Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Primary Night Sets Big Races In Florida And New York; One Year Since Death Of Illinois State Grad Student Jelani Day; Biden Set To Decide On Student Loan Relief, Moratorium Extension. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 24, 2022 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Former Florida governor Charlie Crist now set to challenge Ron DeSantis to get his old job back after winning the Democratic primary last night. Crist now faces the huge challenge of beating DeSantis who is sitting on a $132 million war chest -- one of the largest ever in a U.S. governor's race.

The Florida Senate race also taking shape. Congresswoman Val Demings will now face off against GOP's -- the GOP's Marco Rubio. Now Democrats will have to prove they can turn the tide blue in a state that has been trending red for years now.

Let's bring in CNN's Steve Contorno live in St. Petersburg, Florida. Steve, Omar and I have been watching this Ron DeSantis ad where he's styling himself like Tom Cruise. I think we're going to play a little bit of it so you can see -- "Top Gov," not "Top Gun."

Florida Democrats have picked Charlie Crist over Nikki Fried. I wonder, will he have to style himself as Ice Man?

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Well, he's going to try, I guess -- although I think at the end of that movie they ended up on good terms and I don't expect that happening in this race.

But look, there were -- there was one thing on the mind of most Democratic voters when they went to the polls yesterday and that is who is the best person to beat Ron DeSantis? And overwhelmingly, they said that person is Charlie Crist.

Democrats here had a chance to nominate Nikki Fried, who would have been, if she won, the first female governor in state history and really had a direct path to making this race a referendum on the future of abortion access.

Instead, they went with Charlie Crist, a 66-year-old man who is a former Republican who once called himself, quote, "pro-life." So, they are really hoping that voters find comfort in a familiar face. You know, Charlie is someone who a lot of people we talked to yesterday say that they think people trust. That they think that moderate voters will find inoffensive. And if you ever walked the street with Charlie Crist, he's someone who everyone seems to know. He -- people shout out "Hey, Charlie" or "I see you at Publix."

And he's just someone who has been around for a long time and people really recognize he's going to be running that sort of Joe Biden playbook of promising to be a consensus builder, be a familiar face, and really bring civility back to politics at a time when the rhetoric has just gotten so divisive here.

But notably, the Joe Biden playbook did not work in Florida. Trump won here in 2016 and 2020 by an even larger margin.

And Crist, himself, hasn't won a statewide race in Florida since 2006. He tried to run for Senate as an Independent and lost. He was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2014 and came up short. And now, he just has 11 weeks to put up a fight against Ron DeSantis and his $132 million that's going to be used to run a whole bunch of ads that call Charlie a career politician and a flip-flopper.

So he's really going to have to work very closely I think with the Senate nominee Val Demings who just has brought a ton of energy to this ticket. Democrats are really excited to have her. She has a very interesting profile as a former police chief. She comes from the Jacksonville area. And they hope that she can really capture Black voters and give Gov. DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio a really tough challenge in November, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Steve Contorno. Nice to see you. Thank you so much. A lot going on in Florida. Glad we have you there.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I know. A lot of interesting races to watch. We're going to see what happens.

ROMANS: OK, thanks.

JIMENEZ: Now, it's been one year since Illinois State University graduate Jelani Day was last seen alive. His disappearance and death are still a mystery even all this time later. His body was found in the Illinois River two weeks after he went missing and almost 70 miles from where he was last seen. No one's been arrested.

His mother is still fighting for answers and she's starting a foundation in his honor. So, let's bring her in. Carmen Bolden Day, Jelani Day's mom. Carmen, it's good to see you. Thank you for waking up with us.

But we've talked over this past year many times. How are you doing one year to the day since Jelani was last seen? What answers are you still looking for?


CARMEN BOLDEN DAY, MOTHER OF JELANI DAY (via Webex by Cisco): I'm not doing OK. I'm trying my best to. The answers I'm looking for is I'm still trying to find out what happened to my son and I don't have any -- I'm nowhere closer to finding that out today than I was 365 days ago.

JIMENEZ: And I want to underscore for everyone that his body was found in one location. His car was found in another. His wallet was found in another location. His clothes elsewhere, his cell phone elsewhere. They're all in separate locations with some good distance between them.

And police continue to say that the investigation into Jelani's death is ongoing and while they're putting all available resources into the investigation there's still no additional information they can offer.

So, for you, how confident are you that you're actually going to be able to get some answers from these investigations?

