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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

CNN Witnesses Ukrainian Fight To Stop Russians In Bakhmut; RNC Prepares To Elect New Chair Ahead Of 2024 Election; 'Hush Trips' Now Popular Among Remote Workers. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 27, 2023 - 05:30   ET




FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): That same indifference shown in Russian strikes that kill and maim Ukrainian civilians every day.

These folks are cleaning up after a Russian missile landed in their neighborhood near Bakhmut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

PLEITGEN (voice-over): "We were getting heating from the heating plant which was hit," Uri tells me. "Yesterday, at 3:00, it was destroyed. So now, we have no electricity, no heating. We have nothing. And a few miles away, one person was killed in another densely populated area."

PLEITGEN (on camera): Some of the long-distance drones and missiles that Russia uses to attack Ukraine come down right near civilian areas. This here is only a few yards away from a kindergarten. However, others are used to directly target critical infrastructure.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): More than 50 missiles fired just on Thursday, and while many of them were intercepted by Ukrainian air defenses, some were not brought down, adding to the daily toll of destruction.

The missile terror more motivation for Ukraine's soldiers around Bakhmut to stand their ground and bring Vladimir Putin's invasion to a standstill.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, near Bakhmut, Ukraine.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Fred. Thanks for that.

Quick hits around the globe right now.

The father of Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic insisting he only wishes for peace and had no intent to cause disruption after he posed for a picture with fans in Australia holding a Russian flag with Putin's face on it.

Haiti on high alert after angry protesters stormed the prime minister's residence and airport after recent police killings. Widespread insecurity and gang violence have swept the nation in recent months.

The FBI is seizing the computer systems used by the notorious Hive ransomware gang, which has extorted more than $100 million from hospitals, schools, and victims around the world.

A crucial vote now just hours away. Will there soon be a new leader for the RNC?

And Patrick Mahomes asking the GOAT for advice before a huge game. The Bleacher Report, next.



ROMANS: All right. The attorneys for coach Steve Wilks slamming the Carolina Panthers for passing him up to be their next head coach.

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


So, Steve Wilks, who was hired by the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 but was fired after just one season. And he did a great job for Carolina this season as their interim coach, helping them get into playoff contention.

And his lawyers, as a part of a lawsuit against the NFL over alleged racial discrimination and hiring practice -- well, those lawyers -- they criticized Wilks getting passed up for the Panthers job, saying, "We are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans, that he was passed over for the head coach position by [owner] David Tepper.

There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days."

Now, the Panthers hired former Colts head coach Frank Reich yesterday. He spent five seasons with the Colts but was fired this season after a rough start. Reich actually played for the Panthers in their inaugural 1995 season, throwing the team's first-ever touchdown pass.

All right, the Houston Astros, meanwhile, have hired Dana Brown as their next general manager. Brown spent the last four seasons as vice president of scouting for the Atlanta Braves. And with the promotion, the 55-year-old becomes the only Black general manager in Major League Baseball.

All right, in the NFL, it's championship weekend in the AFC. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are going to be hosting Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Now many QBs have had the upper hand on Mahomes, but Burrow has never lost to him. He's a perfect 3-0.

And Mahomes said yesterday he's been getting some tips from Tom Brady ahead of the game.


PATRICK MAHOMES, QUARTERBACK, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Yes, I talked to -- talked to Tom a little bit. And, I mean, I have a good relationship with him now and he gives me a lot of advice. Oh, yes, he gives me -- he gives me some advice to help me. I mean, why would you not want to learn from the GOAT, man? So, anytime anybody like that wants to give me advice I'll take it in. And it's cool to see the guys that you watched growing up your whole life be able to talk to you on that type of platform.


SCHOLES: The Chiefs and Bengals, 6:30 eastern on Sunday.

All right. And finally, last night on "INSIDE THE NBA" they announced LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the captains for the All-Star Game this year. With his 19th All-Star Game selection, LeBron ties Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most appearances, and he's just 157 points behind Kareem on the all-time scoring list. He's going to pass him in the next couple of weeks.

The NBA also announcing the rest of the starters last night. The biggest surprise probably was Zion Williamson getting the starting nod despite missing 20 games due to injury. The reserves -- the reserves are going to be revealed next Thursday, Christine.

