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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin
Man In Custody After Trying To Shoot Argentina's Vice President; Russia's Lukoil Chair Dies After Fall From Window In Moscow; U.N. Nuclear Experts Visit Zaporizhzhia Plant Amid Shelling. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired September 02, 2022 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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JLA TOMLJANOVIC, RANKED WORLD NO. 46: I think it's hard to block out when she's standing across the net and, like, I know who she is -- no matter the fact that I've been a Serena fan since I was a kid. On Friday night, I'll just be a competitor and I'll try my best to win, but it will definitely be something I have never experienced yet.
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CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The path is wide open, dare I say it, for Serena to make a magical run to the finals here. I mean, this year's Wimbledon runner-up, Ons Jabeur, is really the next big name that she would face with a win tonight, and that potential match would be in the quarter-finals.
She might meet up with Coco after that. I mean, the number one seeded player in the tournament, Iga Swiatek, is formidable. She's on the other side of the draw. But we hope she can get it done tonight.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I read a headline -- I think it was in the Journal but I'm not sure -- that said there's an exciting underdog at the U.S. Open and her name is Serena, you know?
MANNO: Exactly, it's palpable -- a 50-1 longshot coming into the tournament.
ROMANS: I know. I love it.
All right, nice to see you, Carolyn Manno.
MANNO: You, too.
ROMANS: All right. Next, Argentina's vice president comes this close to being assassinated in public. And the mysterious death of a Russian oil executive who fell from a window in Moscow.
[05:35:40] ROMANS: Dramatic video shows the moment a would-be assassin tried to shoot Argentina's vice president.
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A would-be assassin tries to shoot Argentina's Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
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ROMANS: Wow. That was outside Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's home in Buenos Aires. So, the gun was loaded, the trigger was pulled, but no bullets fired. The man was taken into custody a few seconds later. The vice president was not hurt. Simply amazing.
All right, the chairman of Russian oil and gas giant Lukoil, which had urged a speedy end to the war in Ukraine, has died under mysterious circumstances.
CNN's Anna Stewart has more.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (on camera): This death is raising questions. Now, according to Russian state media, Ravil Maganov died after falling out of a sixth-floor window of a hospital. A law enforcement source told RIA Novosti this was an apparent suicide.
Lukoil confirmed the death of its chairman with a statement but made no mention of the fall, saying he had passed away following a severe illness.
Now, one of the reasons the cause of death is being questioned is the company that Maganov worked for. Lukoil is Russia's second-biggest oil company and it took a public stand against the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine.
In March, the board of directors published this statement, saying they express herewith their deepest concerns about the tragic events in Ukraine. "Calling for the soonest termination of the armed conflict, we express our sincere empathy for all victims who are affected by this tragedy. We strongly support a lasting ceasefire and a settlement of problems through serious negotiations and diplomacy."
The founder, CEO, and major shareholder resigned from the company the following month.
Then, in May, another Lukoil executive, Aleksandr Subbotin, died. Now, according to Russian state media outlet TASS, he died of a heart attack. His body was reportedly found in the home of a shaman who performed Jamaican voodoo rituals. And it's alleged Subbotin was seeking a hangover cure. Mysterious, to say the least.
Add to that at least five more deaths of Russian businessmen this year. All reportedly died by suicides. Three are also alleged of killing members of their families before taking their own lives. Four of the businessmen had associations with Russia's state energy company Gazprom or one of its subsidiaries.
For now, the international community can only speculate on this latest death of Lukoil's chairman.
Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
ROMANS: OK, thank you, Anna, for that.
Now, we're hearing more about that harrowing mission to a nuclear power plant in the middle of a war zone. More than a dozen U.N. inspectors checking the reactors at Zaporizhzhia while mortar shells fell nearby.
CNN's Melissa Bell joins us live from Kyiv, Ukraine. And, Melissa, thank you so much for being here this morning.
