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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Tear Gas And Water Cannons Used On Migrants At Belarus-Poland Border; President Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill Into Law; U.S. Condemns Russia For "Reckless" Anti-Satellite Missile Test. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 16, 2021 - 05:30   ET



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're right -- there is the allegation with some substance to it -- a lot of substance to it that the Lukashenko regime orchestrated this crisis.

In fact, Sec. Blinken and the U.S. said just yesterday that it was an exploitation of vulnerable people. And many people around the world -- people in Poland and the European Union, and the international community accept that. Alexander Lukashenko, the leader of Belarus, does not accept it. His backers in Moscow -- Vladimir Putin over there -- says that's not the case either.

Let's go back up to where this situation is slightly intensifying.

And so, there is this geopolitical standoff. There's no doubt that these people have been encouraged to come here with cheap tickets, with direct flights, with visa restrictions being lifted. And so, clearly, the Lukashenko government regime is culpable for creating this humanitarian crisis on its borders.

And, of course, there is justification for the Pols not letting those people in. But I think we also have to remember -- (coughing) excuse me -- we're coughing because there's some pepper spray, I think they put into the --

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: No apologies necessary, yes.

CHANCE: -- the water to choke us. Come over here a bit closer with these people here.

But you have to remember, I think, that these are real people -- real refugees with real aspirations to make their life better and who are genuinely caught in the middle of the geopolitical standoff. And so, there is a real humanitarian situation here, which is unfolding right on the borders of Europe, Laura.

JARRETT: Matthew, just describe before the water cannons and the tear gas, or whatever was being used was dispersed, did you hear anything overhead? Did you -- did you see -- did you sense something was coming or was it just a surprise sort of escalation -- use of force there?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, look -- no, I didn't -- we didn't have any warning of this, no. We just came from the refugee camp this morning -- to the refugee place to see where -- oh -- to see where everybody has been located. And this was a sort of -- I don't know who directed it if that's what you're asking. But it had already begun by the time I arrived, so I don't know how -- what specifically instigated it.

But I do know -- I do know there was a great deal of tension that's been brewing in these camps for the past eight or nine days since the majority of the people have been based there. Hundreds have been arriving every day putting additional pressure on the very limited resources -- on the very limited resources that the Belarusians have been -- have been -- have been deploying to look after these people in terms of water and food, and shelter.

And a growing sense of anger as well, and frustration. They're not being welcomed into the European Union, which is what they want.

And these people over here, they're smashing up these rocks, as I was telling you, into smaller pieces so that they can get a rock that's throwable -- that's throwable -- and are being filmed. (INAUDIBLE).

Anyway (coughing) -- so --

JARRETT: All right.

CHANCE: -- Laura, that's the situation -- extremely tense. You can see people over there throwing stones. The response -- the water cannons still being blasted to push people back.

A very dramatic situation unfolding here on the border between Belarus and Poland.

JARRETT: All right, Matthew, just incredible reporting. Please take care of yourself. Please get something to drink. And let us know as you get further information and we will come right back to you. Matthew Chance live there for us. Thank you so much.

CHANCE: Thank you. Thank you.

JARRETT: All right.

Still ahead for you, President Biden hitting the road to tout his major infrastructure victory. Can he sell this as a win to the American people? That's just ahead.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.




JARRETT: Good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett. It's about 36 minutes past the hour here in New York.

And after scoring a major legislative victory, President Biden is hitting the road today to sell his trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. The president taking a long-awaited victory lap after signing the landmark legislation Monday at a rare bipartisan ceremony at the White House. Mr. Biden calling it a monumental step forward to build back better as a nation.


BIDEN: The bill I'm about sign into law is proof that despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results. We can do this. We can deliver real results for real people.


JARRETT: CNN's Jasmine Wright is in Washington and joins us live. Jasmine, good morning. So, what is the message from this White House after the president's big win? He surely needed one.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Laura. Look, it's a message of triumph but it is also a clear signal that he is trying to get things done for the American people.

We just heard him talk about the fact that because both Democrats and Republicans voted for this bill, it is a clear sign that Congress can work the way it is intended to, and that is something that he campaigned on. And he spoke about how this bill will build back the nation as it provides roads, and bridges, and transit.

But let's make no mistake about this, Laura. This is still a president under pressure. Not only is he facing low poll numbers but he is also facing a national conversation really dominated by those inflation concerns as Americans are paying more for everyday goods -- higher prices at the pump, grocery shopping -- as we enter the holiday season.

So, officials have continued to say over and over that this bipartisan infrastructure bill, along with that social safety net expansion package that has not yet passed, will tamp down on those inflation prices, though we may not see anything happening until the middle of next year.

Yesterday on CNN, Chief of Staff Ron Klain -- he made that case and he said that he was confident that larger social safety expansion package that they call BBB (Build Back Better) -- he was confident that this week it would get enough votes to pass out of the House. Take a listen.


RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, we showed we had the votes on the infrastructure bill. And I think we'll show this week we will have the votes on the Build Back Better bill.

