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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

France Versus Argentina In 2022 World Cup Final; French Prosecutor Believes Kenny DeLand Left Voluntarily; NASA Postpones Satellite Mission To Survey Earth's Water. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 15, 2022 - 05:30   ET




ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (on camera): They are expected in court in Brooklyn on February 7.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Like an episode of "The Americans."

All right, Alex, thank you for that.

Quick hits around the globe right now.

More than 120 people have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after torrential rains triggered severe flooding in the capital of Kinshasa, causing a massive sinkhole, and collapsing roadways and roofs and buildings of some homes.

The U.N. has expelled Iran from a key women's rights commission after the U.S. ambassador called its membership an ugly stain on the commission's credibility. The Iranian regime cracked down violently on nationwide protests over the mandatory head scarf for women.

China is warning citizens that canned peaches will not cure COVID. There's been a nationwide buying frenzy as China faces an unprecedented surge in cases right after easing pandemic restrictions.

All right, the World Cup final is set. It's a heavyweight showdown between defending champion France and powerhouse Argentina. The matchup cemented after the French knocked out Morocco two-nil.

Amanda Davies live in Doha, Qatar. A lot of storylines here, including whether Lionel Messi will finally win his first World Cup.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes. I mean, what a decider we have in store here. It really is the one that the romantics, I guess, were looking for ahead of the start of this competition.

Argentina against France. Lionel Messi up against his Paris Saint- Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe. And that, of course, has some pretty major implications here in Qatar with the Qatari owners of PSG.

But France absolutely, rightly, deservedly enjoying their moment. We've seen those brilliant pictures from inside the dressing room after full time at the team hotel as they returned back late last night having got past Morocco despite a dogged determined Moroccan performance and their partisan support.

And this is what their goal scorer, Theo Hernandez, had to say about their second-straight World Cup final.


THEO HERNANDEZ, FRANCE DEFENDER (through translator): Really, it's incredible. To play in back-to-back World Cup finals is an incredible moment. We're going to give it our best shot and work really hard. It was difficult but now we are in the final.

DIDIER DESCHAMPS, FRANCE HEAD COACH (through translator): We're feeling emotion and pride. Obviously, today's match was very important. For the last month, we've been together as a squad. It's never simple but there is happiness.

We hope the players will be rewarded. We will seek another title on Sunday. It's marvelous.


DAVIES: Deschamps, rightly, urging his side to savor every moment from here on in as France looks to become the first back-to-back champions of the World Cup in 60 years since Brazil did it in 1962. But so many of the neutrals, of course, cheering on Lionel Messi in the hope that he will finally claim this one piece of major silverware he is yet to win.

Interestingly, four years ago, these two sides met in Russia. It was France who got the better of Argentina, knocking Argentina out in the round of 16, 4-3. Mbappe very much have the better of his PSG teammates on that day.

Just a word, though, on Morocco. Lots of tears, understandable emotion after full time. But you have to say ultimately, tears of pride, not sadness given what they've done not only for football in Morocco, but also Africa and the Arab world over the last month.

ROMANS: Yes. That story just amazing for Morocco. They just deserve a whole lot of credit.

Nice to see you, Amanda Davies. Thank you.

All right, coming up, this Republican moved to tears again while paying tribute to Nancy Pelosi. And, the French host of a missing American college student speaks exclusively to CNN.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Of all the exchange students she'd had at her home, Kenny DeLand was the one that seemed to be having the most trouble fitting in.




ROMANS: Welcome back.

More now on the mystery of a missing American college student in France. The French woman who hosted Kenny DeLand in Grenoble tells CNN she believes he left voluntarily -- a claim echoed by the prosecutor who says, quote, "The young man reportedly told several people that he had arrived in France underprepared and was having difficulty making friends, and seems to have left Grenoble voluntarily." But Deland's parents do not agree.

CNN's Melissa Bell has more.


BELL (voice-over): Social media posts give little away, just images of a young American enjoying his exchange program in France. But Kenny DeLand Jr. vanished 15 days ago without a trace after leaving the home of the host mother he was staying with.

She explains that she's only spoken once to Kenny's mother and never to his father, but agrees to speak exclusively to CNN without the camera.

BELL (on camera): What the host mother told us was that of all the exchange students she'd had at her home, Kenny DeLand was the one that seemed to be having the most trouble fitting in and settling down to life here in Grenoble.

She also said that, of course, since he's disappeared, she's been inundating him with messages to which he hadn't responded. And she added that she had been reassured by that sighting of him about an hour south of here in that sports shop because, she said, it confirmed the possibility and her hope that, in fact, he'd gone and cut off communications voluntarily.


BELL (voice-over): It was taken on December third. Kenny DeLand spent just over $8.00 before vanishing altogether, according to his family, leaving behind only Facebook pictures of his life in France, from Paris to the University of Grenoble Alpes.

