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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Deadly Shooting At Super Bowl Rally; Today: Two Trump Court Hearings; U.S.: Putin Wants to Put Nukes In Space; Now: NATO Defense Ministers Meet, Trump's Remarks Loom Large. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired February 15, 2024 - 05:00   ET




The FBI's desperate plea to the public after a deadly shooting at the Chiefs Super Bowl rally.

Two court hearings today for Donald Trump. One in New York and other in Georgia, the former president's legal team trying to get both cases thrown out.

And a new threat from the Kremlin. U.S. officials believe Vladimir Putin may be preparing to launch a nuclear weapon into space.


HUNT: Good morning to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's Thursday, February 15, 2024.

It's 5:00 a.m. in Washington. It is 04:00 a.m. in Kansas City where the FBI and local police are asking the public to send in tips and videos after Wednesday's deadly shooting that killed one person and injured 29 others at the end of the Chiefs Super Bowl parade. Among the wounded, 11 children.

There were about a million people gathered in the downtown area and some of the players were still on the stage when shots rang out. Several fans tackled an individual who they say had a weapon. One of them described the moment on CNN last night.


PAUL CONTRERAS, SUPER BOWL PARADE SHOOTING WITNESS: As I'm taking him down to the ground, I see the gun and we're just putting our weight on him and he's just fighting to get up, but we're -- we're fighting to keep them down.


HUNT: So at least three people have been detained. One firearm recovered.

City officials insisting that they had plenty of security on the ground.


MAYOR QUINTON LUCAS (D), KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI: We had over 800 officers. They're staffed, situated all around Union Station today. We had security in any number of places, eyes on top of building and beyond. And there still is a risk to people


HUNT: Local DJ Lisa Lopez-Galvan died in the shooting, according to radio station KKFI.

President Biden has called on Congress again to pass tougher gun laws. This is the 48th mass shooting in the U.S. this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Joining us now is CNN senior national security analyst, the former assistant secretary for homeland security and Harvard professor, Juliette Kayyem.

Juliette, good morning to you.

I wish we were here under better circumstances this morning. They say that they were prepared for this, but he also said, quote, almost nothing is safe.


HUNT: This is a law enforcement official in Kansas City. This is a pretty depressing reality after what is supposed to be honestly is the most unifying event we have going in America right now, which is a Super Bowl.

KAYYEM: Yeah. He sort of said the quiet part out loud. At least in my world, we certainly know safe is just not feasible goal. What -- what law enforcement and emergency managers aim for is what we would call safer or less bad, which is essentially you have enough resources, enough police officers, enough hospital capacity that if something were to happen, you can minimize the harm.

In that standard, things looked pretty good yesterday. I mean, you had a lot of people wounded by gun, buy a gun -- shots. I think over 20 now, but only one fatality. There was a lot of other harms that could have occurred, including what we worry about in mega event planning, which is crowd crushing.

So you have a lot of things that went right but what went wrong is a society in which we have guns as a means of expressing violence. Whether this was a fight that got out of hand, whether it was targeted at parade-goers, we don't know and therefore, the kind of impact that you saw yesterday, which is a global impact.

Everyone is watching this, right? This isn't just about one city. It's about what people think of American cities. HUNT: Right. And everyone's going to look at them go, oh wow, that moment of celebration, that great. I mean, this was a global high, Taylor Swift, Jason Kelce, the sort of -- excuse me -- Travis Kelce, these wonderful story lines that were coming out of this, and this is how it's punctuated. It's really tough.


HUNT: I wanted to tell you a little bit, show you what President Biden had to say yesterday. They put out a statement saying, quote, today's events should move us, shock us and shame us into action.


What are we waiting for? What else do we need to see?


HUNT: How many more families need to be turned torn apart?

And I think it's also worth pointing out that Wednesday was actually the sixth anniversary of the shooting at Parkland High School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I think, you know, I've covered this issue here on Capitol Hill for so many years. I -- the reality seems to be nothing is going to move here, but at the same time, it's clear that the status quo -- I mean, it shouldn't be acceptable, right? But it's -- how do we -- how do we deal with this?

KAYYEM: Yeah. So, I mean, a couple of things. One, I thought it was interesting that word shame that President Biden use the sense that we -- you know, whatever your political beliefs are about guns. This -- this is just a shameful activity, right? Is that -- it's something that one cannot justify. And I think one of the things that we can look at is maybe we cant change national laws, maybe that can get through, but a state like, you know -- I mean, every state has the capacity to tighten its gun laws.

And we know, right, Missouri has by far -- I mean, I think it's sort of maybe the worst between 45 and 50 states in terms of its permissiveness and not only allows open carry, almost, you know, you can get a gun without registering it. But it prohibits in many instances, localities say a city like Kansas City from trying to create stiffer drunk gun laws for its own residents.

