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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Democrats Scramble To Avert Government Shutdown And Lift Debt Ceiling; North Korea Launches Presumed Short-Range Missile; R. Kelly Convicted Of Racketeering And Sex Trafficking. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 28, 2021 - 05:30   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Nineteen-year-old Miya Marcano was last seen Friday at her apartment complex where Armando Caballero was a maintenance worker.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: An Amtrak train that derailed in Montana was traveling just under the speed limit when it left the tracks last weekend. Three people were killed. Investigators studying video from another locomotive that went over the same track about an hour earlier to figure out what caused that derailment.

JARRETT: Check your freezer. Nestle is recalling more than 27,000 pounds of frozen Digiorno pepperoni pizza because of a packaging mix- up. A batch actually contains the three-meat pizza that can be harmful to people with soy allergies.

ROMANS: All right. John Hinckley Jr. granted an unconditional release by a federal judge. It takes effect in June 41 years after he shot President Reagan and three others. The Reagan Foundation opposes the ruling, saying, "We believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others."

JARRETT: Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles says she should have quit way before the Tokyo Olympics. In an interview with "New York" magazine, the star athlete says she didn't want to let the sexual abuse from former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nasser steal her joy away, so she tried to push past it but, quote, "it was too much."

ROMANS: Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will be on hand for the groundbreaking of the Obama Presidential Center today in Chicago. It is located in the Jackson Park neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. The Obama Center will include a museum, public plaza, athletic center, and a branch of the Chicago Public Library.

JARRETT: All right.

One day closer to a government shutdown and nowhere near a resolution on the big work underway in Washington. Senate Republicans voting down a measure that tied funding the government to suspending the debt ceiling. And infrastructure talks taking place behind closed doors.

ROMANS: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still planning a Thursday vote even though progressive Democrats are threatening to sink the president's entire agenda. They want a cradle-to-grave economic bill ready to pass simultaneously.

It's time for three questions in three minutes. Let's bring in CNN political analyst Rachael Bade. She's the co-author of the "Politico Playbook" where no one -- no one in Washington is sleeping this week.

JARRETT: Especially not Rachael.

ROMANS: Rachael, Politico reported that, quote, "Several senior Democrats are also hoping Biden will more forcefully weigh in on the infrastructure vote Thursday, publicly declaring that the bill needs to be passed by the House on that day."

What more can the president do? How -- his agenda hangs in the balance this week.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, CO-AUTHOR, "POLITICO PLAYBOOK": It certainly does. I mean, I started to hear this on Sunday when I was making calls to Democrats -- senior Democratic aides, but also moderates in the House.

A lot of concern that this vote is coming on Thursday and President Biden hasn't done a lot to say look, I need you guys in the House to vote for this. He knows this deadline is coming. He knows that about 40-50 progressives in the House have threatened to tank this bill if they don't get the larger $3.5 trillion social spending package that they've been trying to push for, for so long.

And look, they need the bully pulpit right now. They need the president to go out there and sell this bill to the rank and file. And so, they've got less than three days right now.

And last night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a private meeting, started to sort of send this message to her members after telling them for so long that these two packages would move together, which is exactly what progressives want. And so, now that they're not, and the leadership is starting to say that, they're going to start to whip this and see if they can get this over the finish line.

Because remember, Pelosi only has a three-point margin -- three-member margin, I should say. And so, f she loses more than three, this is done. Not a lot of House Republicans are going to vote for this and they're in a really tricky spot right now. They need President Biden.

JARRETT: Well, and they need the president because this deal requires progressives and moderates to be on the same page -- and right now, they are simply not.

Listen to two of the voices on this.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you think about Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin holding out on the Senate side, forcing -- trying to force the bill to be to their demands? What do you think about their efforts? REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): I mean, I would actually like them to make their demands clear so that we can engage with that. It is saddening to see them use Republican talking points. We obviously didn't envision having Republicans as part of our party.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We're not pressuring you to vote to support a reconciliation bill.

RAJU: Their threat to hold up the infrastructure bill -- would that be enough to pressure you --

MANCHIN: Oh, no, no.

RAJU: -- to sign on to something?

MANCHIN: No, no, no. I don't -- I'm not -- I'm not really good on threats.


JARRETT: OK, he says he's not really good on threats.

But, Rachael, help us out here. What are the actual sticking points? Like what are the main issues of disagreement? What do they want?

BADE: Well, first of all, they want a topline number. I mean, progressives have said they wanted $6 trillion. They said they came down to $3.5 trillion.

Now, Sen. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are looking much lower than that, even refusing to say what that topline number is. President Biden tried to press them in a private meeting last week to say how much will you support, and they still haven't given that number.


