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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Biden Administration Issues New Temporary Ban On Evictions; Biden Calls On Gov. Cuomo To Resign After Sexual Harassment Report; Car Bomb Near Home Of Afghanistan's Acting Defense Minister. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 04, 2021 - 05:30   ET




LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Amara Walker, half past the hour. Time for our top stories to keep an eye on today.

JARRETT: The pressure is building on New York governor Andrew Cuomo to step aside.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Are you now calling on him to resign?



JARRETT: A damning report from the state attorney general found Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women and created a hostile work environment. Cuomo faces an impeachment by the state legislature but says he has no plans to resign.

WALKER: COVID cases among U.S. children have jumped 84 percent in a week, just as the school year is set to begin. Those numbers from the American Academy of Pediatrics have been trending upward as the Delta variant has become dominant.

JARRETT: The CDC issuing a halt to most evictions, claiming they would harm public health and interfere with efforts to slow the pandemic. The new ban applies to areas the virus is spreading fast and will last until October third. More on this in just a moment.

WALKER: A win for the Democratic establishment in Ohio. In Cleveland, Shontel Brown beat a Bernie Sanders-backed challenger in a special election primary. Progressives have lost key primaries recently in New York and Virginia. And CNN projects Trump-endorsed coal lobbyist Mike Carey will win the Republican special primary in Ohio's 15th district. JARRETT: Back where it all began. Wuhan, China confirms its first COVID cluster in over a year, spawned by the Delta variant. Panic buying has left local supermarket shelves empty. The city is testing all 11 million residents.

WALKER: In the middle of a historic drought, California state regulators are imposing unprecedented water restrictions on thousands of farmers. They've issued an emergency order for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. Officials say demand for water is 16 times greater than the current supply.

JARRETT: And Missouri's governor has pardoned a St. Louis couple who made national headlines after pointing guns at social justice protesters you see there last year. Mark and Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor weapons charges in June. He is running for Senate next year.

WALKER: The NCAA treats its division one men's basketball team program better than its women's program in just about every respect. That's according to an outside review commission by the NCAA. The study concludes that gender inequity stemmed from the organization's structure, which is designed to maximize the value of the men's basketball championship.

JARRETT: Well, after first insisting they had no legal grounds, the Biden administration has issued a temporary ban on evictions. It's targeted to areas with high COVID transmission and right now that happens to be most of the country. Pressure from progressives forced the administration's hand.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): You are great. You did this. One person, really. Congratulations. I'm so proud and happy.


WALKER: And that's Sen. Chuck Schumer congratulating Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush who helped galvanize the effort by sleeping on the steps of the Capitol for days to make her point.

The extension is critical to millions of Americans like this Las Vegas mother of three little girls.


DASHA KELLY, MOTHER OF THREE FACING EVICTION: I just want to tell everybody thank you so much. I -- I'm still in denial if you can't really tell. It's a lot to take in. It's very -- I'm sorry, girls. It's really overwhelming. These are tears of joy, trust me.

I'm so thankful for -- that's there's people like you out there. I'm so thankful for it. Thank you so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JARRETT: Dasha Kelly started a GoFundMe page on Monday night in hopes of raising $2,000 to cover her rent. Well, just over 24 hours later, the total is over $192,000. Just incredibly life-changing --

WALKER: Oh, wow.

JARRETT: -- for her.

OK, let's bring in Jackie Alemany, congressional correspondent for "The Washington Post" and author of the Post's "Power Up" newsletter. Jackie, good morning.

The White House had said that they couldn't do anything about the eviction moratorium. Now they admit the new moratorium might actually not hold up to legal challenges. But the CDC has bought them some time, until October third. That's the new deadline.


So what really changed here?

JACKIE ALEMANY, AUTHOR, WASHINGTON POST "POWER UP" NEWSLETTER (via Webex by CISCO): Yes, Laura, not much legally changes, as you've noted.

But what did change was the public pressure campaign led by Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri, who actually has personal experience with being evicted. In 2001, she became ill while she was pregnant with her second child. She had to quit her job at a preschool. She lost her income and that led to eviction.

From there, she happened to get involved with activism in Missouri. Became part of the Black Lives Matter movement and from there really found her meteor political rise.

