Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

U.N. Chief In Kyiv After Meeting With Vladimir Putin; DHS Secretary Grilled By GOP Lawmakers Over Administration's Border Policy; Biden To Take Precautions At White House Correspondents' Dinner. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 28, 2022 - 05:30   ET




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

U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is in Kyiv right now ahead of talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

CNN's Nada Bashir is live for us in London. Nada, the Secretary- General met with Vladimir Putin already. What did he come away with?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well look, Laura, he went into that meeting with President Putin with the hope of securing humanitarian corridors, particularly for civilians besieged in Mariupol, which is seeing some of the worst of Russia's bombardment.

Now, we've heard from Guterres following that one-on-one with President Putin. He said that Putin had agreed in principle to allowing the United Nations to coordinate those evacuation efforts. And we understand the U.N. is in contact with the Defense Ministry -- the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow and, of course, also the Ukrainian government. So those talks are ongoing.

And Guterres also told CNN that he went into that meeting with President Putin to openly and clearly assert the U.N.'s concerns, particularly when it comes to violations of international law.

Now he is, of course, in Ukraine currently. Those talks on various fronts are ongoing. But he also told our Anderson Cooper that it's going to take a lot more than just talks to bring an end to this war. Take a listen.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I mean, the war will not end with meetings. The war will end -- will end when the Russian federation decides to end it and when there is, after a ceasefire, the possibility of a serious political agreement. We can have all the meetings but that is not what will end the war.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BASHIR: Now, Zelenskyy is in Ukraine currently. We are expecting him to meet with President Zelenskyy today -- Guterres, there -- his first meeting with the Ukrainian president since Russia's invasion began in late February. But he's also expected to meet with U.N. staffers on the ground to discuss the scaling up of the U.N.'s humanitarian aid in Ukraine. That, of course, reflecting a move by other allies who are not only scaling up humanitarian aid but also their military support -- Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Nada. Thank you for your reporting as usual.

Joining me now is CNN political and national security analyst, David Sanger. He is also, of course, a White House and national security correspondent with The New York Times, and author of the book, "The Perfect Weapon." David, so nice to see you this morning.

You have some great new reporting in The New York Times about the growing fears from both American and European officials that the war in Ukraine will essentially spill over into other countries and create this wider war. How realistic are those fears?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, WHITE HOUSE AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES, AUTHOR, "THE PERFECT WEAPON": Well, I think that today, Laura, they probably look a little more realistic than they did, say, three days ago. Think about just what we've seen happen in the past 72 hours.

The Russians have cut off gas, at least temporarily, to Poland and Bulgaria, two early members of NATO -- or I should say early after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They joined in 1994. That's a warning shot to Germany that they could do the same.

We've seen some explosions of mysterious origin in Moldova, a non-NATO country that is tucked away right next to Ukraine and which many people thought would be next.

We've seen the Ukrainians attack over the border from Ukraine to hit some fuel depots and weapons depots in Russia. So, that's been a concern.

We're reporting this morning that there was a lot more cyber activity from the Russians in the early days of the war than we knew. Cyber activity is notoriously difficult to keep inside borders.

So if you add those together, I'd say there's a pretty high risk.

JARRETT: So, your reporting is that the U.S. is essentially gaming out all of these different scenarios right now behind the scenes, sort of trying to plot out what they think Russia's move might be. How does the U.S. ready for all these different scenarios?

SANGER: Well, they're all different. If there was an attack by the Russians, say, on a weapons shipment that was heading into Ukraine and they attacked it inside NATO, the question is would you consider that to be an attack on a NATO country or a narrow attack just on a weapons shipment -- maybe in Poland, for example, where many of the weapons are being gathered before they're shipped in?


And would you want to risk going to a broader conflict because of that, if you don't think that it's an attack to overthrow the Polish government, for example?

Second question. Supposing that the Russians use chemical weapons inside Ukraine, suppose they demonstrate a nuclear weapon over the Black Sea or conduct what they would call a nuclear test. We conduct nuclear tests sometimes. We haven't in many, many years but we've been known to do it. Obviously, the North Koreans do it, and others, and we don't attack them as a result.

