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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Biden, NATO Hold Emergency Talks After Alleged Russian-Made Missile Kills Two in Poland; Russia Denies Poland Missile Blast; Successful Launch of NASA's Artemis 1 Moon Rocket; Former President Trump Announces White House Bid for 2024; Rick Scott to Challenge Mitch McConnell for GOP Leadership; Missile That Hit Poland Possibly Ukrainian. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 16, 2022 - 05:00   ET




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I'm going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Was the Russian made missile that landed in Poland fired from Russia? President Biden doesn't think so.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.


ROMANS: Donald Trump running again but this time as a twice impeached election loser with plenty of legal baggage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boosters and ignition. And liftoff of Artemis 1.


ROMANS: Right now a NASA rocket is streaking through space launching a new era of moon exploration.

All right. Good morning. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans.

President Biden coming out of an emergency meeting with top U.S. allies last night promising an investigation to figure out who launched a Russian-made missile that exploded inside Poland, a NATO ally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: We agree to support Poland's investigation into the explosion in rural Poland near the Ukrainian border, and I'm going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened. Our empathy simply goes out to apparently two people who were killed and then we're going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed. There was total unanimity among the folks at the table.


ROMANS: Biden made the remarks in his final hours at the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia. That's where we are joined live this morning by CNN's Kevin Liptak.

Kevin, so nice to see you. The president also said this about the Russian-made missile that landed in Poland. Listen.


BIDEN: It's unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia but we'll see.


ROMANS: What do you know about that assessment? This is a measured response so far from the United States.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, incredibly cautious, the president was there. And I think that's because of the enormous implications of what this would mean. The president says it was unlikely that this missile originated in Russia. Now there are two countries in this region that are using Russian-made missiles in this conflict. One is Russia and one is Ukraine.

And so certainly these leaders when they met behind closed doors today did go over the assessments of what they knew about where this missile originated. And what American officials say is that they have pretty good intelligence on this sort of thing. They can track these missiles' trajectory, where they began, obviously where they ended. Now a White House National Security Council spokesperson earlier today said that they were going to support Poland in its investigation.

Certainly they want to allow that investigation to proceed, and as we understand it, that is still very much underway on the ground collecting pieces from this missile, trying to put it back together to see exactly what happened. And these leaders will want to be sure they are absolutely certain they know where this missile came from before they come out and say so officially.

Now the reason for that is because Poland is a member of NATO and if Russia were to have launched a strike that landed in Poland, that could potentially evoke NATO Article 5, which is the Collective Defense Treaty, an attack on one is an attack on all. And that would be an enormous escalation of this conflict and President Biden certainly doesn't want to do that unless he's absolutely positive that that is what happened. Now we do know that NATO ambassadors are meeting in Brussels today.

This intelligence will also be discussed at that meeting as well. They are considering evoking Article 4. You hear a lot about Article 5. Article 4 is the Treaty of Mutual Conference -- Mutual Consultation. So they will want to talk with each other about what the next steps are. President Biden is on his flight back to Washington. It's a 24- hour flight. But this is certainly something that he will be talking about plenty with his National Security aides and potentially with other leaders before he gets back to D.C. -- Christine.

ROMANS: And this has been a big fear for months that you have a conflict right now on the doorstep of Europe, with Russia the aggressor, Ukraine fighting for its survival, and that a missile or rocket could go awry and trigger this kind of crisis here. This has been a fear for some time.

All right, Kevin Liptak, thank you so much. We know you'll continue following it for us.


World leaders are also holding emergency talks right now at NATO headquarters in Brussels. CNN's Melissa Bell is there live.

Melissa, to be clear, we don't know where the missile was fired from and it did hit NATO territory. What are you hearing about talks there?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, those talks have gotten underway here. And what we're talking about here, Christine, are the 30 ambassadors, all the 30 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They've met this emergency meeting going on even now. The first thing that they're doing is looking at that intelligence. As you say, all we know is that this missile has landed on Polish space. Also that it is a Russian-made munition.

The question is, of course, who fired it and where it was fired from. Now we do know that there was a NATO aircraft that was overflying Polish air space at the time. It was able to track that missile and will be able to provide a very clear picture. That intelligence has now been passed on not just to Poland but of course here to NATO officials as well.

