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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Soon: Biden Expected to Officially Launch Re-Election Campaign; 3-Day Ceasefire Appears to be Holding Since Midnight Monday; Today: Russian Minister Speaks After Sparring with Western Diplomats. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired April 25, 2023 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here we go. Tuesday morning. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans.

President Biden is ready to confirm what used to be a given for an incumbent in American politics, that he is running for re-election. The official announcement of his 2024 campaign today comes as polls show a majority of voters and even a majority of Democrats don't want him to run again.

CNN's Jasmine Wright joins me bright and early this morning.

Jasmine, good morning.

What do we know about the Biden's campaign rollout today?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christine, today is the day maybe, that is an important caveat, because we know that President Biden is one that can change his decision especially about his political future. So that caveat is very important, but if President Biden were to go forward with it, today, he would be really in essence launching his final campaign of his decades long political career.

Now, it's only official when it's official, but if it happens, we know logistically how it will look. The president will be launching really a campaign-style video that is basically already finished. And it will be attached with a fundraising message. Also today if the president launches this soft launch of his election -- or his re-election bid, we know that he will be naming some key personnel, that includes his campaign manager who is expected to be Julie Chavez Rodriguez, a very trusted West Wing aide, and Quentin Fulks, the former campaign manager for a successful bid of Senator Raphael Warnock.

That will be marking the transition between what his officials have been doing behind the scenes to lay the political ground work for his re-election bit to right now, start of basically a months long ramping up of a full-scale operation. But you're right, Christine, that if the president does get into the pool today, he is facing major political headwinds, based on the fact that really Americans are not so interested in seeing a rematch between him and former President Donald Trump who right now is the GOP frontrunner, namely because of age.

Polls show us that majority of Americans don't really want President Biden to run because of that. He is 80 years old right now and if he were to win a second term, he'd be 86 by the end of it. But when you talk to White House officials, they feel that they can overcome and really bring the American people to their side when they think about the comparisons between former President Trump and President Biden and really Biden trying to do what he said that he wanted to do last campaign, which was save the soul of America.

So, today, we'll see President Biden not in a major campaign style rally, but he will be meeting with a builders trade union conference here in Washington, D.C. really a perfect symmetry to the fact that four years ago when he launched his 2020 bid, president Biden released a video and then met with union officials right after -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Jasmine Wright, we'll be watching for that unveiling. Thank you so much.

All right. To the crisis in Sudan now where rival military forces agree now to a three-day ceasefire. That's according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken who says that the deal came after 48 hours of intense negotiations.

This is at least the third ceasefire since the violence broke out this month. The other is, of course, did not hold.

CNN's Sam Kiley has been following this for us. He is live in Djibouti.

Sam, what is the status of this ceasefire as of now?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, it appears to be offering the international community what they are describing as a more permissive environment for further evacuation. So, from their perspective, there has been clearly a slight drop in the amount of violence engulfing, particularly the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

But more widely I think that real proof as ever with the ceasefire will be in the pudding. There were previous ceasefires that were supposed to mark the end of Ramadan with the Eid celebrations that were being used to begin evacuations from -- starting with the U.S. embassy personnel there. That was not really observed in any significant way. But so far, this one seems to be holding I think as a result of international pressure.

Now, we can bring in the first photographs of the people rescued by the United States, these are embassy personnel. There is a photograph that we've been given by the Pentagon of two people embracing after their arrival here in Djibouti.


And then, of course, we've also got the U.S. ambassador greeting the commander of the Camp Lemonnier, which is the base here for American operations. Now, we're also told by a source in the Pentagon that there are two ships that could be used as part of possible plans to increase the level of evacuations out of Port Sudan. There is a destroyer close to the port already and then there is a marine expeditionary base ship being moved in.

Now, that is an important piece of equipment because, of course, it might significant until that this as a floating base effectively is the sort of ship that will be required if there was going to be an expansion of military operations particularly onshore in Port Sudan. Now, Port Sudan is still in the hands of government forces. Clearly, if there is going to be use of that location as an evacuation location, it would be much better to be done through negotiations rather than military deployment.