So, thinking through the various options there, those are the different kinds of scenarios that people are spending their time with.

JARRETT: So, the Secretary of State said recently that many of the fears are based, in part, on this idea that this conflict is just going to go on for some time. What are you hearing from sources about how long government officials actually anticipate this going for?

SANGER: It's a great question, Laura, and the answer is they just don't know. But what they do know is there's no sign of diplomatic activity right now.

Remember, three weeks or so ago we had the prime minister of Israel, the president of Turkey, President Macron of France, all talking to Putin trying to talk about how they could put together a diplomatic solution of some kind. We've seen one of that. And in the end, that's the way wars end. Wars end with some kind of diplomatic agreement.

JARRETT: All right, David Sanger. Always nice to have you -- appreciate it.

SANGER: Great to be with you, Laura.

JARRETT: Coming up, border battles -- Title 42, and Remain in Mexico. What happens if the Biden White House gets rid of both policies at the U.S.-Mexico border?

And chaos on the field. The Mets and the Cards square up and then throw down, next.



JARRETT: Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas facing off with Republican lawmakers over the Biden administration's border policy. The secretary appearing at two House hearings on Wednesday. He will be back in the hot seat this morning.

CNN's Daniella Diaz is live on Capitol Hill for us this morning. She's been following it all. Daniella, Republicans seem to be saying the border is a mess. They say

it's chaos down there. But at the same time, they're demanding that the Biden administration not make any sudden moves to change the policies down at the border.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: That's exactly right, Laura. Look, this is all about Title 42 and the Remain in Mexico policies. The Republicans don't want to see any change from the Biden administration on those two policies that allow migrants to be sent back either to their home countries or processing. That being Title 42, that Trump-era protocol that was put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And Remain in Mexico, which sent asylum seekers back to Mexico to await processing there as well.

So, of course, Republicans really slammed Alejandro Mayorkas. He was in the hot seat during these two separate hearings -- one, Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the House side; the other, Homeland Security hearing where they demanded answers on how the administration was going to handle these policies should they change, and that influx of migrants that are expected at the border when, of course, Title 42 is rescinded. That expected to take place on May 23.

But he -- excuse me, Alejandro Mayorkas defended himself and the administration, saying it's really up to Congress to fix this -- what he said -- immigration reform system that is currently not working.

Take a listen to what he said yesterday during one hearing.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We inherited a broken and dismantled system that is already under strain. It is not built to manage the current levels and types of migratory flows. Only Congress can fix this. Yet, we have effectively managed an unprecedented number of non-citizens seeking to enter the United States and interdicted more drugs, and disrupted more smuggling operations than ever before.


DIAZ: Now, during these hearings he, of course, said that the administration and his department is prepared to deal with the influx of migrants that they're expecting. But, of course, he tossed the ball back into Congress' court to deal with immigration, saying they need to do something to reform the system.

Now, he's expected to be in the hot seat again today, as you said, Laura. He will face the House Judiciary Committee for the first time in a year. Now, ranking member Jim Jordan has been requesting that he appear. Jim Jordan actually sent a letter to him last week endorsed, of course, by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, with a list of questions of data on the border. So we are expecting another set of fireworks today in another committee hearing that will take place -- Laura.

JARRETT: All right, I know you will be following it all. Daniella, thank you.

All right. I want to bring in now Madeleine Carlisle, staff writer at TIME magazine, who has been doing some amazing reporting on this. So nice to have you on EARLY START. Appreciate you coming on.

A bunch of Republican-led states are trying to stop the Biden administration from getting rid of Title 42. We know this has ended up in court. But I wonder, where is the evidence that this policy has actually been working?

MADELEINE CARLISLE, STAFF WRITER, TIME MAGAZINE (via Skype): Well, it really depends how you define "working." Title 42 has been used nearly two million times in the past two years to expel migrants.

And critics of the policy point to that number to show it's really not to turn away migrants -- a real surge of migrants at the border; it's just stranding them in Mexico in dangerous conditions without even the ability to file an asylum claim. However, supporters say that if the policy does go away that number could get even higher and really create chaos.


