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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Pentagon: Army Private Travis King Now Listed As "AWOL"; Police Search Vegas Home Decades After Tupac Shakur's Murder; Tesla Stock Down Despite Beating Q2 Earning Estimates. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 21, 2023 - 05:30   ET



VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Video to go viral, and a video of an incident back in May to go viral for people to react. For politicians to react to the establishment to take action.

It's a really sorry state of affairs in Manipur if it takes for a video to get accountability and for people to react and respond, and arrest men who are the perpetrators of this crime, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Just certainly a very troubling story. Thank you so much for that, Vedika Sud.

Now to the U.S. soldier who ran into North Korea earlier this week. The Pentagon says there is no indication that Private Travis King's exit was coordinated with the help of anyone in the north. His status is now officially AWOL or Absent Without Leave.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout following this for us from Hong Kong. And King was facing assault charges in South Korea. He was set to be discharged from the Army. What more can you tell us about his situation?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, North Korea is still silent about the U.S. soldier -- about Army Private Travis King, who dashed across the border into North Korea on Tuesday. And because of that silence, concern is growing.

We heard from the U.S. Army secretary. She made her first public comments about the case and she said that the U.S. has mobilized efforts to contact North Korea, including going through U.N. communications channels, but North Korea has yet to respond.

She also cited the case of Otto Warmbier. He was the American college student who was arrested in North Korea in 2016. He died in 2017 shortly after being released by North Korea.

And regarding Travis King, this is what we heard from the U.S. Army secretary. Let's bring up her statement. This is Christine Wormuth who said, quote, "I worry about how they may treat him. So we want to get him back."

She also said that King's motive is unclear but he, quote, "absolutely would have faced consequences for misconduct if he returned to the U.S. as planned."

Now we also heard from the Pentagon. The Pentagon would not say if it believed Travis King was alive. And a spokesperson said that an investigation will be starting and it will be looking partly at where King was between the time he left the airport and when he went on that tour when he crossed into North Korea.

The spokesperson also said that King was not escorted onto his flight because he wasn't in custody when he was at the airport. His escorts weren't allowed to go beyond airport security. Also said that there was no inclination that King planned his crossing with the North Koreans.

The Pentagon, as you mentioned, Christine, now describes his official status as AWOL or Absent Without Leave.

Back to you.

ROMANS: All right, Kristie Lu Stout. Thank you so much for that.

Quick hits around the globe right now.

A blast in Johannesburg, South Africa rocking a busy street, tossing buses and minivans into the air. The suspected gas explosion killed at least one person and injured dozens more.

A search underway just south of Berlin for a suspected lioness on the loose after several reports and a Twitter video showed a large cat roaming the woods. Police are using drones, helicopters, and infrared to track her.

Singer Shakira denies allegations of tax evasion after a Spanish court says she's facing a second probe into alleged tax fraud in 2018 while she awaits trial for alleged tax evasion in 2012.

Just ahead, what could be a fresh lead in the decades-long mystery of Tupac Shakur's murder. And is Miami ready for Messi mania as number 10 makes his debut?






ROMANS: New developments in the decades-long investigation into the murder of legendary rapper Tupac Shakur. Nearly 30 years ago, Shakur was shot and killed while driving on the Las Vegas strip. The suspect was never caught. Now a newly-released search warrant reveals police took items from the home of a witness to the shooting.

CNN's Sara Sidner has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR AND SENIOR NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was one of the most prolific voices of the hip-hop generation. Tupac Amaru Shakur, a young man with big, bright eyes and a poetic sensibility who spit out lyrics that detailed life as he knew it unvarnished.

He revealed the beauty and pain of his life and those around him. The themes stretched from violence in the streets to Black liberation, to the love between a mother and son.

T. SHAKUR: Singing" Dear Mama."

SIDNER (voice-over): Tupac lived a version of the American dream, as well as an American nightmare. He was a young Black man who unchained himself from the extreme poverty he grew up in, in Baltimore and California. His school friends say his nose was always in a book -- always learning. But it was his music and acting that set the world alight.

