Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Former GOP Sen. Perdue To Challenge Gov. Kemp In Georgia Primary; Biden Administration Set To Restart 'Remain in Mexico' Policy Next Week; At Least 15 Dead After Indonesia's Mount Semeru Volcano Erupts. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 06, 2021 - 05:30   ET




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

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 -- almost 31 minutes past the hour -- time for our top stories to keep an eye on today.

JARRETT: The Biden administration is set to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics this week; a protest of ongoing human rights abuses. U.S. athletes will still be able to compete in the games but no U.S. officials will attend.

ROMANS: A court in Myanmar sentencing deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four years in prison. The 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner charged with incitement and breaking COVID-19 rules. Suu Kyi was Myanmar's state counselor and de facto leader until the military seized power in a February coup.

JARRETT: In Chicago, will Jussie Smollett testify in his own defense? That's the question, but attorneys for the former "EMPIRE" actor aren't saying. Smollett is on trial, accused of staging a hate crime against himself for publicity. Last week, two brothers spent hours telling the jury how the actor paid them to pretend to be MAGA supporters in a fake attack.

ROMANS: The final piece of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia will be removed starting this week. A 134-year-old time capsule is believed to be embedded in the huge pedestal base that remains. The statue, itself, one of the largest remaining Confederate statues in the U.S. That was removed in September.

JARRETT: The show must go on for the Dancing Grannies, performing again two weeks after nearly half of their members were killed by a speeding driver at the Waukesha Christmas parade. The Grannies walked in a parade in Franklin, Wisconsin on Saturday. They say they had to do it for their fallen friends.

ROMANS: The well that delivers 20 percent of Honolulu's water supply shut down to protect against contamination. The Navy confirms tests last week found petroleum in its Red Hill well. The military has offered alternative housing to more than 700 service members and civilian employees living near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

JARRETT: Well, the Georgia's governor's race about to get even more interesting. Later today, former Republican senator David Perdue plans to announce a primary challenge against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

Now, Perdue, a Trump ally, lost the runoff election to Sen. Jon Ossoff back in January. CNN has reported that Trump recently urged Perdue to run against Kemp, who resisted the former president's demands to overturn his 2020 loss in Georgia.

Last week, Stacey Abrams, the Democrat, announced her campaign for governor in Georgia. She lost a closely-fought 2018 governor's race against Kemp by a margin of 1.4 percentage points.

ROMANS: All right, time for three questions in the three minutes. Let's bring in White House correspondent John Harwood.

John -- OK, you heard that there. The plot thickens in this Georgia governor's race. Trump ally David Perdue challenging Brian Kemp for the GOP seat. What does this look like over the next year, and should Stacey Abrams be happy about this?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, she should be happy with this, and Democrats, generally, should be happy with this.

First of all, stepping back, it is slated to be a bad year for Democrats next year because of how people feel about the economy, because of how people feel about President Biden. So, Democrats are in trouble as the party in power going into 2022. But if there's something that could give them a leg up -- a possibility of holding on, breaking through, surviving 2022, it is a fracture within the Republican Party and Donald Trump encouraging that fracture.

So, in the case of the Georgia governor's race, Perdue and Kemp are ideologically similar. Kemp was a Trump ally, too, until it came time to call the results of the 2022 election and Kemp was not willing to cheat on behalf of President Trump. Trump didn't like that.

Now you've got a difficult primary ahead. That gives Stacey Abrams an opening. She's an electric candidate but she would be an underdog running in 2022 in this purple state in a bad Democratic year. So, this is something that may give her a shot and may encourage Democrats to think that Trump is going to mess with other primaries in ways that help Democrats next year.


JARRETT: John, where you are in Washington, D.C., a disturbing scene. This group of white nationalists calling themselves the Patriot Front marched on the Lincoln Memorial this weekend shouting "Reclaim America." You know, this is happening at the same time the FBI director says the greatest threat is white supremacy -- domestic terrorism. ROMANS: This is the Lincoln -- this is in front of the Lincoln

Memorial, right?

JARRETT: It is. It is.

And John, I just wonder -- you know, have we learned anything since Charlottesville? As soon as I heard them saying "Reclaim America" it had sort of memories of "Jews will not replace us."

HARWOOD: What we've learned, Laura, is that there is a significant amount of fear and desperation among a certain segment of the American population, particularly blue-collar whites, that they are being eclipsed, replaced, supplanted by the changing culture, race -- racial profile, and demography of the United States.

