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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Russian Missile Hits Ukrainian Homes With No Military Value; Lakers Hold Off Warriors In Game One Of Highly-Anticipated Matchup; Today: Fed Likely To Make 10th Consecutive Rate Hike. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 03, 2023 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. More Russian attacks on residential areas in Ukraine -- an attack with no apparent military target nearby.

Nick Paton Walsh in Zaporizhzhia for us. And this is something we've seen -- these just tragic images of apartment buildings or preschools, or kindergartens, or daycare centers that have been hit by Russian airstrikes. What are you seeing right now, Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a pretty terrifying night for many in Ukraine. In Zaporizhzhia, in particular, we were kept awake a lot of the night by constant air sirens and blasts in the distance and one landed here.

We believe two missiles struck this area. Miraculously, nobody hurt or injured by these blasts possibly because the first rocket landed here in front of this house where two women, Tamara and Lyudmila, were sleeping in that back building. And then a second one landed in the garden, throwing dirt up all over these two buildings. In the neighboring house, you can't see behind the wreckage here, a family with 7-year-old and a 9-year-old boys were sheltering. The first sounds of the blasts enabled them to seek cover.

And here, too, Tamara and Lyudmila dived into the bath. And they, frankly, can't get their head around what's happened. They're still trying to absorb it. Emergency services working exceptionally fast to fill in the hole.

But this is part of a pattern of what we've been seeing. It's pretty hard to see if there was any kind of military target and the two rockets appeared to be thinking they were aiming roughly at the same place. They landed about 10-20 meters apart from each other.

But this, just as I say, forms a pattern that what we're seeing Russia doing. Many cities around Ukraine being struck with this extraordinary force. And you may, for the benefit of the doubt, think the Russians thinking they're trying to target something but the inaccuracy is now so common that this is just essential mechanized -- a mechanization of terrorizing Ukrainian civilians.

But these strikes last night across the country also matched or responded to war -- at the same time, felt in part of Russia as well where Krasnodar saw an oil depot on fire possibly from the attack. Other parts of sabotage in Russia as well.

A sense of these kind of explosions less targeted from what we can see publicly here in Ukraine, but quite precise from what we can see publicly from Russian officials' statements inside of Russia suggesting both sides are escalating this nightly back-and-forth of targeting infrastructure, trying to weaken the other ahead of a counteroffensive, which may already be underway or may be looming in this hot weather we're finally seeing after days of rain here.

But startling damage to civilian areas and a miracle, frankly, here -- startling. The families shaken here, unable to get their head around the fact that they survived these two enormous blasts.

ROMANS: Just terrifying. And so, Nick, this is happening essentially every night. People go to bed and don't know what parts of Ukraine are going to get hit.

WALSH: Yes. I mean, some nights there is a reprieve but most nights there is -- over the past few nights there has been a bid to launch something. We've seen many interceptions happen from a lot of these, a mixture of missiles and drones being fired by the Russians.

In Pavlohrad, there seemed to be a factory hit there -- devastation to the residential areas around the and the loss of two lives. That was two nights ago.

Last night -- correct me if I'm wrong but I think it was less of a series of barrages. But last night across the country the alarms on -- deep concerns. And then it was Zaporizhzhia where we were shaken by we think the two or three blasts that had occurred throughout the day.

A fear, I think, that as Russia feels the increasing pressure from Ukraine on the battlefield it does what it's always done, which is lash out when it can, and that's really civilian areas as it doesn't appear it has the accuracy to hit differently.

ROMANS: All right, Nick Paton Walsh. Thanks for -- I'm just so glad you're there to tell -- to tell that story. Please stay safe. Thank you.

All right, quick hits around the globe right now.

British police arresting a man Tuesday outside Buckingham Palace. He's suspected of throwing shotgun cartridges onto palace grounds just days before King Charles' coronation.

Brazil's government alleging undue interference in Congress as big tech firms fight a bill called the "Fake News Law." It requires internet companies to report illegal content on their sites.

Australia cracking down on recreational vape sales. E-cigarettes are already illegal without a prescription but too many teens took advantage of lax enforcement. So, no more selling vapes in stores.


No verdict yet in the Proud Boys trial. Is there trouble in that jury room? And a head-to-head matchup to remember in the NBA Playoffs.


ROMANS: Here is today's fast-forward lookahead.

Today, 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa will face a judge. Oropesa is accused of killing five neighbors in the Texas town of Cleveland. He was discovered just miles from the house where authorities say he shot five people.

Jury deliberations resume today in the Proud Boys seditious conspiracy trial. The judge is urging jurors to reach a unanimous verdict after they asked what to do if they cannot.

The jury could start deliberating Ed Sheeran's copyright infringement case as early as today. A music expert testified Tuesday that he found no significant similarities between Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" and Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On."

More than 11,000 Hollywood writers are pausing all script writing and joining picket lines for the first Writers Guild of America strike in 15 years.



JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": Yep, yesterday was crazy because former President Trump got arrested here in New York City and the news covered every move -- his every, every move.


