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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin
Drone Strikes Hit Moscow, Russian Military Blames Kyiv; White House, GOP Leader Scramble for Votes to Pass Compromise; 9 Shot, Including 1-Year-Old, in Hollywood, Florida Confrontation; Impeachment Trial for Ken Paxton Will Happen By August 28. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired May 30, 2023 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Right now on EARLY START, residential buildings in Moscow under attack for the first time in Russia's war with Ukraine.
Plus, people run for cover as gunfire breaks out near a Florida beach boardwalk. The wounded include a 1-year-old baby.
And the deal to suspend the debt limit and avoid a U.S. default, does it have the votes to get through a sharply divided Congress?
ROMANS: All right. Here we go. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans.
Russian military officials are blaming Kyiv for a series of drone attacks on Moscow this morning. The ministry of defense calling the drone strikes that damaged at least three buildings in Moscow a terrorist attack. The city's mayor says two people were injured but none required hospitalization.
CNN's Clare Sebastian live in London for us this Tuesday morning.
And, Clare, this would seem to really bring the war home to the Russian public even more than the drone strike on the Kremlin a couple of weeks ago.
What more do we know about the attack itself and the Kremlin's response this morning?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Christine, state media reporting the three buildings as of now, involved two in Moscow itself on the southwestern side of the city, and another on the outskirts, not far from one of the major airports. You can see state media and Telegram channels posting videos showing people with drone fragments.
The ministry of defense is saying that they averted all of these drone attacks, three apparently through electronic warfare which we assume to be signal jamming and things like that, five were shot down using Russian air defense missiles. So perhaps that's why there are fragments of those drones.
The damage to those buildings said to be fairly minor. The mayor described it as insignificant. Two people according to the mayor sought medical help but no one had to be hospitalized.
But this still crosses a Rubicon really for the Russian people. As you say, this is the first time we've seen not only the sort of aftermath of drone accounts in Kyiv this morning, which as the result of some 31 drones that the air force says Russia launched at that city, but also in Moscow itself. This really does bring it home to the Russian people.
No response from the Kremlin as of yet. But a member of President Putin's United Russian party on Telegram saying that, you know, this is the new reality that we have to now recognize. We need to drastically step up our defenses. He said do not underestimate the enemy.
So this is something that the Russian people are now having to recognize and reckon with. Having said that though, in the climate that exists in Russia, one of fear, one of suppression of information, I think it would be naive to assume that this would weaken support for President Putin and his war.
ROMANS: Yeah, all right. Thanks so much for that, Clare Sebastian. Keep us posted.
Okay. Back here, the White House and Republican leaders are scrambling this morning to line up enough votes to pass the compromise debt ceiling bill President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to over the weekend. Now, they face a clock ticking down to January 5th, that's the new estimated date when the government will be unable to pay all of its bills in full.
Even before that happens, McCarthy faces a hitch on the powerful House Rules Committee, at least two hard line members are maneuvering to block the bill in committee when it meets later today before the bill even goes to the House floor. And if it does make it to a floor vote, passage is far from a sure thing.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond has more from the White House.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, you know I never say I'm confident in what the Congress is going to do, but I feel very good about it.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With just one week until the U.S. runs out of money, the White House and House Republican leaders are racing to lock down a bipartisan coalition of votes to get a debt ceiling deal to the president's desk.
BIDEN: It takes the threat of catastrophic default off the table, protects our hard-earned and historic economic recovery. And the agreement also represents a compromise that means no one got everything they want. But that's the responsibility of governing.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Maybe it doesn't do everything for everyone, but this is a step in the right direction that no one thought we would be at today.
DIAMOND: The deal would suspend the debt limit into 2025 and cap spending for the next two years while allowing defense and veteran spending to increase. Spending on other domestic programs will fall by about $1 billion next year, according to White House officials. And in 2025, spending will grow by just 1 percent.
That $1 billion cut looks even steeper on paper, but it's mitigated by a deal to redirect $20 billion of new IRS funding and billions in unspent COVID relief dollars to backstop other domestic spending cuts.
The deal also expands work requirements for food stamp recipients, requiring proof of employment for recipients as old as 54 years old, up from 49. But veterans, the homeless and people who are in foster care are now exempt from those requirements.
Already, signs of disapproval from hardliners on the right --
REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): I'm not willing to vote this country into more debt.
DIAMOND: And the left --
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do they still have to worry about the Progressive Caucus and whether or not your caucus will support?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Yes.
TAPPER: Yes, they do?
JAYAPAL: Yes, they have to worry.
DIAMOND: What's your message to House Democrats who have reservations about this compromise bill?
