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CNN This Morning

Thousands Evacuating to Jeddah; Protests over Pension in France; McCarthy in Israel; Hearing on Supreme Court Ethics; Arizona Tries to Alleviate Teacher Shortages; Curry Makes History. Aired 6:30- 7a ET

Aired May 01, 2023 - 06:30   ET



LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Nearly 2,000 evacuees from Port Sudan. One of the largest arrivals in Jeddah so far. Hanadi Ahmed and her Sudanese-American family were among those on the vessel received by U.S. embassy staff. They're relieved to be safe, but heartbroken for those who couldn't get out.

HANADI AHMED, SUDANESE-AMERICAN EVACUEE: Very bad (INAUDIBLE). It's very bad because all my family is here. My mom, my dad and (INAUDIBLE).

MADOWO (on camera): You're scared for them?


MADOWO: I am so sorry.

AHMED: It's OK. I'm very glad (ph) - I'm very glad we are out.


MADOWO: So, you can see the impossible choices people have to make. Happy to be out of an active war zone, but also some survivals guilt. But when they come here, they get received by the entire U.S. embassy team. That is the consulate general there, (INAUDIBLE), who is leading this operation. And he didn't tell us whether there's more ships expected here, but there's suddenly more Americans still stuck in Port Sudan hoping to make that journey across the Red Sea here to Jeddah and eventually back to the U.S., guys.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, it's so striking to see the journey with our own eyes. Thank you for going along and bringing us that report.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We're tracking other international headlines this morning because in just over an hour, thousands of protesters are expected to take to the streets in France yet again. These protests have been over that controversial pension reform that was signed into law three weeks ago by the French president, Emmanuel Macron. It raises the retirement age from 62 to 64. Huge crowds are expected on this May Day, which is France's labor day. CNN correspondent Melissa Bell is on the streets of Paris for CNN this


Melissa, what does it look like on the ground so far this morning as these protesters are gathering together?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you said, Kaitlan, we've got over an hour to go before they start. But as you can see, the crowds are gathering already.

I'm just going to give you an idea of what the streets around the Place de la Republique look like. You can see there the balloons. Those are the trade union balloons that will be part of the march once it eventually gets going. As you can see always, it's well organized. You come. You have a hot dog. They hang out for a bit before they get going.

Up there, on the Place de la Republique, you can see one protester has got up there already with his German flag. A reminder that it isn't just in France today that they're protesting, Kaitlan. This is happening in other European countries and over similar issues, the cost of living, inflation.

You mentioned the pension reform. That has, of course, been at the heart of the protests here in France ever since that protest movement began on January 19th. But today, of course, is May the 1st. This is about a much wider series of issues that people want to protest about. Inflation, the cost of living, every May the 1st the French come out and demonstrate. They take to the streets.

What authorities are expecting today as a result of that pension reform protest is that this could be one of the biggest May the 1st protests that we've seen in a long time, or even ever. So, we're expecting to see large numbers. The authorities say 500,000 to 600,000 across the country. The unions expecting far, far more people to turn out, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yes, it's generated so much attention. It was even a joke at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night.

Melissa Bell, we'll see what it looks like as these protesters are gathering. We'll check back in with you. Thank you.

HARLOW: All right, new video for you this morning. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is in Israel. He is meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The significance of the speaker's first trip abroad ahead.

COLLINS: Also, Supreme Court Justice Alito says he has a pretty good idea of who leaked that drafted opinion overturning Roe versus Wade.



COLLINS: This morning, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as you can see here, is in Israel. He's preparing to deliver a historic speech before the parliament. McCarthy met with Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, earlier this morning. He vowed to invite the prime minister to Washington if President Biden doesn't do so soon.

CNN's Melanie Zanona is live on Capitol Hill tracking McCarthy's visit to Israel.

Melanie, I'm getting some 2015 John Boehner vibes from this invitation that McCarthy's extending. What else do we know about his trip here that he's making to Israel?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, this is a big trip for Kevin McCarthy. It is his first foreign trip as speaker, and he will become the second speaker ever to address the parliament. And it's coming amid the 75th anniversary of the country's founding.

