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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

CNN Goes Inside Mar-A-Lago Rooms Likely Searched By The FBI; Mom And Daughter Charged, Police Use Facebook Messages Against Them; Ukrainian Troops In Donetsk Adapt To New NATO Weapons. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 11, 2022 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So, Mar-a-Lago likely getting more attention now than it ever did when Donald Trump was president. The FBI's unprecedented search of Trump's property in Palm Beach, Florida was no small task for a number of reasons.

Here is CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mar-a-Lago is a nearly- 100-year-old maze of more than 100 rooms, and the FBI's search could have been impossible -- at least Sarah Blaskey thought so. She's a co- author of a book about Trump and his Florida home.

SARAH BLASKEY, AUTHOR, "THE GRIFTER'S CLUB", INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, MIAMI HERALD: My thought was how are they going to find anything in Mar-a-Lago because there are so many nooks and crannies?

FOREMAN (voice-over): But then, The Washington Post said some boxes were found in a basement area. And she recognized another focal point just above the ballroom on the second floor -- the former president's personal suite.

BLASKEY: And around that same location is where his office would have also been. And so, those areas are private. They're accessible only to the family and then also the staff that keep it clean and that kind of thing.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Trump spent hundreds of days of his presidency at his properties -- Mar-a-Lago above all others. There he played golf at his nearby course, ordered a missile strike on Syria, and entertained the president of China, the prime minister of Japan.

DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many of the world's great leaders request to come to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. They like it. I like it. We're comfortable.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Political allies were welcome -- so were members of the private club who insiders say a few years ago could enjoy the warm Florida sun for a cool $200,000 fee, along with the pool and proximity to the leader of the free world.

The New York Times called Mar-a-Lago "A kind of Washington steakhouse on steroids where members and their guests enjoy a level of access that could elude even the best-connected of lobbyists."

BLASKEY: Mar-a-Lago is the place that you want to do business with him. It wasn't ever the White House. Mar-a-Lago was the place that you closed deals, and that was because that was where he was comfortable.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Trump called all the shots, but then he lost the presidency. This past January, officials at the National Archives say they collected 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago -- some containing items marked as classified national security information; some containing papers which had been torn up by the former president.

FOREMAN (on camera): And now, the Feds have taken another batch out of Trump's grasp. Exactly what it contains we don't know, but suffice it to say agents cracked not only into Donald Trump's safe but also his safe space.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: What a story. All right, Tom, thank you for that.

And this story. A Nebraska mother and her teenage daughter are facing multiple charges in an abortion-related case that involves police using their Facebook messages against them. Authorities say those messages prove the teen had an illegal abortion.

I want to bring in CNN Business writer Clare Duffy. This is a really chilling story. Just set the stage for us here. What is this young woman and her mother accused of, and how did police get the evidence?

CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: Right. So it's worth noting that this all happened before Roe v. Wade was overturned, which seems like important context here. But this woman who was 17 at the time, and her mother, were accused of essentially inducing an illegal abortion and then sort of destroying the evidence -- trying to hide this fetus.

And investigators started looking into this. They got a tip that they had buried a stillborn fetus and started interviewing this teenager. Saw that she was scrolling through her Facebook messages to find the date that this had happened.

And so investigators sent a search warrant to Facebook and got a bunch of data about both of these women's Facebook accounts -- you know, images, account information, as well as Facebook messages that they say show that this woman and her mother had planned to use abortion pills to terminate this pregnancy and to sort of hide the evidence here.

ROMANS: And at the time, abortion after 20 weeks in Nebraska was illegal. This was 28 weeks.

DUFFY: Correct, yes.

ROMANS: So this pre-dates the Roe v. Wade story.

But -- so, what should people -- I guess, what should people take away from this? I mean, maybe you should -- private information on Facebook -- if Facebook is going to turn over requests to law enforcement, you shouldn't put private information on Facebook.

DUFFY: Right. This is a nuanced case but it is something that digital privacy experts have been warning about since the draft of the -- of the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned.


This concern that law enforcement can subpoena people's private data, can send search warrants to these big-tech companies, and these big- tech companies really have sort of no -- have no other option other than turning over people's private data.

ROMANS: They comply.

DUFFY: Right.

ROMANS: They comply.

