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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Herschel Walker Continues To Deny Abortion Reporting; Some Floridians Frustrated With Pace Of Government Response To Hurricane Ian; Sources: Hunter Biden Could Face Tax And Gun Charges. Aired 5:30- 6a ET

Aired October 07, 2022 - 05:30   ET



GREG VALLIERE, CHIEF U.S. STRATEGIST, AGF INVESTMENTS (via Skype): With the energy industry, it could help.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Greg Valliere. Nice to see you this morning. Thanks for getting up early for us, Greg.


ROMANS: All right. In the home stretch of a tight Georgia Senate race, Herschel Walker is in full damage control mode. The Republican, taking a page from the Trump playbook, denying the reports he paid for a woman's abortion, and now denying that woman who he claims not to have known is the mother of one of his children.

We get more from CNN's Eva McKend.


HERSCHEL WALKER, (R) GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: You don't quit. You keep going. You keep getting up.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): A defiant Herschel Walker on day four of the budding allegations that have rocked his campaign for Senate.

H. WALKER: I'm not deterred and I'm not scared, and I'm not going to back done. The stakes are way, way too high.

MCKEND (voice-over): Taking the stage Thursday at an event in Wadley, Georgia, the candidate made no mention of the latest development from The Daily Beast but, once again, faced questions about the report he paid for his then-girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009, and the new reporting that the woman says she is the mother of one of his children, according to the site.

H. WALKER: This here -- the abortion thing -- is false. It's a lie.

MCKEND (voice-over): CNN has not independently verified the allegations reported by The Daily Beast.

Earlier today, Walker appeared on a conservative radio program to defend himself.

H. WALKER: If that had happened, I would have -- I would have said it because there's nothing to be ashamed of there.


MCKEND (voice-over): Walker also asked about his son Christian's comments earlier this week, calling his father a liar and making a series of accusations against him.

H. WALKER: I will always love him no matter what my son says.

MCKEND (voice-over): With a little over a month until the midterms and locked in a tight race against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock, Republicans facing questions about Walker's path to victory after the latest revelations.

LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN, (R) GEORGIA: I think every Republican knew that there was baggage out there and -- but the weight of that baggage is starting to feel a little closer to unbearable at this point.

MCKEND (voice-over): The former NFL star brushing aside those concerns.

H. WALKER: People told me I couldn't play football, so do you want me to listen to someone like that? I'm here to win the seat for the Georgia people because the Georgia people need a winner.


MCKEND (voice-over): Walker allies say they want to see him give a more Trumpian response to the allegations. Many supporters say they simply believe him.

ROB HOLLEY, GEORGIA VOTER: I take Herschel for his word. If he says that it didn't happen, I believe it didn't happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe Herschel and I do not believe he's lying.

MCKEND (voice-over): Meanwhile, the Warnock campaign up with a new T.V. ad --

WARNOCK T.V. AD: New details tonight about accusations that continue to follow Senate candidate Herschel Walker.

MCKEND (voice-over): -- part of a sustained effort by Democrats to highlight Walker's turbulent past, even as they avoid focusing on the latest allegations.

MCKEND (on camera): At least publicly, the Walker campaign really maintaining confidence, suggesting this entire episode has been a fundraising boost. The next big test for them, though, a crucial debate between Walker and Sen. Warnock next week in Savannah, Georgia.

Eva McKend, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: All right, Eva. Thank you for that report.

Just ahead, another Republican Trump critic quitting the Senate. And next, the daunting task of finding help after Hurricane Ian.



ROMANS: The death toll is growing and so are the frustrations now more than a week after Hurricane Ian's devastating landfall. At least 131 deaths are now blamed on this storm and some survivors say the help they need isn't coming fast enough.

CNN's Leyla Santiago reports.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the line for help -- help for people like Mary Fernandes.

MARY FERNANDES, FORT MYERS BEACH RESIDENT: It's pretty awful. We lost a mobile home and everything in it.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): She arrived early, hoping to talk to FEMA in time to make it to a scheduled surgery she's been waiting for two months for. On top of that, in a week, she has to leave the place where she's staying.