You know, CNN has learned that some members of the team are still there. What can you tell us?
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Rafael Grossi himself, the head of that IAEA mission that, as you say, Christine, had gone through what was increased levels of shelling and violence around the Zaporizhzhia power plant to get there -- he only spent, himself, about four hours inside. But crucially, he left behind five members of his team who are going to continue asking questions, trying to get to the bottom of what's been going on. And they will produce a much more detailed report into what damage has been done or not to the power plant so far.
But more importantly, perhaps, his plan is to leave a permanent mission inside the plant. And that is crucial because it isn't just that it's been at the heart of so much shelling, lying, as it does, of course, Christine, on an active front line and one that has only tended to grow more tense around the plant itself over the course of the last few days. The idea is that by having that permanent mission you're going to have people who, after all, are engineers -- specialists in nuclear power who are able to see exactly what's going on.
And as Rafael Grossi said yesterday, the international community -- because this is, of course, the U.N.'s watchdog -- finds itself now in position. That changes everything. So we await the more detailed report.
In the meantime, we've had the usual accusations from the part of the Ukrainian nuclear provider about the fact that they fear that these inspectors are not going to be provided with a full picture of what's going on in the plant.
We've been hearing from the Russian authorities in charge of the region now saying that there has been continued Ukrainian shelling, but saying that it had fallen a little bit. And I think that's the point. By the very presence of these inspectors, at least some of the fog of war will be dispelled and with any luck, a bit more peace and quiet around the plant restored, Christine.
ROMANS: Yes, indeed. All right, thank you -- especially for all those people who live around that plant who are so terrified. Thank you so much. Melissa Bell in Kyiv for us this morning.
All right. Ahead on "NEW DAY," how did a voting machine end up being sold on eBay? And New York police pushing back on this violent confrontation during an arrest.
ROMANS: All right, welcome back. It is Friday. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.
Looking at markets around the world, in China, one of the worst earning seasons ever. Profit fell for more than 500 firms. You can see it's closed now for the week. In Europe, opening higher here -- a bounce there.
And on Wall Street, stock index futures barely moving here. That's totally indecisive ahead of a big Fed report in a few hours. Stock futures flat here after that Powell pummeling petered out. Stocks had tanked for four days after the Fed chief warned that more aggressive rates hikes are coming.
The Dow and the S&P snapping a 4-day slide with a late market rally Thursday. Nasdaq recovering most of its losses but still ended down.
Gas prices fell once again overnight, now down to $3.81 per gallon. We've seen 11 straight weeks of gas declines -- the longest drop in prices since 2018.
All right. The main event today, the August jobs report. Economists forecast 300,000 jobs added with the unemployment rate holding steady at 3 1/2 percent. That would be a strong report.
Joining me now, Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for bankrate.com. Mark, we had this headline on CNN Business yesterday -- quote, "The economy is starting to cool but the job market is like an inferno."
We saw jobless claims yesterday -- they fell to the lowest level in two months. You're not seeing mass layoffs even though you hear from time to time about layoffs in tech and in real estate and retail. But overall, this is a very strong job market, isn't it?
MARK HAMRICK, SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST, BANKRATE.COM (via Webex by Cisco): It sure is, Christine. We'll see whether that fire begins to perhaps not be so ferocious with this release this morning. That's why it's just so important.
And to put that 300,000 number -- the payroll number that is expected this morning that tells us the total number of jobs that will have been added in August -- 300,000 compares with 528,000 in the month of July. And a monthly average, so far this year, of 471,000. In pre- pandemic times we would have been, I would say, content with 250,000. So, that's that fire burning that you're talking about there.
ROMANS: Yes. A 3 1/2 percent jobless rate matches the lowest since Nixon was president. I saw a forecast from Goldman Sachs. They think it could tick down to 3.4 percent.
Wait a minute -- but this is not what the Fed wants to see. I mean, the Fed needs to see cooling in the economy, not red-hot in the labor market.
