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Putin Confirms Russia Is Attacking Ukraine's Infrastructure; Messi, Neymar In Action As World Cup Quarterfinal Matches Begin; Brittney Griner Back On U.S. Soil, Lands In Home State Of Texas. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 09, 2022 - 05:30   ET



WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Many hurdles that this country, before the war, had to overcome order -- in order for that to even be considered.

And yet, look, he illegally annexed Crimea back in 2014. I was here after that happened.

And now, once again, he's trying to take territory that is Ukrainian national territory. They have sovereignty. This is recognized by the international community. The only person who doesn't recognize it, essentially, is Vladimir Putin and that echo chamber of yes-men.

And so, for him to stand there and flippantly refer to the explosion at the Crimean bridge two months ago, which then Russia used as an excuse to start a series of horrific strikes on the civilian power infrastructure here that had plunged millions of people into darkness and cold -- and now, of course, with the official start of winter later this month, the cold is only going to get worse, and the strikes he is promising will continue -- it is -- it is indicative of the fact he is not living in the reality that is shared by certainly, NATO and its allies in much of the Western world, but much of the world in general.

Even his proclaimed good friend, Chinese President Xi Jinping, while not condemning the invasion, certainly is not condoning it and certainly has expressed questions about it.

But Putin, despite all of the pushback, continues to just stand there, champagne glass in hand, and justify his brutal actions, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Will, he quite literally toasting the bombing of infrastructure that is plunging millions of people into misery for the winter. Making his neighbor miserable. He is quite literally toasting that. I think that -- this tells us everything we need to know about Vladimir Putin and his leadership --

RIPLEY: Exactly.

ROMANS: -- and this war.


ROMANS: All right, Will Ripley, thank you so much. Nice to see you.

All right, quick hits around the globe right now.

Germany arresting a 71-year-old former royal, Prince Heinrich XIII, as it investigates a far-right extremist conspiracy to overthrow the government and replace it with a monarchy. More arrests are expected.

Peru's first female president, Dina Boluarte, ruling out early elections today after another bungled coup attempt by former president Pedro Castillo. Castillo tried to dissolve his own parliament but was ousted and arrested.

England's King Charles brushing off questions during a public appearance in London after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Netflix documentary alleging royal racism dropped on Thursday.

Next, career cushioning. It's the latest trend in the workforce in this uncertain economy. Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you worried about your own safety?


ROMANS: The man who exposed China's protests to the world, next.



ROMANS: All right. The 2022 World Cup is down to the final eight. The quarterfinals feature some World Cup heavyweights and one Cinderella squad.

Let's go live to CNN's Amanda Davies in Doha, Qatar. Amanda, two matches are on tap today. What do you expect?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes. Well, all eyes on Lionel Messi despite the Dutch efforts to try and play down the focus on him. They're saying they're playing on a team, not just one player. But, of course, given the stakes at this tournament and given that every match at the moment could be his last in an international show, it's very, very difficult not to talk about this encounter without talking about the 7-time Ballon d'Or winner.

We went to Argentina training last night. There was no doubt all eyes from the international media on one man, but he's not the only person in that boat heading into their match against the Netherlands.

The Dutch boss Louis van Gaal, 71 years of age -- and the expectation that if the Dutch were to go home today, that would bring to an end his very storied successful career. He's won Champions League titles, La Liga titles, Bundesliga crowns, and he's come back for a third stint with this Dutch side, very much hoping to lead them from 3-time semifinalists to claim the crown at the World Cup for his final act on a touchline.

These two sides met back in 2014 in Brazil in the semifinal. It was Argentina who went through on penalties on that occasion. Van Gaal saying he and his side have a score to settle.

In terms of the day's other match, though, it's Brazil up against 2018 runners-up Croatia. So much talk for this one about, of course, the emotion around this Brazilian side with Pele, 3-time World Cup winner, back at home in the hospital at 82 years of age sending his messages to this side. Sending them his well-wishes and support for this tournament as they look to win what would be a record-extending sixth World Cup crown.

Their star man, Neymar, back on the score sheets against South Korea. He's now just one goal shy of equaling Pele's 77 goals for his country. Difficult to bet against him scoring another in this one even if Croatia have been pretty tight at the back so far. They've only conceded two goals in four games. But we know they have threats all over.

The Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic has described Brazil as terrifying.


ROMANS: All right, Amanda. Thank you so much. A lot to get to today. Nice to see you.

All right. Americans missed out on $42 billion in savings last quarter. What you may be doing wrong. And a predominantly white California county declaring a public health crisis because of racism.


ROMANS: All right, breaking news.

Brittney Griner, newly freed from a Russian prison -- there she is, back on U.S. soil. She just touched down moments ago in her home state of Texas.

CNN's Rosa Flores is there. Good morning, Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine.

We just witnessed this moments ago. As you mentioned, Brittney Griner back on U.S. soil. She is a Texas native -- she is from Houston -- and she landed here in the Lone Star state.


