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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Respect For Marriage Act Bill Draws Support From Both Sides; Russia And Ukraine Working To Resume Ukrainian Grain Exports; Texas State University To Officer Course On Harry Styles And Celebrity. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 22, 2022 - 05:30   ET




KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: Ten Republican senators are needed to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster and codify same-sex marriage into federal law. Now, it's not clear just how many will actually support the bill but nearly 50 House Republicans did join Democrats to pass it earlier this week.

And one took this video right after casting his vote.


REP. PETER MEIJER (R-MI): I kind of expected this to be filled with poison pills. The bill is only about 3 1/2 pages long and it's pretty straightforward.

It says with regards to a marriage between two individuals, regardless of sex, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of race, regardless of national origin, if it is legally performed in one state it has to be recognized for the purposes of state-based actions, such as taxation, in another state. That's it. There's no compulsion. There's no threats to religious freedom.


FISHER: All right. So let's bring in Bonnie Kristian. She's a Daily Beast contributor and the author of the forthcoming book "Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community." Good morning, Bonnie.

So we just heard this Congressman explain part of the reason why he voted to pass this. I mean, the bill was short and sweet, only 3 1/2 pages long.

Do you think that this bill could prove to be a model for how to get things done on Capitol Hill?


Yes, I hope so. I think that the estimation that he gave is something that other lawmakers could learn from and consider. Instead of creating these big package bills that address a whole range of policy priorities that are sometimes not terribly well-connected to each other and which will inevitably have something that alienates many of the members across the aisle, they could consider making much shorter, simpler, smaller bills that would do just one thing. And that could allow some lawmakers to cross the aisle and to only have to defend the single thing that they voted for. And I think they might choose to do that as we saw with Republicans on this legislation.

FISHER: Yes. So I actually went and looked it up. For comparison, the longest bill in terms of the actual text ever passed by the U.S. Congress was back in 2021. It was the Consolidated Appropriations Act. President Trump signed it into law -- 5,593 pages. That's how long it was. I mean, when was the last time that anybody just sat down and read more than 5,000 pages? Now, compare that to this bill, just 3 1/2 pages.

I think a lot of people might not fully realize quite how the sausage is made here on Capitol Hill but a simple bill like this -- it's not typical.

KRISTIAN: No, it's not. And those very long bills -- often we call them ominous bills -- typically, they'll pass them very close to a government sometimes. And so, the bill will be crafted by just a handful of very high-ranking members of Congress and their staff who do it often like behind-doors negotiations. They -- and then they roll out the complete products sometimes mere hours before a vote.

So even if a member of Congress really wants to do their due diligence, it's simply not possible at that scale. And so they end up voting for something they haven't read and they have to give the whole package a single up-down vote. They frequently don't have time to consider individual elements and they frequently can't even make amendments anymore.

And so these very large package bills are just not -- they're not even terribly democratic.

FISHER: Yes. And when you look at the House Republicans who supported this bill -- I mean, it's a very wide spectrum. You've got everybody from Liz Cheney to Elise Stefanik, to the entire Republican delegation from Utah. I mean, it really is a very large amount of Republicans from larger -- very different swaths of life.


What are the chances that this could be a model for future smaller bills that are easier to understand, easier to support, and allow these members of Congress a chance to actually read them before they have to vote them up or down?

KRISTIAN: You know, I want to be optimistic and say there's good chances, but I don't know that I really can. If recent (INAUDIBLE) are any indication, this may be wishful thinking to think that this bill could be a model.

But on the other hand -- I mean, consider the contrast between how quickly and with how much bipartisan support this bill passed, on the one hand, and something like President Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda, which has been in discussions for almost a year now. It keeps getting whittled down. They can't seem to get everyone on board, especially in the Senate, for such a big and ambitious project.

You know, it's interesting to think had they introduced all of those as just small, single bills a year ago, maybe a significant portion of that agenda would be passed by now.

FISHER: Yes. And the -- as a lot of members of Congress have pointed out, it's a lot harder to kind of like slip those poison pills into a 3 1/2 bill than it is a bill like the longest one -- more than 5,000 pages.

