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CNN This Morning

Yellen Says, U.S. Could Default on Its Debt by June 1 if Congress Doesn't Act; Hollywood Writers Go on Strike, Production on Many T.V. Shows Halted; Illinois Dust Storm Leaves Six Dead After 70- Plus Vehicles Crash on Highway. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired May 02, 2023 - 07:00   ET


JEFF BENEDICT, AUTHOR, LEBRON: On the way they go about the game because they've been doing it for so long, the mind games that they play against their opponents.


The interesting thing is, against each other, they can't really do that because they both know the other one so well, they've played against each other, there's not really those mind games. I think it's just going to be some fantastic basketball.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, the Steph curry quote, attitude can manifest a lot of things. It is so great.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I was just going to say, what did he say again? And that was last week?

COLLINS: That was Sunday after he had that incredible game, end of that. But he had missed five free throws in the last two or three games and he was saying that's not like him. But he was saying he got up there, and even though he missed, he had this huge grin on his face because he was saying it's all about your attitude is.

HARLOW: Attitude can manifest a lot of things.

BENEDICT: Yes. Well, they both have good attitudes.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, we'll see what they manifest for tonight. Jeff, thank you so much, as always, we love having you here.

HARLOW: Congrats again on the book. CNN This Morning continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warning Washington it has just 31 days to pay America's bills or risk an economic catastrophe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This deal has got to be between Biden and McCarthy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's juvenile. It's irresponsible. It's essentially political arson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time for Republicans and Democrats to sit in the room and act like adults and make sure that the United States doesn't default on our loans.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A tragic scene in Central Illinois, a dust storm led to a series of pileups.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now that the dust and smoke has cleared, you can see what's left of this horrific and deadly crash.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Several vehicles and even the semis that had jackknifed, air bags were deploying all around us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FBI releasing a new picture of the suspect who allegedly gunned down four adults and a nine-year-old boy.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: He's been deported four times, which means he knows that border crossing.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's very, very hard to go on the run without a support network and a lot of money. And it's unlikely that he had any of those.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This morning, more than 11,000 Hollywood writers are on strike after contract negotiations failed with the studios.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: I also think that the writer's demands are not unreasonable. I'm a member of the guild. I support collective bargaining.

Unions are the reason we have weekends, and by extension, why we have TGI Fridays.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The moment has arrived. Fashion's biggest night is here at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't really care about comfort. I care about the vibe and what it feels like and what it looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I keep saying, we're so happy to be away from our children. Anywhere that would have us without them is just the greatest gift of all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever been in there? It's wild. It's wild.


COLLINS: Good morning, everyone, those scenes from the Met Gala last night. Let me just say I completely disagree with Kim Kardashian. I think you have to be comfortable over looking great.

HARLOW: I'm somewhere the middle there. I'm somewhere the middle there. But she looked great. Everyone looked great. Did you see the cat outfit on Jared Leto?

COLLINS: Yes. Jared Leto (INAUDIBLE) cat also, but Channelling Karl Lagerfeld's.

HARLOW: We'll get to it in a minute.

COLLINS: Yes. We will show you those scenes and more in a moment.

But we're going to talk about a real serious headline coming out of Washington, this warning as we are now 30 days away from a potential economic disaster. We're now learning that Speaker Kevin McCarthy has agreed to meet with President Biden, accepting his invitation to the White House next week to talk about raising the debt limit. That comes after an urgent and dire warning from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, she is predicting that the government could run out of money to pay its bills as soon as June 1st if Congress does not act.

Of course, it's not likely Congress is going to act any time soon. They have not had any talks between the two. And what that means is that millions of Americans could lose their jobs and their benefits.

President Biden has invited all four congressional leaders to the White House for talks one week from today. A source tells CNN that McCarthy has accepted that invitation, but so far, neither side is budging on those talks despite the new warning that we're getting from the Treasury Department.

McCarthy right now is demanding huge spending cuts, which would gut President Biden's agenda, and the White House wants House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling with no conditions, just like Democrats did for President Trump.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. We're facing the real possibility of a 2008-style economic catastrophe here.

