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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Supreme Court Set To Rule On 'Remain In Mexico' For Asylum Seekers; Prime Minister Bennett Not Seeking Re-election After Knesset Dissolves; Gas Prices Falling Ahead Of July Fourth Holiday. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 30, 2022 - 05:30   ET





It's going to be a historic day ahead for the Supreme Court. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sworn in as the high court's first Black female justice. She will take the oath just minutes after Justice Stephen Breyer officially retires at noon. The 51-year-old Jackson was confirmed in April but has been waiting for Breyer to finish out the term after four decades on the bench. Both Breyer and Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath to Jackson.

Meantime, the high court still has two major cases left on the docket to hand down later today. One of them deals with immigration and the so-called Remain in Mexico policy you've heard about. It allows officials to keep migrants outside the U.S., essentially, for months or years while they await their asylum hearings.

The policy was originally imposed by then-President Trump back in 2019. The Biden administration has tried to end the policy twice but lower courts have reinstated it.

I want to bring in now Jasmine Aguilera, staff writer for Time magazine, who has been doing some great reporting on this and other issues for a long time now. Jasmine, good morning.

If the Supreme Court rules today that the Biden administration cannot end the Remain in Mexico policy, what happens next?

JASMINE AGUILERA, TIME STAFF WRITER (via Webex by Cisco): Hi, yes. Thank you for having me.

Well, there are many implications but obviously, the biggest impact will be felt by migrants themselves who are at the U.S.-Mexico border. It's really up to the government.

No matter how the government -- how the court rules it will be up to the government's discretion to decide who it enrolls in the Remain in Mexico policy, and so we could potentially see thousands more enrolled. So far, this -- since the Biden administration was forced to reimplement the program we've seen up to 5,000 people enrolled in it. So it could -- it could increase to dramatically more.

JARRETT: Five thousand people a year? What period of time are we talking about?

AGUILERA: Since the Biden administration --


AGUILERA: -- is required to reimplement the program by the lower courts, which really began around December of last year.


So, all week we've been reporting on this just horrific human smuggling discovery in San Antonio. You say, I know, that these migrant deaths are actually more common because of measures like Remain in Mexico. Why would that be?

AGUILERA: Right. I mean, really, since the 1990s, the U.S. has really relied on deterrence measures as a way to enforce the border. And so, instead of creating more legal pathways to enter the U.S. legally, more people are pushed into more extreme and risky decision-making to try to come into the U.S. illegally, unfortunately. So that relies -- that increases the reliance on human smuggling.

And it's not just Remain in Mexico; it's policies like Title 42. It's the geography and the way that the U.S. has placed checkpoints along the U.S.-Mexico border that forces people to try to circumvent those checkpoints that puts people in greater risk.

JARRETT: People will find a way.

Experts say that border enforcement shouldn't be the only way to address migration from Mexico. In your reporting and experience, what have you heard from folks on the ground about what would actually help more?

AGUILERA: Right. One would be actually opening the doors to asylum again for many people, including the people under -- other than the people who are under Remain in Mexico. They do have access to the asylum system but they have to wait in Mexico for that case to be adjudicated. Others are expelled under Title 42 and therefore can't make a claim for asylum.

And so, opening the channels for asylum protections again is one way -- one method that people are saying. But really, ultimately, it comes down to Congress having to modernize its immigration policy --


AGUILERA: -- because, so far, the channels to migrate to the U.S. legally are extremely complicated and take a lot of time and a lot of money, and a lot of people can't wait for that.

JARRETT: Yes. This really does comes down to Congress and their role in figuring out how to handle immigration in the most efficient and humane way.

All right, Jasmine, so great to have you. Hope you'll come back soon. These are really important issues.

AGUILERA: Thank you.

JARRETT: Appreciate your reporting.

AGUILERA: Thank you for having me. Thank you.

JARRETT: All right. Gas prices in the U.S. -- listen to this.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Shh -- don't say it too loud. I'm afraid it's going to go away.

JARRETT: Well, here are the facts, Christine. They're going down right before the holiday weekend -- but for how long?

ROMANS: You just jinxed it.

And NATO's first line of defense at its weakest point. A man with just a machine gun and his Maltese terrier.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is serving his final hours in office this morning. Israel's Knesset voting this morning to dissolve itself, triggering the country's, yes, fifth election in three years. And Bennett insists he will not be a candidate.

Hadas Gold has the latest for us this morning from Jerusalem. And Hadas, does this also open the door for maybe a Benjamin Netanyahu comeback?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, with those fifth elections anything could happen. And Benjamin Netanyahu sure wants to become prime minister again, vowing in a speech on the Parliament floor just before that vote taking place that he will return to power and he says return honor to the Israeli people.

