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CNN This Morning

Complex Division Inside GOP Threatens its Electoral Success; US Official: Ship Carrying 100 American Evacuees Arrive in Saudi Arabia; Authorities Still Search for Man in Texas Accused of Killing Five People Including Nine-Year-Old Child; Demonstrators Gather in Paris to Protest Raising of Retirement Age; First Republic Bank Fails; JPMorgan Chase Purchases First Republic Bank from Receivership. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 01, 2023 - 08:00   ET



MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT, (D) CHICAGO: A social issue motivating pro- choice women, but it's going to be an economic issue. We're already seeing companies saying we are not going to stay in states that don't respect women. And frankly, states like Illinois, cities like Chicago, we're going to welcome those people. This is a value statement issue that I think is going to animate the discussion, not only in the next election cycle, but for years to come, where companies are making decisions about where they go, kids are making decisions about where they go to college on the basis of what is state's practices, particularly when it comes to respecting bodily autonomy of women.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Is there a company that has called you?

LIGHTFOOT: I won't name them by name, but, yes, absolutely. We're out there aggressively pursuing those companies.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Well, it is something that is going to be an issue going forward. Obviously, we've been talking about it with every 2024 hopeful. Thank you both for joining us. That was a really robust discussion.

HARLOW: Enjoy a little break, OK?


HARLOW: After two weeks from now.


COLLINS: All right, and CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what we need from the public, is any type of information, because right now, we're just, we're running into dead ends.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you all believe that the suspect is still in the area?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do not know. Like I said, we have -- right now, we have zero leads.


HARLOW: Very scary answer. Good morning, everyone. We do begin there. The FBI asking the public for help this morning as a manhunt continues for a gunman accused of killing five neighbors, including a nine-year- old boy in Texas.

COLLINS: We're also going to take you live to Paris this morning as nationwide protests are sweeping France. It is the country's Labor Day as unions are rallying around the government's decision to raise that retirement age from 62 to 64.

HARLOW: And breaking overnight, First Republic Bank has become the third major bank to fail since just March. We're waiting to see how Wall Street reacts when the markets open. CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

We do begin in Texas. Authorities offering $80,000 in reward money on information on the gunman accused of killing five people, including just a nine-year-old boy. More than 200 officers searching right now for Francisco Oropeza. They say he's armed and dangerous, and right now they don't have any leads. They're running into dead ends. They can't find him. Now one man whose wife and son were both killed is speaking out.


WILSON GARCIA, WIFE AND SON KILLED BY NEIGHBOR (through translator): That was my nine-year-old son and my wife, too, and two people who died protected my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. My one-and-a-half old son was protected with a lot of clothes so the killer wouldn't kill him, too.


HARLOW: Unimaginable grief. So let's go to our Ed Lavandera. He's live in Cleveland, Texas, too. No answer for grieving parents.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That was excruciating to watch. Wilson Garcia described that to us yesterday afternoon, that scene. This is the driveway that leads up to the suspect's house, the house where the families were gathered on Friday night is the one you see there in distance.

But right now, the focus is on this manhunt for 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza. As you heard there in the lead-in, FBI officials saying that at this point, they have no leads. There is a collection of reward money that is now being offered in the hopes that that will generate some sort of leads, $80,000 in all. But we still have not heard any updates if that reward announcement has generated any possible leads. Investigators say at this point, they believe the suspect could be anywhere. They lost his track on him Saturday night, where they found clothes and the cell phone that he had been using. Investigators say they believe that he had been communicating with some friends, but that didn't lead them to his whereabouts.

Yesterday, as the governor of Texas was announcing this reward money, he went out of his way to describe the five victims as illegal immigrants. That has forced the government to be under some pretty intense criticism for using that kind of language in this kind of tragic situation. And the sheriff here in San Jacinto County says he doesn't care what the immigration status is of the victims, he's just incredibly hurt by what has happened here.


GREG CAPERS, SAN JACINTO COUNTY SHERIFF: My heart is with this eight- year-old little boy. I don't care if he was here legally, I don't care if he was here illegally. He was in my county. Five people died in my county. And that is where my heart is, in my county, protecting my people to the best of our ability.



