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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Alexey Navalny Appears In Russian Court For New Criminal Case; White House To Host South Korean President Later Today; McCarthy Scrambles For GOP Votes On Debt Ceiling Plan. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 26, 2023 - 05:30   ET



CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's also clear, certainly from accounts from his family, as you just heard there, and his team that this is happening as the conditions that he is facing in prison are worsening. We've heard about mounting health issues, stomach issues. We're not hearing that food is being withheld.

And today, it is also reported by his team that he, having just completed 15 days in solitary confinement, is now going back in for another 15 days of solitary confinement. That's likely to, given accounts we've heard, compound the issues with his lack of food, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: It looks like -- I mean, it looks like he's lost some weight. I mean, it looks like that he is underweight for sure. All right.

SEBASTIAN: Yes. I think this will be a closely scrutinized hearing for that reason as well.

ROMANS: Yes. All right, Clare, thank you so much.

Quick hits around the globe right now.

Singapore has executed a man convicted of conspiring to traffic about two pounds of cannabis despite numerous appeals. Critics and his family say the case against him was circumstantial.

A more than 1,000-year-old teenage mummy has been unearthed in Lima, Peru at a site where other remains have been found. Archaeologists believe it's an area where ritual sacrifices took place.

Cuba has canceled its traditional May Day March over fuel prices that became critical this weekend. Cubans have been waiting in long lines for gas for hours and days at a time. No word on exactly what caused those shortages.

Tonight, a White House state dinner. Who is on the guest list and what's on the menu? And the Atlanta Hawks stay alive in a late rally forcing game six.

(COMMERCIAL) [05:35:34]

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

E. Jean Carroll expected to testify in court today in her lawsuit against former President Trump. Trump denies Carroll's allegations that he raped her in a department store then defamed her by denying it, saying she wasn't his type.

Today, the Oklahoma parole board meets to discuss the fate of death row inmate Richard Glossip who is set to be executed in May on a capital murder charge. The state attorney general is recommending clemency as well.

All right, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is set to make his longshot presidential bid official later today. Hutchinson, a Republican, made an appearance on "CNN THIS MORNING" on Tuesday saying that no one wants a Biden-Trump replay of 2020.

This morning, President Biden will host South Korean President Yoon at the White House. Yoon began his six-day trip on Tuesday, making a trip to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and a visit to the Korean War Memorial with Biden. They will have formal talks in the Oval Office before holding a joint press conference around 12:30 today.

Joining us from Hong Kong is CNN's Kristie Lu Stout. Good morning, Kristie. There are a lot of pressing topics for these two leaders to discuss. What will take priority?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Christine, security. That is going to be front and center.

And also weighing on the state visit, the recent Pentagon leaks. You know, the White House had declined to comment whether the recent leaks would be a topic of discussion between the presidents of the U.S. and South Korea when they meet later today. One of the leaks describes in tremendous detail a conversation between two South Korean security officials over concerns over a U.S. request for ammunition for Ukraine.

Now, the White House, instead, ahead of today's visit and summit just reaffirmed the ironclad alliance with South Korea. Now, today marks the first state visit to the U.S. by a South Korean leader since 2011. There will be the welcoming ceremony at the White House followed by a summit, and then a state banquet.

Now, earlier on Tuesday, the South Korean president addressed a business forum. He talked about the alliance and he said that it should leap into a new phase. Take a listen.


YOON SUK YEOL, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I believe that the U.S. alliance must leap into a new phase of alliance to overcome such complex crises together. What started as a military and security alliance should evolve into a supply chain and future- oriented innovative technology alliance, one in which our two countries grow and act together.


STOUT: They will talk about semiconductors, they will talk about emerging technologies, but security will be the focus because of North Korea. North Korea has continued to conduct a string of missile tests, including most recently that new solid-fuel ICBM.

So, President Yoon is expected to raise concerns about the U.S. nuclear umbrella. In fact, what was once a fringe issue in South Korea is now a mainstream issue. Opinion polls show a majority of South Koreans want their country to have its own nuclear weapons, so that will be up for discussion.

The summit is expected to begin shortly -- 10:45 a.m. eastern time.