This dissolution vote this morning comes after days of political chaos and weeks of the slow-motion collapse of this Israeli government, and it brings to an end Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's just over a year in power.


As of 12:01 tonight, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will become the new caretaker prime minister. Because he is a caretaker prime minister who is being put into place during Parliament dissolution he will not have any sort of formal swearing-in process.

And there will be those new elections. That date of those new elections will be November first.

All eyes will be on Yair Lapid, especially in the next two weeks, because that's when he will welcome President Joe Biden to Israel when the president makes his first visit to the country as president. I'm sure Lapid's supporters will be looking forward to those images as Yair Lapid acting as prime minister welcoming the U.S. president -- an image that they hope the Israeli voters will keep in mind four months from now when they go to the polls, and they hope that it will help keep Lapid in power.

Benjamin Netanyahu, though, definitely has a path. Polls do show that his Likud party will get the most number of seats. But it's not necessarily clear that his bloc of right-wing parties will have enough, yet still, to get that majority needed to actually become prime minister.

But he will have one less competitor and that's because Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced yesterday that he will not run for re- election and that he is stepping back from politics.

ROMANS: All right, Hadas Gold for us in Jerusalem. Thank you. Keep us posted.

JARRETT: It's been called the most dangerous place on Earth. It may also be NATO's most vulnerable region -- the Suwalki Gap, a 60-mile stretch of land straddling Poland and Lithuania -- to NATO members, and it might just be Vladimir Putin's next target.

CNN's Nina dos Santos joins us live from Lithuania's capital. Nina, why would Putin want to focus on this area? Is it just the geographic proximity?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: It's a great question, Laura. Yes, it's the tightest spot, if you like, geographically where Russia's allies could start to join up Russian territory that is currently stranded in the Baltic. We're talking about Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea that now, with the adherence of Sweden and Finland to NATO, is going to find itself alone in an increasing NATO area.

That is the concern that many policymakers have had, giving them sleepless nights over the last few weeks. It's also the backdrop to the biggest radical reshaping of NATO's defense strategy in this crucial part of Northern Europe, deciding to post permanent troops south of Lithuania's border down in Poland. And Lithuania also wants permanent more NATO troops here on its own borders, too.

But the vice deputy defense secretary was telling me just a few days ago that those troops could take years to arrive. So in the meantime, the Lithuanians themselves are joining paramilitary organizations in the droves.


DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Having a neighbor like Russia keeps Vytas Grudzinskas up at night. Armed with his machine gun and a Maltese terrier, he's literally the first line of defense if the Kremlin's troops at the end of this street take one step onto NATO's soil.

DOS SANTOS (on camera): That's where Russia starts --


DOS SANTOS (on camera): -- at the end of your street.


DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Vytas says he can see the soldiers after dark with his night-vision goggles. He points to a shooting range over the hill. You often hear the shots, he says, from there.

Soviet occupation is a deeply personal memory in this part of Europe. Vytas says his own father was among the quarter of a million Lithuanians to be sent to Gulags where many perished.

So, when Russia annexed Crimea, Vytas joined Lithuania's historic volunteer militia, the Riflemen's Union, run by a regional commander also desperate to avoid a return to Russian rule.

EGIDIJUS PAPECKYS, COMMANDER, RIFLEMEN'S 4TH REGIONAL COMMAND: Everybody has the same story. Somebody was shot by a Soviet -- for example, by Soviet or sent to (INAUDIBLE), or just because they were Lithuanians.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): The Riflemen's membership has increased 10- fold since the war in Ukraine began -- young and old keen to get trained up.


DOS SANTOS (voice-over): "Every Lithuanian knows that Russia is a threat," says this new recruit in his 30s. And in this part of the southern Baltics, that threat feels very real.

DOS SANTOS (on camera): I'm standing on what is currently one of the world's hottest borders right inside NATO territory. It's attractive land called the Suwalki corridor between Lithuania and Poland, which also lies to the west here between Kaliningrad, the heavily fortified, nuclearized Baltic outpost of Russia. And over there, the Kremlin's ally, Belarus, about 60 miles in that direction.

The fear is that if Ukraine were to fall, Russia's army could roll right through here.