DUFFY: And so, I think people need to know -- you know, people need to be aware of that -- their Google searches, their location data, their Facebook messages. You know, all of those things, they're not private. I mean, it seems private to us when we're doing it but unless they're encrypted and the companies can't access them, that stuff can all get turned over to law enforcement.

ROMANS: Well, is Facebook saying anything about this?

DUFFY: So, Facebook says that at the time they didn't know that this was about abortion. Facebook says that this was -- you know, investigators came to them and they were looking into the destruction of a stillborn fetus. So, you know, it was like concerns about people's handling of skeletal remains. And so, Facebook handed over the information.

But it's sort of a fine line here, right, because someone's stillborn pregnancy -- it's hard to tell whether that's an abortion or not. And police -- you know, this really helped their case when they were able to get these Facebook messages. That, police say, proved that this abortion had happened.

ROMANS: So, this young woman and her mother both pleaded not guilty --


ROMANS: -- and there will be trials later this year.

DUFFY: Yes, there are trials planned for later this year.

ROMANS: All right, Clare. Thank you so much, Clare Duffy. What a story. Thank you.

All right, ahead, tech stocks suddenly surging. The Nasdaq now -- well, bear market out, new bull market in. Plus, how weapons from NATO are changing the game for Ukraine.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The whole operation took about two to three minutes. They calculate they've got about eight minutes to get back under the tree line here.




ROMANS: New satellite images show at least seven Russian warplanes destroyed in explosions at an air base in annexed Crimea. Now, the attack could be Moscow's biggest loss of military aircraft in a single day since World War II.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops in eastern Donetsk are getting familiar with new high-tech NATO weapons that could give them an edge in their battle with Russian forces -- at least that's the hope.

CNN's Nic Robertson joins us live from Kramatorsk, Ukraine. Nic, how is this weaponry different from what the Ukrainians had before?

ROBERTSON: Yes, the equipment they had before was old-style, old school. If you wanted to adjust on a target, you used little handles. You had to wheel the equipment out in the field or it would just stay where it was -- where it was put and be very, very vulnerable to return fire.

We've been traveling around this area here for the past almost week now. Everywhere you go -- the front lines, the frontline villages, the frontline towns -- you see the effects of Russian artillery, Russian missiles. So this equipment is hugely important to stop Russia's advance and even try to push it back.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Suddenly, action -- camouflage off. Ukrainian troops rushing their new NATO-compatible artillery out of cover. The Polish Krabs are 40-ton beasts of battle -- this day, targeting Russian positions almost 30 kilometers -- 18 miles away. They shoot and scoot.

ROBERTSON (on camera): That whole operation took about two to three minutes. They calculate they've got about eight minutes to get back under the tree line here to be safe from any return fire.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): There's a lot these troops like about their new kit -- safety high on the list.

VASYL, GUN COMMANDER: (Speaking foreign language).

ROBERTSON (voice-over): "It's so much better than we had before," gun commander Vasyl says. "It's mobile. We're out of danger fast."

ROBERTSON (on camera): So this is your command vehicle.

ARTEM, BATTERY COMMANDER: Yes, it's our -- my command vehicle.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Artem runs the whole battery.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So you can see the whole battlefield here.

ARTEM: Yes. This is the (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERTSON (voice-over): It's all high-tech.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So, where there's a cross here, this is the target?

ARTEM: This target -- we shoot at this target.

ROBERTSON (on camera): You already shoot at this target.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): A former math teacher, he had two weeks training on the Krabs.

ARTEM: To learn it, it's very -- I would say it's --

ROBERTSON (on camera): User-friendly.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Poland gave Ukraine 18 of the Krab system and they're buying another 56. Two months in service, their accuracy making them popular.

ARTEM: So, worry -- a big difference between these new guns and Soviet old guns because its guns got the new GPS systems.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Each shot a better chance of hitting its target.

ROBERTSON (on camera): These troops are really hoping the Krab system can make a difference. So far, this war has been fought mostly by artillery. The Russians massively outgunning the Ukrainians.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But even with the new guns, there's a problem. Ammunition here is tight.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Do you have enough shells?

VASYL: (Speaking foreign language).

ROBERTSON (voice-over): His answer, with a wry smile and chuckle, "I'd like to have more rounds to send the occupiers back home."


