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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

NATO Foreign Ministers Gather For High-Stakes Meeting On Ukraine; Tiger Woods Set To Tee Off At The Masters This Morning; Academy Moves Up Meeting To Decide On Will Smith Discipline. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 07, 2022 - 05:30   ET



KIRA RUDIK, MEMBER OF UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT: And at some point, the war will spread to the other countries of Europe. We will be standing through the last man standing but we cannot be doing it forever.

You know that for the last month, since the beginning of the war, Europe paid Russia $35 billion and the aid that Ukraine received was less than $1 billion. So, like, whom then -- whom then the countries are supporting because right now, it seems that Putin will have much more and more money to continue the war?

He has, right now, in excess of everything to send more troops here. To create more deaths here. To murder more people here.

So now I'm asking the question. Everybody who is watching me right now, do you really want to be paying for this or should you ask the leaders of your countries for reconsideration -- for stop being doing it? For making sure that until the next heating season there are other solutions that are found. Other solutions that buying --


RUDIK: -- the bloody energy supplies from Russia. They will never stop if you continuing sponsoring --


RUDIK: -- them.

KEILAR: And Kira, I thank you so much for coming on. Very powerful words that you are sharing with us. And I think people are thinking about what you and so many other Ukrainian officials are saying and we're going to keep asking them what they're doing. Kira Rudik, thank you.

The U.S. is ratcheting up sanctions against Russia in response to the civilian atrocities seen in Ukraine. President Biden saying that they're aimed at increasing Russia's economic isolation, but is it enough?



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty-five minutes, back now.

President Biden says Russia is guilty of major war crimes in Ukraine, citing the atrocities as the reason for ratcheting up sanctions aimed at driving a stake through the heart of the Russian economy.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Responsible nations have to come together to hold these perpetrators accountable. And together with our allies and our partners, we're going to keep raising the economic cost and ratchet up the pain for Putin, and further increase Russia's economic isolation.


JARRETT: The war in Ukraine is topic one for NATO foreign ministers meeting this morning in Brussels.

CNN's Nic Robertson is there and joins us live. Nic, so what is Ukraine's message for this NATO gathering? I imagine do more.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Do more, do it fast, do it now. They need it now.

We know Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he'd come to speak with the NATO foreign ministers to collaborate, to consult. But one of the other things that -- and the tough thing that they need to do is to find consensus among all NATO members on precisely how they can answer NATO -- Ukraine's message for help. And that message was delivered very, very clearly today by Ukraine's foreign minister.


DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: My agenda is very simple. It has only three items on it. It's weapons, weapons, and weapons. The more weapons we get and the sooner they arrive in Ukraine, the more human lives will be saved. The more cities and villages will not be destructed, and there will be no more Buchas. This is my message to the allies. It's very simple.


ROBERTSON: And that's what they're trying to figure out here at NATO. What additionally can they do and supply for what they expect to be a tougher next phase of fighting as Russia shifts its forces away from the north and then goes after territory in the east and the south.

Expect to hear announcements about tanks being sent to the Ukrainian forces. We know the Australians are sending armored fighting vehicles -- the Bushmaster armored vehicle, which will get troops closer and more safely to the front lines. We also know that there will be more Javelins sent. The United States sending those, as well as the attack drones. But the real concern at NATO is that they can sustain this. That the

logistical supply lines necessary for a long war are in place. So there's a lot for them to do today. Consensus, though, the tough thing to come to.

JARRETT: All right, Nic Robertson. Thank you, as usual -- appreciate it.

Joining me now to dig a little deeper on all of this is CNN White House correspondent John Harwood. John, good morning.

Let's talk, first, with -- about the sanctions. This new sanctions we saw the president roll out yesterday. What sort of long-term impact will these sanctions have not only on Russia but on the rest of the world if, in fact, this war continues to drag on not just for weeks but perhaps over a year?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, long-term is the right frame of reference, Laura, because none of this is going to end overnight. And, of course, we've proven that over weeks, that the ratcheting up of sanctions does not immediately change the calculus for Vladimir Putin. The hope is that over time, the grinding economic pain the sanctions induce change the way he sees the cost-benefit analysis for this war.

So there was a certain amount of sanctions that the United States and the European Union -- G7 countries were willing to impose at the beginning. As the savagery has gotten worse they've ratcheted up the sanctions. So this week, they sanctioned the adult children of Vladimir Putin. They put what they call full blocking sanctions on Sberbank, which is the largest financial institution in Russia, and Alfa-Bank, the largest privately-owned bank in Russia.

But when you say full blocking sanctions there is an exception, and it's the exception that was alluded to in Brianna's interview a few minutes ago -- the exception for energy purchases. And that's because Europe is so dependent on Russia energy they're not willing to stop buying Russian oil and gas. And because of that, they're not willing to stop sending money to Russia that helps finance the war effort.


