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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Biden Speech Warns About Political Violence, Fate Of Democracy; Storm To Bring Snow To Western States, Tornado Threat To South; North Korea Suspected Of Launching Failed ICBM; Astros Throw 2nd No-Hitter In World Series History; Obama Gives Boost To Democrats In Battleground States; CNN: Biden Team Planning For 2024 Reelection Bid. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 03, 2022 - 05:00   ET





JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's your choice, it's your decision the fate of the nation, the fate of the soul of America. Wiser it always does with the people.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, on Early Start, what President Biden calls a defining moment for democracy. Air raid sirens pierced the air as North Korea tries and perhaps fails to test a long- range missile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston Astros have a world series no-hitter.

ROMANS: Four Houston pitchers plus nine innings of zeros, it all adds up to baseball history.

Here we go. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans. President Biden about to head to New Mexico to campaign with the governor and other Democrats. He's expected to strike some of the same themes from a blunt speech last night. Mr. Biden warning that American democracy is under dire threat and laying the blame at the feet of his predecessor.


BIDEN: You know American democracy are under attack because the defeated former president of the United States refused to accept the results of the 2020 election. If he refuses to accept the will of the people --


ROMANS: CNN's Jasmine Wright live in Washington this morning. Good morning, Jasmine. So nice to see you. The President, President Biden veering a bit from Democrats 11th hour focus on the economy. He's zeroing in on democracy and the threat to democracy. What's the thinking or the strategy here?

JASMIN WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christine it's a deeply personal message for the President. Remember, he launched his campaign in 2020 focused on saving the soul of America. But clearly after those warnings last night, that goal is far from complete. Now, the President has routinely talked about the soul of America while on the trail for the midterm elections really trying to warn about political violence and about those election deniers on the ballot, something that, of course, he touched on last night. Take a listen.


BIDEN: Their candidates running for every level of office in America for governor, Congress, Attorney General, Secretary of State, who won't commit, they will not commit to accepting the results of election that they're running in. There's a path of chaos in America. It's unprecedented. It's unlawful. And it's un-American.


WRIGHT: So there was President Biden getting to the heart of what he sees as ad stakes in this midterm elections, where voters are carried the final ballot, really in just a few days. Now, of course, it comes at a time where President Biden and his top advisers are trying to reframe the election as a choice between the two parties instead of a referendum on who currently holds power in Congress, which is Democrats.

But the reality is here is that less than a week away from when those final ballots are counted, President Biden is heading to traditionally Democratic safe areas. We'll see him today in New Mexico for Lujan Grisham and then in California for Mike Levin, a representative of Congress who is under a tight race there.

Really as the reality sets here, that Democrats are so much on the offensive that President Biden has to go to two states that he handedly won in 2020 over his predecessor, former President Trump. So we will see President Biden there on the defense for Democrats as they really barreled towards these last days for the midterm elections. Christine?

ROMANS: All right. Jasmine in Washington. Thank you, Jasmine. We know you'll be busy today.

Former President Trump in Iowa tonight, he'll hold a rally at the Sioux City Airport alongside Governor Kim Reynolds and Senator Chuck Grassley, both are Republicans up for reelection, whom he has endorsed. Notably, a new Des Moines Register poll shows a majority of Iowans, 52 percent, now view Trump unfavorably.

A powerful storm moving in from Canada. All 11 Western states are expected to see snow and the system could trigger a tornado threat in the South. Let's get right to Meteorologist Derek Van Dam. How much snow we're talking about here, Derek?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's not going to be measured in inches, it'll be measured in feet. I'll show you those totals in just a second. But let's get what's the most important and that is the severe weather threat that we have for the next couple of days. 35 million Americans under the threat of severe storms that could lead to get these isolated tornadoes.

Sometimes we think springtime the only time we get tornadoes in America. Well, this is the second season typically occurs around late October, early November, and impacts many of the locations across the deep south.

But today's severe weather threat across Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle, that's for later this afternoon and evening. That threat shifts eastward and becomes more enhanced and more localized across portions of eastern Texas including the Dallas Fort Worth region for Friday afternoon and evening.


This is the culprit. It's all thanks to this cold front, interacting with two different air masses, cold air to the West as creating the snow that Christine mentioned. And warm, humid air to the east. You won't believe this. We're talking about over a two times temperature drop today compared to yesterday's daytime high in Rapid City, South Dakota. Incredible.

75 yesterday, 37 today. This cold front means business as it marches eastward. Behind it, it is already producing snowfall in the mountains. We have several inches of snow still to go across this area from Denver to Salt Lake City, already starting to pile up across so many -- some of these mountainous regions.

