Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Russia Celebrates Victory Day with Smaller than Usual Military Display; U.S. Officials and Border Towns Bracing for Expected Influx of Migrants after Title 42 Expires; Man Who Witnessed Mass Shooting in Texas Interviewed on His Experience; Today: Biden, McCarthy To Meet At White House As Debt Ceiling Deadline Nears; Treasury Warns: "Economic Catastrophe" If Debt Ceiling Isn't Raised; U.S. Covid Public Health Emergency Set To End On Thursday. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 09, 2023 - 08:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: But time is quickly running out and the economy is at stake. Rick Scott, Senator, will join us live. He's one of 43 Republican senators who wrote us letter refusing the agree to lift the debt ceiling without big spending cuts.

This hour of CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

New this morning, Vladimir Putin delivering a defiant speech on Victory Day as his invasion of Ukraine continues to struggle.



HARLOW: The annual military parade noticeably scaled down. Victory Day celebrates the Soviet Union's triumph over Nazi Germany, and Russia usually flexes its military might. But this year there was only one tank, and it was from World War II, and there were no flyovers of fighter jets, bombers, or any other aircraft. In his speech, Putin accused the west of unleashing war against the Russian motherland. Security was tight. The military parade comes just days after a mysterious drone attack on the Kremlin. Hours before Putin's speech, Russia launched cruise missiles at Ukraine's capital of Kyiv.

So let's bring in CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance to start us out. As someone who has covered all things Putin and Moscow so closely, what was your take?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you're right, Poppy, definitely much smaller than we have seen in years past. There were, I think, 8,000 troops this year, there were 12,000 last year, for instance. There was no military flyover. Usually that's a spectacular highlight of this kind of annual Victory Day parade. There was an intercontinental ballistic missile as the centerpiece of the parade. That's certainly true. Russia underlining that it is still very much a nuclear power as it does every year by sort of parading these highly destructive weapons through over the cobbles of Red Square.

As you mentioned, there was just one tank, and that was a T-34 which is a tank from the 1940s that fought in the Second World War. So none of the most sophisticated weaponry that Russia is meant to have. There is a couple reasons for that. First of all, very real security concerns. This parade taking place just days after the Kremlin -- and this is the in the shadow of the Kremlin, remember, the Kremlin says drones attacked the domes of the center of the Kremlin in what they say was a Ukrainian assassination attempt on President Putin. Of course, the Ukrainians have denied that.

There's also been an upsurge in attacks around the country on various Russian installations. And in some places, in some Russian cities these Victory Day parades have been canceled all together. The one in Moscow went ahead, a few other ones went ahead as well. But in some places close to the Ukrainian border they did not go ahead at all because of security concerns.

The other issue it raises, the smaller nature of this parade, does Russia have the weapons? Does it have the tanks to put on display given that it is, it's military is very closely engaged in Ukraine now and preparing for a big Ukrainian counteroffensive.

HARLOW: That's right, and you would think this would be the year they would want so sort of flex that military might and show off. And clearly, they didn't do that. Matthew Chance, thank you.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: The pandemic era border policy known as Title 42 is set to expire in two days. U.S. officials and border towns, they are bracing for an influx of migrants. But the impact won't only be felt there. New York City says it's already struggling to house more than 60,000 asylum seekers who have arrived here since last year. Now Mayor Eric Adams has announced a new program to provide temporary shelters to migrants in nearby communities outside the city. This morning we had an executive from one of those communities on to discuss.


STEVEN NEUHAUS, (R) ORANGE COUNTY EXECUTIVE: We have to get back to what we were, that shining city on a hill that welcomed people from all over the world. We just got to do it the right way. We've got to figure out who these folks are, can we get them work, are they going to stay here permanently, what's their future. That's the plan we need.


MATTINGLY: CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval joins us from one of the areas where migrants could be sent. He's in Orange County, New York. And Polo, can you give us an idea about how prepared these areas, these suburbs outside of New York City are to house migrants, and what local residents are thinking right now?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Phil. So just to bring you up to speed, the hotel that you see behind me here in Rockland is actually one of the locations that has been picked by the Adams administration to offer some of that transportation to some of the migrants. To be clear for our viewers, if any of the roughly 38,000 asylum seekers still in New York City's care want to take up the offer to be relocated to a neighboring community, they still have to come forward.

So we will have to -- we don't yet have a very clear picture of just how many of these asylum seekers will end up in some of these neighboring communities, but certainly what this has caused is some conflict, some tension between some of the county officials like the one you heard from and certainly the Adams administration, as we heard from Steve Neuhaus this morning, the county executive, saying that there is conflicting information.


