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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Challenge To Mississippi Abortion Ban; Concern Feud Among House Republicans Will Hurt Midterm Prospects; LeBron James Enters NBA Health And Safety Protocols. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 01, 2021 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, this is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Laura Jarrett. It's about 33 minutes past the hour here in New York and it's time for our top stories to keep an eye on today.

A 15-year-old sophomore is in custody after killing three students and wounding eight others in a shooting at a high school in Oxford, Michigan. Three of those wounded students are in critical condition this morning. The suspect is on suicide watch at a juvenile detention facility.

ROMANS: All travelers to the United States may soon have to be tested for COVID one day before their flight. The Biden administration also considering testing all travelers, including U.S. citizens, after they arrive in the U.S. Right now, the CDC is expanding surveillance at four major U.S. airports to check for Omicron.

JARRETT: A federal judge in Louisiana has halted the Biden administration's vaccine mandate covering many healthcare workers. Now, this order applies nationwide. It is the third court order blocking various federal vaccine mandates just since Monday morning.

ROMANS: Jury selection underway in the trial of former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter. Four jurors have already been picked. Potter faces manslaughter charges for fatally shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright in April. She said she mistakenly believed she was using her taser.


JARRETT: Graphic testimony from an accuser at the Ghislaine Maxwell's sex trafficking trial. The woman, identified only as Jane, described how Jeffrey Epstein, with Maxwell's help, sexually abused her beginning when she was just 14 years old and continued for several years.

ROMANS: CNN projects City Councilman Andre Dickens will become Atlanta's next mayor. He defeated City Council president Felicia Moore in a runoff election to determine who will hold that city's top post. Dickens is a former businessman and non-profit leader who has served on Atlanta's City Council since 2013.

JARRETT: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a Mississippi case that could officially overturn Roe versus Wade as we know it and threaten reproductive freedom nationwide.

Let's bring in -- bring in CNN Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue. Ariane, so nice to see you. It's been a while.

ROMANS: Good morning.


JARRETT: There is so much at stake at court today as the justices take up this Mississippi law that practically makes it impossible to get an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy in that state. And unlike cases in the past, the state here has been just completely transparent. They're being honest about their effort to get Roe overturned. They're not even trying to hide the ball.

DE VOGUE: Right. This is the most important abortion case this court has heard in decades, as you said. Mississippi is asking to overturn Roe v. Wade, that landmark opinion that legalized abortion nationwide.

And, of course, what the justices will hear this morning is this Mississippi law with that 15-week cutoff. And the reason that 15 weeks is so important is because Supreme Court precedence says that a state can't step in until after viability, which is usually around 23 or 24 weeks.

So, that's why the lower courts here -- both of them, including a very conservative appeals court -- struck this law down. Mississippi went ahead to the Supreme Court -- appealed it, asking not only for the court to uphold this law but to strike down Roe v. Wade.

And the clinics here say look, Roe v. Wade has been on the books for some 50 years. If you do this now it's going to be totally destabilizing for women across the country who have come to rely upon it. And the Biden administration is supporting the clinics here.

And in their briefs and what they'll tell the Supreme Court today is look, if you overturn Roe v. Wade and send this issue back to the states, that means that there is going to be the biggest impact on poor women. Women with low income who aren't going to be able to travel in order to get the procedure. So, all that's going to be heard today.

ROMANS: You know, Ariane, this case is the culmination of decades of work by Republicans who want to chip away at Roe, right?

JARRETT: And have.

ROMANS: And have. But in Texas, Roe is already essentially gutted. So, if they succeed in getting the case officially overturned, what are the real ramifications? DE VOGUE: Well, you're exactly right because they have been working -- critics of Roe -- for years not only to get a case like this in front of the Supreme Court but to change the face of the courts. Remember --

ROMANS: Right.

DE VOGUE: -- President Donald Trump -- he said that he was going to put pro-life judges on the courts. He put three on the Supreme Court and this is what they've been working toward.

And on the other side, supporters of abortion rights say look, if you overturn Roe v. Wade, almost immediately large swaths in the south and the Midwest will no longer have the right to abortion. And that's because they have trigger laws in place -- some of these states -- that were meant to go into effect immediately after Roe if it were ever overturned. Other states have pro -- pre-Roe laws on the books that bar abortion. And then there are many with legislatures that are hostile to Roe v. Wade.

And keep in mind the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- she was often asked what would happen if Roe was overturned. And she said that what would happen is that women with low means -- low-income women would have to travel. They would really be affected by this more than anybody else.

So, that's what the map would look like.

JARRETT: Well -- and that's certainly what you've seen in Texas, right, where they have essentially had a complete ban on abortion and women have been crossing state lines. Women who can afford it have been crossing state lines --


JARRETT: -- to still get abortions.

Ariane, you mentioned the makeup of the court and how just -- how it has just changed in such a short amount of time. Some might say one of the former president's greatest triumphs was getting those three justices on the court with the help of the likes of Mitch McConnell, cementing this conservative --


JARRETT: -- majority.

Are there any swing votes here? I've heard some court-watchers like yourself suggest that maybe Justice Roberts is the one to watch here.

