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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

DOJ Asks Appeals Court To Lift Temporary Order Blocking Vaccine Mandate; China Building Mock Versions Of U.S. Military Ships In Desert; Vice President Harris Travels To Paris To Work On U.S.-France Relationship. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 09, 2021 - 05:30   ET




LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday morning; exactly 30 minutes past the hour -- time for our top stories to keep an eye on today.

The House January 6 Committee issuing six new subpoenas to top Trump campaign associates. They include attorney John Eastman and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Both were key players in perpetuating Trump's big lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

JARRETT: AAA predicts Thanksgiving travel is about to bounce back in a big way. More than 53 million Americans are expected to be on the move. That's a 13 percent increase from last year and just five percent below pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

ROMANS: Some Senate Democrats calling on President Biden to tap the nation's emergency oil stockpile to keep gas prices down. On Sunday, the Energy secretary told CNN the president is considering the move after major oil producers declined to increase output.

JARRETT: Pfizer is seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA for its coronavirus booster shot. Right now, the boosters are technically only approved for adults with underlying health conditions and those who work in high-risk areas.

ROMANS: The trading platform Robinhood confirms it was hit by a data breach last week exposing the personal information of millions of customers. It says no social security or bank account numbers were exposed.

JARRETT: State Farm standing by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The insurance giant says Rodgers has been a great ambassador for the company. Rodgers has been under fire for misleading his team and the public at large about getting vaccinated when he wasn't. State Farm says it encourages everyone to get vaccinated.

The Justice Department has now asked a federal court to lift a temporary hold on President Biden's vaccine mandate for big companies.

CNN's Jasmine Wright joins us live from Washington. Jasmine, good morning. The White House wants companies to abide by this mandate while it plays out in court. So, what happens now?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Laura. Well, if it were up to the White House, employees would continue getting their shots in anticipation of that January fourth Biden administration deadline -- as you said, as his core process plays out.

Yesterday, when the Department of Justice responded to that hold federal courts placed on the Biden rule mandating that private companies with 100 or more employees, healthcare workers, or federal contracts either submit to testing or be vaccinated, they argued against a larger, longer hold on this case.

And White House press secretary -- deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre -- she argued something similar to reporters at the White House during a briefing yesterday. Take a listen.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We think we -- people should not wait. It's -- we say do not wait to take actions that will keep your workplace safe. It is important and critical to do and waiting to get more people vaccinated will lead to more outbreaks and sickness. The Department of Labor has a responsibility to keep workers safe and the legal authority to do so.


WRIGHT: So, the point here that Jean-Pierre and the DOJ, overall, is making is that they know it takes multiple weeks, depending on which shot that you get -- Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson -- either two to four weeks to be considered fully vaccinated. And so, they are arguing for the court to kind of lift this hold, allowing this expedited legal process to play out. And they say which would play out well before employees have to get their shots to make that January fourth deadline.

The DOJ said that these claims really lacked merit as the -- most of the asserted claims, they said, hadn't even taken place because again, that deadline is so far off.

Because at the end of the day, this White House -- this president sees that these voluntary mandates are what are kind of bridging this gap between getting the unvaccinated vaccinated and keeping the vaccinated, vaccinated, right? He says that these are a way that the country can be able to move past by getting enough Americans to get those shots into their arms.


And they do not want to lose the progress that they have seen because of these voluntary mandates, so they want this court case to move along and for folks to continue to get their shots -- Laura. JARRETT: Well, we will see where it goes in court. Jasmine, thank you.

ROMANS: All right, to the job market now. The jobs recovery is gaining momentum but the big question -- will a booming job market bring in women off the sidelines -- critical here for the recovery. We know there are nearly three million more women out of the workforce than before the pandemic -- three million missing women in the job market.

It's the she-cession -- a couple of reasons. More women tend to work in service sector jobs that disappeared during the pandemic. Thousands of women also quit their jobs to take care of kids going to school at home. Economists had hoped that school reopenings and vaccinations would help get more women back to work, but there was no rush of women back into the job market yet this fall.

The pandemic changed how people think about their family, their safety, and their job. Economists say it could take years for the nation's female workforce to get back to its pre-pandemic size.

JARRETT: It seems like childcare is just the -- one of the lynchpins to all of this.

ROMANS: And eldercare, too.


ROMANS: And also, we know -- we know that the American consumer experience before COVID was built on millions of women working two part-time jobs and balancing childcare. And now, that's just now feasible for many families.


All right, now to this. Lawmakers are very used to getting blowback for what they fail to get done, but one member of Congress says he's been harassed for actually trying to deliver for folks back home.

