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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Manhunt Underway For Two Suspects In Terror Attack; U.S. Pummeled By Worst Spring Storm Season In Years; Kentucky Derby To Run Without Disgraced Trainer Bob Baffert. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 06, 2022 - 05:30   ET





Police in Israel have released the names of two men suspected of carrying out that terror attack. At least three people were killed in the religious city of Elad as Israel celebrated its Independence Day.

Let's bring in journalist Elliott Gotkine in Tel Aviv for us this morning. Elliott, what can you tell us about these men?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Laura, as you say, the manhunt for these men who have been named by the Israeli police continues both inside Israel and in the West Bank. Now, they've been named as As'ad Alrafa'ani, age 19, and Sabhi abu Shakir, age 20. Now, according to police, they are from a village near Jenin in the north of the West Bank, which has been the site of frequent clashes between Israeli security forces and militants.

As you say, three have been killed and three are fighting for their lives -- three Israelis fighting for their lives in a hospital, in what Secretary of State Antony Blinken has described as a horrific terrorist attack. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett saying we will get our hands on the terrorists and ensure they pay the price -- Laura.

JARRETT: Elliott, I also want to ask you about a separate development we've been following. Israeli's prime minister says he received a rare apology from Vladimir Putin. What's this about?

GOTKINE: So, this is about Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister's comments which he made the other day. He said that Hitler had Jewish blood, which is not the case. And also asserted -- and these are his words -- that the wise Jewish people say that the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews, implying that Jews were at least partly, or in some way culpable for the crimes of the Nazis. This is part of the Russian argument to try to justify what it describes as the de-Nazifying of the -- of Ukraine.

So this, as you can imagine, provoked quite a lot of ire in Israel. And then during a phone conversation between President Vladimir Putin on Thursday and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to mark Israel's Independence Day, the Israeli prime minister's office says that Mr. Bennett accepted Putin's apology. Now, when a spokesman for Putin was asked if that was the case he simply -- he neither confirmed nor denied that Putin had apologized.

So, for now, I suppose we have to just take the Israeli prime minister's office's word for it that the Russian president did, indeed, apologize for those comments by his foreign minister -- Laura.

JARRETT: Very curious. Elliott, thank you.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: OK, 34 minutes past the hour.

If you are shopping for a mortgage, you'll find --


ROMANS: -- you'll find something you haven't seen in more than a decade. That's just ahead.

JARRETT: And the former Defense secretary claiming President Trump floated the idea of launching missiles at Mexico.



ROMANS: All right. Parts of the U.S. being pummeled by what forecasters say is the worst spring storm season in years, including this storm system. Look at this. This brought an EF-3 tornado to Andover, Kansas. Look at that video -- unbelievable. City officials say around 100 structures were damaged when this came through there Friday.

And more severe weather is on the horizon. CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam has more for us -- Derek.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's been a banner year for severe weather and one way to contextualize that is just how many tornadoes we've actually experienced so far this season. To date, we've had actually over 600 reports of tornadoes and on average, we'd have about 524. So, we're sitting at about 119% of average in terms of confirmed tornadoes from the National Weather Service.

And yesterday was a prime example. We had two tornadoes in eastern Texas. You can't forget about the wind damage associated with these severe storms that are marching eastward across the southeastern U.S. It is all associated with this cold front. That's the triggering mechanism for the thunderstorms to develop.


Of course, a lot of hot, humid air in place across that region, and this is going to provide the recipe -- the ingredients necessary for the recipe for severe storms to develop once again.

In fact, we have just got the latest update from the Storm Prediction Center. Look at that shading of orange -- Raleigh to Atlanta, to Montgomery. Those are the areas that we need to pay particular attention to the weather today. Damaging winds, large hail, and a few strong tornadoes are possible.

In fact, the Storm Prediction Center has identified two particular locations across the Carolinas and into Georgia and portions of eastern Alabama that have a 10% probability of tornadoes. That means that anywhere from about a 25-mile radius of a particular point there is a 10% probability of a tornado occurring within that region. So that's what that probability actually means.

Here's the severe storms around the 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. timeframe for Atlanta, and then across the Carolinas by the afternoon and evening hours with a heavy rain threat ongoing across the mid-Atlantic. The Weather Prediction Center has a slight risk of flash flooding across portions of Pennsylvania into Maryland, Max, so very, very busy across much of the eastern seaboard.

