HARTSON: I wish they would step aside, but they won't. And I don't know if it's ego. They won't. And more keep coming in. It's like come on, Mike Pence, really, Mike? Give it up.

ZELENY: And sentiment from that Trump supported their certainly underlines the challenges for Mike Pence as he enters his race. But he and most of the field will be back here in Iowa making their case to voters. Polls show a majority of Republicans are looking for a new direction, a new candidate, the question of course, is who.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Des Moines.


NOBILO: Ukraine's capital targeted for the sixth straight day. Outrage growing as a mother and daughter locked out of a bomb shelter, that is next on CNN NEWSROOM.

FOSTER: Plus, there's a new push to calm down tempers in Kosovo and keep violence from flaring up.

NOBILO: And later a lavish wedding for the heir to Jordan's thrown. How his marriage could strengthen regional relations, ahead.



FOSTER: Kyiv in the crosshairs once again as Ukraine prepares to launch its long-awaited counteroffensive. Residents ran for cover as Russia reportedly launched 36 cruise missiles and Iranian made drones at the capital.

NOBILO: Ukraine's air force claims all of the projectiles were destroyed. Authorities say to people were injured by falling debris.

There's growing outrage over the deaths of three people including a 9- year-old girl and her mother. They were killed by missile debris as they tried to get into a bomb shelter that turned out to be locked.

CNN Senior International correspondent Sam Kiley reports.


SAM KILEY, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Grief has struck again in Kyiv. Overwhelming grief when a loved one is taken. Three people killed here in Russia's latest attack on Ukraine's capital. At 3 a.m. civilians ran for cover. The bunker was inexplicably locked. Debris from a downed missile killed two women and a child. A fatal accident in an all too deliberate attack. Such events are driving support for Ukraine from NATO, Europe and beyond.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: That is why every European country that borders Russia and that does not want Russia to tear them apart should be a full member of the EU and NATO. And there are only two alternatives to this, either an open war or creeping Russian occupation.

KILEY (voice-over): NATO's weapons are already in use in Ukraine's east.

And now Ukraine has launched a campaign inside Russian territory. At least eight people have been injured and hundreds evacuated from what are now frontline villages in Russia.

KILEY: The original sin of Russia's invasion of Ukraine compounded as it is by their continued targeting of civilians. The absolute brutality of their occupation has seeded Ukraine an unassailable position on the moral high ground.


But they've got to hold on to that even as they prosecute their own campaigns inside Russian territory.

VYACHESLAV GLADKOV, BELGOROD GOVERNOR (through translator): A massive attack is ongoing. The lives of local people, primarily in Shebekino and nearby villages, are in danger.

KILEY (voice-over): Anti-Putin Russians in Ukraine's forces claim to have raided his province a second time and broadcast these warnings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Stay in your homes. Don't worry. Soldiers of the Russian Volunteer Corps are not at war with civilians.

KILEY (voice-over): They claim to have hit Russian ammunition dumps and other military targets. But Russia says the raiders were driven out with heavy casualties.

Still, Ukraine now holds the initiative on this front.

Russia continues to rain misery from the sky. Yaroslav lost his wife and nine-year-old daughter in this raid on Kyiv.

Nothing matters anymore, he says. There are no more people left.

Sam Kiley, CNN in Kharkiv.


FOSTER: And there is another tough story coming out of this conflict. What is Zelenskyy saying about all of this? SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You've had the sixth wave of

attacks in just as many days on Kyiv. These are massive attacks. We understand that overnight into Friday, more than 30 projectiles fired by air defense systems from Ukraine. But unfortunately two people wounded including an 11-year-old child and a 68-year-old man who is now hospitalized.

An avoidable tragedy really struck yesterday where as you heard in that piece from Sam Kiley, three people including a child and her mother -- a nine-year-old girl and her mother were quite literally banging on the door of this air shelter when they were killed in this attack. President Zelenskyy has been clear. He wants to hold officials to account. Take a listen.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): Shelters must be accessible, a situation like this at night in Kyiv when people came to the shelter and the shelter was closed should never happen again. This is the duty of local representatives.