And it's going to be fun this year because they are going to actually draft the rosters for the game right beforehand on the court. Everyone's going to be able to watch it live, so it should be an entertaining way to do it.

ROMANS: It should be fun.

All right, Andy Scholes. Nice to see you.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Have a great weekend, Andy.

SCHOLES: You, too.

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

Today, prosecutors in Memphis will release bodycam video showing Tyre Nichols being brutally beaten during a traffic stop. Five fired officers are in custody charged with second-degree murder.

Audio and video of the attack on former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, will be released today. It will include 911 calls, police bodycam footage, and home surveillance video.

Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff will visit Auschwitz to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. He'll receive a tour and participate in the candle-lighting and wreath-laying.

All right, the GOP huddling today before voting for a possible new RNC leader. What started as a reelection bid for incumbent Ronna McDaniel has turned into a three-way battle -- a battle where an endorsement from Donald Trump may not be enough to win.

More now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're all loyal supporters of Donald Trump, but for six years, Ronna McDaniel has been the former president's handpicked leader of the Republican National Committee.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You've done such an incredible job --


TRUMP: -- at the RNC -- Ronna.

ZELENY (voice-over): Yet, a fresh family feud is boiling inside the Republican Party. As McDaniel seeks reelection Friday to a rare fourth term, she is locked in an unusually tough fight and yet, another identity test for the GOP.

MCDANIEL: Let's stop bashing each other and let's remember we only are going to win as a united party in 2024.

ZELENY (voice-over): She's not facing an anti-Trump challenger but, rather, two true believers and a particularly heated clash with a member of the former president's own legal team who believes it's time for new blood in the top Republican ranks.

TRUMP: A great lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon.

ZELENY (voice-over): Harmeet Dhillon is a lawyer and committee member from California. She represented Trump before the congressional investigation of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, and placed blame for GOP losses in the last three election cycles not on Trump, but on McDaniel and the RNC.

HARMEET DHILLON, RNC CHAIR CANDIDATE, LAWYER: They're really, really eager for some change and I provide that change and a vision of how we're going to win in 2024.

ZELENY (voice-over): It's far from the classic establishment-anti- establishment divide that roiled the party in the early days of the Trump era. Now, Trump loyalists are fighting one another even as others call for a new direction.

While Trump is at the center of it all, he has taken a back seat to the fight.

TRUMP: I get along with both of them. I haven't taken a stance. You know, let them fight it out.

ZELENY (voice-over): Not Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 rival who says the RNC is overdue for change.

GOV. RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC. I like what Harmeet Dhillon has said about getting the RNC out of D.C.

ZELENY (voice-over): My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, a Trump election denier and peddler of conspiracy theories, is a longshot candidate --

MIKE LINDELL, RNC CHAIR CANDIDATE, CEO, MY PILLOW: With all my due diligence and in prayer, I am 100 percent running for the RNC chairman.

ZELENY (voice-over): -- in a battle that's creating strange bedfellows among the party faithful.

BILL PALATUCCI, RNC MEMBER, NEW JERSEY: As an east coaster, it's --

ZELENY (voice-over): Bill Palatucci, an RNC member from New Jersey, believes it's time to move beyond Trump and is supporting Dhillon despite her ties to him.

PALATUCCI: She and I don't agree on everything but that's what building a coalition is about. And that's how you move forward, by embracing people like me who have been skeptics and critics of the former president, to build a party that's broader than just the Trump base.

ZELENY (voice-over): But RNC member Leora Levy, of Connecticut, believes McDaniel stands the best chance of uniting the fractured party.

LEORA LEVY, RNC MEMBER, CONNECTICUT: In elections there are disagreements, but that doesn't mean that at the core we don't know that we are a family and that we are united by our principles and our policies.


ROMANS: All right, that's our Jeff Zeleny reporting.

Up next, major retailers using old clothes to create new revenue streams. And the secret is out. How some employees have been taking advantage of working from home.


[05:47:00] ROMANS: Welcome back.

Roman's Numeral this Friday morning, 1,000. That's how many workers are on the chopping block right now at Hasbro. That's 15 percent of its workforce. Tough times for the toymaker famous for G.I. Joe and My Little Pony back in the day.