DAY: I'm not confident at all because last week, which was last Wednesday I believe, I went to Peru, Illinois. And they have my son's car, which is a vital piece of evidence. And they said that they moved -- I requested to see his car. They were -- they told me before I got there that they were going to warn me that his car was outside. When I get there, they tell me they placed his car outside. It's been outside for at least three weeks because they had no storage room in their evidence storage area.

When I get there, I see Jelani's car. It's under a tarp. And when they opened the door evidence is just all in Jelani's car. There are papers on his seat, there's money on the seat. There's tobacco or weed on the seat.

There's clothes in the back -- in the back -- in his back seat on the floor. There's shorts, there's a shirt, there's shoes. There's a suitcase -- the same suitcase that when they pulled his car from down that hill that it was at, at the YMCA, all that stuff is still in his car. There's articles in the back of the trunk that are still in his car.

They tell me -- I mean, like I told them, I'm not the smartest civilian and I'm no police officer, but when you have a piece of evidence, shouldn't that -- shouldn't the articles inside that evidence -- shouldn't they be tagged, bagged, labeled, and placed -- and numbered, and placed in a report so that if there is something that they can refer back to in an investigation that they have that? They don't have that in Jelani's case.

They tell me that the only fingerprints they found in Jelani's car was his. They tell me they took a -- what do call -- a scent sample out of his car, whereas when they find the suspect they'll be able to match the scent to the suspect. I don't understand how they did that.

When I got there, every evidence seal that was on every door was broken, and the last date on the evidence seal was back in December of 2021. However, that car has been in and out of and it hasn't been tagged again.


DAY: So, I have no confidence in them -- none. JIMENEZ: Well, and I should mention for people watching at home, the FBI task force is still offering up to $10,000 for substantial information on this.

But some of what you laid out is -- it does seem that frustration that we spoke about, even in the early months of Jelani's disappearance, are still there.

Now, you recently said I want to turn pain into power because it hurts -- it hurts a lot. I can only imagine. But how do you do that? How have you been able to translate your pain into power?

DAY: By trying to be proactive. And like I said, I don't want to see other mothers or fathers or families go through the things and endure the things that me and my children and my family have had to endure with finding Jelani.

So, that's what birthed his foundation. His foundation is one that I want to use to help individuals to provide resources for or the connections that I've made throughout this journey with the media, with attorneys, with different activists that could help them because I didn't receive that help.


DAY: There has been a bill that's been enacted called the Jelani Day Bill in the state of Illinois, which says that if a body is found and it's not identified within the first 72 hours, that the FBI has to be contacted and they are to become involved.

Thus, that's how I'm turning pain into power by trying to do things that -- the things that we -- the help and the assistance of resources that we didn't receive -- I want to make sure that someone else receives those things.



DAY: Because it's -- it is very painful.

JIMENEZ: I can only imagine, Carmen. And thank you for being with us this morning. And I have continued to cover out of Illinois. We have continued to keep our eye on it as well and hopefully, we get to a point where we can find some answers. Thank you, Carmen.

ROMANS: Yes, keep asking the questions.

DAY: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, to Louisville now. A former Louisville police detective pleading guilty to federal charges in connection with the deadly raid at the home of Breonna Taylor. Prosecutors say Kelly Goodlett conspired with another officer to falsify the warrant to search Taylor's home, which ultimately led to her shooting death in 2020. She also covered up the false affidavit, lying to investigators when the fatal shooting by Louisville police gained national attention.

All right, just ahead, President Biden set to unveil his plan to forgive thousands of dollars in student loan debt. But there, of course, is political risk.

JIMENEZ: Plus, a luxury superyacht sinks in the Mediterranean Sea -- look at that -- and it's all captured on video. That's next.



JIMENEZ: The saga has ended for this superyacht called "My Saga," swallowed up by the Mediterranean about nine miles off the coast of Italy. I mean, look at that video. The Italian Coast Guard releasing this video of the incident this past weekend.

All nine people on board were rescued -- that's good -- four passengers and five crew members. Investigators are still trying to determine what made the 130-foot luxury vessel capsize and sink.

Don't you have when you're superyacht sinks?

ROMANS: Yes, that's a really bad day. And everyone was fine, which is why we can show that.

JIMENEZ: Which is good. Yes, everyone's OK. Everyone's OK.

ROMANS: But that is one big insurance claim. That's what I see there -- one very big insurance claim.

All right, speaking of business, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

Looking at markets around the world, you can see Asian shares falling. A heat wave in China is disrupting factory production. European shares have opened lower. And we're watching oil, up more than four percent after OPEC hints at production cuts.