ABDELAZIZ: The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, has now ordered police in the city to patrol all the bomb shelters at night to make sure they are open, to make sure that this doesn't happen again.

You have to remember that there is a bit of whiplash in Kyiv. This is a city that was considered relatively safe. In fact it is a place that people flee to for security. Many residents of the capital have actually come from other parts of the country to try to find safety there and that illusion of security has absolutely been shattered these last few days.

NOBILO: And as Kyiv is battered relentlessly with these air attacks overnight, Zelenskyy is keen to emphasize the toll this invasion is taking on Russia as well.

All ABDELAZIZ: Absolutely. We have one Ukrainian official who said yesterday that the total number of Russian troops killed since the start of the conflict is 208,000. Over 200,000 Russian soldiers killed according to Ukrainian officials.

Now, you might ask, what is the veracity of the claims? Look, it is actually impossible, I'll be completely frank, to verify those numbers. Ukraine only has access to one side of the frontlines. And Russia, the latest number we have from the Kremlin, is September of last year where they only admit to 6,000 Russian soldiers being killed. If you look at the toll from the United States, from the White House, General Mark Milley said in November of last year 100,000 Russian soldiers killed or wounded on the battlefield.

But the thing to take away from this is Russia is suffering heavy losses. It is absolutely struggling to find the manpower for this war. If you take the accounts of even Russian soldiers themselves, the Russian mercenaries on the ground who describe themselves as essentially being used as cannon fodder by Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Wagner mercenary group. When you look at the extreme measures that Moscow has taken from imposing a partial mobilization last year that sent people into the streets, sent people fleeing the country. When you look at the extreme measure of allowing convicts, criminals to fight on those frontlines, you begin to understand yes, absolutely many a Russian soldier is going back in a body bag. They are coming from some of the most deprived places in Russia and the Kremlin is struggling to staff, to find the bodies, the manpower for this war.

NOBILO: And for centuries Russia has used their numerical advantage to compensate for technological disadvantage and others in conflicts and we've always seen that. So, it's interesting that they are struggling so much. Salma, thank you so much.

NATO foreign ministers have wrapped up a meeting in Norway, pledging their continued support for Ukraine. The secretary-general insists Kyiv has the right to defend itself and he says all members agree that Ukraine cannot join NATO in the middle of the war but will join the alliance eventually.


FOSTER: In the meantime member nations are discussing security guarantees for Ukraine and secretary-general says NATO is determined to prove Russia can't get what it wants by using force.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: What we have seen is very strong support throughout the alliance in Europe but of course also in North America for unprecedented level of military support for Ukraine. And President Putin made a big strategic mistake when he invaded Ukraine by totally underestimating the courage, the bravery of Ukrainians. But they also totally underestimated NATO and NATO allies, our resolve to support Ukraine.


FOSTER: Stoltenberg says he is planning to visit Turkey soon to discuss Sweden's bid to join NATO.

The EU is pressuring governments of Serbia and Kosovo to help end the regional crisis after dozens of NATO peacekeepers and protesters were wounded in clashes earlier this week.

NOBILO: The key players met on the sidelines of the European Summit in Moldova on Thursday. And according to the French president the Serbian and Kosovo leaders have accepted a plan to resolve the ongoing tension and will meet with the EU's top diplomat next week.

FOSTER: The plan includes new elections in municipalities with Serbian participation. The situation stayed relatively calm in Kosovo on Thursday with peaceful protests in ethnic Albanian areas.

Still ahead, panic buying in Nigeria. The country's new leader made a comment during his inauguration speech that triggered a rush at the pump. What he said, when we return.

NOBILO: Plus, harvesting crops not easy work. Ahead, we'll look at the gruesome task that foreign nationals do because Americans don't want to.


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

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

Ukraine's air force says all 36 cruise missiles and drones that were launched at Kyiv.