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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Gunman At Large After 10 Passengers Shot In New York Subway; Video Shows What Looks To Be Banned Cluster Munitions in Kharkiv; Comedian Gilbert Gottfried Dead At 67 After Long Illness. Aired 5:30- 6a ET

Aired April 13, 2022 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us bright and early this morning.

The NYPD, sir, has named him -- this man -- a person of interest; not a suspect. You say that this shooter's world is now getting smaller by the hour. How do you anticipate this manhunt underway playing out?


Yes. So his world is getting smaller by the hour. If you remember, literally, a little under 24 hours ago we weren't even sure where this individual came from, what his -- how his route was. But all of a sudden, as we're starting to reveal clues about his location -- possibly the route he took -- where that U-Haul truck was located -- his world is now getting smaller.

So they're going to be able to start pinpointing him, they're going to start using his credit card that was found, and they're going to start asking his friends and family of any information that would allow to potentially locate his whereabouts.

ROMANS: We know -- you mentioned that credit card -- the shooter had all of these items with him, right -- a hatchet, gun, fireworks, magazines, liquid that appeared to be gasoline -- a host of things. What does this collection tell you about his intentions?

LICATA: His intentions -- he -- this was a preplanned attack. He thought this through. He wanted to conduct as much violence and harm as he could.

So if the gun jammed -- obviously, if you listen to witness statements, he actually took out the machete or the hatchet first and then put it down and took out the weapon. So he was trying to inflict as much harm as possible for as many people as he could in the short amount of time that he had.

ROMANS: Meanwhile, we're learning from authorities that they say there's not an ongoing terror threat here. What does that tell you about where they think the suspect is or any kind of motive? LICATA: Well, obviously, we always look at three items in law enforcement when we're trying to solve one of these types of investigations. It's called motive, opportunity, and means. Law enforcement has two of three, which is opportunity and the means. They're still trying to figure out the motive.

They're already starting to rule out terrorism, although it's always -- it's always a potential to be there. Obviously, they're looking at this person of interest -- some of his rants on social media talking about the homeless, talking about the mayor, crime going on in New York City, a homeless situation. And obviously, issues associated with mental health, which is probably one of the underlying themes going on here.

So, it's one of the reasons why they're going to start -- law enforcement is going to start moving away from terrorism and start looking at just a random act of violence with regard to what his potential motivation was.

ROMANS: Let me ask you, in your professional opinion. There are people on the train going to work. There were kids on that train going to school. For our viewers placed in a situation like this with a shooting in an enclosed area or a threat in an enclosed area, what's your advice?

LICATA: Get low. Do what you can to protect yourself. I mean, there's always -- you never want to -- you never want to try to attack or intervene if you can.

But, you know, we deal with active shooter situations all the time in this country, unfortunately, and there's three -- there's three principles that we try to teach -- or when I was former law enforcement that we used to teach. It's called run, fight -- or run, hide, and fight.

If you can run, run away. If you can hide, hide. Your last option is to fight and if -- especially on a subway car, if that's your only option, that's what you have to do to try to help mitigate any more damage to that situation, especially if you're trapped on a subway car, which we know those people were as they were traveling between 59th Street and 36th Street.

ROMANS: Yes, always have your eye on the exit is what -- is my personal -- my personal feeling --

LICATA: Absolutely.

ROMANS: -- when I'm in a crowded situation. Always an eye on the exit.

All right, Peter Licata. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Great advice.

All right. Just in to CNN, apparent evidence Russia is using banned cluster bombs in Ukraine. This video shared to social media shows what appear to be explosions from cluster munitions in a civilian part of the Kharkiv region.

We're going to play that video for you. You can see four blasts, seconds apart, spanning an area of about 90 yards. Do we have the video, folks? Another -- here it comes. Another explosive falls onto the street moments later and then explodes.

A U.N. human rights official says use of cluster munitions in populated areas may amount to war crimes.