Bonnie Kristian, thank you so much.

KRISTIAN: (Audio gap) again.

FISHER: So just ahead, former President Donald Trump refusing to call off Capitol rioters as Mike Pence's security team feared for their lives.

But first, CNN's firsthand look at how Russia uses Western technology to track and kill Ukrainian troops.



FISHER: Happening today, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine may be on the verge of a breakthrough that would resume Ukrainian grain exports to millions around the globe. They're meeting this morning in Turkey alongside the U.N. Secretary-General.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us live from Istanbul. Jomana, what's the likelihood that they're actually going to reach a deal at this meeting?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN Well, you know, Kristin, all indications right now is that in about four hours' time, according to the Turkey government, we are going to see a signing ceremony here in Istanbul with representatives from Russia, Ukraine. The Turkish president is going to be attending, and also the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who flew into Istanbul last night.

And this agreement would have the way for the creation of a grain corridor. A corridor through the Black Sea that would mean unlocking the Ukrainian grain exports.

Now we know that talks have been going on for some time -- for weeks. Turkey and the United Nations have been actively trying to get an agreement in place. And up until last night, what we were hearing from the Ukrainian side is that there was no final deal yet but they could be signing an agreement today.

And their concerns have always been about security guarantees. They have always been worried about any sort of agreement being exploited by Russia once they open up their ports to attack Odesa and other parts of the southern -- the southern coast of the country.

So we'll have to wait and see the details of this agreement -- what this corridor is going to look like, how it's going to work. But what we've heard in the past from officials is that they're going to create some sort of a coordination center based here in Istanbul. There's going to be some sort of inspection mechanism where they check these vessels going in and out of the ports to ensure that they are only carrying what they're supposed to be carrying -- i.e., no weapons.

The biggest issue going forward Kristin is going to be implementation -- how to ensure that all parties will abide by this and that there will be no violations of this agreement, and how that will be dealt with considering the parties to this agreement. But we can't overstate the significance of this agreement and this moment for millions around the world and what it means for the global food prices, Kristin.

FISHER: Yes, and the fact that a signing ceremony is actually on the potential schedule -- certainly a very good sign.

Jomana, thanks so much.

So, as Russia's war drags on, a disturbing find by the Ukrainian military. Russian drones shot down over Ukraine are full of parts made in the U.S. and Europe.

CNN's Nic Robertson joins us live in Kyiv. So, Nic, what are Ukrainian officials saying about this find?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, we know that Ukrainian officials are saying give us more weapons. They're getting the weapons. They know how to fight with them. They're being effective with them.

But what they're discovering is that the Russian drones that are used on the front lines and behind the front lines that pinpoint ammunition stores of the Ukrainian forces and that pinpoint the soldiers there who are defending the front lines -- that these Russian drones when they open them up, are chock full of Western-made parts. So now they're going to want their allies in the West to stop all of that.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Away from the front lines, technical intel officer Maxim -- not his real name -- strips down a captured Russian Orlan-10 surveillance drone. We are the first journalists they are showing how Russia is using Western tech to kill Ukrainian troops.

ROBERTSON (on camera): This circuit board that can pinpoint cellphones is maybe more dangerous than the camera.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The cellphone tracker, he says, made in the USA. The engine made in Japan. And the thermal imager module on the camera, he claims, was made in France after Russia invaded.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Drones like this one are a terror on the battlefield and are revolutionizing the way war is being fought. But the battle over control of components inside of them is almost as important as the supply of new rockets and artillery.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): At the front lines, Ukrainian soldiers fear Russian drones and celebrate and share what they call successful hits. Kyiv's military intelligence say the drones' powerful cameras with thermal and infrared imaging and cellphone tracking are making it easier for Russia to kill Ukrainian soldiers.

SAMUEL CRANNY-EVANS, RUSI RESEARCH ANALYST: From a UAV or drone identifying a Ukrainian target, it can be three to four minutes for the Russians to engage them.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So, French lens, Japanese engine, U.S.-made GSM parts. What other countries' components go in here?