LAVANDERA: So more than 200 law enforcement officers in this area conducting this search, which has now gone beyond 48 hours, Poppy. Investigators are hoping that this reward money starts to generate some leads as to where he might be. But it is still stunning to see that after this amount of time, that there still doesn't be any clear picture on where he might be at this point.

HARLOW: And they believe he's armed and dangerous, so people are all on edge. Ed, thank you for the reporting. It's a tragic story.

COLLINS: Also, on the international front, another round of protests are underway this morning in France. They are largely over that controversial pension reform that was signed into law three weeks ago by the French president. It raised the retirement age from 62 to 64. CNN correspondent Melissa Bell is live in Paris. Melissa, we were checking in with you last hour. Clearly, the number of people behind you has grown. What are you seeing?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And what we're seeing is a very diverse group of people, Kaitlan, because they've come out here to protest today for a number of different reasons, not just the pension reform that we've seen at the heart of so many of those protests over the course of the last few weeks, but out here there are people representing specific causes, Kurds, for instance, other people from around the world representing their causes. A lot of people fighting for -- against climate change.

Of course, at the heart of this is very much an anti-capitalist feel. That's what you'll see is the First of May, traditionally a day of protests for the left across Europe. What authorities here in France expect today, Kaitlan, is that this is likely to be one of the biggest First of May protests that we've seen simply because of what we've been covering here for the last few weeks. There's pension reform protests.

The latest on that, of course, is that raising of retirement age from 62 to 64 is going ahead. It is going to become law. But that hasn't really dimmed the enthusiasm of the unions for coming out on the street and continuing to cause as much trouble as they can. And that's what's going to be at the heart of these protests again today.

Authorities say they expect about 500 to 6,000 people out on the streets. The unions are hoping for much more than that. There are, Kaitlan, 12,000 police officers out on the streets to try and keep things in order because authorities fear that once again we're going see violence. What they say is they figure that there are about 1,000 to 2,000 people determined on causing violence today, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: We'll keep an eye on it. Melissa Bell in Paris, thank you.

HARLOW: Breaking this morning, First Republic Bank has failed. It has become the second largest bank failure in U.S. history. Regulators have seized the bank and structured a rescue deal with JPMorgan Chase to buy most of its assets for $10.6 billion. In a statement, JPMorgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon says "Our government invited us and others to step up, and we did." First Republic is now the third major bank to fail since just March as America's banking crisis flares again. We're keeping a close eye on the markets ahead of the open here.

Our chief business correspondent, Christine Romans is with us, and you were just on the call that JPMorgan had that began just a few moments ago. What do we need to know?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Jamie Dimon saying to the reporters on this call that this helps stabilize the system and that's a good thing. JPMorgan coming in and buying this, basically buying this bank out of receivership. The FDIC, the federal government had to go in and take it over this weekend. And so what will happen here next is anybody who is a customer of First Republic can go to your bank today. You can do your banking digitally, online, however you normally do it, but it is a JPMorgan property now.

And they're going to try to integrate this property with their wealth management division. So it has got some valuable -- this is a bank -- First Republic was a bank that you saw the stock just collapse over the past few weeks, but it's a bank that caters to wealthier clientele on both coasts. They'll fold that into JPMorgan's wealth management division.

And about job losses, the CFO of the company, of JPMorgan saying, look, they hire 10,000 people every year at JPMorgan. So they're hoping that there'll be opportunities to allow those people who work at First Republic.

COLLINS: Did they say anything else on the call?

ROMANS: They just got started. Basically, they're talking about what it means for -- there were a lot of bidders over the weekend, so that the government took the bank into receivership, and there were a lot of interested parties, and that it will be, it will add to their earnings. JPMorgan says it will add a little bit to their earnings right away. They'll have to take $2 billion in restructuring costs and the like.

But it's just putting to bed what was a weak point in the banking system. And it's unclear if there will be more bank failures or more bank stress. The Fed is likely to raise interest rates this week, guys. Remember, it's higher interest rates that have sort of revealed some of the problems for so many of these banks. So I think that a lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief.