Let's bring in Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former commander of the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe. The way Vladimir Putin is executing this war -- you call it barbaric, medieval. Now we're looking at new images as well, showing the Russians continuing to move east in Ukraine.

What do you think the next move is, and what do you make of the kinds of munitions the Russians are using?


LT. GEN. BEN HODGES (RET.), FORMER COMMANDER OF U.S. ARMED FORCES IN EUROPE, PERSHING CHAIR IN STRATEGIC STUDIES, CENTER FOR EUROPEAN POLICY ANALYSIS (via Skype): Well, this is following on the heels of the report that you just completed where the law enforcement professional said you run, you hide, or you fight.

Clearly, the Kremlin has zero interest in any sort of negotiated outcome unless it's totally in their favor. And so, that's why Ukraine is having to fight.

And I think this is why it's so important that we and the West, led by the United States and other allies, do everything that we can to make sure that Ukraine wins; not just get to a settlement. Otherwise, they're going to be dealing with this for years and you and I will be having the same conversation a year from now.

Russia is -- this is the way they fight. And the smashing cities, putting millions of refugees on the road -- they are completely unencumbered by any concerns about international law, which is why they use cluster --


HODGES: -- munitions and other weapons.

ROMANS: All right. So you say stop talking about keeping Ukraine in the fight but talk about winning. What does winning look like in your mind?

HODGES: So, I think there are four components to winning.

Number one, minimum Russian forces go back to the pre-24 February line, basically, so that they're not rewarded by any of the territory that they've taken since the 24th of February.

Number two, the thousands of Ukrainian citizens who have been deported -- sent out to other parts of Russia -- part of the Kremlin's depopulation effort of Ukraine. They all need to be back home -- accounted for and brought back home immediately.

The third part is making sure we need to damage the Russian military so much that they are no longer a threat to their neighbors. Not just Ukraine but also Georgia, Moldova, and our Baltic allies.

And then finally, and this will be the hardest one, a long-term commitment by the United States and the rest of the West to full restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty. That means Crimea and all of Donbas.

ROMANS: So we know the U.S. is expected to announce new military assistance to Ukraine soon. We're told expects to be close to $700 million. How does that help the short-term fight for Ukraine? You also -- you know, you also talk about how you've got two or three weeks here that are real critical.

HODGES: So, first, let me say I am very proud of what the United States and other allies have done -- have delivered a lot of capability. There's no doubt about that and it's growing with every increasing -- with every day, it's increasing.

In the near term, though, what we need to hear is a commitment that this is about winning and that we're going to do everything possible to make sure that Ukraine wins. That means getting them exactly what they need to stop what's causing the most damage. This is the Russian Navy, this is the Russian Air Force and its long-range rockets and artillery.

So what we can provide now is, of course, intelligence about where this is coming from to help with targeting, and then making sure that Ukrainians have the capability to hit targets that may be all the way inside Crimea or even inside Russia.

ROMANS: Talk to me a little bit about the cancelation of that visit by a German leader there. You think that was a mistake by Kyiv.

HODGES: It was a mistake. Look, I understand the frustration of the Ukrainians with Germany in general over the last several years. In particular, I can understand why they might be frustrated with the now-President Steinmeier.

But let's look at it from a different way. Ukraine needs all the help it can get. If this is about winning now is not the time for grudges against a German politician, especially the leader of the most powerful economic country in Europe -- a leader inside the European Union. So they need what Germany can provide in terms of diplomatic support, economic support, and military support. And if we're thinking strategically in the long-term, it's going to be Germany that leads the way in the rebuilding of Ukraine.

So I think -- again, I can understand the frustration but I don't think this was a very smart move by the Ukrainian government, which has made nothing but good moves up until now.

ROMANS: How do you think the Ukrainians have been fighting so far? You know this area so well. You know these fighting forces. Are they ready for this next battle in the east where they have, by the way, been fighting for -- since 2014?

HODGES: Yes. I think -- and thank you for pointing that out that they have been in the fight now for eight years.