And we're watching yet another strong system entering the Pacific Northwest. That'll be our next weather maker after this round of severe weather. Christine?

ROMANS: All right. Derek, thank you so much.

All right, the sentencing was a mere formality but a hearing Wednesday gave families and survivors of the Parkland School shooting a chance to confront the convicted gunman, Nikolas Cruz, face to face.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are sad, hurt, lonely, empty and horrified.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I wanted to do was to bring Alyssa back to life. You robbed Alyssa a lifetime of memories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not the physical suffering, it's the fact that I'll have to live with the aftermath of this for the rest of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: After those victim impact statements, the judge sentenced Cruz to 17 life sentences, one for each murder count. She was mandated to follow what the jury decided last month when they did not reach a unanimous recommendation on the death penalty of Cruz.

For the first time in months, North Korea is suspected of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile. Air raid sirens sounded in South Korea and Japan and ICBM is a long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. A government source in South Korea tells CNN the missile test did not go as planned.

CNN's Blake Essig is live in Tokyo. What happened to the missile and what's been the response, Blake?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, as you might expect in response to today's missile tests, North Korea's record 30th of the year, the United States, Japan, and South Korea have all come out and condemned the launch with the United States releasing this statement saying, "This launch is a clear violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, and demonstrates the threat the DPRK's unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs pose to its neighbors, the region, international peace and security, and the global non-proliferation regime."

That condemnation came after Pyongyang launched three ballistic missiles today including two short range and one that South Korean government sources say was an intercontinental ballistic missile. That source says that the ICBM likely failed mid-flight with the failure occurring after it's successfully separated at the second stage before failing or -- excuse me -- falling into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. That means that this ICBM possibly failed in the third and final phase when it's supposed to reenter the atmosphere and strike its target.

Now the South Korean government sources says that the ICBM tested was likely Hwasong-17. The country's most advanced weapon to date that was last tested this past March. Now, this most recent series of missiles fired by North Korea shouldn't come as a surprise after the country's foreign ministry warned of more powerful follow up measures earlier this week if the United States doesn't stop its, quote, "war exercises around the Korean Peninsula," a request that has been ignored by the United States and South Korea.

On Monday, Vigilant Storm, a joint large scale exercise involving hundreds of aircraft and thousands of service members from both the U.S. and South Korea got underway and was extended indefinitely as a result of the recent launches from North Korea, meaning that there could be an even stronger response from Pyongyang coming, Christine. Perhaps that response will be the country's seventh ever nuclear weapons test that many experts believe is imminent.

ROMANS: Wow. All right, Blake, thank you so much. Keep us posted.

Russia is now vowing to only use nuclear weapons under one condition, as a defensive response to an attack that threatens its existence. That statement coming amid growing concern in the West that Vladimir Putin has considered using a tactical nuclear weapon against Ukraine.

Salma Abdelaziz live from Kyiv for us. Salma, what else is Russia saying this morning?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to read you the most critical part of this statement from Russia's foreign ministry, the approach allows for Russia to hypothetically resort to nuclear weapons. And here's the key portion, if there is aggression with the use of conventional weapons that threatens the very existence of the state is in jeopardy.


That is the part that puts a question mark, right? How does Russia define that its existence has been threatened that it is in a state of jeopardy? I'm going to point out why this is concerning. President Putin, of course, illegally annexing four regions of Ukraine, recently, four regions of Ukraine that are not fully under Moscow's control, where Ukrainian soldiers are, of course, trying to win back their lands.

Does that mean that the Kremlin would consider Ukraine fighting back for its own territory to be a threat to the existence of Russia? And, of course, as you mentioned, this comes after we had new reporting this week, multiple sources telling CNN that U.S. intelligence assessments show that Russian generals have already discussed how and when to use tactical nuclear weapons.

Now, there is no evidence that Russia is preparing to use these, but again, this is consistent with the doctrine we've seen come out of the Kremlin time and time again, that President Putin is willing to make that threat. Christine?

ROMANS: And the very existence of the NATO alliance is something that he has raged at, that threatens the existence of Russia and hurts Russia. So we'll see what he means by that.

All right, thank you so much, Salma. Nice to see you.

All right, the Fed is not done yet. Another three-quarter point hike on Wednesday, the fourth in a row. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell making it clear more hikes are coming.


JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR: I don't have any sense that we've over tightened or move too fast. I think it's been good and a successful program. We -- that we've gotten this far this fast. Remember though, that we still think there's a need for ongoing rate increases and we have some ground left to cover here and cover it we will.


ROMANS: The latest hike brings the central bank's benchmark lending rate to a new target range of 3.75 percent to 4 percent. That's the highest Fed funds rate since January of 2008.

