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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Parkland Gunman's Death Penalty Trial Begins In Florida; Putin Makes Rare Trip, Meets With Erdogan And Raisi In Iran; Idaho GOP Rejects Plank Allowing Abortion To Save Mother's Life. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 19, 2022 - 05:30   ET




LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How he was going to kill 20 people just days before the shooting.

TONY MONTALTO, FATHER OF MURDERED STUDENT, GINA MONTALTO: This is the worst thing that could happen to a family, having a child murdered at school.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Tony Montalto's 15-year-old daughter Gina, described as kind and compassionate by her father, was killed that fateful day.

MONTALTO: I think we want to make sure he gets a fair trial, then we expect that once things are presented he should have every chance that he gave my beautiful daughter Gina and the others that day. He had no problem being the judge, the jury, and the executioner.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): He and other loved ones will have the opportunity to make statements in court during the trial.

MONTALTO: It should be listened to because really, we're going to spend much too long talking about the actions of this convicted killer and not nearly enough time talking about the victims and who they were, and why this is such a tragedy that they were taken from us.

SANTIAGO (on camera): And that heartache, that pain was palpable in the courtroom. When one cellphone video was played you could hear family members begging the court to shut it off. That, by the way, became part of the argument from the defense to call for a mistrial. That was a motion that the judge denied.

We expect this not to be a short trial by any means. The judge says it could go until October.

Leyla Santiago, CNN, Fort Lauderdale.


KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: Leyla, thank you. Just ahead, what Vladimir Putin stands to gain from a trip to Iran today. And a dream wedding drenched by a rogue wave.



FISHER: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the new weapons from the West are shifting the balance on the battlefield in his country's defense against Russia. In his daily address, Zelenskyy says Ukrainian forces are making it increasingly difficult for the Russians to hold captured territory.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): The armed forces of our state managed to inflict significant logistical losses on the invaders. It is increasingly difficult for the Russian army to hold positions on the captured territory. Step by step, we advance, disrupt supplies for the occupiers, identify and neutralize collaborators.


FISHER: CNN has identified nearly 20 strikes, so far, behind Russian lines this month.

And now we have CNN's Nic Robertson joins us live from Kyiv, Ukraine. So Nic, we heard what Zelenskyy was just saying there. What weapons do Ukrainian officials believe are helping them the most right now?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. The HIMAR system, which is something that really got in -- got in their hands and had some training on over the past couple of weeks, they say is delivering a blow against the Russian forces that the Russians hadn't either anticipated or properly prepared for, which is giving them a military advantage along the front line right now.

I mean, look, it's no surprise that President Zelenskyy is going to say these weapons systems are good -- that they're successful because he wants more of them. He definitely wants a lot more because the front lines here are long and he only has a handful, so far.

The advantage of these weapons, in particular, perhaps is in the name and that's part of it. HIMAR's high mobility -- and the high mobility. Because if you have a good and effective weapons system and you keep it in one place, of course, the Russians are going to figure out where it is and target it.

But the other effective thing here, and this is what is really in play for the Ukrainians right now and what is really hurting the Russians, is that these are longer-range weapons systems than the Ukrainians previously had and they're more accurate.

So when they know where Russian ammunition dumps are -- they've hit them in Mykolaiv, they've hit them in Kherson, they've hit them in Luhansk and Donetsk regions -- they can therefore target them more accurately. They say they hit three Russian ammunition dumps in Kherson yesterday in the south and a couple more in Beryslav, not so far away, and also in the south.

So this is what the Ukrainians hope will stop the Russians sort of supporting their frontline troops. We heard from one regional commander saying look, we're hitting their ammo dumps. They've still got a lot more weapons and ammunition at the front lines but this is what we need to hold them back. And, of course, what the Ukrainians hope is that they can hold back the advance, then they can begin to turn that around and push the Russians back.

But in any war, the Russians are likely to respond by moving their weapons dumps out of reach of these systems.

And, of course, the U.S. has higher power systems, longer-range, and that's what the Ukrainians are going to want there as well.

FISHER: Nic Robertson live in Kyiv, Ukraine for us. Nic, thank you so much.

Well, in his first trip outside of Russia since he launched his invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin is in Tehran today meeting with the leaders of both Iran and Turkey.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us live from Istanbul. And, you know, there's a ton for these three leaders to talk about, but what's at the top of the list? Why are they meeting?


