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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Alexey Navalny Extremist Trial Begins At Penal Colony; World War II Veterans Gather For Normandy Remembrance; Saudi Arabia Vows More Oil Production Cuts. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 06, 2023 - 05:30   ET



NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: -- which they say show the telltale signs of information being obtained illegally through phone hacking, through the interception of voicemails, and through the use of private investigators.

Now these details have centered on Prince Harry's private life, from his relationship and conversations with his brother Prince Williams -- arguments that they've had in the past. The details around his former relationship with long-term former girlfriend Chelsy Davy, which his legal representatives said broke down in the end as a result of that media intrusion. And, of course, details around his time as a child, as a teenager -- even as a young adult while he was going into military training at Sandhurst.

We've seen Prince Harry's life being on the front pages of these tabloids throughout his life. Of course, the details of that may come to light under a harsher light during those cross-examinations in the court.

Today, of course, we heard that Prince Harry is amongst more than 100 people -- 100 claimants now taking on Mirror Group Newspapers over allegations that they obtained this information illegally. These are claims that Mirror Group Newspapers' defense have contested. They say that there is simply no evidence that Prince Harry was hacked. They believe that their senior editorial editors were not aware of any wrongdoing at the time. And this, of course, goes back to the early 1990s up until 2011.

Now, Prince Harry has already arrived. He's in the courtroom behind me. He will be giving evidence. He may also be giving evidence tomorrow as well.

And I have to say there was some frustration even from the judge yesterday that he wasn't present on the first day. Of course, all eyes very much on the courtroom today as he prepared to give evidence -- Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Indeed. OK, so quite rare.

Thank you so much, Nada. I know you'll be following it for us.

A Russian court holding a preliminary hearing for jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny this morning. He's facing numerous new criminal charges, including the charge that he's creating an extremist organization. His spokesperson says the court has already denied a request for more time to review the documents related to this case.

CNN's Clare Sebastian joins us live from London. Clare, Navalny is already serving a nine-year sentence at a maximum security prison for his opposition to the Putin regime. Is this an attempt to keep him incarcerated even longer?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine, all evidence definitely points to that. First of all, this extremism case at the hearing happening today, we understand is about. That was brought against him in September 2021 when he was already in jail. Secondly, as you say, he was denied the right for more time to study what we believe is thousands of pages of documents related to this case.

In addition, he's been kept mostly in solitary confinement in this maximum security prison, mostly without a break -- something he continues to protest.

And, as you say, in further evidence of that today, this court hearing was closed. No journalists allowed in either to film or just to listen to it -- something that his spokesperson says shows that they simply have no evidence against him. And the only way to avoid disgracing themselves, she said, was to close the entire thing -- completely hold it all in secret.

Add to that the fact that in addition to the nine years he's serving and these extremism charges, which could face a maximum sentence of 30 years, there's another case pending as well on terrorism charges. That could face a maximum sentence of 35 years. So I think you get the picture here.

And obviously, for the Russian state, this is not just about silencing Navalny but his supporters, his message. People turned out -- not very many it should be said, but some people turned out in Russia in protest -- individual protests to mark his birthday on Sunday. According to a human rights militant group at least 90 were arrested.

ROMANS: Wow. All right, Clare Sebastian. Thank you so much, Clare.

Quick hits around the globe right now.

A woman called Australia's worst female serial killer has been pardoned after 20 years behind bars. Kathleen Folbigg was convicted with no physical evidence of killing her four babies. Recent research found a possible genetic explanation.

Mexico's ruling party wins the governorship of the country's most populous state dealing a blow to the opposition party. It consolidates power for President Lopez Obrador ahead of next June's elections.

France's trade unions today launching a 14th day of nationwide protests against that unpopular pension reform law. It's a last-ditch effort to rally support ahead of a national assembly debate on Thursday.

Just ahead, honoring World War II veterans on the beaches of Northern France. And actor Cuba Gooding Jr. back in court for a civil rape trial.



