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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Biden And Xi Set To Hold Virtual Summit Today; Hundreds Of Children Facing Bitter Cold On Belarusian Side; Queen Elizabeth II Cancels Remembrance Sunday Appearance. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 15, 2021 - 05:30   ET



IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's been behind bars ever since. This is incredible news for him. There are still dozens of local journalists in jail since the coup in Myanmar.

Back to you.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right -- Ivan Watson for us. Thank you so much. Keep us posted on any more developments.

All right. Coming up, the meeting is virtual, the stakes are high. President Biden prepares for his first summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. What we expect, next.



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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is just about 34 minutes past the hour this Monday morning.

Tonight, President Biden and Chinese President Xi are set to hold a virtual summit with a lot at stake -- trade, human rights, other issues. Both leaders have expressed a desire to lower the temperature.

CNN's Steven Jiang is in Beijing for us. Steven, Biden and Xi have spoken twice by phone this year but this is the first time seeing each other since Biden became president. Tell us -- remind us why the stakes are so high here.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Christine, because this has been described as the world's most important bilateral relationship and it has been in a nosedive for quite some time, especially during the latter years of the Trump presidency.

Now, when Joe Biden took office there were hopes that things could be picking up. But instead, President Biden has kept most of his predecessors' China policies and measures, even promising to form this united front against an increasingly powerful and some would say aggressive Beijing with U.S. allies and partners. That obviously has upset many officials here in Beijing considering Mr. Biden's approach to pose an even greater threat to China than Mr. Trump's going-it- alone method.


So, that's why tensions have been really ratcheting up in the past few months over a wide range of issues, especially regarding Taiwan but also on trade, cybersecurity, and, of course, human rights. And that's something very close to President Biden's heart with him saying he wants to block (ph) the advancement of rising authoritarianism around the world. And that's a trend very much led by China and its strongman leader Xi Jinping.

So, given how far apart the two sides remain on all those critically important issues, few are expecting to see major breakthroughs on their disputes.

So, what this virtual summit is all about, according to many, is to put a floor on this freefall in this relationship, and maybe carving out a few lanes for cooperation. But most importantly, Christine, keep communication open at the very top to avoid strategic miscalculation that could harm not just bilateral ties but even global peace --


JIANG: -- and prosperity -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. David (sic) Jiang for us. Thank you so much for that.

It's time then for three questions in three minutes. Let's bring in CNN political and national security analyst, David Sanger -- a correspondent for "The New York Times."

David, what should expect -- what does each side want as a deliverable here?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, WHITE HOUSE AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES (via Webex by Cisco): Well, as you heard before, the discussion of a floor on the relationship or at least guardrails on the relationship is, I think, the key part for President Biden.

He's concerned that something could spin out of control, whether it's led by an attack or a slow squeeze on Taiwan, or whether it could be a cyberattack of the United States -- or another one. Or thefts of goods that creates another crisis with China. Or whether it's just the separation of the two economies.

For Xi, I suspect he probably just wants at this moment a period of quiet before he heads into an important party Congress.

JARRETT: David, both leaders say they don't want to slip into a cold war. As you said, President Biden really doesn't want things to get out of control here. But how do they actually lower the temperature between these two countries? Is it just rhetoric? SANGER: Well, I think it goes beyond that at this point. I think that the president with his early statements of how we, right now, have a contest between authoritarianism and democracy and have to prove that democracy works, was laying out a very sensible casting of these two societies but also has introduced an element of ideological struggle to this the Chinese have tried to avoid. And I think that part of what the president is trying to do is avoid having a cold war turn to something hotter.

We've also heard Xi say that we should not get involved in a cold war. And, of course, this is quite different from the kind of cold war thinking that we had in a previous era because the economic relationship between the United States and China is so deep and so rich. The question is can you use that to be a break on the decline in the rest of the relationship?

ROMANS: You know, David, we've seen Xi really cementing his legacy and cementing his power. And we've seen escalating tensions with China's neighbors, like Japan and Taiwan, over the past few months. Now we're seeing the Russian president do the same thing by building up pressure on its European neighbors.

Any connection? Do you see any connection there between these escalating crises?

SANGER: Only that both sides are seeking to test President Biden. I think that after Afghanistan they think that he is very much trying to avoid the kinds of outside conflicts that the United States has found itself wrapped in for so many years. But I think that they may be misreading him as well because to President Biden, managing the China relationship -- getting it right and getting the competition with China right is an existential issue. It's one of the reasons he wanted to be out of Afghanistan.

So, I think that in the case of the Russians, they're acting as disruptors. In the case of China, they're actually a major factor.

JARRETT: All right, David Sanger. A lot to watch for this evening. Always great to have your analysis -- thanks.

ROMANS: All right, we're returning now to the --

SANGER: It's great to be with you.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

We're -- let's go back to the border now between Belarus and Poland where migrants are caught between forces on either side with temperatures soon expected to drop below freezing. You've got hundreds of children, many of them babies and toddlers -- are now in this humanitarian crisis.