FERNANDES: We just have to wait and see and hope that they can give us something that we can go stay somewhere. We have no home.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): In line in front of her, Susan.

SUSAN TADEY, FORT MYERS RESIDENT: The roof is gone, the shed's gone, the lanai is gone, and my car got flooded.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): And way behind them, Mary Broomfield.

MARY BROOMFIELD, HARLEM HEIGHTS, FLORIDA RESIDENT: The sad part about it is I have yet to see a government official or anyone that come -- came into our community.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): It's a one-stop shop set up by FEMA. Here, you'll find the federal government, state agencies, insurance companies. You'll also find long lines under the hot sun, as well as overwhelming emotions and needs of all kinds mounting frustrations.

BROOMFIELD: My patience is gone. People in my community -- they lost everything.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): FEMA says it will open other disaster recovery centers like this one on Fort Myers. Nearly 2,800 FEMA staff are supporting Ian response efforts across the west coast of Florida where Ian hit. But still, some of these people feel they've been left behind.

BROOMFIELD: I don't have to live on Sanibel or Fort Myers Beach to be one of the people that they care about. Because to me, that feat seems like that's all they care about at this point.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): We went to Mary Broomfield's neighborhood, Harlem Heights, where the loss is on display on every road.

PASTOR TERRY MOBLEY, THE CHURCH OF HARLEM HEIGHTS: Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach, McGregor Boulevard, Marco Island -- nothing about Harlem Heights. So we felt -- definitely felt left out.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): There are distribution points run mostly by nonprofits.

MOBLEY: We are trying to provide and meet the basic needs of the people of my community.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): As for Mary Fernandes, she never made it to the front of the line. She left when she realized she ran out of time in order to make it to her surgery.


Time is now critical for those with dire needs a week after Ian left these people devastated, still waiting for help.

SANTIAGO (on camera): And remember, this week, President Biden was here in Florida. He asked people to be patient with the response. But as we have been here talking to people, it is clear patience is wearing thin.

Now, a bit of an update. I was able to catch up with Susan as she was leaving. She had a new cell phone. She said that the insurance company is going to help her out with getting a car so she can get back to work. And FEMA will be helping her with housing.

Leyla Santiago, CNN, Fort Myers, Florida.


ROMANS: All right, Leyla. Thank you.

The new numbers on jobs in America are due less than three hours from now. Live coverage here on CNN. And the scandal surrounding Hunter Biden. What prosecutors now say about possible charges.



ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this Friday morning. Looking at markets around the world, markets in China are closed for a holiday. Europe has opened slightly higher here. And on Wall Street, stock index futures are really mixed.

It was another choppy day in the stock market yesterday. In the end, the S&P and the Dow fell by more than one percent.

The big question now, will the jobs report today show the Fed's medicine is working and red-hot jobs growth is starting to cool? The U.S. economy forecasts to add 250,000 jobs. That would be strong by historical standards but down from August.

The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.7 percent. You know, weekly jobless claims have remained historically low, underscoring how employers are holding on tightly to employees.

Gas prices climbing just over two pennies overnight, now at $3.89 a gallon, as OPEC cuts production by two million barrels.

The critical thing here now is slowing job growth. That's what the Fed wants to see in its crusade to rein in inflation. If it does show 250,000 jobs added last month as expected, that would be the smallest monthly gain in nearly two years. But a sharp drop in job openings would be welcomed by the Federal Reserve as it fights to cool persistently high inflation.

I want to bring in chief economist at Morning Consult, John Leer. Good morning, John.

JOHN LEER, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MORNING CONSULT (via Webex by Cisco): Good morning. Good to be with you.

ROMANS: Jobs day. What's the best scenario here -- the best-case scenario here for the jobs report?