HAMRICK: Well said. And, you know, the latest number that we got on the number of job openings -- 11.2 million job openings in this country -- against what we got at last count, 5.7 million unemployed. We're back to two open jobs for every single unemployed individual.
And so, I think that as much as the Fed is concerned about inflation -- and we know it's mighty concerned as we got that sort of brushback pitch, if that's what we can call it, last Friday with Chairman Powell preparing us for pain and for rising interest rates -- I think that they're looking at the job market every bit as much. Because that is a source of a disconnect between supply and demand in our economy.
ROMANS: Yes, and that disconnect between supply and demand means wage growth, right, and people are making more money, although inflation is eating up their wage growth in many cases.
But how does this red-hot labor market feed into the inflation story?
HAMRICK: Well, because, for example, we're expecting to see an increase in average hourly earnings this morning of better than five percent. And so, if we just look at that number alone -- remember the Federal Reserve's target, as you know well, Christine -- is annual inflation of two percent. And, of course, the CPI -- the Consumer Price Index well above that.
So, what the Fed does not want to see is unanchored inflation expectations where workers are looking at inflation broadly and saying well, maybe I got a five percent raise this year --
HAMRICK: -- maybe, in part, because I'm getting a new job. But I need to get a 10 percent raise. And so, at that point, they know they're getting their job done.
ROMANS: A quick question for borrowers who -- I mean, you work at bankrate.com. I mean, where do you see mortgage rates, for example, heading into the end of the year? They're still going to go higher?
HAMRICK: Well, if it's true that we believe the worst of inflation is behind us, and that is yet to be truly confirmed, then we may well have seen a peak in mortgage interest rates.
HAMRICK: So I think that -- I think there's a prospect that we could get some relief on that front, Christine.
ROMANS: All right. Mortgage rates run around 5.55 percent right now compared with under three a year ago, so people are really feeling it.
Mark Hamrick, bankrate.com, thank you so much. Nice to see you.
HAMRICK: Thank you, Christine.
ROMANS: All right. Just ahead, what voters in President Biden's hometown think about forgiving student debt. And a business on the brink. Can Bed Bath & Beyond be saved?
ROMANS: All right, Bed Bath & Beyond is struggling to survive. It's closing 150 stores, it's cutting 20 percent of its corporate staff. This is a last-ditch effort to save itself from bankruptcy.
CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn joins me now. He covers all things retail for us. So nice to see you.
What happened to Bed Bath & Beyond? I mean, I saw it was like a target of meme people for a while and was moving 20 percent up and down, but there are fundamental problems with this company.
NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: So, Bed Bath & Beyond was a beloved retailer I think 10-20 years ago.
MEYERSOHN: Whenever you were going back to school, you were moving apartments, or you were having a baby, you're going to Bed Bath & Beyond.
Today, the company is in deep trouble. The stock is trading under $10.00 a share. It's on bankruptcy watch. Target, Amazon, Walmart, Costco -- they have just eaten away at Bed Bath & Beyond's business and we'll see if they can recover.
ROMANS: There is a strategy to try to turn it around here?
MEYERSOHN: So, they're closing 150 stores, they're laying off 20 percent of their corporate employees. Their strategy is to shrink. They're too big right now.
MEYERSOHN: They have too many stores. But I think it's an open question whether they can do it. One analyst told me that their moves are like rearranging chairs on the Titanic.
ROMANS: Let's talk about retail at large. What are businesses saying and telling you about the consumer right now? I know many of them have too much stuff, right? The consumer has changed its wants just like that, so they're full of inventory.
MEYERSOHN: Right. So you think back a year ago to the last holiday shopping season shortages. Retailers were telling consumers to buy early. The situation has been completely reversed now. Now they have too much stuff.
You see Walmart, Kohl's, Gap, Target -- their inventory levels are up 20-30 percent from the same time --
MEYERSOHN: -- a year ago.
