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CNN This Morning

Clashes Erupt in Sudan; Rare Hybrid Solar Eclipse; Michael Bamberger is Interviewed about Tiger Woods. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 20, 2023 - 06:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. CNN is now reporting that top Democratic donors and fundraisers have been invited to meet Biden next week as he nears a likely re-election announcement.

And "The New York Times" is reporting that pro-DeSantis - a pro- DeSantis super PAC is quietly making some big hires in key states, expanding the potential nominee's political footprint in the runup to 2024.

Let's bring in national political correspondent for "The New York Times," Shane Goldmacher. He reported on both stories we just mentioned.

Your pieces this morning just published in "The Times" is fascinating. Thanks for being here.


HARLOW: So, if we could just start on DeSantis. What I think is really interesting is, you've got all this attention and seemed like a shoo- in. But you write, there are growing questions about DeSantis' own ability to win over the independent and suburban voters who delivered the White House to President Biden, and whether the hardline stances the governor has taken, including on abortion, will repel the very voters that he promises to win back.

GOLDMACHER: Yes, I was just up in New Hampshire with him over the weekend. It was his first trip. And it's just so clear that central to his pitch is that he's the electable Republican. Now, he's not saying Donald Trump's name on the stump just yet, but his whole argument is, look, the party's been losing. Look at how much I've won in Florida. This is why you should turn the page and have a new face for the party.

And now he just went to Washington, D.C., to try to collect some endorsements and some support and really stopped the bleeding that he's been experiencing. And Trump was the person who ended up with more endorsements this week, including from the Florida delegation. And it's just a sign of some of the struggles he's having.

HARLOW: Including from the Florida delegation. DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: From the Florida - yes, his own state.

HARLOW: That's interesting.

GOLDMACHER: His own state, right. You know, so in - look, this is one of the challenges running against a former president. He has an apparatus. He has relationships in Washington, D.C. And it's just one of the challenges for DeSantis. He is saying, I'm the electable candidate, and it's not clear, even among some of his own donors and supporters, with some of his positions, that that's going to be the case.

HARLOW: Could be it. They think so.

LEMON: You said he went to Washington. He met with John Cornyn, Senator John Cornyn.


LEMON: Let's listen to some of that, and then we'll discuss.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): The most important thing to me is - is winning the election. It doesn't do you much good to come in second. And -- because you can't set the agenda and you can't pursue your policy agenda. And so I think people want to get behind somebody who they're confident can win in 2024.


LEMON: OK, so what-- this talk of electability is, who's he speaking to here? Is he speaking to -- is he speaking about Donald Trump, or is it Ron DeSantis, or what is he?

GOLDMACHER: I mean, I think John Cornyn's probably speaking about Donald Trump, right? The congressional Republicans have had a front row seat to the challenges that Trump has brought to the party. They lost the House in 2018. Trump lost in 2020. They lost the Senate in 2021. In 2022 they had more disappointing elections, right? They have seen the challenges that Trump has brought to the party in the last few years.

At the same time, they're not rallying behind Ron DeSantis just yet. And that's one of the struggles that he's having.

LEMON: So, that's not an endorsement of Ron DeSantis, it's just that we have to be careful in who we choose?

GOLDMACHER: Yes. I mean this is -- this is the kind of comments you make when you think that Donald Trump is the frontrunner of the Republican Party, and you have concerns that he's the frontrunner in the Republican Party.

HARLOW: What about Biden meeting with all these donors?

GOLDMACHER: Yes, so there's been real questions of when Joe Biden's actually going to get into this race.


GOLDMACHER: At the same time, his advisors say there's no pressure for him to jump. He's really been accelerating.

LEMON: Yes, why would he? Why would he at this point because he doesn't have to act like a presidential candidate? But go on. He can just be president, right, and -

GOLDMACHER: Absolutely. And this is what their argument has been. And I think that even if he does enter the race, he's mostly going to just be president. He's not going to be rushing around the campaign trail right away.

The reason you just answered, why you would get in right now, is money.


GOLDMACHER: The reason is, is to start raising money, to building a war chest, and to start building relationships in some of these states. There's only a few really competitive states, and you want to be out there touching people.

So, he's invited a lot of his top donors, people who raised at least a million dollars for the last campaign, to come to Washington, D.C., at the end of next week, have a private meeting with him in the evening. There's been some chatter about he could get into the race as early as next week. It's the -- Tuesday is the four year anniversary of his first entry into the campaign. It's the kind of thing he loves. He loves that - a -- one of his favorite quotes, when hope and history rhyme. He loves that idea of bringing things together.