The British are also looking at getting involved in Port Sudan, again making contingencies. These only contingency plans for military operations to try to secure that port area. But that is the last resort. Their decision I stress has been taken on that. Is this contingency planning that's both the United States and United Kingdom is no doubt as part of the effort to try to evacuate very large numbers of foreign nationals still stuck in Sudan.

There have been a lot of criticism of the United States and United Kingdom over their efforts to effectively only evacuate principally diplomats and their families and a few others in comparison to some of the other nations who made a slightly wider effort to airlift out larger numbers of their citizens.

ROMANS: All right. Sam Kiley, thank you so much for that. Keep us posted there.

All right. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will speak at the U.N. today after sparring with the U.S. and Western allies over the ongoing war in Ukraine. With Lavrov presiding over the meeting, Western diplomats slammed Russia's war as a violation of U.N. charter and international law.

Lavrov responded, defending his country's, quote, special military operation in Ukraine. He reiterated claims that Kyiv -- Kyiv is the real aggressor.

CNN's Clare Sebastian live in London for us with more.

Clare, what do we expect to hear from Lavrov today?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More of the same I think, Christine. What we saw Monday was really just reinforcing of the stark divide between Russia and Ukraine's Western allies. And I think that we saw relations deteriorate even further. Russia, as you say, through Lavrov, railing against the West over sanctions, criticizing the U.S. and its allies for abandoning diplomacy in Ukraine and in turn facing harsh condemnation for not only his actions in Ukraine but being accused of hypocrisy for chairing a session of the U.N. entitled maintenance of peace -- of international peace and security.

On the grain deal, which is something that obviously has huge consequence for the world, not a lot of concrete progress there either. He met with the U.N. secretary general and passed a letter to present to Vladimir Putin on a proposed path forward for that deal, but Russia says its interests are not being met in that regard.

Today, we expect to see Lavrov in a few hours chair a session on the Middle East, Russia still has considerable interest and influence in that region, still has a military presence in Syria. So we expect to see the complicated relations play out and potentially some Western outrage over Russia chairing a session on potential peace in the Middle East. And he will be giving a wide ranging press conference also later on today, Christine, and I think that we can expect to see more of those divisions coming out on that as well.

ROMANS: Yeah. All right. Clare, thank you so much. We know you'll be watching for us.

Just ahead, a Georgia prosecutor gives a time line for possible charges against Donald Trump.

Plus, the New York jets now have their best quarterback since Joe Namath. More on Aaron Rogers ahead.

And President Biden expected to officially join the 2024 presidential race this morning. How this campaign will be different, next.



ROMANS: All right. Any moment, Biden is set to announce his 2024 campaign in a video. He has plans to buy television ad time this week to start pushing his re-election message. The president has also selected co-chairs for his campaign, naming Representative James Clyburn, Lisa Blunt Rochester and Veronica Escobar among others.

Let's bring in Tyler Page, a White House reporter at "The Washington Post".

So, nice to see you bright and early this morning. Big day in D.C. The president is going to make his case, Tyler, for four more years, that there is still a job to finish.

And, what, personal freedoms to protect?

TYLER PAGE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER AT "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yeah, this is a day that many have been waiting for and expecting. And this morning, the president will make it official declaring that he is running for re-election on a message centered around the idea of finishing the job that he was elected. He's made a lot of progress in his first term, but he needs four additional years to continue implementing the policies he passed and continue pushing the envelope forward.

ROMANS: Yeah, not a lot of enthusiasm at all in this very nascent race. According to an NBC poll, 70 percent of respondents say the president shouldn't run. Forty-eight percent of those voters think his age is a major factor. How does his team overcome this and really speak to the base?

PAGE: Yeah, I think that age is going to be a significant one for the president and his campaign as he is already the oldest American president and if reelected, he would be 86 at the end of his second term. His aides recognize that that's a factor they're going to have to reckon with and they plan to have him out there and do the job of president which he's doing every day to prove to the American people that he is so up and able to do the job.