There was one interesting question about the $30 billion that the 11 big banks injected into First Republic. And the question was, why did that not work? And the CFO said, it did work. It bought a lot of time, and it allowed this bank to stay afloat while a different option was found, which was, of course, taking it into receivership and selling it to JPMorgan.


HARLOW: We'll let you get back on that call and finish your reporting. Christine Romans, thank you very much.

COLLINS: We want to continue to talk about this, though, so let's bring in former assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department, Ben Harris, who is also the chief economist to Joe Biden when he was vice president. So a great person to talk with about this morning, because we know treasury officials have been in touch with regulators about this, about what this was going to look like. And what's your sense of what happens now? because I was talking to a top House Republican who say, they basically saw this as unfinished business from SVB.

BEN HARRIS, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST TO VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I think that's a fair characterization. Here we are, 8:00 a.m. eastern this morning, and there's a lot to digest with this deal, but I think there are sort of two key takeaways. The first is that the resolution was largely what markets expected. We didn't know there would be JPMorgan buying, but there were a lot of bidders, and eventually we got a very well established bank, obviously, taking the bank over from the FDIC, which is exactly how the system is supposed to work. And the second point is that this really feels, and this could obviously change, but it really feels like this stress is unique to these three banks that have failed. And it doesn't look, here we are the first day of May, it doesn't look like this will seep out into the rest of the financial system. So it does look like everything is pretty strong as of today.

HARLOW: But Ben, let me ask you this. I thought it was interesting that Ro Khanna, obviously congressman from California, you now have two California-based banks that have failed since March, said yesterday morning that, look, the reality is, in our economy, you have $8 trillion in uninsured deposits, meaning they're above that $250,000 FDIC threshold. And he said, until we get -- until we guarantee those deposits, you run the risk of more bank failures. Do you think he has a point?

HARRIS: So I think that if you read the report that Michael Barr released last week --

HARLOW: Yes, I did.

HARRIS: It's clear that not everything is working the way it's supposed to. There was a breakdown in supervision. There was a breakdown obviously in management by these banks, which were not taking the best action when it came to rising interest rates.

The specific question you're talking about as far as what to do about uninsured deposits is a really interesting policy question right now. I do think that Congress will probably revisit that question over time. They may raise the cap, they may insure a portion of deposits well above that up to some limit. But that's something we've worked out over time. And this particular Congress really doesn't feel like it's going to come together with any sort of fundamental reform of the financial system anytime soon.

COLLINS: Gary (ph) Gunt (ph) said doing unlimited insurance for the FDIC would be a race to the bottom with no discipline. I think the other question for what Congress is going to do here is what this looks like with JPMorgan. It's the nation's biggest bank. They just got bigger with this. Is this going to increase scrutiny from progressives, in your view?

HARRIS: Progressives, if you spend any time on Twitter, progressives are already unhappy about the size of JPMorgan. Look, I think you had to put out this fire right away, and it does feel like a very reasonable resolution to me. But I think that those that are concerned about concentration in the financial sector, concentration in banks, are going to take a hard look at what happened this morning and probably criticize it.

COLLINS: Ben Harris, thanks so much for that perspective on this.

HARRIS: Thank you.

HARLOW: All right, this just in, Former President Trump asking the judge to declare a mistrial in the civil battery and defamation trial that he's facing from E. Jean Carroll. Trump claims the judge made a, quote, pervasive, unfair, and prejudicial ruling. He's talking about previous rulings against him. Defense attorney Joe Tacopina says the judge has mischaracterized facts of the case and improperly shut down certain lines of questioning. It would be unusual, we should note, for the judge to declare a mistrial based on his own statements. E. Jean Carroll is suing Trump, alleging that he raped her in a department store in the mid-90s and then defamed her when he kept repeatedly denying her claim. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. We will keep you posted on where this goes.

COLLINS: Also, soon House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is going to address Israel's parliament. It's his first trip abroad as speaker. He made something the White House is going to be responding to today, a commen. We'll show you what he said, and we're live in Jerusalem next.

HARLOW: Despite no evidence, some Republicans like the My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell still pedaling the lie that the 2020 and 2022 elections were stolen.