DE VOGUE: Right. Well, first of all, the only one who has come out and said to overturn Roe v. Wade is Justice Clarence Thomas.


DE VOGUE: But you're going to look at Alito and Gorsuch to see their move.

ROMANS (coughing): Excuse me.


DE VOGUE: But you're absolutely right. All eyes today are going to be on Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barrett to see if maybe they may not be ready to take that huge step to overturn Roe and they may look for some kind of middle ground. That's what will be the focus today.

But, of course, the clinics say there is no way to uphold this law without gutting Roe.

JARRETT: So much here. Ariane, thank you so much for helping break us -- break it all down.

ROMANS: Thanks, Ariane.

DE VOGUE: Thanks.

ROMANS: All right.

GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has a problem on his hands. His own party members name-calling, finger-pointing -- downright childish behavior. McCarthy had private meetings with two of his feuding Republicans relaying the same message to both -- stop it.

Let's bring in CNN congressional reporter Daniella Diaz live on Capitol Hill. Daniella, the big question here, could this party infighting spell trouble for the GOP in next year's midterms. I mean, these are feuding bit players in -- bit players in Congress who have all the headlines, all the oxygen. Provocateurs, not policy, is what we're hearing about the Republican Party right now. Fundraising off of outrageous comments.

I mean, what is leadership to do here?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Christine, if House minority leader Kevin McCarthy can't unite his party it's unclear what this would mean for his ultimate goal to win the majority in the House in the 2022 midterms.

Right now, McCarthy is dealing with two very separate issues but they're related.

Of course, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, a very conservative Republican from Colorado who had very racist and Islamic rhetoric toward a Democratic member of Congress in the House, Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim. And then, there's also Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Congresswoman Nancy Mace. Marjorie Taylor Greene slamming Nancy Mace for denouncing Boebert for his -- her racist rhetoric.

Now, last night he was dealing directly with Marjorie Taylor Greene and Nancy Mace. He actually set up two separate meetings with the two congresswomen. However, both emerged with very separate feelings about how the -- whether they'd resolved this issue. Marjorie Taylor Greene saying she spoke with former President Donald

Trump and they plan to endorse a primary opponent to Nancy Mace. She's a swing district -- she has a swing district in South Carolina. And Nancy Mace also not feeling like it was resolved.

But really what is going on here is Kevin McCarthy has to deal with these very conservative members who are very loud, taking all the oxygen out of the room, as you said, Christine. Because the real goal here is that they -- he wants to unite his party ahead of the 2022 midterms and get -- redirect the members to focus on the message against President Joe Biden's agenda, which is really what he wants to do here. But if these members continue to publicly feud it's unclear what that could mean for them winning the majority next year -- Christine, Laura.

ROMANS: Yes, 435 members of Congress and this is who we're talking about. It must be really frustrating for the leadership.

All right, nice to see you, Daniella Diaz. Thank you so much.

JARRETT: Of all the things -- there is inflation, there's a new variant. There's so much they could be handling but --

ROMANS: I just -- you know, that a one-term --

JARRETT: No words.

ROMANS: -- that a one-term Congress member can control the narrative.

JARRETT: Control this.

ROMANS: I mean, that must be really frustrating for the traditional Republicans.

JARRETT: Coming up, what is going on with LeBron James. We have the latest on the NBA legend now missing games due to COVID rules.

ROMANS: And why you might not find those huge post-holiday sales this year.



ROMANS: Let's get a check on CNN Business this Wednesday morning, the first day of December.

Looking at markets around the world to start a new month, you can see gains in Asia. Those markets have now closed. And European markets have opened higher here -- a decent bounce back here. On Wall Street, stock index futures also bouncing a little bit. Look, bouncing back from yesterday's declines.

Stocks were hurt by renewed Omicron concerns and comments from the Fed chief Jerome Powell. The Dow tumbled 652 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also down. The

S&P down almost two percent. That makes it losses for the month for all three major averages. The Dow down almost four percent in November.

During his testimony Tuesday, Powell told lawmakers the Fed no longer thought inflation was transitory -- going to retire that word -- and hinted that the central bank could start tapering its bond purchases earlier than expected.

Investors will get a sense of the strength of the labor market when the ADP private payroll report is released in just a couple of hours. The official government report comes on Friday.

All right, to the supply chain nightmare now. President Biden will deliver remarks this afternoon on his administration's work to strengthen supply chains. He'll also detail plans to lower everyday costs for families and ensure stocked shelves this holiday season.

The president Cyber Monday with chief executives from Best Buy, Food Lion, Walmart, among others. President Biden expressed optimism about the holidays, saying that compared with last year, Americans have a little more hope.

What they won't get is post-Christmas sales. Don't get your hopes up on better year-end deals after Christmas because of the supply chain problem. January is usually the golden month for markdowns and savings. Stores slash prices as much as 80 percent to drum up sales, of course, but also to clear out all the leftover coats, and the sweaters, and the gadgets that didn't sell for the holidays.

This year, though, very different. Retailers like Gap and Victoria's Secret say they plan leftover merchandise -- they will store it for next year or try selling it at full price.