AFENI SHAKUR, TUPAC'S MOTHER: Tupac was extremely passionate, very honest, and raw in his approach to communicating.

SIDNER (voice-over): He became a world-famous icon of an emerging genre of music -- hip-hop -- only to be gunned down at just 25 years old near a Las Vegas street corner.

Retired Las Vegas police lieutenant Chris Carroll was first on the scene that September day in 1996.

CHRIS CARROLL, RETIRED LAS VEGAS POLICE LIEUTENANT, FIRST ON THE SCENE OF SHAKUR'S MURDER: I ended up pulling Tupac out of the car. I spoke to him. He was still alive. He was still breathing.

I was asking him who did it. Who shot him? What happened? And that's when he responded to me with the now-infamous words "F you."

SIDNER (voice-over): To put it mildly, Shakur was not a fan of the police for a myriad of reasons. For one, his mother says, he experienced police violence while still in her womb. Afeni Shakur recounted the FBI charging into her home, guns out, and carting her off to jail for being a member of the Black Panthers. She defended herself in court and won her case against the state.


A. SHAKUR: He was born one month and three days after we were acquitted.

SIDNER (voice-over): Tupac also had his own run-in with violence and the law.

T. SHAKUR: I will make this court proud if they give me the chance to do so. I mean, I'm sure you all don't need to see another Black face behind bars. SIDNER (voice-over): He was a natural-born fighter for Black causes,

born of two members of the Black Panther party.

A. SHAKUR: I am his mother and to a large extent, I feel as though Tupac came into this world carrying my Black Panther party pass was his baggage.

SIDNER (voice-over): He was shot five times during a robbery in Quad Studios at Times Square and lived to tell the tale. He always thought East Coast rappers set him up.

He was arrested multiple times, accused of violence, but Tupac went to prison after being convicted of sexual abuse in 1995. That happened about a month before the release of his album "Me Against the World." He was bonded out after eight months by Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records.

T. SHAKUR: Singing "Nothing to Lose."

SIDNER (voice-over): The raw words of his songs served as a form of empowerment for people feeling the weight of oppression. Twenty-seven years after his death his music is as relevant as ever.

Then, this week, a stunning announcement. Las Vegas police suddenly revealing they served a search warrant on his Henderson, Nevada home. In the warrant, there is mention of the South Side Compton Crips gang. And they seized items belonging to a man named Duane Keith Davis, nicknamed "Keefe D."

In 1996, Los Angeles police did pick up and question this man they said belonged to that same gang. Orlando Anderson was named a suspect in the case but he was never charged.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you involved in any way in the death of Tupac Shakur?

ORLANDO ANDERSON, QUESTIONED IN TUPAC'S MURDER: No, I was not involved. I mean, I'm like a victim. You know what I'm saying? I feel sorry for him.

SIDNER (voice-over): The night of Tupac's murder, surveillance showed Anderson being beaten by Shakur and his entourage in Las Vegas. Hours later, Shakur is shot and killed while in the car with Suge Knight.

No one knows what will come of the new police activity but after 27 years of waiting his fans and his family hope not just that the murder is solved by that justice is served.

Sara Sidner, CNN, New York.



All right, to sports now.

The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team kicks off its quest for a historic three-peat that the World Cup tonight against Vietnam.

Carolyn Manno is here with more in this morning's Bleacher Report. And these are -- these are the soccer -- these are the real soccer moms.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I know. We love that pun so much. I think we'll probably use it over and over again.


MANNO: But it's so good. I mean, especially because of just how accomplished this group of women is. There is nothing that they can't do. We've seen dynasties in sports.

The U.S. Women's team takes that to a whole different level. I mean, they've only lost four World Cup games ever. And this year's squad is favored to bring home the trophy again for that unprecedented third time.

They are going to do it with three moms on the roster -- Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz, Crystal Dunn. They are not your typical soccer moms.