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

Former Gov. Chris Christie set to announce his presidential run today. Christie, who also ran in 2016, reportedly sees himself as the only serious GOP candidate to take on Donald Trump.

The trial begins today against actor Cuba Gooding Jr. who is accused of raping a woman he met at a bar in 2013. Gooding denies the allegations and says the encounter was consensual.

Today, President Biden set to convene his cabinet on the heels of averting a catastrophic default. They're expected to discuss the next 100 days and a wide range of topics.

All right. Apple unveiling its most ambitious new hardware product in years.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Introducing Apple Vision Pro.


ROMANS: So it's a mixed-reality headset. It looks like a pair of ski goggles. It lets users see apps for medicine, productivity, and entertainment directly projected in front of them. Disney -- Bob Iger was there. Disney says it's also creating content for the headset.

It's a risky move for Apple. The company is charging a whopping $3,500 for the product in an unproven market at a time of lingering economic uncertainty. But certainly, getting a lot of buzz. The first big new headline project since the watch.

All right, the Vegas Golden Knights are two wins away from lifting the Stanley Cup after routing the Florida Panthers in last night's game two.


Coy Wire has this morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christine.

There's dominant and then there are Golden Knights dominant. They have had nine different players score goals in their first two games of the series. That's the most by any team in NHL history. Jonathan Marchessault has been so hot that he is melting ice. His first of two goals opens the scoring barrage. He now has nine goals in his last nine games.

Now, you have to watch this, Christine. Captain Mark Stone, on this play, breaks his stick then pummels a Panther on his way to grab a new one. And then -- well, he ends up making the assist, beating Brett Howden for one of his two goals on the night.

The Golden Knights slay all day. Vegas eviscerates the Panthers 7-2. Their 12 combined goals are the most ever in the first two games of a Stanley Cup Final.

Hey, Adin Hill, how was it out there?


ADIN HILL, VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS GOALIE: It's probably been the most fun I've ever had playing hockey. I'm just enjoying it and cherishing every day. And, you know, just kind of taking it one day at a time and just kind of living in the moment, and it's been fun. It's been awesome to be a part of this journey with this team.


WIRE: Ninety percent of the time teams with a 2-0 series lead win the Stanley Cup Final every time. Florida's favored over Vegas by Vegas, though, in game three as the series goes from the ice in the desert to the ice in South Florida Thursday on our sister channel TNT for game three.

The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs visiting the White House. Superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes and superstar tight end and team hike man Travis Kelce presenting President Biden with a 46 jersey. And then this happened, Christine.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay right there.

TRAVIS KELCE, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS TIGHT END: So, I've been waiting for this for --



WIRE: Old Patrick Mahomes there -- he had to turn into a bit of a Secret Service agent to step in and protect our nation.

And check out the people working. They're like hey, no one is supposed to step in front of that shield they're, like, taking down before Travis Kelce performs a takeover there on stage. All right. Finally, more than 10,000 golfers dreamed of qualifying for next week's U.S. Open and yesterday, only 45 advanced, playing 36 holes at 10 different courses in golf's so-called longest day. One of them is 28-year-old Corey Pereira. He took nearly all of the year off from golf to care for his girlfriend, Leah Bertuccelli, who is battling cancer. He only competed in one other event -- a local qualifier for the Open.


COREY PEREIRA, QUALIFIED FOR U.S. OPEN: It's been a beyond emotional year. I'm getting a little choked up just thinking about it. So, today I played with a lot of heart and honestly, it just feels so good. Like, this is a good breakthrough for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Did you think about her out there on the course today?

PEREIRA: Absolutely. I think about her every 20 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you thinking while you were trying to grind it out here?

PEREIRA: You know, just that -- the struggle that she is going through and what a privilege it is to be out here, honestly, and not be going through what she's going through.


WIRE: Christine, Corey said that she is on her 10th round of chemo -- Leah is -- and he was thinking on the back nine that if he hit a bad shot it might cost me a boogey, but that's nothing compared to what she is dealing with.


