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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Biden, Senators Hoped To Finish Infrastructure Bill Today; China Blames U.S. For Strained Relations As Diplomats Meet; U.S. General Vows To Continue Airstrikes Supporting Afghan Troops; Over 70 Million People In Japan Watched Opening Ceremony; Officers, Bystanders Save Baby & Mom Trapped Under Crashed Car. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 26, 2021 - 05:30   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The Japanese tennis star has not lost a set in two matches, and an early disappointment in the pool for Team USA Ariarne Titmus of Australia stunning American Katie Ledecky to win gold in the women's 400-meter freestyle.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Civil Rights legend Bob Moses died on Sunday. Moses was the architect of a 1964 voter registration campaign, and the leader of the top students civil rights group SNCC. He also founded a national organization that taught math literacy to African-American students. Moses was 86 years old.

JARRETT (voice-over): In Utah, at least seven people are dead and several more critically hurt after a sandstorm caused a 20 vehicle pileup. Authorities closed eye 15 in both directions near Kanosh. CNN meteorologist say a strong thunderstorm in the area caused winds over 50 miles an hour.

ROMANS (voice-over): This morning in Michigan almost 90,000 customers are waking up in the dark. The National Weather Service confirms tornadoes touched down around Detroit and Flint over the weekend. There's significant damage to the electrical infrastructure we're told.

JARRETT (voice-over): And unusually large meteor lit up the night sky over Norway, Sunday. People close to the meteors path reported feeling shockwaves before parts of it fell to Earth outside Oslo. The blast was recorded as a seismic event no reports of damage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This award winning actor and director is the next guest host of "Jeopardy."

LEVAR BURTON, ACTOR: Who is me? LeVar Burton.


JARRETT (voice-over): LeVar Burton kicks off his one week stint as "Jeopardy" guest host tonight. The fan favorite says he was absolutely petrified when he took the stage for the taping. "Jeopardy" will match the contestant's total winnings this week and donate them to Burton's chosen charity. Reading is fundamental.

ROMANS: All right, 31 minutes past the hour. Remember this from President Biden's CNN Town Hall last week?


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Negotiators say that they need more time.


LEMON: OK. So then, but they're expected to vote again on Monday. But how much time do you think that they need to get this done?

BIDEN: On Monday.


ROMANS: Well, it's Monday, everybody, and infrastructure negotiators are in a tough spot here this morning.

Let's bring in CNN's Jasmine Wright, she's watching all of the twists and turns in this infrastructure drama. She joins us live in Washington with more. Good morning Jas. What can you tell us?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, you're exactly right, Christine, negotiators are in a hard spot. And this just comes after a weekend of talks and calls even from the President himself, CNN has learned. And it's really ahead of a two-week critical stretch before a scheduled recess. So they are racing to try to get something done.

Now, CNN has learned that the issues fall in a couple different spots. First is on that COVID relief money how to redirect. Remember because he that has been a long sore spot during the length of these entire negotiations. Also still issues on transit funding issues on required pay for workers who work on federally funded projects and issues over broadband, remember that is one of the Vice President's areas of focus for this framework.

So, not necessarily small things that they don't agree on. And of course, it something that doesn't make any of this all easier is that the Congressional Budget Office kind of scored this bill and showed that it wasn't exactly fully paid for which is now sending of lawmakers kind of scrambling. CNN has also learned to try to fill in the blanks and get that money all settle for, because remember, that is one of the things that President Biden requested is that it all be paid for.

So while they go through these efforts today trying to get something done to negotiators will be meeting today. It also comes as Democrats in another section of the Senate work on trying to get together that $3.5 trillion spending package that they intend to pass along party lines kind of complicating the process as well.

ROMANS: All right, thanks so much for that Jasmine. Nice to see you this morning. Laura.

JARRETT: OK. Also this morning, high Level talks between the U.S. and China are off to a very tense star. Chinese officials say negotiations are at a stalemate. They call us policy dangerous and misguided, accusing Washington of portraying China as an imagined enemy.

Kristie Lu Stout is live in Hong Kong on this story. Kristie, the U.S. Secretary -- Deputy Area of State apparently wanted to underscore that the U.S. doesn't want to have relations veer into conflict. But isn't that exactly where we are?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura. I mean these talks have gotten off to a very 10 start and ahead of this meeting underway in Tianjin, China. We did hear from U.S. officials who said that the Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman would seek these guardrails which tried in order to better manage competition and to avoid conflict, but instead she has been getting an earful from Chinese officials from Wang Yi, China's Foreign Minister who has been using Chinese state-run media to emphasize the message that no country is superior to other countries and also from Wang Yi's deputy Xie Feng.