Back to you.


JARRETT: All right, Derek. Thank you for that.

Meanwhile, Dave Chappelle's alleged attacker is not going to face felony charges. The comedian was on stage at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday when a man from the audience tried to tackle him. Police say the suspect was carrying a replica handgun that also included a knife blade at the tip. He's now facing four misdemeanor charges.


MIKE FEUER, LOS ANGELES CITY ATTORNEY: This alleged attack has got to have consequences. And this afternoon, my office has filed charges alleging battery, possession of a weapon with the intent to assault, and charges relating to interfering with a performance. My office takes protecting public safety extremely seriously and we are going to vigorously prosecute this case.


JARRETT: The Hollywood Bowl is now adding additional security measures and reviewing its existing procedures following the attack. A lot of questions about how that could have even happened.


All right. New graphic and emotional testimony from Amber Heard Thursday as she defended herself in a $50 million defamation suit filed by her ex-husband Johnny Depp. In her second day on the stand, Heard accused Depp of escalating physical abuse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AMBER HEARD, ACTRESS: Nothing I did made him stop hitting me -- nothing. So, you know, I tried for over a year maybe -- maybe two of just not responding physically, not responding verbally. Just starting at him. I tried to freeze. I tried to go to a different place.

I just -- I would try then lashing out verbally. I would try to threaten that if he hit me again that I would call the police.


ROMANS: Heard broke down in tears describing an explosive 2015 fight, accusing Depp of consuming a large dose of the drug ecstasy and sexually assaulting her with a glass bottle.

Depp's spokesperson said in a statement to CNN that Heard delivered, quote, "the performance of her life" on the witness stand.

Heard will continue her testimony May 16 following a scheduled break.

JARRETT: All right. Get those mint juleps and hats ready. The Kentucky Derby is set for tomorrow afternoon. Andy Scholes is live from Churchill Downs in Louisville with a preview. Hey, Andy.


So after two years, the Kentucky Derby is going to be fully back to normal this year. Around 150,000 people are going to be here at Churchill Downs for the 148th Run for the Roses.

But one person that will not be here is Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert has been suspended from Churchill Downs for two years after last year's Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test. It was the fifth Baffert-trained horse in a year to test positive for a banned substance.

In February, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced that Medina Spirit was disqualified and Mandaloun was declared the winner. Now, Mandaloun was trained by Louisville's own Brad Cox. Technically, he won the 2021 Derby but he didn't get the true experience.


BRAD COX, 2021 KENTUCKY DERBY WINNING TRAINER: You don't really -- you know, when I learned that we had won through a text message, so it's not as -- not quite as exciting as winning a race and crossing the wire first.

We figured it out that to win the Derby you do it for the thrill, right? Like that's the whole thing -- the thrill of victory, and we didn't experience that. So, hopefully, looking forward to someday doing that and it might be Saturday. We'll see how it goes.


SCHOLES: All right. And Cox has three horses in this year's Derby. Hall of Famer trainer Steve Asmussen, meanwhile, has had 23 horses in the Derby but he has never won. He's certainly hoping that all change tomorrow. His horse, Epicenter, one of the favorites at 7-2 odds. It's won four of its six starts. And Asmussen is hoping that this is going to be -- finally be his year.



STEVE ASMUSSEN, TRAINER, EPICENTER: That's the one feeling I don't know. I definitely have had the pleasure of running something in the Derby and the excitement leading up to it, and the walkover. But I haven't accepted the trophy afterwards but maybe this is our year.


SCHOLES: All right, here are some of the horses that will be running tomorrow -- some of the favorites.

Zandon, the overall current favorite as of right now at 3-1 odds. He's known to start slow but closes fast and has finished in the money in all four of his starts.

Messier and Taiba used to be trained by Bob Baffert but they're now trained by his former assistant Tim Yakteen. So if one of those horses win, in a way, Bob Baffert -- you know, his presence still will be felt here at Churchill Downs, Laura.

But lots of rain in the forecast today for the Kentucky Oaks. It's going to clear up and be a little bit better tomorrow. But hey, the Kentucky Derby always a great event every single year. Lots of excitement building up here --

ROMANS: Absolutely.