MIKE LINDELL, CEO, MY PILLOW: Kari Lake, Mark Finchem, Kristina Karamo, Matt DePerno, Tudor Dixon, Blake --


LINDELL: No, all of them won!


HARLOW: No, they didn't. Stead Herndon is the other voice you heard there. He talked to Lindell for three hours. He's going to join us next on this.



HARLOW: Conspiracy theories, particularly about the results of the 2020 and 2022 elections are still quite popular in certain corners of the Republican Party.

Listen to My Pillow CEO, Mike Lindell insist despite having no evidence that the election was stolen


MIKE LINDELL, CEO, MY PILLOW: Kari Lake, Mark Fincham, Jim Merchant, Kristina Karamo, Matt DePerno, Tudor Dixon, Blake Masters.


LINDELL: No. All of them won. Every one of them was stolen with computers and we can show you that.

HERNDON: The majority of Americans believe the 2020 election was not stolen and machines were not the problem. The majority of Americans find that --

LINDELL: Where do you find this fact? Who gives you them where -- no, who gives you that? Where are you getting your facts? Because don't spew a lie.

HERNDON: That is -- that is not a lie.


HARLOW: It is the truth. It is a fact.

Joining us now is that other voice you heard, "New York Times" reporter conducting the interview with Lindell, Astead Herndon. He's a CNN political analyst, national politics reporter at "The New York Times."

Where to begin?


HARLOW: What was the most illuminating? What did that tell you?

HERNDON: I mean, I -- we really started this process because of how we started our podcast. We were originally at Dana Point in the RNC, and we saw Ronna McDaniel really come on and really embrace Mike Lindell.

And he kept pop --

COLLINS: The Chairwoman --

HERNDON: The Chairwoman of the RNC and they kept -- he kept popping up at all of these different Republican events, and he was doing so not only with a horde of fans around him, but continuing to push that election conspiracy, not just denying the results, but actually acting as the voting machines have been co-opted by globalists, by the CCP, others. He pops up in that defamation lawsuit against Fox News.

And this is someone who has ingrained power throughout his own business, throughout his own fame, and then using that in terms of advertising in Fox.

We wanted to push him on that. We knew his beliefs, but how was he using those beliefs to really spread that conspiracy? Because as we know, election denial was a losing issue for Republicans in the midterms. It was an issue they were supposed to be moving on from looking ahead to 2024, but that cannot be possible as the Chairwoman of the RNC was bringing Lindell on.


And he is someone who knows that he needs that credibility.

In the interview, the thing that stuck out the most to me was that he was very consciously using his fame, using his money to gain credibility from the establishment corners of the Republican Party, and he knew that would ingrain his conspiracy even further.

This was an active effort from him, not a passive one.

COLLINS: Okay, but you spent three hours with him. Did you expect this to be a three-hour interview when you went into this?

HERNDON: No, we expected it to be 45 minutes. We had a script of questions, but the way that he talks, infusing every portion of his life, infusing every mention of his book, infusing or going back to those conspiracies over and over to get those answers, it required that amount of time because you have to basically --

COLLINS: How did you finally wrap it up? It's like we have to know.

HERNDON: We actually ended wrapping it up with a couple of -- he told us nearly everything. He told us stories about Prince in Minnesota, he told us kind of all of these fabulous stories about his life and we wanted to sift through that noise because it's still someone who is really using that power to do something that is fairly dangerous to democracy.

This is not something that I think people should really dismiss as a past issue. This is something that has taken on new life in the Republican Party and that is because even among the base, there is a sense that there -- that this grievance is a valid one, that the election is another piece of the kind of culture war that has been stolen from them, and that that's what he is really playing on.

And so that's what I thought was really important. It's also important for us to pair it with talking to the GOP chairwoman after that, to come to Ronna McDaniel and said, okay, you know, Michael Lindell is saying this, and she was not stepping away from that.

HARLOW: What was she saying? For people who haven't listened yet.

HERNDON: No problem. I mean, she was saying that really that Mike Lindell has a place in the Republican Party. She said that she did not -- she did not agree fully with this conspiracy, but she also did not fully deny fraud claims either.

This is someone who did not take the opportunity to step away from Lindell when we were doing that interview, and we were really talking to her --

COLLINS: And he challenged her for her job.