Who today from Tianjin has been issuing a series of strongly worded statements rebuking the United States, blaming the United States for the current quote, stalemate and relations and also this, I'll bring it up for you. He says this quote, China has never gone to others doorsteps to provoke trouble. It is the United States, not anybody else who is the inventor and patent and intellectual property owner of coercive diplomacy, unquote.


This meeting in Tianjin, it comes at a time of deepening tension between the U.S. and China, especially after that first high-level summit that took place under the Biden administration between U.S. and China in Alaska in March that erupted in that high profile and very public confrontation. Since then, both sides have been trading diplomatic barbs as well as tit for tat sanctions, given the current tone and the relationship.

A number of political watchers and China watchers have been talking to say that it is not likely that any significant outcomes will come out of these high-level talks in Tianjin.

But they are talking. And if the talks go relatively smoothly, there is a chance that it could pave the way to a Xi Jinping and Joe Biden summit that could possibly take place on the sidelines of the G20 meeting to take place in Italy in late October. Laura.

JARRETT: Something to watch for, for sure. All right, Kristie.


JARRETT: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, to the economy now. Call it a vote of confidence and America's ability to rebound the pandemic. Global investors poured more than $900 billion into U.S. stocks, bonds and mutual funds in the first half of the year. That is the most since 1992. That's according to data from Refinitiv. Of course this is looking in the rearview mirror.

More recently, the Delta variant has sparked concern it could threaten the pace of that recovery. Another surge in coronavirus cases could prevent supply chains from recovering which will keep the pressure up on prices for shoppers, remember consumer prices inflation rose 5.4% over the past year the biggest jump in inflation in 13 years.

JARRETT: Louisiana GOP Congressman Clay Higgins revealing he now has coronavirus for the second time. Higgins has not said whether he's been vaccinated although he has encouraged other people to get their shot. It's also unclear when he was last around his Republican colleagues. Louisiana has had one of the highest rates of new cases in the country and is among the -- has among the lowest vaccination rates not a great combination.

ROMANS: And of course, what I've heard among the vaccine hesitancy in some cases is, oh, I had a mild form of --

JARRETT: I already have.

ROMANS: -- coronavirus. I don't need it. I have the antibodies. Do you know you still have the antibodies? Because if you're being reinfected you probably don't. That is why the CDC recommends that you be vaccinated even if you have had coronavirus.

JARRETT: Is very important reminder. We'll be right back.




GEN. KENNETH MCKENZIE, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: So we will continue to support the Afghan forces even after that 31 August day, it will generally be from over the horizon. And that will be a significant change. And then it will be time for the -- for Afghan forces to fight and carry on the battle themselves. We spent a lot of time training them, now is their moment, now is the time for that very stern test that I noted earlier they're going to face.


JARRETT: That's the head of U.S. Central Command vowing to continue airstrikes in support of Afghan military even after U.S. troops fully withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of August. Now violence has been escalating across Afghanistan with the Taliban, launching a sweeping offensive just days after U.S. led forces began their final withdrawal.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in London. Nic, good morning. Help us try to understand the thinking here. The U.S. was withdrawing but at the same time continuing these strikes.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: And the strikes are really intended to change the momentum of what's happening on the battlefield at the moment. If you look at what the Taliban have done over the past few months is take a lot of rural territory around the country including a lot of key border connections connecting Afghanistan to Iran to Tajikistan, to Turkmenistan, to Uzbekistan, and even some of the border controls with Pakistan.

So, this narrative that the U.S. is drawing down, that it's pulling forces out, but it's going to maintain that over the horizon close air support is really designed to send a very clear message to the Taliban that the United States is not gone, because that close air support is seen as one of the key things that is given the Taliban the -- you know, the confidence that it can take on Afghan forces and beat them, which is what it -- which is what it's been doing. So there is that sort of changing the narrative apart there.

But Afghan officials worry about several things. One is, you know, I was in a briefing not so long ago with an Afghan official who said look this over the horizon, close air support over the horizon, being from bases not in Afghanistan, is not that potentially not going to work that well, because U.S. aircraft would have to overfly Pakistan. And there are concerns about doing that, about getting permission potentially and also about information getting passed in advanced the Taliban before airstrikes as a concern.