My Little Pony T.V. commercial.


ROMANS: Come on, you remember. I know you do.

Hasbro has been in the toy business since World War II but sales suffered during what it calls a challenging holiday season.

More on how some other retailers are doing in a moment, but it's not all bad.

Looking at markets around the world to close out the week, Asian markets closed up. China is closed for the Lunar New Year. European shares have opened higher.

And on Wall Street, stock index futures barely moving here, but leaning lower after gains Thursday on Wall Street. The S&P 500 closed at a nearly two-month high. The Nasdaq up almost two percent.

News of a strong finish to the year for the U.S. economy. GDP grew a stronger-than-expected 2.9 percent. You can see that's slowing from the second quarter but clearly recovering from a stall in the first half of the year.

And despite daily news of layoffs in tech, the overall job market remains tight. Weekly unemployment filings are the lowest since April.

On inflation watch, gas prices rose a penny overnight, now at $3.51 a gallon.

All right, tech firms may be slashing jobs but Chipotle is hiring 15,000 people ahead of its burrito season. Yes, there is something called burrito season. It is the busiest time of the year for Chipotle, at least.

CNN Business reporter Nathaniel Meyersohn is here. And Nathaniel, tell us more about stores and restaurants that may be expanding.

NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Isn't it always burrito season, Christine?

ROMANS: At my house, it is -- yes.

MEYERSOHN: All right. So, Chipotle says they're going to be hiring 15,000 workers ahead of their busiest time of the year, March until May. Those jobs are going to start at about $14.00 an hour. And Chipotle needs staff to work at the 285 new restaurants it's going to be opening this year. They have a long-term target of 7,000 locations, so they're ramping up.

Then you also have Sam's Club. They're going to be opening 30 new stores over the next five years. That's what they said this week. And those stores are going to be larger than the ones that we're used to and that's because of all the demand for curbside pickup.

We also see Target opening some of these bigger stores.

And then, this week, Levi's said they're going to be opening 15 new stores. The CEO said that skinny jeans are back. Apparently, crop -- you know, crop -- it was crop top and now, skinny jeans are back. And so, they need new stores to meet all the demand.

ROMANS: How do burrito season and skinny jeans go together? I don't know. They just -- they seem like they would not go together.

All right, big brands are jumping into the secondhand clothing game. Tell me about that.

MEYERSOHN: So, yes, secondhand clothing and furniture is really hot right now. And you have leading brands like J. Crew, Lululemon, Nordstrom, IKEA. They've all opened these marketplaces where you can buy and sell used clothing.


The market for used clothing was $43 billion last year. That was double from a couple of years ago. And it's supposed to reach more than $80 billion over the next few years.

And this is being driven by millennials --


MEYERSOHN: -- and Gen Z. They're looking for deals. And then there -- it's also more eco-friendly --


MEYERSOHN: -- than buying new clothes. Don't we have enough stuff?

ROMANS: Yes, absolutely. A very different kind of mindset from the real young shoppers.

What about these shopping carts? Shopping carts keep wandering away from their stores. What's happening there?

MEYERSOHN: So, the problem of lost shopping carts -- it's costly. It's draining cities and towns. They're spending tens of thousands of dollars a year collecting these carts. Every time a retailer loses a shopping cart they have to spend $200-$250 to replace it, so that's draining their bottom line. Cities are cracking down, though. More cities are passing laws fining retailers. You have -- in Ogden, Utah, the City Council said that "Public services are spending considerable amounts of time to pick up and return or dispose of the carts." So, they're going to start fining retailers.

It's really a symbol of poverty and homelessness --

ROMANS: I see.

MEYERSOHN: -- when these -- when these carts escape.

So we may start to see more stores turn to the Aldi model where you have to deposit a quarter to get -- to get a shopping cart. And then to bring it --


MEYERSOHN: -- bring it back you need -- yes.

ROMANS: At my Trader Joe's you get just a certain part in the parking lot and it just stops. It blocks up automatically. You can't even use the wheels anymore, so there's that, too.

Nice to see you. Thanks, Nathaniel Meyersohn.

