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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

At Least 13 Killed As Israel Strikes "Terrorists" in Gaza; Russia Marks Victory in WWII As It Struggles to Defeat Ukraine; Today: Biden Meets with Top Lawmakers on Raising Debt Ceiling; 3 Children Among the 8 Dead in Texas Outlet Mall Attack. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired May 09, 2023 - 05:00   ET




Israeli planes take out so called kingpin terrorists in Gaza, but acknowledge some collateral in the strikes.

Plus, Vladimir Putin's parade celebrating victory day moments ago in Moscow, as his troops struggled to defeat Ukraine.

And, just hours from now in Washington, Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy, face to face. Can they strike a debt limit deal before America defaults?


ROMANS: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans.

We begin with fears of a dangerous escalation in the Middle East. Israeli jets and helicopters hit multiple targets in Gaza a short time ago. Israel says the operation was aimed at eliminating kingpin terrorists. Three Islamic jihad terrorists were killed, Palestinian medical officials say that least 13 people died in those strikes, including four women and four children.

CNN's Hadas Gold live right now in front of an Iron Dome battery in southern Israel.

Hadas, what are the two sides saying about these airstrikes?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I am in front of these Iron Dome batteries and all expectations of these types of batteries which are placed all around southern Israel will be used in the coming hours as retaliation is expected from the militant groups in Gaza. These batteries behind me, they launched interceptors tried intercept rockets before they managed to reach populations centers in southern Israel.

All of this took place as a surprise overnight around 2:00 a.m., is when the Israeli military operation taking place. The Israeli military and Islamic jihad saying at least three other commanders were taken out. These are people, everything ranging for the commander-in-chief of the al Quds brigade, who have been wanted, the Islamic jihad, for more than 20 years, to others who are considered a senior commanders not only considered responsible for rocket launchers, but operations in the West Bank targeting Israeli troops and Israelis.

The Israeli military saying that they took them out, also especially after last week's more than 100 rockets were fired by Islamic jihad in Israel after the death of a prominent Palestinian prisoner who is once a spokesperson for the Iranian-backed militant group. He died after an 86-day long under strike. The Israeli military responded initially to those more than 100 rockets, but no major damage or takeouts were reported.

And that, obviously, changed last night. The Israeli military said they had been planning this for sometime. Now, the question will be, of course, what will be the retaliation.

As you noted, 13 people in total died. Among those commanders, including some of their family members, including four children and at least four women. Islamic jihad and Hamas have vowed a retaliation of some sort. The funerals have just taken place. Everyone is essentially waiting for that response.

The Israeli military has called up reservists. They have also told Israeli residents in this area, in southern Israel, to stay close to their shelters. Things like schools have been canceled in preparation for what the response will be.

But, the biggest question will be Hamas and whether Hamas who runs the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military says nothing happens in Gaza without his knowledge, whether they will get involved, because if they do, this will turn into a much, bigger and much longer conflict.

If you remember in August, there was a 2 to 3-day long conflict between the Israeli military and Islamic jihad. Hamas stayed on the sidelines then. That may be a different story today and that is what everyone is waiting to see. What will the response be and will Hamas get involved -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Hadas Gold, thank you so much. Keep us posted.

All right. Moments ago in Moscow, Russia's annual victory day parade marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

The celebrations are notably scaled down and conducted under tight security after a purported drone attacks last week on the Kremlin itself. Attacks Russia blamed on Ukraine and the West. President Vladimir Putin telling the crowd a brazen lie that Russia is the victim in its war with Ukraine.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Again, a true war has been unleashed against her motherland. We have repelled into national terrorism and we will defend the residents of Donbas and secure our own safety. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Clare Sebastian is following events live from us from London.

Clare, this yearly show of military might happening in Moscow, 400 miles away in Ukraine, Russia's forces are struggling. How is the Kremlin dealing with this contradiction?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, by openly talking about it or addressing it, Christine, by going ahead with the attempt at a normally victory day, despite the troubles, the setbacks, the lack of progress in Ukraine, and by exploiting the moments to re- justify that unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.


As you showed there, President Putin presenting Russia as somehow under siege, saying that a true war has been unleashed against the motherland. They have repelled international terrorism. This is something that we have seen and him as used in this stump speech on Ukraine, over an over, get the sense that Russia is actually defending itself, rather than, of course, invading a sovereign neighbor.