Back to you, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, thank you so much. We know you'll continue to follow it for us. Thanks, Kristie.

STOUT: You bet.

ROMANS: All right, to sports now.

Trae Young keeps the Hawks' playoff hopes alive with a stunning game- fine win -- game-five win over the Celtics.

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


So the Hawks' season looked like it was going to come to an end last night but then, Trae Young coming through with an all-time great playoff performance to save the season.

The Celtics -- a 13-point lead with six minutes to go, but that's when the Hawks went on a run. Trae coming through with back-to-back threes here and ties the game at 111. Then down by one in the final seconds, Trae going to pull up for the dagger. He would then give the Boston crowd the Ice Trae signal. Trae scoring the Hawks' final 14 points and ends the game with 38.

The Hawks stunned the Celtics 119-117 to send the series back to Atlanta.


TRAE YOUNG, ATLANTA HAWKS GUARD: I looked out and there was only like three, four seconds left -- maybe two. So it was -- I just had to trust in what I've done my whole life and just shoot with confidence.

JOHN COLLINS, ATLANTA HAWKS FORWARD: I know what time it is. It's like Ice Trae time. I mean, he does his thing. He's clutch and he wants to be in those moments, and he wants the big shot.


SCHOLES: All right. The Suns, meanwhile, looking to close out the Clippers in game five of their series.


Devin Booker had it going, especially in the third quarter. He singlehandedly outscored the Clippers with 25 points in the quarter. Booker would end up with a playoff career-high 47 points.

But L.A. did not go quietly. Without Kawhi Leonard, they rallied from 20 points down in the fourth to get within two. But Kevin Durant came through with a clutch bucket in the final minutes as the Suns would move on to gain the win 136-130.

They will now face the top seed in the West, the Nuggets, in round two.

Denver taking care of business against the Timberwolves last night. Two-time reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic finishing with 28 points, 17 rebounds, and a dozen assists in this eighth-career playoff triple- double.

Minnesota had one last chance, down by three with 2 1/2 seconds remaining. But Anthony Edwards' three-pointer going to bounce off the back of the rim at the buzzer.

The Nuggets hang on to win 112-109.

You've got four more game-fives coming up later tonight, including LeBron James and the Lakers with a chance to close out their series with the Grizzlies. Tipoff set for 7:30 eastern on our sister channel TNT.

All right, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Oilers forward Zach Hyman scoring one of the strangest goals you'll ever see. With Edmonton up 4-2 against the Kings in the second period, Evan Bouchard squared up for a shot but it hit Hyman in the face and then ricocheted into the net, and that's a goal. Hyman immediately doubled over in pain as his teammates celebrated around him, but by the time he got to the bench he was high-fiving his teammates while holding his jaw.

The Oilers would win 6-3 to take a 3-2 series lead.

In the Islanders-Hurricanes game another player also got hit in the face with a puck. Carolina's Sebastian Aho taking this one off the face. Then New York's Brock Nelson hits it midair into the back of the net. A tough one for Aho there. He would leave the ice before actually coming back into the game later.

The Islanders, though, would win 3-2. Carolina, though, still leads that series three games to two.

And Christine, back with the big Hawks win. So, Janet Jackson was actually scheduled to play at State Farm Arena tonight and tomorrow but now they're having to move Thursday night's concert to Friday to accommodate Hawks-Celtics game six. Also happening in downtown Atlanta Friday night, Taylor Swift.


SCHOLES: So you've got Taylor Swift and Janet Jackson. If you know anything about downtown Atlanta it's going to be quiet the traffic jam.


SCHOLES: So I would avoid it at all costs if you're not going to one of those concerts.

ROMANS: It will. But, boy, I'd like to go to one of those concerts, actually, so --


ROMANS: All right, thanks so much. Nice to see you, Andy Scholes.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" a manhunt underway in Mississippi for four inmates who escaped a Jackson jail.

And next, right here, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy scrambling to pass his debt ceiling limit. Will he get enough votes?



ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 780,000. That's how many jobs could be lost by the end of next year if the House GOP's debt limit bill passes. That analysis from Moody's. That's, of course, because the economy would slow. That's what pulling back spending would do.