Now, we were able to see very little of this arrival. We only saw her walk off the plane and walk into a hangar. Officials have been very tight-lipped about exactly who was going to greet her and what was going to happen immediately after she landed. And from our cameras, we were only able to see those brief moments that you're looking at your screen right now.

But, as you know, this is after Brittney Griner was detained in a Russian prison for nearly 10 months. And according to U.S. officials, this is a moment that they had been working on for months.

Initially, U.S. officials were working on a two-for-one swap that they thought was going to include Paul Whelan. And recently, according to U.S. officials, the Russians changed their game. They were only negotiating on bringing Brittney Griner back home to the United States -- only on freeing Brittney Griner and not Paul Whelan. And that is what we are witnessing now -- the moment when Brittney Griner actually lands here on U.S. soil in the state of Texas.

Now, we don't know exactly what will happen after -- what will happen in the moments that follow. U.S. officials only saying that they will, of course, discuss her needs. They will make sure that she gets the services that she needs.

But a family just went through this -- the family of Trevor Reed. Trevor Reed just went through this a few months ago. And the family of Trevor Reed did share with CNN some of the things that they experienced.

For example, they said that Trevor Reed was part of a reintegration program. And if you do a little research, here in San Antonio, the Department of Defense has the gold star standard program for reintegration into normal life -- into society. That is what we are expecting Brittney Griner to be offered by the U.S. government.

And, Christine, we don't know exactly when that will happen. I'm sure that right now, what's going on is that she's probably most likely with her family in very emotional moments.


FLORES: We, of course, not privy to that because we're outside.

But again, the magnitude of this moment -- if you just process this moment -- thinking and putting yourself in the shoes of her family, her friends, and of course, so many fans that are out there -- this is the moment when Brittney Griner is finally free. She can breathe a sigh of relief.


FLORES: She is on U.S. soil -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Rosa. Thank you so much for that. And we'll have a lot more on her homecoming on "CNN THIS MORNING" in just a few minutes. Thank you, Rosa.

All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 42 billion -- $42 billion. That's how much more Americans could have saved in the third quarter if they put their money in the five highest-yielding savings accounts instead of the five biggest banks. Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bancorp, and Wells

Fargo only paid an average of 0.4 percent interest during the quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal. But the five highest-yielding savings accounts paid an average of 2.14 percent.

All right. Looking at markets around the world, Asian markets are higher. The Hang Seng up more than two percent on a report inflation cooling in China.

On Wall Street, stock index futures leaning up a little bit here this morning after stocks surged Thursday. The S&P 500 snapped a 5-day losing streak, pushing aside, for now, worry that the Federal Reserve will hold interest rates higher for longer.

Mortgage rates fell again, the lowest since September. The rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage declined to 6.33 percent.

Gas prices are falling. The average price for a gallon of regular, $3.32 a gallon.

Another inflation gauge, November's Producer Price Index, is due out later this morning.

All right, 85 percent of Americans are worried about inflation, but only 44 percent feel prepared for an economic downturn, according to a survey on LinkedIn. That's why the latest workplace trend, career cushioning, is taking off. What is this? It's a term derived from the world of dating. It's designed to soften the landing after a layoff.

Let's bring in our friend Jessica Kriegel, chief scientist of workplace culture at Culture Partners. What is this career cushioning?

JESSICA KRIEGEL, CHIEF SCIENTIST OF WORKPLACE CULTURE, CULTURE PARTNERS (via Webex by Cisco): It's having a backup plan. I mean, you hear about all the layoffs, you think you might be next, and you think OK, I either need to get a side hustle or I need to get a plan b.

I start applying for jobs even if I love my job -- I don't want to anywhere -- but you never know, so let me just start applying. Just testing the waters out there. And then you end up potentially leaving or not, or waiting for the news.

ROMANS: Interesting. I mean, I guess it's a modern way of looking at keeping your network fresh. You never know when you need to tap your network, I guess.

KRIEGEL: Yes. You start talking to people. You say what have you got over at your organization? Do you think you're planning layoffs? You make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. You do all the things so that you're ready for the next thing.

I mean, it is a very fear-based action but right now, people are afraid. I mean, it is appropriate.

ROMANS: It is a strong job market overall. We've seen wage growth rising -- 5.1 percent wage growth annually. We know there are a lot of open jobs. I mean, I guess it means for this person who is looking for the job hopper, there are still a lot of opportunities here.


KRIEGEL: There really are. I mean, you have seen so many wild shifts in 2022 between employees have the power, then employers have the power. And it's really just based on what's happening in the news, right?

I mean, the Twitter layoffs happen and everyone freaks out. Then the Facebook layoffs happen. Then Amazon starts having it and everyone starts realizing well, maybe Twitter layoffs weren't as rare and now we're going into a new phase.

And so, people are confused about what's going to happen with the balance of power in 2023. And so, they're preparing for all inevitabilities.

