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Russia Defaults On Foreign Debt, First Time Since 1918; At Least 18 Dead After Russian Missile Strikes Mall In Ukraine; Ghislaine Maxwell Facing Up To 55 Years In Prison. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 28, 2022 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. For the first time in over a century, Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt.

Let's bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian. The historic default hadn't been anticipated, right? They had a grace period here to pay this interest. And Moscow is now downplaying the default. Walk us through it.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, not just downplaying but denying that this is a default at all. The Kremlin said that was incorrect. They are saying that it's not a default because they actually made the payment back in May before the expiring of the grace period on this bond.

The Kremlin said on Monday that the reason why the money didn't make it to investors is because it was frozen by Euroclear, which is the clearinghouse that usually funnels the money from Russia to the individual bondholders -- that, because of sanctions.

But -- and he said look, this is not our problem. And he's right to some extent -- not that it's not their problem but that this is an unusual kind of default because Russia does have cash. It still has money. It's not that it's run out of money. It's just that it's running out of ways to get the money to its bondholders because of sanctions.

Moody's, in declaring this a default, outlined the reason why the money couldn't get to investors was because a carveout on a U.S. sanction expired and that U.S. bondholders are now no longer able to receive payment on Russian bonds. So that's the reason why.

But it is Russia's problem, clearly, Christine, because as you know, in the long term, their borrowing costs will stay high because of this. And it is Russia's problem because ultimately, this all boils down to the invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions that followed from that.

ROMANS: And this is just another way of measuring the international squeeze going on to try to isolate Russia and starve it of the funding it needs to wage war against its neighbor. A reminder, too, I think, Clare, right, there still is money coming into Russian coffers, yes, in the sale of oil.

SEBASTIAN: Yes, a lot of money, Christine. More money, in fact, than previously because of the disruption that the war has caused to energy markets, the price has gone up. That is why you see the urgency from the G7 to try to do something about this. That's why they're thinking of potentially putting a cap on oil prices.

ROMANS: All right, Clare Sebastian. I know you'll keep us posted. Thank you.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Meantime, the number of people killed by that Russian missile attack on a shopping mall in Ukraine climbing to 18, with dozens still missing.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is live for us inside Ukraine. Salma, what is the very latest this morning?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, rescue operations are still ongoing to try to pull people from the rubble of that shopping complex. Look, it's important to note here that this mall, this city is nowhere near the battleground, nowhere near the front line.

President Zelenskyy accusing Russia of intentionally targeting civilians, and that's what was happening. We understand people were going on about their day. An air raid siren went off and that's when people started to evacuate from the mall. Of course, a Russian airstrike hitting the top of that building that was on fire for hours.

But this is really a continuation of what we're seeing on the ground here, Laura -- Russia stepping up its aggression, attacking Ukraine by air, by land, by sea, firing dozens of missiles at this country in recent days, including here in the capital Kyiv.

Now, Ukraine does have air defense systems but they're clearly not enough to protect these neighborhoods. That's why Ukraine is pleading with the United States for more support, more help, more air defense systems. The United States is expected to announce that it's purchased one such -- one such advanced system for Ukraine but it can't come soon enough.

There's a sense here that Russian can hit anywhere, anytime, Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Salma. Thank you for staying on top of it.

ROMANS: OK, just hours from now, sentencing for the woman accused of sex trafficking minors for Jeffrey Epstein.

JARRETT: And suspensions for the players involved in this Major League brawl.



ROMANS: The Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade has triggered a new patchwork of abortion bans across the country. CNN's Tom Foreman has the latest on where state laws stand now.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): These are the states that have fully implemented outright bans or extreme limits on abortions already -- South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas. Texas is a strange convergence of some restrictions already in place, some more pending, and some left over in their law books from long ago.

But right after that, the map gets really muddled. For example, there are numerous states where there are waiting periods before bans or new restrictions are put into place, and there are states that are facing legal challenges, which are holding up implementation.