There are -- there's remarkable solidarity among the allies behind Ukraine, but there are limits to it. The limits militarily, of course, as we've discussed many times, are they're not going to send boots on the ground and they're not going to intervene in a way that they fear will escalate into nuclear confrontation.

Economically, the limits are that they're not going to do things that are severely damaging to the economies of the allies themselves. They're concerned about eroding political support. They're not willing to pay that price yet. But, of course, the limits change over time.

And as the images that we've seen in Bucha and other places continue to come in, we can expect that the allies are willing to bear more pain. But there are limits to what they're willing to do right now. JARRETT: So, John, if the -- if the EU and Europe is unwilling or, at least at this point, not been willing to reduce its energy dependence on Russian oil, then does it sort of offset the pain of the sanctions we've seen the U.S. impose? I mean, in other words, does it sort of take one hand away, when you're -- when you're doing this, on the other?

HARWOOD: Yes, it does, and that's why long-term is the frame of reference. Because even as they are not willing to cut off Russian energy imports now, they are getting more aggressive about planning for the future and reducing dependence.

In the interview that Brianna was doing, they were talking about the -- a guest that she was interviewing was saying well, for the next winter season. Well, there are some preparations being done for the next winter season to try to ratchet up imports of alternative sources of oil and gas for Europe. But next year is different from right now.

And so, yes, they -- there's no question they're imposing economic pain on Russia -- high inflation, the economy is shrinking in Russia. That is going to put some pressure on Vladimir Putin -- not enough to stop the war at this point. But over time, if the West is able to wean itself off of that Russian energy, then their capacity to take tougher action goes on.

And as we've heard people project that this war might go on not just for months but for years --


HARWOOD: -- that long-term frame becomes relevant.


All right, John Harwood, appreciate it.

House lawmakers vote to hold two former aides to President Trump in criminal contempt of Congress. Where the investigation goes now, next.



JARRETT: House lawmakers ramping up the pressure on former President Trump's aides. They voted formally to refer Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino to the Justice Department for criminal contempt charges for their refusal to cooperate with the January 6 Committee's subpoenas. That resolution passed with only two Republicans, Congresswoman Liz Cheney and Congressman Adam Kinzinger, voting in favor.

In just a matter of hours, history will be made with the Senate confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck a deal with Republicans to speed up the process. The final vote is expected this afternoon. We're also just hours away from seeing Tiger Woods make his long- awaited return to the Masters. Coy Wire has more in this morning's Bleacher Report, live from Augusta National. Hey, Coy.


The skies opened up and it stopped raining for a second. Big thunderstorms all night. We have half-hour delays today for the -- for the opening round.

The eyes of the sports world are going to be on Tiger all week. And now, we finally get to see him play in that competitive round again. The 5-time Masters champ says he's in it to win it just 14 months after that horrific car crash in California. Tiger hasn't competed at the highest level since the Masters in November of 2020, but you can never count him out.

He played the back nine yesterday -- and Justin Thomas. And 1992 winner Fred Couples says Tiger is ready to go -- listen.


FRED COUPLES, 1992 MASTERS CHAMPION: It's a miraculous thing, you know. Fourteen months ago I'm bawling like a baby every day and now, you're paired with him and he looks strong. I know the leg is hurt but he's hitting it plenty far enough to play this course. And he plays this course as well as he does and he's won here a bunch. He knows what to do.


WIRE: Yes. Tiger tees off at 11:04 eastern this morning alongside 2010 British Open champ Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann.

The fun got underway yesterday with players and their mini-mes charging the course in their caddy gear at the par 3 turning, especially Tommy Fleetwood's 4-year-old son Frankie. This is the first time the vent has been held in more than two years. Some players call this one of the best traditions in sports because of their kids, their wives, their girlfriends. They get to take part as caddies and they say it reminds them about what is really important.

Now, Augusta National is also one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the world. Its members are some of the most powerful and the richest people on the planet. Recently, they unbuttoned their green jackets a bit and let the trick shot artist from Dude Perfect play the course in their own unique way. They used everything from tennis rackets to a frisbee to find their way around the famed Amen Corner.

Twenty-ten U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau even traded in his clubs for a baseball bat.


BRYSON DECHAMBEAU, 2020 U.S. OPEN CHAMPION: The ability to reach a younger audience, to reach new people that maybe don't watch golf -- maybe they do just like watching trick shots and oh, that's cool. There's golf there on a golf course. Like it's really what is Augusta National? What is it? What's the Masters?

Creating more exposure for the Masters is I think a really positive attribute that came about from that and I was very pleased to be a part of it.


WIRE: The video has more than 6 1/2 million views on YouTube so I guess you could say mission accomplished.


WIRE: There's a youth movement going on. Six of the top seven ranked players in the world are under the age of 30.


Back to you.

JARRETT: Wow. I did not know that, Coy. Thank you for that fun fact today -- appreciate it.