BELL (on camera): The last time Kenny DeLand turned up for lessons here at the university he was studying at was November 28. By the 29th, when he failed to turn up, a missing persons report was filed and it emerged that he had left his host family that morning, taking a packed lunch, a change of clothes, his wallet, and his phone. Kenny DeLand hasn't been heard from since. BELL (voice-over): We show Kenny's picture around the campus in the hope that someone may recognize him. When we find Kenny's friends, they prefer not to speak on camera but tell us that "Kenny had friends that were exchange students and some that were local. We care about him and we want him to come back safely" -- statements that contradict what French authorities have said that Kenny struggled to make friends.

KEN DELAND, MISSING STUDENT'S FATHER: What I'm telling you is he makes friends and he's easy to talk to, like me. If you don't know my son, then it's tough for you to make some statement -- some bold statement.

BELL (on camera): One of the things Kenny's friends told us is that he may have been stressed about the upcoming exams. Is that something that you recognize?

DELAND: He's in a foreign country. He's a pretty upbeat kid. You know what I mean? So, it's possible, sure.

He was anxious. He was -- he wanted to do good. He wanted to prove that he could get good grades even on the trip of a lifetime.

BELL (voice-over): Kenny DeLand Jr. chronicled his journey to France in August. His father still hopes he'll be able to pick him up as planned on Saturday.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Grenoble.


ROMANS: All right, some emotional moments at the U.S. Capitol as outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's official portrait is unveiled in Statuary Hall. Pelosi is stepping down from House leadership after two decades. She thanked fellow Democrats for making her the first woman to hold the speaker's gavel.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): My members had the courage to elect a woman speaker. That is not without courage.


ROMANS: And the Republican who handed Pelosi that gavel in 2007 spoke at the ceremony. John Boehner tearing up as he praised his political adversary.


JOHN BOEHNER, (R) FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And, Madam Speaker, I have to say my girls told me (tearing up) tell the speaker how much we admire her.


As if you couldn't tell, my girls are Democrats.



ROMANS: Boehner, of course, famous for his teary speeches on the Hill -- this one no exception. He and Pelosi are friends despite their political differences. Yes, you can do that in Washington.

All right, NASA just scrubbed its newest rocket mission right before blastoff. And a puzzling trend in the American workforce. More men dropping out.



ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 158 million. That's the number of Americans expected to shop in stores or online this Saturday. That's the final Saturday, folks, before Christmas.

The National Retail Federation says that's about 10 million more than last year's forecast of Super Saturday shoppers, and the highest since it started tracking the figure six years ago.

Interesting -- the survey found one notable shift. Twenty-eight percent of holiday shoppers are giving an experience, like concert tickets or spa service. That's up 23 percent from last year.

All right, looking at markets around the world, European markets falling here, bracing for interest rate decisions by the Bank of England and the European central bank.

On Wall Street, stock index futures at this hour learning lower. You know, stocks retreated yesterday after the Fed raised its key interest rate for the seventh time this year and signaled more rate increases in 2023. The Fed is fighting inflation that's just now showing signs of cooling but still too high.

Gas prices, by the way, overnight, fell another couple of pennies, now at $3.19 a gallon.

We'll get jobless claims and retail sales data later this morning.

All right, let's bring in Rachel Siegel, economics reporter for The Washington Post. Rachel, big day again with the Fed yesterday. Listen to a still-cautious Jerome Powell.


JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: The inflation data received so far for October and November show a welcome reduction in the monthly pace of price increases. But it will take substantially more evidence to give confidence that inflation is on a sustained downward path.


ROMANS: Rachel, what's your takeaway from the Fed's move and the Fed chief's comments yesterday?

RACHEL SIEGEL, ECONOMICS REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST (via Webex by Cisco): My takeaway from those comments is the "but" in Chair Powell's remarks. We have really been encouraged by a couple of inflation reports now that suggest that things are finally moving in the right direction. But, as the Fed chief noted, there is still a very long way to go.

Powell is cautioning markets, policymakers, and the public from thinking that they are anywhere near the kind of overall progress they need and that there are more rate hikes to come to get to where they need to be.

ROMANS: The Fed chief also mentioned the job market is still strong and too tight. The Fed forecasting a jobless rate of something like 4.6 percent next year. I mean, that would mean some job loss. But if that -- if there were a recession next year, that would be the weirdest recession I think we've ever seen with the jobless rate still relatively mild in this economy, right?


SIEGEL: It would be a very weird recession, and it would be a weird path to a recession. Still, there are no models or any sort of precedent to give us a sense of what this could end up looking like. We could have very high rates that stay high for long but no spike in unemployment. We could have inflation that doesn't quite reach two percent but goes down.

The Fed is actually projecting just barely positive growth next year.


SIEGEL: Typically, those are not things that can all happen at the same time.