On Wall Street, stock index futures right now are barely moving here. The Dow and S&P 500 ended lower yesterday. Disappointing home sales data. All three averages suffered their worst session since June. The summer rally is sort of fizzling here.

Fed chief Jerome Powell meets on this highly anticipated policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming later this week. That could yield additional clues on whether the Fed will hike rates by a half a point or more in September.

And more relief for drivers overnight. Gas prices down another penny, falling to $3.88 a gallon -- 53 cents less than a month ago. Seventy- one days in a row on falling gas prices.

Candidate Joe Biden promised student loan relief on the trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, THEN-CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think there should be a $10,000 forgiveness of student loans across the board for anyone who is, in fact, affected.


ROMANS: We'll learn today whether he keeps that 2-year-old campaign promise. Details are still being hammered out but CNN has learned the White House is leaning toward canceling $10,000 for borrowers making less than $125,000 a year. Another win for the Democrat's agenda? Maybe.

Progressives want more. They wanted like $50,000. And it's the opposite from centrists who say it actually rewards a broken system -- you know, ever-rising tuition.

And the Treasury Sec. Larry Summers said it could intensify ongoing inflation. In a 2-day tweet storm, Summers argues, quote, "Student loan debt relief is spending that raises demand and increases inflation. I hope the administration does not contribute to inflation macroeconomically by offering unreasonably generous student loan relief."

Joining me now is Spencer Jakab, editor of the "Heard on the Street" column at The Wall Street Journal, and author of "The Revolution That Wasn't: GameStop, Reddit, and the Fleecing of Small Investors." Good morning.

The main event from D.C. will be this student loan relief today. Do you think, Spencer, $10,000 of student debt relief is a game changer in the economy?

SPENCER JAKAB, EDITOR, "HEARD ON THE STREET" COLUMN, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, AUTHOR, "THE REVOLUTION THAT WASN'T: GAMESTOP, REDDIT, AND THE FLEECING OF SMALL INVESTORS" (via Webex by Cisco): It's not a game changer in the economy. It's a game changer for some people who are affected.

And, of course, there's the big question, first of all, of fairness. My wife and I had to pay our student loans. A lot of people had to pay their student loans or dig deep to put their children through college or themselves and they're saying it's not fair. And it's like saying my grandfather had polio. Why is it fair that I don't have to have polio? I mean, it's sort of a silly argument.

Then there are the economic arguments, which are more serious, which are is it stoking inflation? Well, you've had a moratorium on payment of student loans that was instituted during the Trump administration that's ongoing -- that President Biden has extended. And that, in and of itself, is -- if you want to call it that, it's somewhat inflationary. Maybe not necessary. He's certainly not going to reinstate it so close to midterms.

It has helped a lot of people. We have full employment in this country. We're very close to it at 3.5 percent unemployment rate, so it's getting more difficult to justify certainly the way that it was when COVID initially hit and people were being thrown --

ROMANS: Right.

JAKAB: -- out of their jobs and had a very uncertain future.

And then, there's the issue -- and I have to say it's a legitimate issue raised by some as to whether it's putting a Band-Aid on a broken system. I mean --

ROMANS: Right.

JAKAB: -- we have very expensive college education in this country and the fact that it's so easy to qualify, regardless of what you're going to do with the student loans. I mean, you could be going to Harvard Law School and have a very easy time paying off those loans, or you could be going to doing underwater basketweaving at a private college that kind of lured you into signing up for a degree, and the underwriting terms are the same.

And college is just plain expensive, in part, stoked by the easy availability of loans. And so, that's -- that is the elephant in the room that I would not expect to be addressed --



JAKAB: -- between now and time -- and the midterms.

ROMANS: Totally agree. There's an underlying kind of fundamental mismatch and you've got to fix that problem, too. This is a Band-Aid on a broken system, I think is a really great way to put it. But there will be -- they'll be handing out Band-Aids today for sure. I think we're going to see that happen later today.

Let's talk about the housing market quickly. New evidence that the red-hot housing market is turning over. Are we seeing the Fed's medicine working here?

JAKAB: We are, in part. Housing is such a big part of the economy that the danger is that the medicine has nasty side effects and it puts the housing market into a recession. It probably already has if you want to speak specifically about the housing market. I mean, mortgage rates have eased off somewhat but they're still substantially higher than they were at the lows.