There's also disagreements on healthcare. Do they try to expand Medicare for All, like progressives want? Do they use money to, instead, shore up Obamacare -- the ACA? Do they do free college that progressives want? There's a lot of things they disagree on right now.

And I think by Thursday -- by this Thursday vote, progressives want to see some sort of framework that Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will commit to a framework and say I will vote for this. The problem is they're so far away from that and then, negotiations are very much ongoing and things are tense right now.

ROMANS: Yes, really.

So, we don't know exactly what they want. We don't know what number they're comfortable with. The president doesn't either.

So what's motivating these Senate moderates? "The New York Times" reports that Kyrsten Sinema is having a fundraiser today with five groups that oppose the bill. Joe Manchin is holding out on some crime provisions while receiving more campaign donations from oil, gas, and coal industries than any other senator. So what's motivating them?

BADE: It's a great question. I mean, if you think about it, these are two moderate senators who really relish their role as sticking to the left at a time when the party is actually moving further let. I mean, progressives are becoming more and more bold and Democrats have very much moved in their direction in recent years.

And so, these are two Democrats who have sort of said they want this position. They want to show that they are not going to let the party move in that direction. Obviously, Joe Manchin has coal mining interests, being from West Virginia.

And, Kyrsten Sinema -- we reported this a few weeks ago -- has told people privately that she wants to be the Democratic version of John McCain, who, if you recall, sank his party's promise to repeal Obamacare before he passed. And so, she really -- she is really leaning into that role of saying no to the left and I think you can believe that she's going to continue to do that as these negotiations continue.

JARRETT: OK, but owning the libs is not a policy position --


JARRETT: -- especially when it doesn't serve your constituents.

ROMANS: Yes, I can't say -- I mean --

BADE: Well, I mean --

ROMANS: Go ahead.

BADE: I was just going to say obviously, these two people talk about inflation. I do think that they have principal differences with some of their colleagues --


BADE: -- and that they're worried that too much spending is worse than no spending.


All right, Racheal. So, so great to have your analysis this morning in such an important week in Washington. Appreciate you getting up with us.

ROMANS: Thanks, Rachael.

BADE: Thank you.

JARRETT: All right, a hard turn now overseas. At almost the exact same time North Korea was criticizing the U.S. for, quote, "hostile foreign policy," the country launched an apparent missile into the waters off its east coast.

Will Ripley is live in Taipei. Will, why again and why now? What's happening here?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, it certainly is interesting timing and probably not a coincidence that at 6:40 a.m. local time here in this part of the world, North Korea launches a missile.

And just 20 minutes later, their representative at the United Nations General Assembly, Ambassador Kim Song, steps up to the podium and delivers a message that included a very strong defense that North Korea often gives for conducting this kind of ballistic missile test, which is what the Japanese government calls it.

Of course, a ballistic missile test, like a nuclear test, is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. But the ambassador, as that missile had literally just splashed down in the waters near Japan after being fired from Chagang Province, a mountainous region that straddles the border with China. It's where North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile back in 2017.

He said that North Korea has the right to develop and test these weapons because other countries in the region that they consider their enemies are doing the exact same thing.

And it was actually earlier this month that on the same day North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a train, South Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine. And on this day that this missile was launched, South Korea was putting one of those missile launch-capable submarines into the water.

This is also a time that Kim Yo-jong, the sister -- the very powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un -- has been signaling to South Korea that the North may be open to resuming diplomatic negotiations which, of course, could eventually pave the way and open the door for talks with the U.S.

But given that the North Koreans have given no indication that they're willing to denuclearize and they want sanctions lifted as part of a precondition even for talking, there could be more missile launches and more provocations in the weeks and months to come -- Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Will, thank you so much for your reporting.

ROMANS: All right.

Facebook is now hitting the brakes on an Instagram for kids as concerns grow over privacy and Instagram's effect on mental health. Child safety groups, lawmakers, and 44 attorneys general have highlighted mental health and privacy concerns.

The investigation from "The Wall Street Journal" found Facebook knows about the harmful effect Instagram has on teens, especially teen girls.

Now, the head of Instagram said Monday pausing the project will give Facebook time to work with parents and regulators who are concerned here. He also promised new features to address the mental health of all of

its users. One is called Nudges, where the app will encourage users to try another topic if they're spending too much time on one. The other is called Take a Break, which would allow users to pause their account without others being able to address them or comment on their content.


We'll be right back.


ROMANS: Singer R. Kelly faces decades in prison after he was convicted on racketeering and sex trafficking charges. He will be sentenced on May fourth.