SCHOLES: -- in Louisville.

ROMANS: All right, Andy. Thank you so much.

JARRETT: Thanks, Andy.

Just ahead, big questions about the role U.S. intelligence may have played in the sinking of Russia's flagship.

ROMANS: But first, the next White House press secretary -- how she will make history when she takes the podium.



ROMANS: All right, it's Friday. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

Looking at markets around the world, you can see -- following suit with what we saw in the U.S. yesterday -- Europe has opened lower here. Stock index futures also leaning down just a little bit.

Look, the Dow had a terrible day yesterday. It tumbled more than 1,000 points -- 3.1%. S&P and the Nasdaq even worse. Those are big one-day moves here. The market giving up all of the gains made Wednesday after the Fed chief Jerome Powell said the central bank wasn't considering raising the Fed funds interest rate more than half a point at a time.

After binge trading, the market up a few points on that news. Investors apparently had second thoughts yesterday and gave it all back.

Mortgage rates keep climbing, knocking some buyers out of the market and increasing the urgency to buy now for others, right? The 30-year fixed rate rose nearly two-tenths of a percent this week alone. That's the highest it's been since 2009 and more than two points higher than this time last year.

Experts say rising mortgage rates and inflation will keep making it expensive to buy a house but they hope -- or they think that price increases will begin to slow a bit in the coming months because of those higher mortgage rates.

All right, critical information about the job market comes in just a few hours. The big government jobs report forecast to show maybe another 391,000 jobs added back in April. Economists polled by Refinitiv predict that pace here will slow from the furious pace of job creation over the past year. The jobless rate likely slipped to 3.5%, the lowest it has been since the pandemic began.

I want to bring in chief economist from Moody's Analytics, Mark Zandi.

Mark, you're looking for, what, 350 or something. You know, that would be slower than the 500 that we've averaged over the past year or so. In normal times, that would be a very, very good number but you think that the pace of job creation has just got to slow here

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS (via Webex by Cisco): It does. I mean, at the 500K per month, unemployment has been steadily falling. And now, unemployment is low. It's at 3.6%. So, job growth does not slow. Unemployment will continue to fall and that will put more pressure on wages and prices.

And, of course, our number one problem right now is the very painfully high inflation. So the Federal Reserve is working to -- through raising interest rates, slowing growth. Getting that job growth down to something that's more consistent with the more stable unemployment rate. So, if we get 350K I think we're on the path to that --

ROMANS: Right.

ZANDI: -- slowdown, which is necessary.

ROMANS: So, a necessary slowdown. That's something necessarily --

ZANDI: Yes. ROMANS: -- to worry about in terms of the job market. The job market has been very, very good here. We have all these open job positions, too.

Are you expecting to see more people come off the sidelines into the labor market -- getting that labor force participation rate up -- something we've been hoping for the last couple of years?

ZANDI: Yes, I am. I do think a lot of folks stepped out of the workforce during the pandemic for lots of different reasons. You know, being sick, taking care of sick people, fearful of getting sick. A lot of folks retired early.

But as the job market continues to improve and we, as you point out, have a record number of unfilled positions, wage growth has picked up. As the pandemic continues to fade and we all get back to normal, I think will get more people back in the labor force.

But even with that and having said that, job growth is really, really strong and more than absorbing the number of people that can come back in. So we do need to see growth throttle back here a little bit.


Talk to me about the job the Fed is doing here. You talked about how strong the job market is. At some point, that could feed into the inflation story if you have wages rising to get people back into the -- into the labor market.

Is the Fed going to be able to avoid a recession?

ZANDI: I think so. It's a tough job. They've got a lot of hard work dead ahead. They've got to raise rates fast enough and high enough to slow growth and quell that inflation, but not raise rates too fast and too far because that will push the economy into a recession. That's happened historically when we're at this point in the business cycle. So, pretty tricky.


You know, hopefully, we get a little bit of luck here and the pandemic continues to fade, and the fallout from the Russian invasion on oil and natural gas and other markets -- the worst of that's behind us. If that's the case, then it makes it a little bit easier for the Fed. I think they'll be able to pull it off but a lot of risk here.