And that fueled Donald Trump's rise -- the idea that foreigners are coming you. You see that on Fox News. Tucker Carlson talks about replacement -- the great replacement about beleaguered whites feeling like their country is being taken away. And that -- for a small sliver of those people, that frustration boils over into behavior that is dangerous.

Charlottesville was an example of that. The January sixth insurrection was an example of that. And that's what happened at the Memorial over the weekend.

Now, again, 100 people -- it was not a mass movement.


HARWOOD: But that exists in pockets all around the country and it's something that the -- as the FBI director has said, America's got to be vigilant about.

JARRETT: Yes, and thankfully, this one did not turn violent. But they all feel sort of like a powder keg.

ROMANS: And hiding their hate behind white masks. I mean, you know --


ROMANS: All right, those jobs numbers, though, on Friday. John, a messy jobs report. I mean, I'm wondering how the White House feels about this.

On the one hand, as you and I both know, it's two different surveys. The one survey that shows businesses net adding jobs. Only 210,000 jobs added -- a big disappointment. But that other survey of households showed a much, much bigger number and a jobless rate that fell to 4.2 percent.

It's just so hard to grasp in one word this was a good report, this was a bad report when you look at that number, isn't it?

HARWOOD: It was a disappointing report but I think the White House feels and economists generally feel it wasn't as disappointing as it looked for the reason that you mentioned.


HARWOOD: Usually, the establishment survey is the one that economists have greater confidence in. But it's been very difficult during the pandemic to get accurate reads because the data doesn't come in. Just like pollsters deal with non-responses --


HARWOOD: -- some people they call to try to take the temperature of public opinion on, businesses have been slow to turn in their data. So, stuff comes in late. That's why we see these upward revisions later.

It is not likely that the economy gained a million jobs, which is what the household survey indicated, but it is probably more than a couple hundred thousand and I expect we'll see upward revisions later. Still, that is something to signal concern about how resilient the economy is going to be going forward.

And, of course, we've got a lot of difficulties in terms of supply chain, in terms of --


HARWOOD: -- tightness in the labor market in certain places and not in other places. Fueling inflation, and posing a danger as the Omicron variant threatens to make the pandemic worse than we had expected.

Everybody's been counting on the pandemic receding as the key to a real economic resurgence in 2022. We don't know if we're going to get that.

ROMANS: Yes. We know Goldman Sachs just lowered its growth outlook for next year because of Omicron and the risk that it faces.

And, you know, we had 22 million jobs that disappeared in just two months last year. It's really hard to because -- it was the magnitude of the COVID collapse and the COVID impact on the economy. I mean, we just need to be patient. It's just hard to measure it, honestly. It's hard to measure it.


ROMANS: John Harwood, thank you. Nice to see you this morning.

JARRETT: Thank you, John.

HARWOOD: You bet.

JARRETT: All right, now to this. Endemic flaws, human costs, polled resources -- that's how the Biden administration, frankly, views a controversial immigration policy and it is about to restart today.

The president had tried to scrap the Trump administration's policy of forcing migrants to stay in Mexico as they wait for their immigration court dates in the United States. It's known as the 'Remain in Mexico' policy. But a federal judge ordered the Biden administration to restore it.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez has been covering this case since the very beginning. Priscilla -- so, how is this going to work now under the Biden administration essentially holding its nose while it does this?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Laura, the policy is going to operate largely the same way it did under the Trump administration, and it will become the second Trump-era border policy to be in effect under the Biden administration.


Now, as you mentioned, it is a court order that required the Biden administration to revive this policy. And over the last several weeks, the United States has been in ongoing discussions with Mexico where those none-Mexican migrants will remain until their U.S. court date.

And officials said they've made some changes. For example, providing access to counsel, speedier court proceedings. Transportation to the port of entry when migrants are coming back for their U.S. court date. And providing the COVID-19 vaccine.

Now, the Biden administration says this is going to start small and will expand over time but this has done very little to quell the concerns of Democratic lawmakers and immigrant advocates who recall migrants waiting in squalor and dangerous conditions in Mexico until their U.S. immigration court date.

Now, we should note, too, that the public health order that requires the swift expulsion of migrants -- it's still in effect and that will take precedence over this policy.

Now, the Biden administration is also still appealing this court order and is prepared to terminate the policy a second time if that court order is overturned. But in the interim, Laura, as you mentioned, a policy is going to go in effect today -- the 'Remain in Mexico' policy that the Biden administration condemned in the early days of the presidency.

