Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Andrew And Tristan Tate Charged With Human Trafficking And Rape; Georgia Blows Out TCU To Win Back-To-Back Titles; Experts: Brutal California Storms Won't Erase Historic Drought. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 10, 2023 - 05:30   ET



SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They were ordered by a court in Romania to be detained for 30 days. That is while prosecutors pursued these claims of sexual trafficking and rape.

The accusation is here that these two brothers, along with two other suspects that were arrested at the same time -- these four formed an organized criminal ring that trafficked and exploited women across the United States, the U.K., and Romania. There is even an accusation of rape -- multiple accusations of rape against one of their victims.

Now, again, this Romanian court holding them for 30 days while pursuing these claims. Today in court -- and I know you rolled those pictures of them going in -- the Tate brothers' attorneys are going to argue that detention is unnecessary. That they can be released.

It's hard to imagine that a court in Bucharest would agree with that. These men are absolutely considered a flight risk. They have multiple nationalities.

But again, this story that's absolutely captured people's attention and went viral on social media over the holiday period, and that is because these figures of male power, of male toxicity were taken down by none other than a young woman, Greta Thunberg, who with one clever tweet that went on to be one of the most popular tweets --


ABDELAZIZ: -- of all time, was apparently able to draw authorities to their location -- Christine.

ROMANS: It's just remarkable. I had never heard of these guys before the holidays and every single person in my family under the age of 20 knew who they were and had seen their posts on social media. So, you know, it's just amazing. Intergenerational, indeed, conversation.

Thank you so much. Nice to see you.

All right, quick hits across -- around the globe right now.

Anti-government protests in Peru Monday left at least 17 people dead and dozens more injured. The unrest began last month when the former president was impeached and removed from office for trying to stage a coup.

The Vatican is reopening the case of Emanuela Orlandi. The 15-year-old girl vanished in 1983 on her way to a flute lesson in Vatican City. Netflix is running a docuseries about the mystery.

And England is set to ban some single-use plastics like forks, spoons, and food containers -- part of a broader effort to cut down on pollution.

All right. Ahead, Britain's space launch last night ended in failure. What went wrong? And Georgia leaves no doubt who is the top dog in college football.



ROMANS: All right. Georgia blows out TCU to win its second-straight college football national championship.

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


You know, both of the playoff semifinal games were so good, I was a little worried that we were due for a dud of a national title game. And that's exactly what happened with Georgia just dominating TCU to become the first-ever to win back-to-back titles in the playoff era.

TCU -- so they scored to make this game 10-7 but from that point on it was all Dawgs. They scored 55 straight points.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett throwing for four touchdowns. He ran for two more. A storybook ending to his career.

After being a walk-on at Georgia, he left to go to Jones County Junior College so that he could play. But after one year, he returned to Georgia, this time on a scholarship, as the third-string quarterback. Last year, he won the job and the rest is history, leading Georgia to back-to-back titles.

Coach Kirby Smart calling Bennett the greatest Dawg of all time. He paused the game in the fourth quarter so that Bennett could get a standing ovation as he came out.

Georgia wins by the biggest margin in playoff history, 65-7.


STETON BENNETT, QUARTERBACK, GEORGIA BULLDOGS: That was special. That was -- I'll remember that for the rest of my life. He just told me he loved me and just the journey that we've been through together, you know. And that dude right there, Rich -- golly. I mean, just seeing everybody who was here from when I got here and they're still here, and we're back-to-back -- I don't know, it's just --

KIRBY SMART, GEORGIA HEAD COACH: We wanted our kids to play without fear. And all year I told them -- I said we ain't getting hunted, guys. We're doing the hunting, and hunting season is almost over. We've only got one more chance to hunt, and we hunted tonight.


SCHOLES: Yes, and the celebration for Georgia fans really started at halftime of this game. And this was the scene back in Athens. You see everyone taking to the streets.

Georgia's 29 wins, the most in a two-year span in SEC history.

Now, the game was at SoFi Stadium in L.A. and there were some bad storms outside. And SoFi Stadium has a roof but is open on the sides, and rain was actually pouring into the stadium and that caused the concourse to really just get soaked. And some fans were apparently slipping and getting injured.

This video is from Arash Markazi that he posted on Twitter. It shows stadium security and paramedics having to go help many of the fans there.

All right. And finally, we've got some great news from Bills safety Damar Hamlin. Just one week after his terrifying collapse on the field, Hamlin is back in Buffalo after being discharged from the hospital in Cincinnati. Doctors say the 24-year-old's recovery is remarkable and his neurological function is excellent.

Bills coach Sean McDermott told reporters yesterday he went to see Hamlin in the hospital.


SEAN MCDERMOTT, BUFFALO BILLS COACH: He's just tired and -- but he seems happy and happy to be back in Buffalo and around some familiar -- you know, a familiar area to him. And so, we're just taking it and I know he's taking it just one step at a time here.


SCHOLES: Yes. Hamlin, meanwhile, took to social media to express his gratitude for the support he's receiving, tweeting, "Watching the world come together around me on Sunday was truly an amazing feeling. The same love you all have shown me is the same love that I plan to put back into the world n more. Bigger than football."