But as you cited, the poll -- there's many polls show that enthusiasm for Joe Biden may not be there, but what his aides want you to look at deeper in the poll where most voters, these Democrats and independents, say that they would support him against Donald Trump or similar nominee. But it is a true factor that they will have to deal with, that enthusiasm, the raw excitement is not there around the country. They are hoping that those numbers change as the race becomes clearer and that will get started as he officially declares he's running again.

ROMANS: You know, you mention the enthusiasm among Democrats, but you look overall at the 2024 match-up, if it were to be around 2020, and polls show not a lot of enthusiasm for a rematch here either. Does that help -- if Trump is the nominee, does that -- does that somehow help Joe Biden?

PAGE: Yeah, in conversations with sources at the White House and across the Democratic Party, they feel that hands down Joe Biden is the best Democratic candidate to defeat Trump, he's done it once and can do it again. Obviously, Trump continues to deal with additional legal challenges, indictment in New York and other investigations here in Washington and in Georgia. And they feel that Biden has a record now to run on, has defeated Trump before and is only expanding his base in a rematch.

Now, against other Republican candidates, I think that there could be additional challenges, particularly a split screen over age between Biden and some of the younger Republican candidates, but that is less of an issue against Trump who is in a similar age range.

ROMANS: Sure, do you think the president will have any serious Democratic challengers?

PAGE: Yeah, that is not something that Biden and his team or the wider Democratic party is concerned about. There is obviously Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who both announced long shot bids. But Biden has the -- most of the Democratic Party behind him, progressive wing to the more moderate wing. And even the Democratic national committee has no plans to host debates and give Biden the opportunity to share the stage with some of the other long shot challengers.

But as we see him announce today, I think that we'll see wide reaction from across the Democratic Party lining up to support his bid.

ROMANS: All right. Tyler Page, nice to see you. A big day for you at the White House. Thank you, sir.

PAGE: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. One of the Louisville metro police officers involved in the 2020 shooting of Breonna Taylor is now working for another sheriff's office.

Here is CNN's Jason Carroll.


PROTESTERS: Breonna Taylor!

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Breonna Taylor's mother had one word to describe how she felt after learning former Louisville Metro Police Officer Myles Cosgrove had been rehired by another department.

TAMIKA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER: Anger, to think that another department would even want this guy to be a part of any department for that matter just angers me.

CARROLL: According to a CNN affiliate, the Carroll County sheriff's department cited Cosgrove's experience as the reason behind the higher. His attorney confirmed the former LMPD officer recently started with the sheriff's department.

SCOTT MILLER, LAWYER OF MYLES COSGROVE: On behalf of Myles and myself, we don't want anything to take away or diminish the value of the tragedy that happened to Breonna Taylor and her family. We're not minimizing that at all, but he definitely has had a hard road to go in getting back to trying to figure out a way to support his family in the future.

CARROLL: Cosgrove was one of three LMPD officers who fired their weapons during a raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment the night of March 13th, 2020.

Cosgrove fired more than a dozen times, including the fatal bullet that killed Taylor, though the Louisville Metro Police Department fired him in January of 2021 for failing to use his body camera and violating the department's use of force rules.

MYLES COSGROVE, FORMER LMPD OFFICER: I started shooting as soon as I saw the flash, almost simultaneously.

CARROLL: During a department hearing to appeal his firing, Cosgrove expressed remorse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you regret that Breonna Taylor ended up being shot and killed?

COSGROVE: Of course. Of course, I do. It's horrible.

CARROLL: The department's merit board upheld his dismissal. Despite that, the Carroll County sheriff's department decided to hire Cosgrove. His attorney notes four other officers in the raid face federal charges in connection with that raid, three accused of lying in order to obtain a search warrant.

One former LMPD officer Kelly Goodlett admitted in federal court that she and another officer had falsified information in the warrant that was used to justify the raid on Taylor's apartment.

U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland says had it not been for that faulty warrant, Taylor would be alive today.