LEER: It's a very challenging time right now because we're trying to balance two sort of competing interests. One, of course, is to provide workers -- continue to provide workers new jobs. On the other hand, if the jobs report comes in red-hot, I do think you're likely to see the Federal Reserve act more aggressively than they've already communicated to the market.

The consensus estimate right now of something like 250,000 new jobs would be really encouraging. On top of that, I think looking at the labor force participation rate is going to be absolutely critical because the more workers that come in and start looking for work -- essentially, that's going to cool down the jobs market even without having to experience additional layoffs.

ROMANS: Yes. I completely agree with you on that labor force participation rate. And it sounds a little wonky but all of these people who are on the sidelines are not counted, kind of, in the labor market. But when they start coming in, that could raise the unemployment rate. So you could actually have an unemployment rate rising, which is what the Fed wants to see, but not mass layoffs. That would be an amazing outcome. LEER: Yes, that's -- that is the Goldilocks scenario.

I think right now it remains someone unlikely. We saw an improvement in the labor force participation rate last year -- sorry, last month, with additional folks coming in and starting to look for work. We continue to see in a lot of our data that folks who are outside the labor market cite some of these structural barriers to coming back in and looking for work -- access to affordable childcare, health concerns, lingering COVID concerns.

So I do think there are real barriers to getting that labor force participation rate --


LEER: -- fully back to where it was pre-pandemic.

ROMANS: Yes. There's a lot of timing issues here going on for families that is really a problem for the labor market, and that has been going on for a couple of years now.

If this is a weak number, would that maybe signal the Fed might be able to pivot a little bit? Because it's six months now since they've been raising interest rates so we should start to see the effects of higher rates at some point in the labor market soon.

LEER: You're exactly right. Now is really when we would start to see, and I think that's the right way to think about it, is the fourth quarter of 2022 and really the first quarter of 2023. It's the first time that we would theoretically start to see the impact of higher interest rates on hiring.

I don't think the Fed is likely to pivot anytime soon. In fact, we saw some statements out in the last few days of Fed governors just speaking to their determination and resolve to keep interest rates high for a prolonged period of time.

You know, it's just -- I think the important thing to keep in mind is that today's number is just one number.


LEER: It's part of a broader trend. It will likely be revised as all numbers are revised from the government.

And on top of that, what ultimately the Federal Reserve cares about is core price inflation.

ROMANS: Right.

LEER: And so, what they're really doing is looking at this as an indicator of what price inflation might do going forward.

ROMANS: And we have big inflation numbers next week, right? So you're right. Every single one of these data points is -- it takes on outside -- sized importance because of where we are here. I want you to listen to the former Treasury secretary Larry Summers. He says a recession is more likely than not -- listen.


LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY: I think it's more likely than not that sometime in the next year or 18 months we will have a recession. I think that's a -- that's a consequence of the excesses that the economy has been through. And historical experience suggests that the kind of inflation we have rarely returns to normal levels -- to target levels of around two percent without some kind of recession.


ROMANS: We are -- John, we are still far from two percent inflation. I mean, we're six points away from two percent inflation here. There's a lot of work still to do.


LEER: There is a lot of work still to do and I think that it's going to be very, very difficult, in fact, for the Federal Reserve to know when it's going to be time to sort of take their foot off the brake before driving the economy into a recession. I think that's what Professor Summers there was referencing.

I agree, in general, that we are going to be headed for a year of extreme economic uncertainty. I think we're going to see that first and foremost in Europe and probably in China. The question will be to what extent do some of those concerns spill over into the United States. And then, again, for how long will the Federal Reserve have to keep interest rates elevated in order to get inflation under control, and can they do that without essentially sucking everything --


LEER: -- out of the economy.

ROMANS: A year of extreme economic uncertainty. John Leer has warned us all. That means we'll be -- you'll be back soon so we can try to parse it all together.

LEER: My pleasure -- yes. Looking forward to it.

ROMANS: Thank you, chief economist for Morning Consult. Thanks, John.

All right, Hunter Biden could be looking at multiple criminal charges. Sources say prosecutors believe they have enough evidence to charge the president's son with failing to properly report his income and making false statements on paperwork to purchase a firearm.