Congressman Fred Upton was one of just 13 Republicans to vote for the president's infrastructure bill last week. He's, of course, from Michigan, home to several high-profile water crises involving lead pipes in places like Flint and Benton Harbor. Also, a place where the infrastructure rating there was given a D+ grade in 2018.

ROMANS: But partly thanks to Upton's vote, more than $10 billion will head to Michigan to help fix those lead pipes, along with bridges and roads. That's money going to his constituents because he acted. Despite that, one of Upton's constituents left him this voicemail.


VOICEMAIL LEFT FOR REP. FRED UPTON (R-MI): F***ing traitor. That's what you are. You're a f***ing piece of s**t traitor. I hope you die. I hope everybody in your f***ing family dies. You f***ing piece of s**t trash mother****er. Voted for dumba** f***ing Biden. You're stupider than he is. He can't

even complete a f***ing sentence, you dumb mother****er, traitor, piece of s**t, mother****er, piece of trash.

I hope you f***ing die. I hope your f***ing family dies. I hope everybody on your f***ing staff dies, you f***ing piece of f***ing s**it. Traitor!


JARRETT: Congressman Upton shared that voicemail with CNN and his office says it was not an isolated incident.

Notice the word "traitor" being used over and over, which should be no wonder since Upton's colleague, Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted the phone numbers of GOP members who voted for that infrastructure bill and later called them traitors.

Upton calls the voicemail truly frightening for him and his staff. You can understand why. And he said he regrets that a good bipartisan bill become a political football.

ROMANS: Wow. Doing the work of the people becomes something that the fringe can inspire such hatred.

JARRETT: And it is a fringe. Most people are not leaving him those types of voicemails. But that one is just so truly horrendous. You have to show what's actually going on.

ROMANS: Yes. Important to know the mood of some in the country.

All right, 38 minutes past the hour.

New satellite images revealing China's military has built mockups of U.S. warships for possible target practice. And new reporting this morning suggests China is rapidly preparing its own military with technology to counter the U.S.

Let's go live to Taipei and bring in CNN's Will Ripley. Will, nice to see you. It is not unusual for a country to build mockups of their adversaries. But given what's been going on for the last 18 months, given the temperature rising between these two countries, this is noteworthy.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And what is also noteworthy Christine are these brand-new satellite images released just minutes ago by Washington thinktank CSIS showing not a mockup but an actual aircraft carrier that China is almost finished building in Shanghai that has technology equivalent to U.S. aircraft carriers.

This would be China's third aircraft carrier. The other two are using outdated Soviet technology, including a kind of ski slope runway that requires a lot of fuel and only certain planes can actually take off from it.

This new aircraft carrier, according to these satellite images, uses a catapult that is the mainstay of America's 11-strong aircraft carrier fleet. A catapult can push planes into the air with a lot less fuel burned. There's a wider variety of planes that can be brought on an aircraft carrier with this technology.

Experts are saying that it is pretty much on par with what the United States is using -- perhaps even more advanced than some of America's older carriers. But, of course, America's been using these things for decades. This would be China's first.


So, there's still a lot of operational knowledge that China just doesn't have, which is why an expert -- a military expert here in Taiwan told me it's still going to take quite a while for China to catch up.


RIPLEY: How long is it going to take for China's navy to pose this credible threat to America's navy?

LIN YING YU, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN ASIA-PACIFIC AFFAIRS, NATIONAL SUN YAT-SEN UNIVERSITY: I think they still need to -- a lot of time. Because if you want to become a global navy, first you have the outside base -- global base.

RIPLEY: Are we talking years? Are we talking decades?

YING YU: Years, I think. They still need more than 20 to 30.

RIPLEY: Twenty to 30 years?

YING YU: Twenty to 30 years.


RIPLEY: Now, let's talk about those mockups, and these are other images that have been reviewed by the independent United States Naval Institute. They show, in the desert in Xinjiang, China has built full- scale versions of U.S. warships and a U.S. aircraft carrier possibly for target practice, analysts say.

China has been testing a barrage of ballistic missiles -- more than the rest of the world combined, according to the Pentagon. Missiles specifically designed to target and potentially sink U.S. aircraft carriers, which are a mainstay of the security in the Indo-Pacific region, Christine.

ROMANS: Important reporting, important story. We're so glad you're there for us. Will Ripley, thanks so much.

We'll be right back.


[05:45:00] JARRETT: Vice President Kamala Harris has just touched down in France, her first official European trip -- a key diplomatic test for the Biden administration.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is traveling with the vice president and joins us live from Paris. Jeremy, good morning.