JARRETT: So you mention the ability to file an asylum claim and the challenges of doing that for Mexico. At the same time, the Biden administration is fighting about the lifting of Title 42 it also is fighting in court about its Remain in Mexico policy.

How are these two working in concert? Why do you need to have the Remain in Mexico policy if you have Title 42 in place?

CARLISLE: That's a great question.

So, Title 42 is a public health policy that was enacted by the CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19. So it was never intended to be around forever. It was really intended as an emergency measure to react to the pandemic.

Remain in Mexico, on the other hand, is a policy implemented by DHS (the Department of Homeland Security) that Texas and Missouri are arguing in legislation is really codified into law. So, they just have different levels of longevity.

JARRETT: OK, that's fair. And the Supreme Court is obviously weighing in on the Remain in Mexico policy and heard arguments on it this week.

So, where does all of this go from here? We know a judge in Louisiana has told the Biden administration look, you can't lift Title 42 before the end of May, so you can't do it early. But he hasn't actually weighed in on whether the -- he can actually lift Title 42 at all. So, where -- how is this going to play out?

CARLISLE: That's a great point.

So, basically, what we've seen happen with Remain in Mexico could happen here again with Title 42. Over 20 states have sued, like you said, to block the administration from lifting this policy, arguing that it could create chaos at the border. And on Monday, a judge blocked the administration from lifting the policy as litigation plays out here.

So, what could happen is exactly what happened with Remain in Mexico. It works its way up the judiciary and eventually, a long time from now, we get a final answer. And there's also the possibility of congressional action. So, it could be a long time before this policy is actually lifted.

JARRETT: You know, one of the things the Supreme Court has pointed out in its arguments on the Remain in Mexico policy is that it's not actually even following the -- its own law in terms of actually detaining everybody. You know, Congress has only allocated something like 30,000 -- the ability to detain something like 30,000 people.

And so, I wonder, sort of, in your reporting, what are you hearing about, again, how that policy is working on the ground.

CARLISLE: Yes, that's a great point.

So, Texas and Missouri are arguing that the administration has to either detain them from seeking asylum or return them to Mexico. And the Biden administration says that's just not feasible and points to your point that no prior administration has ever read the law that way.

There were over 600,000 people at the border last year and there's only enough money for about 30,000 to 40,000 detention beds. And so, what's happening is that people are being expelled under Title 42 largely, at the moment, back to Mexico and they're being left in tent encampments where there have been reports of widespread violence, sexual assault, and kidnappings. And migrants' rights advocates say it's a crisis and the administration needs to take action.

JARRETT: All right. Madeleine, thank you so much for coming on. I hope you'll come back soon. These issues are not going away, especially with the midterms coming up. Appreciate it.

CARLISLE: Thanks for having me.

JARRETT: Now to this. The Disney-run special district that Florida just moved to dissolve -- well, it's telling Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Republican Legislature not so fast. The Reedy Creek Improvement District says the decision to revoke Disney's 55-year-old self- governing privilege isn't legal unless the state pays off Reedy Creek's massive debt.

Florida Democrats have slammed DeSantis' action as retaliation for Disney's opposition to his law restricting discussion of LGBT issues in schools -- a measure critics call the Don't Say Gay bill.

Well, for the first time in three seasons, the Golden State Warriors are moving on to the second round of the NBA Playoffs. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. I imagine Steph Curry has a little something to do with that. ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: He certainly did last night, Laura. Good morning to you.

You know, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green -- they've been so good for so long you almost forget that they haven't been into the second-round NBA Playoffs since 2019. The Warriors were trying to close out the Nuggets in game five last night.

Steph was back in the starting lineup. He made five threes, but in the closing minutes, it was his driving that won the game. This layup there put the Warriors up by four.

Then, moments later when they were up by three, Curry going to go all the way around the defense and gets it to go. That sealed it and Steph tells the Nuggets goodnight. Warriors win 102-98 to take the series in five.

And Steph said afterward the team almost forgot how hard it is to close out a series.


STEPH CURRY, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS GUARD: You can see these first three quarters we forgot what it felt like to try to close out a game -- the nerves, the energy in the building. Obviously, the pressure of trying to do it at home, and I have to go back to Denver.