Prosecutors say after years of allegations, this verdict was just.


JACQUELYN KASULIS, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY: To the victims in this case, your voices were heard and justice was finally served. Today's guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification.



ROMANS: More now from CNN's Jean Casarez.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Laura and Christine, this was a complicated case, it was a serious case. The jury just got the case on Friday and they reached a verdict by Monday -- not long for deliberating a case that actually lasted six weeks.

But the count one of this federal case was racketeering with 14 acts, including illegal sex with a minor, sexual exploitation with a minor, bribery, coercion, and forced labor. And the jury found him guilty on counts two through nine with the Mann Act, which is transportation over state lines for prostitution or immoral purpose. And they found guilty on all of those counts.

You know, woman after woman testified that when she was younger that she was recruited by R. Kelly. That she would be put in a room. That she would have to ask permission for food or permission to go to the bathroom. She had to wear baggy clothes unless she was around R. Kelly.

She couldn't look at any other man. She could only look at R. Kelly and otherwise, her eyes and face were down. And she had to call R. Kelly "Daddy." R. Kelly, superstar, is now a convicted felon, but it's not over yet because there is a federal prosecution in the Northern District of Illinois. You have state charges in Minnesota of prostitution and Illinois state charges for aggravated criminal sexual abuse -- Christine, Laura.


JARRETT: Jean, thank you for that.

And breaking overnight, Afghan women banned from teaching or attending Kabul University until an Islamic environment can be created. That's according to the school's new chancellor. This is just the latest unraveling of women's rights in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. The university is considering allowing male lecturers to teach female students from behind a curtain.

Well, the military is on standby -- on standby in the U.K. to deliver gas to stations that have run dry. The fuel crisis there driven by a shortage of tanker drivers, upending the supply chain and triggering panic buying.

CNN's Nina dos Santos is live in London for us. Nina, good morning.

There are calls this morning for key workers to be given priority. So how would that work?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Well, there are calls for people who work in the health system to be given priority so that they can get to work. Because remember that the health system has a huge backlog here induced by the pandemic.

But there's also people who work in the logistics sector as well -- drivers, and so on and so forth -- who say I can't make my livelihood without a full tank of gas, including some of the people I spoke to in this line at this forecourt earlier -- listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's obviously, yes, very concerned -- extremely. It's my livelihood and yes, it's obviously a concern. The vast majority of our stations are out of fuel when I try. It's just lucky there's a tanker I see and I just pulled in here. I know -- it's a massive problem.


DOS SANTOS: Well, this is one of 8,000 forecourts across the U.K., Laura. Many of them, if not most of them, are suffering supply shortages in certain grades of fuel or just completely empty pumps.

That's not the case here. But as you can see, they have to bring in marshals to try and make people stay in their place in line amid concerns about scuffles and people starting to argue -- so they can make sure they can fill up their tanks. Some people are arriving with extra containers, we see, to fill up another tank afterwards. And now, the government says that there is no national shortage of

fuel. Instead, what there is is just a shortage of delivery drivers. This, thanks to the pandemic and also thanks to post-Brexit immigration rules. The government's done a big U-turn on visas to try and tempt thousands of people here to drive those trucks. They're also training up the military to step in to make up the shortfall amid concerns there's a big winter energy crisis brewing for the U.K., Laura.

JARRETT: Yes, the same thing happening here with drivers in the U.S. All right, Nina, thank you.

ROMANS: Let's take a look at markets around the world on this Tuesday trading day. Asian markets have closed, and they've closed mixed. Europe has opened lower here this morning. And on Wall Street, stock index futures also leaning lower. They've been a little south all morning.

Stocks started the week mixed. The Dow managed a small gain, closing up 71 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both down.

Investors, this week, focused on a critical week in Washington -- that debate about infrastructure, the social safety net, and keeping the government open.

Coming to a gas station near you, the highest energy prices in three years. U.S. crude prices jumped two percent Monday, closing at $75.45 a barrel. I haven't seen that since 2018.

Higher oil prices mean higher gas prices for drivers even though demand typically peaks late in the summer. The national average for regular gas right now, $3.18 a gallon -- a dollar more than last year.

Goldman Sachs forecasts oil prices will hit $90.00 a barrel by the end of the year.


Ford making its biggest single manufacturing investment ever, investing $11 billion to build two new campuses in Kentucky and Tennessee. The sites will include three plants to make batteries and a factory for its electric truck lineup. The campuses would create more than 10,000 jobs.

The Tennessee site, which will be called Blue Oval City, would be about half of those positions. The factory is set to start production, Laura, in 2025.

