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White House: Russia Has Suffered More Than 100,000 Casualties Since December; Hunter Biden Ordered To Disclose More Finances In Paternity Case; Speaker McCarthy Agrees To Meet At White House On Debt Ceiling. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 02, 2023 - 05:30   ET



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And then, of course, when it comes to preventing climate change itself, she says that what the rich nations especially need to commit to is to help the entire world, but especially poorer nations, to also move faster to renewables.

And, of course, one of the things, Christine, that's always an issue with conferences like this one or the COP 28 that's going to happen later this year is that there is often a lot of pledges but there's very little in the way of tangible results that then follow in many cases.

And this is somewhere where the German foreign minister says she believes that for renewable energies around the world there need to be real tangible results and there need to be benchmarks that need to be met.

Now, of course, the real goal of the world's community if you will -- of conferences like this one and conferences like the one that's going to be happening later this year is to try and prevent climate change from exceeding more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. And right now, quite frankly, scientists say, the Germans have said today -- the German foreign minister has said and the UAE says as well the world is not meeting that.

There are, of course, a lot of droughts here in Europe. One of the things folk were alluding to is a massive drought that's happening in southern Europe, especially in Spain. So certainly, a lot of urgency here --


PLEITGEN: -- and certainly, a lot of urgency also being projected from the populations in Europe and, of course, as we know, in the U.S. as well, Christine.

ROMANS: Yes, indeed.

All right, Fred Pleitgen. Thanks for covering that for us. We'll talk soon. All right, the Biden administration estimating Russian forces have suffered more than 100,000 casualties in Ukraine since December. That's troops killed or wounded. The White House says Russia has exhausted its military stockpiles and its armed forces, and that number is a stunning key signal that Moscow's effort has backfired.

CNN's Scott McLean live in London with more. Scott, how is Russia responding?


Yes -- so far, there has not been an official response from the Russians. But we should take these numbers with somewhat of a grain of salt because, of course, neither side wants to put out their official casualty counts. And this is an estimate based on U.S. intelligence but we don't know what kind or how reliable that might be.

But what's interesting here is that the U.S. says that nearly half of the 100,000 dead or wounded since December on the Russian side have been part of the Wagner mercenary group that we know has been doing much of the fighting in the bloody battle for Bakhmut. We also know that sometimes they are ill-equipped and poorly trained when they're actually sent out to the front lines.

There's also a comical gap between this U.S. estimate and what Wagner is saying officially, which is that they've only had 94 casualties.

The U.S. also says that it's not going to release its Ukrainian casualty estimate because it doesn't want to do anything that may make things harder for the Ukrainians.

Now, the Ukrainians have also not acknowledged an explosion that took place on Russian soil yesterday involving a train that the governor of the Bryansk region says was carrying oil and construction supplies. Bryansk is on the border with Ukraine and there's been a lot of back- and-forth in that area as of late. We know that the governor said that just overnight there was Ukrainian shelling there. Over the weekend he said that there was shelling that killed four civilians.

And the Ukrainians, for their part, say that there have been drone strikes on Kyiv originating from Bryansk. And they also, less than two months ago, said that they launched their own drone strike on that region -- something that is an extremely rare admission. Because as we know, there have been plenty of mysterious explosions on Russian soil since the outset of the war but Ukraine typically doesn't acknowledge any of them.

And in cases like this, both sides kind of have somewhat of an incentive to downplay it because the Ukrainians don't want to provoke a response from the Russians and, of course, the Russians are reluctant to concede to their own population that there is war taking place on their own soil, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Scott McLean for us in London. Thank you for that.

All right, quick hits around the globe right now. Search and rescue efforts continue for three crew members after a tanker caught fire off the coast of Malaysia. Twenty-five crew members have been rescued.

Ukraine denying there is a peace mission involving the Vatican to end the fighting with Russia. Pope Francis said on Sunday there was but Ukrainian officials say any talks are without their knowledge or blessing.