JARRETT: So, trying to fight this at the same time as it's trying to implement this. We'll see how it works out.

Priscilla, thank you for staying on top of this for us -- appreciate it.

ALVAREZ: Thank you.

JARRETT: We'll be right back.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

At least 15 people are dead and 27 others are missing two days after Indonesia's Mount Semeru erupted. The pictures are chilling. A thick, suffocating layer of white ash blanketing the East Java province. About 1,700 people have been displaced by the eruptions. Hundreds of homes and dozens of schools destroyed or badly damaged.

CNN's Will Ripley is tracking the latest developments live from Hong Kong for us. Will, how is this search and rescue effort going? I can't imagine it's easy.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are facing a lot of obstacles, Laura. There are widespread power outages and it's now nightfall. There is heaving wind and rain that has been delaying the search efforts.

There are pyroclastic flows, which are essentially these scathing rivers of hot mud that people initially mistook for floodwaters when the eruption happened on Saturday, only to find that when this actually hot mud hit them, they were swept away in this scalding, hot, burning cloud of ash, rock, and volcanic gas.

An absolutely terrifying scenario. They've been pulling bodies out throughout the overnight hours, including the bodies of a man, woman, and child recovered overnight. The death toll at least 15 but there are still 27 people missing.

And as you mentioned, 17,000 displaced. At least 11 villages buried under ash that, in some cases, is higher than the houses in the villages. And with that rain mixing with the ash, it's kind of like mixing concrete. It's hard to find anything that's buried underneath there, including, potentially, bodies.

But they are continuing to search -- some of the rescue crews even digging with their hands trying to find anybody who just by some off chance may have survived.

Indonesia, of course, no stranger to this kind of natural disaster. They sit on a ring of fire. They have a lot of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis in coastal areas. The government has already launched a pretty extensive emergency response trying to relocate all of those people who are staying in emergency shelters right now, Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Will Ripley. Thank you for staying on top of that one for us.

ROMANS: All right. The Lions cap an emotional week in Detroit with a dramatic come-from-behind win dedicated to the victims of the Oxford High School shooting.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.


So, it took nearly a full calendar year but the Detroit Lions finally have a win. It was 364 days since the team last notched a "W" and they did it with heavy hearts.

Before the game, safety Jalen Elliott honoring Oxford High School football player Tate Myre by wearing his number 42 jersey when he arrived. Myre was a high school football star for Oxford and lost his life trying to stop the gunman.

The Lions players also honoring the victims with decals on their helmets.

And they were down by four points to the Vikings with less than two minutes to play and no timeouts. Quarterback Jared Goff led the Lions down the field and then on the game's final play he's going to hit Amon-Ra St. Brown in the endzone for the game-winning score.

After throwing the touchdown, Goff immediately ran over to celebrate with head coach Dan Campbell. Campbell then telling reporters that the win was dedicated to the four students who died and the seven others injured in the shooting.


DAN CAMPBELL, DETROIT LIONS HEAD COACH: This game ball goes to the whole Oxford community -- all those who were affected.

JARED GOFF, DETROIT LIONS QUARTERBACK: And I hope they're all watching today and were able to enjoy that win and we could take their minds off it for whatever it may be -- three hours. I think anytime that we can do that it's a lot bigger than our sports and it's a lot bigger than us. And I thought today was one of those special circumstances that we were able to rise to the occasion and make something special happen.


SCHOLES: All right.

Elsewhere around the league, Minshew mania is back. Is there any chance you arrive to your game looking like this and lose? Doubt it.

Minshew starting his first game for the Eagles in place of Jalen Hurts, who was injured. Nearly flawless -- had a perfect pass rating in the first half, including 14 of 15 for 188 yards and a pair of touchdowns to tight end Dallas Goedert. The Eagles would win that one 33-18.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, hosting the Broncos on "SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL," looking for their fifth win in a row. Patrick Mahomes getting his team on the scoreboard first. He's going to scramble for a 10-yard touchdown on the opening drive.

The Chiefs would never give up the lead after that, going on to win 22-9. Mahomes has never lost to the Broncos. He's now 8-0 in his career.

The Steelers and Ravens renewing their rivalry in Pittsburgh yesterday. This game came down to the final seconds. Lamar Jackson is going to find Sammy Watkins for the touchdown with 12 seconds left. Instead of sending the game into overtime with an extra point, Ravens go for the 2-point conversion and the win. But Jackson's throw a little off target and Mark Andrews bobbles it -- incomplete.


The Steelers win 20-19.