ROMANS: It -- I mean, it is just super weird. And we should point out that no one knows what's going to happen next, right? I mean, even the Fed, just a year ago, was talking about transitory inflation and they were wrong.

I mean, there's just -- it's just perilous to try to forecast exactly what's going to happen next year I think. There could be a soft landing. There could be a recession. We just don't know what's going to happen.

SIEGEL: You know, what struck me from Chair Powell's remarks yesterday is that I think there was a near identical line in the December 2021 press conference where he basically said no one has any idea where things will be a year from now. Maybe that's a line he'll repeat this time next year. And there's really no telling what will unfold in the meantime. ROMANS: Talk to me a little bit about the lag in all of this interest rate medicine -- higher rate medicine the Fed has been doing. So now, we're six months into this process, just seeing inflation start to cool. Do you think we'll start to see all of those big monster rate hikes starting to work quickly here?

SIEGEL: Well, that's part of the trick is that the Fed has moved so aggressively this year but now they have to wait and see how those moves play out. It's going to be sometime in 2023 for the full scope of all that they've done to hit the economy.

You also mentioned that there are other rates coming from central banks around the world, and those have the effect of amplifying one another in this move to slow inflation all around the globe. But that could, obviously, quickly slide into too much too fast.

ROMANS: Yes, inflation -- a reminder it is a global problem here, not just in the United States.

Rachel Siegel, of the Washington Post, nice to see you. Thank you so much.

SIEGEL: Thank you so much.

ROMANS: All right, the good news for Elon Musk -- he's -- you know, he's still mega rich. The bad news, he's not the richest.

Bloomberg's latest billionaire's index lists Bernard Arnault of France as number one. He's, of course, the chairman of the luxury goods company LVMH. He owns brands like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany. Arnault is worth $171 billion. Musk, a mere $164 billion.

All right, almost 50 reported tornadoes in the American south over a 2-day stretch. Damage and deaths to report, next.



ROMANS: NASA just delayed its next Falcon 9 mission.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, ignition, liftoff.


ROMANS: The launch was scheduled for less than an hour from now. It will now take place tomorrow. Some moisture was detected in two of the first-stage engines.

The NASA mission is actually an Earth mission. The satellite will observe and collect data on bodies of water around the world.

All right, NFL owners are debating the future of Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder at this week's meeting near Dallas. Andy Schole -- Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.


So, Colts owner Jim Isray said two months ago that after all the investigations that there was merit to remove Dan Snyder as the owner of the Commanders. But yesterday, he said he wasn't ready to do so and wanted to discuss it further with the other owners.

Now, the House committee on oversight and reform released a report last week on their investigation into workplace misconduct within the Commanders. It was very critical of the team and the league's handling of its issues.

And yesterday, Roger Goodell defended himself and the league, saying they did not mislead anyone.


ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: My name has been in this from day one. I'm commissioner of the NFL. I take responsibility for the oversight of the investigation. We have the independent -- the discipline (PH) -- and we testified in front of Congress for 2 1/2 hours on that.

There were comments about secret agreements. They're not secret agreements, they're legal documents that we explained.


SCHOLES: Now, last month, Dan Snyder revealed that he and his wife Tanya have hired a bank to explore selling the team.

All right, to the NBA. Bad news for the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry was dazzling the crowd in Indy. He had 38 points in 30 minutes of action.

But in the third quarter, while guarding Jalen Smith, Steph injured his shoulder. He immediately ran over to the bench and then ended up going to the locker room. Steve Kerr said Steph's going to have an MRI later today.

The Warriors ended up losing that game 125-119. They're just 2-13 on the road this season. Last night was game one of a 5-game road trip for the team.

All right, elsewhere in the NBA, the play of the night was in Orlando. Check out seven-foot-two Bol Bol getting the rebound and showing off the handles -- the spin move -- then throwing it down. The Magic bench just loving it -- the fans as well.

Orlando set a record in the first quarter of this game, scoring 50 points against the Hawks. It was the most-ever in a quarter for the team. Bol Bol had 21 as the Magic won 135-124. Atlanta has lost five of their last six. All right, finally, the Dolphins are gearing up to play in Buffalo Saturday night where the temperatures are expected to be in the 20s with several inches of snow on the ground. Coach Mike McDaniel walking around practice yesterday with an "I wish it were colder" t-shirt on, and he wants his players to play with that same attitude.


MIKE MCDANIEL, HEAD COACH, MIAMI DOLPHINS: I think that's something that you have to be real and upfront that hey, it's going to be cold. But it's also something that no one cares. The box score doesn't read 'asterisk, it was cold.' So, like -- I mean, it is what it is.


SCHOLES: Yes. And, Christine, a few weeks ago, there was so much snow on the ground there in Buffalo they had to move the game to Detroit. It looks like we're going to have a fun night, though, there on Saturday for that game against the Dolphins and the Bills.