This is -- this is going to be a little bit different from what we've seen in the first seven weeks because the Russians, of course, focusing on a very specific area. I anticipate the Russians will have learned a lot from the many mistakes they've made. We're already starting to see that. So we need to -- all of us need to not assume that Russia is going to continue to bumble along but that they're going to be much better than what they were seven weeks ago.

Having said that, Ukrainian armed forces have got to be protected against air attack because that would make it -- that will simplify their problem of defeating Russian forces if they're not also worrying about Russian attack helicopters and Russian aircraft.


I think they have become very good at what we call force protection.


HODGES: Being able to use concealment to protect themselves. I think they're going to do very well. We've just got to help.

ROMANS: Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, thank you so much. Thanks for your expertise this morning.

HODGES: Thanks for the privilege.

ROMANS: All right, recession shock? The warning from a major U.S. bank about the threat posed by soaring inflation.

And tributes pouring in for actor and comedian Gilbert Gottfried who died after a long illness. His longtime friend joins us on his life and comedy.


ROMANS: All right, just about 44 minutes past the hour. Let's get a check on CNN Business this Wednesday morning.


Looking at markets around the world, you can see Asian shares have closed mixed. Tokyo up, Shanghai down. Europe has opened slightly lower. And on Wall Street, stock index futures are leaning higher. So I'd call that a mixed performance all around.

Stocks ended the day lower Tuesday. The Dow down about 88 points. New data showing inflation accelerating at the fastest rate in four decades, but that's not a big move for the Dow.

Consumer prices in March surged 8.5% from a year ago, and 1.2% in just the past month. That's something that hasn't happened since Hurricane Katrina really disrupted the U.S. economy.

Corporate earnings season starts today. JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, and Delta Airlines due to report their first-quarter figures.

The president in Iowa Tuesday trying to show the American people that inflation is issue number one for this White House, fighting high gas prices with corn and allowing the sale of a cheaper ethanol blend called E15 through the summer.

This, as another major bank raises the recession flag. Bank of America says high inflation poses a serious threat to the recovery that began two years ago. According to the bank's chief investment strategist, inflation shock is worsening, rate shock is just beginning, and recession shock is coming.

Tuesday's CPI report showed -- wow -- 8.5% surge in March, the fastest inflation, as we said, since 1981.

Let's bring in CNN's Matt Egan. Matt, the Bank of America predicting a full-blown recession, or is this nuance to this warning here?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Christine, there's definitely nuance here. They're not explicitly calling for a recession like some banks are. Rather, they're saying that inflation is, quote, "out of control" and that corners of financial markets are acting very recessionary.

You mentioned 8.5% inflation. We saw record price spikes year-over- year on everything from new cars and trucks and men's apparel to baby food.

And this 8.5% inflation -- remember, the Fed is targeting 2% inflation. We're nowhere near that. And the further the Fed get -- the further inflation gets away from that 2% goal, the more the Fed has to do to try to get it under control.

So the concern that we're hearing from economists is that the Fed is not going to be able to just tap the brakes on the economy --

ROMANS: Right.

EGAN: -- which is what they wanted to do, but slam the brakes on the economy so hard that it causes a severe slowdown or maybe even a recession.

Remember that the last recession was caused by a health crisis. The one before that by a bursting of the housing bubble in a financial crisis. But history shows that inflation is the leading cause of recessions in the United States.

ROMANS: And we know the White House is doing everything it can to try to telegraph. It is trying to -- it feels your pain, America, on inflation and gas prices. But the official job belongs to the Fed and that's the concern here. The Fed will have to start raising interest rates more than just 25 basis points. More than just tapping. That's what the call is here. EGAN: Exactly right. I mean, the Fed has totally shifted from doing

everything it can to support the economy to inflation-fighting mode. That means interest rate hikes. So they raised interest rates in March for the first time since 2018.

And now, investors think that they're going to do a big rate hike, raising by a half a percentage point for the first time since 2000. That means higher borrowing costs on everything from mortgages and credit cards to student debt and car loans. And that's going to be -- that's going to have an impact.

