Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Colombian Rescuers Discover Clues Kids Survived Jungle Plane Crash; Biden Team Reports "Steady Progress" From Debt Talks; Billionaire Patriarch, With Five Children Executives, Plans Succession. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 19, 2023 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. A desperate search in Colombia underway for four children after the plane they were on crashed in the Amazon jungle. Colombia's president has announced -- first, he announced then he retracted a claim that the young children had been found alive, but rescuers -- they still have hope.

CNN's Stefano Pozzebon has more.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST (voice-over): A glimmer of hope. Colombia's president tweeting that four children on board the single- engine aircraft that crashed in the jungle on May first had been found alive and well. Rescuers using scattered debris to trace them. But on Thursday, the president's tweet was deleted, saying that information, quote, "could not be confirmed." Government officials blaming poor communication.

And the head of the country's children welfare authority later saying she was, quote, "very confident about their rescue." She said, quote, "We are still missing that very, very last link that confirms all our hopes. Until we have the photo of the kids we won't be stopping. We are not underestimating the information we received but we want to confirm directly ourselves."

The Colombian Armed Forces have been using dogs to search for the children. The plane had taken off from the remote area of Araracuara bound for San Jose Del Guaviare. Rescuers from the military and local indigenous communities are not giving up hope to bring home the little ones as they follow a trail of small objects, such as hair scrunchies and baby bottles, even bringing a recording of the grandmother to at least one of the children to help in the search.

But efforts are difficult given the rainfall in the dense part of the jungle.

DAVID CANTERBURY, SURVIVAL EXPERT: Once the rivers start to swell and things like that and you have areas that are rapids it makes it more difficult to navigate. Obviously, as I said, the rivers are kind of the highway so they're going to be using those waterways to get to and from places, obviously, to extract the survivors out and things of that nature.

POZZEBON (on camera): And later on Thursday, the Colombian authorities confirmed that they recovered the bodies of three adults. That would be the pilot and two adult passengers from that fateful flight. But still, no words on the whereabouts of the little children, which makes this epic search and rescue operation even more frantic.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota.


ROMANS: What a story. All right, thank you.

Quick hits around the globe right now.

Myanmar's military Junta is holding up humanitarian access to some cyclone-hit communities. The U.N. says it is still negotiating access to certain areas due to travel restrictions put in place by the government.

A man with apparent psychological problems was arrested after ramming his car through the gateway into the Vatican Thursday night. He made it as far as the courtyard of San Damaso before being -- before exiting that vehicle and being arrested.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad is in Saudi Arabia. Assad is there for the Arab League summit, his first since the Syrian civil war in 2011. It's also Assad's first visit to Saudi Arabia in over a decade.

Will the accused Pentagon leaker get out of jail by the end of the day? And TikTok users now suing the state that plans to totally ban the app.



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

We will see President Biden and the other G7 leaders in Japan just minutes from now posing for a group picture. Earlier, the president attended a wreath-laying at Hiroshima's Eternal Flame.

The Air National Guardsman accused of leaking a trove of classified documents will be in court today. The judge will decide whether Jack Teixeira will remain behind bars as he awaits trial.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis heading to New Hampshire today to meet with Republican lawmakers. He's expected to officially launch his 2024 presidential campaign next week.

All right, to sports. LeBron and the Lakers are now down 0-2 in their series with the Nuggets after another loss last night.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Friday morning Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy. ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christine.

So the Lakers -- they are in trouble. Teams that fall behind 0-2 in the conference finals are 6-56 all-time, but LeBron does have two of those comebacks so there is still hope.

But it was a rough night for LeBron. I'll tell you what, he did not shoot the ball well in the fourth quarter. He missed a layup at the end of the game.

And Jamal Murray was just red-hot for the Nuggets. He scored 23 of his 37 points in that final period as the Nuggets ended up getting the win by a final 108-103. They now lead 2-0 in that series.

Here was LeBron afterwards.


LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD: What you take out of it is the fact that this is not the NCAA tournament. The first team to four wins. And we have an opportunity to go home and play great basketball at home. So until the team beats you four times then you always have an opportunity to come out of it.


SCHOLES: All right. The Celtics are going to look to even up the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat later tonight. Tipoff for game two of that series set for 8:30 Eastern on our sister channel TNT.

Game one of the NHL's Eastern Conference Final, meanwhile, went the distance and then some. The Panthers and Hurricanes went back and forth for nearly six hours. Here's how it ended just before 2:00 a.m. Eastern.


NHL ANNOUNCER: Here's Brent Burns. He keeps it to the outside. Sam Bennett keeps it in out front. Tkachuk shot -- he scores! He scores! Matthew Tkachuk, the overtime winner! The Panthers take game one 3-2 the final.


SCHOLES: Matthew Tkachuk's game-winner with less than 13 seconds remaining in the fourth overtime. That makes it the sixth-longest game in NHL history.