Our Matthew Chance is there. He has been there with the migrants, talking to them and sort of telling us their dilemma. Welcome back. What are seeing now, Matthew?


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christine. Well, we're just showing you a shot now of the number of migrants that have made their way from that refugee camp that we've been seeing grow over the past couple of weeks on the border between Poland and Belarus.

They've picked up all their belongings and they've moved en masse -- a couple of thousand people, I estimate -- down to this border crossing with Poland -- between Belarus and Poland. Many of the people here are parents with their children. There's a little girl here. There are -- there are children everywhere.

It is a direct confrontation with the Polish security forces over there -- a challenge to them, if you like, to let these migrants pass or to push them back into these camps. You can see the message from Poland is pretty categorical. Razor-wire fences have been erected. Border police have been deployed in force with riot gear. There are some military police down there as well.

This big blue vehicle here we believe is a water cannon. It's got barrels, if you like, pointed towards the crowd. They're not towards the crowd at the moment but they were earlier. They've moved them aside.

But obviously, they're preparing to resist with force if there's any attempt to reach this border crossing.

And, in fact, there's been a rumor spreading around the camp for the past 24 or 48 hours that the Pols would open up this border crossing. Allow a humanitarian corridor for these refugees to pass through to get into Germany, where the majority of them say that they want to go.

But that rumor has been dispelled by the Pols. They've been sending text messages. Our crews have received text messages and any of the refugees close to the border have got messages from the Polish government saying that is not true. And that is underlined by the fact that you can see these security forces standing -- determined not to let these refugees through now -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Matthew Chance. Keep us posted. Thanks so much for that great reporting there from the border.

All right, back here, inflation watch as surging demand, material shortages, and chokepoints in the global supply chain driving prices for just about everything higher. Inflation is the hottest in 30 years. White House officials acknowledging the pain.


BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Inflation is high right now and it is affecting consumers in their pocketbook and also in their outlook for the economy. But those concerns underscore why it's so important that we move forward on the Build Back Better legislation -- this legislation that the House is going to consider this week. This, more than anything, will go at the costs that Americans face.


ROMANS: White House officials also say they're going to take this tiered approach to combat rising prices. So, what can the White House really do to fight inflation? There's a menu of options here.

They could cut Trump tariffs on Chinese imports. They could cut steel and aluminum tariffs. They could tap the strategic petroleum reserve, although that -- well, it would probably only be a temporary -- a temporary relief for gas prices. And they could cut regulations, for example, to fix the trucker shortage and port backlogs.

And we're hearing from White House officials that they feel like they are making progress on that front, at least the throughput of getting goods from the ships into the rail system and the transport system in the U.S.

And there's this. The pandemic is still a top priority.

Here's the Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen.


JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: The pandemic has been calling the shots for the economy and for inflation. And if we want to get inflation down, I think continuing to make progress against the pandemic is the most important thing we can do.


ROMANS: Many economists say the blame for the -- for the inflation is COVID. You know, the economy was depressed and shut down, and then it's roared back to life.


ROMANS: The economy is strong. This is the downside of a strong economy.

For senior citizens, there will be a -- just about a six percent increase in their Social Security checks next year for cost of living. That's important. And a reminder that many working families and families are getting up to $300 a week -- month, rather, per child in those expanded tax credits.

So, there are -- there are ways that inflation can be absorbed. But still, every time you go to fill up your tank it's --

JARRETT: That's the problem is that gas is one of those issues --

ROMANS: Yes, and it's a real --

JARRETT: -- that -- it's an -- it's an everyday --

ROMANS: Look at California. Record high gas prices in California. JARRETT: Yes.

ROMANS: All right, 44 minutes past the hour.

A programming note. On the new interview series "BEING," former Gov. Chris Christie joins Dana Bash. The hard-charging politician shares what it's like to go from Trump supporter to sharp critic. "BEING CHRIS CHRISTIE" airs tonight at 10:00.



JARRETT: This morning, new worries about Queen Elizabeth's health. The 95-year-old monarch forced to cancel an appearance at a Remembrance Sunday service in Central London after spraining her back.

CNN's Max Foster joins us live from London with the very latest. So, Max, do we know how the queen hurt her back? And how's she doing this morning?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, we haven't had an update -- just what we had yesterday. And on the face of it, it was really worrying. I mean, this is a key event to the queen's calendar. She's head of the armed forces and she served in the Second World War. She always makes sure she goes to this event and she makes sure the whole family goes as well.

And then last minute, she pulls out -- we're told because of a strained back. And in a bit of a reassurance exercise coming off the back of that, in that we were told by a source that this injury was unrelated to the reason she's been off work, effectively, previously and canceled her other engagements. That was because the doctors ordered her to rest. This was a separate injury if you like, but she's clearly in too much pain to turn up at the Remembrance services on Sunday.

And the source telling us that the queen was deeply disappointed to miss the engagement. It is considered one of her most important engagements of the year and the timing was very unfortunate.