He also railed against the West, accusing them of stoking hatred and Russophobia and using Ukraine as a pawn to their ends, a sort of global supremacy. All of this we have heard before, but it is clear from this victory day that the war is hitting home. Russia can no longer even protect victory day, the biggest day is calendar from the effects of this. Before it was a scaled back, but there is no air show despite clear skies, no real explanation for that.

We only saw one, tank, a T-34, a World War II era tank in the parade, in Moscow comparative to prewar where you would see tens and dozens of tanks. So, it is very clear that this is happening in a whole new context, Russia just steps away from where we saw a couple of drones at the Kremlin just a couple of weeks go, Christine.

ROMANS: Yeah, just fascinating, right on script that Putin cast the west as the aggressor and Russia as the victim of a war that he started.

Clare Sebastian, thank you so much.

In just hours, a crucial meeting at the White House as Biden and four top congressional leaders attempt to divert economic disaster. As you are three weeks remain before the federal government can no longer pay all the bills, in other ways, default on Americas credit that could push the economy into a catastrophic recession, it could spark a global financial crisis. I mean, the creditworthiness of the U.S. is literally the cornerstone of the global financial system.

Republicans are demanding major spending cuts as their price for raising the debt ceiling. The White House holding firm to its command for a clean bill with no conditions.

CNN's Jasmine Wright live in Washington for us this morning. You know, not to put you on the spot here, but what is going to happen

this afternoon, Jasmine? I mean, they are really dug in and they are far apart.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Christine, look, the major question coming into today's weather, at the end, both sides, President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy will agree that default should be avoided at all costs. If so, whether they will start a process to have real negotiations down the line because the time is ticking here and they have to end this stalemate to avoid default.

So, previously, the White House said the reason for these meetings with for Biden to reset the conversation in effect, and to start a process of which they can pass a clean debt bill, but also at the same time, discuss and go through budget cuts. Now, of course, that is a high barometer with both sides are so, so dug in.

Now the White House yesterday, they really tried to measure the expectations coming out of this Tuesday meeting, but the fact is that they need to come to a cult inclusion to avoid default. Still, though the White House stands by their condition that they want to pass a clean debt bill, which is basically a nonstarter for the Republican Party.

Take a listen to the White House perspective here.


BHARAT RAMAMURTI, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, there is no plan B. Our plan is for Congress to act, to address the debt limit, without conditions, just like they did 78 times in the past. And then the president has made clear that he is perfectly willing to sit down with congressional leaders on both House and Senate side, both Democrats and Republicans, and a good conversation about where we can go on tax policy, where we go on spending policy.


WRIGHT: So, we have learned really in advance of this meeting that the White House continues to telegraph what catastrophic events would happen if the country would default. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen took that message to Wall Street yesterday, calling up CEOs to really warn them about the consequences of brinkmanship from the Republican side.

But, there is no doubt here, that this would have really measurable impact on not only the economy but also 2024, as Biden has announced that he will run for reelection. So, we will see all four leaders today at the White House for a -- at the top of that, meeting really as a sit-down to try to find a way out of the stalemate and a really, really high profile, high stakes time.

ROMANS: Yeah. I mean, it really is and there's not a lot of time left here. I mean, the Treasury Department has been moving to money around and laying some investments and certain retirement accounts, but, at some point here, it could be Social Security recipients, it could be active duty military will get IOUs if they do not forget this out.

Thank you so much, Jasmine Wright. Nice to see you.

All right. Officials are now identified all eight people killed in a mass at the Dallas area mall over the weekend. Their ages from 37 years old to just three years old. That toddler and both of his parents were shot dead, leaving behind a six-year-old boy. That's according to a GoFundMe page set up by family friends.

We are also learning much more about the gunmen in this, the second deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. so far this year.

CNN's Josh Campbell is on the ground in Allen, Texas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just kind of full of adrenaline. I mean, it was the most terrifying moment of my life.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight people are dead, and at least seven others wounded after yet another mass shooting on American soil.

DISPATCH: The report from the police is we have multiple, upon multiple patients.

CAMPBELL: This time at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, Saturday, about 25 miles north of Dallas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gunshots, just, it sounded like a war zone. It was horrifying.

CAMPBELL: Investigators say the 33-year-old gunman who was killed at the scene by a police officer may have been driven by right-wing extremism. A senior law enforcement source tells CNN there isn't a specific motive they've identified yet, but that investigators have uncovered an extensive social media presence, including neo-Nazi and white supremacist-related posts.

In one post from the gunman's account on a Russian social media website, he showed a photo of the mall, along with a screen screenshot from Google Maps showing what times of day the outlet mall was busiest.