The Panthers won't have a lot of time to celebrate, though. Game two tomorrow night in Raleigh less than 48 hours after the team has played more than two full games' worth of hockey.

Here is Tkachuk after the hard-fought win.

[05:40:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW TKACHUK, FLORIDA PANTHERS FORWARD: I'm excited to get out of there. I'm excited to catch that 2:35 bus back to the hotel and get some sleep and get some food and everything. And I mean, there was guys cracking Red Bulls before the fourth overtime. Like, there's pizza flowing. It's actually pretty funny seeing it.


SCHOLES: All right. For the first time since 2005, Rafael Nadal will miss the French Open. The 15-time winner says next year will probably be the last of his career and in order to play he needs to get healthy now. Nadal, right now, tied with Novak Djokovic for the most Grand Slam titles all-time on the men's side with 22.

All right, the PGA Championship still needs to finish its first round later this morning in New York thanks to a two-hour frost delay yesterday. Thirty-four-year-old rookie Eric Cole is leading right now with four holes left to play in his opening round. Bryson DeChambeau with his best round in a long time. He's one shot back of the lead.

But you've got to see what happened to Tom Kim on the sixth hole yesterday. The 20-year-old hit the ball into the mud but he was determined to hit it out. So he went in after it, got stuck, and had to crawl his way out. Then he was just covered in mud.

He then went back into the creek to wash himself off. Then he ended up taking his shirt off because he was just a complete mess.

And Christine, he said he thought it was a good idea at first -- trying to save that stroke -- going into the mud, but when he got in there he said it was a very dark place -- is where he went. But he was -- he was a good sport about it and had a nice laugh.

ROMANS: Andy, that's the kind of golf I can relate to. I'm always off somewhere where I shouldn't be on the golf course, you know, trying to figure out how to get myself back on the fairway.

Nice to see you. Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" Ukraine may be one step closer to acquiring U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets.

And next, right here, new optimism surrounding debt talks in Washington, but are both sides focused on the wrong issue?



ROMANS: All right. You are looking at the class photo of the G7 this year. They are on an island in Japan and they are going to stand there for the -- this actually just happened a couple of minutes ago. They're going to head into a dinner in a few minutes. But there you can see the G7 leaders. They have been hard at work, all arriving yesterday. Meeting today and a dinner is next. The G7 2023 in Japan.

All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning is 11. Home prices posting their biggest annual drop in more than 11 years. The median existing-home price fell 1.7 percent in April from a year earlier. The price tag just over $388,000 for the typical existing home. Now, that's the biggest drop in home prices since January of 2012.

Prices rose, though, in the northeast, they rose in the Midwest, but they fell in the south and the west. All real estate, of course, is local.

Looking at markets around the world, the Hang Seng finished at a two- month low on disappointing earnings from e-commerce giant Alibaba. European markets are higher at this hour. On Wall Street, stock index futures are also leaning a little bit higher here.

Stocks rose in the U.S. yesterday after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy suggested a deal to raise the debt limit could come as soon as late next week, but he noted the two sides are still far apart. A lot of work to do.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 hitting their highest closing level since Augusta.

On inflation watch, gas prices held steady overnight at $3.54 a gallon. You can see down quite sharply from a year ago.

Republican and Democratic leaders -- OK, so they're growing a little more optimistic they can reach a compromise on lifting the debt ceiling -- a deal that would avert the U.S. running out of money to pay its bills.

I want to bring in Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Maya, I'm so glad you're here this morning. Thanks for getting up early for us here.

I want to ask you if you think negotiators have the right focus in these negotiations because what we're hearing is this profound feeling, suddenly, of we need to have some fiscal responsibility. Is what we're seeing right now in Washington discipline or is it drama?

MAYA MACGUINEAS, PRESIDENT, COMMITTEE FOR A RESPONSIBLE FEDERAL BUDGET (via Skype): Well, the good news is that it appears that we are going to avert default without even going to the very last minute -- I'm knocking on wood -- and that would be great in terms of breaking the massive dysfunction that exists there.

And the second piece of good news is that they would have a package of savings because if you look at almost all budget deals at the end of the year or whenever they get them done, they almost all increase borrowing. And just to save some money would be a big pivot in the right direction.

But I think the main point here is the fiscal situation in the country is really bad in terms of our debt to GDP about to be at record levels. Our interest payments eclipsing. Spending on children and defense in the next few years. All sorts of metrics that give us something to worry about.

But we're still not talking about the real issues. The things that drive the debt, which are our retirement programs, Social Security, our health care spending, Medicare, and other programs, and the fact that our revenues are too low. None of those things are part of this discussion and I think to your point, it's troubling that with all of this drama we're still not really getting at the underlying issues of why our fiscal situation is in such bad shape.

ROMANS: Right. Medicare, Social Security, the interest on the accrued debt, and revenues that aren't coming in in line. So translation to the regular -- you know, to kitchen table economics -- that means cutting benefits or raising taxes, or a combination of both, and that is off the table in these negotiations. I mean, that's not something that politicians want to talk about or even entertain.