ROMANS: That's from last night's "THE TONIGHT SHOW" with Jimmy Fallon. As you can see, it was clearly a repeat. In fact, all the late-night shows say they are doing the same until further notice.

The effect on episodes of network and streaming comedies and dramas won't be felt for months.

All right, LeBron James and the Lakers taking game one in their highly-anticipated second-round matchup against Steph Curry and the Warriors -- one for the ages, really, this series.

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


I mean, this may be the best second-round series in NBA history. You've got LeBron and Steph. They faced off in four NBA finals against each other. They both have four NBA championships to their name. But this may be the last time we ever see them go head-to-head in playoff series so we should really cherish this one.

And with all eyes on LeBron and Steph, Anthony Davis coming through with an incredible performance. He had 30 points and 23 rebounds in this one.

In the second quarter, watch LeBron follow Steph all the way to the bench here in this moment. Steph said after the game LeBron was just joking. He had to guard him until he sat down.

In the fourth, LeBron's jumper right here actually gave the Lakers a 14-point lead. LeBron had 22 in the game. But the Warriors then went on a frantic 14-0 run capped off by Steph hitting that three from way downtown to tie the game. Then in the closing seconds, the Lakers were up three. The Warriors had a last chance but Jordan Poole's three was no good.

The Lakers hold on to win 117-112 to take game one.


LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD: We've been playing playoff basketball for about 2 1/2 months now just trying to punch our clock and to be able to play right now in the postseason, so we've been very resilient. And tonight versus a team like Golden State -- you know, they're defending champions and we know how great they are on their home floor over the years, so to withstand that and -- it's another good step for our -- for our -- for our ball club.

STEPH CURRY, It's been a long series. Like I said, it's the first of four and I think we found some life down the stretch that hopefully we can capitalize off of in game two.


SCHOLES: All right. The Heat, meanwhile, playing without Jimmy Butler who was out for game two with his injured ankle. Miami putting up a valiant effort without their star. They led game one by one. They led the game by two, I should say, by one entering the fourth quarter.

Knicks stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle -- they were also dealing with ankle injuries but they toughed it out and they came through in the fourth. Brunson -- he started off cold again in this one but he got hot late. He scored 30 as the Knicks would win 111-105 to even that series at a game a piece.

The playoffs continue tonight on TNT -- just one game. Boston looking to even their series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Now, Joel Embiid -- he's questionable for this -- that game again tonight with an injured knee but when he does take the floor again he's going to do so as the league MVP. Embiid winning the award for the first time, beating out Nikola Jokic. And he got emotional when watching the announcement with his teammates, and then he joined the crew over at "INSIDE THE NBA." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL EMBIID, 2022-23 NBA MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: I don't even know where to start. You know, it's been a long time coming. A lot of hard work. I mean, I've been through a lot and I'm not just talking about basketball. I'm talking about everything as a life. You know, my story, where I come from, and how I got here, and what it took for me to be here. So it feels -- you know, it feels good. I don't have -- you know, I don't know what to say. It's amazing.


SCHOLES: All right. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stars forward Joe Pavelski back on the ice for game one against the Kraken after missing the last five games while on the concussion protocol. And he put in a performance for the ages. At 38 years and 20 -- and 295 days old, he became the oldest player in NHL history to score four goals in a game, both regular season and playoffs.

But after all that, Pavelski's heroics ended up not being enough. Seattle's Yanni Gourde scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Kraken the hard-fought 5-4 victory. They'll play game two of that series tomorrow night on TNT.

All right, and finally, thousands of fans packed the streets of Wrexham, Wales to celebrate their team's promotion. Owners and Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney rode in open-top buses with the players around the city yesterday. They were also celebrating the women's team after they also got a promotion in their league as well.

Reynolds posted a selfie with the crowd on his Instagram, calling it an "unforgettable evening and just bonkers."


SCHOLES: Christine, just incredible what they've done there with that team. You know, getting them the Netflix show and just all the success. It's going to be fun to see how far they can go.

ROMANS: It really will. It really will. It looks like they're having fun, too.



ROMANS: All right, nice to see you. Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING," the Biden administration now deploying new troops to the southern border. Why officials are bracing for a surge in migrant crossings.

And next, right here, the Federal Reserve set to announce whether it is raising interest rates again. What to expect for investors.


ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning is 25 billion. The government spends $25 billion a week on Social Security benefits. If Congress fails to increase the debt limit, about 66 million retirees, disabled workers, and others will not get their full payments. Almost two-thirds of them count on Social Security for at least half their income.

Looking at markets around the world right now, the Hang Seng fell more than one percent on some fears that U.S. banking woes could affect Asia's economic recovery. Markets in Japan and China are closed for holidays today. European markets are opening higher here this morning. And on Wall Street, stock index futures also leaning a little bit higher here.


Yesterday, though, a down day on concerns that turmoil in the banking sector has not yet been contained. The Dow, the S&P, and the Nasdaq all falling more than one percent. Investors apparently feared that the latest turmoil at First Republic could spread to other banks.