Steven Spanhouer rushed to the scene to help the victims.

STEVEN SPANHOUER, WITNESSED OUTLET MALL SHOOTING: Then I saw a little boy about 4 or 5. He just kept saying, "My mother's hurt" over and over and over. I told him everything is fine, help is on the way. I checked in for no wounds, he was caked with blood from head to toe.

CAMPBELL: Texas Governor Greg Abbott who attended a vigil for the victims Sunday night says authorities don't yet know enough about the gunman to make any determinations.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: What I can tell from talking to the investigators yesterday, and that is people should not jump to conclusions because there's a lot of conflicting information about him.

CAMPBELL: A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation tells CNN that the suspect served for a brief period in the U.S. military but was removed due to concerns about his mental health.

In addition to an AR-15-style firearm and another weapon found with the gunman, the source tells CNN police found several more weapons in his car, and he was wearing tactical gear with an RWDS insignia, which authorities believe stands for right wing death squad.

The source also says the suspect had been living in some type of temporary lodging in the Dallas area, and at one time worked as a security guard and underwent firearms training according to public records.

Josh Campbell, CNN, Allen, Texas.


ROMANS: Thanks, Josh.

Jury deliberations are set to begin today in E. Jean Carroll's civil rape and defamation lawsuit against Trump. In closing arguments Monday, lawyers for Carroll said no one is above the law, not even a former president. Trump's attorney, Joe Tacopina, urged the New York jurors to put aside any negative feelings about his client. He said, quote, what they want is for you to hate him enough to ignore the facts.

Today, federal immigration officers in El Paso, Texas, are conducting a enforcement operation. Sources tell CNN that they will be targeting migrants who crossed the U.S. Mexico border, but to have not been processed by immigration authorities. Thousands of migrants are now converging on the city just two days after the expiration of Title 42 rules, allowing the swift expulsion of migrants.

CNN's Rosa Flores is on the ground in El Paso.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tension on the border escalating as an SUV in Brownsville, Texas, plows through a crowd, killing eight migrants, unclear if it was intentional.

POLICE OFFICER: The SUV ran a red light, lost control, flipped on its side, and struck a total of 18 individuals.

FLORES: The incident comes just days before the controversial expiration of the pandemic era immigration rule known as Title 42. Border communities across the U.S. Mexico border are already seeing a spike in migration, according to community leaders.

In Brownsville, one respite center went from receiving up to 300 migrants per day two weeks ago, to 1,000. In McAllen, from 150 to 400. In Laredo, from 450 to 250 during the same time here.

Twenty-five thousand migrants are in immigration custody, according to a homeland security official, and total migrant encounters on the U.S. southern border now surpasses 1,000 per day.

And this is the scene by the border wall in El Paso, where hundreds of people are waiting to turn themselves into immigration authorities, a flow that is expected to spike once title 42 expires Thursday.

And thousands more are already living on El Paso City streets.

TIMOTHY PEREIRA (ph), PASTOR: This is ground zero for --

FLORES: Pastor Timothy Pereira (ph) has been living between 900 and 1,100 warm meals per day.

As migrants here rely on the kindness of strangers for everything.

RAUL ORTIZ, BORDER PATROL CHIEF: With respect to the DOD Personnel --

FLORES: Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz says the 1,500 active duty troops deployed by the Biden menstruation to assist for the administration tasks are headed to El Paso, for now.


ORTIZ: I'm going to reallocate those to some of the other sectors that require some additional capacity. So, we're going to be able to balance that out. We've got a plan.

FLORES: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says the administration's border policies are not blame.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We urge Congress to fix our broken immigration system. And until, then we will do everything that we can.

FLORES: While Washington squabbles about who is at fault, it's border churches and nonprofits who are left filling in the gaps.


FLORES: I'm outside a shelter in El Paso that is over capacity. And I learned from a source that federal government data shows that 152,000 migrants are waiting in northern Mexican states for the lifting of Title 42.

And that the top three states in Mexico are Chihuahua, with about 60,000 migrants. That's across the border from El Paso, here where I am. The state of Tamaulipas, with 35,000, that's across the border from the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. And the state of Coahuila, with about 25,000, that's a state in between.

And here's why this context is important because border patrol facilities for processing on the U.S. southern border are already overcapacity. Edgy shelters are already overcapacity, that's why you see a lot of the initials here are on the streets. And the big question is what is going to happen once Title 42 lifts? I don't know. No one who I've talked to knows.