ROMANS: Yes. We know that there have been a lot of tech-based layoffs, but tech is really seven or eight percent of the overall job market. But you are seeing it in media. You're seeing it also -- PepsiCo announcing some layoffs earlier this week.

So I wonder what is your advice for employers to keep the people they want to keep if there is this feeling that there might be something better across the street.

KRIEGEL: OK, so here's my pitch. What if we didn't keep it so top- secret?

If you know that there's going to be layoffs at some point in the future, usually the executives are very tight-lipped about that. They keep it a secret. They figure out who they're going to lay off and then, maybe the day before, they give people some warning. But really, it's always blindsiding the employees who are getting laid off.

I was talking to one CEO who said he believes that if people are not safe at his company, he wants to make sure that everyone can get themselves to safety, so he broadcasts it. Hey, we're having economic challenges. In the next quarter, we may have layoffs. And he almost encourages career cushioning so that he's building that brand equity and people know that they can get the real truth from him.

And ultimately, the people who care about the purpose -- who understand the impact the company is trying to make on the larger world and their mission there -- they stay because they trust the CEO.

ROMANS: Jessica, I want to ask you about something happening at Twitter -- never-ending drama there. Have you seen these pictures of the headquarters office -- like, bedrooms being in the -- in the office? San Francisco city officials investigating Twitter HQ after reports that these makeshift bedrooms were installed in the building.

What does that say about work culture under Elon Musk?

KRIEGEL: Well, that -- I now know what he meant by extremely hardcore. I mean, that is extremely hardcore. Here's the problem with that. You are going to have major problems with diversity, equity, and inclusion when you have the kind of culture that Elon is creating. There are a lot of people who might love to continue working at Twitter but can't make that work because they're single parents. I'm a single parent. I couldn't sleep at the office if I wanted to, even if I believed in the mission.

But Elon's biggest problem, in my opinion -- and we've seen this in social media reflected from the people who did not sign the agreement to be extremely hardcore -- is that he didn't share the purpose. He didn't share his vision. People are having to put blind faith in him before he even explains where Twitter is going. So what are they fighting for? They don't know.

And so here, you see a lot of people have left. And the people who have stayed are sleeping at the office, apparently. It's an interesting way to deal with the real estate.

ROMANS: Yes, exactly -- and the commute, I guess. It's the opposite of work from home. It's like sleep at the office.

All right, Jessica Kriegel. Nice to see you.

KRIEGEL: That'll be the next term.

ROMANS: Yes, exactly.

Nice to see you.

KRIEGEL: Thanks.

ROMANS: Thank you so much. Have a great weekend.

All right, WNBA star Brittney Griner just moments ago setting foot on U.S. soil again after 10 months in Russian detention. Much more ahead on "CNN THIS MORNING."

And a small town in Arkansas just elected the youngest mayor in the country. Eighteen-year-old Jaylen Smith joins "CNN THIS MORNING" straight ahead.



ROMANS: OK, what a week for Baker Mayfield. He started it with the Carolina Panthers and won the game for the Rams last night.

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


So, yes, Baker Mayfield actually said he bought himself a plane ticket to Los Angeles before he was even claimed by the Rams, hoping that would be the case. It certainly turned out to be a great decision.

Week 14 of the NFL season kicking off in L.A. with the Rams and Raiders last night.

So just two days after being released by the Panthers and flying across the country to join the Rams, Baker Mayfield coming in off the bench in the first quarter. The Rams -- they were down six with a minute-45 to go. Baker, who had to do a crash course on the playbook, leading them on a 8-play, 98-yard drive, ending with this pass to Van Jefferson for the game-winning touchdown.

The Rams win 17-16.

And here was head coach Sean McVay in the locker room after the game.


SEAN MCVAY, LOS ANGELES RAMS HEAD COACH: To be able to come in here 10 minutes ago and help lead us to a victory. See you guys on Monday. Baker Mayfield.



SCHOLES: They were super pumped up.

All right, the next edition of The Match is going to take place tomorrow in Florida. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are going to take -- or go up against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Tiger, of course, a Match veteran. He's won it once. He's lost once as well.

He says he doesn't really care who his partner is as long as they want to win.


TIGER WOODS, 15-TIME MAJOR CHAMPION: I've had all different types of partners. I've had guys drool on themselves, miss belt loops, and wrong hats, and can't find their golf shoes they're supposed to wear. They wear the wrong color.

But we go out and win matches. I don't -- really don't care just as long as they play well and we play well as a team. It doesn't matter what happens. That we go out there and put a point on the board for our side.


SCHOLES: Yes, and you can watch The Match tomorrow night starting at 6:00 eastern, Christine, on TNT.

And, you know, Tiger doesn't -- you know, he doesn't play much anymore, and he says he's not going to play much more in the future. So we really need to appreciate the times we get to see him out there on the course.

ROMANS: All right, will do.

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

SCHOLES: All right -- you, too.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining me. I'm Christine Romans. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.