At the same time, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the bill would cut the budget deficit by $4.8 trillion over 11 years. Much more on this debate in just a moment.

But looking at markets around the world right now, Asian markets finished mixed. European markets are lower this hour. Investors concerned over the health of the global banking sector.

On Wall Street, stock index futures right now are leaning up a little bit. Markets finished lower, though, on banking woes and the wider economy. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 falling nearly two percent.

UPS reported a drop in quarterly sales and profit, blaming slower U.S. retail sales. Meanwhile, Google and Microsoft earnings beat expectations but showed slowing revenue growth.

New home sales rose 9.6 percent in March, marking the fourth monthly increase probably due to easing mortgage rates.

On inflation watch, gas prices fell a penny to $3.65 a gallon.

Meta and Boeing are set to report first-quarter earnings later today. A big, big earnings week, so we're getting a lot on the read of the economy.

All right, today is the deadline House GOP leaders set for themselves to get 218 votes they need to raise the national debt limit with some big spending cuts.

Yesterday, the White House said it would veto the proposed bill, calling it, quote, "...a reckless attempt to extract extreme concessions as a condition for the United States simply paying the bills it has already incurred."

Let's bring in Lindsay McPherson, CQ Roll Call senior congressional reporter. Good morning, nice to see you.

LINDSEY MCPHERSON, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, CQ ROLL CALL (via Webex by Cisco): Good morning, Christine. Nice to see you, too.

ROMANS: All right, so McCarthy could bring this bill to a vote as soon as today. He can only afford to lose four votes. Where is he?


ROMANS: How risky is this for McCarthy after barely winning the speakership?

MCPHERSON: Well, it certainly seemed risky considering the past few days because a lot of members were raising concerns -- changes they want to the bill. And leadership, up until late last night, was saying we're not going to make any changes to the bill. But then they took it to the rules committee and around 2:30 in the morning they adopted a rule that is going to deem -- once it's adopted on the floor, the rules (INAUDIBLE) is going to deem some of the changes that members were seeking adopted into the bill text.

So, for example, a lot of members from Midwestern states like Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota have some concerns about energy credits for biofuels and -- that allow ethanol and other clean fuels that are made out of soy and corn production that -- some tax credits for that to be repealed.

And then, this amendment that's going to be adopted in the rule will restore some of those credits members had concerns about. So that should help with those votes.

And then on the other side, there were some conservatives who wanted to change some of the work requirement provisions. They wanted to speed up implementation, which in the bill wasn't going to happen until 2025. They wanted to move that up to 2024. The change in the rule that leadership made will do that.


So they are accommodating some of the concerns and making some of the changes they said they weren't going to make. And it seems like with those changes it -- hopefully, it will be enough to get them to 218.

But they are going to gather -- they have their normal weekly conference meeting where they get together and talk about things this morning and I assume that in that meeting they'll go over the changes and see if it's enough to get those final few votes. There are still a handful of members who might vote no. For example, Nancy Mace of South Carolina.

ROMANS: Right.

MCPHERSON: And other concerns that are not addressed by this amendment.

ROMANS: So let's talk more broadly about what it is that McCarthy -- even before these amendments -- you know, the nuts and bolts here. He wanted to return spending to 2022 levels. And some of these things as well.

He wants to roll back some of the legislative achievements of President Biden. He wants to roll back that -- the billions and billions of dollars of new funding for the IRS to go after tax cheats and to modernize the IRS, which would help get more tax revenue and help lower deficits and the debt eventually. He wants to take that back.

There's some of these things that are targets here that are undoing accomplishments from the Biden administration. That's not going to fly with the White House.

MCPHERSON: Right, exactly, This is definitely an opening offer from the Republicans meant to bring the Democrats to the negotiating table. Democrats have so far said they will only accept a clean debt limit increase. They won't negotiate conditions. And they've also been really skeptical about whether Republicans can get 218 votes for anything that they want to do.

And so Republicans, by putting this bill on the floor and hopefully passing it -- if they do pass it they plan to show that they can get the votes for their demands and hope that forces Biden and Democrats to the negotiating table to at least discuss some compromise.