Rosa Flores, CNN, El Paso.

ROMASN: All right. Rosa, thank you.

Just ahead, the airport video that caused the TSA to pull this dog handler off the job.

Plus, the moment a woman was saved after five days lost in the woods, with just a bottle of wine.

And next, the debt limit meeting today in Washington, any hope for a deal?



ROMANS: All right. Later today, Biden will hold a meeting with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other congressional leaders to negotiate raising the debt limit. The White House is digging in, rejecting Speaker McCarthy's proposal to attach spending cuts to an increase on the debt, limit claiming that they have no plan B and they're demanding Congress just passed a clean debt limit increase.

Let's bring in Greg Valliere, chief U.S. strategist at AGF Investments.

Greg, this is so frustrating because here we are out both sides very far apart. Is there some kind of a pathway to compromise that you see here?

GREG VALLIERE, CHIEF U.S. STRATEGIST, AGF INVESTMENTS, INC.: Not imminently, Christine. I think we are still a long way away from getting anything done. There is not going to be a deal today. We can be sure of that.

You know, they may pledged to work harder and redouble their efforts, they may pledge that we can't default, but in terms of anything even faintly resembling a deal, it's not going to come today.

ROMANS: So let's brainstorm here, what could they do? In a perfect world, could they kick the can to the end of this fiscal year just for a few more months? Could we bring back that idea of painting a trillion dollar coin to cover the costs, the 14th Amendment? What are the possibilities in there? Are they just gimmicks?

VALLIERE: Well, I really think in the last three or four days, prospects have improved from one of these gimmicks you might call them. Kicking the can down the road, extending this until the fall is a real option. The Republicans in the House are crazy about it, but you can't rule it out. The 14th Amendment to the constitution, which condemns not banged out,

there is a sentence in there that might be used to justify not adhering to any kind of a debt ceiling. But, that would lead to an enormous amount of litigation going to the Supreme Court. It could be really blow back on the White House. There is no real easy answer, so I think that they kick the can down the road.

ROMANS: Yeah, the 14th amendment thing is kind of academic and interesting but there is a reason why it has not been used before, because it would cause a real big mess. I do not think that is the White House wants to do.

We know the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, has been calling around to business leaders, calling around Wall Street talking about this a deadline that is coming up. We just showed a calendar, there is only a couple of weeks where both the House and the Senate are in town together and a reminder that we had this deadline not on June 1st, we head it January 19th.

I mean, the Treasury Department is moving the money around to try to make sure that it can pay all of the bills here, why is there not more urgency? I'm just shocked that there is not more urgency here from the Washington side.

VALLIERE: You have hit on the key factor, Christine. I think that it boils down to those. The financial markets are not shown much anxiety. Maybe the t-bill market, yields moved higher. But I think for the stock market in general, it leaves a feeling that the little boy who cried wolf, this will get solved at the last minute, which we have seen in the past.

But, this is different. I think that the militants in the house are a new factor here, and for the markets to be this sanguine, to me, is not warranted.

ROMANS: Yeah, the S&P 500 is up almost 8 percent this year. You would think so, close to a debt ceiling drama, that the stock market would not be up. You are absolutely right, where you see the struggles in the treasure market, and of course the treasury market is much bigger and the cornerstone of the entire financial system essentially.

All right. Greg Valliere, nice to see you, AGF Investments, thank you.

VALLIERE: You bet.

ROMANS: All right. Quick hits across America now.

Several teenagers now in custody in connection to the fatal shooting of Chicago Police Officer Areanah Preston Saturday. They reportedly range in age from 16 to 18 years old.

Jordan Neely's family criticizing the man who killed him for not apologizing in a public statement. Daniel Perry put Neely in a chokehold on the New York subway. Neely's family says Perry needs to be in prison.

A TSA canine handler in Detroit removed from his duties after video shows him aggressively pulling the dog.


The dog was immediately taken to a veterinarian for a wellness exam.

All right. Still ahead, wildfires now affecting gas and oil production in Canada.

And what Lakers fans are already calling the Lonnie Walker game.


ROMANS: All right. The U.S. is set to announce a new $1.2 billion aid package to Ukraine. It will include drones, artillery, ammunition, air defense systems, and other capabilities. It is coming at a critical point in this war. Ukraine's carefully preparing for a new counteroffensive against Russian forces.

CNN's Nic Robertson live this evening for us in eastern Ukraine.

Nic, when is Ukraine expected to launch this counteroffensive?