Arlette Saenz is live at the White House. Arlette, you know, ever since this warning came down from the treasury secretary, there is no sign of softening their positions from President Biden or Speaker McCarthy. And despite all four leaders going to the White House, it's really between these two men to decide what is going to happen here.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Kaitlan. And President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy remain far apart in their positions on how to deal with the debt ceiling, but they have at least agreed on one thing, and that is to sit down one week from today to talk about the path forward when it comes to the debt limit.

Now, this would break months of silence between the two camps. They have not spoken since early February. But officials here at the White House insist that President Biden is not backing down from his demands that Congress pass a clean debt ceiling increase without any conditions attached to it.


Officials have said that he is willing in these discussions next week to start talking about the way forward on budget and appropriations for next year. But there really is this heightened sense of urgency now that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the U.S. could default on its debts in just under a month. That is a staggering deadline that this administration and Congress is facing, as it would impact millions of Americans and potentially have catastrophic consequences on the economy.

But, really, if you take a look, this is the most heightened showdown that we have seen between Biden and McCarthy in this era of divided government. The question going forward is whether these two men will be able to come together, come to an agreement to try to avoid any catastrophic consequences to the economy.

COLLINS: Yes, certainly a lot hanging in the balance. Arlette, thank you.

HARLOW: Let's bring in CNN Chief Political Correspondent and co- Anchor of State of the Union Dana Bash. Good morning.



BASH: Good to see you in person.

HARLOW: I know, a treat. Eight joint sessions, that's all we have left before June 1st to get this thing done. Senator Thom Tillis said last night Washington is best when it has a deadline to respond to.

BASH: Well, let's just be clear, Washington only responds when there's a deadline to respond to. And they usually go up to the wire, to the brink. This is one of the many, many reasons why people in the real world look at Washington and say, are you kidding me? Get this done.

But we know what's going on here. What's going on is that the Republicans in the House laid down their marker. Kevin McCarthy muscled through that bill last week to cut spending and also to raise the debt ceiling. And Biden administration, along with his -- most of his Democratic colleagues in Congress say, we're not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling.

So, this is very important that they're actually meeting, that they're actually talking. We know what is likely going to happen, which if they actually get this done, which is they will negotiate on the budget, not the debt ceiling. It's going to end up being semantics. And the question is whether they can get to the point where there is enough buy-in from enough bipartisan members, particularly in the House, to get this passed and so America does not default.

COLLINS: But that's not easy feat.

BASH: No, it's incredibly hard.

COLLINS: I mean, they could just barely this bill that they got through the House passed. And so the question is, it's not just the hoop that McCarthy and Biden have to come to an agreement, then McCarthy has to take this back to House Republicans and say, okay, I need all of you to vote for this. And that is anything but guaranteed.

BASH: I think it's almost impossible, don't you think? He's not going to get all of his Republicans to vote for it, which is why there's got to be some maneuvering, political maneuvering on the part of McCarthy and also the Democrats to try to figure out how to get this done to get whatever the this is to raise the debt ceiling passed in the House in a way that has bipartisan support because McCarthy is going to lose a lot of his caucus, his conference. He just is. And so there's got to be a way to do whatever -- again, whatever they come up with, assuming they come up with something, with significant Democratic support, otherwise America will default.

HARLOW: I thought your interview on Sunday with Bernie Sanders was interesting for many reasons, but, one, because he did say there are -- there is a lot of waste in government and there are things that I would agree to cut. He also said raising taxes, he wants.

BASH: Yes.

HARLOW: But you just heard Ro Khanna on with us last hour and he's a hard no. And most people, except for Manchin, are hard no. So, I just don't understand where on Earth this goes, unless you can somehow politically make it look like a win for both. That's the only way to do it, right?

BASH: That's it. You just nailed it. Can you go down to Washington and figure this out?

HARLOW: No thanks. I'm good.

BASH: No, that's exactly right. And when Bernie Sanders was on with me on State of the Union most of the cuts that he said he would support were military spending --

HARLOW: Which they won't do.

BSAH: -- things that they won't do. But, yes, he said there is some waste, which I agree with you, that was a big deal for Bernie Sanders to say that.