Louisiana, for example, wanted to automatically implement its ban but abortion rights activists said that would be unconstitutional under state law. So, that now faces a full hearing in court and is temporarily blocked in the meantime.


There's also a temporary restraining order blocking Utah's trigger law. Mississippi, Georgia, Idaho, all facing court action. In Michigan, there's court actions too but that's because the governor wants the state supreme court to review a 1931 law banning abortion that is threatening to kick in again. She wants it reviewed precisely because she wants to protect abortion rights there.

West Virginia has a very old ban, too, and some lawmakers also want that reviewed, but that's because they want it updated to be effective. Then comes states which could very well bring in more severe anti-abortion measures in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling -- Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana.

And finally, we have some wild cards -- states where new bans may show up depending on what happens politically -- Kansas, Pennsylvania. And don't forget about what's happening in Wisconsin. There, an old rule is on the books but the governor says he will give clemency to any physician prosecuted under that law.

There are many exceptions to almost every example here but that's a general sense of the chaos in the wake of Roe being struck down and where we stand at the moment.


JARRETT: Our thanks to Tom for breaking that all down.

Joining us now, Karen McDonald, the prosecutor for Oakland County, Michigan. So great to have you this morning. Really appreciate your time.

You, alongside dozens of other local prosecutors, have made this public pledge to protect a woman's right to choose. But in Michigan, if the governor loses her lawsuit that's challenging this anti- abortion statute from 90 years ago -- the one Tom just talked about -- can you stand by that message?

KAREN MCDONALD, PROSECUTOR FOR OAKLAND COUNTY MICHIGAN (via Webex by Cisco): I don't see that I have a choice. I am not going to prosecute physicians for providing healthcare and needed procedures for -- to patients. I'm not going to do that.

I don't think that the governor will be unsuccessful nor do I think the ACLU and Planned Parenthood's suit will be unsuccessful, but I --

JARRETT: But it sounds like even if you -- even if believe that they are.

MCDONALD: -- simply will not do it.

JARRETT: It sounds like even if they are you're going to say I'm using my discretion as the chief prosecutor to not prosecute the things that are illegal now.

MCDONALD: I am, and I use that discretion every day. We have over 100 assistant prosecutors and an office of 200 people in a county of nearly 1.3 million people, and an all-time high of -- in gun violence. We had our first mass school shooting in the state in my county in November.

So I -- we have limited resources and we are not going to spend them on prosecuting doctors because first of all, I -- that was not what I was elected to do. And second of all, we have violent crime and vulnerable victims of crime that we need to protect, and that's our first priority.

JARRETT: I know you also say from a practical standpoint it just isn't reasonable to prosecute those doctors or support staff. Explain that for us.

MCDONALD: Well, it's not going to end abortion. I mean, we know this. History tells us that making this procedure illegal -- an all-out ban, which is what Michigan's law is at the moment -- the only exception is to save a life of a woman. There's no rape exception.

And so, that's not going to stop abortions. In fact, that's only going to limit that possibility for people who have resources to fly to a different state.

And again, this is -- this is healthcare. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe the people in my county believe in that -- the people who elected me to this office. And it -- you know, I -- to be quite honest, I don't think I could keep assistant prosecutors in my office if that's what I decided to do.

And again, there are hundreds of laws on the books in Michigan that I don't prosecute or that people don't even know about, or that we choose not to prosecute. Because together with law enforcement, it's just not a practical or important role to do given the all-time high in gun violence that we're facing right now, and overdoses, and -- I -- it's just not -- it's not practical and I don't believe it's the right thing to do.

JARRETT: Before I let you go, it strikes me that we know already that abortion bans disproportionately harm certain people. They harm the victims of sexual abuse. They harm the victims of rape and domestic violence.

How do you get the message out to survivors that are already hesitant to come forward that they should still come forward to your office in this environment when things are changing by the day?