So, it's not clear what he's going to do. There's been some talk about delaying as well. But this is certainly a sign that things are getting more serious as he's bringing all of his top donors into D.C.

LEMON: All righty.

HARLOW: Before you go, I do want to ask you about this moment that was so startling to us, to everyone, I think, regardless of party.


HARLOW: Marjorie Taylor Greene, in this committee hearing. And she called DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas a liar.

Let's play it.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, DHS SECRETARY: We are fighting the script (ph) -

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE, (R-GA): No, I reclaimed my time. You're a liar. You are letting this go on. And the numbers prove it. You can't lie about the facts, Secretary -- Secretary Mayorkas.


HARLOW: The chairman of that committee then admonished her for doing it and she couldn't talk the rest of the hearing.

GOLDMACHER: Yes, I mean this is -- this is what Marjorie Taylor Greene has done. She's come to Congress. She's made waves. She's gotten attention.

And I think the most interesting thing is, when she first got there a year ago, two years ago, she was sort of outcast at the time.


She was taken off committees. Kevin McCarthy was distancing himself from her.

But, you know, when he needed to run for speaker, he brought her in. She was a key part of his team. And so while she might have been silenced in that committee, she absolutely has a big voice in the House Republican Conference right now.

HARLOW: Yes. Good point.

Shane, thank you.

LEMON: Thank you, Shane. Good to see you.

HARLOW: Clashes breaking out between Sudan's rival military forces. This is despite just declaring a ceasefire. How all of this is harming the civilians.

LEMON: Plus, a North Carolina kindergartener and her dad were shot and injured after neighbors say the little girl's ball roll into a different backyard. Now the alleged shooter is on the run. Details of the manhunt straight ahead.


LEMON: Fierce clashes erupting overnight in Sudan just hours after the Sudanese Army and its rivals, the Rapid Support Force, agreed to a temporary ceasefire. It happened just north of the country's capital.


And you can see the smoke there. The result of days of fighting between the two factions. Civilians have been caught in the crossfire and there are growing concerns of dwindling food supplies and a breakdown in medical services.

We turn now to CNN correspondent Larry Madowo, who joins us now.

Thank you, Larry, for joining us. Good morning to you.

What is the latest on these clashes? LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Don.

This is the third time that both sides in this conflict, this power struggle between the two most powerful generals in Sudan have agreed to a ceasefire and then gone ahead to violate it. And each side is blaming the other. But the impact of that is that, for instance, the U.N. is now worrying that the medical system in Sudan is on the verge of collapse.

Just today, CNN now reporting that 70 percent of hospitals in the capital Khartoum are out of commission. They have been bombed. They have been shelled. Sometimes power and water lines have been bombed. They're running out of basic equipment and medicines. And they're inundated, the few that are still operating. And in many cases the staff don't feel safe to even go in to treat those who badly need their assistance.

But across the nation, it's turning to be an absolute tragedy, with so many people hunkering down, scared for their lives, and they don't know how long this is going to last.

I want you to listen to this from a University of Toronto professor who was back in Sudan visiting her family with her three year old daughter.


NISRIN ELAMIIN, RESIDENT TRAPPED IN SUDAN: It's been really heartbreaking and intense and terrifying. And, yes, I think I'm particularly overwhelmed by the fact that I am - I'm parenting a three year old through this and I'm having to explain to her what is unfolding around us. I'm grateful that we're relatively safe at the moment, but also thinking about all of our relatives who are not.


MADOWO: The African Union, the Arab League, and the United Nations are getting together today in a virtual meeting to try and find a way out of this crisis. In the meantime, the U.S. saying the situation is so volatile that U.S. embassy staff cannot be evacuated at this time, Don.

LEMON: All right, Larry Madowo, thank you so much for your reporting. Appreciate that.

Meantime, Tiger Woods revealing he just had an ankle surgery after pulling out of the Masters. What it means for his future in the game.

HARLOW: Plus, it only happens a few times a century. You're going to see stunning images of last night's rare hybrid solar eclipse.

LEMON: It looks like a diamond ring.


ELTON JOHN, MUSICIAN (singing): Don't let the sun go down on me. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Oh, good choice.

LEMON: Don't let the sun.

HARLOW: Love it.