Yes, the Democrats are saying we're a hard no, but these are lines in the sand that each side need to put down in a very deep way for their constituencies. As we've heard so many times probably in all of your private conversations, we're not going to negotiate against ourselves, which is why they put those markers down. But they've already put the markers down. Now, it's time to negotiate with the other side.

COLLINS: It has as real implications, I mean, if you have social security benefits, if you have veterans' benefits, all of that could be impacted by this.


I mean, the fact that we're less than a month away, I think, is really striking to people as well. And I guess one question is could the markets put pressure on both parties? I mean, that really seems to be only something that could get both of them to come to an agreement.

HARLOW: Jamie Dimon told us the markets will feel it before you even hit a default.

COLLINS: Right, even before we get close to that June 1 deadline.

BASH: Yes. I mean, Tom Emmer, who is the number three Republican in the House, insisted to me on Sunday, the Republicans will not allow America to default. So, that was a tell. It was an important thing for him to say. Back in 2011 when the Congress and the White House went up to the brink, America didn't default, but the rating was downgraded, and that was really detrimental to a lot of people's wallet. So, is it possible that that happens again? Unfortunately, yes.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, they've got a new deadline. We'll see what happens.

BASH: Nice to see you.

COLLINS: Dana bash, love having you here in person.

BASH: Thank you.

COLLINS: Also, former President Trump is going to be taking questions from New Hampshire primary voters, speaking of politics. This is in an exclusive CNN town hall. I'm going to be moderating that event next Wednesday, May 10th at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.

HARLOW: I cannot wait for that. That's going to be fascinating.

New this morning, Hollywood writers are on strike. More than 11,000 Writers Guild of America members are walking off the job this morning after negotiations over their pay broke down. The writers' union says the nation's top studios, networks and streaming platforms have created a gig economy inside a union workforce. Some of your favorite T.V. shows could be affected by the strike, late night shows are going to be among the first to really feel that direct impact. Late night host Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers all spoke out.


COLBERT: Everybody including myself hopes both sides reach a deal, but I also think that the writers' demands are not unreasonable. I'm a member of the guild. I support collective bargaining. This nation owes so much to unions. They're the reason unions -- this is true. Unions are the reason we have weekends, and, by extension, why we have TGI Fridays.

REPORTER: If there is a strike, do you go dark?

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON: If there's a strike, yes, I think we will, yes. I think we'll go dark. Whatever I can do to support the guild, I am actually in the Writers' Guild as well. So, yes, I couldn't do the show without them. STEPHEN MEYERS, HOST, LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS: For those people who have a job in show business, they are entitled to fair compensation. They are entitled to make a living.


HARLOW: The last strike in 2007 lasted 100 days. It cost an estimated $2 billion. During that time, networks leaned more heavily on unscripted shows.

COLLINS: Also just in, the University of California Davis is under shelter in place -- a shelter in place order after a stabbing near campus. It's the third attack that has happened there since Thursday. Students have been advised to stay indoors until further notice. It's unclear how severe the victims' injuries are or whether they're a student at the school. We're still learning more details as of this moment right now.

Karim Najm was stabbed to death at a local park on Saturday. Najm is described as an exceptional student majoring in computer science. And 50-year-old David Breaux was also stabbed to death in a nearby park on Thursday. Breaux is known in the community as the compassion guy, described as a gentle and kind, soft spoken, thoughtful, brilliant and selfless.

HARLOW: New this morning, a Texas sheriff's office releasing this wanted poster for the man suspected of killing five people, including a little boy. Hundreds of officers and agents are looking right now for Francisco Oropeza, who they say is armed and dangerous, also on the run. He accused of opening fire on his neighbors after the father asked him to stop shooting his gun because his baby was trying to sleep.

A law enforcement source tells CNN officers are on the lookout near the southern border in case the suspect tries to escape to Mexico. He is a Mexican national. We also learned that he has been deported four times since entering the United States illegally.

Ed Lavendera is following this for us in Cleveland, Texas. Ed, that was a big -- that was a big thing to learn overnight that four times they've deported him and he's come back. Do they have any sense, any leads of where he may be this morning?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We do not, no, since they have put out the $80,000 award that they announced on Sunday afternoon. We don't know if that has generated any substantial, credible leads that will get them closer to them.