But that personal experience with eviction is what prompted her to start sleeping on the steps of Capitol Hill, which led to a remarkable rift between progressives and the Democratic establishment that put too much pressure on the Biden administration to find a way forward and make this announcement in light of the potential legal challenges culminating with a statement from CDC Dir. Rochelle Walensky last night that said it was imperative for health authorities to mitigate an increase of evictions because it could lead to a spike in COVID-19 transmission.

WALKER: Yes, Jackie, let's talk more about this rift that you mentioned because we know progressive Democrats had been pushing the White House to immediately move on this and, of course, the Biden administration kept punting to Congress.

What are your thoughts on this infighting with Democrats?

ALEMANY: Well, it's been really fascinating to watch up close because progressives have been cautious when it comes to criticizing this president. And there's only been a few times that they've really raised an issue to demonstrate a rift in this schism in the party between progressives and more moderate establishment Democrats. That came with pushing Biden on extending the refugee cap and then it came again this week with the eviction crisis.

Congress initially arguing that the White House had not given them enough time to extend the moratorium themselves, legislatively, when it became clear on Thursday that that's what the White House wanted them to do.

And so, the progressive caucus, which is getting increasingly bigger and more influential in Congress -- it's 100 percent caucus and they have been organized about wielding their power -- decided to take matters into their own hands -- again, led by Congresswoman Cori Bush. And she was supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and some of the prominent leadership in Congress as well. Pelosi calling Steve Ricchetti, Ron Klain, and applying pressure on the White House herself in order for them to change course on this with millions of Americans at risk of being evicted.

But the progressives certainly touted this as a win yesterday. And you had people like Chuck Schumer saying that this wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of Cori Bush and the progressive caucus behind her.

JARRETT: Yes, I think that's obvious, for sure. And why Washington always feels the need to wait until the very last minute --

WALKER: Last second, yes.

JARRETT: -- when everyday people's lives are hanging in the balance, I will never understand.

ALEMANY: That's a good question.

JARRETT: Yes, all right.

Jackie Alemany, thank you so much -- appreciate it.

WALKER: Thank you.

JARRETT: All right.

Despite being the wealthiest nation in the world, the United States is once again last in healthcare rankings among high-income countries. A study by the Commonwealth Fund looked at 11 countries. The U.S. was last in access to healthcare equity and outcomes even though it spent the largest share on its economy on healthcare. The U.S. is also the only nation in the study not to have universal health insurance coverage.

WALKER: I know. Something needs to change.

Flags at the Pentagon are at half-staff this morning after the death of a police officer in a shooting outside the building Tuesday. Officials say the shooting occurred on a bus platform by a major entrance to the Pentagon complex and prompted a lockdown of the building. The officer, whose name has not been released, was part of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which oversees security.

JARRETT: A federal judge in Texas temporarily blocking Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order targeting the transport of migrants. Abbott's order directed law enforcement to stop vehicles suspected of carrying migrants recently released into the United States. The DOJ had argued the order violated the Constitution and jeopardized the safety of these migrants. Abbott has framed this order as a COVID health measure and his office says it will defend it in court.

We'll be right back.



WALKER: For months, New York governor Andrew Cuomo denied the parade of sexual harassment allegations against him, asking the public to wait for a report from the state A.G. Well, it's out and it paints Cuomo as a repeat offender who created a hostile work environment for years. And as one accuser put it, my time in public service ended because he was bored and lonely.

JARRETT: All right, let's bring in CNN political commentator Errol Louis for three questions in three minutes.

Errol, you only have to read the very first page of the A.G.'s report to know it is bad -- and very bad -- detailing a pattern of sexual harassment, outright misogyny, and just generalized indifference towards the reactions of all of these women who clearly felt that he was wielding his position of power to make their lives worse.

Now, so far, Cuomo has shown no signs of stepping down. You've covered New York politics for a long time. What's his next move?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, POLITICAL ANCHOR, SPECTRUM NEWS: Well, his next move is very possibly to resign. But it's also possible that we'll see a repeat of what we've seen for the last five months, which is the governor going about his business, holding press conferences, talking about COVID, and otherwise acting as if this was not hanging over his head.

What he's said repeatedly over those last five months was wait for the report, wait for the report. Keep an open mind. Well, the report is out. The report is damning.

The report talks about 11 different women making complaints independently. In many cases, they didn't even know each other.

And so, the governor now has to make a really tough choice about whether he wants to try and continue with this sort of pantomime of governing when everybody from the freshmen members of the Assembly up to the President of the United States, in his own party, have said it's time for him to go.