And Christine, the Bills -- they host the Dolphins on Sunday in their first playoff game of the year. And, you know, with the remarkable recovery he's gone through so far, it would not surprise me at all if he makes an appearance.

ROMANS: Wow, what a story. What a story. I'm so glad he's home.

All right, Andy -- SCHOLES: Yes.

ROMANS: -- thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.


ROMANS: All right, to California now where the governor says 14 people have died in the series of storms there that have slammed California over the past several weeks. And the state, of course, desperately needed that rain, but the dramatic swing of extremes from intense drought to intense storms is just proving to be too much too fast. And scientists say all of that rain will not erase the long-term damage from years of drought.

CNN's Rene Marsh explains.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The water kept getting deeper and deeper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was so much water it was gushing, and it knocked me over.

RENE MARSH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California, already pounded by a bomb cyclone last week that brought hurricane- force winds, torrential rain, flooding, and mountain snow, is now in the throws of yet another atmospheric river storm -- a weather system transporting a high concentration of moisture and dumping epic amounts of heavy rain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are into atmospheric river number five.

MARSH (voice-over): But just last week, several counties in the state were experiencing the exact opposite -- exceptional drought. Marked by the deep red on this map, it's considered the most severe. Although California's recent parade of ultra-wet storms have not completely reversed the decades-long dry spell, flood warnings have now replaced severe drought warnings in the same areas.

This weather whiplash is forcing California to face the dilemma of how to manage floodwaters as the state experiences dramatic shifts from drought to downpours. Experts tell CNN part of the solution is drawing levees back to allow rivers more room to safely flood.

PETER GLEICK, PACIFIC INSTITUTE: We have to let our rivers flow differently and let the rivers flood a little more, and recharge our groundwater in wet seasons.

MARSH: Climate scientist Peter Gleick says levees have effectively protected communities in the past but they're not designed for the climate challenges of today. He says containing floodwaters means less water is available to seep into thirsty underground aquifers -- the desperately needed water source for farmers and communities for drinking water during extreme drought. GLEICK: Instead of thinking that we can control all floods, we have to learn to live with them.

MARSH (voice-over): Gleick says that means communities will have to get out of the way. Entire cities and towns would need to relocate.

GLEICK: These changes are absolutely easier said than done, but they have to be done. We have to redesign flood insurance policies so that we're not rebuilding houses once they've been damaged in the same places where they're going to flood again. We have to design flood insurance policies to encourage people to move away from floodplains so that we can open up the floodplains and when we get those floods they'll be less damaging.

MARSH (on camera): The idea of relocating whole towns and communities to allow rivers more room to flood is incredibly challenging for a number of reasons. It means local governments would give up short-term economic gain tied to building and development in these areas and, in some cases, could lose property tax revenue. And asking individual property owners to give up their rights will not be an easy task either.

Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: All right, Rene. Thank you for that.

All right, here's today's fast-forward look ahead.

President Biden will meet later today with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Both leaders are at the North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico City.

Allen Weisselberg will be sentenced today. He's the former CFO of the Trump Organization who pleaded guilty to tax fraud and testified against the company. He could get up to five months in jail.

The Golden Globe Awards return to television tonight after a professional makeover. Will A-list stars show up for once was Hollywood's biggest party? We will see.

Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING," classified documents from President Biden's time as vice president found in a private office. Why it's a political gift to Republicans and Donald Trump.

And next, right here, what Disney's boss now wants from workers at the happiest place on earth.



ROMANS: All right. Your Romans' Numeral this morning, four. That's how many days a week Disney boss Bob Iger wants his workers in the office starting March first. And that's fairly strict for a big company at this point.

Iger told employees in a memo that working physically together is good for creativity. It's good for company culture. Four days a week by March first. We'll talk more about this in just a moment.

But looking at markets around the world right now to start your Tuesday morning, on Wall Street, stock index futures at this hour -- you can see a mixed performance. In Asia, Europe leaning down. And on Wall Street, a mixed performance there was well.

As stocks in the U.S. closed mostly lower on Monday, two Federal Reserve officials say they expect benchmark interest rates to rise above five percent. But Wall Street is still optimistic overall because of signs inflation may be slowing. Investors hope it means the central bank can raise rates more slowly in the months ahead.

Gas prices, by the way, are also falling again. Travel is winding down after the holidays and gasoline demand is dropping a little bit.

OK, so let's talk more about Disney's push to get those workers back in the office with Jessica Kriegel, chief scientist of workplace culture at Culture Partners. Good morning, Jessica. Nice to see you.

JESSICA KRIEGEL, CHIEF SCIENTIST, WORKPLACE CULTURE, CULTURE PARTNERS (via Webex by Cisco): Good morning. Thanks for having me back.

ROMANS: OK. So, CEO Bob Iger back in the top job at Disney. And he said this to employees -- that a return to mostly in-person work would benefit the culture there and the creative processes, in particular.

A lot of other big companies, Jessica, have settled on two days or even three days a week in the office? Is Bob Iger going to get all those people back to work -- work in person?