This is the scene here where the vigil -- there was a vigil here last night, the flickering candles left over from that at this crime scene. We do know that just next door yesterday, an FBI agent was inside the home and searching and going through various cars that were on the property belonging to Francisco Oropeza. We tried asking FBI officials what exactly all that was about.

[07:15:00] They would only say they are following all possible leads in this investigation at this point.

So, yesterday, we heard very little from investigators as to how the search for Francisco Oropeza is going, Poppy. It's now been more than 72 hours since this deadly rampage happened here on Friday night.

HARLOW: Wow. No closer, it sounds like. Ed, thank you very much for the update.

COLLINS: Also coming up this morning, we're going to take you live to the scene in Illinois where at least six people are dead after this scene here, a huge fiery pileup that involved more than 70 cars and semi-trucks.

HARLOW: Plus, a Trump-era immigration policy is about to end next week, thousands of migrants waiting to cross the southern border. Our Rosa Flores is live in El Paso, Texas.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Coming up on CNN This Morning, take a look behind me. This is El Paso in a state of emergency. Hundreds of migrants are sleeping on the streets, but Title 42 is still in place. So, why are we seeing so many migrants here in El Paso? I'll let you know when I see you next.



COLLINS: This morning, a major highway in Central Illinois remains shut down after a blinding dust storm caused 72 vehicles to crash, killed six people, left 37 more injured. Police say that the rare storm caused a zero visibility situation. The crashes involved passenger cars and commercial vehicles, including two tractor trailers that also caught on fire.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus joins me now. Adrienne, of course, a big question is when the interstate is going to open up again, what's that's going to look like. What's your sense and what you've heard from officials?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kaitlan, you can look for yourself and see the interstate is open now. And this is what it looks like. It reopened in both directions north and south about ten minutes ago. Meanwhile, excessive wind gusts yesterday, plus the blowing soil from nearby farm lands created those blinding conditions.


BROADDUS (voice over): a deadly dust storm causing a massive wreck on a major highway in Central Illinois Monday.

MAJ. RYAN STARRICK, ILLINOIS STATE POLICE: It sounds like due to the low visibility, the high winds, everything, it was -- everything just came together unfortunately in this particular stretch of I-55. And it was -- my heart goes out to them. BROADDUS: Six people were killed, including 88-year-old Shirley Harper from Franklin, Wisconsin. That's according to the Illinois State Police. At least 37 people were sent to the hospital with injuries, ranging from minor to life-threatening. Their ages span from 2 years old to 80, according to state police.

FRANK HORRELL, TRAVELER: I've never seen so many fire engines, police cars and ambulances. The smoke was just incredible, blowing over for a long time.

BROADDUS: More than 70 vehicles crashed on a two-mile stretch of I-55 when 45 mile-per-hour winds swept through nearby farms and fields, picking up dirt, soil and other debris, blinding drivers. One driver described the scene to local affiliate KSDK saying, the crashes happened one by one, all around them.

PENNY RAAB, TRAVELER (voice over): The closer we approached it, the visibility just continually got worse and then all of a sudden it was just a complete blackout. Airbags were deploying all around us.

BROADDUS: Another traveler driving in the area at the time described the conditions.

MIKE TOLAN, TRAVELER: You couldn't see -- like somebody put a brown blanket in front of your windshield, you couldn't see nothing, you know?

BROADDUS: multiple commercial vehicles and tractor trailers were involved in the pileup, including two semi trucks that caught fire.

KEVIN SCHOTT, DIRECTOR, MONTGOMERY COUNTY EMA: We had multiple vehicles involved. Some were on fire. So, we had vehicle fires to extinguish. We had to search every vehicle, whether they were involved in the accident or just pulled over to check for injuries.


BROADDUS (on camera): As you can imagine, some terrifying moments for those travelers who were along this stretch of I-55.

Now, at least this portion of I-55 where we are standing, from what we can see, is back open. We know there was at least 17 miles of the interstate that was shut down.