BIDEN: Talk to me.
DIAMOND: What would you tell them?
BIDEN: I'm not going to tell you.
DIAMOND: Who got the better deal, Democrats or Republicans?
BIDEN: It's a bipartisan deal.
DIAMOND: The White House scrambling to make its case, offering briefings and making more than 60 one-on-one calls to House Democratic lawmakers so far. A key message, focus on the programs Republicans were trying to cut and what's not in the bill.
BEN LABOLT, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: For members of the Progressive Caucus who voted for all the signature legislation of this administration over the past couple years that has led to the creation of 12.7 million jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, those are protected and funded in this agreement. And so, if you voted for those items, you should vote for this as well.
DIAMOND (on camera): And as you heard in my exchange with the president there, clearly he prefers to keep his appeals to Democrats behind the scenes. But nonetheless, he is making those appeals. I'm told that the president is making numerous calls to key Democratic lawmakers ahead of this House vote, and he's going to continue do so daily up until this bill passes both the House and the Senate.
But clearly, as Republicans are trying to sell this bill to their more conservative members, there is a desire on the president's part to keep his appeals more quiet. But he is clearly making some grounds. The head of the new Democrat coalition, a group of moderate Democrats, nearly 100 of them, on Monday endorsing this new compromise legislation.
Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.
ROMANS: All right. So, the caucus taking a lot work you had to do.
All right. Nine people including a 1-year-old baby are recovering from gunshot wounds after a shooting broke out near a busy section of beach in Hollywood, Florida. Police say this was sparked by some kind of an altercation between two groups. This video is silent, this comes from a city web cam, but you can easily see when the gunfire starts as people take off running.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEANNA BETTINESCHI, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, HOLLYWOOD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Right now, we do have one person of interest detained and right now, we're also searching for an additional suspect.
CHRIS O'BRIEN, HOLLYWOOD BEACH POLICE CHIEF: We'll leave no stone unturned. We have numerous agencies out here assisting us to include state and federal agencies. These that were involved in the incident will be held accountable for their actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Hospital officials say all of the victims are in stable condition.
All right. We now know more about the upcoming impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The state Senate will decide whether to remove Paxton from office within the next two months.
CNN's Ed Lavandera has the details from Dallas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm directed by the House of Representative to present to the Senate the articles of impeachment preferred against Warren Kenneth Paxton Jr., attorney general of the state of Texas. ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A
historic moment in Texas politics. The 12 Texas House representatives who will present the impeachment case against Attorney General Ken Paxton helped formally deliver the articles of impeachment to the Texas Senate.
The day after Texas lawmakers impeached Ken Paxton, he shared these photos on social media saying, there is nothing better than a weekend spent with loved ones.
There was no love from an overwhelmingly bipartisan collection of Texas House lawmakers, who voted 121 to 23 to file 20 articles of impeachment against the Republican attorney general.
ANN JOHNSON (D), TEXAS STATE HOUSE/GENERAL INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE: Either this is going to be the beginning of the end of his criminal reign, or God help us with the harms that will come to all Texans if he's allowed to stay the top cop on the take.
LAVANDERA: Paxton called the impeachment vote a politically motivated sham and ugly spectacle.
Former President Donald Trump's support didn't held either. Trump called the impeachment vote unfair led by the radical left Democrats and RINOs, Republicans in name only.
Paxton is accused of a litany of criminal acts including bribery and obstruction of justice and that he's unfit for public office.
ANDREW MURR (R), TEXAS STATE HOUSE: The evidence is substantial. It is alarming and unnerving.
LAVANDERA: Paxton's impeachment moves to the state senate. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick will preside over the trial. In an interview with CNN affiliate WFAA, Patrick would not say when the trial will take place.
LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R), TEXAS: We will all be as responsible as any juror would be if that turns out to be.
LAVANDERA: One of those jurors and senators is Angela Paxton, the attorney general's own wife. There are calls for her to recuse herself but she has not said what she will do.
KEN PAXTON, TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Every politician who supports this deceitful impeachment attempt will inflict lasting damage on the credibility of the Texas House.
LAVANDERA: As House representatives prepare to cast their impeachment votes, some lawmakers say Paxton was vowing retribution for anyone voting against him.
REP. CHARLIE GEREN (R), TEXAS STATE HOUSE: Several members of this House while on the floor of this House doing the state business received telephone calls from General Paxton personally threatening them with political consequences in their next election. [05:10:05]
LAVANDERA: Paxton has been under indictment on felony securities fraud charges and remains under FBI investigation for a scandal involving a campaign donor.
Paxton has denied all wrongdoing.