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The list, Maxim says, is long. It includes Austria, Germany, Taiwan, the Netherlands. His job, follow every serial number, find out who made it and tell allies to figure out how to stop Russia's drone techs getting their hands on it.

But stopping supply of these often commercial components won't be easy. Russia may have huge stockpiles and has a long history evading controls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI has been tracking down Russian supply networks since 2014 and trying to close them down. So if they can, they will continue trying to sidestep it. And it is a real problem because often, these components are being bought by legitimate companies.

ROBERTSON (on camera): That Ukrainian intelligence officials have gone public with their frustrations that their allies' tech is ending up in Russia's hands is an indication of just how deadly and decisive Russia's drones have become.


ROBERTSON: So this is a big deal right now of holding the front lines where they are, which the Ukrainians were able to do. But think about this. When they want to advance and move forward and retake that territory, as everyone expects them to do and they've said that they're going to do -- when they bring forces together to do that they're going to be super vulnerable to that kind of surveillance by those -- by those Russian drones.

So this is going to be a big issue going forward and it's not an easy one for the Ukrainians or the international -- their international allies to get their hands around.

FISHER: Yes, absolutely. Nic Robertson, thank you so much for that report.

So just ahead, President Biden isolating at the White House after his positive COVID diagnosis. The latest on his condition. Plus, studying Harry Styles. Hear from the professor behind the real college-level course.







STYLES: Singing "As It Was."


FISHER: He is a global superstar. Now, the Harry Styles experience is coming to Texas State University. A new course, "Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity," will be offered in the spring at the school's honors college. It's the brainchild of Louie Dean Valencia, associate professor of digital history and a longtime fan of Harry Styles. And he joins us now. Good morning, Louie.


FISHER: Yes. So, Louie, there's a lot of celebrities out there. Why Harry Styles?

VALENCIA: Well, one, I am working on a book on Harry Styles I started during the pandemic. So I actually have expertise in his life and his work. So I guess I could have done it on any number of musicians but he's my favorite so I kind of leaned into that.

FISHER: All right. So what exactly are students going to learn in this course?

VALENCIA: The way I like to describe it is a history class of the last 12 years. So for a lot of students who are 18 or 20 years old, the -- what happened 12 years ago is kind of a mystery or maybe a little bit vague even though that they were alive.

So we're going to basically look at the last 12 years of history through the life of Harry Styles. And look into issues like gun control. We're going to look into issues of Black Lives Matter. We're going to look into issues of sustainability. All these are things that Harry really talks about in his work and we can really delve into those kind of contemporary issues. FISHER: Yes. So this is -- this is not a music class. This is pretty substantial.

VALENCIA: Yes, it's -- I mean, we're going to be looking at the music. We're going to listen to every single One Direction album. We're going to listen to his solo albums.

FISHER: (Laughing).

VALENCIA: But it -- oh, yes. And, you know, we've got to have all of that.

But we're going to have sort of a way of anchoring the class --

FISHER: Right.

VALENCIA: -- and also looking into the lyrics and whatnot.

FISHER: Lou, when I was in college I remember the cool class to take was like the history of rock and roll, and everybody wanted to take it. And then got in this class and it was like the hardest class that you took, right? Like, it just crushed your GPA.

Is this going to be an easy A or is it going to be tougher than most people think?

VALENCIA: It's going to be tougher than a lot of people think. So by the end of the semester, students will have to script, develop, and produce a podcast series --


VALENCIA: -- that's somehow cohesive -- yes. So we're going to be sharing the class with a whole wide audience, hopefully by the end of it. And they're going to have to go through an actual recording studio that we have in our library and work with a person who was a television studio person. So, you know, they're going to learn a lot.


FISHER: Well, Louie, congratulations on getting this course approved, and best of luck to all your -- all your students in the spring.

VALENCIA: Thank you so much for having me.

FISHER: Yes, of course.

So, the Astros opened the second half of the baseball season by sweeping the Yankees.