Obviously, Democrats aren't going to go for repealing their own laws and so some of this might get tossed on the wayside if there are negotiations. But it's -- to them, it's a reflection of what they as an opening offer would want.

ROMANS: So for those of us -- you know, I cover the economy and business is my -- you know, my beat, essentially. And when I look at this and talk to economists and business leaders they're absolutely gobsmacked that we're here again where we're negotiating -- trying to negotiate spending cuts and basically, budgeting through the debt ceiling, right? It's just so dangerous.

And we can see in global markets and in how -- what it costs to default against the U.S. debt that already there is a concern that this brinksmanship -- this political brinksmanship could be very, very dangerous for global economy and for American living standards.

I'm wondering inside the Beltway, are they aware of just how dangerous this game is, or is it just more about the political football that they're trying to score points with?

MCPHERSON: I mean, I think they definitely understand it is dangerous. But at the same time, whenever they get up close to the deadline they kind of come up with a solution for the most part. It is -- has happened before where the credit rating has been downgraded in 2011 because they got too close to the deadline.


MCPHERSON: And Republicans have played those games in the past. But they all understand Republicans say they don't want to default on the debt, and Democrats obviously don't. It's just a matter of getting everyone to a compromise in time.

And we don't know exactly when the debt limit deadline is going to fall. It depends on the amount of tax receipts that have been coming in. And we're going to get some of the data analysis from Treasury either this week or next week based on those tax receipts, but it could be as early as mid-June -- early to mid-June or as late as late July or early August. So they have a little bit of time -- not a lot of time. But Republicans are really hoping if they pass this bill it can force a conversation.

They did -- they do control one-third of the government. I mean, like in terms of the House and the Senate --


MCPHERSON: -- and the White House -- one-third of the equation here. And for Democrats to say well, we are just going to completely ignore that in their mind, they're the ones risking default. Obviously, Democrats feel opposite, like Republicans are the ones making demands when they should just pass this claim.

So whoever is to blame it doesn't matter. The point is they need to come to some kind of compromise --

ROMANS: Exactly.

MCPHERSON: -- before this crisis hits.

ROMANS: Exactly. Let's just get there. Let's just get there. And we are showing that tax receipts are down so every dollar that's coming is being used to pay the bills right now because Treasury can't borrow money to pay for the difference between what's coming in and what's going out, and that is the fundamental issue here.

Lindsey McPherson, thank you so much. Great discussion. Have a good morning.

MCPHERSON: Thanks, Christine -- you, too.

ROMANS: All right, reality T.V. star turned attorney, Kim Kardashian, speaks with Poppy Harlow coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING."



ROMANS: All right. Texas under a severe storm watch this morning. Damaging winds and very large hail are expected. Isolated tornadoes are also possible.

CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the forecast. Derek, where are these storms headed in Texas today?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, this morning, people are waking up to quite a bit of lightning and thunder just east of Amarillo and Lubbock. This is the area where we need to keep an eye to the sky this morning, but we'll see the greatest threat of severe weather shift to the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

Let's broaden out and show you kind of the setup. We've got a stationary front that's going to help fire some thunderstorms off into Florida, and then the big severe weather threat later this afternoon and evening. We're talking 2:00 p.m. to about 10:00 p.m. right where you see that shading of orange. That's a level three of five from the Storm Prediction Center.

Large hail and can't rule out a tornado, some of which could be strong. The potential for tornadoes across the southeast coastline of Florida as well.

Here's the forecast radar. You can see how these thunderstorms blossom up through the course of the day. We get the sunshine and that helps destabilize the atmosphere. And really, our threats here -- large hail. We've put that kind of a hashing in the color-coding there and that signifies some of the greatest probability of a stronger tornado and it includes Dallas-Fort Worth.


So we need to keep an eye to the sky. We need to be weather aware for these locations. Tornadoes not the only threat. The potential for two- inch in diameter or larger hail is possible across those same areas -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much, Derek. We'll watch that also flooding along the Mississippi River, too. We'll watch both --

VAN DAM: Right.

ROMANS: -- of those developing stories.

All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.