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, perhaps, Kristin, the optics of this meeting are as significant as the meeting itself for both Iran and Russia, perhaps sending a signal here to the international community -- to the West that all these attempts to try and isolate these two countries -- they're not really working. That they are still key players on the global stage. That they're able to forge an alliance with each other. That they're able to expand economic and trade ties.

But one thing many will be keeping an eye on is military and defense ties. This is coming after U.S. intelligence reports indicating that Iran was preparing to supply Russia with hundreds of weapons-capable drones.

That being said, those meetings, Kristin -- the trilateral meetings between those three countries have been taking place regularly over the past few years to discuss Syria -- to deconflict in Syria as the three major military powers still active in that country.

So this is something that many in this country and also in Syria are going to be keeping a very close eye on because Turkey has threatened that it is going to launch a new military offensive into northeastern Syria to try and push Syrian Kurdish fighters that it considers to be a terror threat to this country -- a national security threat. But it really can't do that without getting some sort of a green light from the Russians and the Iranians. So all eyes on that.

But also topping the agenda is the issue of Ukrainian grain exports. We know that President Putin and Erdogan are going to sit together for a bilateral meeting today and they're going to be discussing that attempt by Turkey that has emerged pretty much as a mediator, trying to mediate between Russian and Ukraine to try and establish a grain corridor to unblock Ukrainian grain exports.

And we've seen signs that they may have been successful last week with the meetings between the U.N., Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey that took place here in Istanbul. And we're expecting a second round of talks this week and perhaps an agreement to establish that corridor, Kristin.

FISHER: Yes, Jomana. You say the optics almost as important as the substance here. And we saw that, of course, with President Biden's recent fist bump with the Saudi crown prince. So we'll see if we get another moment like that today or tomorrow with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jomana, thank you so much.

So, up next, the rapid shift in abortion rights in America. Where does it go from here? And ugly legal drama for Latin superstar Ricky Martin.



FISHER: Republican lawmakers in Idaho rejecting an amendment to their party platform that would support abortion in order to save a mother's life. The platform already classified abortion as murder from the point of conception. The new language backs the criminalization of all abortions for any reasons in Idaho.

Abortion is expected to be banned in about 26 states after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Let's bring in Mary Zeigler, author of "Dollars for Life: The Anti- Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment." Mary, thank you so much for being with us this morning.


FISHER: Yes. So let's start by just getting your reaction to what the Idaho Republican Party has just done.

ZEIGLER: It's not really surprising. It's kind of a growing position in the anti-abortion movement. There's a growing conclusion that as many, including the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, say that who believe that there's no such thing as a medically necessary abortion, which means that states increasingly are saying they are getting rid of exceptions for the life of the mother. So this is a trend. This is not the last we'll be seeing of this.

FISHER: Yes. So we now have abortion is now expected to be banned in about 26 states. You say that you think this is a trend that's going to continue. But, I mean, how many more states do you think will actually adopt the Idaho Republican model and go this far?

ZEIGLER: Well, I think it's something you see many anti-abortion groups advocating for, essentially saying if something is not an intentional taking of a fetal life it's not abortion. Therefore, there's no need for abortion.

So often we know that state legislatures take their cues directly from anti-abortion organizations. And we know that groups from -- you know, anti-abortion groups in Wisconsin, candidates for office in the GOP in Michigan -- this is not the only instance we're seeing of this.

So it's hard to know exactly how many states will take this position. Some state emergency exceptions are being narrowed and some states are getting rid of those exceptions altogether. Exact numbers are hard to guess.

FISHER: Yes. So you've, of course, written extensively about the history of abortion in America. And you wrote that -- and you remind people, really, that the life of the mother exception was accepted not only by the GOP but by leaders of the Right to Life movement at one point.

Now we see just how far we've come from that -- they've come from that. So where do we go from here?

ZEIGLER: Well, I think obviously, we know from the history of other countries that when you have a kind of mix of few or no exceptions to abortion bans combined with really harsh penalties for doctors who make the wrong guess, that tends to lead to a lot of defensive medicine and a lot of doctors withholding care. And that tends to lead to a lot of tragedies and those tragedies can actually, ironically, from the standpoint of the anti-abortion movement, mobilize more people to support abortion rights.