So you have all kinds of things going on. First of all, affordability is far, far tougher. And so, you went from having -- in the suburbs, at least, all around this country -- lines around the corner every time there was an open house, to sort of crickets. People are cutting prices on their homes. You've had a record number of people reneging on home purchases because they couldn't qualify or they had second thoughts about the amount of -- the monthly payments that they were signing themselves up for after they had agreed to buy a home.

So there's been a very substantial, very quick cooldown. It -- the medicine is working in the sense that it cooled off a very hot part of the economy. It is not working in the sense that it's made housing any more affordable if you're interested in being an owner. And then rents, of course, are --


JAKAB: -- marching ever upwards because all those people who can't afford to buy a home are staying or going back to the rental market, which is very strong. And it's getting more difficult to -- of course, to build and renovate rental properties, which are in high demand.

ROMANS: Sure. Spencer, I've been saying no one's happy in the real estate market. The sellers missed their moment. The buyers still can't get in. The home builders have really high prices and they can't find labor. So no one is happy in real estate right now.

Just quickly, you wrote the book on the meme-stock craze and we're seeing it -- it's back. Bed Bath & Beyond, this week -- I mean, down 70 percent in less than a week.

What does the meme stock -- I guess, Renaissance, tell us about where we are in markets?

JAKAB: It's a very interesting moment. Frankly, I did not expect when the book published earlier this year that so many months later we'd still be talking about it, and it's more in the conversation than ever.

You have companies like Bed Bath & Beyond or you have -- or you have bankrupt companies that are being kind of kicked around like a football between people on social media, sending them to absurd valuations. Someone put it as like sort of flash mobs with money.

And there's nothing to say about it, but it is a bit sad because the people at the end of the day who are going to be left holding the bag when the air comes out of these meme stocks are going to lose a lot of money and learn a hard lesson. And you can see from the social media posts that they have a very, very poor understanding of the fundamentals of what they're sinking their savings into.

ROMANS: Buyer beware, buyer beware. It's not a -- you know, the stock market should not be a get rich quick scheme, but for some of these meme stocks, it is.

Spencer Jakab, thank you so much for dropping by today.

JAKAB: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Ahead, here comes the judge. Aaron Judge going deep to deliver the Yankees a Subway Series sweep.



JIMENEZ: A survivor from the Uvalde school shooting was honored at the Astros game last night.

Andy Scholes, you've got this morning's Bleacher Report.


JIMENEZ: Always good to see you.

SCHOLES: Yes, good morning, Omar.

So, Mayah Zamora spent more than 60 days in the hospital and underwent more than 20 surgeries after suffering gunshot wounds to her hands, arms, chest, and back in the Uvalde school shooting. And Mayah and her family on hand in Houston last night.

When she was released from the hospital she returned to her home, which was very near where the shooter lived -- which, as you can imagine, made her very uncomfortable.

So before the game, she met with former Astro and current Twins shortstop Carlos Correa. His foundation is helping to build Mayah and her family a new home. And Houston legend "Mattress Mack," who went out on the field with Mayah for the first pitch -- he is furnishing her new house for the family.

Now, Carlos Correa did break up a no-hitter in the seventh inning of this game, but the Astros would win 4-2.

The Yankees, meanwhile, may by turning things around. The Bronx Bombers getting a sweep of the 2-game Subway Series with the Mets.

Aaron Judge hitting his league-leading 48th home run of the season. He's on pace to hit 63, which would break the Yankee's record of 61 by Roger Maris.

The Yankees won that one 4-2. They've won three in a row for the first time this month.

All right, and finally, everyone's still talking about the viral video of the Yankees fan using a hot dog as a straw for his beer. Well, Pedro Martinez and the "MLB ON CBS" crew put it to a taste test last night.



PEDRO MARTINEZ, "MLB ON CBS": It doesn't work.




MARTINEZ: It tastes a lot like hot dog though. Even the beer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like hot dog water.


SCHOLES: Oh, who doesn't love a little hot dog water? Omar, I think next time you're at a game you should give it a try.

ROMANS: Gross.

JIMENEZ: That is -- that is awful. That is disgusting.

ROMANS: Oh, just seeing it is just gross. All gross. Everything about it is gross.

JIMENEZ: And a quick shoutout to the Chicago Sky for making it -- advancing in the playoffs.

ROMANS: Oh, good.


ROMANS: OK, good.


ROMANS: Hometown team.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans. Thanks, Andy. Nice to see you.

JIMENEZ: And I'm Omar Jimenez. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ROMANS: That's disgusting.