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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

America Celebrates Independence Day; Flight Cancellations and Delays Plague Travelers on July 4th Weekend; Russia Takes Control of Lysychansk in Eastern Ukraine. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 04, 2022 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, ANCHOR, EARLY START: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, it is Monday, the 4th of July. Happy Independence Day. I'm Christine Romans. You're looking at fireworks there on Milwaukee's lake front. Thousands of people gathered last night to get an early start on the 4th of July celebrations. No celebrations at U.S. airports, though, it has been a rough holiday weekend for travel.

More than 1,600 flights canceled across the country since just Friday -- since Friday, more than 10,000 flights delayed, passengers upset and exasperated.


IVAN GAVRILINE, PASSENGER: I was meant to leave at 8:00 a.m., you know, flight canceled. Another flight was going to be 11:00 a.m., canceled. One more at 3:00, canceled.

JURNIYA SMITH, PASSENGER: We've got to get home. We've got a flight. It is going to be, you know, canceled. They need to let us know now so we can know what to do.


ROMANS: The problem, a huge surge in passenger traffic. Call it post- pandemic rebound. The TSA says it screened more passengers on Friday than on the same day in 2019. Let's talk about what's happening here. Business journalist Marc Stewart joins me now. You know, it's so interesting to me that TSA said they screened 2.5 million people --


ROMANS: I mean, that is a remarkable -- same number as way back in February 2019, so -- you know -- 2020, I guess. So, what is that telling us about the American economy?

STEWART: It tells us that people are finding room in their budgets to travel. It's this notion of pent-up demand. But adding to all of this, is another struggle facing the economy, and that's labor. Airlines are dealing with these pilot shortages. I heard from one pilot last night who told -- who should be actually screened-shot from their e-mail requesting to take additional trips, of course, for premium pay.

ROMANS: Right --

STEWART: But this is an issue that is really facing many other industries than just travel. We have baby boomers who have been right to retire. The pandemic accelerated that and now we have this demand --

ROMANS: Yes --

STEWART: And not enough folks.

ROMANS: Yes, those buyouts for those -- for those pilots. I mean, look, fantastic. They've got to retire, but you can't grow a pilot in just 10 months. You know, it takes a long time to make a pilot for obvious reasons. The president talking about gas prices this weekend, and I want to get your take on this. He tweeted out a demand for companies running gas stations to bring down prices at the pump.

So the -- "bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you're paying for the product. Do it now." He was criticized by Jeff Bezos. He was praised by the Chinese state media. What do you make of this?

STEWART: Well, Christine, I've talked to a lot of economists about these gas issues in recent weeks. And not one of them has really put the burden on the individual gas stations or the oil companies necessarily in particular.

ROMANS: Well, gas station margins are like nothing --

STEWART: They're so --

ROMANS: Right?

STEWART: Small, are so small. And that's why people say go to the discount places like Costco because the markup isn't even that big.

ROMANS: Right.

STEWART: But as we know, this is a global commodity. And even if things are OK in the U.S., if there are disruptions in other parts of the world, or even other parts of the country, it does create this higher price. I talked to one analyst last week who was telling me that he feels that gasoline, actually, the price has actually been quite high despite the demand.

Well, now demand has cooled off. Perhaps some people are going to choose to drive. This is serious. Some people may choose to drive instead of fly. That could bring prices up again. In addition, there are a lot of things to look forward to in the weeks ahead. President Biden is going to be traveling to the Middle East. He's put a lot of pressure on nations to pump more oil.

OPEC has made some commitments. But as far as the burden on the individual gas stations and the oil companies, it's not the top of the list of my discussions.

ROMANS: It might be more messaging, the White House trying to show the American people, look, we feel your pain.


ROMANS: We want to make sure that the companies aren't getting rich while you're --

STEWART: Sure --

ROMANS: While you're digging deep. The June jobs report, Friday, Fed meeting Wednesday. Anything this week you think that assuages those recession fears that people keep talking about?

STEWART: Well, the jobs market is kind of this double-edge sword. We want more people to be working. However, at the same time, we're paying people higher wages. Well, who picks up the burden for the higher wages? It's you and me. It's in the airfares. So I think that's going to be one of those things that's going to be a little bit tricky to navigate.


ROMANS: I think we want to see slowing jobs growth. That would be a --


ROMANS: That would be -- we want to see steady jobs growth, but it doesn't necessarily need to be red hot. I think that's what the Fed wants to see, right?

STEWART: Absolutely. And the other thing is just some certainty in the world. This is an economy that is being moved and determined by what's happening with COVID, with inflation and so many of these other factors. So I think stability --

ROMANS: Yes --

STEWART: Global stability if possible is really --

ROMANS: Important --

STEWART: At the top of the list.

ROMANS: All right, nice to see you Marc Stewart. Have a great day.