ROBERTSON: But the struggle really is going to -- for these troops, really is going to be a whole lot longer than getting more equipment like this and getting more artillery shells. When you actually look at the troops the way they're operating, this is clearly an army that's building itself up. It's going to take years until it's really strong.

You look at the way that the soldiers communicate in the field. Bits of it -- without giving key details away here, but bits of equipment don't always work. They have to rely on less secure technology. They sometimes don't have the footwear you'd expect soldiers to have in the battlefield.


They've got the determination but getting this equipment is a step, but it is just one step in very clearly what is going to be a very long struggle for the Ukrainian forces here.

ROMANS: Yes. All right, Nic. Thanks for that look -- really interesting. Nic Robertson.

All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this Thursday morning. Looking at markets around the world, pretty much a mixed performance if you will. Asian shares, right now, are trading -- oh, they closed, actually, mixed. And Europe has opened barely moving. I would call that flat.

Stock index futures are moving higher after a rally on Wall Street -- 3-month highs, and the Nasdaq exiting its bear market -- the worst bear market since 2008. It's now up 20 percent from its June low, entering a new bull market. The rally fueled by optimistic CPI data as U.S. inflation slowed more than anticipated in July.

Gas prices, the lowest in months this morning, falling below $4.00 a gallon, finally. AAA says the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular is now $3.99, down nearly two cents overnight and nearly 70 cents in just a month. It's still 80 cents higher than this time last year.

Finally, those falling gas prices and that hint that runaway inflation may have hit its peak giving consumers and the White House a reprieve.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're seeing a stronger labor market where jobs are booming and Americans are working. And we're seeing some signs that inflation may be beginning to moderate.


ROMANS: Another key inflation index will be released this morning -- the Producer Price Index. PPI measures factory-level inflation and is a key benchmark the Fed uses to determine rising prices. New projections are expected to show a much slower pace of increase.

Today's release comes one day after the CPI report revealed inflation growth is slowing, surprising economists who had expected a little bit worse news. That PPI report will be out at 8:30 am eastern.

I want to bring in Spencer Jakab, editor of the "Heard on the Street" column at The Wall Street Journal. And the last -- Spencer, the last couple of big econ reports have really changed economists' and stock traders' thinking about the economy and the markets, haven't they?

SPENCER JAKAB, EDITOR, HEARD ON THE STREET, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (via Webex by Cisco): No, totally -- and whipsawed them in a way. On Friday, you had a surprisingly strong jobs report -- 528,000 new jobs, which was way more than expected.


JAKAB: And that kind of belied notions that the U.S. is slipping into a recession. But then it also spooked people into thinking well, now the Fed sees so much strength in the economy that it's definitely, at its next meeting in September, going to raise rates an expected three- quarters of a percentage point, which is taken poorly by stock traders. They like to see the Fed easing off the gas in terms of tightening.

And then yesterday, you had a pretty benign -- in the scheme of things, a pretty benign inflation report where inflation grew less than expected month-to-month. Actually, it was flat month-to-month, largely because of what you mentioned, which is gasoline prices. And so, that sent us off to the races and tipped us over the line into a new bull market for Nasdaq.

ROMANS: This recession obsession that I've been hearing about and listening to for the past couple of weeks -- in a way, it's sort of academics -- two quarters of declining GDP growth. But Spencer, there is so much going on under the hood of the car right now. I mean, it's really hard to just pin it on it is a recession or it isn't a recession. It's just much more dynamic than that, right?

JAKAB: Yes. And not to be pedantic -- I mean, this was discussed to death. Two quarters of negative GDP growth is not the official definition of a recession and never has been. There is a body of economists at the NBER that says oh, this was a very long kind of sustained period of economic weakness.

You have never seen a recession with the unemployment rate at the lowest in our lifetimes, which is 3.5 percent with lots and lots of job openings. So, the signs on the ground are not that we're in a recession.

But what is undeniable is that lots and lots of companies are slowing hiring plans and you're seeing many signs of a slowdown. A slowdown in spending by companies in certain areas. Definitely, retailers having a hard time kind of being whipsawed by not having enough inventory last year and stocking up, now trying to get rid of their inventory very cheaply. So, there are strains in the economy for sure. But on the other hand, more Americans have jobs than almost any time in our lifetime. It's maybe not the exact job that they want but they do have jobs. And wages are rising again -- not at the pace of inflation recently but at the most rapid pace in many, many years.