Her mission essentially is to nurse this French-American relationship back to health, especially after that sub deal with Australia.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no doubt about it. Listen, President Biden already meet with President Macron on the sidelines of the G20 just a couple of weeks ago. And so, step one of rebuilding and revitalizing that relationship has certainly already been accomplished.

But now, Vice President Harris is going to be looking to take that a step further. And that is why she arrived this morning here in Paris for a five-day trip, which is pretty long when you consider the length of these kinds of diplomatic missions, typically.

A clear gesture to the French president Emmanuel Macron as well as to the French people that the United States cares deeply about the relationship with France and that they do want to nurse it back to full health.

But French officials have made very clear that while they are moving on from that submarine deal that saw a French contract with Australia sunk, essentially -- that while they are moving on from that they also do want to see concrete actions match some of the rhetoric that we have heard from President Biden and his administration so far in terms of strengthening the U.S.-French partnership. And also, in terms of these questions of European defense autonomy, a key priority for the French president.

And so, where does Vice President Harris fit into that? It's going to be difficult for her to actually come away here with a clear-cut deliverable showing that relationship has been starkly improved and that those commitments to be able to bring those American commitments to the French.

At the same time, a lot of this is going to be focused on the gestures. She is going to be highlighting the strength and the length of that U.S.-French partnership with a visit to the American Cemetery here in Paris. A lot of other visits happening this week.

But certainly, it will be a diplomatic test for the vice president as well, particularly after that first foreign trip to Mexico and Guatemala City, which was pretty rocky given one of the interviews that she gave there. We will see how this trip goes after the next five days -- Laura, Christine.

JARRETT: We'll see how this one plays out. Jeremy Diamond with possibly the best live shot of the day with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Thank you so much. ROMANS: All right, drama at NATO's eastern border. Hundreds and possibly thousands of migrants seeking to storm the border from Belarus to Poland, escalating a weeks' long migration crisis happening there.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen live on Poland's border -- for us this morning -- with Germany.

The European Union has accused Belarus' authoritarian president, Fred, of encouraging this influx. Why?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, not just encouraging it, Christine -- they actually call this hybrid warfare against the European Union. And they also call this state- sponsored human trafficking.

They say, essentially, because the European Union sanctioned Alexander Lukashenko a couple of months ago, of course, after he forced a commercial airliner to land in Belarus -- a European commercial airliner -- that he says that he has essentially artificially set this wave of refugees in motion towards the European Union by luring people from Middle Eastern countries -- first and foremost, from Iraq -- to come to Belarus and then to bring them -- physically bring them to the border with the European Union.

The situation that we have right now -- and there were some dramatic images overnight of people trying to break through -- is that the Polish authorities say that between 3,000 and 4,000 migrants are still camped out at that border.

The Poland -- Polish authorities say they are not going to let those people through because they say they believe that Alexander Lukashenko is trying to blackmail them. Now, of course, Lukashenko denies that that's what he's tried to do. But the Polish authorities are saying that they are going to remain steadfast.

Now, of course, Christine, some of the people who are there -- they do manage through that border and the vast majority of them try to come here to Germany. That's why we can see behind me here is actually the German border police -- the German federal police. They've also stepped up their checks as well.

But they also say that they are coming across -- an increasing amount of people who have made it here want to claim asylum here. And they say the vast majority of those who do come across did take that route via Belarus to get there.

And just one final word. This certainly seems like a big crisis that's not going to go away anytime soon. You could see in some of those images the tent city that has already sprung up there at that border. And certainly, the Poles are saying they are digging in for the long run and they even want to build a wall on NATO's eastern flank, Christine.

ROMANS: A wall on NATO's eastern flank.

Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much for that. Keep us posted.

JARRETT: A Nashville pastor's quick thinking might have just saved lives in his church. Watch here as a man walks to the altar and starts waving a gun as the pastor is praying with several people. Now, the pastor sneaks around the side and tackles the gunman from behind -- you're going to see -- before any shots were fired.


Several church members helped the pastor hold the man down until officers arrived.


JARRETT: Just incredible bravery.

ROMANS: Disaster averted.

All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this Tuesday morning.

Looking at markets around the world, you can see Asian shares have closed narrowly mixed. Tokyo fell. And Europe has opened higher here. And on Wall Street, stock index futures are narrowly mixed.

It was another day of triple record highs for major stock markets averages. A strong earnings season shows companies are managing well through supply chain nightmares. They are making money.