The question is whether they can thread the needle.


EGAN: I mean, can they slow the economy just enough to tame inflation but not so much that it short-circuits this recovery.

ROMANS: Yes. For American consumers, the -- you know, the era of free money is over, right? It's going to cost -- finally cost something to borrow -- to borrow money in this country and around the world.

Let's talk about oil prices. Crude back above 100, but it's off substantially from where it was when the war in Ukraine began. And gas prices have been drifting lower. What's the outlook there on gas -- on the gas and oil?

EGAN: Yes, oil prices have been all over the place. When this war started we saw crude shoot up to $130 a barrel, closing above $125 a barrel at one point, and that was on concerns about Russia's supply. It came back down sharply, as you can see, in recent weeks because of concerns about lockdowns in China --


EGAN: -- hurting demand. Maybe a slower U.S. economy. The emergency oil releases by the United States and allies.

Bouncing back again because China has started to relax the COVID lockdowns, and there's a lot more concern about Russia's supply as Europe considers new sanctions.

I mean, the problem is that you just can't replace Russia as an oil producer. I mean, it's the largest exporter of oil in the world.

Now, the good news is that gas prices have come down. I mean, the national average down to $4.08 a gallon. That's not cheap but it's down, as you can see, eight cents in the last week -- about a quarter from a month ago. Four-dollar gas could be right around the corner. At least that's what some of the analysts are telling me.

But the problem is that it really remains subject to the whims of the oil market --

ROMANS: Yes. EGAN: -- and there's just been so much turbulence. And it's just so interesting that no matter how much politicians and central bankers try, everything just remains so much centered around COVID and the war in Ukraine.

ROMANS: The hope is that the peak for that red-hot inflation is in. You know, you saw that core rate for inflation a little less hot than expected. That was --

EGAN: Right.

ROMANS: That was the one little piece of good news in there.


EGAN: Hopefully, the peak is in, and hopefully, it doesn't take too long to get back down to healthy levels.

ROMANS: That's right.

All right, Matt Egan. Nice to see you. Thanks for coming in so early for us.

EGAN: Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, to this now. Actor and comedian Gilbert Gottfried has died -- best known for his distinct, iconic voice and his brash, often raunchy, humor. Gottfried died at 67 after a long struggle with a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

I want to go live to Los Angeles and bring in Kliph Nesteroff, Gottfried's longtime friend. A real privilege to have you on this morning to tell us about your relationship with him. How long did you know him?

KLIPH NESTEROFF, FRIEND OF GOTTFRIED, AUTHOR, "THE COMEDIANS": I knew him for the past several years before he passed away. I was doing his podcast quite often.

He and I had an interesting bond because not only was Gilbert a brilliant comedian, he was a bit of a savant when it came to knowledge of show business. He knew everything about old movies, old comedians, obscure character actors. And that's one of my great loves and passions. So we kind of spoke on this weird wavelength where other people were left out as we discussed the finer points of people like Jesse White.

The last time that I talked to Gilbert he phoned me to have a discussion about a guy named Irwin C. Watson, which is a name that means nothing to your viewers. But Irwin C. Watson was a Chitlin Circuit comic from the 1950s. He was an opening act for James Brown.

And Gilbert phoned me. And there were three levels to Gilbert's voice. There was the famous sort of loud, obnoxious screamer that we saw at the Comedy Central roasts or that he emulated when he did the parrot in "Aladdin." Then there was a scaled-down version of that same voice that was more controversial -- or conversational but had the same nuances.

Then there was the third voice that the public never heard, which I was honored to hear, which was he would phone me and say hey, Kliph, it's Gilbert. I had a question for you about Irwin C. Watson. And that's exactly what he sounded like.

And he really only spoke in his normal voice when he trusted you or if he was comfortable with you. Because off stage, he was very bashful, very shy, very quiet, and generally uncomfortable around people. And so, when he spoke to you in this regular voice you knew he was comfortable with you. And so, I was very honored that I was one of the few that got to hear that voice on a regular basis.