MCDONALD: Well, that's the really -- I mean, there's several tragic things about this. But we -- as prosecutors, we protect victims of sexual assault. I am not then going to turn around and prosecute the doctors who would perform an abortion procedure on sometimes a 14- year-old. That is absurd and it really defies what we do every day.

So, you know, it's -- there's a chilling effect regardless. There is an injunction in place right now in Michigan. It is still legal in Michigan to obtain an abortion.


MCDONALD: And there is also a ballot initiative underfoot to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November.

But I am not going to prosecute doctors or women, or pharmacists. It's not -- I'm not going to do that. And there are a handful of prosecutors across the state and actually, almost 100 prosecutors in the country that have stated the same thing.

JARRETT: All right. Well, we will see where the governor's lawsuit goes. Karen McDonald, you certainly have your hands full. Appreciate your time this morning. Please come back as things continue to develop here. Thanks.

MCDONALD: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, the Supreme Court hands a victory to a high school football coach who led prayers on the field. He'll join "NEW DAY" next.



JARRETT: All right, it is sentencing day for Ghislaine Maxwell. She faces up to 55 years in prison for luring young teenage girls into the orbit of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell was placed on suicide watch over the weekend.

And Jean Casarez is here with us. Jean, this, of course, has shades of what happened to Jeffrey Epstein in prison. Do we know what caused her to be placed on suicide watch? JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We do because there were some legal filings on Friday. She e-mails the inspector general of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and she went on to say that there was a staff member that was threatening her safety and she was concerned. So the warden here in Manhattan, along with the chief psychologist, decided we've got to take her out of general population. They put her in her cell.

Psychologists asked her what happened. She wouldn't say anything -- not a word. So they decided that there was possibly the intent to get out of general population to get by herself so she could do self-harm to herself because of today's sentencing, so they put her under suicide watch.

That investigation continues. But today, Ghislaine Maxwell will be taken from that cell under suicide watch to a courtroom to find out how many years she will serve in prison.


CASAREZ (voice-over): From a jet-setting British socialite and philanthropist to a convicted felon. Ghislaine Maxwell will face a New York federal judge Tuesday morning to be sentenced for recruiting, grooming, and trafficking minors from 1994 through 2004 with her romantic partner Jeffrey Epstein.

Prosecutors are asking the court to sentence the 61-year-old Maxwell from 30 to 55 years in prison. Prosecutors saying in a sentencing memo "Ghislaine Maxwell sexually exploited young girls for years. It is difficult to overstate the magnitude of her crimes and the harm she caused."

Four women testified in 2021 at a federal trial in Manhattan that Maxwell built their trust by giving them gifts and pretending to be their friend while grooming them for a life of sexual abuse by Epstein. Prosecutors allege Maxwell found vulnerable girls, typically from single-mother households and difficult financial circumstances.

Maxwell was convicted in December 2021 of five felonies, including sex trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and three counts of conspiracy related to her role in Epstein's sexual abuse of young girls.

DAMIAN WILLIAMS, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable -- facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children -- crimes that she committed with her longtime partner and co-conspirator Jeffrey Epstein. The road to justice has been far too long.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Epstein was arrested outside New York City July 2019 on sex trafficking charges. Weeks later, he was found dead in his federal detention cell. Alleged victims wouldn't give up.

VIRGINIA GIUFFRE, ALLEGED VICTIM OF JEFFREY EPSTEIN: It's not how Jeffrey died, but it's how he lived. And we need to get to the bottom of everybody who was involved with that, starting with Ghislaine Maxwell.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Maxwell was arrested one year later. In their sentencing memorandum, Maxwell's attorneys implored the judge to take notice of Maxwell's academic degrees, entrepreneurial work ethic before Epstein, and her support of charitable organizations throughout the years. "Ms. Maxwell cannot and should not bear all the punishment for which Epstein should have been held responsible. "

Additionally, they include letters from Maxwell's family and close friends. "The effect of our father's psychologically abusive treatments of her foreshadowed Epstein's own ability to exploit, manipulate, and control her."


