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CNN This Morning

U.S. Evacuates Diplomats from Sudan; Supreme Court Protests Abortion Pill Access as Legal Fight Plays Out; Ex-Cop Who Killed Daunte Wright Set to Be Released Today; DeSantis Meets with Japanese Prime Minister, Fueling Buzz of 2024 Run. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired April 24, 2023 - 06:00   ET




Here's No. 2.




ROMANS: That's the horror film "Evil Dead Rise."

And No. 3 --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you can give me the location, I can get him out of the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's too dangerous.


ROMANS: That's "The Covenant," starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

All right. Thanks for joining me this Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans. CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It's Monday. Good morning. We're so glad you're with us.


HARLOW: The team is reunited. Let's get started with five things to know for this Monday, April the 24.

A daring special operations rescue of American diplomats and their families from war-torn Sudan, but some 16,000 American citizens still remain in Sudan. Most of them are dual nationals. DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, President Biden set to name his campaign

manager for his re-election effort. Julia Chavez Rodriguez, she is currently a White House senior adviser.

Also this morning, the FAA investigating a possible bird strike that caused the engine of an American Airlines flight to catch fire. The plane was able to land safely in Ohio. No one was hurt, thankfully.

COLLINS: And you better hurry up this morning, because those Bath, Bath & Beyond coupons are not going to be good for much longer. The company announcing it has filed for bankruptcy and now is starting to wind down its operations.

Also, Wrexham welcomed back to the English Football League. A-list owner Ryan Reynolds and Ron McElhenney hugging after the big win that clenched the team's promotion.

CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

COLLINS: Ok, so technically, we have six things this morning, because our sixth thing is that Poppy ran a marathon yesterday.


LEMON: How are you feeling?

HARLOW: Half-marathon.

LEMON: Tell the truth. How are you feeling?

HARLOW: I can barely walk.

LEMON: Oh, my gosh.

HARLOW: Oh, my gosh. Look at me. Don't I look --

COLLINS: You look great.

HARLOW: I've lost it. That's my best friend, Emily. We ran together. She kept me going.

You now, I wanted to show myself I could do it. I can't walk. My Birkenstocks are behind the set. And I've never been so sore in my life. I'm never doing it again, but it's done.

LEMON: Lots of ibuprofen.

HARLOW: Lots off ibuprofen. A hot bath, et cetera. I didn't walk. Remember, I told you Friday --


HARLOW: -- I didn't think I'd finish. I ran the whole time.

LEMON: Good for you.

HARLOW: Next to Emily.

LEMON: Did you have a good vacation?

COLLINS: I did. I had some great time in Alabama with family.

LEMON: You did?

COLLINS: It's good to be back, though.

HARLOW: You look very rested.

LEMON: Vacation, what is that like?

HARLOW: Right?

LEMON: That's right.

HARLOW: All right. Well, we do begin with very serious news on Sudan. American diplomats and their families evacuated from Sudan in a daring rescue operation.

U.S. officials say Special Forces swooped in to Sudan's war-torn capital in Chinook helicopters to pick up embassy staff. The Pentagon says this rescue mission was fast, and it was clean.

And U.S. troops were on the ground for less than an hour in the capital city of Khartoum.

This is a photo of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, watching this tense operation unfold. The U.S. and other nations have been scrambling to get their citizens out of the country as brutal fighting rages between two rival military factions.

Some U.S. citizens were able to get out of the country on French military planes. That is according to France's foreign ministry.

We're told, though, still about 16,000 U.S. citizens are in Sudan at this moment. Many of them are dual nationals.

So we begin this hour with our senior international correspondent, Sam Kiley. He's live in Djibouti, where this rescue operation was launched.

Good morning to you. Look, the U.S. State Department saying fast and clean. What more do we know about this mission?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was -- it was effectively the vanguard, Poppy, of a wide number of international rescue missions that are continuing apace as the security situation continues to collapse. Not just in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, but really across the country.

But this was all focused out of Djibouti here, which has become the hub, not only for the U.S. operation, but really for the international operations. There have been other rescues organized by the British, for example, out of Cypress. But the Americans led the field, taking British Special Forces in as

they went in to take out the 70-plus Americans, their dependents from the embassy and a handful of foreigners.