Kevin McCarthy is traveling there with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Steny Hoyer, a former Democratic member of leadership. But as you noted, Kaitlan, he did take the opportunity to take a partisan jab at Biden, someone that he's been locked in a stalemate with over the debt ceiling. And he said that if Biden doesn't invite Netanyahu to the White House, that he will do so himself and invite him to Congress.

So, we'll see whether that pans out but Kevin McCarthy, it's a big trip for him today. So we'll be watching very closely.

COLLINS: Yes, and, of course, Boehner famously invited Netanyahu to come and address Congress when President Obama was in office without telling the White House about it. It caused quite a controversy in Washington.

The other thing, though, is that you mention there are Democrats and Republicans who are on this trip with McCarthy. This comes at a time when there is a standoff between the two sides over the debt ceiling as they are encouraging President Biden to speak - to sit down with Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy mentioned the fact that they have not done so here.

This is what Majority Leader Steve Scalise said about these negotiations, or lack of, over the weekend.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): The White House needs to ultimately get into this negotiation. The president's been in hiding for two months, Martha. That's not acceptable to Americans. They expect the president to sit in a room with Speaker McCarthy and start negotiating -

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Congressman, one of - one of -

SCALISE: Not hide, not waiting and trying to get a debt crisis.


COLLINS: Now, Melanie, as you know, the White House would push back on the idea that Biden has been hiding for two months. They say he's not going to negotiate in the way that Republicans want him to when it comes to the debt ceiling.

What's your sense of the latest of this?

ZANONA: Well, at this point, the two sides are really still talking past each other. The -- despite the fact that House Republicans did pass their own debt ceiling plan.


Just take a listen to how both sides are really digging in.


REP. TOM EMMER (R-MN): The Senate - the Schumer Senate, they have no ideas either. It's just repeated rhetoric.

Our recommendation is, we passed it through the House, take it up in the Senate and pass it.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): The Republicans are demanding hostage negotiations where they will crash the full faith and credit of the United States.


ZANONA: So, as you can see, Kaitlan, we are nowhere closer really to actually solving this crisis. But we should get more information in the coming days about the date at which we will actually reach our borrowing limit. Once that happens, the pressure will increase for both sides to come to the negotiating table, but we're just not there yet.

COLLINS: Yes, nowhere closer to a solution, but certainly closer to a default potentially.

Melanie, thank you for that update.

HARLOW: Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Supreme Court and ethics. This is as Democrats call for reform after a recent "Pro Publica" report shocked everyone and revealed that Justice Clarence Thomas did not disclose luxury trips paid for by a Republican mega donor and Texas billionaire Harlan Crow. It's gotten so much attention that even comedian Roy Wood Jr. poked fun at the conservative justice at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner on Saturday.


ROY WOOD JR., COMEDIAN: A billionaire named Harlan Crow is flying Clarence Thomas all over the world on unreported trips like an Instagram model. We can all see Clarence Thomas, but he belongs to billionaire Harlan Crow. And that's what an NFT is.


HARLOW: It elicited quite the laughs from the audience. But on a very serious note, our Joan Biskupic is with us, our senior Supreme Court analyst, to talk about this hearing that Chief Justice Roberts and all nine justices in this statement said they're not talking.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: That's right, Poppy. Good morning to you and Kaitlan.

It will not be a funny hearing, that's for sure, because the people best suited to address this issue will not be there. Remember, this does arise, not just at the time of the "Pro Publica" report, but it seems like, you know, every other week we're hearing more about justice who received trips or gifts and did not put them on their financial disclosure forms.

The justices, when they said they weren't going to come, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a statement that included several guidelines that the justices say they follow when deciding whether their off-bench behavior is ethical. The subtext of all that was though, we know best, we're being wrongly criticized and we're also under serious threat in regard to conflicts of interest for speeches or appearances they might make. They said those have to be assessed in the eyes of a reasonable, unbiassed observer who would be aware of all the relevant facts. Again, the tone is, we will know best what to do. And then, at the end of this statement, they said, you know, we're not going to disclose things that could possibly put us under any kind of physical threat. They reinforced, you know, their -- the very real truth that many people in Washington and in the judiciary have been threatened in recent months and years.