Do you think that we -- that inflation is peaking at this point? I mean, inflation has been the story, really bedeviling the American psyche right now, quite frankly. Is peak inflation around the corner?

ZANDI: Yes, I think so. You know, it's -- I think it's really tied to those oil prices --

ROMANS: Yes. ZANDI: -- and what we pay at the pump. Because it's also driven up diesel prices, which makes the cost of food higher. And when we get those packages from Amazon on our front doorstep that cost more because of the higher diesel. So, we need to get oil prices moving south. And this goes back to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Hopefully, the worst of the fallout on oil prices is behind us. I think it is and I think that would be the most likely outlook for oil prices and inflation. But again, obviously, a lot of risk around that.

ROMANS: Yes. That inflation story is a global story. That is not a U.S.-focused story; that is a global story.

Just quickly, that big selloff yesterday in the stock market. I mean, people should be prepared for a market, right, that is adjusting to a world of higher interest rates, bottom line, right?

ZANDI: Exactly. That's what's going on here. I mean, rates are rising. The economy's growth rate is strong but it's going to slow, so stock investors have to adjust. But for most of us, you need to look through is because you're invested for the long run. So don't pay attention to these daily ups and downs and all-arounds.

ROMANS: Yes. If you were scrambling yesterday for the login for your 401K, that's not the day to be scrambling to figure out how to adjust your 401. Just sit tight. Good advice.

Mark Zandi, Moody's chief economist. Have a great weekend. Thanks, Mark.

ZANDI: Yes. Take care now.

JARRETT: President Biden just named a new White House press secretary. Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will take over when Jen Psaki leaves next week.

CNN's Jasmine Wright is covering this for us live in Washington this morning. Jasmine, her appointment is historic in a couple of ways.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN REPORTER: Yes, it's double the history here, Laura. She is going to be the first Black person but also the first out LGBTQ+ person to serve as White House press secretary in all of history. That's a major feat here.

Take a listen to her yesterday at the podium talking really emotionally about what this moment means to her.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is a historic moment and it's not lost on me. I understand how important it is for so many people out there -- so many different communities that I stand on their shoulders, and I have been throughout my career.


WRIGHT: So there, a really touching moment from Karine Jean-Pierre.

But, of course, if she is in, that means that Jen Psaki is now out. She says that last week will be -- or next week will be her last week at the podium. But, of course, this is something that's been speculated that she would be leaving soon, of course, when she first started just a year and a half ago. She said that she would only be in the position for a year and kept pushing and pushing that. Now, of course, we know that Psaki was one of the breakout stars of this administration.

But this will not be something that's completely new to Jean-Pierre, of course. We know we saw her over the course of the last year and almost a half filling in for Psaki, taking moments at the briefing, going on abroad trips with the president -- really doing things to kind of get her feet wet in a lot of things. Really trying to prepare her and train her to replace her.

And now, in another part of a media shakeup at the White House, senior adviser Anita Dunn will be returning --


WRIGHT: -- coming back from private life as the administration gears up for midterms and gears up for a future that particularly, Republicans could have more control here.

But again, this is historic news for Karine Jean-Pierre. It really fits in the ethos of the Biden administration, at least, to have a front-facing --


WRIGHT: -- diverse administration here.

JARRETT: All right, Jasmine Wright. Thank you so much -- appreciate it.

ROMANS: Yes, and she's got a hard job. That is a hard job standing up at that podium --


ROMANS: -- facing all of us down.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: All right. I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It is Friday, May 6, and I'm Brianna Keilar with Alex Marquardt.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Great to be back with you.

KEILAR: Great to have you here on this Friday. John Berman is off. And we're beginning with growing questions this morning about what role, if any, the United States played in a major blow to the Russian military. Sources tell CNN that the U.S. provided intel that helped doom Russia's flagship in the Black Sea, the Moskva. This sank, of course, after Ukrainian forces hit it with two cruise missiles last month.

But the Pentagon is pushing back on that story. Overnight, Defense officials denied giving Ukraine any targeting information about the ship, and they said they were not involved with the Ukrainians' decision to carry out the strike.

So how will Russia respond to all of this? We'll ask Pentagon press secretary John Kirby when he joins us live.

MARQUARDT: And in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol this morning.