But they flew for some 800 miles at about, you know, just the treetop level. Very low flight. Very, very slow in the Hercules aircraft. Because they needed to keep it low to avoid any ground fire, make sure that they surprise any dangerous elements on the ground.

They did not take any fire going in or coming out. The Special Forces were on the ground for less than an hour.

And -- but the important thing is that this large number of Americans remain in the country, many of them dual nationals. But they are being advised to try to liaise with the many other international organizations and, principally, the nation states that are trying to get their people out.


There are now a lot of focus on trying to put road convoys together from Khartoum, the 500 miles, 800 kilometers to Port Sudan, a very large convoy been organized -- excuse me -- about the United Nations. The Emiratis are also trying to run convoys, substantial convoys already gone of some 70 vehicles.

But the problem is that people have to join those convoys with their own vehicles, their own fuel, food and water. And all of those essential items are in extremely short supply and dwindling rapidly as the security situation continues to disintegrate.

And fighting there isn't between two sides on different sides, effectively separated by a formal front line, if you like. It's all over the place. It's a very, very messy situation in Khartoum. And that has spread, also, around the country.

So the air fields around the country are also insecure, Poppy.

HARLOW: We just saw Sam as you were reporting all these -- this video of children that are stuck in the literal crossfire and being unloaded in Port Sudan, as well. So a lot of these are families.

Sam Kiley, thank you for being there and for that reporting.

HARLOW: Also happening now, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is in Japan, meeting with the Japanese prime minister.

The Japanese foreign ministry says that the two exchanged views on regional affairs. The prime minister says he hopes that DeSantis' visit to Japan is going to lead to further strengthening of the Japan- U.S. and Japan-Florida relationship.

This is being billed as, essentially, an international trade mission, in partner with an economic development organization out of Florida. Of course, the Republican presidential hopeful has yet to formally enter the 2024 race and reminded reporters of that when he was asked how he stacks up against former President Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, polls show you falling behind Trump. Any thoughts on that?

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I'm -- I'm not a candidate. So we'll see if -- if and when that changes.


COLLINS: We will see if and when that changes. The trip is also seen as a way for DeSantis to burnish his foreign policy critics that he has been criticized as lacking.

DeSantis, who spoke at the Republican convention in Utah over the weekend, is on the first leg of what is said to be a four-country overseas trip. The governor and the first lady, Casey DeSantis, as you saw there, are going to follow their time in Japan with visits to South Korea, Israel and the United Kingdom.

Back here in the U.S., President Biden and his team of advisors are finalizing plans to announce his 2024 reelection bid. Edits are now being made on a video, we are told, officially stating his intention to seek a second term, ahead of a release that we are told is likely happening tomorrow.

CNN's Arlette Saenz is live at the White House this morning.

Arlette, what do we know about this announcement? There have been a lot of questions of when he was going to do it? Was it going to happen earlier this year, later this summer? Now it seems that it may happen as soon as tomorrow.


President Biden spent the weekend at Camp David, a weekend that was intended to go through some of those final details regarding a possible 2024 campaign.

But even as the president's team is working towards that announcement, which is likely to come tomorrow in a video, the president is facing serious headwinds when it comes to the public perception about whether or not he should run.

And chief among those concerns are the president's 80-year-old age. Now, if you take a look at a recent poll that was out from NBC News, the majority of the American public does not believe Biden should seek a second term.

And within his own Democratic Party, half of Democrats do not believe the president should run for re-election.

Now, if you look at the concern that's these voters have, the -- nearly half of them say that his age is a major issue. President Biden is 80 years old. He would be 86 at the end of a second term, if he were to win.

But his advisors believe that they can overcome these concerns about his age. His allies have pointed to his records and say the voters ultimately will side with him when they look at the alternatives.

But it's very clear that the questions about his age will present a very steep challenge for the president as he tries to get voters onboard with a second term.

COLLINS: Yes, of course, with any re-election announcement comes a campaign. What are we learning about who is going to be running President Biden's campaign?