Initially on Friday, they received word from the Adams administration that they could see 30 to 60 people for about a month, and Neuhaus then adding that he is also getting calls from some of the local hotels and motels saying that some of the stays could go into the four months.

But what's really important and one of the main arguments that we are hearing from officials here on the ground is what will these asylum seekers be able to do once they get here in terms of employment, perhaps. Obviously, New York City is much easier to get around than for some of these areas where perhaps mass transportation isn't as available as it is back in New York City. Those are some of the real concerns that officials have about relocating the number of people, because we've talked time and time again, Phil, about that work authorization issue, that these well over 60,000 asylum seekers that have been processed by the city in just the last year, the concern is that they don't have those work opportunities. Barely have them in New York City. So when you bring them out here, then that challenge is so much greater. Guys?

MATTINGLY: No question. Polo Sandoval, great reporting, thanks so much.

Now, investigators are trying to determine what prompted a gunman to open fire on shoppers inside an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, on Saturday. It was an attack that took the lives of these eight people and wounded several others. Here's what we know so far. According to a database maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the shooter had worked for at least three security companies and had received hours of firearms efficiency training in recent years. A law enforcement source tells CNN he owned multiple weapons that was purchased legally, including an AR-15 style rifle used in the attack.

HARLOW: We also learned that the gunman did serve previously in the military but an Army spokesperson tells us he was terminated after only three months due to physical or mental health conditions. And officials are looking into whether rightwing extremism played into his motive after a social media post revealed and obsession with Nazi ideology, weapons, and mass shooters. Saturday's attack is one of more than one of 200 this year. That means we've had more mass shootings in 2023 than we have had days in the year.

Let's bring in Joshua Barnwell, a survive of Saturday's shooting. He is a Navy veteran who jumped into action and became a hero after the gunfire erupted. Good morning, Joshua.


HARLOW: You have seen a lot in your life, but I wonder if you have seen anything like this.

BARNWELL: No. I mean, two -- in the setting -- in the circumstances, no. No. I mean, yes. No.

HARLOW: Are you doing OK?

BARNWELL: Normally, I'm -- yes, normally I'm better at communicating that, but as far as being able to relate on a direct level to what occurred on Saturday, no. It's just a completely different circumstance with a completely different scenario.

HARLOW: Please don't apologize. You lived through, witnessed, and tried to help save people in an unimaginable crisis. So please don't apologize. But if you could just tell us what you did, because I understand that you had to tell a mother that her child had been murdered.

BARNWELL: Yes, unfortunately. When I finally came upon the area there in front of H&M where a good deal of the carnage occurred, I had already had one female that was deceased. And when I started to observe the area, there was a young child whose condition at that point was unknown, and I had a female and another younger female draped upon her, two adult males that were both wounded, and others, including another female that was underneath what I later found out was her husband, who was already deceased.

But when I approached to the one female victim that was on the ground, her request was for me to work on her daughter. So I began to attempt what I could on her daughter with the CPR, the chest compressions, and the mouth-to-mouth. But on my second run of the chest compressions is when I noticed just the massive amount of blood loss that was coming out from behind her against the pavement, and I'd realized at that point that she was deceased and there was nothing that I could do.


I turned around to again try to focus on the mother, and she kept asking me, repeatedly, was her daughter OK, was her daughter dead. And eventually, I realized that I couldn't put it off. She was going to continue, and I needed her to focus elsewhere. And so I then had to tell her that her daughter had passed, but that her other daughter was still there with us and her husband was there, and that's where I wanted her to focus. I wanted her to keep her strength to survive and stay with me for her husband and her daughter that were still there.

HARLOW: How do you even tell a mother that her child is dead? BARNWELL: Unfortunately, it's one of these things that we -- you have

to do. You have to center yourself and realize that there are no good options in this scenario at all. So you have to try to find the best justification for somebody to hold on, the best reason for them to continue despite the unbelievable pain of loss and, of course, pain that you are experiencing from your wounds.

HARLOW: Joshua, I was watching another interview that you gave the day after the mass shooting, and you said that you wanted people to know the depths of the depravity, and that's why it's been so important to you --

BARNWELL: Absolutely.

HARLOW: -- to explain this in excruciating detail. Why do you think it's so important for people to understand as viscerally as they can what you witnessed?