What the Afghans are doing is stepping up and trying to bring in some of the own Air Force recondition, some of their older helicopters. General McKenzie was also saying that there will be this over the horizon maintenance of Afghan aircraft, because that's been a huge part of the thing as well.

The close air support the Afghan Air Force itself, capable pilots, but the maintenance has largely by and large been done by overseas maintenance crews. So that's something that's going to have to be shipped over the horizon as well.

So there are all of those concerns. And at the same time we're getting reports from the UN that this year so far has been the most deadly for Afghan civilians more than 5,100 killed this year or killed and injured this year. And the majority of those being killed and injured in May and June during that Taliban offensive.

JARRETT: That's very notable too. All right, Nic, thank you so much. Always great to get your analysis here.


ROMANS: All right to the Olympics now, games like no other without fans in the stands and apparently fewer watching at home as well, ratings for the opening ceremony, the Olympics down 36% compared to 2016. That's a big blow for advertisers. But in Japan a different story.

More than 70 million people watch the opening ceremony. That's more than half the host country's population, a sign that people in Japan may be warming up to the games now that they are underway.

Blake Essig is there for us. He is live from the water polo Olympics venue in Tokyo. Hi there. What are you seen Blake?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Christine, for months, we've talked about how unpopular these games have been with the Japanese people all the way up until about a week before the opening ceremony. Poll after poll showed that the vast majority often 80% one of the Olympics either cancelled or postponed. Now the reason for that concerns over health and safety and that has not changed with cases in Tokyo surging and Olympic related cases continuing to pile up.

But since competition began last week, it seems like the mood around this made for TV events has started to shift. IOC officials say nearly 70 million people watched the opening ceremony. The CEO of Olympic Broadcast Services, said it was the most watched event in Japan over the past decade and so far 80% of Japan's roughly 126 million people have tuned in to watch the games at some point.

And even though the buzz and excitement isn't exactly what you would expect from a city hosting the Olympics, people are trying to experience the games in any way possible. And proof of that just today people lined the course to cheer on triathletes as they competed now. They weren't supposed to be there. But that didn't stop large crowds from gathering to catch a glimpse of Olympic action on.

I also attended a live public viewing over the weekend, were 500 people set in an auditorium for more than seven hours on a beautiful day to watch the cycling road race cheering with wood clappers to experience that Olympic atmosphere as a community. People here tell me that support for these games is actually stronger than what's being led on. That's because some people might be afraid to express excitement given all the negativity that has dominated this event.

So while it does seem like support for the games, is shifting as COVID-19 surges, there's still a lot of questions. And this is clearly a tale of two cities when it comes to support for these games. Christine.

ROMANS: Yes, it sure is. And just what a moment in history we're living through right, the 2020 Olympics happening in the middle of 2021 with so much drama. Thank you so much for that Blake. Nice to see you.

JARRETT: This morning, a firefighter is missing near the Montana-Idaho border after working on a wildfire that's burned up more than 2,300 acres. The wildfire is one of three burning in or near Montana's largest national forests and excessive heat watch is underway in eastern Montana, with high temperatures expected to reach 110 degrees.

ROMANS: In California the Dixie fire has now become the largest fire in the state so far this year. It has destroyed multiple buildings threatening thousands more. In Oregon, the bootleg fire, the largest of the U.S. define crews efforts to tame it. Firefighters were forced to reevaluate their approach because it be extremely dry conditions after months of intense drought.

Paul Vercammen has more from Los Angeles.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN REPORTER: Christine, Laura, the bootleg fire is now raging. It's burned more than 400,000 acres here in the West. And one fire official saying that the flames are resistant to bulldozer containment lines. In other words, the flames are jumping those lines in some instances. And what's the culprit and all of this? Well, we've got very sustained winds, we have strong gusts and we have low humidity.

The same conditions in Northern California on the Dixie fire. It's about half the size of the bootleg fire, 10,000 homes are threatened and they're predicting more extreme fire behavior.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had to be evacuated on Monday. It was probably more than 20 miles away. And now it's within four miles of our house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was raining ash. It was dark skies. Everyone kind of had this worried ominous feeling. You know, it was you could tell there was panic.