JARRETT: Well, he's also tried to suggest that the investigation was somehow politically tainted because, of course, Tish James is involved and maybe she wants to become governor. But she got two career prosecutors to actually conduct this investigation -- prosecutors who actually know quite a bit about sexual harassment laws.


WALKER: Yes, and it's going to be difficult to just go on as business as usual as he has been doing up until this point.

And, Errol -- so, so far, 43 Assembly members suggested that they would vote to impeach. We know that 76 votes are needed out of the 150 members in the State Assembly. If that happens, Cuomo would be in major trouble, right, because over two-thirds of New York state senators have called for Cuomo to resign. They've called for him to resign -- they haven't said how they would vote.

How is this all going to play out at that level?

LOUIS: Well, at that level, one thing that's different about New York impeachment law compared with the federal impeachment -- that we've unfortunately gotten so familiar with -- is that upon being impeached, if the Assembly should vote by simple majority to impeach Gov. Cuomo, he would be immediately removed from power. He would have to step down and the lieutenant governor would take over as the acting governor while the Senate trial took -- takes place. So there would be considerable disruption right off the bat.

That's why it's been so difficult to pin down the Assembly about what they're going to do. I think they know full well, although this hasn't happened in New York since 1913, that an impeachment vote would be tremendously disruptive to the entire state. And so, Gov. Cuomo's fate is by no means assured and it could happen and he would be sort of, kind of separated from power sooner rather than later.

JARRETT: Which would be incredible. But as you say, it hasn't happened since 1913 and it may not happen here.

What about some of the legal jeopardy for him ahead, Errol. The legislature, we know, is already examining whether Cuomo obscured the COVID death toll in nursing homes. It's been a big issue whether his staff used state resources to -- or whether he used state resources, I should say, to write his book. Whether his family members received priority for coronavirus testing.

In your mind -- we also have, of course, the sexual harassment issues, but what is the biggest concern for him, do you think?

LOUIS: Well, there's a -- there's a new wrinkle that got added yesterday, which is that the Albany County district attorney -- the jurisdiction where the capitol is located, has asked for all of the materials that went into this damning attorney general's report. And that suggests that there might be just a simple straightforward case of assault that the local prosecutor wants to look into. So with all of those things looming, as well as the fact that these are civil issues so that many of these women could look at -- backwards at the statute of limitations and decide they want to sue him personally, it's a -- it's an enormous legal tangle. All of those are sources of concern.

Probably the most pressing one is the possibility of criminal charges by the local prosecutor. So it would be a long shot. It's not by any means assured. But it's something that an attorney, like Gov. Cuomo, has to be really concerned about.

JARRETT: Yes, that's for sure. We will see how this goes.

Appreciate your expertise, as always. Thank you, my friend.

WALKER: Thank you, Errol.

LOUIS: Thank you.

JARRETT: All right.

Also new this morning, another explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan injuring two civilians just a day after a car bomb exploded near the home of Afghanistan's acting defense minister. And the Afghan army is urging people to leave Taliban-controlled areas of another major city.

Clarissa Ward is on the ground in Kabul. Clarissa, just moments ago, a claim of responsibility. Tell us more.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We're hearing the Taliban has claimed responsibility for last night's attack. It happened just before 8:00 p.m. and literally, buildings around Kabul shook. This was a large explosion.

We ran up onto the roof to see what had happened. There was sporadic gunfire. We heard then another two blasts -- smaller blasts, but significant nonetheless. There was an air raid siren that was blaring.

And then we heard something a little more unusual, which was people around the city coming out of their homes onto their balconies and chanting together "Allahu Akbar," which, of course, means God is the greatest.

But in this context, it was a sort of cry of defiance against the Taliban and in support of the Afghan security forces. Because all of this, as you know, Laura, is happening against the backdrop of major gains on the battlefield for the Taliban. They're now in control of more than 200 districts, laying siege to at least three of Afghanistan's provincial capitals. One of them, Lashkar Gah, is in a very tenuous position, indeed.

You mentioned there that a major general from the Afghan army actually appealed to any civilians who are living in areas in that city that have been taken over by the Taliban to leave their homes immediately. That potentially portending some kind of a counteroffensive from the government but we don't know when that will happen yet. And in the meantime, there is still a huge amount of anxiety. There hadn't been an attack in Kabul of this magnitude for quite some time. Already this morning, another attack, another explosion. Only two killed in that one Laura.