STEWART: You, too. Be well --

ROMANS: Thank you. All right, the slight cancellations and delays create chaos at the airport, bad weather could identify travel woes this weekend. Thunderstorms are tracking across the northern plains and Montana this afternoon. Let's get to meteorologist Derek Van Dam --


ROMANS: Derek, nice to see you. OK, so happy 4th. What's the latest on this storm front?

VAN DAM: Yes, I think -- I think I heard a collective sigh from our viewers this morning. They know when they hear bad weather, 4th of July extended holiday weekend, they know there's travel headache. Well, it's all thanks to this warm front here. And the storms are really trekking across that frontal boundary.

Right now, currently located across western Minnesota, and so this is going to impact Minneapolis this morning, and then this afternoon into Chicago. Even some secondary thunderstorms that will form, storm prediction center has a slight risk of severe weather. So, mother nature might very well be making its own fireworks display this evening across the Windy City.

So, do take care if you're traveling across this region. Moving about some of these storms could be accompanied by stronger winds in excess of 50 miles per hour, then the severe weather threat travels towards the mid-Atlantic for the day tomorrow when many people return home from their festivities this weekend. So the northeast clear today in terms of weather delays at the airports. Chicago, that's another story. And then by tomorrow, it will move to the east coast. Christine?

ROMANS: I see that heat there. What about the heat that's building across the central U.S. with our friends and family there. How hot will it get?

VAN DAM: Yes, over 100 degrees. That's what it will feel like outside. National Weather Service picking up on that. That's why they have these heat advisories in place, from Omaha southward into Little Rock, over 20 million Americans expected to see that excessive heat. And you can see some of the projected temperatures, can't escape it across the southeast as well, hot and muggy, that means more afternoon thunderstorms. Here's your fireworks forecast. Christine?

ROMANS: All right, thank you so much, nice to see you --

VAN DAM: All right --

ROMANS: Derek --

VAN DAM: You too. Happy 4th.

ROMANS: All right, programming note. Tune in for coast to coast fireworks and incredible music from some of the biggest stars celebrate "THE FOURTH IN AMERICA" live as tonight, 7:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN. All right, 7 minutes past the hour. Looking at markets around the world, you can see Asian shares have closed mixed here. Europe is open higher, and of course, U.S. stocks are closed today for the holiday.

They closed up Friday about 1 percent across the major averages. For the week, though, they were down between 1.25 and 4 percent, closing out one of the most brutal first half performances in more than 50 years. Kohl's shares plunged nearly 20 percent after the retailer announced it will no longer sell itself. The markets are of course, closed today for the 4th of July holiday.

All right, just released body-cam video shows the deadly police encounter with an unarmed black man who was shot at least 60 times. What we're learning now. Plus --





ROMANS: Blood-shed at the mall. A gunman opens fire in a Copenhagen shopping center. Who police have in custody. And is the January 6 Committee considering a criminal referral to the Justice Department for Donald Trump?



ROMANS: At least, 60 -- that's how many gunshot wounds Jayland Walker suffered last week when police officers in Akron, Ohio, opened fire and killed him during a traffic stop. City officials released police body-cam video of the shooting on Sunday. The 25-year-old Walker was unarmed when authorities say he tried to run from them.

The case is now being looked at by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations. We must warn you what you're about to see is graphic. Here is CNN's Polo Sandoval.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, police here in Akron vowing transparency and scrutiny as they continue to look into the police-shooting death of Jayland Walker. Over the weekend, they also released about 18 minutes of body camera footage. It is disturbing and very difficult to see, but it also was released by authorities as it provides some important context about what happened during last week's shooting.

The police chief also addressing what was described as a perceived threat, the reason why the police officers responded with a barrage of bullets. He said that moments before the shooting, during the vehicle pursuit portion of the incident, that they observed -- at least heard what sounded like a gunshot from inside the car.

And it was minutes later when that vehicle pursuit turned into a foot pursuit that officers observed Walker getting into what was described by the officers as a firing position after reaching for his waistband. And now the police chief saying that investigators with the state of Ohio will not only have to determine whether or not the shooting was justified, but also that his police officers will have to account for every single bullet that left their barrel. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN MYLETT, AKRON POLICE DEPARTMENT: They need to be able to articulate what specific threats they were facing, and that goes for every round that goes down the barrel of their gun. And they need to be held to account.


SANDOVAL: Even before that body-camera footage was released, authorities here in Akron were bracing for large demonstrations, even closing off parts of the downtown streets and cancelling a 4th of July festival. The mayor saying that it certainly wouldn't be appropriate to have a city-led celebration.

And I can tell you, Christine, that many people here certainly would agree. Those officers, by the way, they remain on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation that's being headed up by state authorities. Christine?

ROMANS: All right, a lot to unpack there. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for that. Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo has resigned from his new position on the city council there in the wake of the botched law enforcement response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School.


In a letter to the city, Arredondo says "it is in the best interest of the community to step down as a member of the city council to minimize further distractions." An upcoming report by the Texas House Investigative Committee is expected to answer some remaining questions about the response to the Uvalde school shooting.