GABRIELIUS LANDSBERGIS, LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We've always said that we need additional allied troops within Lithuanian territory in case Mr. Putin or his friends would try something.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Lithuania's move to block the transit of some goods to Kaliningrad has raised the stakes just as NATO leaders meet. And Russia has already retaliated with ongoing cyber attacks. [05:45:00]

MARGIRIS ABUKEVICIUS, LITHUANIAN VICE MINISTER OF DEFENSE: We have started witnessing an increase in more intensity in cyber activities against our state institutions -- against some critical operators, especially transport.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Realizing it may get just one shot at protecting the Baltics, the alliance will now more than double the 3,000 troops stationed here today. When they arrive, the Riflemen will be ready.

PAPECKYS: We are ready to fight with NATO -- together with NATO, shoulder-to-shoulder.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Vytas and his fellow volunteers have faith in NATO's protection, but living so close to Russia they also have to be ready for anything.


DOS SANTOS: So, Laura, as you can see there, people are getting ready. This is the realization that peace is extremely fragile in this part of Europe. And the thinking is to put as many troops as possible and also upgrade military capability in this part of Europe to deter Vladimir Putin from ever deciding to set foot on this soil.

But remember that military activity doesn't just have to mean soldiers and boots. It can also mean cyber activity. And Lithuania is still suffering from days of cyber attacks as we speak -- Laura.

JARRETT: A good note there. Nina, thank you for your reporting.

ROMANS: All right, 45 minutes past the hour. Just ahead, victims speak out on the day R. Kelly is sentenced to decades in prison.

JARRETT: But first, a frightening collision on the baseball field.



ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Look at markets around the world, Thursday edition, a mixed performance in Asia. Those are all closed now. Europe has opened lower, and I would say that's pretty strongly lower in Paris. And stock index futures, right now, are -- they are also moving down here.

Look, this is the first -- the worst first half of a year since 1970 if you're -- if you're keeping track. That's what the market looked like yesterday. Tech stocks, though, rose. Meta up 2%. Amazon up 1.5%.

Carnival plummeted nearly 15%. That is a big one-day move. Morgan Stanley said the stock could hit zero if there's another quote-unquote "demand shock" -- like the pandemic was a demand shock. Bed Bath & Beyond shares -- look at that -- down 24%. That's a crash

after another quarter of plunging sales. The company is losing millions of dollars. The CEO is now out.

All right, just ahead of the July Fourth holiday, gas prices are dropping. AAA's national average out this morning -- $4.86. You can see that's cooling a bit but still up substantially from a year ago. The question now, how long will this last?

For some insight, let's bring in energy market analyst Dan Dicker, founder of The Energy Word webinar, and author of "Turning Oil Green: A Market-Based Path to Renewables." Good morning. So nice to meet you.

OK, I almost want to not even say it out loud because I'm afraid to jinx it, but what is this relief we're seeing finally at the pump and how long will it last?

DAN DICKER, FOUNDER, THE ENERGY WORD, AUTHOR, "TURNING OIL GREEN: A MARKET-BASED PATH TO RENEWABLES" (via Webex by Cisco): Good morning, Christine. I'm the bearer of bad news this morning.

There's some relief ahead, I mean, gasoline is a two-pronged kind of market. I mean, crude oil itself is under -- is on tremendous pressure to go higher throughout the summer and into the fall. And normally, crude oil and gasoline -- they're very much tethered together, so that would indicate that gas prices aren't going to moderate much from here.

But we've got a very interesting market condition right now where refineries are really trying to catch up to the demand that's been coming since the pandemic has ended -- and I think they are catching up. That, along with drivers really feeling the pinch of gasoline prices that are $1.50 more than they were at the start of the year -- they are starting to finally drive less. They're really starting to feel the pinch.

And both of those will add a little less demand to the gasoline market --

ROMANS: Right.

DICKER: -- and that should make the prices moderate a little bit from here over the course of the rest of the year.

ROMANS: All right, so we'll hold on -- we'll hold onto that hope. I mean, there's that old adage that higher prices can cure higher prices because, at some point, people say wait, I'm going to drive a little bit less. I'm going to -- you know.

But the pandemic has changed things so much because a lot of people complain about high gas prices and they still go out there and they're still going to take their trips, you know?

DICKER: The numbers on miles driven are as bad as they've ever been, and that is in spite of gasoline prices, like you say, that are as high as they've really ever been since -- well, since well before the last crash in the 2000s.

So we've got to see, like you say, this economics 101 kind of work where as the prices go up demand goes down for prices to moderate. Now, we're starting to see some signs of that. We'd like to see a heck of a lot more to see gas prices go down from here a little bit more than just the 15 cents they've gone down so far.

ROMANS: So look in your crystal ball -- and I know that the crystal ball has been pretty faulty over the past couple of years, so we try to figure out what it's going to look like coming out of -- out of the pandemic. But we're coming out of the pandemic.