All right, the Astros making history last night throwing just the second no-hitter ever in a World Series games. Carolyn Manno has this morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning. Pretty remarkable to think about it. When you think about the fact there's been 688 World Series games that we've only seen this twice now. The last time that happened on Larson's perfect game for the Yankees back in 1956 against the Dodgers and last night's combined no-hitter by the Astros. It was really exciting.

And Cristian Javier was the star, getting the Game 4 start for Houston. His parents flew in from the Dominican Republic, Christine. They told him before the game, God willing, you'll throw a no-hitter and that is exactly what he and his teammates did. Javier striking out nine over six innings including five in a row at one point before he turned it over to the bullpen.

Bryan Abreu in the seventh, Rafael Montero in the eighth, and Ryan Pressly slamming the door shut in the ninth. And the celebrations were officially on. It's the Astros second combined no-hitter of this season. We've seen an uptick in this trend in the regular season and the other was also started by Javier back in June. Houston wins at 5-0 even the series at two.


ALEX BREGMAN, HOUSTON ASTROS THIRD BASEMAN: We grew up watching the World Series. We know that baseball has been going on for a long, long time. So to be a part of just be a teammate on a team that did that. And what Javier and all the guys did was -- is really special. So a moment that we'll all cherish forever.


MANNO: Game 5 is tonight and sports fans in Philly and Houston getting a double the fun. The Eagles and Texans playing on Thursday night football in Houston. Elsewhere in sports this morning, Commanders' owner Daniel Snyder is exploring options to sell his team. Snyder and his wife Tanya announcing yesterday, they've hired Bank of America securities to consider potential transactions for the team.

This move coming after months of interest in this story and the House Oversight Committee accusing the Commanders' owner of fostering a toxic culture in the workplace. Snyder's own the team since 1999. And Forbes has now valued the franchise at $5.6 billion.

And Nets star Kyrie Irving says he's taking responsibility for the way his recent tweet negatively impacted the Jewish community. The post promoted a documentary which featured antisemitic tropes. And in a joint statement last night, Irving said he opposes all forms of hatred and oppression. He is now aware of the negative impact that the post had on the Jewish community before adding that he meant no harm when he made the post. On top of that, Irving and the Nets organization both pledging $500,000 to the Anti-Defamation League. And Kyrie has yet to face any discipline from the team or the NBA, Christine, which a lot of people are calling for including our own Charles Barkley, but just the latest kind of stark reminder of how important it is to be aware of the impact that social media creates.

ROMANS: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, there's no harm in not tweeting it or not pushing it, you know, pushing --

MANNO: Yes, people got to think. You got to think before you do stuff.

ROMANS: Absolutely. All right, nice to see you.

All right, police in the Midwest arrest a man for making a violent threat against a Republican candidate for governor. Plus, Benjamin Netanyahu's come back in Israel, his government could look quite different this time around. And Joe Biden with a different midterm message just days to go. Is it a gamble?



ROMANS: All right, Barack Obama lending his support to the Democratic ticket in Arizona where Senator Mark Kelly and gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs are in tight races. A heckler interrupted him at a rally in Phoenix, that's when he urged voters to rise above the divisive language amplified by social media.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is part of what happens in our politics these days. We get distracted. You got one person yelling and some airbase yelling. You get one tweet that stupid and suddenly everybody's obsessed with the tweet.


ROMANS: Only one tweet that's stupid. There are a lot of stupid tweets. The former president has been crisscrossing the country helping Democrats in key battlegrounds. CNN's Kyung Lah law is in Arizona with more.


OBAMA: Thank you, Nevada.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fresh off in Nevada rally, former President Barack Obama continues on his Westcoast defense. He's headlining in Arizona rally to boost Democratic turnout for incumbent Senator Mark Kelly and gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs.


Polls show both in tight races with Republicans. They want Obama sparkle but not the National Party's issues.

KATTIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA GOV. CANDIDATE: I don't know about my party, but I can tell you that we're talking about the economy to voters every single day. It's one of the top concerns.

LAH (voice-over): With voters overwhelmingly saying the economy is their top issue and Democrats face with an unpopular president at the top, Democrat Josh Shapiro, nominee for Pennsylvania Governor, is creating sunlight between his state and Washington, D.C.

JOSH SHAPIRO (D), PENNSYLVANIA GOV. CANDIDATE: I can't speak for national Democrats or national Republicans. I can speak to what I hear in Pennsylvania every day. And I would just tell you, I think Pennsylvania voters, Republican and Democrat, they know how to walk and chew gum.