WIRE: And he said it's given him a huge amount of perspective.

ROMANS: I bet it has.

All right, thanks for that. Nice to see you, Coy.

WIRE: You, too.

ROMANS: All right, World War II veterans gathering in France today to mark the 79th anniversary of D-Day. In 1944, an unprecedented 160,000 U.S. and Allied troops landed on those beaches of Normandy to fight the Nazis. It would become the start of France's liberation and create a path to victory.

CNN's Oren Liebermann joins me this morning live from Normandy. And, Oren, it's really an emotional place where you are -- that hallowed ground where the allies stormed those beaches and changed history. What are you seeing this morning?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It is absolutely is and especially, where we're standing right now, which is the Normandy American Cemetery. You mentioned the tens of thousands of Americans who came into here by paratrooping in, by coming in as part of the amphibious invasion. Well, thousands of those Americans gave their lives as part of the Normandy invasion and that's what we're here to commemorate.

We listened a short while ago to a World War II vet who wasn't part of Normandy but he was part of the Battle of the Bulge. And what he said -- I think it's one of those lines that just kind of sticks with you. "It was a hell that we had to endure so we endured it." And that's certainly relevant to what happened in Normandy 79 years ago.

A bit chilly this morning here but a nice morning. It's almost hard to believe that all of those years ago -- nearly eight decades ago -- these skies were filled with those paratroopers coming in and landing here. In fact, we stayed in one of the first towns that was liberated as part of D-Day -- as part of Normandy. So you truly get a sense of that history here.

In a short time, we'll hear from Gen. Mark Milley. We'll also hear from Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin as they speak as part of these cemeteries.

I had a chance to sit down and speak with Gen. Mark Milley about a number of topics -- Ukraine, China, as well as some of the domestic issues. One of the issues that was fascinating to talk about was Ukraine. And it's easy to make the connection between the D-Day counteroffensive and the counteroffensive we're waiting to see in Ukraine.


I asked him, "Is Ukraine ready?" He said, "We've prepared them as much as we can and now it's up to the battlefield."

Christine, I'll point out one last thing. I asked Milley, "Is there something a World War II vet said to him that will always stick with him." He said, "Yes. A World War II vet once said to him never let it happen again."

ROMANS: Wow, moving.

All right, Oren. Thank you so much.

Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" calls for justice after a Black mother was shot and killed by her white neighbor. Why police have not made an arrest yet.

And next, right here, Saudi Arabia planning to slash oil production. What that could mean for the prices you'll pay at the pump.


ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 78. The share of women in the workforce hitting an all-time high of nearly 78 percent in May. That includes women ages 25 to 54. The increase may be due to the fact that hybrid work makes it possible for women to work and raise kids. It also could be high inflation may mean more women are forced to go back to work.


Looking at markets around the world, mixed in Asia and Europe. On Wall Street, stock index futures, right now, down a little bit.

U.S. stocks fell. A debate over whether the Fed will pause rates at its upcoming meeting.

U.S. regulators are suing Binance for allegedly operating a, quote, "web of deception" and are accusing it of misusing customers' funds. Binance, of course, is the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange.

Gas prices could soon be on the rise in the U.S. just as the busy summer travel season is underway. Saudi Arabia announcing plans to slash production by a million barrels per day starting in July for at least a month.

Brent Crude, the global benchmark for the oil market, was trading up two percent at one point Monday, reaching $78.00 a barrel. But those gains fizzled and crude prices are now down this morning.

Let's bring in Dan Dicker, founder of The Energy Word, and author of "Turning Oil Green: A Market-Based Path to Renewables." Good morning, Dan.


ROMANS: So talk to me about this price action and the -- and the Saudi move. Do you think that oil prices now maybe have a floor under them here?

DICKER: I don't think so. I mean, OPEC is sort of like Rodney Dangerfield right now. It can't get any respect. There's been a ton of targeting by the Federal Reserve trying to get at inflation and targeting oil prices. President Biden has used the SPR to target oil prices for months. And OPEC has been responding with just production cut after production cut starting in late '22. They had a huge one in April.