Regional banks closed at their lowest level since 2020. Pac West, with no apparent news, no headlines, fell 28 percent. Western Alliance finished the day down 15 percent. Zions down 10 percent. Watch that space here today. Again, no news or fundamental reasons other than just fears of contagion.

On inflation watch, gas prices fell a penny overnight to $3.59 a gallon.

But today, the big event is the Fed. It's likely the central bank will raise interest rates another 25 basis points, lifting its key rate to a 16-year high.

Let's bring in Federal Reserve and economy reporter at The New York Times, Jeanna Smialek. So, a 10th rate hike is expected here, Jeanna -- 25 basis points. I've just got to point this out for people, though. A rate hike the same week as the second-biggest bank failure in American history. It's just kind of an interesting moment a year into this rate hike campaign.

JEANNA SMIALEK, FEDERAL RESERVE AND ECONOMY REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES (via Webex by Cisco): Absolutely. It feels like a really weird moment. I think that the upshot here is that the Fed is still simultaneously very focused on wrestling inflation back under control.

The inflation picture remains pretty tough as most viewers probably know. Prices are still rising much faster than they usually do, although inflation has slowed down a bit from sort of its peaks last year.

And so, the Fed is trying to balance these two risks. It's trying to deal with, on one hand, the bank turmoil. The fact that financial markets are looking a little dicey. And then on the other hand, with this reality that inflation remains an abiding concern here.

ROMANS: So essentially, the Fed has to walk and chew gum at the same time here. It has to be conscious of what's happening in the banking sector and the fact that there could still be even more tightening. I mean, it could -- tightening happens with a lag, right, so we haven't even felt all of this Fed tightening yet, have we?

SMIALEK: No, absolutely not, and I think that's why you're going to hear out of the Fed today a real focus on the future. I would be surprised if Jerome Powell's press conference, which comes after the Fed's announcement at 2:00 p.m., didn't focus on what happens next. That's going to be what we're talking about today.

And I think what happens next is it's entirely possible the Fed takes a beat here -- that they wait and see what happens. That they don't keep raising rates into the future and that we sort of wait and see how bad the banking turmoil is. How much it slows lending. How much it causes banks to pull back.

I don't think the Fed is completely determined. They haven't fully decided at this stage in all likelihood that they're going to pause but it seems entirely on the table at this point.

ROMANS: I mean, how much pressure -- I mean, clearly, in the room, this two-day meeting, they must be cognizant of Pac West yesterday down 30 percent and these regional banks with actually no fundamental headlines or any new reasons.

Pressure on some of -- on some of these banks -- does that give the Fed pause? How does that fit into their calculus, I wonder?

SMIALEK: It would be -- it will be so interesting to hear how they talk about this today because obviously, it does seem like we're not necessarily through the worst of the banking turmoil. It seems like there might be another shoe to drop. Is that enough for them to change plans and not raise rates this late in the game? I think that's probably a pretty high bar. But this is clearly going to make them nervous about what they're signaling going forward.

We've seen in recent weeks some officials still talking about the potential need for further rate increases. I don't imagine we get that --


SMIALEK: -- too definitively. They're not going to want to freak people out.

ROMANS: As if all of that isn't enough, there's the debt ceiling. We know that June first is the so-called x-date. It will have to be resolved before then. They can't go to the very end. That is really a dangerous moment for the economy.

Policymakers -- maybe they'll say something about it this afternoon about how they need to resolve that quickly. But that is another danger for the economy here. SMIALEK: Yes, what a huge uncertainty looming much more close on the horizon than anybody previously thought. You know, I think that officials, prior to sort of the quiet period before this meeting, really thought that we had a few months before this became a pressing issue and it turns out we don't. It turns out we have some weeks before this becomes an immediate issue. And so that has got to weigh heavily on their minds as they go into this meeting today.

ROMANS: Yes, and it just -- it's just -- it's so maddening to think of having to decide which bills to pay, right, and how quickly that could shut down parts of the American economy. And how quickly it's approaching.

All right, Jeanna Smialek, of The New York Times. We know we'll be listening for your questions this afternoon. Thank you so much. Nice to see you.

All right, we have this grim breaking news. A mass shooting in Serbia. At least nine people have been killed, including eight children, and seven others hospitalized after a gunman opened fire at an elementary school in the capital of Belgrade. Police say the shooter is a 14- year-old student. CNN will bring you more on this story as information comes in.



ROMANS: All right, our top of the morning, the top TV shows right now.


Clip from Netflix "THE DIPLOMAT."


ROMANS: "THE DIPLOMAT" with Keri Russell tops Rotten Tomatoes' most popular list -- a terrific show.

Here is number two.


Clip from HBO Max "LOVE & DEATH."


ROMANS: That's "LOVE & DEATH" starring Elizabeth Olsen.

And number three.



Clip from Prime Video "CITADEL."


ROMANS: The spy action thriller "CITADEL" on Amazon Prime.

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