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Ukraine: Moscow Mobilizing Up To Half A Million More Troops This Year; Today: Judge To Rule On Admissibility Of Gunshot Residue Evidence; Eagles, Chiefs Meet Media On Super Bowl Opening Night. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired February 07, 2023 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Ukraine believes Russia is planning to mobilize up to half a million more soldiers this year. A senior intelligence official says the new offensive is expected in the coming months -- proving, he says, that Moscow has, quote, "no intention of ending this war."

CNN's Clare Sebastian live in London. The Russians have consistently denied another mobilization but it's very clear in Eastern Ukraine they are bracing for another assault here.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine. Officially, they have denied this multiple times, as you say. They have not officially announced another wave of mobilization. But, of course, we know that they are sustaining heavy losses in these infantry -- wave after wave of infantry tactics that we're seeing the east do potentially mean that they will have to replenish their forces, not to mention perhaps ramp up their numbers in Ukraine if they are planning a spring offensive as Ukraine has consistently been warning.

But as for the comment that you had from the deputy head of the defense intelligence in Ukraine, he says they're expecting not only another wave of mobilization but a bigger one than before -- between 300,000 and 500,000 men. He said this would be part of what they expect to be that spring offensive on the front lines in the east, in particular, and perhaps in the Zaporizhzhia region in the south as well.

Look, Russia has not announced this yet. It is clearly very risky for Russia to do this. You saw the public opposition last time -- that exodus of fighting-age men. And conversely it is also, by the way, in Ukraine's interest to talk about it because it would be widely interpreted as a sign of weakness if Russia was to do this again, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Clare Sebastian for us in London. Thank you so much.

Quick hits around the globe right now. An Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jericho has killed at least -- killed five Palestinians. Jericho is a popular tourist destination and hasn't seen this kind of violence in decades.

More than 20 people have died in Chile after some of the deadliest wildfires on record. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed.

France is bracing for a third round of nationwide strikes and protests today over the government's plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. The bill is now going through Parliament.

All right, the Eagles and the Chiefs gearing up for the big game this weekend. The best moments from Super Bowl opening night ahead.

And dramatic new testimony from the woman who saw Alex Murdaugh around the time his wife and son were murdered.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Alex have -- did Alex Murdaugh have blood on his clothes?




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

President Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address tonight. He's expected to tout his legislative accomplishments and a strong economy.

A House committee will hold the first in a series of hearings this morning focusing on aviation safety as they craft a comprehensive bill to renew the FAA's authority.

Investors bracing for a speech later this morning from Fed chair Jerome Powell. Last week's strong jobs report may potentially increase rate hikes for a longer period of time.

All right, the judge in Alex Murdaugh's double-murder trial expected to rule today on whether to allow evidence of gunshot residue on a specific garment into the record. The defense suffered a major setback when the judge said jurors could hear evidence of Murdaugh's financial crimes. Meantime, another key witness was on the stand.

CNN's Randi Kaye has more from South Carolina.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it unusual to see Alex Murdaugh at that residence at that time of night?


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This woman is the only witness who saw Alex Murdaugh around the time of the murders. Mushelle "Shelly" Smith worked as a caregiver for Alex's mother and says Alex came to his mom's home sometime after 9:00 p.m. on June 7, 2021. That would have been shortly after the state says Maggie and Paul Murdaugh's phones ceased all activity, meaning they were likely dead.


Alex's mother had Alzheimer's. Smith said his mom was sleeping that night and that it was unusual for Alex to come visit her so late. Smith recalled Alex stayed about 15 to 20 minutes. Despite that, she says he told her the next day, unsolicited, that he was there much longer than that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And just to be clear, what was the statement he said about how long he was here?

SMITH: Thirty to 40 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But his phrase was "I was here" or "You know I was here."

SMITH: "I was here 30 to 40 minutes."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was he there 30 to 40 minutes that night?

SMITH: Not to my recall.

KAYE (voice-over): Smith cried on the stand as she shared how that conversation with Alex made her so nervous she called her brother to tell him about it. She seemed to suggest Alex was sending her a message to say he was there longer the night of the murders.

She also described for the jury how Alex seemed fidgety. The defense pushed back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is his normal behavior kind of fidgety?


KAYE (voice-over): Smith told the jury days after the murders Alex returned to his mother's house around 6:30 in the morning with what looked like a blue tarp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something like this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did it look like?

SMITH: Like a blue tarp. Like a tarp.



SMITH: It was like a tarp that you put on a car to keep your car covered up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he say anything when he walked in?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. What did he do when he walked in?

SMITH: Went upstairs.