CASAREZ (voice-over): Her family is expected at the hearing. Maxwell's brother summed up the family's feelings last year in an interview with Sky News.

IAN MAXWELL, GHISLAINE MAXWELL'S BROTHER: I accept that these accusers were victims of Jeffrey Epstein. What I do not accept is that they were victims of Ghislaine Maxwell.



CASAREZ: So the U.S. Attorney's office is asking for up to 55 years. Maxwell is asking for four to five years. And the U.S. Office of Probation -- their report is recommending 20 years. So you've got a wide span here.


CASAREZ: So what it comes down to is should she receive a life sentence -- she's 61 years old -- or should she be allowed to live some life in her 80s.

ROMANS: Wow, fascinating.

JARRETT: Fascinating.

ROMANS: I know you'll be following it for us. Thank you so much, Jean.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, 55 minutes past the hour. Let's get a check on CNN Business this Tuesday morning.

Looking at markets around the world, gains in Asian shares. They closed higher. Europe has opened sharply higher here I would say. And on Wall Street, stock index futures also pointing to the upside.

All three major stock indexes, though, down yesterday, struggling to stay above their recent bear market lows. This has been the market's worst first half-year in decades. This is your halftime report on the year, folks -- that's right. The indices now down between 13% and 26% so far this year.

All right. Demand for emergency contraception surging in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Now, CVS and Rite Aid are limiting purchases. The two major pharmacy chains are limiting Plan B and AFTERA contraceptive pills to three per customer.

A CVS spokesperson said there is ample supply of this emergency contraceptive pill, but they're imposing these limits to quote "ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves."

All right, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson facing an NFL disciplinary hearing today for accusations of sexual assault and harassment, while his former team is being sued for enabling his alleged behavior. Troubling stuff there.

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


So the Houston Texans -- they traded Watson to the Cleveland Browns back in March for three first-round picks despite accusations of sexual misconduct by 24 massage therapists. Now, all but four of the lawsuits have been settled out of court.

And now, one of the alleged victims is suing the Texans. The suit alleges that the team knew or should have known about Watson's behavior but instead of investigating it, they chose to enable and protect their former quarterback. The Texans telling CNN it's aware of the allegations and will take the necessary steps to address them.

Watson, meanwhile, is set to meet with an independent disciplinary officer appointed by the NFL and its player union later today. Reports say the league is recommending an indefinite suspension lasting at least one year. Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges. Watson has denied any wrongdoing.

A Russian court, meanwhile, announcing that WNBA star Brittney Griner's trial will begin on Friday. That decision coming yesterday during a pretrial hearing held behind closed doors. The court also ordering Griner to be held in prison for another six months pending the trial's outcome.

The State Department has labeled Griner wrongfully detained. She was arrested in February at a Moscow airport on drug smuggling charges. If convicted, Griner faces up to 10 years in prison.

Now, Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard, meanwhile, is eager for her star to return home and thinks President Biden can do more to make it happen.


VANESSA NYGAARD, PHOENIX MERCURY HEAD COACH: Hopefully, with this trial happening quickly that some things will change and that President Biden will take the steps to ensure that she comes home. When he decides that she wants to come home, she'll come home. So want everyone to urge him to do his part and bring Britney home.


SCHOLES: All right, to baseball. Take a look at this fan video of the Angels-Mariners brawl from Sunday. Major League Baseball handing down punishments for this yesterday. Twelve players, managers, and coaches have been suspended.

Angels interim manager Phil Nevin received the lengthiest -- a 10-game suspension for him. Jesse Winker, who is the Seattle player who got hit -- he got a 7-game suspension. The team's interpreter was also suspended two games for what Major League Baseball called "actions" during the incident.

So, lots of people are going to be sitting out soon for those two teams, guys. It certainly was --


SCHOLES: -- a big-time brawl.

ROMANS: All right, it sure was. All right, Andy, nice to see you. Thank you so much.


ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us this morning. I'm Christine Romans. "NEW DAY" starts right now.