But it's almost as if they're saying, again, we know best. We're wrongly - we're being wrongly criticized. And we can assess exactly what you need to know, which is not going to be a helpful situation for outsiders, watchdog groups and people on The Hill trying to assess whether they are operating with any kind of ethical guardrails.


COLLINS: Yes. I don't think that's going to be sufficient for Congress. We'll see what lawmakers say and what they can actually do about it.

Joan, this also comes as we heard from Justice Alito saying he thinks he knows who leaked that draft opinion for telling that the court was going to overturn Roe versus Wade, but it doesn't seem like he or the court can prove it or the idea that he says this person was not motivated by, you know, a conservative ideology.

BISKUPIC: You know, Kaitlan, that's exactly right. We are exactly one year to the week that that draft was released. So, you know, there's a lot of trauma and angst in the air for those of us in the Supreme Court orbit. And the court undertook, you know, an eight, nine-month investigation of who might have leaked it and came up short. Said, we do not know.

And then for Justice Alito to make this claim without revealing any kind of evidence, but at the same time not revealing evidence but suggesting it was from somebody on the left, really is another thing that kind of shakes your confidence in the institution, because I have to say, when you step back and think about how that leak affected deliberations and affected the majority that Samuel Alito had to reverse nearly a century of reproductive rights, that leak froze in his votes. That leak benefited Samuel Alito, it benefited conservatives, it benefited people on the right.

So, I'm hoping that if he truly does know who did it, he releases that, because we all would want to know.

Kaitlan. Poppy.

HARLOW: That's a really good point.


Joan, thank you very much.


HARLOW: And that's a really good point that Joan makes because there were these negotiations after the leak, especially Roberts thinking maybe they could bring some people over to the other side. But Joan's reporting has been that that leak really cemented that 5-4 decision.

COLLINS: And also we learned like about the investigation, that they didn't -- they didn't interview as many people as you thought that they would.

HARLOW: As they could have. That's right.

COLLINS: It was a very interesting, like, how they investigated this. And, obviously -

HARLOW: It's a - it's a very opaque institution is the reality.


HARLOW: So, we'll keep following that, of course.

Meantime, Arizona school districts are struggling to find enough teachers to fill their classrooms. Their creative approach to help those struggling financially.


MEAGAN BROWN, ARIZONA TEACHER: It shouldn't have to be about poverty to be a teacher.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What is walking away from that like?

BROWN: I'm a really proud public schoolteacher, and it's hard -- it's hard to know that I can't do it anymore.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: This morning, Arizona is trying a different approach, a new approach, to help fill a teacher shortage, ones that we've seen across all the United States.


But in Arizona, they're now trying to offer housing. It's a combination of low salaries and high living costs there that has made it very difficult for educators to live where they teach.

CNN's correspondent Gabe Cohen has our report.


GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Like so many teachers, Luisa Gamboa is sacrificing more and more for the job she loves.

LUISA GAMBOA, ARIZONA TEACHER: Give me one word that starts with the letter q.

COHEN: That's why she lives with three other teachers in a three- bedroom home.

GAMBOA: We're on our way home to -

COHEN: And carpools 30 minutes to her special education classroom in Chino Valley, Arizona.

COHEN (on camera): That was the closest, affordable house?

GAMBOA: Yes. Yes. And that's the only available one.

COHEN: Has it been difficult making it month to month?

GAMBOA: It's very difficult. Almost nothing to spare.

COHEN (voice over): The combination of low salaries and increasingly little affordable housing has worsened the teacher shortage in states like Arizona. So, desperate to tract educators, Chino Valley Unified School District is breaking ground on a teacher housing project, also known as a teacherage, building ten tiny homes behind an elementary school where teachers will pay well below the market rate for rent.

JOHN SCHOLL, SUPERINTENDENT, CHINO VALLEY UNITED SCHOOL DISTRICT: If they can save a couple hundred dollars, I think that ultimately that could make the difference. It's a matter of money.

COHEN: Jason White, a 50-year-old high school English teacher, living with his parents near Phoenix, heard about Chino Valley's project and applied for a job.

COHEN (on camera): Do you think you'd take a job there if you didn't get that housing?

JASON WHITE, ARIZONA TEACHER: I - I wouldn't. And it's not a think or not think, it's, I simply wouldn't because I couldn't afford to live there.