So we should have a fairly clear idea fairly quickly of those very important details as Kevin was just explaining because of course the next steps are sufficiently escalatory that they have to be extremely careful about the intelligence and their assessment of exactly what went on. We should have a better idea of exactly what that is in the next couple of hours since Jen Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, is due to hold a press conference once these talks are done.

What we also know at this hour, Christine, is that Poland has both increased its level of military preparedness as a result of this missile landing on its territory, and is also considering invoking that Article 4. It wouldn't be the first time. It was invoked in fact at the start of the war by eight NATO countries. It simply means that consultations begin around what is of course an extremely worrying development.

ROMANS: It sure it. All right, Melissa Bell for us in Brussels. Thank you, Melissa.

Russia's Defense Ministry denies having any involvement with the deadly missile strike in Poland. Nina dos Santos has the latest from London.

And Nina, what are Russian officials now saying about the incident? I mean, initially they claimed that the Polish media reports of a missile strike were a provocation against them.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Yes, that's right. In fact, the diplomats in charge of the relationship that Russia has with the United Nations, the ambassador to the U.N., has gone on the record saying that this incident was, quote, "an attempt to provoke," as he said a military clash between NATO and Russia. That's the official line from current serving officials in Russia who overnight have repeatedly denied Russia would have any reason to want to fire a missile into NATO territory, across the border from where obviously in Ukraine it rained down about 100 missiles yesterday. One of the biggest, strongest barrages that Ukraine has faced yet coming from Russia.

But if you look at some of the former officials like the former Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev no less, well, the rhetoric gets slightly more worrying here. He's taken to Twitter just a couple of hours ago, describing this incident involving this missile that fell on Polish territory as, quote, "Proving one thing, that in waging a hybrid war against Russia the West moves closer to world war."

The that type of rhetoric, as you can imagine, will probably be alarming to officials who are around the table in Brussels where Melissa is. It will be alarming to officials who'll meet later on today when the U.N. Security Council will convene this afternoon, London Time, morning time if you are in the United States and New York. But, this is why the investigation will now continue at very fast pace to determine which missile landed.

Even if it was even Russian made, remember that Ukraine and Russia's post-Soviet countries do use the same types of missiles, one for offensive reasons, Russia, and then for defensive reasons, Ukraine. So the question is, which fragments will they find on the scene, and that will determine further Russian responses from here -- Christine?

ROMANS: Absolutely. All right, Nina. Thank you so much for that.

A federal judge has blocked Title 42. That's the rule that allowed U.S. authorities to expel more than a million migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border. The court order could restore access to asylum for incoming migrants. The Biden administration has requested a stay on the ruling for five weeks. Title 42 was imposed by the Trump administration during the pandemic and the Biden administration has been relying on it to manage the increase of migrants at the border.

All right, right now the Artemis 1 rocket is on its way to the moon. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 28 miles per hour. Good control.


ROMANS: Liftoff was this morning at 1:48 Eastern Time paving the way for NASA to return astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time in half a century.

Let's go live to the Kennedy Space Center and bring in CNN's Kristin Fisher.

Good morning, good evening, it's been one long night for you there. But certainly it must be an exuberant mood there after months of setbacks and frustration.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: It really was. And I tell you what, there is a press conference that just started with NASA's senior leadership happening right now.


All of them, across the board, huge smiles on their faces. This is such a massive relief for the space agency. It really needed this win after more than a decade of this rocket being under developments. Billions over budget. They finally got a win last night. And it was a big one.

Christine, watching this rocket launch, the most powerful rocket ever built, lift off from here at the Kennedy Space Center, not only could you literally feel it kind of rattle in your chest, there was this huge crackle as it rose up into the sky, but it literally turned the entire sky from horizon to horizon, from the blackest night into almost daylight. I mean, it was that powerful.

And so now this rocket on its way to the moon but, yes, I mean, Christine, quite a few nail-biting final moments. They actually had to send what's called the Red Team to the launch pad after the rocket had been fully fueled. I mean, a rocket like this when it's fully fueled, it's basically just a sitting bomb waiting to detonate. And this team had to go in and tighten some bolts and screws at the very last minute, fixing a hydrogen leak, allowing this rocket to launch.