WIRE: You got it.

JARRETT: All right. The Motion Picture Academy is fast-tracking its meeting to decide on possible sanctions against Will Smith for slapping comedian Chris Rock across the face at this year's Oscars. We all saw it.

Let's bring in CNN's Chloe Melas live on-set here. All right, Chloe, so what more can the Academy actually do to Will Smith?


JARRETT: He's already resigned.

MELAS: Well, Laura, good morning.

We were expecting for this decision to come down April 18 and they have moved it up to this Friday. We will know this afternoon what the Academy wants to do. They could potentially -- because he's already resigned --


MELAS: -- so he can't vote anymore as part of the Academy Awards voting body. But he could be banned from ever attending another Oscars ceremony in the future, which is very significant --


MELAS: -- given the fact that he is a winner and usually, past winners present the next year's awards. So it'll be something that carries over to next year's award season if that is their decision. JARRETT: So, perhaps, no more attendance, no more presenting, no more red carpet, no more --

MELAS: And to an A-list celebrity --


MELAS: -- that's a big deal. So, for some people at home --

JARRETT: Who might actually win.

MELAS: -- who might be like oh, what's the big deal.


MELAS: But that is a big deal.

JARRETT: Yes, someone who might --

MELAS: But he still could potentially be nominated in the future unless they amend that on Friday.

JARRETT: Nominated and potentially win, but just not be there to receive it in person.

MELAS: Awkward, yes.

JARRETT: We'll see what they do with that.

Meantime, it appears Chris Rock's brother is not ready to forgive and forget.

MELAS: Yes. So, Chris Rock has several brothers. Many of them have spoken out and the latest -- one of his brothers saying that the slap eats at him. Saying that "It eats at me."

His brother saying -- Kenny Rock telling the Los Angeles Times "It eats at me watching it over and over because you've seen a loved one being attacked and there's nothing you can do about it. Every time I'm watching the videos it's like a rendition that just keeps going over and over in my head."

So it's such a tough time for them. You know, Chris Rock -- he took the stage in Boston for multiple nights, kicking off his world comedy tour. I was there. He addressed it a little bit. He said look, I'm still processing this. I'm going to address it at some point. It's going to be funny; it's going to be serious.

But I think that everybody is waiting to find out how did Will apologize to Chris. Did they -- did he apologize in person, over the phone? Because we know that at Chris' shows last week Chris said he hasn't apologized to me.


MELAS: He said despite what you've heard there have been no discussions. So that's going to be interesting.

And then after this Friday, whatever the decision is, we're waiting for that big sit-down interview --


MELAS: -- with Will Smith. Will he do it with his wife, Jada Pickett Smith, on her Red Table Talk, right? Where will Chris Rock speak out? Will he sit down with Oprah?

You know, what will they say? Will they come together? Can they be friends again? This is long from over.

JARRETT: Will he sit down with Oprah? Maybe he will sit down with Chloe Melas. Put your request in.

MELAS: Sit down with us.

JARRETT: Put your request in, Chloe.

MELAS: Chris, Will, meet us here at the EARLY START table talk. Meet us -- meet us right here.

JARRETT: So good to see you. Thank you, Chloe.

MELAS: Good to see you, too.

JARRETT: Appreciate it.

All right. Still ahead, deadly storms and tornadoes pummeling the south this week. And now, a new system is threatening to do more damage in at least three states. That forecast just ahead.



JARRETT: Severe weather is not letting up in the south. The region has seen at least 53 tornadoes this week alone, along with powerful storms that killed at least two people and damaged homes and businesses across several states. Now, another storm is threatening the coast of North Carolina, Virginia, and parts of Florida.

Let's bring in meteorologist Gene Norman. Gene, good morning. What's the latest?

GENE NORMAN, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Laura, we're still tracking some pretty noisy storms. A rough start to the morning down in Jacksonville. Also, southern Georgia and South Carolina -- it was a bumpy night with not only tornadoes; also a lot of vivid lightning.

These storms now showing any warnings right now but that will likely change throughout the rest of the morning and the early afternoon as they continue to move to the east. In their wake, a lot of heavy rain. Two to four inches indicated by the yellow and orange shading that you just saw. And a flood watch until 8:00 a.m. with an additional one to three inches of rain still expected.

The roughest weather will likely occur just around the afternoon hours in sections of Orlando and Tampa, Raleigh, Wilmington. These are areas that will likely see damaging winds and the potential for some hail.

So, timing it out, those storms push off to the east and then move to the north. Not rough stuff for D.C., New York, and Boston -- just some heavy rain. And no, your eyes don't deceive you. There's going to be snow in Chicago by tomorrow morning.

JARRETT: Oh, no. Snow in my hometown. That is not good.

Gene, thank you -- appreciate it.

Thanks so much for joining us today. I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" starts right now.