So I think we're in a situation for the anti-abortion movement where their kind of ideological commitments are probably ultimately going to harm them. But, of course, lots of other people will be collateral damage if that turns out to be right.

FISHER: Yes, great points.

Mary Zeigler, thank you so much.

ZEIGLER: Thanks for having me.

FISHER: You bet.

So, later today, round one of Twitter's legal fight with Elon Musk.


FISHER: Check out this unlikely wedding crasher at a beachfront reception in Hawaii.



Rogue wave crashes into reception.



FISHER: I mean, look at this wave sweeping away tables and sending guests running. The swells were actually from Tropical Storm Darby. They were the highest in more than 25 years.

Luckily, all the food and the wedding cake survived and the reception did go on as planned. And luckily, the bride and groom didn't appear to get wet. And they are actually going to be on "NEW DAY" next hour -- Riley and Dillon Murphy.

Well, a pair of young sluggers going swing-for-swing at last night's Home Run Derby. Carolyn Manno has this morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning, Carolyn.


You know, it's been an eventful All-Star break for national star Juan Soto, to say the least. On Saturday, he reportedly turned down a 15- year, $440 million contract extension with the team. And after last night's Home Run Derby you can probably expect that price tag to go up just a little bit.

Soto knocking off Mariners rookie Julia Rodriguez in the final round to win the crown and the $1 million grand prize at Dodger Stadium. He hit 10 homers in a span of 12 swings and ended up winning 19-18, dropping to one knee afterwards. He flipped the bat skyward afterwards.

The 23-year-old was asked hey, what's next for you after this?


REPORTER: Everyone in baseball is talking about your future -- the next few weeks. What do you want to have happen?

JUAN SOTO, WASHINGTON NATIONALS OUTFIELD, WINNER, HOME RUN DERBY: Well, right now, I'm not even thinking about it. I'm thinking I'm a champion and I will be a champion for the Nationals.


MANNO: The moment of the night really belonged to the oldest player to ever compete in the Derby. Fans and players paid tribute to 42- year-old Cardinals legend Albert Pujols in what they thought was his last appearance. But he actually pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the history of the event, eliminating the top-seeded Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber in the first round.

The starting lineups for tonight's All-Star Game were unveiled yesterday as well. So you've got Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw taking the mound for the National League, while Shane McClanahan from the Rays gets to start for the American League.

Apparently, Astros manager Dusty Baker made his decision sight unseen.


DUSTY BAKER, HOUSTON ASTROS MANAGER: To tell you the truth, I've never seen him pitch --


-- and we didn't play him at all this year. But everybody that I've talked to told me that he is nasty.


MANNO: Honesty is the best policy. That's what I always say.

And here's a new twist, by the way, starting tonight. If the All-Star game is tied after nine innings the game is going to be settled by a mini home run derby. So each manager is going to select three batters who will get three swings each -- winner take all. Hopefully, Dusty knows those guys.

Meanwhile, a rematch of last summer's Olympic semifinals between the U.S. Women's National soccer team and Canada in the CONCACAF final. The Americans left it late before an Alex Morgan penalty sealed the deal. Her 10th goal in 12 games against them. The U.S. securing a spot in the 2024 Olympics in Paris with the win.

So, how many margaritas fit in that massive trophy? Well, just ask Alex Morgan. She posted this to Twitter. She estimated about 20.

Kristin, I feel like this is a theme that we're going to continue throughout the week. We were talking about the Claret Jug, the Stanley Cup. Now, it's margaritas in the CONCACAF final.

FISHER: I was going to say -- I mean, if you had to choose between ice cream sundae in the Stanley Cup or margaritas in that trophy, I think I'm going to go for the margaritas. But I know you were really a fan of the ice cream yesterday.

MANNO: You know, I'm changing my mind as the week goes on and we get closer to Friday.


MANNO: Margaritas it is.

FISHER: Ice cream sundaes are for Monday. Margaritas are for when we get closer to Friday.

MANNO: Exactly right.

FISHER: Carolyn, thank you so much.

Well, it is a first for the Navy's Blue Angels. A female pilot is joining their ranks for the very first time. The Navy announcing that Lt. Amanda Lee will join the elite flight squadron. She'll start an intense 5-month training program with the Blue Angels in the fall. So, congratulations to Lt. Amanda Lee.

And thank you so much for joining us this morning. I'm Kristin Fisher, and "NEW DAY" starts right now.