And we also have this issue with Russia and that seems to be something that's going to continue just to keep pressure on commodities in general, meaning food and energy. The path of least resistance to me, I think, feels like it's higher as long as you have the Russia factor there.

DICKER: You are doing my job for me. You're exactly right. There is a tremendous pressure inside Europe to get off of Russian fossil fuels, and that means that it puts pressure on fossil fuels everywhere else to take their place and that is driving prices higher. It's the one single thing that is continuing to drive fossil fuel prices and a lot of other commodities -- natural gas, coal, even -- much, much higher over the longer term.


And again, these are systemic problems --


DICKER: -- inside the marketplace that you don't solve right away.

ROMANS: Yes. The Fed chief yesterday said there are -- there are new forces, different forces at play and we don't know if we'll really ever go back to that period of very low inflation for a very long time. And the ECB president Christine Lagarde said the same thing. She doesn't think we're going back to this period of low inflation that we really enjoyed for most of my lifetime.

Now we have all these other things at play. That's why we're going to keep calling you.

DICKER: Well, you never say never because I've learned that -- that you don't say never. But I think that we are done. We've been very lucky in the last 20 years to have really a lot of gas at really low prices, and that may be ending.

ROMANS: All right, energy analyst Dan Dicker. Nice to meet you. Thanks for coming on. Have a great day.

DICKER: Thank you.

JARRETT: All right, let's get a little sports. The controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf series is drawing big names and heavy criticism as it makes its U.S. debut later this morning.

Andy Scholes has it all covered in this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.


So this is going to be the second tournament for LIV Golf, first in the U.S. And former Major winners Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, and Patrick Reed will all be making their debuts for the Saudi-backed series later today.

All of the golfers who left the PGA Tour for the new series for big money have faced heavy criticism for helping Saudi Arabia try to sports wash -- improve their image through golf. And Koepka -- he was asked about that yesterday.


BRUCE KOEPKA, 4-TIME MAJOR CHAMPION: Yes, they're allowed to have their opinions. We've heard it. I think everybody has. It's been brought up.

But look, like we said, our only job is to go play golf and that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to grow the game and do all this other stuff. And I -- we're trying the best we can.


SCHOLES: And this week's field in Portland will feature 10 Major champions with 20 wins between them. The tournament starts at 4:00 Eastern.

All right, to baseball -- Mets and Astros -- a scary moment. Yordan Alvarez and Jeremy Pena both going to be chasing after this fly ball to left-center. They're going to get into a nasty collision. Alvarez, afterwards -- he stayed down for several minutes and eventually had to be carted off the field. Pena, who held onto the ball for an out, was able to walk back to the dugout. Both guys were evaluated for a concussion.

Now, the game -- it was still 0-0 into the ninth inning. Back-up catcher Jason Castro would come to the plate and comes through with a 2-run home run. He had one RBI on the season before that.

And that had Justin Verlander jumping up and down in the dugout as it got him his Major League 10th win of the season. The Astros win 2-0, sweeping the 2-game series against the Mets.

All right, former Astros top overall pick in 2013, Mark Appel, finally making his Major League debut last night for the Phillies. Appel left baseball altogether for three years to work on his mental health and let his body heal. He turns 31 next month, making him the oldest former top pick to reach the big leagues.

And his family was in the stands cheering him on as he pitched a scoreless ninth inning. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK APPEL, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES PITCHER: Getting to see the reception I got in the dugout -- it felt like I was just being brought into this fraternity of big-league ball players. And it was -- yes, it was hard to hold back tears.


SCHOLES: Yes, congrats to him.

Rays hosting the Brewers -- and you've got to see this catch by Jonathan Davis in center field. He sprints towards the wall and makes the diving catch. He crashes head-first into the wall. Amazing catch.

It looked like he injured his back on the play. He reached -- immediately reached for it. Davis -- he stayed in the game but he left the next inning with lower back and rib discomfort.

All right. And finally, the Colorado Avalanche are going to have their Stanley Cup championship parade in Denver later today. The Avs winning their first title in 21 years Sunday night. And to celebrate, Coors Light making a limited edition beer with shavings from the ice at Denver's Ball Arena where the Avs play. It's available starting at 11 -- starting today at 11 Denver area bars.

Guys, I'm sure -- I guess they filter that ice?

JARRETT: You would hope so.

SCHOLES: I maybe wouldn't drink it. You probably wouldn't taste the difference but maybe just keep it as a souvenir.

ROMANS: Yes, you've got to be a superfan for that, right?


JARRETT: I don't know about that one.

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

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: Thanks, Andy.

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

JARRETT: All right, everyone, have a great day. I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" starts right now.