And so I think one of the things that we can look at is whether there are fuller state rules that the Supreme Courts still allows it. You could tighten the restrictions in terms of place, age of purchase, type of guns purchase. Those are still allowable one of the things I wanted just note is we talk about gun deaths, right? Which we should, that those are the most important thing. So we have 20 people with gun wounds, we have a million people, some percentage of them traumatized by this.

The -- what we call the social impact of gun violence is immeasurable and its not just those who are harmed and traumatized, the city itself, you heard the mayor say this, right? Like this isn't us. Well, unfortunately, it's all of us, right? It's the economic impact, it's the reputational impact on a city that had every right to have a good time yesterday and then wasn't allowed to.

HUNT: All right, Julia, I want to push -- just stand by with us for a moment because we have another major story also this morning, I want to ask you about a firestorm was ignited on Capitol Hill yesterday after House Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner put out a cryptic statement, he announced his committee had quote, information concerning a serious national security pretty threat, end quote, the new intelligence which he then released briefed to all members of the House of Representatives is now also been briefed to U.S. allies. It apparently suggests that the Russian military is working to deploy a nuclear anti-satellite system in space.

And when he put out this warning, it's sparked a frenzy yesterday among lawmakers. Some of them saying that the information so serious that they want President Biden to declassify it and make it available to the public. Although there are many senior members of Congress who insist there's no immediate threat to the U.S. or to its interests.

Juliette, this was a very dramatic situation that unfolded yesterday. I -- what do you make of what unfolded here and what should happen next? Should this information become public?

KAYYEM: Yeah. So it's hard to say. Look, there's a reason why you have a House Intelligence Committee, right? It is because raw intelligence comes in at all times. You want to notify the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees that this could be a potential threat in the future.

But we don't know, you know, how far along Russia is, how good was our intelligence? How do we get at the intelligence? And by releasing it like this, it does two things. One is it undermines our sources and methods, that to me is unforgivable for the House Intel Chair. The second is it doesn't put anything into context, so that the American public and others are like, oh, my goodness, he's going to blow it -- Putin is going to blow up GPS.

The motivations I can't decipher. I'm going to pose one. This makes at least as regards the House GOP makes the Biden administration look like its sort of ignoring the Russian threat. We know that the GOP is looking at its nominees, seeming to ignore the Russian threat by saying that he'll not support NATO. I think this is more political than it has to do with a threat against the United States because I've been in those briefings, like there's lots of stuff that people are worried about that isn't ripe for action. It's just -- it's something that one should know, who's in a position of authority.

So I don't like this at all. The House Intelligence Committee as a whole knows when it should release this information and to put the White House in defense like this as if it was hiding something from the American public, undermines our sources and methods, undermines our credibility that we can keep secrets.


And it's premature -- from all accounts, it's premature.

HUNT: Well, I mean, one question I have amid all this is remind people that the foreign aid bill is -- came from the Senate. The House has declined to take it up and there is a divide in the Republican Party about whether we should be sending more money to Ukraine.


HUNT: In theory, this potentially helps buttress that argument.

Juliette Kayyem, thanks very much for being with us.

KAYYEM: Exactly. Thank you.

HUNT: All right. Right now, NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels, discussing how to defend themselves without the help of the United States.

Plus, Biden or Trump. Russian President Vladimir Putin makes his pick.

And --


ANNOUNCER: Three, two, one, ignition and lift up! Go SpaceX --


HUNT: A robotic lunar lander successfully launched by SpaceX. Destination, the moon



HUNT: All right. Happening now, NATO defense ministers are gathering in Brussels. The focus of the meeting, aid to Ukraine, with former President Trump's recent threats against the alliance looming over all of this.

Trump says that if he's reelected, he'd encourage Russia to attack NATO members that did not spend enough on defense. And now, European leaders are more uncertain than ever about the future of the alliance. Calls are growing for the continent to invest in its own defense in case of a war without America.

CNN's Melissa Bell is live in Brussels, Belgium, with more for us.

Melissa, good morning to you. Thanks for being here.

What are NATO defense ministers saying about Trump's comments?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's been a very strong response, not just from the NATO secretary general, Kasie, but also from other European defense ministers in light of those comments that really shook Europeans that a delicate time for their own security, with the great fears here on the European continent that these are the latest intelligence assessments Moscow could consider provoking a NATO member next.

So they were taken extremely seriously and there's been a pretty big pushback here in Brussels this morning and last night with the message coming from Jen Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, that it is now 18 countries that are expected this year to meet that target is spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense.

And we've also been hearing from Lloyd Austin, the American defense secretary, not actually physically here because he's still recovering, Kasie, but he did speak to his counterparts by video conference reasserting Americans determination to continue supporting Ukraine. And again, that importance of NATO unity with Lloyd Austin saying that Ukraine is not going to surrender and neither are we -- Kasie.

HUNT: Melissa, yeah, it's the dynamics. I mean -- sort of fascinating in fairness to Donald Trump, I mean, obviously more money is going to defense from some of these other countries, than perhaps did before this sort of saber-rattling from him.