SAENZ: Yes. Democratic sources have told us that the president is expected to name Julie Chavez Rodriguez as the campaign manager. She is one of the most senior aides here at the White House, the director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

She works with state and local official -- officials to try to implement some of the president's agenda across the country. She is also the granddaughter of famed labor leader Cesar Chavez and also, if -- she is one of the few Latinas who would be running a presidential campaign.

She has earned the trust of President Biden and his most senior team and would be tasked with running this campaign, hand-in-hand with those senior advisors here at the White House.


COLLINS: Yes. And of course, Biden has Chavez's bust in the Oval Office, as well, Arlette. We know that. Thank you so much, Arlette.

LEMON: A widely-used abortion pill will remain available for now. The Supreme Court is protecting access to mifepristone while the

appeal process plays out. That could take months.

It's a big win for the Biden administration, though. The Supreme Court's ruling on Friday comes weeks after a Trump-appointed judge in Texas suspended the pill's FDA approval, which could effectively take it off the market after being available for more than 20 years.

We turn now to senior Supreme Court analyst Joan Biskupic. Good morning to you. What's -- what's next for this? How long could this drag out?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Good morning, Don, Poppy and Kaitlan.

We could see initial action right away. We got briefs being filed on Wednesday in a lower court. A New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit, which will now hear the merits of this case. And they're scheduled to hold a hearing on May -- May 17.

So really, we could see action from the regional appellate court within a matter of months. But it will not get back to the U.S. Supreme Court for, I would say, several months at minimum without a resolution, probably for a full year, just because of the way the Supreme Court works and the recess they'll be taking this summer.

But Don, Poppy and Kaitlan, this issue is going to hang over Americans for many months, just because this is the main way that women now access abortion is through medication abortion. This is a key pill as part of that protocol.

LEMON: Does this ruling, Joan, suggest anything about the courts, more broadly?

BISKUPIC: I think so, Don. I think that, you know, what we said on Friday is the Supreme Court is clearly taking a breath right now.

You know, last June 24, it completely rolled back constitutional rights for abortion but said the matter would now be up to the states. And they've had so much pushback from that decision. Public confidence in the court has really been dropping. There's been turmoil within the court. They're way behind on their decisions for this session.

And I think what you're seeing here, Don, is a modest shift that might be more in sync with America. But I want to caution that, on that word "modest," this is still a 6-3 conservative court. They're still moving to the right.

I think we're still going to see many rulings by the end of the term that show just a sense of urgency on the part of conservatives to move in that direction. But for now, on reproductive rights, they've stepped back a bit.

LEMON: All right. We'll be watching. Joan Biskupic, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

HARLOW: What's really interesting about this, I think, is this is still the Roberts court. He's still the chief justice. And he's the one who has wanted to move slowly on this issue.

And they did not, with Dobbs overturning Roe versus Wade. And this is an indication of the Roberts court. As she said, it was such a good question, as to moving more slowly.


COLLINS: Yes. And the Alito dissent was really interesting.

HARLOW: Really interesting.

COLLINS: Because he was kind of arguing that there were bad-faith arguments being made by the Biden administration. But obviously, what we've seen from the other side is they went to this court in Texas, knowing they were going to get this judge with these anti-abortion views.


LEMON: And politically, it's something that is causing consternation, especially among Republicans, because they're not sure exactly -- you know, some are saying this should go to the states. And others are, you know --

HARLOW: Or some are saying both things at the same time.

LEMON: At the same time, yes.

HARLOW: You've got Nancy Mace on later, Kaitlan.


HARLOW: That will be really interesting.

Also we're following this closely. The former Minneapolis area police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright will be released from prison today. How the community and Daunte's family are reacting.

COLLINS: Plus, we have disturbing new details this morning about a Door Dash delivery that went very wrong. How a young woman was able to escape an armed kidnapping, ahead.



HARLOW: Just hours from now, friends and family gather for the funeral of a high-school football player who died during a birthday party shooting in Alabama.

Phil Dowdell was one of four people killed in the April 15th shooting. Thirty-two other people were injured in that shooting. And it happened during Phil's little sister's sweet 16th birthday party.