Cosgrove's attorney reminded those who oppose his client being hired that he has not been charged with any crime.

COSGROVE: There was a grand jury that met, state of Kentucky that cleared him of any wrongdoing. A federal grand jury was convened and also determined that there were other people who warranted being charged criminally but not Myles.

PALMER: It's this good old boy system, so I'm not surprised at all.

CARROLL: Those seeking justice for Breonna Taylor says Cosgrove getting a badge back is a danger to the new community he is serving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people of Carroll County should be very afraid and not led this hire stand.

PALMER: You don't know who to trust anymore or who to trust. It's insane to me.

CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


ROMANS: All right. Quick hits across America now. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum just signed a six week abortion ban even in cases of rape or incest. The law now one of the strictest in the U.S. took effect immediately.

A Georgia prosecutor plans to announce this summer whether she will bring charges against former President Donald Trump. Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis is investigating attempts to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election results.

Disney laying off thousands of workers this week at its theme parks, ESPN and other divisions. This is the second and largest wave of cuts as D.A. plans to slash its workforce by 7,000.

All right. Coming up, Italy rescues another wave of migrants from capsized boats at sea.

And next, the wife of deputy defense minister living the high life in Europe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How is it possible that she can continue to do this?





ROMANS: All right. Talk about a life of luxury. Here is the wife of Russia's deputy defense minister draped in fur and waltzing around Europe as death and destruction envelope Ukraine. She and her husband lead a lavish lifestyle wildly out of sync with his reported government salary.

So, how did they do it?

CNN's Clarissa Ward has more.


WARD: As heavy fighting continues in Ukraine, one well-known Russian socialite is still traveling regularly to France and it is causing quite an uproar to the point where a small protest took place in Paris yesterday with people demanding that France do something to stop this because of where this woman's money allegedly comes from.

(voice-over): Svetlana Maniovich is a woman of expensive tastes -- diamonds and couture, extravagant parties and European vacations. Just last month, she was seen shopping and dancing in the elite French ski resort of Courchevel.

But Maniovich is no ordinary Russian socialite. She is the other half of Russia's deputy minister of defense, Timur Ivanov, one of the most senior architects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

And, according to a shocking investigation, Maniovich continues to gallivant around France more than a year into Russia's bloody war, despite the fact that Ivanov was sanctioned by the E.U. in October.

The explosive report put out by the Anti-Corruption Foundation, an investigative outfit funded by Russia's jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny, is based, they say, on a leaked archive of more than 8,000 of Maniovich's emails over the last 12 years and has racked up more than 6 million views on YouTube.

It claims that on March 25, 2022, as dozens of missiles rained down on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Maniovich spent more than $100,000 in a top Paris jewelry store on the Place Vendome.

How was it possible that she can continue to do this?

MARIA PEVCHIKH, HEAD OF INVESTIGATIONS, ANTI-CORRUPTION FOUNDATION: It's a very simple trick that they've played. Number one, Svetlana has an Israeli passport through her first husband.

And, second of all, six months into the war, they have filed for divorce. They haven't split any assets. Nothing has changed in terms of, like, in the daily life. Whatever they owned, they keep owning together. But, technically, they are not legally married anymore.

WARD: Equally shocking are the opulent lifestyle and lavish spending that the leaked emails document. According to Russian business publication RBC, Ivanov's official income was once declared to be around 14.2 million rubles a year, less than $175,000. Yet, the Navalny group's report calculated that the couple spent more than a quarter of a million dollars in just one summer.

CNN has not been able to independently verify those numbers.

How is he funding this lifestyle?

PEVCHIKH: Well, the answer is corruption, corruption and specifically kickbacks.

WARD: According to the Russian government, Ivanov oversees construction for Russia's Ministry of Defense, including what the Anti-Corruption Foundation describes as lucrative contracts to rebuild the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which fell to Russian forces under punishing bombardment last May.

PEVCHIKH: The Russian army has destroyed, demolished 70 percent of the apartment blocks in town. They had to build new ones, and they did.