JARRETT: All right, Lakers' star LeBron James missed last night's game against the Kings and could potentially miss more games after, quote, "entering the NBA's health and safety protocols."

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. All right, Andy, help me out here. What in the --


JARRETT: -- world does that mean? Does that mean LeBron has COVID? Does that mean he came into contact with someone who has COVID? What's happening?

SCHOLES: Laura, it could be either. So, the Lakers did not say whether LeBron tested positive for COVID but according to the league protocols he's got to be out for at least 10 days now unless he registers two negative tests in a 24-hour period.


And LeBron told reporters on media day back in September that he had been vaccinated after previously having reservations about it.

And Lakers head coach Frank Vogel reacting to the news before the game last night.


FRANK VOGEL, HEAD COACH, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: This is a huge loss. You know, it's disappointing. We just want the best for him right now. I found out this morning that he was going to be entering the health and safety protocols and we arranged for him to get transportation back to L.A. safely.


SCHOLES: Yes, it's been a rough season so far for LeBron. He missed 10 games with injury and was suspended for a game for the first time in his career. And now, he's out after entering the league's COVID protocols.

As for the Lakers game, they managed to overcome the loss of LeBron to beat the Kings 117-92.

Now, the NBA's two top teams, meanwhile, meeting in Phoenix last night with the Suns hosting the Warriors. Phoenix riding a league-best 16- game winning streak into this one.

Fourth quarter -- tight game. Chris Paul to Jae Crowder who knocks down the three. That put the Suns up by six. Moments later, Paul going to muscle his way in for the bucket. He had 15 points and 11 assists. Steph Curry struggled in this one scoring just 12 points.

Suns win their 17th in a row, getting the win 104-96.

All right, to college hoops. A big upset in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge last night. Ohio State knocking off number-one Duke in Columbus. The Buckeyes rallying from down 15 in the second half. Big man E.J. Liddell sealing the win with a nice step-back jumper to seal it 71-66.

Fans all stormed the court. It's Ohio State's first win over a number- one team since 2018. It kind of helps take the sting off losing to Michigan in football over the weekend.

And speaking of Michigan, the Wolverines jumping into the second spot in the second to last playoff rankings that were released last night. The rest of the top four remains the same.

Huge games this weekend to decide it all. Georgia takes on Alabama in the SEC title game. The Dogs look to become -- are looking to make the playoff, really, if they win or lose that one.

Undefeated Cincinnati can be the first non-power five team to make the playoffs if they beat Houston. Michigan needs to beat Iowa in the Big Ten title to secure their spot. And if some of these teams lose, we could see absolute chaos.

Finally, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh -- he could earn almost $3.5 million in bonuses if he hits every goal laid out in his contract, but he says he won't see a penny of it. That's because Harbaugh and his wife Sarah say they're going to give the money to the athletic department employees who were impacted by COVID-related pay cuts. The school says the Harbaughs' generosity stands to benefit hundreds of workers.

And you know, guys, we've seen some college coaches get big paydays over the last few days.


SCHOLES: Really cool to see what Harbaugh's doing with his bonus money.


ROMANS: That's amazing. That is amazing.

JARRETT: Life-changing.


All right, thanks so much, Andy. Nice to see you.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: Thanks, Andy.

ROMANS: All right.

Dancer Josephine Baker has not been inducted into the official Pantheon of French heroes, making her the first American, the first Black woman, and the first performing artist to receive that honor.

The St. Louis-born ex-patriot was a sensation after the First World War, dancing and singing her way across the stages of Paris. She went on to become a spy for the allies during World War II, a civil rights activist in the 50s and the 60s, and a fierce advocate for adoption, raising 12 adopted children.

She is one of only 80 people who have ever been inducted into the Pantheon. Her body remains buried in Monaco. So, following tradition, her Pantheon coffin contains handfuls of earth from places meaningful in her life.

JARRETT: What a life.

ROMANS: It's amazing, right?

JARRETT: I mean, all the different things over the years.

ROMANS: I know.

JARRETT: It's amazing.

ROMANS: I mean, one of those things is remarkable -- JARRETT: Right.

ROMANS: -- but she did all of them.

JARRETT: Incredible.

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

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



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Wednesday, December first. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

And we do begin with breaking news. Donald Trump tested positive for coronavirus three days before his first debate against Joe Biden on September 29th, 2020. This stunning revelation is in a new book by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that was obtained by "The Guardian." A positive test the country never knew about. A positive test before he ultimately admitted to the nation that he did have COVID days before attending event after event after event with vulnerable people.

Now, there was a subsequent negative test but this still raises all kinds of questions about honesty, about timing, and about why the White House chose to trust one test rather than another.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Now, as for the debate, according to "The Guardian," Meadows writes that he knew that each candidate was required to test negative for the virus within 72 hours of the start time, but he said nothing was going to stop Trump from going out there.

Now, CNN has not confirmed this independently but "The Guardian" says it has obtained this book. We have, though, reached out to all parties involved and we are waiting to hear back.

BERMAN: So, this is the timeline as we know it and it includes these --