And then there was a faulty ethernet connector of all things but they were able to fix it at the last minute and this rocket, third time proved to be the charm -- Christine.

ROMANS: Third time is the charm. So cool. On the way back to the lunar surface. All right, thank you so much. Nice to see you, Kristin.

All right, Donald Trump finally saying it out loud.


TRUMP: In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.


ROMANS: Trump is attempting to become only the second president ever elected to two nonconsecutive terms after Grover Cleveland. His speech at Mar-a-Lago was rambling, subdued, and sprinkled with false and exaggerated claims about his four years in office.

The twice-impeached Trump gets into the 2024 race with a darkening legal cloud hanging over him. A federal grand jury in Washington is looking into classified documents Trump took from the White House and brought to Mar-a-Lago. The January 6th Committee is also looking into Trump's actions before and during the Capitol riot. The DOJ has an investigation of its own into the insurrection and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Prosecutors in Georgia are investigating what Trump and his allies did to try to overturn President Biden's victory in that state. And the Trump Organization is currently facing trial in New York on criminal tax fraud charges.

All right, the calendar says fall, but it feels like winter for much of the country, with below freezing temperatures, and the first measurable snowfall in several states. The storm system now pushing east.

Let's bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. And P.J., it looks like lake-effect snow is going to be a big story here in parts of the country.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, an incredible amount of it, too, Christine. You know, you take a look at what has already come down across some of these areas. As you noted the first significant snows of the season here, up to almost 20 inches observed in parts of Minnesota, South Dakota, into Michigan as well. And yes, the lake- effect snow machine is going to be cranking in full effect across parts of the Great Lakes here with winter weather alerts and spanning across parts of 15 states.

But some of these areas we'll see four to eight inches of snowfall every single day, each of the next three days. And the elements are in place here where we have really cold air going right over portions of relatively warm waters here across the Great Lakes as we see this time of year, and that transition and transfer of energy, really downstream, produces the significant snowfall totals where we're expecting 18 to 24 inches near Buffalo, points southward near Erie as well.

And work your way towards portions of interior New England as much as six to eight inches are expected in the coming several days as well. But yes, the temperatures is really going to be the big talk of town here with wind chills this morning in the 20s in spots. And it only gets colder in the next several days across the Great Lakes, and we get another reinforcing shot of cold air going into this weekend.

So these temperatures, you think it's cold in Chicago today. It should be 48 this time of year. The best you can do today is 37. Down to 32 for a high come Thursday and even the 20s. We're talking February-like cold in some of these areas over the next couple of days.

In New York city, Christine, 54 is normal. Close to it today. But 46 on Thursday, down to 42 for a high come Friday afternoon. So hang in there. Very cold air in place, though, this time of year.

ROMANS: I know. I got to go digging around looking for the kids' gloves and mittens I think there on their way to the school bus. All right. Thank you. So nice to see you.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, ahead Donald Trump's chief GOP rival Ron DeSantis not backing down from the former president. Plus what police are saying about the murder of four students at an Idaho college. And more on NATO's next possible move after a missile hits inside Poland.



ROMANS: All right. Live pictures from Capitol Hill where in just a few hours, Senate Republican will meet behind closed doors to hold elections for leadership positions. Florida's Rick Scott plans to challenge Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his powerful post in the wake of the GOP's failure to take back the Senate.

Let's go live this morning to CNN's Daniella Diaz. She is in our Washington bureau.

Good morning. Does Scott's move reflect Republican anger from the midterms?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, Christine. But the important context here is Rick Scott and Mitch McConnell have not always had the best relationship. They were disagreeing over how to handle the 2022 midterms. Important context here is -- excuse me, Rick Scott was the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. His job was to handle resources, messaging so that Republicans could take the majority in the Senate.

We all know now that that did not happen. The Democrats kept the majority which is why this anger is taking place between McConnell and Scott. And Scott of course representing a group of conservative Republican senators who are upset with McConnell and blame him for why Republicans underperformed in the 2022 midterms. So as a result Scott is now challenging McConnell for leadership.


This is the first opposition McConnell has had in 15 years. So this will take place in just a few hours, Christine, in a closed-door meeting where McConnell and Scott are going to face off for this position. Now I do want to note, Christine, that McConnell is still expected to

become the Republican leader. But really, really noteworthy that this is even taking place at all. There was a really tense meeting yesterday where they -- we were told by sources that they criticized each other so the fact that this is all spilling out into the public is very interesting considering, of course, Republicans, you know, losing the majority and are now having these GOP Senate elections.