KAYE (voice-over): The prosecution argued in opening statements that investigators recovered a blue raincoat at Alex's mother's home which had gun residue on it. This special agent with SLED, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, told the jury she found a blue raincoat tucked away in a closet at his mother's house.

KRISTEN MOORE, SPECIAL AGENT, SLED CRIME SCENE UNIT: We located a blue raincoat in the coat closet on the second floor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you found it, it was balled up like this?

MOORE: That is correct.

KAYE (voice-over): Still, the defense injected some doubt -- getting Smith, the caregiver, to confirm she thought it was a tarp, not a raincoat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it was not a rain jacket, was it?

SMITH: No, it wasn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a blue tarp?


KAYE (voice-over): The defense also pointed out the blue item -- whatever it was -- didn't have a gun wrapped inside it, such as a murder weapon, which would have left gunshot residue.

But the caregiver noticed more about Alex the night of the murders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you observe anything about his face? Any -- on his face?

SMITH: He had a little colored -- blue color something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it -- ma'am, I apologize. Got a little what cut?

SMITH: Like a -- like a little bruise or something.


SMITH: Right above his forehead.

KAYE (voice-over): What she didn't see on Alex was blood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Alex have -- Alex Murdaugh have blood on his clothes?

SMITH: No. I didn't see any.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he have blood on his shoes?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he have blood on his hair?


KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Walterboro, South Carolina.


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

Super Bowl week is officially underway. The game is still days away but the Chiefs and the Eagles -- they were out last night to meet the media on opening night.

Carolyn Manno has this morning's Bleacher Report. Counting down to the big feast and the big game.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this is the fun part of it because the players and the coaches are normally talking about x's and o's all year long, which is why Super Bowl opening night is distinctly different. In fact, a lot of the questions usually don't have anything at all to do with football.

And last night's made-for-TV event back in full force for the first time since 2020. The pandemic had forced teams to meet the media on videoconferences over the past two seasons. So this was a new experience for many of the Eagles. But for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, this is the third time in four years that they have made it this far, so it seems that they were ready for the wild and wacky.


PATRICK MAHOMES, QUARTERBACK, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Andy Reid has the best impression of my voice. He doesn't do it in front of a lot of people, thankfully, but Andy Reid, for sure, has the best impression of my voice.

ANDY REID, HEAD COACH, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Yes, you've got to let the voice crack just a little bit. But he's got a one -- you know, that's a unique voice he has.

I know what the next question is -- am I doing to do it? I'm not doing it but I appreciate you -- appreciate -- I'm good but not that good.

TRAVIS KELCE, TIGHT END, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: You got to -- you've got to have it like right here. And it's not -- most people think it's right here. It's like in the pits -- you've got to love this.


MANNO: Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce will be the first brothers to ever play against each other in the Super Bowl. Their mom Donna surprising her sons during the interview with a batch of cookies for each of them.

Our Coy Wire was there last night. He's going to have more in the next hour of "CNN THIS MORNING." We are definitely looking forward to that.

LeBron James is on the cusp of making history. He needs 36 points against the Pelicans tonight to pass Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the top spot on the NBA's all-time scoring list. It's one of the greatest achievements in all of sports and an honor that comes after years of consistency.


LEBRON JAMES, FORWARD, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: It was never a goal. It was never a journey. The stressful part for me is competing every single day to try to bring home the Larry O'Brien trophy. It's truly remarkable for that to be accomplished and -- but it makes it weird for me when I think, dang, it's actually me who is doing it.



MANNO: You can watch LeBron chase and potentially make history tonight on our sister channel TNT. Tip-off is 10:00 Eastern, so make a programming note if you're an early bird. This is going to be a late one but it might be worth it.

And now that Tom Brady is officially retired everybody wants to know what he's going to do next. The 7-time Super Bowl winner says he's going to take a little time off before starting his new career as a broadcaster.


TOM BRADY, 7-TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: Decompression is important. I -- you're on this kind of really crazy treadmill/hamster wheel for a long time loving the moment and loving the journey. At the same time, there's a -- there's a -- it's a daily fight for me. I want to be great at what I do. And even talking even last week with the people at Fox Sports and the leadership there allowed me to start my Fox opportunity in the fall of 2024 -- something that's great for me.


MANNO: You know, everybody decompresses differently, Christine. Brady breaking the internet yesterday after posting this picture. This was the payoff of a previously made bet from June. So he previously promised to recreate some photos that were taken by some of the models of his TB12 apparel brand ads if he received 40,000 likes on the tweet.

So, feeling very comfortable, so far, in retirement. It feels -- it feels a little crass before 6:00 a.m. but --

ROMANS: Tom Brady in his underwear.