The other story we noticed was Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, weighing in in the U.S. presidential race. He says he would prefer Biden or he claims publicly he would prefer Biden to Donald Trump. He called Biden a politician of the old school.

Of course, conversation here in the U.S. lately has been about Biden's age, which I can't help but hear a reference in there to it. This is potentially a confusing or perhaps meant to confuse, because I think there's definitely a perception here that Putin would clearly prefer of Donald Trump became president.

What's your reporting and understanding of what the Russian presidents doing here?

BELL: Absolutely. I think this -- well, this was certainly the first time that Vladimir Putin has openly spoken to the 2024 American race. But I think, Kasie, there's no suggestion that so as anything other than mischief-making on the part of the Russian president.

Bear in mind, of course, that to him, specifically, President Biden is a president who's overseeing not only the staunch support of Ukraine, its defense, funding it, arming it, but also the expansion of NATO, even as we've heard from the man he's likely or could be up against in November, speaking to not just that longstanding gripe that he has about NATO spending, but actually going much further.

Of course, there's the weekend and actually encouraging Moscow to take on those that don't pay. Those are the comments that you referred to earlier that, of course, such concern here is nature defense secretaries meet, Kasie.

But certainly interesting comments from Vladimir Putin, counter- intuitive and knowing I think the way the Russian president functions more mischief-making, the actual factual analysis of who he would rather see in the White House, Kasie. HUNT: Mischief-making, that's a good phrase. I'm going put that in my back pocket.

Melissa Bell, thank you very much for being with us this morning.

Up next here, President Biden now offering new protections to Palestinians in the United States. That's ahead.

And two suspects are in custody for trying to damage the actual real copy, look at that, of the U.S. Constitution. That's coming up.



HUNT: All right. We got quick hits across America now.

Three Metro D.C. police officer shot while attempting to serve an arrest warrant for animal cruelty. Their injuries are not life- threatening and the alleged shooter is in custody.

President Biden granting Palestinians in the U.S. temporary protection from deportation. The move comes as the White House faces immense pressure from the Arab-American community over the war in Gaza.

And the National Archives forced to close early after two people dumped red powder on the display that protects the physical copy of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution itself was not damaged. The suspects are in custody.

All right. Just a few hours ago, SpaceX's Falcon IX lunar lander blasted off into space.


ANNOUNCER: Three, two, one, ignition, and liftoff. Go SpaceX, go Lion I and the Odysseus lunar lander.


HUNT: The Odysseus lunar lander, nicknamed Odie, launched successfully from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, an earlier attempt had to be scrubbed.


The goal is to make a historic touchdown on the moon's surface. It would be the first for the U.S. in five decades.

The robotic explorer set to land on February 22, so much fun.

All right, weather. Now, more rain and flooding on the way for California over the next few days and several storms are expected to move across the Great Lakes, the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic, bringing another round of snow.

Our weatherman Van Dam tracking all of it for us.

Derek, good morning.

I feel like we need to bring Punxsutawney Phil back because we said that he was right, but maybe he's not right. What's going on?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you're going to see a little bit of snow in the D.C. area, but Friday night into Saturday. It's not actually from this storm.

But secretly, I got to tell viewers this morning, this is my hometown right here in Grand Rapids. I love starting off my morning talking about my hometown in west Michigan. They're getting snow right now.

But about 100 miles across Lake Michigan into Chicago, it's warm enough for rain. So your commute, not impacted by snowy weather. You have to travel north of I-96 to really see. That little clipper is going to race through the Great Lakes, eventually impacts northern New England, maybe bring some light snow showers from New York to Boston, but we're not going to accumulate very much.

We have winter weather advisories in place across area, Upstate New York, and into Vermont, New Hampshire, some winter storm warnings. Here's a storm system that will impact Kasie and the nation's capital. This is Friday night into Saturday morning, another weak disturbance.

It'll bring another one to three inches of snowfall to that area. Higher elevations will see if more snowfall as one would expect. This is the forecast rain and snow accumulate accumulations right through Saturday morning.

But the West Coast, this is where its really becoming active because we have yet another atmospheric river that will settle in through the weekend. And once again for the day on Sunday. Here it is impacting the central and north coast, eventually moving to the south coast as we head into Sunday, the chance of rain exists from San Francisco, all the way to Los Angeles and plenty of mountain snow as well, making skiers and snowboarders happy.

I hope you get a few snowflakes. I think your kids will enjoy that, right?

HUNT: They definitely would. And, Derek, we don't talk enough about our shared Michigan roots here in the morning. I love it, you know?

I don't know if you're a Wolverine, did I know that?

VAN DAM: Of course, yeah. Go Blue.

HUNT: All right. Go Blue.

All right. Our weatherman Van Dam, Derek, thank you very much. I'll see you tomorrow.

VAN DAM: All right. Take care. HUNT: All right. Double trouble for Donald Trump. He's got two court hearings today in New York and Georgia and his legal team is planning to use the same tactic in both, I think you can guess what it is.

And the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell making one last push to try to help Ukraine.