The U.S. attorney for Delaware will decide whether to file those charges. A decision not expected before the midterm elections.

The Biden administration is staring down possible nuclear threats from both North Korea and Russia right now. Live coverage and analysis next on "NEW DAY." And pardons for pot possession. Joe Biden's new move weeks before the midterms.



ROMANS: All right, week five of the NFL season kicking off last night without -- with new concussion protocols in place.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Christine.

So, we were expecting to hear from the NFL and the Players Association on the new protocol rules when it comes to concussions before this week's games. It started but we actually did not.

And very early on in the Broncos-Colts game last night we saw a player exhibit gross motor instability. And Nyheim Hines taking a blow to the head after catching that pass. He stumbled while trying to get up and had to be helped by his teammates. Hines did not return to the game after being diagnosed with a concussion.

Now, the NFL is working on new rules that will forbid any player who exhibits gross motor instability from returning to the game no matter what.

Now, as for the rest of the game, it was a rough one, especially for Russell Wilson. The Broncos trying to put the game away late in the fourth but Wilson throws an interception in the end zone. Broncos fans just couldn't believe it.

The game would go to overtime. And in the extra period, down three, instead of tying the game with a field goal on fourth and one, the Broncos went for it, and Wilson's pass was broken up. For the first time this season, a game has no touchdowns.

The Colts win 12-9.


RUSSELL WILSON, DENVER BRONCOS QUARTERBACK: I let the team down tonight. And the good thing is the one thing I know about myself is I'm going to respond. I don't know any other way.


SCHOLES: All right. Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, meanwhile, speaking with the media yesterday. He did not address any of the rumors surrounding his private life right now but he was asked about if it's difficult staying focused on football.


TOM BRADY, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS QUARTERBACK: I think football always has its challenges in different ways for everybody at different times. So, you know, it's work and everyone has different challenges. You deal with it the best way you can.


SCHOLES: All right, baseball's playoffs get underway later today with the new best-of-three wildcard round. The Rays and the Guardians are going to lead things off just after noon eastern. You've got four games today and tomorrow. All three games of the wild card round are going to take place at the team with the higher seed in this new format.

All right, and finally, the basketball world continues to just be in awe of French teenager Victor Wembanyama. The 18-year-old is 7-foot- four and he's like a Kevin Durant-Dikembe Mutombo hybrid. He was just dominant in the two games he played in the Las Vegas area week.

Even LeBron says Wembanyama is something he's never seen before.


LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD: Everybody's been a unicorn over the last few years, but he's more like an alien. He's, for sure, a generational talent.

VICTOR WEMBANYAMA, POTENTIAL NO. 1 NBA DRAFT PICK: It's obviously an honor to see such great people talk like this about me. But it's -- it really doesn't change anything. I was like oh, that's cool, but no more. Like, I try to stay focused. I mean, because the thing is I didn't do anything yet.


SCHOLES: Yes, and here's Wembanyama next to his friend and fellow countryman, T-Wolves center Rudy Gobert. Gobert is 7-foot-one.

And, you know, Christine, we've seen NBA teams tank during the season to try to get a high draft pick. It is going to be the tank-off of all tank-offs this NBA season as teams try to get that top pick --


SCHOLES: -- to get Wembanyama.

ROMAN: He is really -- I mean, good for him to stay focused. Learn from the old guys but stay focused and prove yourself on the -- on the court.

Nice to see you, Andy. Have a great weekend.

SCHOLES: All right, you too.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining me. I'm Christine Romans. "NEW DAY" picks it up right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I am Brianna Keilar with John Berman. And we begin with President Biden's blunt assessment warning the world could face Armageddon if Vladimir Putin uses nuclear weapons as Russia faces setbacks in Ukraine. The president's chilling remarks now sharpening the stakes with the Russian leader.

Biden telling a group of Democrats at a fundraiser last night, quote, "We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis. I don't think there's any.