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Russia Defaulted on Foreign Debt; Jane Harman is Interviewed about Russia; Cheney Says There's No Dispute in Committee; Shootings Across the U.S. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 11, 2022 - 08:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, the breaking news, Russia is defaulting on its foreign debt. That's a pretty significant statement. And it came just a short time ago from the huge credit agency Standard & Poor's.

Joining me now, CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

Defaulting on its foreign debt?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're calling it a selective defect, John. It's paying its debt in rubles. The interest on its debt in rubles because sanctions have locked up its dollars. And investors who are paid those rubles, well, they're going to have trouble converting those rubles into dollars. So, essentially, it's not paying its interest. It's more evidence of the historic, economic isolation facing Putin and the west trying to starve his war machine of the money it needs.

S&P global also said, quote, we think sanctions on Russia are likely to be further increased in the coming weeks, hampering Russia's willingness and technical abilities to honor the terms and conditions of its obligations to foreign debt holders.

You know, it's not a default of Russia's entire debt. And the Kremlin, last week, really downplaying the trouble it's having paying creditors, blaming the west for blocking its payments and it has said Russia has technically fulfilled its obligations.

But, bottom line, no question here, Russia is cut off from the international borrowing markets. It's economy facing a potential depression. It's already in a recession we know. Standards of living for Russian citizens rapidly declining here. A Putin-imposed economic crash happening. Meanwhile, the World Bank says for Ukraine that economy could shrink

by as much as 45 percent this year depending on how long this brutal conflict lasts.

BERMAN: Major consequences there.


BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you very much for that.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, Ukraine is bracing for more fighting in the east. With us now is Jane Harmon, former congresswoman from California, former ranking member on the House Intel Committee. She's also the president emerita of the non-partisan Wilson Center and the author of "Insanity Defense."

Thank you so much for being with us, Congresswoman.

As we're looking at this next phase of fighting, what are you worried about?

JANE HARMAN (D), FORMER CALIFORNIA CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, I'm worried about whether U.S. leadership will be bold enough. I have to say that. I think if there ever was a time to utter that famous line, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall," this is that time. Russia is just defaulting. We just heard this. True it's paying in rubles, but that's sort of fake currency.

Now is the time for Europe to stop buying gas from Russia. That's a billion dollars a day for Vladimir Putin. Now is the time for President Biden, in my view, not just to say the dollar amount of what we're sending over there, but to show the effects of what we're sending over there and to make absolutely certain that the leadership he has shown to be with partners and allies continues. And, oh, by the way, the rest of the world is still hedging its bets.

I know he's going to talk to Prime Minister Modi today.


But India is neutral. Most of the Middle East, where I just was, including Israel, is neutral. Much of Africa, much of Latin America is neutral. Why is that? Because they're not sure that our leadership will stay, and that we will emerge again, which we have to do, as the leader of the free world, which is under assault here.

KEILAR: Is that a failure of U.S. leadership that those countries are neutral?

HARMAN: Well, failure is a -- is a tough word. But let's remember, the last president wasn't sure he supported Article 5 of NATO. He seemed to take Russia's side against Ukraine. Remember the whole Hunter Biden episode, and withholding appropriated foreign aid for Ukraine. Let's not forget that.

And, oh, by the way, somebody is saying that Putin might try to outlast -- last until the 2024 election hoping that Trump comes back. That would -- I have no idea if that's true.

But my point is that -- that we are at a point in the world right now where our president, it seems to me, has to have his Harry Truman moment, has to have his Franklin Roosevelt moment, even his Ronald Reagan moment -- that was the line about Mr. Gorbachev -- and make it absolutely clear that the U.S. is in this fight to help Ukraine win. I think anything else will not yield a result that will save the liberal world order that we fought so hard and took the leadership role in setting up in 1945.

KEILAR: So right now there are a number of American lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, who are in Poland, very close to the Ukraine border. We just heard from one of them, Democrat Jason Crow, who said he does want to come to Ukraine. He's asked the administration if he can come, but he's not coming. So that certainly tells you something.

We've also heard from leaders here, like the deputy prime minister, who said, yes, they would like to see lawmakers, that it's helpful.

Should the Biden administration allow those lawmakers to come?