VERCAMMEN: Also, the National Interagency Fire Center is coming out right now. And they're basically begging people to stop flying their personal drones over firefights. They're saying that 19 times there have been drone incursions. And firefighters will tell you off camera, they call those expletive hobby drones.

In all of last year, there were just 21 incursions. And the motto for firefighters is if you fly, we can't. They're asking people not to risk firefighters lives because if those drones get tangled up in aircraft, that's a problem. It also delays the firefight when the drones cause them to ground firefighting aircraft.


Reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen. Now back to Christine, Laura.

JARRETT: Paul, thank you for that report. OK. This woman is lucky to be alive after a metal pole impaled her car crashing through her windshield while she was driving in Phoenix.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can picture it coming by my face and that feeling and that's hard to get out of your head. And I remember the paramedics telling me I can't believe you're alive. I can't believe you made it through this. You're so lucky.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JARRETT: The pole fell off the load of a pickup truck that was driving in front of the woman's SUV missing her face as she said by inches just so scary.

All right, the latest victim of the supply chain pain in the U.S. school lunches. The Wall Street Journal reports some cafeterias are now cutting menu choices when classrooms reopened in the fall, as food suppliers face labor and products shortages now, items like juice boxes, beef patties and chicken tenders are likely to be in short supply. Some schools manufacturers and distributors say their supply chains are struggling even more today than they were last spring.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a Monday morning check on CNN business looking at markets around the world. Asia shares closed mix Hong Kong down four percent, Europe is open slightly lower here. Those big losses in Asia as tensions between the U.S. and China grow. On Wall Street stock, index futures at this hour leaning lower.

All three major averages finish the week though with record highs. The Dow closing above 35,000 for the first time ever. This week, investors will hear from the Federal Reserve paying close attention to what officials have to say about the strength of the recovery as this Delta variant spreads across the country.

It's also a big week for earnings. Tesla kicks off second quarter earnings today. Apple and Microsoft report results, Tuesday. Google, Facebook and Amazon later in the week.

All right this major move on tobacco from big tobacco, Philip Morris International. The company behind brands like Marlboro said it will stop selling cigarettes in the UK within the next 10 years. Its CEO Jacek Olczak told the Daily Mail, plan is part of its goal of phasing out traditional cigarette smoking. Olczak is also calling on the UK Government to ban cigarettes within a decade saying cigarettes should be treated like gasoline powered cars, which are set to be barred from sale in the UK in 2032.

JARRETT: You have to imagine they're not going to go out of business. They're just going to turn to other products.

ROMANS: Just a real sign of the times. How things are changing.

JARRETT: Yes. All right, two amateur fossil hunters made a rare discovery of more than 1,000 ancient specimens in the UK all with the help of Google Earth. Neville and Sally Hollingsworth use the site to search potential digging spots during England's pandemic lockdowns.

What the couple found at a limestone quarry led to the largest discovery of Jurassic starfish ever in Britain. England's Natural History Museum excavated the site back in June. The fossils they found get this said to date back more than 167 million years.

ROMANS: That's very cool. All right, falling this morning and incredible rescue caught on video -- and we want to warn you, this video may be disturbing. Two police officers and bystanders, they rescue a mother and her eight-month-old baby pinned into a car that mowed them down on the street in Yonkers, New York. The officers body cams show what happened when officers reach the scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) We got a baby under the vehicle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's twist it up. Let's twist it up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look out, look out, look out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, grab the baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got it. I got the baby. I got the baby. Hold up, hold up. OK, yes, yes.


JARRETT: The mother suffered a broken leg in the baby a skull fracture and third-degree burns. Thankfully, both are expected to recover. The driver was charged with aggravated vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated. And those two heroic officers will tell their stories story on "NEW DAY" next hour. Just incredible.

ROMANS: Terrifying. But to see all those people just leapt into action --

JARRETT: Hop it, yes.

ROMANS: -- amazing. All right, thanks for joining us this Monday morning on "Early Start." I'm Christine Romans. Hope you have a great day.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar. On this new day, more countries requiring a vaccine pass to get into bars, restaurants and gyms as the Delta variant spirals out of control. So is the U.S. next?

Plus, our TV viewing habits aligned with vaccination rates. We have brand new numbers.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And as Capitol officers who survived the insurrection get ready to testify before the new January 6 committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes a dramatic move.

And after a driver hits a mother and her infant walking across the street, a dramatic rescue caught on video.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. I got, I got it, I got the baby.