Look, I understand these things always take longer than they should or than you think you should, but America waited 50 years for the road investments we made today; 70 years for the kinds of investments in rail that we made today.


WRIGHT: So, today we will see President Biden talking more about those investments as he visits a bridge in Woodstock, New Hampshire, really starting this sales pitch of him and his cabinet members, really taking (ph) the country telling them exactly what is inside of this bill -- Laura, Christine.

JARRETT: Jasmine, thank you so much -- appreciate it.

It's time for three questions in maybe three minutes. Let's bring in CNN political analyst Margaret Talev, managing editor at Axios. Margaret, good morning -- nice to see you.

So, President Biden --


JARRETT: -- got to revel in his moment yesterday. Eight hundred people gathered around him to watch him sign the infrastructure bill into law.

The president now hits the road to tout this victory in places like New Hampshire and Michigan -- states that Dems really need help in.

How much can this bill move the needle in the Democrats' favor when some of this stuff isn't going to actually sort of -- you won't see the tangible results for years?


TALEV: Yes, Laura, I think you put your finger on it. It -- some of this money is going to start going out at some point in 2022. But President Biden is sort of swinging for the history books at this point.

And by the way, you're going to see Republicans take credit for -- in their own districts for this infrastructure bill, whether or not they voted to pass it. I think you're going to see that.

And, like, you're going to see Mitch McConnell, in Kentucky, talking about how great it is that he's going to get help for Kentucky. He's not trying to help Joe Biden so I think we can all agree on that. But for Biden, this is certainly better than nothing.

He'll go to New Hampshire. That's a state with a key Senate race next year, but it's also a state where a bridge is one thing but New Hampshire voters are going to have higher energy bills. We already know that because of the supply chain issues.

And so, I think the economy and the inflation are going to butt up against Biden's promise that this investment in infrastructure is going to help the country down the road. The messaging is going to be a real challenge for him and, so far, he's not been the most adept at threading that needle.

JARRETT: The messaging has always been, it seems, the issue here. The substance doesn't seem to be the issue that people are taking issue with, but the messaging around some of these wins and projecting them as wins still seems to be a hiccup.

Let's talk about what's going on on the Republican side. The "Casper Star Tribune" is reporting that the Wyoming GOP no longer views Congresswoman Liz Cheney as a member of their party. Now, she doesn't actually lose any power here. She doesn't get stripped of her committee assignments. I think the conventional wisdom will be this is just another sign of where the Republican Party is.

Is there any world in which something like this actually works in Cheney's favor?

TALEV: Talk about messaging, right? The message is pretty clear from the state party in Wyoming. This has been coming for a while. The censure happened months ago. This is essentially a foregone conclusion.

That primary to attempt to replace her internally is getting fairly crowded, right -- like a four-person primary at this point.

But what you're seeing is Cheney in a different way. Chris Christie, the former governor from New Jersey, sort of put themselves out there and say you know what? We don't really care. Like, this is going to be the way we stake our claim to what the future of the Republican Party is and what we think is our role in it.

And I think Cheney is now in a place where she understands what's happening in Wyoming. She's going to fight for her job but she is also trying to redefine the party and find her own role nationally and in history.

JARRETT: So, speaking of Christie, Dana Bash had a great interview with him for her show "BEING." Listen to a little clip and then we'll talk about it.


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: Well, I wanted to try to make him the best candidate he could be and if he won, ultimately, the best president he could be. I don't make any apologies for that. I was one very small part of the effort to help make him president. So, the responsibility I'll take is I voted for him twice. I admit that, and I wouldn't change my vote.


CHRISTIE: No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't change my vote. Because so many of the things, Dana, that are happening right now in the country from a policy perspective are, to me, so long-term bad for the country. (END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: So, he's disgusted by some of the former president's behavior, he's disgusted by the insurrection, yet he doesn't regret voting for him a second time. What's Christie's endgame here?

TALEV: I mean, Christie and Cheney are taking two different tacts or two different tones but with the same goal in mind, which is to put themselves forward as a different definition of the Republican going forward -- Republican Party going forward and to say, in some sense, that the party needs to move beyond Trump to survive long-term.

Christie also said in that interview -- and we didn't interview with him on Axios -- and on HBO recently also very similar messaging that he said in this case, that there's no way those folks on January sixth would have been out there if Trump wasn't telling them that -- wrongly, incorrectly -- that the election had been stolen.


TALEV: And so -- but you've got Cheney attacking the former president much more directly, and Christie kind of trying to find the space where he's saying look, Trump has handled things wrong since the election. And Cheney is saying yes, that and a lot of other stuff.

So, I think it's two different tones but really the same message, which is he shouldn't be the future of the party; I should -- and then trying to make the case for why. And they both face a really uphill climb and may not be successful, but have decided that it's in the interest of the party long-term as well as themselves to pursue this course.

JARRETT: Well, and for now, they are truly outliers. I mean, we're focusing on them because there aren't many other ones out there that are at least being as outspoken about their thoughts about the former president. What people say behind closed doors might be a different issue.