ALEX MORGAN, USWNT CAPTAIN: It kind of gives me that youthful energy again and it just makes it even more special having her around so many strong, powerful women.

JULIE ERTZ, TWO-TIME U.S. SOCCER FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: My whole life's changed. My whole view, my whole meaning, everything. There was a lot of different things I had to navigate. Needs of being a mom. The emotional aspect of it. But I just trusted the process and relied on my faith, and I think there's just beauty in taking the first step of trying.

CRYSTAL DUNN, 2019 WORLD CUP WINNER: Babies are just such a health distraction in so many ways. Like, my games days used to be like -- I used to dread kickoff times that were like at 8:00 p.m. I'm like oh, what am I going to do all day? What am I going to do? Now I'm like gosh, it's already game time? I've just been chasing the baby around and doing all these fun things.

MORGAN: My daughter thinks it's really funny that people call me Alex Morgan because that's not my name. It's mommy, obviously. So it's just so wonderful to see things through her eyes.


MANNO: Very, very sweet.

The Americans are going to face World Cup debutantes Vietnam tonight at 9:00 Eastern. We can't wait.

Back stateside, Messi mania reaching fever pitch in South Florida. The man that many consider the greatest soccer of all time expected to make his highly-anticipated debut for Inter Miami tonight.

Co-owner David Beckham says Messi might start on the bench but he is still in it to win it.


DAVID BECKHAM, CO-OWNER, INTER MIAMI: He's at the stage of his career where he has made a decision to come to the MLS, to come to America, to come to Miami, to come to Inter Miami to win. He's not come here for a holiday. He's not come here to do anything other than win and inspire the next generation of soccer players here in this country.


MANNO: Elsewhere in sports this morning, the Washington Commanders have a new owner this morning. NFL owners unanimously approving the sale, which is worth a reported $6 billion, to a group led by billionaire Josh Harris, who is also the majority owner of the 76ers and co-owns the NHL's New Jersey Devils.


The deal comes the same day that the NFL announced it had fined former owner Dan Snyder $60 million. Snyder bought the team for $800 million so his fine represents one percent of the sale price. But an independent investigation corroborated allegations of sexual harassment against Snyder by a former employee, as well as financial improprieties while Snyder owned the team. He's previously denied those allegations. CNN has reached out to him for comment.

And it is tough to beat the freeze in a foot race. Thursday, it looked like he might suffer a rare loss. This Braves fan going all out but just fell inches short of the finish line. So racing the freeze -- this is a tradition that started back in 2017. Fans get a head start. They race from foul pole to foul pole between innings. The tragedy of defeat on full display on Thursday.

The Braves did win. They beat Arizona. They've got their league- leading 62nd win of the season.

But this was really tight and what a devastating way -- just right at the finish line -- to fall in defeat. It looked like it hurt as well.


MANNO: But I give him credit. I'll give that fan credit. He just went for it full set.

ROMANS: Oh, yeah.

MANNO: Yeah.

ROMANS: Well, all right. Thanks so much. Nice to see you, Carolyn Manno.

All right. Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" former President Trump preparing for a possible third indictment.

And next, right here, Elon Musk and Tesla earnings meet expectations but the stock dropped. What's going on?



ROMANS: Your Romans' Numeral this morning, 36 billion. The Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes set to cost credit card users a total of $36 billion in higher interest payments over the past -- next 12 months.

WalletHub says that number is based on the 500 basis points -- that's five percentage points -- that the central bank has raised interest rates since March 2022. It also factors another 25 basis point increase expected this month.

Looking at markets around the world right now, you can see Asian markets finished mixed. Investors reacting to inflation in Japan outpacing U.S. inflation for the first time in eight years. European markets are also mixed at this hour.

And on Wall Street, stock index futures barely moving here but rebounding a little bit after a mixed performance yesterday. The Nasdaq fell two percent, weighed down by declines from Tesla and Netflix. The Dow rose for the ninth consecutive day, boosted by strong earnings from Johnson & Johnson.