But really, all of this underscoring just how tenuous the security situation here is, even in Kabul where it had been relatively calm in the previous months. And all of this happening as the U.S. completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan -- Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Clarissa Ward. Thank you for staying on top of this one for us.

WALKER: Frontier Airlines now says it is standing by a flight crew after they restrained a passenger caught on video assaulting them on a flight this past weekend.




WALKER: The airline initially said it was suspending the crew members because they used duct tape to restrain the man until the plane landed in Miami where he was arrested. CNN has attempted to reach out to the passenger.

It is just the latest incident involving hostile passengers as more travelers return to the skies. Just very disturbing to see that there.

Another day, another world record at the Olympics. For the second day in a row, an athlete breaks the world record but has to settle for silver.

JARRETT: Coy Wire is in Tokyo with this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning to you, Laura and Amara.

And it's almost exactly the same thing that happened in the men's 400- meter hurdles yesterday. The women's 400-meter hurdles final was billed as a showdown between the two fastest women to ever run this race and it lived up to all the hype.

Americans Sydney McLaughlin, the world record holder, and Dalilah Muhammad, the defending Olympic champ -- they're going head-to-head. In the end, it was McLaughlin who shatters her own world record by nearly half a second to win the gold. Muhammed has to settle for the silver even though her time broke the previous world record as well.

After competing in Rio at just 16 years old, McLaughlin is now the youngest champ ever in this event just days ahead of her birthday.


SYDNEY MCLAUGHLIN, GOLD MEDAL WINNER, WOMEN'S 400-METER HURDLES: I think it's not one of the hot events that people usually want to watch a whole lap, but we've definitely made it something very interesting. Every time you step on the track there seems to be some sort of record broken. So it's really cool to be a part of that and kind of just push the boundaries of what's possible for us.


WIRE: All right, let's go to skateboarding. It's the Olympic debut in Tokyo. Five of the nine medals awarded so far have gone to Japan, including all three golds.

Nineteen-year-old Sakura Yosozumi winning gold in the women's park event. And while most people at any age would struggle to even ride a skateboard at all, Japan's 12-year-old Kokona Hiraki taking the silver. And Sky Brown becoming Great Britain's youngest Olympic medalist at 13, winning bronze.

All right. Grant Holloway had several college football scholarship offers a few years back but he chose to stick with track and chase his Olympic dreams at the University of Florida. Instead, now he's the favorite to win gold in the 110-meter hurdles, running the fastest time in the semifinal heat today at 13.13 seconds.

And finishing just 5-100ths of a second behind him in the other heat, former University of Oregon football player Devon Allen making the most of his second Olympics appearance. He busted out breakdancing. Even this celebration is medal-worthy in my book. Maybe he's just getting ready for the next Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. They're going to have breakdancing as a new event there.

WALKER: It should be.

WIRE: This is going to be one heck of a final in that event later today.

JARRETT: He's got some moves.

WALKER: He's got a lot of talent.

JARRETT: Coy, I'm interested -- you know, you don't have that much time left there. What are you looking forward to seeing the most?

WIRE: I am looking forward to that 110-meter hurdles. I also want to see sport climbing. If you haven't, you have to check it out. There -- these are like -- they're not human. They're like spiders crawling up this wall --


WIRE: -- at incredible phases. It's fun stuff.

WALKER: Wow, like spiders crawling up the wall. I'll have to watch that -- like Spiderman. Amazing -- all right.

JARRETT: All right.

WALKER: Thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for that, Coy.

JARRETT: Thanks, Coy.

WALKER: I'm Amara Walker.

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



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Brianna Keilar alongside John Berman on this new day.

And a potential game changer in the race to get more Americans vaccinated may come in two weeks as more hospitals are overrun with vaccinated patients.

Plus, just in -- the Delta variant forcing former President Obama to call off his 60th birthday bash.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He's a man on an island -- the smallest political island you can imagine. What's next for New York governor Andrew Cuomo as everyone from President Biden to his neighboring governors call for him to resign?

And they pointed guns at protesters and now they're off the hook thanks to a pardon from Missouri's Republican governor.

KEILAR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Wednesday, August fourth.

And we begin this morning with an alarming new report about a substantial increase in coronavirus cases among children and teenagers. The American Academy of Pediatrics reporting that nearly 72,000 children caught coronavirus last week. That is an 84 percent increase.