COHEN (voice over): At least eight Arizona districts are creating their own teacherage with some help from a federal grant. This vacant school near Sedona will be turned into 11 apartments. In Prescott --


COHEN: Six modular homes will sit behind an elementary school.

TENNEY: I hate to compare it to this, but in some ways it's kind of like "The Hunger Games." Having something like this available, maybe puts -- gives us a leg up on the competition, so to speak.

COHEN: Teacher housing projects are popping up across the country, from California, to West Virginia. But some are skeptical of teacherages.

MARISOL GARCIA, PRESIDENT, ARIZONA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: I think our concern would be that a professional educator would not only work for the district but the district would also be their landlord.

COHEN: Marisol Garcia heads the Arizona Education Association, the union that represents public school teachers. And she sits on the governor's new Educator Retention Task Force.

GARCIA: We're treating a symptom and not the illness. And that is, we don't have enough educators who want to enter the profession, who want to stay in the profession.

COHEN: A recent study found more teachers than usual left the classroom last year, at a time when students are still recovering from steep pandemic learning loss. Advocates blame a range of issues, like workloads, student behavior, politics in school and, most of all, salary.

MEAGAN BROWN, ARIZONA TEACHER: It shouldn't have to be about poverty to be a teacher. And that's what it feels like.

COHEN: Meagan Brown is leaving her special ed classroom next month after 12 years of teaching. She and her husband, a firefighter, live with her parents, struggling to save money to buy a home and start a family.

BROWN: We can't both be in helping professions. So, I decided to leave.

COHEN (on camera): What does walk ago from that like?

BROWN: I'm a really proud public schoolteacher and it's hard -- it's hard to know that I can't do it anymore.


COHEN: Now, a lot of districts have given out pay raises during the pandemic to retain teachers. But a new report found that the national average public schoolteacher's salary has only gone up about 4.5 percent over the past two years. Four and a half percent, Kaitlan. That's well behind the high inflation that we've seen. And so, financially, life as a public schoolteacher really hasn't gotten better. If anything, based on this report, it's gotten worse.

COLLINS: Yes. It's just amazing to see how we treat our public educators.


COLLINS: My family is public educators and it's just -- it's awful.

Gabe Cohen, thank you for that report. That really good look into that and their struggles.

HARLOW: It is. I think it's - it shows what we value as a society.


HARLOW: Are we going to invest in our kids? Are we going to invest in our teachers, our schools? Come on.

Also this, Steph Curry putting on an historic performance while helping send his team -


HARLOW: To the second round of the NBA playoffs. Kaitlan tells me it's epic. This is my first time seeing it. There you go.

COLLINS: It's amazing.

HARLOW: The highlights ahead.



HARLOW: In sports this morning, what a night, so they tell me.

COLLINS: I want like a Steph Curry button in life so when things are not going great, you can just push it, because it's amazing what he did.

HARLOW: Can we get a Steph Curry button, please? Fifty points in games -

COLLINS: Someone invent one of those.

HARLOW: What's that red button? Oh, the easy button that people have.

COLLINS: Yes, I want a Steph Curry button.

HARLOW: Fifty points in game seven win for the Warriors and now they'll face off with LeBron James and the Lakers.

Whoa, Coy.

COLLINS: Coy Wire, I mean, it was a good team. They're in a tough building. And, still, he goes crazy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes. Yes, it's - it's -- he is not human. It's incredible. Teammate Clay Thompson said that this is a game seven I'll forever remember as the Steph Curry game. Sit back and be mesmerized by a master of his craft.

Curry taking over in a win or go home game seven on the road, as Kaitlan mentioned, against the Kings, becoming the first person in NBA history to score 50 points in a game seven. Portland superstar Damon Lillard tweeting, Steph, you filthy animal. Packing up a very good team in a tough building. Seven three-pointers for Curry.

Remember, the Warriors lost 30 of their 41 away games this season. But Curry put the team on his back when it mattered most. Warriors win 120-100. The GOAT spoke afterwards.



STEPH CURRY, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS GUARD: You're defying the odds by, you know, still playing at this high of a level. And I know everybody wants to see you fail.