All right, May Day protests in France became violent on Monday. Large crowds took to the streets continuing to protest pension reforms that were signed into law several weeks ago. More than 100 police officers hurt and more than 280 people were arrested.

All right. Still ahead, what a judge just ordered Hunter Biden to do. And the big upset in the NBA Playoffs.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

Here is today's fast-forward look ahead.

Testimony will continue in the E. Jean Carroll defamation and battery trial against former President Donald Trump. Carroll's lawyers expected to call a friend who Carroll said she confided in after the alleged rape. Trump denies all allegations.

The man accused of killing Cash App executive Bob Lee will appear in court for an arraignment hearing. Police say Nima Momeni and Lee knew each other and appeared to get into an argument before Lee's death.

Court will resume today in the Ed Sheeran copyright trial. The estate of Marvin Gaye is suing Sheeran alleging one of his songs copied Gaye's "Let's Get It On." Sheeran appeared visibly frustrated on the stand. He said the allegations are really insulting.

All right, Hunter Biden being ordered to disclose more about his finances and art sales as part of an ongoing child support dispute that could head to trial this summer.

CNN's Sara Murray has more.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president's son appearing in an Arkansas courtroom today. The hearing related to a years-old paternity dispute after the mother of his child, Lunden Roberts, accused Hunter Biden of ignoring earlier court orders and withholding evidence.

Now the judge says Hunter must answer more questions about his investments, art sales, and other financial transactions as part of the child support case. He will also sit for a June deposition where he'll be questioned under oath.


"You can't say these are my tax return -- good luck, you figure it out," the judge said, ordering up details on Hunter's taxes. "This cryptic, hide-the-ball game isn't going to cut it when we get to trial."

What began as a 2019 paternity case morphing into a battle over Hunter's overseas business dealings, the now infamous laptop, and other financial issues, all as Hunter faces scrutiny from both criminal and congressional investigators.

Republican lawmakers have launched a sprawling probe into the Biden family's business dealings seeking many of the same financial records Lunden Roberts is trying to access. While Republicans have alleged wrongdoing by the Biden family they have yet to back their allegations up with evidence.

REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): Well, we found a lot that's certainly unethical. We found a lot that should be illegal. The line is blurry as to what is legal and not legal with respect to family influence peddling.

MURRAY (voice-over): Last week, Hunter's lawyers met with Justice Department officials are prosecutors weigh whether to bring charges related to failure to file taxes, tax evasion, and a false statement charge related to a gun purchase, sources say. Hunter has maintained his innocence.

HUNTER BIDEN, PRESIDENT BIDEN'S SON: I am absolutely certain -- 100 percent certain that at the end of the investigation that I will be cleared.

MURRAY (voice-over): As for the paternity case, Hunter initially denied fathering the child, but a DNA test confirmed he is the biological father. Hunter has since agreed to pay child support, paying $750,000 to the mother so far, his lawyer said in court.

MURRAY (on camera): Now, the judge also chided Hunter Biden's attorneys on Monday saying they were being a little too heavy-handed in their redactions in the court filings, and saying they need to make more of this information available in public court filings.

Of course, you can bet that Republican lawmakers who are interested in investigating the Biden family will be keeping a close eye on any of this information that becomes available to the American public.

Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: All right, to sports now.

James Harden puts on a vintage performance to lead the 76ers to an upset win over the Celtics in game one of their playoff series. Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.


So a lot of people were counting the Sixers out in game one without Joel Embiid who is out with a knee injury. This Celtics, 10-point favorites last night.

But James Harden just looking like the Harden from five years ago. Fourth quarter here, he's got to cross over Jaylen Brown to take it in for the lay-in. Now this game was back and forth late. Under six to go, Harden here -- the three. He made seven of them in the game -- the big one coming in the final seconds. The Celtics up one. Harden going to hit the step-back on Al Horford -- nails it. Harden tying a playoff career-high with 45 points as the Sixers stun the Celtics in game one 119-115.