Then we had the prime minister having to come out afterwards as well, making a statement saying he was -- he thought she was very well when he saw her during the week.


So, there is a lot of concern about the queen's condition and the fact that she is getting older and she can't appear at these engagements. But at the same time, a bit of a reassurance exercise going on Laura, as well. We'll keep across here (ph).

JARRETT: Yes. We know that you are staying on top of it for us, Max. Thank you for that.

All right, now to a little sports. Aaron Rodgers returning to the field, leading the Packers to a win yesterday.

Andy Scholes has it all covered in this morning's Bleacher Report. All right, Andy, that was fast. He's back?


Yes, Aaron Rodgers -- he was cleared to return from the COVID reserve list on Saturday and he was back on the field after missing just one game. But he certainly did look rusty after missing more than a week of practice.

Rodgers had plenty of miscues with his receiver. He didn't throw a touchdown pass and had an interception in the game. And this one with the Seahawks was just 3-0 all the way into the fourth quarter. Russell Wilson was also struggling in this one in his first action in more than a month.

The Packers added two scores in the fourth, though, to win this one 17-0.

And Rodgers said after the game he was just thrilled to be back with his teammates.


AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: It's good to be on the field, really. The most emotions from the whole night was probably walking off the field after the game. It definitely got me a little misty heading off. So, that was good to feel those type of emotions and good to be back with the guys.


SCHOLES: All right, Cam Newton also making his return to action with the Panthers. Cam coming off the bench in the red zone for Carolina on their first drive and it was vintage Cam. He'd run it in for the touchdown and the screams to the camera "I'm back."

After the game, Cam was asked about that touchdown celebration. He said well, at this point last week, he was at home eating a bowl of cereal and that's why he was so excited.

Next drive, Cam came in again. This time it was a two-yard touchdown pass. The Panthers win in a blowout in that one 34-10.

Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs, meanwhile, getting their swagger back. Chiefs were up 17-14 over the Raiders in the third. From there they would score 24 unanswered points. Mahomes throwing for 406 yards and five touchdowns. And the Chiefs win big in that one, 41-14.

Mahomes has never lost a division road game in his career. He's now a perfect 11-0.

Fascinating stats this morning, guys. And hey, the Chiefs -- a lot of people were panicking, saying the Chiefs -- hey, they're not the same. They looked pretty good last night.

JARRETT: All right, Andy. Thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: Appreciate it.

And some sad news to report this morning. A 9-year-old boy who was trampled at that Astroworld music festival and placed in a medically- induced coma has died. Ezra Blount is the 10th and youngest person to die from injuries suffered at that concert.

The Blount family has filed a lawsuit accusing the show's organizers of negligence.

ROMANS: All right, 53 minutes past the hour. Let's get a check on CNN Business this Monday morning to start the week.

Looking at markets around the world, Asian shares closed mixed. Europe has opened narrowly mixed. And on Wall Street, stock index futures leaning up just a little bit to start the week.

It was a higher day for stocks on Friday. The Dow up about 179 points. The Nasdaq up one percent. Still, for the week, all the averages down a bit as concerns over inflation weighed on investors.

Inflation hit a 30-year high last month but Americans are still spending big. This week, the focus shifts to how the consumer is holding up. October retail sales data is tomorrow.

We'll also get earnings reports from Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, and Target. Investors want to know how companies are managing supply chain hiccups and if they're passing rising costs to you, the consumer.

JARRETT: Adele sat down with Oprah and did not hold back from her divorce to her weight loss, to new music. And, of course, the singer says her new album is a way of talking about who she is and the breakdown of the marriage.


ADELE, SINGER-SONGWRITER: I've been obsessed with a nuclear family my whole life because I never came from one. I just, from a very young age, just promised myself that when I had kids that we'd stay together. We would be that united family.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST, MEDIA MOGUL: So, do you call this -- is this the divorce album?

ADELE: I think I'm divorcing myself on it.


JARRETT: The interview was interspersed with footage from her exclusive one-night-only concert, which was prerecorded in Los Angeles. The highly anticipated album "30" will be released Friday. ROMANS: There's nothing like her voice.


ROMANS: The best in the world.

JARRETT: And Betty White's superfans, you know have a chance to binge-watch the actress's best works and get paid for it. To celebrate White's 100th birthday on January 17th, insurance agency Choice Mutual says it will pay a contest winner $1,000 to watch 10 hours of her films and T.V. hits.

To apply, candidates just have to describe their favorite Betty White role. Bonus points for a video explaining why they love her. That shouldn't be too hard to do.

ROMANS: No. I would watch 10 hours of her for free.

JARRETT: Yes, I would watch 10 hours of "GOLDEN GIRLS" for sure.


ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

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


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

On this new day, closing arguments in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial set to begin. National Guard troops on watch. We have new details on how each side will present the case.

Steve Bannon expected to turn himself in this morning. What could it mean for other Trump --