ROMANS: Yes. Fascinating indeed. All right, thanks so much, Daniella.

Let's bring in Jackie Kucinich, CNN political analyst and Washington bureau chief for "The Daily Beast."

Good morning.


ROMANS: All right. So Florida Senator Rick Scott challenging McConnell and blaming him for the GOP losses. Listen.


SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): The leadership in the Republican Senate says, no, you cannot have a plan. We're just going to run against how bad the Democrats are. And actually then they caved into the Democrats. They want to rush to an election because, you know, they don't want to do any assessment of what we've done wrong.


ROMANS: So what are Scott's plans then as he fights for the Senate minority leadership?

KUCINICH: Yes. That was one of the things I was going to bring up. I mean, he got a lot of criticism this cycle because he decided to release his plans. Some of which involved sunsetting some popular entitlement programs that Republicans really found themselves on the defensive about -- at a time where they really didn't want to be on the defensive in the 2022 midterms. So, excuse me. So that in and of itself was a criticism McConnell waged going mid-cycle.

ROMANS: Right.

KUCINICH: Then this is a rivalry that has been percolating, of course. You had Rick Scott write an op-ed essentially attacking McConnell, even though he said it wasn't about McConnell -- it was totally about McConnell -- in September. So the fact that this is coming into a head in public I think is the most surprising part of this rivalry.

ROMANS: And the other chamber, you know, Kevin McCarthy now on his way to becoming House speaker where the GOP is expected to have a slim majority. What does Donald Trump's candidacy now mean for efforts in holding this party together?

KUCINICH: Kevin McCarthy was going to have a complicated job no matter what, particularly because of the razor thin majority he's going to -- we think he's going to end up with at the end of the day. And now he's going to have this -- he was always going to have an external Trump force pushing into his leadership but now that the former president is running and is the frontrunner by getting in, it just creates another layer of pressure and of influence on future speaker potentially McCarthy.

Let's not forget, he's the one who brought former President Trump back into the fold. After January 6th he went down to Mar-a-Lago, visited him, and really was the first person to reach out to him of any consequence. So they are very much tied and it's just, you know, another thing for Kevin McCarthy to have to deal with.

ROMANS: Yes. It's just fascinating. There's so much happening there. Jackie Kucinich, CNN political analyst, thank you so much.

KUCINICH: Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Quick hits across America right now. A judge overturning Georgia's law banning abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy, ruling that it's unconstitutional. The decision makes abortion in the state legal again until 20 weeks effective immediately.

Police say an edged weapon like a knife was used to kill four University of Idaho students. The students were found Sunday in a house near the campus. Investigators believe it was an isolated, targeted attack.

Some 48,000 academic employees across the University of California System going on strike. The striking workers are demanding higher pay and improved working conditions.

All right, coming up, a COVID revolt in China. How the people are pushing back against pandemic restrictions. Plus, Poland hit by a Russian-made missile. Who fired it?



ROMANS: All right. Just in to CNN, two U.S. officials now tell us the Russian-made missile that exploded in Poland killing two people was fired by Ukraine. A National Security Council spokesman declining to comment on reports that Ukrainian troops fired that missile in an attempt to knock out a Russian missile.

Let's bring in CNN military analyst Colonel Cedric Leighton.

So nice to see you this morning. Again we're following each of these developments and trying to make sense of what happened there but that reporting kind of tracks what we heard from President Biden just moments ago. Let's listen.


BIDEN: It's unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia but we'll see.


ROMANS: So perhaps the president there alluding to the fact that we need more information here. We just don't quite know yet that this came -- fired on purpose from Russia.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Right, exactly, Christine. Good morning to you. Yes, it's very clear that what the president was talking about was the possibility at least that this missile originated or these missiles originated in Ukraine. And this is very possible because the Ukrainians do have air defense systems in western Ukraine that are designed specifically to go after incoming Russian cruise missiles.

So, for example, the city of Lviv is very close to where this Polish border incident took place. And it's possible that the defenders of Lviv were trying very hard to --