PAXTON: This shameful process was curated from the start as an act of political retribution.
LAVANDERA: And now an update on when the trial will take place, state senators approved a plan that says that the trial will have to happen before August 28th. And then on June 20th, a committee of senators will present the rules for the impeachment process, so look for the trial to take place sometime between June 28th and the end of August.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
ROMANS: All right. Ahead, what was supposed to be a relaxing getaway to the Bahamas turned in to a frightening ride aboard a battered cruise ship.
Plus, the rescue mission at a collapsed Iowa apartment building with more feared missing in the rubble.
But, first, the debt limit compromise, what both Democrats and Republicans managed to get out of that deal.
ROMANS: It's not often in Washington that a compromise is struck and is even less common for both sides to walk away happy. If the debt ceiling deal is passed, what do Democrats and Republicans get out of it?
Well, for Republicans, non-defense spending is capped, things like education and transportation will basically stay the same for the next couple of years. Work requirements will expand for food stamps. Upper limit of the age people might have to continue to work goes up. $30 billion in unspent COVID funds will be made available for other uses.
Students will have to start repaying their college loans which were first suspended under the Trump administration. This is separate from the student loan forgiveness plan that the Supreme Court is considering. And finally new IRS spending cut by $20 billion.
Moving to the Democrats, simply that there is a deal at all important for the Biden administration to show that Democrats can get tough deals done even with Republican opposition. There would be no work requirement for low income Americans that need Medicaid, clean energy initiatives will basically remain. And the debt limit will be suspended until 2025, that is after the next election.
A lot more to unpack and to analyze here, so let's bring in Rachel Siegel, an economics reporter for "The Washington Post."
Good morning, Rachel.
RACHEL SIEGEL, ECONOMICS REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good morning.
ROMANS: It would not be D.C. without last minute, right, last second drama. Congressmen Chip Roy and Ralph Norman, they have emerged as leading opponents of this deal, both men sit on the powerful House rules committee.
Is there a sense in D.C. that the bill might not even make it out of committee today? What are you hearing this morning?
SIEGEL: That is certainly what we're watching going into this afternoon. First real test of whether this is able to make it through Congress and get passed before the June 5th deadline is whether the proposal can make it through the House Rules Committee. As you mentioned two have already come out against it and there is one swing vote that could really determine whether or not the bill is able to move forward.
So far, the signs from Congressman Massie, who sits on the House Rules Committee, are positive, he hasn't can explicitly endorsed the deal, but there is some hope that we can move forward with the passage in the House and the Senate, because as you mentioned, it's really just under the gun before a June 5th deadline.
ROMANS: I mean, in both sides need to be able to say that they won, right? And so, both of them walk away with some important -- some important points here. The IRS funding point is interesting to me. It sounded like the White House was initially saying $10 billion that they would take away from new IRS funding, $20 billion.
The irony here, Rachel, is that funding actually generates revenue, right? So if you are in a fight about deficits, that part of the deal actually hurts the deficit part of the equation.
SIEGEL: Yeah, that's one of the figures that my colleagues and I at "The Washington Post" were certainly trying to square over the weekend. There are different versions of numbers that we had seen floating around beforehand. Now, we're trying to figure out exactly how these number squares with the math at the White House, and Republicans are both touting.
It's also something that the progressive Democrats are likely to be most upset about. And I think it is a good example of there are different stories that can be told here from the Democrat side and the Republican side as leadership in both parties are really trying to sell it to their bases and make sure that there's enough of a concerted focus to make sure that this moves forward.
ROMANS: Interesting we talked about who won in Washington. This is a win for the American people though. I mean, we can -- a debt default is just devastating, would just be devastating for the American people.
SIEGEL: It would be absolutely devastating. And it doesn't seem that there is no agreement here that this deal is one that could have come at any later moment. Even if we manage to smoothly get through the House Rules Committee this afternoon, if then there is a vote in the House and Senate, June 5th is a week away. So, this is just under the gun and avoid absolutely catastrophic consequences. Whether or not this is something that's repeated is something that, you know, we can all avoid but hopefully we manage to avoid --
ROMANS: Yeah, Treasury's closing balance on Thursday was $38 billion. That's a bank account running on fumes when you look at the bills that are coming out and going in over the next five -- four or five days. Lost in all of the debt ceiling drama is the fact that the U.S. economy is actually doing pretty well. And we have a Federal Reserve looking at inflation numbers and job numbers.
Let's step back from the debt ceiling drama and talk about what the Fed's next move might be here.
SIEGEL: Well, the Federal Reserve will be meeting in the middle of June to consider once again whether to raise interest rates. As you mentioned in the backdrop of this debt ceiling drama is ongoing inflation, prices that are still too high, ongoing fears of a recession.