It is said to include a list of all the agencies that responded and then waited in the school hallway while the gunman was inside the classrooms. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed. Chaos at a mall in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sunday. A gunman attacked shoppers and they ran for their lives.




ROMANS: Three people were killed, four were taken to the hospital. Crowds were running from the mall as police responded. The suspect is in custody. Let's bring in CNN's Nada Bashir. Nada, we're learning more about the shooter and the victims. Two of those victims just teenagers. What can you tell us?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Yes, absolutely. We are learning more details about this tragic and terrifying incident which took place yesterday at a busy shopping mall in Copenhagen. The chief inspector giving a press conference just a little earlier this morning, confirming that at least three people have been killed in this incident, a further four were seriously injured.

However, We have heard from hospital staff speaking this morning, confirming that only one of those four injured and taken to the hospital yesterday remains in a critical condition. Now, the remaining three are set to be in a stable condition at this stage. Others were, of course, injured while they were attempting to flee the chaos at the shopping center yesterday, but apparently, according to police and hospital officials, they are all in stable conditions also.

But we did hear from hospital officials speaking yesterday, saying that they were forced to bring in extra staff to respond to the emergency situation. So, you can imagine the chaos that was at the scene yesterday as many people tried to flee this busy shopping center. But we have of course also learned more details about the suspect in question.

A 22-year-old Danish man was arrested yesterday by police. He was apprehended carrying a rifle and ammunition. Of course, there were lots of questions around the possible motive behind this attack. But according to police officials, there are no indications at this stage that it was terror related. Take a listen.


SOREN THOMASSEN, CHIEF INSPECTOR, COPENHAGEN POLICE DEPARTMENT (through translator): There is nothing in our investigation or the documents that we have been looking at, or the items we found, or the witness statements we have, that could indicate that it was an act of terror. Our assessment is that the victims are random victims, that it is not motivated by gender or anything else.


BASHIR: Now, the city's chief inspector has said that the individual was known to psychiatric professionals in the country. So, there's some suggestion that perhaps mental health may have been the cause behind this incident. But the investigation is still very much ongoing and the motive are still being determined.

That suspect is expected to face questioning by police later today. And they are also appealing to anybody that was in the area at the time who may have a video footage on their phones or photographs to submit those to the police to aid in their investigation.

ROMANS: All right --

BASHIR: Christine?

ROMANS: Nada Bashir, thank you so much for that. OK, Ukrainian troops withdrawing from the last major hold out in Luhansk, giving Russia control of the region. We have a live report from Ukraine, next. Plus, Donald Trump weighing his announcement of a 2024 run for president as the hits from the January 6th hearings keep coming.



ROMANS: Russia has taken over the last city in the Luhansk region that was still under Ukrainian control. Ukraine's military conceding it was forced to withdraw from the city of Lysychansk. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announcing the move was necessary to save the lives of his troops. Phil Black joins us live from Ukraine this morning. Phil, how big of a military setback is this loss for Ukraine?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine, it's significant. The loss of a city is always significant. But this is especially important in what it says about the direction and now consistent direction of the fight for this eastern Donbas region. Russia is advancing slowly, steadily, consistently. It is taking ground, and these gains are adding up over time.

And that's all because it has a clear military advantage on this battle field. Its artillery, it is unmatched. It is using this on a huge scale, and it's just something that Ukrainian forces are not able to compete with. So that we are seeing this play out consistently. And this is just what happened in Lysychansk.

The Russian forces -- well, the Ukrainian forces hold on for as long as they can, but eventually the bombardment becomes so great, the pressure so great, they have to be pulled out in order to avoid being wiped out. Now, despite this clear advantage on the battle field, Russia is not making these gains easily, as President Zelenskyy says. Take a look.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): Ukraine does not give anything up. And when someone over there in Moscow reports something about the Luhansk region, let them remember their reports and promises before February 24th. In the first days of this invasion in the Spring and now, let them really evaluate what they got over this time, and how much they paid for it.


BLACK: Now, Zelenskyy says that lost ground can and will be taken back once Ukraine receives new powerful modern weapons from its western allies.


But the question is whether or not that will happen fast enough in order to stop Russia from conquering the remainder of this region known as the Donbas. Russia now pretty much encircles what is left of this particular region. It is either advancing or applying pressure from almost every side, notably, the key city of Sloviansk has come under intense bombardment in recent days, resulting in civilian deaths and casualties as well.

And Russian forces are expected to move from the north, push from the north to try and take this key city very soon, Christine. ROMANS: All right, Phil Black for us, thank you so much. Right, the

January 6 Committee members say more witnesses have come forward since former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified publicly last week. Plus --


ROMANS: A scary crash on the first lap of Sunday's Formula 1 British Grand Prix. The lifesaving details ahead on the "BLEACHER REPORT".