Mortgage rates fell slightly. The 30-year fixed now 6.78 percent. That's the biggest one-week drop since March.

On inflation watch, gas prices rose a penny overnight to $3.59. But you can see, still, considerably lower than a year ago.

All right. Tesla's stock was down nearly 10 percent at Thursday's close even after delivering an earnings report that beat estimates.

Joining me now is Dan Ives, managing director and senior equity analyst at Wedbush Securities. So what happened there with Tesla yesterday?

DAN IVES, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND SENIOR EQUITY ANALYST, WEDBUSH SECURITIES: I think it was just an overreaction to Musk not committing to seeing the price cuts are done. And I mean, obviously, the stocks had just a massive move here. But ultimately, they're playing poker and it's been a home run success in terms of this cutting prices and what demand looks like.

ROMANS: We've seen other EV makers cutting prices, too. We just heard that Ford is cutting some prices as well.

What's going on there? Are they trying to generate demand?

IVES: It's Tesla world and everyone else is paying rent. I mean, they're really squeezing prices across the board. But you're seeing this green tidal wave in terms of the biggest transformation of the auto industry happen across the board. That's why in the 313 area code you're seeing Ford -- eventually, be GM -- cutting prices. But I believe this is really the start of just the transformation toward EVs with Tesla leading.

ROMANS: A lot -- a lot of factors at play here. You tweeted we view Tesla where Apple was in the 2008-2009 period, even raising the price target there to $350. That's pretty bullish.

IVES: Oh, I think this is just the early innings -- get out the popcorn -- to what I view as really a three, four, five-year run for Tesla. Because ultimately, if you look right now, it's about battery technology. Supercharger --

ROMANS: Right.

IVES: -- that they're starting to montage. And the big one -- the drum roll -- AI/FSD.

ROMANS: Yes. You know, I've got to ask you. Something that caught your attention was Elon Musk talking about licensing full self-driving software. You say that's a potential game-changer for its business.

IVES: It changes everything because ultimately, if you look at FSD it's really Waymo, Aurora, and Tesla. You start now monetizing and actually doing these OEM deals. That's -- you go back to Apple in 2008-2009. It was a monetizing of services. Look at Amazon monetizing AWS. I think Tesla is in an AWS moment, which is why I view this three years out at $2 trillion.

You're super-bullish on AI, artificial intelligence. And this morning the White House -- just 50 minutes ago -- saying that it is working with companies for their own self-regulation, sort of. Like, for their own guardrails.

Is that the right approach here?

IVES: That is. And I think we've talked about that in terms of the self-regulation is going to be the best way. Because ultimately, this technology is going 100 miles an hour in the left lane. Regulation's going 20 in the right lane.

And I think this is what really needs to happen because this is -- in my opinion, it's a 1995 moment similar to the internet.


IVES: And this ultimately a trillion dollars spent. It needs to be self-regulation from Silicon Valley. From the tech leaders within the White House. The 202 area code finally getting the right message how to regulate.

ROMANS: Yes. What's the Nasdaq up -- like 37 percent this year. You've been right on -- you've been right on the energy in the -- in the tech sector.

IVES: Still a -- it's still a bright green light to own tech. I believe this is the start of a new tech bull market in the coming years despite the bears and many yelling fire in a crowded theater.

ROMANS: All right, Dan Ives. Really nice to see you. Thanks for coming in.

IVES: Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: All right. First, it was Disney, now Florida's Ron DeSantis is taking aim at Bud Light. The brewing conflict -- get it -- over beer and so-called woke culture, next.



ROMANS: Our top of the morning, the top songs in America.


OLIVIA RODRIGO, SINGER: Singing "Vampire."


ROMANS: Olivia Rodrigo's "Vampire" is number one on the Spotify charts.

Here's number two.




ROMANS: Taylor Swift, "I Can See You." That's from "Speak Now: Taylor's Version."

And number three.





ROMANS: Yeah, that's Morgan Wallen's "Last Night." This has been up there for weeks and still going strong after 25 weeks and more than 10 million streams.

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