So that does not make it a recession. But really, the question is where we're heading. And the nightmare for investors is that you have stagflation and that's the thing that we are really scared of, which is with the economy growing very slowly or not growing at all, but inflation remaining persistent and the Fed not being able to let up and to fight it with lower rates because they're scared of inflation.


And so, yesterday's -- that's why yesterday's data point was taken so positively -- probably a little too positively I would say.

ROMANS: All right, Spencer Jakab, "Heard on the Street" column in The Wall Street Journal, nice to see you this morning. Thank you.

JAKAB: Thanks.

ROMANS: All right, it's going to cost a lot more to watch Baby Yoda, Mickey Mouse, and some of your favorite Disney characters this holiday season. Disney raising the price of its streaming service to $10.99 a month. That's up from $7.99. The company will also raise the ad-free version to $14.99 per month, up from $12.99.

The price hike coming with Disney reporting strong subscriber increases for its streaming service. These changes will go into effect on December 8.

Serena Williams loses her first match since announcing her plans to step away from tennis. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.


You know, we don't know how many more times we are going to get to see Serena play, so fans are certainly soaking up what they can. And Serena was competing in the second round of the Canadian Open night and got a big ovation when she entered the court.


ANNOUNCER: From the USA, please welcome Serena Williams.


SCHOLES: Serena taking on Belinda Bencic. It was just her third match in the past 14 months. Serena would lose the match in straight sets.

And afterward, she spoke about what the last 24 hours have been like since making that big announcement.


SERENA WILLIAMS, 23-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: Yes, it was a lot of emotions. Obviously, I love playing here. I've always loved playing here. And yes, it was --


I wish I could have played better but Belinda played so well today. But I just -- yes, it's just been a -- it's been a pretty interesting 24 hours. It's just been so memorable, you know? Like I said in my article, I'm terrible at goodbyes, but goodbye, Toronto.


SCHOLES: Yes. Up next for Serena is the Western and Southern Open in Ohio. Then Serena will make -- play her final -- what will likely be her final match at the U.S. Open in New York at the end of the month.

All right, the NFL preseason is set to ramp up tonight. The Cleveland Browns announcing that quarterback Deshaun Watson will start Friday in their first game in Jacksonville.

Last week, Watson was suspended for six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy after being accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women. But preseason games do not count towards suspensions. The NFL has appealed the ruling and is seeking a full-season suspension.

Watson -- he did settle 23 of the cases against him and has denied any wrongdoing.

All right, to the pits. Major League Soccer's all-star is taking on the best of Mexico's Liga MX in Minneapolis. LAFC's Carlos Vela wasted no time giving the MLS the lead, nailing the header into the back of the net just two minutes into the game. They'd hold on to that lead the rest of the night, winning 2-1. Minnesota United goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair named the game's MVP.

All right, to baseball, and Aaron Judge continuing his torrent pace with another bomb last night. This, Judge's 45th home run of the season. He's currently on pace to hit 65. The Yankees' record is 61, which was set by Roger Maris back in 1961.

The Yankees, though -- they would lose this one 4-3, their eighth loss in the last 10 games.

All right. The Braves, meanwhile, are calling up their top minor league prospect Vaughn Grissom for last night's game in Boston, and what a debut he had. The 21-year-old first career hit -- a huge home run that sails over the Green Monster and out of Fenway Park.

Grissom's parents flew in from Orlando and they were there to see it, jumping up and down. His teammates pumped as well and they grabbed an iPad to rewatch the home run again in the dugout. Everyone with a big smile on their face.

Pretty cool, Christine. First hit -- first home run ever over the Green Monster in Fenway. It doesn't get much better than that.

ROMANS: With the parents there, too. That's important.

All right, nice to see you, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Thank you so much for that.

The FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago reportedly executed after a tip from an informant. Next on "NEW DAY," a deeper dive on who it might be. Plus, John Bolton joins the show live to talk about the price Iran put on his head. And why the CDC is growing increasingly nervous about polio. And gas prices falling below four bucks a gallon. All on "NEW DAY," next.