KRIEGEL: No, no. Yes, I don't think he is. And, in fact, I think he's counting on it. Many of these high-profile CEOs are putting in strict, come back to the office policies because they want people to leave. This company is struggling. The legacy business is struggling. We've seen that.

And so now, he's got a decision to make. He can lay off a bunch of workers, which would be terrible P.R. in addition to the already horrible P.R. they've been getting, or he can create a dynamic in which people no longer want to work there and they're going to leave.

It's what Elon Musk did with Twitter. And I think other high-profile CEOs are using this tactic. It's unethical. It's kind of icky. It's certainly not good for culture.


ROMANS: So you are seeing a strategy heading into a slowing -- a slowing economy -- a business model that allows for attrition. That's not what Disney's saying. Disney is saying they're doing it because it's good for their business to have people all together.

But the Disney stock is down 40 percent since the beginning of 2022.

Do you think part of this could be Bob Iger going back, trusting what has worked for him in the past -- a pre-COVID model?

KRIEGLER: Absolutely, yes. He has a playbook and he is using that playbook. He was the CEO since 2005.

This is a post-pandemic world, though, and things are not the way that they used to be. We have tasted the fruit of working from home and we love it. Not only that, the studies show that people are happier, they are healthier. They are more productive when they're able to work from home.

So forcing people back into the office for this idea that it might make people more creative -- well, frankly, it's not very creative in and of itself. And it's not good for culture because it's putting business before people instead of people before business. And in the long term, that is not going to work.

ROMANS: This will, I think, be one of the big job market stories of 2023 -- this transition to what is hybrid going to look like. How many days of the week are we going to be in the office.

I mean, Iger's not saying five days a week. He's saying four days a week. So clearly, it's an acknowledgment that things have changed and a recognition that people need a little bit of flexibility.

There was a great piece in The Wall Street Journal that had this sort of anecdote about how some Vanguard employees say they were told that if they didn't comply they would be fired.

What do you think is going to happen if bosses run against this wall? They're facing trouble retaining workers. They all say they need to keep their good talent, but they also want people to start coming back.

KRIEGLER: Yes. There is tension right now between bosses and workers, basically. Workers are enjoying working from home and bosses are saying I've got to make my culture better. Well, culture is the experiences that we have that shape our beliefs about the work that we're doing, and that leads to the actions that we take -- whether we're creative or not -- and that's going to get us results.

People at Disney are having an experience right now that what they want is not necessary. What they want is not important. We need you to be creative, so that means coming into the office.

And this comes after, remember, the drama of the last couple of years of the Imagineering department needed to move to Florida. People being told that they had to relocate and then going back on that policy.

And so, if I were working at Disney right now as an employee, the experience I would have had is that they don't see me, they don't value me. They don't care about what will make me happy, productive, and healthy. And I would probably want to leave. That would be the result they'd get. ROMANS: All right, Jessica Kriegel, Culture Partners. Thanks so much. Nice to see you this morning.

KRIEGEL: Nice to see you, too.

ROMANS: All right, some classified documents found in a private office once used by Joe Biden. What happens now? And alarming new evidence uncovered in the case of a missing Massachusetts mother.



ROMANS: OK, welcome back.

Our top of the morning -- the top cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in America last year.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring 150 around front, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We designed the F-150 to be tough.


ROMANS: Ford's F-series pickups still the top seller even though sales were down 10 percent from the year before.

Number two --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chevy Silverado factory-lifted trucks. Where will they take you?


ROMANS: The silver medal goes to the Silverado.

And falling to third place --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More truck owners are switching to Ram, which means more people behind the grill are switching to Ram.


ROMANS: The Dodge Ram. All top-three pickup trucks.

Toyota's RAV4 SUV and Camry sedan are four and give. Tesla's electric Model Y makes the list at number six.

London, we have a problem. Britain's first-ever attempt to launch satellites into space came up short when a rocket failed to reach orbit after its release from a modified Virgin jumbo jet.

CNN's Tom Foreman has more.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This launch looked really promising for a good many minutes.

This aircraft -- Cosmic Girl, as it is called -- a modified 747 -- took off carrying the LauncherOne rocket underneath its wing. It got to about 38,000 feet just south of Ireland, released the rocket, and rapidly accelerated to well over 8,000 miles an hour, and then going up from there. And everything looked very promising.

This is a tricky maneuver. The rocket was on its way, carrying this payload forward. It got to the second stage of the rocket and the second stage fired. It did its job or at least appeared to from what we were told. Then it shut down in preparation for a coasting period where it would start up again and push it up into the final position to release the payload.

What happened in that time we don't know. We just know that there was a longer wait than you might expect. Finally, one of the officials from Virgin Orbit came back on their live feed and said there has been an anomaly and that the rocket would not be able to reach orbit even though they had tweeted at that point it already had reached orbit.

This has been a big blow to Virgin Orbit already in the sense that as soon as this happened, after-hours stock trading started plummeting for the company. A big blow to them, but an even bigger blow to the overall aspect of what people were looking for here -- the idea of having launches from the U.K. and other places on this very mobile platform. The idea of a plane that could go around firing these rockets off into space. A huge setback here.

Now, can they recover? Can they get back on it? We'll just have to see.