ROMANS: Wait -- is that good for us?
MEYERSOHN: That is great for us because it means discounts, Christine. How are the retailers going to unload all that stuff? They're going to -- they're going to pass it off to consumers in the form of discounts.
ROMANS: So that's good. That must be good for inflation longer-term, I guess. These companies then have to cut prices.
MEYERSOHN: Yes, they're cutting prices. They're going to be cutting prices on a lot of the stuff that we've already bought -- televisions, clothing. So you think back to earlier -- early in the pandemic. These were very popular purchases.
ROMANS: Yes, loungewear sets. Like, we bought three pairs of loungy pajama sets when we were working from home. Now we're going back to work.
MEYERSOHN: Right, exactly.
So we see consumers -- they're pulling -- they're pulling back on buying some of the discretionary purchases. They're strained right now by inflation. They're focusing on paying for gas and groceries. That's really taking a bite of shoppers' wallets.
ROMANS: So they are responding to this excess inventory problem by a couple of different things. There's a pack-and-hold. It sounds like a wild west term but what does that mean?
MEYERSOHN: Pack-and-hold. So, you see -- OK, so the retailers have too much stuff right now. So the CEOs of -- the executives at Carter's, and Gap, and Kohl's, and other retailers say they're going to hold on to this inventory. They're going to pack it away. They're going to store it away until next year and try to sell it. So the stuff that they've bought now is going to be on the shelves in a year instead of being discounted.
ROMANS: So what are their choices? They can either just get rid of stuff. They can sell it to discounters. They can hold it to sell it later. They can destroy it. Those are the things. They have that much inventory they have to do
some combination of that.
MEYERSOHN: That is -- that's exactly right. That is the playbook. It's pack-and-hold, it's send it off to the T.J. Maxx's and to the Burlington's -- the discount stores, or it's promote, promote, promote on your shelves.
All right, Nathaniel Meyersohn. So nice to see you. We'll have you back again soon.
ROMANS: Pack-and-hold -- you heard it here -- and discounts for you, frankly, for the holiday season.
All right. Americans are experiencing tip fatigue as the cost of living rises due to, of course, surging inflation. Inflation at 40- year highs. Experts explain that Americans were feeling generous during the pandemic and intended to tip more. But now, consumer habits haven't changed much.
Tipping 20 percent at sit-down restaurants still the standard. But when it comes to point-of-sale consumers, people are -- or customers are tipping less. Coffee shop tips have fallen to just over 15 percent. And tips for take-out are now down to 14.5 percent on average, after climbing during the pandemic.
All right. NASA says it is gearing up to launch its Artemis 1 moon mission tomorrow, but there's still no guarantee liftoff will happen. Officials say Monday's attempted launch was scrubbed due to two leaks that have since -- they've been able to resolve them. There was a crack in the foam of the large core stage tank that is of greater concern. However, they say they are comfortable taking some risks.
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MIKE SARAFIN, NASA'S ARTEMIS 1 MISSION MANAGER: So, we reviewed our risk acceptance rationale and our overall risk posture, and we are setting up for a launch attempt on September the third, Saturday. And we have -- we're comfortable with our flight rationale and risk acceptance there.
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ROMANS: All right. Are you planning a watch party? Because NASA says it also expects the weather to be 60 percent favorable for a launch. Very cool -- Artemis 1.
Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend, everybody. I'll be back on "NEW DAY" very soon with that jobs report. I'm Christine Romans. "NEW DAY" starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies. But together -- together, we can choose a different path.
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JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The President of the United States says equality and democracy are under assault. By whom? In his mind, it is Donald Trump and his supporters.
I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.
And, President Biden took direct aim at what he calls MAGA extremism. Biden says it is threatening the soul of the nation and fanning the flames of political violence.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: With Philadelphia's Independence Hall as a backdrop and flanked by two Marines, he framed the critical midterm.