MACGUINEAS: That is the real challenge of fiscal responsibility. It is very easy to cut taxes and grow spending. But in order to actually address the unsustainable debt that we have, politicians are faced with exactly the kinds of choices that they are unwilling to make.

The real stuff -- we have to reform our Social Security and Medicare programs, both of which are heading towards insolvency and will lead to across-the-board benefit and provider cuts if nothing is done. Yet, you have politicians promising not to touch the programs, which actually means those cuts will happen.


We have to talk about raising taxes. You have one party that says that's off the table. The interest payments we can't do anything about but the more we borrow the more that pushes interest rates up.

So there's a whole lot of things that need to be addressed but we are still in a very polarized time where politicians would prefer to avoid those issues.

I guess I think the one option here is if they're willing to look at a commission. If they get some savings out of this budget deal. But they also say we need to put in place a commission that's going to do what these bigger structural issues -- everything from how the economy is doing, how to actually get this fiscal situation under control by looking at the real drivers of the debt.

And given the ongoing drama of this I would throw -- I would toss into a commission we should reform the debt ceiling so that we can actually address our fiscal problems but not with the threat of default, which has just become too real for us to continue to encounter every couple of years.

ROMANS: Yes. And if they mess that up it actually drives up borrowing costs and worsens the situation that they're politically arguing about. Maya MacGuineas, so nice to see you this morning. Have a great weekend -- president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Thank you, Maya.

MACGUINEAS: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, a new turn in the battle between Disney and Florida Gov. DeSantis. Why Disney scrapped plans for a new building just before DeSantis' big presidential campaign announcement. That's coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING."



ROMANS: It's the real-life version of HBO's "SUCCESSION." The world's richest man, Bernard Arnault, heads LVMH. It's a company with $500 billion. It's a luxury empire of iconic brands like Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Dom Perignon, and Sephora. And like Logan Roy, he's looking to one of his children to take the reins.

Here is CNN's Melissa Bell.


LOGAN ROY, ACTOR, HBO'S "SUCCESSION": I've got plenty on my plate.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A magnate and patriarch preparing his succession as carefully as he built his empire. Not Logan Roy, but the real world's richest man, Bernard Arnault. The Frenchman who built the world's biggest luxury goods company all the while very personally raising, educating, and evaluating his five potential successors.

BERNARD ARNAULT, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, LOUIS VUITTON MOET HENNESSY: And because of so, I think my group is controlled by family. So instead of looking every day at the stock market, I look for the next 10 years.

BELL (voice-over): All five Arnault children work for their father.

Delphine, the chair of Christian Dior; her brother Antoine, the CEO of Dior; and the three children from Arnault's second marriage -- Alexandre, an executive vice president at Tiffany; Frederic, who runs TAG Heuer; and the youngest, Jean, the director of development and marketing at Louis Vuitton's watches division.

RAPHAELLE BACQUE, AUTHOR, "SUCCESSIONS: MONEY, BLOOD AND TEARS" (through translator): He is, at once, an attentive father, a good father, but also a merciless boss. So the children have to work hard. He has a fairly clear idea of their qualities and their weaknesses, and when the moment comes will be able to choose.

BELL (voice-over): The $500 billion LVMH dominates the world of fashion with some of its biggest names, like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. It was built through ruthless acquisition and, like Waystar, is diverse with vineyards, hotels, restaurants, and newspapers. ROY: I have you beat.

BELL (voice-over): But it isn't the treatment of their children that the fictional and real characters diverge. Far from fostering discord, Arnault has ensured harmony, but with a cold eye on business nonetheless.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So thank you very much. I appreciate it.

BELL (voice-over): The stakes are huge. The value of the company, but also the power that it brings. Like Logan Roy, Bernard Arnault has cultivated his relationships with the powerful, acquiring a vast media empire and making LVMH a symbol in France. Its headquarters stormed by protesters early last month.

But while Arnault has sought to protect his children he's also made it clear what he expects of them.

ANTOINE ARNAULT, CEO, CHRISTAN DIOR SE: Of course, we understand the level of responsibility that is ours. The way we see things is that my father is super healthy and going to work 10, 15, 20, 25 years. His five children are now working together in different parts of the group but we're very close.

BELL (voice-over): An empire carefully built and ultimately soon up for grabs -- but, so far, without the family drama.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


ROMANS: Wow, that is quite an empire.

All right, our top of the morning this Friday morning, the top songs in America this week.




ROMANS: Latto and Lu Kala are number one on the SiriusXM Hits 1 countdown with "Lottery."

Here's number two.




ROMANS: That song is called "Heaven" by Niall Horan, who is a coach, of course, on "THE VOICE" this season. Now to number three.



FALL OUT BOY, ROCK BAND: Singing "Love From the Other Side."


ROMANS: Fall Out Boy, "Love From the Other Side."

All right, thanks for joining me this Friday morning. I'm Christine Romans. Have a great weekend, everybody. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.