Coach sat on the bench. He talked to me like going into the fourth quarter. It's been a long time since we felt this. We still know how to do it but you have to kind of grind it out. And it's a good feeling to go through and get the win.


SCHOLES: Yes, and check out Steph celebrating the big win with his daughter, Ryan. They've got their own special handshake.

The Warriors are now going to play the winter of the Grizzlies- Timberwolves series.

All right, defending NBA champion Bucks, meanwhile, had a much easier time closing out the Bulls. Giannis Antetokounmpo dominating from the start, scoring a game-high 33 points. He had 23 of them in the first half. It was the most in the first two quarters in his playoff career.

Milwaukee won this one 116-100 to advance to the second round. They're going to face the Celtics starting on Sunday.

Three more teams can advance tonight. The Sixers trying to finally close out the Raptors in Toronto. That one starts at 7:00 eastern. The Suns and Mavericks also looking to move on with a win. You can see both of those games on our sister channel TNT.

All right, to baseball where the Mets have had it with being hit by baseballs. J.D. Davis got hit in the top of the eighth, which was the team's Major League-leading 19th hit by a pitch this season. So then, in the bottom of the ninth, Yoan Lopez -- or eighth -- going up against Nolan Arenado and he goes up and in.

Arenado didn't like that. Some yelling happened. Both benches clear. Mets first baseman Pete Alonso -- he was in the middle of all of it. He got hit in the head yesterday. Arenado and Cardinals coach Stubby Clapp -- they were ejected from this game.

The Cardinals would win 10-5.

Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt -- he sounded off on Major League Baseball earlier this week saying so many people are getting hit by baseballs this season because the baseballs are inconsistent.

All right. Finally, the lives of 32 college football players are going to change forever tonight. The NFL draft makes its debut in Las Vegas. Some 200,000 fans are expected to attend each of the three days of the draft right in the heart of the Strip. Before their names are called the players are going to walk the red carpet, which is built on a huge stage in front of the Bellagio fountains.

Now, the Jaguars have the number-one overall pick for the second- straight year. They're going to be followed by the Lions, Texans, Jets, and Giants.

And Laura, this is one of those rare years where we don't actually know who the first pick is going to be. It could be Travon Walker from Georgia, Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan. But that's what makes the NFL draft so much fun -- all the mystery and all the drama.

JARRETT: Very exciting. All right -- thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: New accusations of atrocities just leveled against Russian troops in Ukraine. We have a live report from the ground. That's next on "NEW DAY."

But first, skip the meal but stay for the jokes. More on how the White House is trying to keep the president safe at Nerd Prom, next.



JARRETT: The White House Correspondents' Dinner returns this weekend after a two-year pandemic-driven hiatus. President Biden will attend but given some of the renewed anxiety about COVID-19, the White House press secretary Jen Psaki says they're going to take extra precautions.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I would expect that he may wear a mask when he's not speaking. I'll wear a mask when I'm at the dinner in all likelihood. And we also took steps, including the fact that he's not attending for the eating portion of the dinner.

And he'll be there for the program, which includes a number of speakers, the presentation of scholarships, as you know -- and, of course, his speaking and his roasting where he will be on the menu as he likes to say.

Just like anything, it's a risk assessment and a decision he made on a personal basis.


JARRETT: The president's top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is skipping the event, however, over COVID concerns, telling CNN at 81, he's at a much higher risk if infected.

Fauci raised some eyebrows Tuesday after telling PBS the pandemic is over. He later clarified that remark, saying he believes the country is moving into a more controlled transition phase.

And finally, maybe you saw an interview we did a few weeks back with two Ukrainians running an organization called Zoo Patrol. That organization rescues pets in Kyiv left behind by their owners who have been fleeing this Russian invasion. They told us one big problem was feeding the hundreds of dogs and cats in their care.

After our story ran, organizations and individuals around the world rescued the rescuers sending the Zoo Patrol tons of pet food, including kangaroo meat from Australia, and more than $50,000 in donations.

Love to see that. If you want to reach out and help the people of Ukraine, visit

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

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.