The Federal Reserve could be deciding whether or not it raisers interest rates for one last time or decides to pause and let high borrowing costs work their way through the economy, that has been the real focus of so much economic news over the past couple of years.
It would obviously be an enormous help to the central bank to not have to deal with the debt ceiling default in the meantime, but once the vote is hopefully over in time for June 5, then focus will shift back to how the Fed is going to steer the economy from here.
ROMANS: Yeah, how the Fed is going to steer the economy. I mean, it just felt so -- just so dramatic to have a potential Washington- induced drama when the Fed has been so carefully trying to control the economy for the past year.
Rachel Siegel of "The Washington Post", thank you so much. Nice to see you this morning.
SIEGEL: Thanks so much.
ROMANS: All right. Quick hits across America now.
A ninth person rescued after a Davenport, Iowa apartment building collapsed Sunday. According to CNN affiliate "Quad City Times", officials say that there are still some people unaccounted for as the owners face demolition orders today.
Police in Mississippi capture one of two men who escaped through an air duct at the Hines County jail. Michael Lewis faces new charges. The search continues for Joseph spring. It's the second breach in a month.
A storm terrified passengers on a Carnival cruise ship and delayed a return to South Carolina this weekend. They say the ship's interior was waterlogged and filled with debris for days. Terrifying.
All right. China just launched it latest space mission. Could a mission to the moon soon follow?
And people in Canada dealing with intense smoke as wildfires rage in the east.
ROMANS: China says it plans to put astronauts on the moon by 2030 as it successfully launches a new crew for its space station.
The Shenzhou 16 mission sent three crew members, including the first civilian in on space Monday, marking another step forward in its ambitious space program.
CNN's Steven Jiang joins me live from Beijing this morning.
And, Steven, the latest announcement comes officially from the deputy director of Chinese's manned space agency.
What does this mean for the space race with the U.S.?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Yeah, Christine, many say this turns up the heat on NASA especially with a renewed interest and focus on more launches from -- in the U.S. space program after years of funding challenges, of course. But, you know, as we speak, actually, we just learned the Chinese spacecraft has docked with the country's self-made space station, the Tiangong. So, as we speak, actually, there are six Chinese astronauts in that structure that they just built last year.
So, the pace of development in this program is quite remarkable considering the country's first manned space mission was only launched 20 years ago in 2003. And you mentioned this fascinating aspect of this latest mission status, China sending a civilian, a professor from a very prestigious aeronautics university in Beijing, wearing eyeglasses actually into space for the first time because all the other previous astronauts have been military personnel.
So the fact this is unusual points to the very much military driven and military run nature of their program. That, of course, many say is at a foundation of its many successes, not only in manned space missions but also unmanned missions, including lunar and mars probes. But this also, of course, has been a source of controversy, which is why Congress has largely banned space cooperation between the two countries, Christine. ROMANS: Interesting. And, Steven, "The Wall Street Journal" this morning is reporting on a rebuke from China to the U.S. The Pentagon saying that China rejected a proposal, a U.S. proposal for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to meet with his Chinese counterpart at a security summit in Singapore this week. What do we know?
JIANG: Yeah. You know, the Chinese actually have turned the tables on Washington saying that U.S. should know the reason. Now, we know the two sides -- we know Beijing has suspended mil to mil dialogue after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last year.
But in this specific case, we have heard previously from the Chinese government that the U.S. has to lift sanctions against this very person, this defense minister first before any senior level talks could resume. This defense minister actually has been under sanction for quite some time, for his role in procuring weapons from Russia, even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. So, the Chinese have said this has to be a pre-condition for the defense ministers to meet even though the U.S. insists talking is better than not talking, sanctions or no sanctions. But I guess the Chinese just don't buy that, Christine.
ROMANS: Yeah. Trying to find an off-ramp in a relationship that has been souring lately. Thank you so much. Nice to see you.
All right. Iran is prosecuting two female journalists this week for their reporting on the death of Mahsa Amini. She is the woman, of course, who died in police custody last fall, sparking months of nationwide protests. The two journalists are accused of conspiring with, quote, hostile foreign powers, a charge that carries the death penalty in Iran.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joins us on this story from London.
And Iran, Salma, has resumed executing those who protested against its hard line regime. What more can you tell us?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. If you look at the figures, if you compare 2021 to 2022, there were more than 80 percent spike in the number of people executed in Iran. That's according to Amnesty International, more than 570 received the death penalty there last year.
And now, activists are telling us, this year, there could be even more. Among those being sentenced --