LAH (voice-over): Across the battleground states, voters are hearing closing messages in Wisconsin Senate campaign. Incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson attacked his opponent on the campaign trail.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: Mandela Barnes is demonstrating his contempt and disdain for America, certainly for law enforcement. And quite honestly, for Wisconsinites.

LAH (voice-over): While presenting a softer side in his closing message in his ads.

JOHNSON: Aren't you tired of the division, the anger? I know I sure am.

LAH (voice-over): Democrat Mandela Barnes and his final ad chose to go on offense against Johnson.

MANDELA BARNES, CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATOR: And while our costs are rising, he supports a plan that would raise taxes on the middle class. Ron Johnson looks out for himself, not us.


LAH: While former President Obama held a rally here in Phoenix, former President Trump held a telephone rally for the top of the Republican ticket in Arizona, showing once again that control of Congress runs straight through Arizona.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Phoenix.

ROMANS: All right, a lot going on here to these closing arguments.

Let's bring in Margaret Talev, Managing Editor at Axios. Nice to see you this morning in the studio --


ROMANS: -- bright and early. Thank you. We saw the former president in Arizona pleading with voters there. The democracy is at stake next week when they head to the ballot box. And President Biden delivering a similar message, listen.


BIDEN: The typical year, we're often not faced with questions of whether the vote we cast will preserve democracy or put us at risk. But this year, we are. This year, I hope you'll make the future of our democracy, an important part of your decision to vote and how you vote.


ROMANS: Will that message, I guess, energize Democrats in the final hours?

TALEV: I mean, it's a big question. And, look, let's not be totally cynical here. Like I think Biden really means it. Obama really means it. The Paul Pelosi attack has brought this back into focus in a way that it might not have been otherwise. But since January 6, this has been like an insane thing happened in this country.

ROMANS: Right.

TALEV: We still haven't. None of us have figured out what to do about it. And it's deeply concerning to many politicians, including Republican politicians who don't want to talk about it in the closing days of the campaign. But setting aside, I think, the actual concern about it, there is some strategy here.

And part of it is the idea that it could energize the base, part of it is the idea that there are some moderate voters, some old line Republicans who are like, I believe more in Republican policies, but I just -- I am not, you know --

ROMANS: Right.

TALEV: -- I'm not for January 6, and the idea that Biden has always wanted to be able to bring Trump back into it and make this a comparison between him or the alternative. And the alternative to him being the sort of Trump and MAGA thing, rather than it being a referendum on Biden, and the economy. And so all of those things are coming into play now with this argument.

The question is, is it going to resonate with voters? Is it going to distract from the -- like, closing message is going to be abortion, and then it was going to be the economy. And now it's, you know, democracy. Can they throw three things at the wall? Does it matter? Has everybody voted? Is everyone going to vote? Nobody knows.

ROMANS: Right.

TALEV: The polling is too close to predict anything. It's --

ROMANS: The only polling does not close is that the economy is the issue number one, right? TALEV: 100 percent.

ROMANS: I mean, more than 51 percent think that the economy is the most important issue. We have also we have seen reporting that the Biden team making plans for 2020 for reelection bid, you know, what do you think he's weighing in this decision?

TALEV: Yes. So Axios had Anita Dunn at a special event yesterday, and we talked to her about this. And she basically said, like, don't read too much into it, it would be malpractice if we weren't preparing for another --

ROMANS: Of course.

TALEV: -- 2024 launch. I think that's part of it. But both of these men, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have a lot riding on these elections. If President Biden loses both chambers of Congress, it will say something different about his leadership than if they just lose one chamber of Congress or if a miracle for the Democrats happens there was nothing.


If Republicans win a majority or two majorities without Donald Trump's candidates, that means something very different than if they do it with Donald Trump's candidate. So for both of these men, announcements could be forthcoming in days, weeks, months, you know, depends.


TALEV: We don't know. There's a lot at stake for 2024, as well as for the immediate question of who's going to control Congress.

ROMANS: All right, Margaret Talev, always nice to see you. Thank you so much.

TALEV: Thanks.

ROMANS: All right, quick hits from across America now. Chicago man charged with threatening Darren Bailey, the Republican candidate for governor in Illinois, in a voicemail message. Police say 21-year-old Scott Lennox called Bailey Chicago office, threatening to mutilate and kill Bailey and his family.

A U.N. Climate report says the world-famous glaciers in both Yellowstone and Yosemite National Park are among those on track to disappear in less than 30 years due to climate change.

Campus impostor who'd been living in a dorm at Stanford University for a year has finally been caught. Police say, William Curry was found out after he was caught stealing a TV from the dormitory basement.

All right, Brazil's defeated president sending a message to his supporters who are blocking highways and protest. And Italy's new leader cracking down hard on illegal raves.