JAMES HARDEN, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS GUARD: I work on that shot every day. Whether it go in or don't, I've got the confidence to shoot it. So just stay with my shot and follow through, and it went in. We're just a resilient team and we going without Joel. We've got the confidence to come here and win games and we've been doing it all year long, so it's a good one for us.


SCHOLES: All right, the Nuggets and Suns, meanwhile, playing a low- scoring affair in game two of their series. Denver entered the fourth quarter trailing but that's when two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic just took over. Jokic pouring in 39 points to go along with 16 rebounds. The Nuggets outscored the Suns by 13 in the final quarter to get the win 97-87 to take a 2-0 lead in that series.

Now, the NBA is going to make the MVP announcement tonight at 7:00 Eastern on TNT. It's expected to be either Jokic or Joel Embiid.

Then we've got game two between the Knicks and the Heat. Then one of the most anticipated second-round series ever -- Warriors versus Lakers. And Steph Curry and LeBron -- they both have four titles. They've squared off against each other four times in the finals but never in a playoff series.


DRAYMONG GREEN, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS GUARD: It's like it's goosebumps, man. Like, you -- this is what you prepare for -- for these moments. And this series against the Lakers is going to be epic. You've got Steph, you've got Bron doing it all over again. We've never played against the Lakers in a playoff series. We get to experience that.


SCHOLES: All right. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, meanwhile, the Devils advancing to the second round for the first time since 2012. They shut out the Rangers 4-0 in last night's winner-take-all game seven. Michael McLeod opening up the scoring with a spectacular short- handed goal in the second period.

The Devils now going to travel south to Raleigh to face the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow night.

All right, and finally, Serena Williams walking the red carpet at the star-studded Met Gala in New York last night and dropping some major news. The 23-time Grand Slam champion announcing she is expecting baby number two. Serena making it Instagram official, posting, "Was so excited when Anna Wintour invited the three of us to the Met Gala."


In a Vogue magazine article last year, Serena announced she was evolving away from tennis and wanted to grow her family after welcoming daughter Olympia back in 2017.

So congrats to Serena and her --


SCHOLES: -- and her husband there, Christine, as baby number two is on the way

ROMANS: That's amazing. The best work is yet to come, right?

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Nice stuff there.

OK, thanks so much. Nice to see you, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" President Biden's plan to meet with Republicans on the debt limit. What the White House says he wants to tell them.

And next, right here, the iconic American company that just admitted robots are coming for your job.


ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this Tuesday morning, 7,800. Bloomberg News is reporting that in the coming years, roughly 7,800 jobs at P.C. maker IBM could be replaced by artificial intelligence -- AI. The company's chief executive, in an interview, says he expects IBM to pause or slow hiring as 30 percent of non-customer-facing roles could be replaced by AI and automation over the next five years.


Looking at markets around the world, European markets are slightly lower at this hour. Eurozone inflation rose to seven percent in April. Asian markets finished higher. The International Monetary Fund raising Asia's economic forecast, now expecting the region's economy to grow 4.6 percent this year.

And on Wall Street, stock index futures -- they're wobbling today. Now they're narrowly mixed.

Stocks fell yesterday. Investors are bracing for a critical Federal Reserve policy meeting where the Fed is expected to lift interest rates again to the highest level in 16 years before debating a pause. Also concerning, word of the date when the U.S. can no longer pay all of its bills -- June first. More on that in a moment.

On inflation watch, gas prices fell a penny overnight to $3.60 a gallon.

Data this morning on job openings due later today.

All right, just into CNN, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has accepted an invitation to meet with President Biden one week from today about the debt ceiling. Biden invited all four congressional leaders to that meeting. This comes after Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen notified lawmakers that the U.S. could default on its debt as early as June first.

Let's bring in chief financial analyst at, Greg McBride.