And if you look behind us, it's easy to notice remnants left behind. You can see where the road burned from those cars that were on fire. Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Yes, just a dramatic scene playing out. Of course, thinking of everyone involved in that. Adrienne, thank you.

HARLOW: Tens of thousands of migrants are waiting in shelters and on streets in makeshift camps in Northern Mexico, just as the Trump-era border policy Title 42 is about to expire. This is according to advocates and officials in four cities. Title 42 allows the United States to quickly expel migrants from the country. President Trump invoked it during the pandemic and will expire on Thursday.

Rosa Flores is live in El Paso, Texas, right on the border. Rosa, good morning to you. Talk about the significance of what we're seeing behind given this expiration date of next week.

FLORES: Poppy, the last time you and I spoke, and I was in El Paso, there were dozens of migrants on the street. Take a look behind me now. There are hundreds of migrants around this Catholic Church. In some areas, it's about five people deep in this sidewalk.

Now, city officials here very concerned about public safety, about shelter and transportation. The transportation piece is important because there's only so many seats. There's limited seats out of this city which creates a bottleneck. That's why the city of El Paso, among many other things, that's why they issued a state of emergency.


Now, process this with me. Title 42 is still in effect, and it allows immigration agents to very swiftly return migrants back to Mexico. So, the obvious question here is why are we seeing so many migrants in El Paso right now?

I've been talking to migrants, officials on both sides of the border and also community leaders on both sides of the border, and here is that what they tell me. There's about 40,000, nearly 40,000 migrants who are northern Mexican cities who have been waiting, some of them for months, for Title 42 to lift. A lot of them are losing that you are patience and crossing over the border.

Now, they're crossing, some of them, by turning themselves into border authorities. Others are not. They are crossing illegally. And so that is what you're seeing here, a mixed status, individuals who are both turning themselves into border authorities and also crossing the border illegally. That's why you're seeing a lot of these individuals here in El Paso, even though Title 42 is still in place.

COLLINS: Yes. It's remarkable to see that scene behind you. We talked to the mayor of El Paso yesterday about the influx of people in his city, what it looks like. He said he went across the border and he talked to people who said they felt like once that deadline happens, once Title 42 is lifted, that it means essentially that the border is open.

I think it raises the question of whether officials there feel like the Biden administration is prepared for what it is going to look like on May 12th.

FLORES: You know, you're absolutely right. And I just want to show you that this is the alley in between this block. And you can see that on both sides, there are people still sleeping on the street. Again, these are hundreds of individuals. And, Kaitlan, back to your question, the Biden administration has been preparing for the lifting of Title 42 for more than a year now. And to be fair, the administration has seen a change in both the nationalities in the individuals who are crossing the border and also geographically where the flow is coming from.

Now, the administration has done multiple things, some of them you can actually see. For example, they have added holding capacity by adding about ten soft-sided facilities since 2021. They've also added air and transportation capabilities not only to deport migrants back to their home countries, if they're not admissible into the United States, but also to decompress. It's a really fancy word for saying they're moving migrants where they're at capacity, i.e. here in El Paso, you're seeing a lot of people here on the street, to areas on the border where they have space for processing.

And then there's things you really can't see because these are policy changes. And those are, to be very brief, in essence, legal pathways for migrants to enter into the country. But here is the key, the administration is adding legal consequences for individuals that don't use those legal pathways, Kaitlan and Poppy. And so what they're trying to do is to deter illegal immigration, asking migrants to do it the legal way.

HARLOW: Yes. Rosa Flores, thank you very much for being there. And we'll keep coming to you as we approach this May 11th expiration, what happens, as Kaitlan said, the next day, May 12th.

COLLINS: Yes, everyone is watching that day on the calendar.

Also, until then, released this morning, the surgeon general is laying out framework to tackle loneliness and to, quote, mend the social fabric of our nation. We're going to break down what they're saying should happen, next.

HARLOW: But before we go to break, the world of folk music is saying good-bye to Canadian songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. He died on Monday at the age of 84. His death comes less than a month after he canceled his tour for this year. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described him as one of our greatest singer/songwriters who captured our country's spirit in his music.