All right, women's basketball. A tough day for superstar Paige Bueckers and second-ranked UConn. Bueckers going down after a non- contact knee injury. She had to be carried off the floor by some of her teammates. The reigning National Player of the Year is scheduled to get an MRI in the coming days.

All right, the College Football Playoff is now set and there wasn't a whole lot of drama after seeing the conference title games play out on Saturday.

Alabama now number one after convincingly beating Georgia for the SEC championship. They're going to take on Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl in North Texas. Michigan coming in at number two. They'll face Georgia, who falls to three. That game is going to be in the Orange Bowl. Both of them going to happen on New Year's Eve.

And guys, a little disappointed. The committee got off easy once again. They didn't have any, like, tough decisions. There was no fan base really irate about what happened. So, maybe next year. But congrats to the four teams that got in.

JARRETT: Congrats, indeed. Andy, thank you -- appreciate it.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: All right.

President Biden ordering flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House for his friend and former senator, Bob Dole. Dole died Sunday at the age of 98 years old. He served 27 years as a senator from Kansas and ran for president three times. Earlier this year, he announced he was being treated for advanced lung cancer.

President Biden remembering him as a statesman like few in our history and a war hero among the greatest of the greatest generation.

ROMANS: All right.

Taylor Swift drawing praise for a gracious gesture to the man she unseated, breaking a musical record.




ROMANS: The 10-minute re-release version of Swift's hit "All Too Well" now the longest song ever to take the top spot of the Billboard Top 100.

The singer sent flowers to this man -- the man whose record she broke -- Don McLean. His song, "American Pie," first set that record in 1972 with a runtime of eight minutes, 37 seconds. Flowers for Don McLean. He thanked Swift with a picture of the flowers on Instagram, captioned "What a class act."

JARRETT: Very classy.

ROMANS: Very classy.

Let's get a check on CNN Business this Monday morning. A whole new trading week here.

You can see, looking at markets around the world, Asian shares closed lower and European shares have opened higher. On Wall Street, stock index futures are mixed, leaning a little bit higher for the Dow and the S&P right now. The S&P actually perfectly flat there.

A lot of discussion about how deadly and how virulent the Omicron variant will be. So, you're going to see a lot of headline risk here.

It was a tumultuous week following a weak U.S. jobs report. The Nasdaq alone lost almost two percent Friday -- selloffs for high-value tech stocks. The market also lower for the week.

Smaller company stocks taking the biggest hit. The Russell 2000 -- that's an average index of small company stocks -- it fell nearly four percent. It's now down more than 10 percent from its record high. That is a so-called correction.

It was the surprise of a lifetime for Dunkin' Donuts employee Ebony Johnson. One of her loyal customers, Suzanne Barker (sic), noticed Johnson was not at work recently. When Barker discovered her favorite drive-thru server had fallen on hard times and had been evicted she got to work with non-profit organizations to find her a home and get it furnished.


SUZANNE BURKE, ARRANGED FURNISHED HOUSING FOR EBONY JOHNSON: Improve her life and the life for her kids, and make sure that they had stable housing so that she could continue to provide the excellent service that she does.


ROMANS: The kids are just as excited as their mom. A fully furnished home just in time for Christmas, Laura.

JARRETT: Wow. I love the personal relationships, right?

ROMANS: I know.

JARRETT: It's what it's all about. All right. Finally, this morning, the Kennedy Center Honors returning to Washington, D.C. with a big celebrity bang. The five honorees, actress Bette Midler, singer Joni Mitchell, opera maestro Justino Diaz, Motown great Berry Gordy, and "SNL" creator Lorne Michaels were all honored last night.

ROMANS: President Biden also getting into the fun, teasing Michaels about the long line of comedians who have played him over the years.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And Lorne Michaels, mister wise guy over here. He's trying out seven guys to play me. As we say in our family, bless me father for I have sinned. If you can't laugh at yourself, we're in real trouble and you make me laugh at myself a lot.

STEVE MARTIN, ACTOR: Do you want me to play you?

BIDEN: Steve, I'm afraid you understand me too well.


JARRETT: OK, I want to see Steve Martin play the president.

ROMANS: Yes, that would be good. That was Steve Martin poking fun at the president.

JARRETT: A national treasure, Steve Martin.

ROMANS: He really is.

All right, thanks for joining us, everybody, this Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans.


JARRETT: Have a great Monday. I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Monday, December sixth. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

And we do have breaking news this morning. Restrictions on international travelers coming --