JARRETT: Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving declining to answer questions about his vaccination status, raising questions about how it could affect his ability for the upcoming season.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Andy, this is really coming to the head. Some of the players have been dodging for months talking about their vaccination status. It's going to be an issue. ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly is as the

season is now here, Laura. And in order to be in attendance at Nets media day yesterday, you had to be vaccinated. Kyrie Irving was not in attendance. Due to the local regulations in New York, players must be vaccinated in order to practice or play in home games.

Now, Kyrie joined media day virtually and declined to answer if he's going to be unavailable for games due to his vaccination status.


KYRIE IRVING, GUARD, BROOKLYN NETS: Honestly, I like to keep that stuff private. I mean, I'm a human being first. And, obviously, living in this public sphere, it's just a lot of questions about what's going on in the world of Kyrie. And I think I just would love to just keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with a plan.

So, obviously, I'm not able to be present there today but that doesn't mean that I'm putting any limits on the future of me being able to join the team, and I just want to keep it that way.


SCHOLES: NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has called for unvaccinated players to be removed from teams. And he joined CNN's Don Lemon last night to talk about Kyrie's stance.


KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, BASKETBALL HALL OF FAMER: I can't accept Kyrie Irving's statement. He's hiding behind procedure here. Either you understand what's going on and you're going to do the right thing or you don't understand what's going on and you're going to continue to create all this confusion with your stance. So, you know, we've got to get that cleared up -- exactly where he stands and what that means to those around him.


SCHOLES: Now, the NBA says approximately 90 percent of players are vaccinated as training camps begin. The preseason starts on Sunday.

All right, "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" had the Cowboys hosting the Eagles. This is the first home game for Dak Prescott since his horrific leg injury there last season. And Dak looked great, throwing for three touchdowns. In the third quarter, Trevon Diggs is going to pick off Jalen Hurts to take it the other way for a touchdown. The Cowboys rolling Philadelphia in this one -- 41-21 was the final.

LeBron James joining Peyton and Eli Manning on their telecast during the game. And Lebron -- he played tight end in high school and he told the Mannings that he actually got offers to play for the Cowboys and Seahawks during the NBA lockout 10 years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEBRON JAMES, FORWARD, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: It definitely got my blood flowing again. It got my mind racing again thinking about the game of football -- you know, being out there on Sundays. But we was able to get a deal done in the NBA and I was back on the court in no time, but I definitely thought about it. I've still got the jersey, too, that Jerry and Pete Carroll sent me from 2011.


SCHOLES: And, you know, guys, you always wonder if certain athletes like LeBron could have ended up playing another sport. I think he made the right decision sticking with basketball but he probably would have been a pretty good football player.

JARRETT: Andy, I've got to ask you do we know if he has actually been vaccinated yet? For a while, he had danced around it. He said it was a family matter, even though it's a public health crisis.

Do we know whether he's finally got his shot? I've seen reports that people want him to be in a PSA about it.

SCHOLES: You know what? I don't think we're 100 percent certain.


SCHOLES: I still don't think LeBron has come out on camera and spoken to the media saying one way or another. In the past and everything I've seen, he still said it's a private matter and has not been on the record.


ROMANS: It's so interesting that -- the athletes who say it's a private matter. It's a public health crisis. There are no private matters in a public health crisis. It's so interesting. Sports sort of led the way on recognizing how terrible COVID was --


ROMANS: -- but in some cases, not leading the way. Some of these -- some of these role models not leading the way on it.

JARRETT: Well -- and they don't have a vaccine --


JARRETT: -- mandate, even though --

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: Obviously, it's requiring the staff and others to get vaccinated. The players don't actually have a vaccine mandate.

ROMANS: All right, nice to see you, Andy.

JARRETT: Thanks, Andy. SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right.

The House Speaker commits to a vote this week on hard infrastructure. What does that mean for the broader economic overhaul?

JARRETT: And what is with all of the anti-vax rhetoric that we are hearing from some of these NBA players?

Thanks for joining us. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. "NEW DAY" is next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

On this new day, major developments in the week from hell. Democrats up all night trying to work out their differences. Mitch McConnell sleeping peacefully after voting to let the government default on its debts.

General Mark Milley, the man in the middle of peril. Woodward and Costa said he worked to save democracy in the final days of the Trump presidency -- efforts that made Republicans furious. Today, we hear him out loud for the first time since that, under oath.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The vaccine double-standard in the NBA reaching a fever pitch. Staffers have to have it, players don't. And now, some of the sport's biggest names, past and present, are taking sides.