ROMANS: Is there a favorite bit that he's ever performed? Can you think of something that's a favorite?

NESTEROFF: Oh, there's so -- there's so many. You can do a deep dive on YouTube and watch all of his appearances on Letterman, Conan O'Brien.

ROMANS: Just so good.

NESTEROFF: "THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES" bit that's been going around recently in the past few hours is really great.

Everything he did was amazing. His voice was iconic, his face was iconic, his outrageousness was iconic. There was nobody like him before he came along. There was nobody like him while he was around --


NESTEROFF: And, of course, there will never be anybody like him ever again. Gilbert was comedy. Gilbert is comedy.

ROMANS: Just such a unique person. His family had just such a wonderful thing they said in their statement. They said, "It is a very sad day for us but please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert's honor."

Kliph Nesteroff --

NESTEROFF: And I do -- I just do want to add that he was also a wonderful family man.


NESTEROFF: His wife was wonderful and his kids were wonderful. And that really was the most important thing to him. And I don't think people realize it when they hear him being raunchy or vulgar, or outrageous about what a genuine, kind, loving, caring human being he was.

ROMANS: A privilege to have you here to tell us about him more.

NESTEROFF: Thank you.

ROMANS: Kliph Nesteroff, thank you so much.

All right, a late-season blizzard slamming the Northern Plains and shutting down a major interstate for hundreds of miles. Where this severe weather is headed next.



ROMANS: All right. The Brooklyn Nets taking the floor in a big game just hours after that subway station shooting. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report -- emotional.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly, Christine. Good morning to you.

Yesterday's shooting -- you know, it hit close to home for the Nets. Their practice facility is just blocks away from the subway station. And they were getting ready for their Play-In Tournament game against the Cavs when the incident took place. And the team warning fans to get to the arena early last night because extra security measures were put in place after the shooting.

And the fans -- they were in attendance and got to see a fantastic first half from Kyrie Irving. Kyrie was nine for nine in that first half, including that buzzer-beater there in the second quarter. He made his first 12 shots and finished with 34 points.

Kevin Durant put this game away late as the Nets claimed the seventh seed in the east with the 115-108 win. They will now face the Celtics in the first round starting on Sunday.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, claiming the seventh seed in the west with the win over the Clippers. And it was former Clipper Patrick Beverley sealing the win with a steal in front of L.A.'s bench late in this game. The final, 109-105, Minnesota. They are in the playoffs for just the second time in 18 years.

The Clippers and Cavs are still alive. Cleveland's going to host the winner of tonight's Hawks-Hornets game for the eighth seed in the east. L.A.'s going to host either the Pelicans or Spurs for the eighth seed out west.

All right, we had some baseball history last night. Alyssa Nakken becoming the first woman to coach on the field in a regular-season game. She took over in the third inning after the Giants' regular first-base coach was ejected. The 31-year-old has been on San Francisco's staff since January of 2020.

The Giants went on to beat the Padres 13 to two.

And Christine, Alyssa pretty humble after the game and said she was just doing her job. But pretty cool for a lot of young fans --


SCHOLES: -- to be able to see her out there doing her job.

ROMANS: Very good. Love to see that representation.

All right, thanks so much, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right, to weather now. An April blizzard dumping dozens of inches of snow on parts of Montana and North Dakota, and closing 500 miles of a major interstate.

And a tornado outbreak in Texas left 23 people injured. Two twisters confirmed. Authorities say the damage included downed power lines and trees, and flattened buildings.

Heavy rain and a tornado also touched down in Iowa Tuesday. Officials report flooding and widespread damage. Now, millions of Americans remain under a severe weather threat again today. Look at that from KCCI.

All right, Pedram, thank you so much for that -- for those pictures. Bringing those in for us.

Thanks, everybody, for watching. I'm Christine Romans. "NEW DAY" starts right now.