And just now, the Saudis apparently couldn't get many of their members to go along with them so they decided unilaterally to take a million barrels off the market. That's a big deal. A million barrels is a lot and it used to make a big difference.

But as you see by the markets, the markets are just not taking OPEC seriously in their ability to try and control the markets. And right now, the traders who are mostly short, have control of this market and are driving prices continually lower.

ROMANS: Interesting. Saudi Arabia's energy minister reportedly described the move to slash production as, quote, this -- "A Saudi lollipop." This is what he said. "We wanted to ice the cake. We always want to add suspense. We don't want people to try to predict that we do."

Did it work, though? I mean, that's a -- that's a lot of oil that they say that they're going to take off the market but it doesn't look like in price action that it's working.

DICKER: Not yet, anyway. I mean, the fundamentals are definitely on OPEC's side, so I can feel their frustration. And the Saudi minister has been talking about that -- talking about giving the traders a little more ouching, if that's a word. That's the word that he used. And it just -- it's just not happening yet but the fundamentals are definitely in their favor.

There has been -- there was a glut but these production cuts that have -- they've been working on since late '22 and into '23 have been having an effect and stockpiles are falling really rapidly. So at some point, the supply-demand numbers should make a difference. But I think for the summer season, at least right now, the traders are in control and I don't think drivers are going to have much trouble with gas prices.

ROMANS: Good. So you think gas prices -- we're not going to see some big pop in gas prices. Remember, last summer was really ugly. Now we're down 25 percent from last year. You think that these are reasonable levels right here.

DICKER: At least right now. Like I say, I do not think that they can turn -- that OPEC can turn this aircraft carrier around in the canal that they're faced with right now. So it's going to take them some time. They're going to have to make those fundamentals felt at a real level. That's going to take several months. So I think you'll be talking to me in October --

ROMANS: All right.

DICKER: -- or November about prices going up towards triple digits. But for the summer, I think it's an all-clear whistle I can give.

ROMANS: All right, we'll take that. You know, it's not just oil. Commodity prices declining kind of across the board, which takes some of the heat off of the inflation story around the world. But it's because of the growth story, but that's another subject altogether.

Dan Dicker of The Energy Word, thank you so much. Nice to see you.

DICKER: Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Up next, the mystery of the Mar-a-Lago pool. A flood in a room full of video surveillance logs. And Chris Christie just hours away from jumping into the 2024 race.


[05:58:45] ROMANS: All right. Right now, raging wildfires in Quebec are affecting air quality across the northeast and the upper Midwest today.

Let's bring in meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Derek, how could the smoke affect people living in the east coast cities here?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: OK. Well, Christine, you're looking at it. All you need to do is step outside of the studio to see exactly what New York City and so many millions of others across the eastern seaboard are seeing this morning.

We just had the sunrise in New York City about 5:25 this morning. There it is if you can make it out. This is all smoke and haze from the wildfires that are to our north across Quebec.

Here it is. You can see on the satellite imagery before the sun set last night these things were raging out of control just north and west of Montreal. And because of the wind direction we have the smoke settling into major population densities from New York to Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, Toronto, Montreal -- all seeing this hazardous air quality that has settled in.

In fact, the National Weather Service picking up on that. We have over 20 million Americans under air quality alerts. This means that anyone who is sensitive to this fine particulate matter -- the smoke in the air -- like people with upper respiratory illnesses, the young, or the elderly -- they want to stay indoors today because that is not healthy air to breathe.


It's all a product of the weather pattern, right? We have this low pressure just off the Canadian Maritimes and this cold front that continues to draw the smoke from the north to the south. And it looks like we won't have much relief in the coming days because more Canadian wildfire smoke is on its way.

ROMANS: Wow. All right, everybody, be careful out there.

All right. Thanks, Derek. Nice to see you this morning.

VAN DAM: OK, Christine -- you, too.

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