All right. Have you heard about the newest workplace trend? Maybe not. It's called 'Hush Trips' and it's meant to be secretive.

Let's bring in Jessica Kriegel, chief scientist of workplace culture at Culture Partners. Jessica, so nice to see you.

What is a hush trip?

JESSICA KRIEGEL, CHIEF SCIENTIST OF WORKPLACE CULTURE, CULTURE PARTNERS (via Webex by Cisco): Well, a hush trip is when you go on vacation. You take a trip and maybe go to Hawaii, maybe you go visit your parent's house and you bring your laptop with you because you're not going to take PTO.

You're going to keep working. You're going to log into those Zoom calls. You're going to be checking your email. But you're not doing it from home, you're doing it from wherever you've gone to.

ROMANS: Are there worries about productivity here? I mean, especially, with employees who are working from vacation spots and maybe don't have a proper work setup or maybe -- I don't know, there are distractions?

KRIEGEL: Well, that's the problem is that HR and CEOs are thinking oh my goodness, we're going to lose productivity from our employees. This is a bad thing. We need to lock this down and we need to put in policies so that this doesn't happen.

And the reality is if they were smart they would be using this as a perk. They would say we welcome you to take hush trips. We know that if you can do your work from a beach that's going to spark new ideas, creativity, innovation. And you want to create the kind of psychological safety for employees where they can say to their manager hey, is it cool if I take a trip and do work while I'm on a trip, rather than making it be a hush-hush thing.

ROMANS: You know, Jess, it's so interesting. I just spoke to the United Airlines CEO who pointed to higher travel demand as a result of hybrid work culture -- listen.


SCOTT KIRBY, CEO, UNITED AIRLINES: Hybrid work makes every weekend a holiday is the new normal. They now have the flexibility with their time that they can leave on Wednesday or Thursday and make a long weekend. They still work on Thursday or Friday. They log in remotely just like they would if they were at home working remotely.


ROMANS: This is the CEO of a major airline who's noticing exactly what you're talking about -- that people want to work from other places. Maybe not remotely from home but from the beach or the mountains.

KRIEGEL: Yes, absolutely. I mean -- and we have actually done research that found that there is more psychological safety, more ability to take hush trips in companies that have more diversity in leadership. So when you have more leaders that are women, you have more empathy in the organization overall that actually led to direct increases in culture strength, in psychological safety, and in employee engagement.

So this is a good thing. I once took a two-month hush sabbatical. I worked for one of those tech giants and I took my laptop to Hawaii and my boss had no idea. And I was more productive than ever.

ROMANS: But what about crossing state lines here -- even national borders? Does that trigger legal tax and compensation issues here?

KRIEGEL: Oh, well, when you're working from home for one of these international companies, which is what I did -- I was working at Oracle -- not at all. But some of these hush trips are literally just an hour down the road. I live in Sacramento. I could go to Tahoe.

I mean, it is not a big deal to just take your laptop to a different location. In fact, we should be embracing it. Put it on your career page. That's my advice to CEOs. Get your career page and say at this company, we welcome you to take trips so that you can do your best work wherever you do that.

ROMANS: All right, Jessica Kriegel. Nice to see you this Friday morning. Thank you.

KRIEGEL: Nice to see you, too.

ROMANS: Have a great weekend. All right, tonight, Memphis, Tennessee and all of America will get to see what really happened the night Tyre Nichols was beaten to death after a traffic stop.

And the trial witness who says Alex Murdaugh behaved unusually at the crime scene.



ROMANS: Our top of the morning goes out to our stage crew who asked why don't you play any rock? So, here are the top alternative rock songs right now on iHeartRadio.




ROMANS: That's Blink-182's big comeback single at number one. Yes, Travis Barker is back in the band.

Here's number two.


PARAMORE, ROCK BAND: Singing "This Is Why."


ROMANS: That's Paramore with "This Is Why." They played this one live on Jimmy Fallon a few nights ago.

And number three.


ALL TIME LOW, ROCK BAND: Singing "Sleepwalking."


ROMANS: "Sleepwalking" from All Time Low.

All right, thanks for joining me this Friday morning. I hope you have a great rest of your.