BONNIE TYLER, MUSICIAN (singing): Once upon a time I was falling in love, now I'm only falling apart.


HARLOW: I'm told that is the favorite song of a certain anchor here, not seated next to me. Apparently, Berman loves this song. That is Bonnie Tyler's '80s hit, "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Part of the world - parts of the world -


HARLOW: Don's just going to serenade the whole segment, which will make it even better.

So, maybe you were somewhere in the world last night where you were treated to your own rare hybrid solar eclipse overnight.

LEMON: Apple. It was a - one was a diamond ring. An apple. Now it's a half moon.

HARLOW: It's beautiful. It's when an eclipse shifts between a total eclipse and an annular eclipse, all depending on location.

Check out this view from Australia.


HARLOW: The U.S. missed out this time. According to NASA, the next hybrid eclipse takes place in 2031.

LEMON: You know who's here? Janna Levin is here, an astrophysicist, a professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia.

Thank you so much for joining us.

JANNA LEVIN, ASTROPHYSICIST: Thanks for having me. Always fun to be here.

LEMON: So, it's -- we had you with the spacesuits before, right?

LEVIN: Yes. LEMON: You were going to get us samples. So, that didn't happen. We'll talk about that later.

LEVIN: I know. I wanted to wear one today.

LEMON: Lots to talk about, including SpaceX and UFOs. But, first, explain to us how this unique hybrid solar eclipse - how unique this hybrid solar eclipses is.

LEVIN: It's about once every 10 years or so. And a total eclipse happens because, by coincidence, the moon happens to be just the right size in the sky that it can completely occult (ph) the sun. That's just an accident. It didn't need to be that way.

But if you're the moon -- that distance to the moon and the sun configuration changes. And so from some parts of viewing, the moon actually looks smaller than the sun. And so that makes an annular eclipse where you can still see around the perimeter. But from right at the zenith, you can see a total eclipse.

And then if you're not exactly in that path of totality, it looks partial, for sort of swatch across the earth.

LEMON: Really cool.


HARLOW: Talk -

LEVIN: Mostly around Indonesia, east Timor, Australia, New Zealand, around there. So, we missed it. But on April 8, 2024, there's going to be a very popular eclipse. People are already gearing up for it.


LEVIN: Of totality that will pass across the U.S.

HARLOW: Wow. OK. One year from now.


HARLOW: But let's talk about this hearing yesterday. We had -- we were talking about UFOs or UAPs as they're officially called.


HARLOW: And there was a big hearing in Congress yesterday about it. And what we learned is that the Pentagon says that they're tracking more than 650 potential UFO cases. We got two new declassified UFO videos yesterday. People can see them. We're going to play them.

This is a sighting from South Asia last year. The Pentagon says the object was likely a commercial aircraft. Here's a Pentagons top official yesterday explaining the other object that remains unidentified, if we have it.


DR. SEAN M. KIRKPATRICK, DIRECTOR, ALL-DOMAIN ANOMALY RESOLUTION OFFICE: You'll see it come through the top of the screen. There it goes. And then the camera will slough to follow it. You'll see it pop in and out of the screen -- field of view there.

This is essentially all of the data we have associated with this event from some years ago. It is going to be virtually impossible to fully identify that just based off of that video. As we get more data, we will be able to go back and look at these in a fuller context.


HARLOW: That was the Senate Armed Services Committee.

What do you make of these anomalies?

LEVIN: Well, I assume you're having me on because you want to know if it's aliens.

HARLOW: Of course.

LEVIN: I think it's very likely drones, but I -


LEMON: I - that's what I said, this is a drone.

LEVIN: But I think it is interesting to talk about the idea that there's life out there. And we now know that there are more planets in our galaxy than there are stars. So, it's really impossible to believe that there's no other life out there.

I think what's extremely unlikely is that it happens to be right in our vicinity and they happen to be technologically advanced, right when we are, and they happen to use the same kind of technologies So all of that's incredibly unlikely. But that there are amoeba or bacterium in other solar systems is to be anticipated. It will be really the discovery of the century if we make that discovery.

LEMON: So, they had to scrub the launch on Monday for SpaceX because of a frozen valve.

LEVIN: Yes. Yes.

LEMON: And this is potentially the rocket that will take us to the moon and beyond. Maybe Mars. So, then what do you think? A lot riding on the success of this rocket?

LEVIN: There is a lot riding on the success of the launch. The amazing thing that SpaceX is doing is having reusable rockets.