She says her brother saved her life that night, pushing her to the ground when the gunshots started. Their mother says that Phil was planning to attend Jacksonville State University on a football scholarship, and he told her he had big dreams of playing in the NFL one day.

Over the weekend, a celebration of life for victim Corbin Holston was held, and later this week, services are set to be held for Marsiah Collins and Keke Smith.

Police have arrested six suspects who are now facing murder charges. Local news outlets report all but one unnamed 15-year-old are set to appear in court tomorrow.

LEMON: The former police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright in suburban Minneapolis set to leave prison today. Kim Potter said she accidentally grabbed her gun instead of her Taser when she shot Wright. That murder was two years ago.

A warning: this may be difficult to watch.




LEMON: A jury convicted Potter of manslaughter in December of 2021. She's being released after serving about 16 months of her two-year sentence.

The shooting happened nearly a year after George Floyd's death and led to days of protests in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.

CNN's -- CNN's Adrienne Broaddus joins us now, live.

Adrienne, good morning to you. What are you hearing from Daunte Wright's family ahead of Potter's release?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, this is a family still struggling to find peace, especially Katie Wright. That's Daunte's mother. She told me, following the stress of the trial and her son's death, she survived a stroke. But that stroke temporarily left her vision blurred, and it also left her unable to read.

She also told me during our last conversation, "Some say I should forgive to be at peace. But how can I? I am so angry. She is going to be able to watch her kids have kids and be able to touch them. I am always scared I am going to forget my son's voice. It gave us some sense of peace knowing she would not be able to hold her sons. I can't hold my son. We have to look at all the good. She will never be able to hurt anybody as a police officer ever again."

And knowing that gives this Wright family some comfort. For those of you who may not remember, Daunte Wright was killed during the middle of the Derek Chauvin trial.

Chauvin was convicted for the killing of George Floyd.


Brooklyn Center, where this all happened, is right outside of Minneapolis, about a ten-minute drive.

Wright was pulled over for expired registration and one of these. It's a car freshener. It was hanging from his rearview mirror.

Meanwhile, the officer, as you mentioned at the top of this hour, Don, thought she pulled her Taser. Instead, she pulled her gun, shooting and killing Daunte Wright.

Potter, who had 26 years of experience as a police officer, will be released -- she's expected to be released today from prison. Her attorney tells me she will not return to Minnesota -- Don.

LEMON: Adrienne Broaddus from Chicago this morning. Thank you, Adrienne.

Also this morning, new polling shows that Americans don't want President Biden or former President Trump to run in 2024, at least a majority of them. So what do voters want? We're going to talk about that next.

LEMON: And if you have 190,000 just, you know, lying around, you could be the next owner of this remote Scottish island. Barlocco Island is 25 acres and is completely uninhabited.

The nearest town is about six miles away. No buildings, no development, no traffic. Just lush green grass and silence.

COLLINS: Wow. Sounds amazing.

LEMON: See you guys later. I'm headed there. Can you imagine? That sounds like heaven to me.

HARLOW: You need -- you need a boat to get there.


COLLINS: You need a barge.

LEMON: Of course.

COLLINS: Well, it's called Bar --

LEMON: -- loco.



COLLINS: All right. He has note announced that he is running for president, but he is meeting with international leaders, an unusual step for a governor.

That is Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, who was in Japan this morning, meeting earlier with the Japanese prime minister, as you see there.

His first lady of Florida, Casey DeSantis, also greeting the prime minister.

The prime minister says that he hopes the visit is going to lead to further strengthening of Japan-U.S. and the Japan-Florida relationship.

This comes as DeSantis is expected to visit South Korea, Israel and the United Kingdom in a trip clearly meant to burnish his foreign policy credentials.

Joining us now is CNN political commentator, a political anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Louis.

Errol, great to have you with us this morning.