MANNO: Breaking the internet -- Tom Brady and his underwear. And Happy Tuesday to you.

ROMANS: All right, nice to see you. Thanks, Carolyn Manno.

Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" Americans join the desperate search for earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria.

And next, right here, a potential lifeline for struggling Bed Bath & Beyond.



ROMANS: All right, Tuesday edition of your Romans' Numeral this morning -- one billion, as in Bed Bath & Beyond planning to raise $1 billion through an equity offering. It's a Hail Mary to avoid bankruptcy. The money will help pay debt and fund business operations.

Looking at markets around the world right now you can see Asian shares closed mixed. Europe has opened narrowly mixed. And on Wall Street, stock index futures at this hour barely moving here.

Stocks fell Monday as investors worry the good news in the economy, a strong job market, means the Fed might have to raise interest rates several times more this year to control inflation.

Shares of Google owner Alphabet fell about two percent. Google outlining plans for a new artificial intelligence tool called Bard to compete with super-popular ChatGPT.

Add Dell to the list of tech companies cutting jobs. Dell laying off more than 6,500 workers. It's about five percent of its workforce.

And gas prices down a penny overnight. The national average, $3.46 a gallon.

All right. Netflix once said love is sharing a password. Well, not anymore. Get ready for a crackdown on users sharing passwords and streaming on multiple devices.

Let's bring in CNN Business reporter Nathaniel Meyersohn. What's happening here?

NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Christine, so either we're using somebody else's Netflix password or they're using ours, and this helped fuel the rise of Netflix.


MEYERSOHN: But now the company wants to crack down. It says that about 100 million households around the world are using Netflix passwords that aren't there. And the company subscriber growth has slowed down. So this is a way that it could add more revenue and new subscribers. It's still kind of figuring out exactly the way that this password-sharing crackdown would work.

But if this happens, Netflix is the industry leader. It would lead other streaming platforms and services to tighten their password policies. So this could be the end of using everybody else's Netflix passwords.

ROMANS: Uh-oh, all right.

Some better news here for folks. Beef prices are falling. Why?

MEYERSOHN: So we're seeing deflation on beef. Tyson Foods, which is the largest meatpacker in the U.S. -- they said yesterday that the average beef prices last quarter were down 8.5 percent from a year ago and this is what we're seeing industrywide. You look at the latest Consumer Price Index reading for December, beef prices down 3.1 percent from a year ago in December.

And we -- this is happening because we see these supply shortages easing. Earlier in the pandemic, there were all these meat shortages and that led to higher prices for steaks and beef. And then consumer demand for beef has slowed down because of inflation. People are trying to save money. They're not buying those expensive steaks. And so that's all leading to lower prices on beef.

ROMANS: Interesting.

All right. And tell me about outdoor dining. Is it -- it's not -- it was cool and now it's not cool, eating outdoors?

MEYERSOHN: So it was a lifeline for restaurants early in the pandemic -- 2020, 2021. Now people are getting a little bit tired of it.

You look at some numbers from Resy, the reservation platform.


MEYERSOHN: Outdoor dining, the last month, down 27 percent in New York from a year ago. Nationwide, down 13 percent.

People -- they're ready to be inside. They're not as concerned about getting COVID anymore.

Plus, the outdoor dining experience isn't that great. There are honking cars, it's dirty. Some of the sheds are really kind of gross. You have rats. Mayor Eric Adams in New York City -- he -- there's a picture of him chopping down one of the -- one of the sheds. And then for restaurants, they're short-staffed and they have to

either -- bring these orders to customers. It's -- so we're slowing down here.

ROMANS: Interesting. Interesting.

All right, Nathaniel Meyersohn. Nice to see you this morning. Thank you so much.

All right, just hours from now, President Biden delivers his first -- his second State of the Union address.



ROMANS: All right, our top of the morning, the top-selling musicians who have never won a Grammy.


JOURNEY, ROCK BAND: Singing "Don't Stop Believin'."


ROMANS: Number one, Journey. Forty-nine million albums sold, one nomination, no Grammys.

Here's number two.


GUNS N' ROSES, ROCK BAND: Singing "Sweet Child O' Mine."


ROMANS: Guns N' Roses -- 44 million albums sold, three nominations, no trophies.

And number three.


QUEEN, ROCK BAND: Singing "Bohemian Rhapsody."


ROMANS: Come on, Queen? Really? Fans bought 43 million albums but the band shut out four times at the Grammys.

All right, AMC Theaters is changing the way it prices tickets.


NICOLE KIDMAN, ACTRESS, AMC THEATER AD: We come to this place for magic. (END VIDEO CLIP)