Coy Wire has this morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, break out the brooms. The Yankees -- they had the best record in baseball, but one day into the second half and they're already on a 2-game losing streak. Playing a double-header against the Astros in Houston, the game --

bases loaded -- bottom of the 9th, and J.J. Matijevic comes up clutch for the Stros. The 26-year-old rookie getting his first career walk- off. It's a pinch-hit single. Swarmed by his teammates afterwards. You know that feels good.

Astros take game one.

Then in the first inning of game two -- Houston, we have liftoff. Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman hitting back-to-back homers off of Domingo German. Astros win 7-5, sweeping the doubleheader.

Now, 5-2 against the Yanks this season, just 2 1/2 games behind them. But Yankees manager Aaron Boone says that doesn't matter yet.


AARON BOONE, NEW YORK YANKEES MANAGER: I understand it's a big story. I understand the season we're in. It's not going to matter unless it's October.

So we're going to -- if we -- if we happen to come back here in October, we're going to show up. We're going to expect to win. We think we're really good. They're really good. Don't overstate this.


WIRE: And this just in. Mookie Betts is really good at baseball. In a wild game at Dodger Stadium last night, the 6-time All-Star breaking an 8th-inning tie against the Giants with a 3-run blast to left. A 4- time Silver Slugger winner.

Then minutes later, Mookie on "D", you better believe it. The 5-time Gold Glove winner stretching out for the diving catch and final out.

L.A. wins 9-6 for their fifth in a row.

It was a record-setting night at the first-ever World Track and Field Championships here in the USA.

Sprinter Noah Lyles breaking the American 200-meter record, destroying the field in Eugene, Oregon. His 19.31 seconds eclipsing Michael Johnson's time that stood for 26 years. Johnson ran it at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 352 days before Lyles was even born, Kristin.

Meantime, Jamaica's Shericka Jackson races into the history books in the women's 200. Her time of 21.45 breaks the championship record and is the second-fastest in history behind only the late great Flo Jo -- Florence Griffith Joyner with the world record mark of 21.34. That was at the 1988 Seoul Games.

Now, it pays to win college football's National Championship. Just ask Georgia's Kirby Smart. He's agreed to a reported 10-year, $112.5 million contract extension keeping him with the Dogs through 2031. Smart's deal would make him highest paid coach in college football. Finally, Aaron Donald and his L.A. Rams finally got their Super Bowl

rings. And they're so big Kristin that they put their stadium inside of them. The team says that they have the most carat weight in the history of sports championship rings -- approximately 20 carats of diamonds. And when the top pops off, boo-ya, there it is, SoFi Stadium.

The Rams became just the second team ever to play a Super Bowl on their home field. They and the Bucs both won those games.

What do you think about that, Kristin? That was a good five-step workout with that, right?

FISHER: The weight. First of all, it's just obscene. I can't imagine like lifting up your hand wearing that. But the top actually comes off and there's a stadium inside. Do I have that right?

WIRE: Just like a convertible, a transformer all in one.

FISHER: It's a transformer. I was going to say that. That's ridiculous.

WIRE: It is.

FISHER: But, hey, it made for -- it made for something for us to talk about.

WIRE: That's exactly right.

FISHER: All right, Coy, thank you so much.

WIRE: All right.

FISHER: And thanks, all of you, for joining us this week. It's been a pleasure filling in for Christine Romans. She's going to be back on Monday.

I'm Kristin Fisher. Have a great weekend. And "NEW DAY" starts right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I don't want to say the election is over. Such revealing words from Donald Trump caught on tape the day after the insurrection. But even more important than that -- more important than not wanting to say the election is over -- according to the January 6 committee, Donald Trump did not want the attack on the Capitol to stop.

I'm John Berman. Brianna is off. Chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is here. And you've been covering this every day for so long, but even then there was so much new.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: What I was really struck by last night was how much of the reporting in real time they confirmed. People who denied things that we reported they said and did at the time, confirming them under oath to the committee. But also, just the moments that we didn't know about. The small details, the conversations, the chaos in the West Wing that day.

BERMAN: Things we had never heard and things we had never seen.