You know, obviously, he is here trying to rebuff the criticism that he got when he made his comments about Ukraine. People saying he doesn't deal with foreign policy day to day. But he's still being asked about Trump and those polls. He was asked

about it while he was there. And he kind of made this face and said, Well, I'm not a candidate yet, so we'll see if that changes.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Yes. Well, what else can he say? Obviously, that's changing before our very eyes. He's got real problems in Florida, and he's chosen to go overseas.

Clearly, he's got his eyes set on the White House. Clearly, he's going to do what governors in his position have to do, which is show that they are not going to make a fool of themselves on the international stage.

And so, there's a lot to lose. Not a whole lot to gain. Because does he have a fully flushed-out foreign poll? Of course he doesn't. Does he have anything to say that's going to be meaningful and move the needle, even for businesses in his state? No, that's not really what governors do.

So he's in a sort of very fraught position. And I think that sort of encapsulates it. He's like, Hey, I'm not a candidate. But of course, nobody would be talking with him in Tokyo or anywhere else if he weren't likely to be a candidate.

COLLINS: He may not be in Tokyo.

LEMON: Yes, yes. He's like, Hey, I'm not a candidate. (WHISPERING) I'm a candidate.

That's kind of what's happening here.

Let's talk about the Democrats. Right? New poll. Because Biden, the -- excuse me, President Biden is supposedly going to announce tomorrow with a video.

But there are some in these new polls. There's an NBC poll that shows how Americans are feeling about Biden and Trump's re-election. Seventy percent say Biden shouldn't run again. Sixty percent say Trump shouldn't run.

So what do these polls say to you about the mood of the country when it comes to these two gentlemen?

LOUIS: Well, what it says to me is that the mood of the country is cranky. That they'd like something else to happen.

You know, because actually, if you look at the president's approval numbers, they almost exactly, in that same poll, track with approval, disapproval on the economy.

People are worried. You know, things are -- we're in a period of transition, right? Hundreds of thousands of businesses went under during the pandemic.

Some of them are roaring back. We've got low unemployment in state after state after state. A lot of the regional and secretarial rejuvenation is really being felt.

On the other hand, you've got this inflation, which needs to be tamed. And the way that you tame it is the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.

Now you can't buy a house, and now things are a lot more expensive. And now, all of a sudden, your spending power is going down.

So I think people are in a very sort of unsettled mood. And, you know, given that, they'd like to have -- just have something different.

What I'm reminded of is -- is one of these favorite lines from President Biden, where he says, Don't compare me to the almighty. Compare me to the alternative.

Meaning we're going to have to deal with what we've got. You know, we'd love to have, you know, caviar but frankly, we're going to have chicken or fish.

HARLOW: I'd much rather have chicken or fish than caviar, but that's just me.

Is it the -- is it the men? It it Trump and Biden, or is it the situation of Americans? Do you see what I'm asking?

LEMON: She just ran a marathon. She'd rather have chicken than caviar.

HARLOW: Would they be more satisfied if it were two others, or is it just about the sort of --

LOUIS: I think --

HARLOW: -- the predicament people are feeling right now?

LOUIS: I think people want a change from politics. Right? I mean, it would be a chance from the political choices they have, right? And so again, you know, like you said, gee, I'm in mood for a steak. And they say, well, we've got chicken or we've got fish. Now, I don't want chicken or fish. I want something else.

I want to -- I want to go in a different direction. I want to break out of the old politics. And you know, this is really what lies behind. I think this question about the president's age, which is not just him personally.

Well, those are very serious concerns, but I think this is a larger question about when do we get this older generation off the stage and let some of the younger people who make up, you know, a plurality of the country at this point, when do -- when do our people start to sort of emerge?

And there's this feeling that, in terms of the economy, in the social space, and certainly in the politics, there's this older generation that just won't get out of the way.

HARLOW: And in the Senate, too. LOUIS: Oh, yes. Absolutely.

HARLOW: So all over the halls of Capitol Hill. Speaking of Capitol Hill, Kevin McCarthy, the House speaker, is saying he is confident he has the votes this week to -- the Republican votes to get what they propose when it comes to the -- to raising the debt limit. Do you think he actually has the votes?

LOUIS: No. I think that's what he has to say to his caucus to convince them to sort of hold together. To convince them this is not a political suicide mission.