Margaret Talev, thank you so much. Always great to have you.

TALEV: You, too. Thanks, Laura.

JARRETT: Is there life on another planet? Humanity is getting closer to answering that than ever before. The new CNN film "THE HUNT FOR PLANET B" follows the female-led team of scientists who are heading up the quest to find another earth. "THE HUNT FOR PLANET B" premieres Saturday at 9:00 p.m. eastern, only on CNN.


JARRETT: Welcome back.

The star-studded Rams losing for a second-straight week, this time to the 49ers. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Hi, Andy.



So, the Rams -- they've gone all in this season adding multiple superstars, but it hasn't worked out on the field yet as they looked bad for a second week in a row.

Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller making their debuts for L.A. OBJ had just two catches for 18 yards in this one.

The game, all 49ers from the start. First quarter, already up 7-0. The Rams were trying to run a tight end screen but the ball went right off Tyler Higbee's hand to Jimmie Ward. He took it back for a touchdown. That made it 14-0.

Stafford threw an interception on the Rams' first two possessions. Fourth quarter, Jimmy Garoppolo finds Deebo Samuel on fourth down and he went 40 yards for a touchdown. That put the game away.

The Niners win big, 31-10. This was the first win for the 49ers in Levi's Stadium since October of 2020. That game was also against the Rams.

All right, "THE MANNING CAST" was back last night, which is bad news for whoever they have on as a guest. So far this season, anytime a current player joins Peyton and Eli, they've lost the following week. It's happened all six times. That may be a reason why no current players joined them last night.

But Phil Mickelson did and they asked him about the Manning curse.


PHIL MICKELSON, 6-TIME MAJOR CHAMPION: I believe that it is a thing and that's why I'm not playing next week. I didn't know if it would carry over into golf or not. I think it's real. And so, I think it's important that you get people that are here on your -- on your "MANNING CAST" the week before a bye. That's probably the best way to do it.


SCHOLES: All right.

And finally, want to own a piece of an NFL team? Well, today you get your chance. The Green Bay Packers are the only team owned by the fanbase and are going to sell 300,000 shares at $300 each on This is going to be the sixth time they've done this -- the first time in 10 years. The money raised by the team can only be used for stadium and facilities improvement projects.

But even though you can say you own a piece of the team -- if you buy it, the stock is going to have no value, Laura, pay no dividend, and you get no say in team matters. But if you're like my producer Brian Kargus, you can walk around and tell everyone my Packers are doing good. My Packers, this, that, and the other. So, I mean, that's the perk. You can say --


SCHOLES: -- you own the team even though it's worth nothing and you get no say in anything.

JARRETT: So, you're paying hundreds of dollars for bragging rights -- is that what you're telling me?

SCHOLES: For a certificate. You get a fancy little certificate saying you own a share of the team.

JARRETT: All right. I guess you can frame that.


JARRETT: Andy, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: Beto O'Rourke is running for governor of Texas next year. The former congressman and Democratic presidential candidate says he's determined to unseat GOP Gov. Greg Abbott and push past what he's calling the small and divisive politics in the state today.

Beto O'Rourke was elected to Congress in 2011 and is making his third run for office in four years. His longshot Senate campaign against Republican Ted Cruz in 2018 electrified Democrats in Texas but ultimately, Cruz prevailed.

New data shows COVID cases in kids jumping 22 percent from two weeks ago. The American Academy of Pediatrics now says it considers the number of children with the virus extremely high, but the kids are still much less likely, on average, to be hospitalized than adults.

Children are the least vaccinated of any age group right now. But over the past two weeks, kids under 12 have accounted for more than a quarter of all new vaccinations.

Now to this. A scramble in space after Russia conducts an anti- satellite missile test that the U.S. condemned as reckless and dangerous for endangering the crew aboard the International Space Station. The test blew up one of Russia's own satellites, creating debris that forced the ISS crew to take shelter.

U.S. officials stress the potential global economic fallout from the Russian test, such as possible damage to satellites that provide people around the world with phone and broadband service, weather forecasting, and GPS systems.

Well, "SESAME STREET" fans, listen up. Elmo is getting a new buddy. The newest monster on the block is Korean-American Ji-Young. She's a guitar-playing 7-year-old who will make her debut on the Thanksgiving special, "SEE US COMING TOGETHER" on several platforms, including HBO Max.

The initiative was created to support families of all backgrounds and gives the show the chance to discuss anti-Asian racism and combating hate.

Well, lots of laughs on late-night as hosts took shots at the Biden administration's latest victory.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": President Biden finally signed his $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Yes, now we all get one day to celebrate before America turns into one giant construction site.

JAMES CORDEN, HOST, "THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN": Here he is at the official signing ceremony this afternoon. Look at that. Maybe they can use some of the $1.2 trillion to buy the president a larger signing desk.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": To our nation's leaders were finally to answer one of the thorniest questions facing our country -- should we have roads?


Today, President Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill surrounded by members -- surrounded by members of both parties, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Truckasaurus.


JARRETT: Oh, infrastructure jokes.

Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman.