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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

U.S. Levels New Sanctions On Russia-Controlled Media Companies; Biden: "MAGA" Is Most Extreme Political Organization In U.S. History; New Setbacks In Effort To End Baby Formula Shortage. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 05:30   ET





The Biden administration is now announcing a new round of sanctions in hopes of further stifling Russia's economy. This time, the target is Russia-based media companies.

Let's bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian who is live in London for us. Clare, why these companies, and what is the White House hoping to accomplish with this?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Laura, this is an effort to sort of stifle funding to the Kremlin's propaganda machine. These companies -- Channel One Russia -- Russia One and NTV -- they are some of the biggest networks in Russia, if not the biggest.

And the media in Russia, don't forget, is not independent and even less so since Russia passed a law in March which criminalized any what they call false information about their so-called special military operation in Ukraine -- even calling it a war as punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

So, sanctioning these companies will sort of, in theory, stifle some of the funding to the broadcast networks that are propounding the Kremlin line and not broadcasting elements of the conflict the Kremlin doesn't want the Russian public to see.

According to senior administration officials, these companies received last year, more than $300 million from Western countries in terms of advertising revenues. The sanctions will cut them off not only from advertising revenues but from receiving Western broadcast technology. So this, in theory, should punish them for their role in the sort of provision of propaganda, which helps sustain the conflict in Russia.

JARRETT: Clare, I also want to ask you about this showing of solidarity over the weekend. Some members of U2 doing a little pop-up concert if you will in Kyiv, and saying that the invitation actually came from President Zelenskyy himself.

What else do we know about how this came about? SEBASTIAN: Yes, Laura, a moment of levity -- a lighter moment in these dark days. The tweet from U2 suggests that President Zelenskyy did invite them. That he wanted them to put on a show of solidarity to the Ukrainian people.

The concert itself took place in a metro station in Kyiv. It has been used in the past as a bomb shelter. And some of the choices of songs were particularly appropriate when we're talking about a show of solidarity. Take a listen.



U2, ROCK BAND: Singing "Stand By Me."


SEBASTIAN: So, that was Bono and The Edge. They're also singing with a Ukrainian rock singer. He's called Taras Topolia. And he said afterwards that he couldn't believe that had happened.

Now, Bono and The Edge went on to tour some of the towns that have sort of emerged from Russian occupation where we've seen some of the major atrocities in the war come to light -- the likes of Bucha and Irpin.

Have a listen to what Bono had to say about his view of the conflict.


BONO, U2 SINGER: I think it's one man's war, really. And I think there's people in Russia will -- younger people know what's going on. And I trust in the younger people in Russia to throw this man out of his office that was so high and is so low right now.


SEBASTIAN: That's interesting he says he trusts in the younger people. They are what -- many of those in Russia, younger, (INAUDIBLE) in particular, are still accessing independent media through things like VPNs. Whether or not they're going to act on the information they get through that in a climate where even mentioning the word war in the context of Ukraine can lead to 15 years in prison, that is another question entirely, Laura.

JARRETT: Clare Sebastian, thank you for that -- appreciate it.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's bring in CNN political analyst and columnist for The Washington Post, Josh Rogin.

Josh, wow -- I mean, that generational comment from Bono -- I mean, we've heard this again and again that maybe younger people are going to know what's really happening and be the change here. But we heard from Vladimir Putin just two hours ago he is still sticking to this line that he is -- it's self-defense -- JARRETT: Defense, yes.

ROMANS: -- the victimhood of Vladimir Putin and Russia. And that's something that appeals to the older generation.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. Well, I think we have to be realistic Christine that in Russia, no matter if you're old or young, your influence on Vladimir Putin's decision-making is basically zero.

ROMANS: Right.

ROGIN: And inside that information environment even the most active young people have no voice and those who insist on raising their voice are quickly jailed. So that's a great long-term aspiration from Bono.

But I think in the near term we have to listen to what Vladimir Putin says and believe him that this is a war that he intends to fight to the end, whatever that means. And he has no intention of backing down. He has no intention of listening to the aspirations of the Ukrainian people or his people for that matter, for peace. And we better just buckle our seatbelts because this is going to get worse before it gets any better.


JARRETT: So Josh, you have a really interesting piece out in The Washington Post that suggests while Vladimir Putin fumbles the invasion of Ukraine someone else is watching, and that someone else is President Xi in China. And that he is watching and he's learning from Putin's mistakes in case he ever decides to invade in Taiwan. Now, of course, he would deny that he has any plans.

But explain that a little bit. Explain your theory.

ROGIN: Right. Well, Vladimir Putin denied that he had any plans to attack Ukraine until he attacked Ukraine.


ROGIN: And we're seeing a very similar scenario play out in China where the leader is preaching to his people about historical grievances with the West and using that to menace his democratic neighbor, Taiwan. And the terrible part for the Taiwanese is that Vladimir Putin had to go first, so he made a lot of mistakes -- and Xi Jinping is learning from those mistakes.

And according to U.S. officials I've talked to, Xi Jinping is going to do it -- if he does invade Taiwan he's going to be much better at it. In other words, he's going to go quicker and he's going to be even more brutal and more devastating. And he's going to make sure that he gets that capital city before they have a chance to rally the international community to defend them. And he's going to know what our economic playbook is and he's going to fight the information war better than Putin did. And what that should tell us, in the view of a lot of U.S. officials

that I've talked to, is that we should probably learn from the Ukraine war as well when we think about how to defend Taiwan. We should give them the things that they're going to need to fight a Ukraine-style insurgency -- a Ukraine-style pushback against an invasion. The problem, of course, is that all of those things are right now being poured into Ukraine, which makes it really hard for the Taiwanese to really get their hands on them.

ROMANS: Do you think, Josh, these historic sanctions against Russia will give President Xi pause? I mean, is that something that could be a potential deterrent from an invasion of Taiwan?

ROGIN: Well, it's definitely causing him to think about how to insulate China from that type of sanctions, and that's what he's doing. He's not pausing; he's actually speeding up his plans.


What we see now is the head of the Chinese government meeting with all of the international banks to make sure that they know that if China attacks Taiwan they're not going to stand for those kinds of sanctions and it's going to be a lot more difficult. The Chinese economy is a lot bigger than the Russian economy. It's more intertwined with our economy than Russia's is. It's going to be a lot harder to bring sanctions on China than it would be on Russia.

So, no, I don't think it gives him pause. I think it makes him plan -- speed up his plans, actually.

JARRETT: Josh Rogin, it's a fascinating analysis. Everyone should check it out on The Washington Post website. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: Thanks, Josh.

ROGIN: See you, guys.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, what the top Republican in the Senate says about a national abortion ban.

JARRETT: And President Biden's new messaging for the midterms. The new words he's now using to target the GOP.


JARRETT: President Biden is sharpening his message against the GOP, now focusing on what he calls the extremism and dangers presented by MAGA Republicans.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senator Rick Scott, of Florida -- the United States senator who is leading the Republican National Senatorial Campaign Committee -- released what he calls the ultra-MAGA agenda. It's a MAGA agenda all right. Let me tell you about this ultra-MAGA agenda. It's extreme, as most MAGA things are.

What are the next things that are going to be attacked? Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that's existed in American history.


JARRETT: Let's bring in CNN White House correspondent John Harwood. John, good morning.

What is the strategy --


JARRETT: Morning.

What is the strategy behind Biden's new language highlighting what he calls the extremism of the MAGA crowd? It seems to me that he wants to focus on that extremism part, believing that most people in the country fall somewhere in the middle.

HARWOOD: That's right. And let's step back for a minute, Laura, to the difficulties President Biden has been having for quite a long period of time -- almost a year, really.

Last fall, when Joe Biden's job approval ratings were -- had fallen down to the 40s. When Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate was losing a governor's race in Virginia by trying to link his opponent to Donald Trump, Democrats said this isn't working. Making Donald Trump, when he's not president anymore and when he's not on the ballot -- making him the focus of the campaign isn't going to work.

So they were exploring other messages and what they came to settle on was the idea that this is much bigger than Donald Trump. It's about the Republican Party. He's accelerated some of these changes and now his legacy is a party that is both extreme in its objectives -- and they got an illustration last week with the leaked Supreme Court ruling that would wipe out a 50-year constitutional right if that is the final ruling. And secondly, that they're willing to do anything for power.

They did polling and survey research to try to figure this out and their proof point there is the January 6 insurrection. So, they are trying to say these are wild people. They are coming for things that matter to you and they'll do anything to get them. And that's something that they think is more relevant than focusing on Donald Trump now that he's out of office.

ROMANS: Yes. He's naming some names there, laying into the MAGA crowd, but it doesn't seem to be zeroing in on Donald Trump by name. That's on purpose.

HARWOOD: Right. And, you know, the name he focused in on was the head of the Republican Senate campaign, Rick Scott. And Rick Scott reflects the line of attack the Democrats have previously used. Rick Scott is a wealthy former healthcare executive. And one of the planks of that ultra-MAGA agenda that President Biden referred to was a plank that said well, we're going to make sure that everybody pays at least some income taxes. Almost half of Americans don't make enough money to pay federal income tax.

So, he is saying with that suggestion that taxes would be applied. Federal taxes would be applied to those people who don't make enough money. That's what President Biden was attacking.

And Rick Scott is relevant because he's trying to win the Senate right now to put Mitch McConnell back in the leader's office. And so, that's why he focused on that.

But their notion is that attacking them simply as the party of the rich, which is something Democrats have done for quite a long time, isn't enough. They've got to talk about the radicalism, the extremism in the objectives, and in the methods of this Republican Party. And they hope that is a message with all the difficulties they have -- inflation, immigration, crime -- all the things that Republicans are throwing at them.

They're trying to get people to focus their attention on bigger- picture issues and that is threats to American values and American democracy.

JARRETT: Well -- and it seems like -- you know, you're quoting Anita Dunn, one of his top advisers who is now going back in the White House, saying making it a choice, not a referendum, is the first step. Trying to pivot away from making this about Biden and inflation, and about gas prices --

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: -- and really about the other side.

HARWOOD: Well, that's right, Laura because as you know, for 100 years presidents who are newly elected to office almost always -- not in every case but almost always get hammered in their first midterm elections.

Because all of a sudden the problems that got you elected in the first place -- going after the other party -- those become your problems --


HARWOOD: -- and you get blamed for them. And you get asked by people well, what are you going to do about inflation? What are you going to do about the border? What are you going to do about crime?

Whether or not the president has direct control over those things or not, that comes with the job. That's why you get beat.

And if you're simply being evaluated by voters on the basis of how you're doing with those problems, that is usually a losing game. You've got to set up a contrast and say well, this is what I'm doing -- ROMANS: Yes.

HARWOOD: -- but this is what they would do. That's what presidents do when they run for re-election. They've got an opponent to focus on.


They're trying to do that right now. President Biden and Democrats are going to try to do that right now with Republicans in a bid to hold the Congress. Uphill fight, odds are against them, but that's what they think gives them a chance.

ROMANS: All right, John Harwood. Nice to see you this Monday morning. Thank you, sir. CNN White House correspondent.

HARWOOD: You bet.

JARRETT: The world just heard from Russia's Vladimir Putin speaking at Moscow's Victory Day parade. More from inside Moscow, next.

ROMANS: And this -- a baby formula shortage that has many families just scrambling.



ROMANS: All right, happy Monday.

Let's get a check on CNN Business to start the week. Looking at markets around the world, you can see that Asian shares closed lower, although Shanghai pretty steady there. And Europe has opened lower as well.

It was another rocky week in the stock market last week. Here's the Friday close. Actually, here is futures this morning, which looks like it's going to be rough. And here is the Friday close. Interest rates are rising, inflation is still a problem, there are COVID lockdowns in China, and there is war in Europe. A lot to contend with.

Friday's jobs report was solid. Still, the Dow has fallen six weeks in a row now, down more than 9% this year, so far.

All right. The push to restock baby formula has hit a new snag. While manufacturers are ramping up production following months and months of baby formula shortages, analysts say supply chain challenges, and inflation, and product recalls all preventing formula from hitting stores in more than half of the country.

CVS, Walmart, and Target are limiting purchases. Some parents are turning to social media trying to convince strangers to sell formula to them.

JARRETT: Now recommended.

All right, the biggest stars in sports were on hand to welcome Formula 1 to Miami this weekend.

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


So, Formula 1 has just exploded in popularity in the U.S. recently thanks in large part to the Netflix series. And this weekend was the inaugural Miami Grand Prix and the first race of the season in the U.S.

And I'll tell you what -- the stars were out for this one. Michael Jordan and Tom Brady giving each other a hug in the garage area before the race. Then they took this awesome picture with soccer great David Beckham and 7-time F-1 champ Lewis Hamilton.

More than 85,000 fans on hand for the inaugural race at the brand-new 3.3-mile track around Hard Rock Stadium. The track included a fake marina with yachts on it.

Now, defending series champ Max Verstappen picking up the win -- this third win of the year. And he came out to celebrate after the race with a football helmet on when he went to the podium.

Formula 1 is going to hold this race in Miami for at least the next 10 years.

All right, to the NBA where Chris Paul is not happy at the end of yesterday's game four. Here he was talking with security. His family was sitting behind the Suns' bench area and according to ESPN, a Dallas fan put hands on Paul's mother and pushed his wife. The Mavs released a statement condemning the fan's actions, saying he was swiftly removed.

Paul tweeted after the game, "Wanna fine players for saying stuff to the fans but the fans can put they hands on our families -- f that!"

Now, Paul fouled out of game four early in the fourth quarter. Dorian Finney-Smith on fire in this one and made eight threes as the Mavs would win 111-101 to even that series at two games apiece.

All right, 76ers, meanwhile, also tying their series with the Heat thanks to a vintage game from James Harden. The Beard scoring 16 of his 31 points with the Sixers in the fourth quarter. He made some huge step-back threes down the stretch as the Sixers win 116-108. Game five of that series tomorrow night in Miami.

All right, and finally, check out the incredible aerial view of Rich Strike's historic upset win at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. Jockey Sonny Leon masterfully weaving his way through traffic before breaking along the rail to outrun Epicenter for the win.

Rich Strike had 80-1 odds of winning it all -- the longest odds for a winner since Donerail at 91-1 back in 1913. He wasn't even in the race until a late scratch on Friday.

I was there. The crowd of more than 147,000 was just stunned. Lots of unhappy betters but, guys, I was not one of them. I was having a rough day so I decided to try to rally, betting on the horses with the worst odds in the Derby, and it worked. I came all the way back with a nice 80-1 odds win right there.

JARRETT: Well, at least you looked the part -- very dapper --

ROMANS: Yes, you did look good.

JARRETT: -- in your khaki.

ROMANS: You did look good.

SCHOLES: Appreciate that.

JARRETT: Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Andy, nice to see you. That was -- wow, that was -- what a race.


ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

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

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Monday, May 9. I'm Brianna Keilar with John Avlon. John Berman is off.

And this morning, a show of military might and presidential propaganda in Moscow. Vladimir Putin defending his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine at Russia's Victory Day ceremonies just a short time ago. Putin baselessly claiming that the West was preparing to invade.

The big plan to have 77 aircraft flying over Red Square to commemorate the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany did not happen. The Kremlin blamed bad weather.

Regardless, this year's Victory Day is more like an ominous show of defiance.