BARNWELL: Without feeling that emotion, that pain or whatever emotion that may, and I hope, occurs in people, there is no way that you are even going to begin to come close to understanding -- nobody that was not there and witnessed that will never be able to completely get to that depth. But if they can grasp one minute portion of that, then perhaps more people will start to look to find ways where we need to exist in a better way and we need to communicate with each other because we are all human beings.

And so I'm just hoping that they'll be understanding and emotion to make it more poignant to the public that were not there and perhaps those who may try to avoid these subjects because they are painful, but that pain needs to be there. If we don't feel that pain, then we become desensitized, and that's just a terrible, terrible place for anybody, any human being to be.

HARLOW: You are exactly right. Joshua, thank you so much for this, but really, for what you did that day for hours on end. You are an American hero. Thank you.

BARNWELL: Thank you.



Later today, President Biden is hosting congressional leaders at the White House as a potential default looms. This after 43 Republican senators banded together making clear they will not raise the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts. Senator Rick Scott is one of those senators. He's going to join us coming up next.



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They'll also discuss a separate process for budget and appropriations. Remember, that's a regular order. That is the way that we're supposed to be doing this having a negotiation on budget, not connecting it to the debt ceiling. I would call the debt ceiling negotiations. I would call it -- I would call it a conversation between the four leaders and the President.


MATTINGLY: What officials say President Biden is determined to hold the line on raising the debt limit with no conditions when he meets with congressional leaders later today. But time is quickly running out before the government has its first default in history, in the economy and closer to that disaster. Over the weekend 43 Senate Republicans signed a letter saying they would not lift the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts.

One of the senators is Florida Republican Rick Scott and he joins us now.

Senator, the semantic debate over negotiations and what constitutes what doesn't really matter. What does matter, though, I think is the specifics of your letter, which I want to be very clear was a really big moment in this process that we're playing out, making very clear to the White House and Democrats that there is no kind of backdoor way through the Senate to try and make a deal.

But I am interested, you say you will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without any substantive spending or budget reforms, how do you define that? Because that's pretty important, defining substantive spending and budget reforms in terms of getting Republicans' support.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Sure. Well, first off, Americans are very concerned about inflation, and they're very concerned about their retirement. Both of those things are caused by massive government debt, and massive government spending, a government that can never live within its means. You know -- you know, every family has to live within their means, our government has decided they don't ever have to live within their means.

So, what I want to have is, I want to have a path, it's not going to happen, I know, in a day, but a path to fiscal sanity, which means that path to a balanced budget. I did it as governor of Florida. I also want to get rid of wasteful spending, Americans are sick and tired of watching their government waste money. And I like what the House did, because they have a provision in there that I believe in, is that able bodied Americans are to get back to work.

We've got to build our economy again, we got to get, you know, everybody back to work. And we've got to have fiscal sanity. So, that's what I believe in, and I think that's exactly what we all come to, together with Republicans, Democrats, we ought to be saying the same thing. We want to -- we want -- we want to responsibly raise the debt ceiling and we want people working, we want to stop waste, and we want to have a path to fiscal sanity. So, I think it's pretty basic. MATTINGLY: So, I think the question becomes -- you know, as you make clear, what you're proposing couldn't get done in one day. We only have about three and a half weeks left for the deadline that the Treasury Department is eyeing right now. I understand your personal position on that, those positions aren't going to get 60 votes in the Senate or 218 votes in the House. So, what's the answer here? Where, from where you are, is there anything you could support short of the House bill or short of the pretty dramatic fiscal priorities you're laying out?


SCOTT: Well, let's think about it (ph). I think what the House put out is very logical. All right? It was well thought out. It makes sense. I think, first of all, why doesn't -- why isn't Chuck Schumer bringing it to the floor and let us vote on it, and let's to have unlimited amendments and see if we can come up with something better. Why doesn't Joe Biden come out with what he would do? He sat there since -- you know, he's known about this for months, and he sat there have no proposal.

So, you know, there's a lot of things we could do. There might be other better ideas, but I think we've got it -- we've got to understand, we have a fiscal problem in this country. It's causing inflation; it's hurting our families. People worried about their retirement.

MATTINGLY: So, why do you have to use this moment?

SCOTT: So, we've got to figure this out.

MATTINGLY: But why use this moment, this -- the debt ceiling and the potential catastrophe that breaching it of defaulting could bring instead of just doing that through a budget and spending process?