Stocks -- many of these averages are up double since the bottom of the COVID crash -- double. The Dow closed up 104 points. It did not take much for records for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

We've got a key inflation report in a couple of hours -- the Producer Price Index for October. This shows you the other side of that strong economy. Inflation, a concern we know that Americans are talking about. That index will measure the prices the producers receive for their goods and services.

Tesla's shares are bouncing back a little bit this morning. They fell five percent Monday after Elon Musk took a Twitter poll on whether he should sell 10 percent of his stock in the company. Nearly 58 percent said he should -- millions of votes about whether he should sell stock.

But it might be taxes, not the Twitter-verse that would be the driving force behind Musk selling his shares. He is facing a multibillion- dollar tax bill if he exercises his stock options that he has in a few months. If he doesn't use them, he'll lose them.

So, Musk asking Twitter whether he should sell stock. There is no other CEO in America like Elon Musk.

JARRETT: It's always dangerous to take to Twitter to ask any question like that.

All right, a controversial taunting call has Bears' fans very unhappy this morning. Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.


So, the NFL is cracking down on taunting this season and we had a very questionable taunting call in the fourth quarter last night that greatly impacted the game between the Bears and the Steelers.

Fourth quarter, it was third and seven for the Steelers. Cassius Marsh is going to get the sack on Ben Roethlisberger, and then he's going to do a spinning jump kick, his signature celebration. Then he kind of looks towards Pittsburgh's sideline and walks over there a little bit. Then on the way back to his sideline, Marsh says head referee Tony Corrente hip-checked him and then threw a flag for taunting.


CASSIUS MARSH, CHICAGO BEARS LINEBACKER: If I were to do that to a ref or even touch a ref, we'd get kicked out of the game and possibly suspended and fined. So, I just think that was incredibly inappropriate, and that's all I'd say about that.


SCHOLES: Yes. Corrente said after the game the contact with Marsh had nothing to do with the taunting penalty. The Steelers ultimately kicked a field goal on that possession.

The Bears would take the lead on a Justin Fields to Darnell Mooney touchdown with under two minutes to go. But the Steelers were able to get in position to kick a game-winning field goal with 26 seconds left to win it 29-27.

All right, to the NBA. Things getting heated between Miami and Denver last night. With under two minutes to play, Denver's Nikola Jokic grabbed a rebound and was bringing the ball up the court when Markieff Morris barreled into him.

Jokic didn't like that so he leveled Morris right back. Morris on the ground for several minutes as he was checked out by the crew for the Heat. He did get up and walked away with what they were calling an apparent neck injury.

Jokic ejected and could face a suspension and fine for that flagrant foul.

The Nuggets ended up beating the Heat in that one 113-96.

All right, finally, President Biden honoring the Milwaukee Bucks at the White House yesterday. The Bucks, the first NBA champion to visit the White House since the Obama administration. President Biden praised the team for their work fighting for social justice and he was very impressed with what he's seen from finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At just 26 years old, you're just getting started. What makes it even more special is you won the title with your brother, who is here today, and you joined another brother already with a ring. What a hell of a family. I'll tell you what, man. I think you won the gene pool.


SCHOLES: Yes -- and guys, yes, Giannis -- he said what a day for him. Growing up on the streets of Greece with no money and then to be in the White House celebrating an NBA Championship and meeting the president is just an incredible accomplishment.

JARRETT: Very cool.

ROMANS: All right, Andy. Nice to see you -- Andy Scholes.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: Thanks, Andy.

ROMANS: Also very cool, four astronauts splashing down off the coast of Florida in their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, ending a six-month stay in space. The returning team, known as Crew 2, was made up of astronauts from NASA, France, and Japan.

Their journey home presented one last challenge. The toilet in their capsule was broken. They had to rely on diapers for the nine-hour trip home.

JARRETT: Yikes. I wonder about the smell.

ROMANS: That is -- the technological achievement --

JARRETT: Sorry to put that image in your head.


ROMANS: Thank you, Laura, for that. Thank you very much.

All right, it wasn't just reunions from space yesterday. With the U.S. borders back open to vaccinated travelers, teary-eyed reunions 20 months in the making across the country. We leave you this morning with some of these amazing images.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: It reminds me of that scene from "Love Actually." I love airport reunions.

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

ROMANS: I need to watch that again. It's almost --


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman on this new day.

And a new round of subpoenas targeting prominent allies in former President Trump's orbit. Who the January 6 Committee wants to hear from this time.

And the investigation into the deadly Astroworld concert is now turning to toxicology and the possible role of illegal drugs.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Reunited and it feels so good. Many families celebrating this morning after emotional reunions nearly two years in the making.

And astronauts made their long journey back home, but why on earth were they.