So the deadline has passed. I caution to say June first is the date. The date was January 19. That's when the U.S. borrowing hit that debt ceiling. And now, every day after that we are facing catastrophe if they don't figure out how to pay those bills that they've already spent.

What do you make of this June first and what you're hearing out of Washington about whether they can resolve it?

GREG MCBRIDE, CHIEF FINANCIAL ANALYST, BANKRATE.COM (via Skype): Well, June first -- that's right around the corner. And as we get closer, if we're not seeing progress towards lifting that debt ceiling, markets are going to get really nervous in a very big hurry. You know, the expectation is that this is going to get resolved at the eleventh hour as it historically has in the past but we're kind of flirting with danger the closer we get to June first.

And if we look back to 2011, that was not a good precedent, Christine. The stock market fell 17 percent in a seven-week stand. The credit rating of the U.S. got downgraded and we had a noticeable tightening of credit. And that was one where they did raise the debt ceiling before --


MCBRIDE: -- that x date. So a lot of concern out there for sure.

ROMANS: And the irony -- the irony of that is that it added to the cost of financing all that debt by fighting over all that debt. I mean, the thing that they wanted to prevent in the first place. So it's just -- it's all a very, very dangerous game all around, the politics of it aside.

Let's talk about the FDIC. We learned that the FDIC wants to raise or eliminate the insurance limit for -- specifically, for some businesses, right? I mean, let's think about that. Part of the problem in the banking sector recently has been a lot of these people and companies who have more than $250,000 in a bank account -- now they're worried they might not have that money if a bank fails.

Is that a good idea, maybe, to raise that insurance limit? Would that help calm the banking sector, do you think?

MCBRIDE: Yes, I think it would. I mean, this trail has been blazed. They had a very similar program in effect in the days following the financial crisis from about 2010 to 2012 where there was unlimited insurance on non-interest-bearing accounts. And so that aimed directly at those small accounts where they may have hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars that they need just for operations but having the assurance that money was fully protected.

So that trail has been blazed. Frankly, I'm kind of surprised that hasn't been rolled out already given the turmoil we've seen over the last six weeks or so.

ROMANS: We saw JPMorgan Chase -- a megabank now, just truly a megabank -- absorb First Republic. The JPMorgan CEO says the banking system is sound. But we have the Fed that's likely to raise interest rates again this week and it's Fed rate hikes that kind of got us here.

What do you make about this moment in banking? Is the worst behind us?

MCBRIDE: Well, I mean, in terms of the turmoil, I think yes, the worst is behind us. However, there will be other ramifications and fallout from the sharpest rising interest rates in 40 years. It may not come in banking. It may be in commercial lending. There could be hedge funds out there that are positioned for something to zig when it actually zags.

So there will be other fallout that we see and there will be other bank failures. Hopefully, they won't be the sizable significant bank failures we've seen over the last couple of months. But when interest rates go up at the fastest pace in 40 years that's going to catch a lot of people off sides and that -- we're kind of seeing the impacts of that now.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

All right, Greg McBride of Thanks so much. Nice to see you this morning.

MCBRIDE: Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: All right.

A blinding dust storm led to a major highway pileup that killed six people. We're live near the scene in central Illinois. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


ROMANS: All right. Our top of the morning, the top books this week on Amazon.

"Spare," by Prince Harry, is number one on the non-fiction most-read list. His father becomes King Charles III on Saturday.

Number two, "Outlive: The Science & Art of Longevity" by Peter Attia, MD.

Number three, James Clear's "Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones."

All right, Aerosmith is getting back in the saddle for the last time.


AEROSMITH, ROCK BAND: Singing "Sweet Emotion."


ROMANS: So, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and the band say they're heading into retirement after 50 years with a farewell tour. Tickets go on sale Friday morning. The first show will be in Philadelphia in September.


Aerosmith said in a statement, "It's not goodbye, it's peace out."

Thanks for joining me this Tuesday morning. I'm Christine Romans. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.