SCOTT: Well, as you know, budget -- you know, Congress doesn't pass budgets. So, it's a nice thought. If they don't pass budgets, we don't even have budget conversations. We don't even do -- we don't do it. I mean, that's an absolute joke to even think about a budget in Congress right now. They don't -- they don't -- they don't do it.

And by the way, we've got thirty one and a half trillion dollars of debt, our interest expense is skyrocketing. All right, we -- where do we stop? Where do we say that this really responsible thing is to balance our budget? When you think about a person and they run their credit card up to the max, that's not a responsible person.

Your government is not acting responsibly, when he can't live within his means. And so, we've got to figure out, how can we live within our means to provide the services we care about?

MATTINGLY: I mean, to be fair, this is actually just paying off the credit card that's already -- these are expenses that have already been incurred. And I think that's the kind of rub here between having the debate now versus having it on a spending process. I do have one more question, then we'll move on to a couple other

things. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Leader McConnell has made clear he believes this is a House Republican and White House negotiation that needs to happen. Are you confident that Speaker McCarthy can strike the deal that can get this across the finish line?

SCOTT: Well, first off, I have -- I have confidence in Kevin McCarthy. I'm disappointed Joe Biden has sat on his hands and Chuck Schumer. But here's it -- here's how it works, everybody's relevant in this. It's got to pass the House, it's got to pass the Senate, and Joe Biden has to sign it. So, every -- we all have to be at the table.

Last week, we had a press conference with I think 22 Republicans that are saying, we believe in what Kevin McCarthy is trying to do, brings fiscal sanity, gets people back to work, stops reckless spending, that makes sense to all of us. And we're doing it because Americans are scared of their inflation, and they're worried about their retirement. We've got to show up Republicans or Democrats and do something that's responsible here.

MATTINGLY: I do want to switch topics, just briefly. Obviously, we've seen the tragedies from the shootings, mass shootings repeatedly over the course of the last couple of weeks. But we had the Volusia County Sheriff on earlier today, who made clear that you were such a leader in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. In terms of the gun safety rules, you were able to put in place, lead the way on those.

One of those was raising the age for the purchases of long guns and rifles from 18 to 21. We saw Texas very surprisingly, kind of start moving in that direction. Why don't you think that works on the federal level?

SCOTT: Well, first off -- first off, I believe in the Second Amendment, I believe that we should not be restricting access to guns for law abiding Americans. But I think what we've got to do is we got to look at everything we do, just like what we did after the Parkland shooting, I brought mental health counselors together, educators together, law enforcement together and say, what can we do? And one thing was we put law enforcement in all of our public schools.

I have a bill right now that I would hope everybody, Republicans, Democrats would support nationally, and it's called the school Guardian Act. It would basically say, we're going to put a trained law enforcement officer in every school, public and private in the country. We have the funding at the federal level. We don't need the 87,000 IRS agents. I think every mom and dad would say, I'd rather have a law enforcement officer to be turned in to my school rather than another IRS agent.

So, we have the resources, let's spend the money that way. So, I hope every Republican and Democrat will come on board, and we can get that done.

MATTINGLY: But on the court (ph) -- quickly, because we don't have much time left, but on the question of the age, which again, you led it was a sweeping proposal, raise the age from 18 to 21. Sir, the Florida Republican majorities are now moving to undo that at this point in time. Governor DeSantis calling it unconstitutional.

Do you feel like that can be done at a federal level? Do you feel like the Florida Republicans are doing the wrong thing, undoing it or working to undo it now, you're working with 2018?

SCOTT: So, I supported what we did, and it's kept our school safe knock-on wood. Hope that continues. So, you know, every state can make that decision, for what fits for their state. But right now, what I'm trying to do is I know, you know, something that really did work in our state. I want to get that done nationally, and that's get a law enforcement officer in every school in this country.


MATTINGLY: Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida. Thanks so much for the time, sir.

SCOTT: Nice seeing you, bye-bye.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Really important conversation Phil, thank you for that. This Thursday, the COVID-19 Emergency in this country in the U.S. officially ends. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a fascinating essay on it. And he's here to explain exactly, what does that means for you and for your family.

MATTINGLY: And with that emergency declaration ending showed us the border policy title 42. Cities in Texas are preparing for surges of migrants over the border because of that expiration. CNN's David Culver spoke to some migrants just over the border in Mexico were making their way to the U.S.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Four and a half days on the train. Mike (PH) says, it's for the American dream and they're going to try to cross today.



HARLOW: So, I don't know if we ever thought that this day was going to come as I look at Phil because it's been a long three years the U.S. COVID Public Health Emergency is set.