HERNDON: And he challenged her for her job. This just speaks to the level of that conspiracy that is ingrained in him, as a figure is ingrained to the party.

We were doing it to try to show the codependent relationship between the grassroots version of Republicans and the establishment. They need each other right now, and they both know that.

And so you both had Lindell seeking out for Ronna McDaniel, looking to give him some credibility, but you also have Ronna McDaniel who knows that she needs the people who like Mike Lindell and was not willing to step away from them.

They are hand-in-hand right now, even though they are trying to move on from the most explicit versions of his conspiracy.

HARLOW: I want to hear the Prince story in a commercial. Thank you, Astead.

COLLINS: And on top of all of this, we should note, he has been ordered to pay $5 million.


COLLINS: Because he said someone couldn't prove him wrong on election fraud and the person proved him wrong. Now, he is saying you won't pay. HERNDON: Absolutely. Very consistent with him. None of the facts

actually matter here. This is someone who is trying to push those type of conspiracies.

HARLOW: Thank you.

COLLINS: Astead, three hours.


COLLINS: I want the uncut version.

HERNDON: Do you? Do you?

COLLINS: Send it. I don't know. All right, Astead, thank you so much.

HERNDON: Thank you.

COLLINS: Also tracking this nationally, over the last four years, there has been a decline in high school graduates who are deciding to go to college. It's a new trend.

Harry Enten crunched the numbers. He is here in a moment with that analysis.

HARLOW: And Willie Nelson celebrating his 90th birthday in style, singing the classic "Roll Me Up" with Snoop Dogg. How fitting.




COLLINS: New this morning, a US Navy ship has now safely evacuated a hundred Americans from war-torn Sudan. You could see some of the images here to Saudi Arabia.

Over the weekend, the US government launched two convoys of buses to get citizens out of the country amid concerns about their safety. "The New York Times" is reporting this morning that armed American drones flew overhead and guarded the convoys as they made that 525-mile journey to the Red Sea.

CNN international correspondent, Larry Madowo is at seaport in Jeddah where Americans are being processed.

Larry, you've been doing great work covering this all weekend. What are you seeing? And what are you hearing about this journey and just how dangerous it was?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are seeing the final stages of what happens when the Americans get over here to the Port of Jeddah and then they are processed.

So many of them already have their passport stamped here at the Jeddah Islamic Port. They were received by a big US Embassy team here including the Consul-General and they make sure that they are taken care of. Is anybody sick? Does he need medical attention? They have that.

And there were 105 American citizens on that ship, but there are more because some of them are legal permanent residents. The US naval ship, Brunswick is the first US military ship to do this trip across the Red Sea.

There is likely going to be more because there are still Americans who are in Sudan waiting for a way to get out of there.

And I met this one family that talks about the difficulty of living through a warzone with little kids. Watch.


AMEL HAMIMY, WOMAN EVACUATED FROM SUDAN: It first started feeling like is that thunder or something?

MADOWO: Right.

HAMIMY: And after like the first week of the shooting, you start to recognize.

MADOWO: Okay, my, man. You take that, and I'll use this, yes.

Aren't you grateful though that they're so young that they don't fully understand what's going on?

HAMIMY: Yes, it is like -- so it was hard for them because till now when they hear any sound, Mustafa keep asking me, is that shooting? Is there any bomb? We have to go under the bed or corridor, like that. I was feeling so sorry about them for that.


MADOWO: There are so many kids that have been through this and that's the innocence, right? I see this little kid over there just kind of moving around with a suitcase and enjoying that moment. The innocence of it all.

It's a dangerous journey. The journey from Port Sudan to Jeddah, we did this over the weekend with the Saudi Navy, to port then and back, it is 10 to 12 hours. So, it's not easy.

They get seasick. They get bored. Sometimes they don't even have any entertainment and yet, that's the only way out to safety.

COLLINS: I know, it just -- it is amazing to see these little kids.

Larry, you should have let him keep your mic flag as he was playing with it there while you were talking to his mother. That was so cute.

All right, Larry Madowo, you've been doing great work though, so thank you. [08:30:12]