LEVIN: And that's really huge. Imagine every time you have to take a fight, you need to build a new spacecraft, a new - a new plane. So, really what they've been perfecting his landing. And you saw a bunch of previous tests blow up.

But the Starship, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty, it's really huge, will be able to land, hopefully. And so it's reusable. And it can land on the moon as without blowing up and carry really heavy cargo and a large number of passengers. So, they really see it as the way to get, not just to the moon, but to Mars eventually.

LEMON: Very cool. Yes.

Didn't we have a - we had a cool like eclipse during the lockdown, didn't we? I remember running outside and taking pictures.

LEVIN: Oh, you know, I don't really remember. There was -- there was an eclipse in 2019, the Great American Eclipse, which was fantastic. We had partial viewing from New York. And with the eclipse in April next year, there will be partial viewing in New York too. And that's pretty spectacular.

LEMON: All right. Thank you.

LEVIN: Thank you so much.

HARLOW: Professor, thank you very much.

LEMON: We appreciate it. Good to see you.

LEVIN: Good to see you.

HARLOW: Really extreme weather overnight in Oklahoma. At least two people are dead this morning after a tornado outbreak. Where that threat is headed next.

Also this.

LEMON: Plus, an IRS agent now seeking whistleblower protections from Congress alleging that the Hunter Biden investigation is being mishandled. The information the agent claims to have regarding the investigation.



LEMON: Tiger Woods recovering from yet another surgery. The Hall of Famer announcing on Twitter yesterday that he underwent a successful procedure on his right ankle to relieve arthritis pain from an earlier fracture. It is the latest surgery in a very, very long list of them for Woods. He had three procedures done on his knee and five on his back. And his latest surgery throws the rest of this season and his chances to win more major tournaments in doubt.

So, joining us now, Michael Bamberger. He is a former senior writer at "Sports Illustrated" and the author of "The Second Life of Tiger Woods," which covers Woods' win at the 2019 Masters.

Hey, Michael, good to see you. Thank you for joining us this morning. MICHAEL BAMBERGER, AUTHOR, "SECOND LIFE OF TIGER WOODS": Good morning, Don.

LEMON: So, Tiger has a lot of rehab ahead of him. When are we going to see him on the course again, you think?

BAMBERGER: I would -- my guess would be the father/son tournament, probably the first major major for him in December of this year. I think that would be -- that would be optimistic.

Tigers is someone whose career is always pointing towards something. Playing golf with his son seems to be the most important thing in his life right now. In his athletic life anyway. So, I don't think we'll see him -- for any of the - the rest of the majors and maybe not until December at the father/son tournament.

LEMON: Well, he did have this quote to our Don Riddell at the Masters. He said, I don't know how many more I have in me. So just have to be able to appreciate the time I have here and cherish the memories.

Is this the end of an era?

BAMBERGER: I think -- you know, it's the winding down of an end of an era. We talked about this, Don, right before the Masters. But part of the beauty of the Masters is, there's so much spring anticipation. And I know you you've been to it. But once it's over, it's kind of deflating. Something Jack Nicholas used to say is, any year he didn't win the Masters, it was slightly depressing because then he couldn't win the Grand Slam.

In this case, we're talking about not even Tiger Woods winning the Grand Slam, we're talking about him actually -- actually competing in events anymore. He has been hard on his body. Life's been hard on his body. We all know the things that have gone wrong in his life. And, tragically, he's taking a toll at it. It's taken a toll at age 47.

LEMON: Yes, but, you know, we counted him out before. I shouldn't say - I don't mean me personally, but the public has counted him out before and then he had that amazing 2019 Masters win. You know, in your book, "The Second Life of Tiger Woods," you write about that. But do you think we're going to see a third life of Tiger Woods?

BAMBERGER: Yes, I do. That's very well said, Don. Some of the old people in golf are some of the wisest people in golf. Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus, most particularly. One of Jack's things, he has said this for -- for those who don't know, Jack's won 18 major champions. Tigers has won 15. Tiger has missed dozens of majors because of illness.

One of the things Nicklaus has always said about Tiger Woods is, never bet against Tiger Woods. Never count this Tiger Woods out. His will is like some -- like nobody else's we've ever seen. And to Phil and -- and Tiger and Phil Mickelson do not have the warmest of relationships to say the least.

[07:00:00] Phil won a major championship at age 50. Phil finished second in last week's Masters -- two weeks ago Masters at age 52.