HARMAN: Well, I was just talking to Susan Collins, who was on a prior trip. And they asked, too, they were three miles from the border and were told no. I understand the impulse to protect the lawmakers. But I also think showing up is a -- is a huge part of sending the right message to Ukraine. Some people have asked whether Biden should show up. My answer to that is, he should show up with a bold message. It's not just a photo op.

And the good news about Congress -- this is good news for a change after a kind of bleak season -- is that Congress, on a bipartisan basis, strongly supports helping Ukraine. Strongly, on a bipartisan basis. I know it's hard to even say that.

And let me -- let me just mention this, too. I was at a small dinner last week with Oksana Markarova. She's the really impressive Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. And someone asked her, what do you need? She quietly said, to win. I think we underestimated the will of Ukrainians and the ability of Ukrainians to fight back and the determination to fight, even in the Donbas, the region that's under attack now. And I think from the beginning, if we had been, again, more forceful -- hindsight's always better -- but if now we do everything we can through rhetoric and effort to help them win, we'll be better off.

Remember, Russia was part of the deal in 1994, along with the U.K. and the U.S., and the U.N. -- where is the U.N. -- that persuaded Ukraine to give up its nukes. Russia and these other countries were going to come to Ukraine's defense if its sovereignty was invaded. Well, who's invading its sovereignty? And if Russia is -- thinks that agreement is worthless, why wouldn't it think the next agreement is worthless?

KEILAR: Jane Harman, we really appreciate you being with us this morning. Thank you so much.

HARMAN: Stay safe, Brianna. Stay safe.

KEILAR: Thank you. I certainly will.

New satellite images out of Ukraine showing an eight-mile-long Russian convoy making its way toward the Donbas region in the east. What President Zelenskyy says his army needs for battle, next.

And they call him the butcher of Syria. What the world can expect from Russia's new commander now in charge of leading the invasion in Ukraine.



BERMAN: All right, new this morning, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney is pushing back against reports that there's a dispute among members of the January 6th committee on whether to make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice on former President Donald Trump.



REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I wouldn't characterize there as being a dispute on the committee. I think that it is -- it is the single most collaborative committee on which I've ever served. I'm very proud of the bipartisan way in which we're operating. And I'm confident that we will -- we will work to come to agreement on all of the issues that we're facing. So, I wouldn't say that it's accurate right now to say that there's a dispute on this issue.


BERMAN: All right, joining us now, CNN chief national correspondent and "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor John King.

John, great to have you here, first of all. Good morning and happy baseball season.


BERMAN: Look, whether or not there's a dispute in the committee may not be the most important issue here. What is important about the idea of a criminal referral? And, also, what do you think of the current path of the January 6th committee overall?

KING: I think Congresswoman Cheney is correct about the cooperation and the spirit of cooperation among the Democrats and Republicans on this committee. So, let's not call it a dispute. Let's accept her language for now. There are different conversations or there are conversations that lead to different opinions on the committee about a criminal referral and about other issues, which is all about, how do we get to the finish line here.

That's the key point and that's the question you asked, when are we going to get the public hearings that the commission members promised us a couple of months ago. They thought they'd maybe -- they'd start in March. We're now into April. When will we get those? They're trying to build toward a final report. Is it better to have a final report -- you know the Congresswoman Cheney, she believes Donald Trump had criminal wrongdoing here, all right? She's not a lawyer. Will the attorney general believe that?

So, there's a debate in the committee, let's not call it a dispute, a debate about whether you -- if you publicly refer criminal charges against Donald Trump to the Justice Department, does that put too much public pressure on Merrick Garland, the attorney general, who's already cautious?


Does it play into Trump's hand? Does he say, here goes the Democrats in Congress again and Liz Cheney, who's a rhino, he'll call her with another witch hunt.

So that's the conversation in the committee. Would you get Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to voluntarily come in, as they did over the past week or so, if you -- if they thought there was going to be a criminal referral? They'll already going to have difficult conversations at Mar-a-Lago. So, the committee has actually done remarkable work. I think surprising to many of us in pulling together all this information.

The question, John, is when do they bring it to the public? When do they bring it to the public and can they bring it to the public in a way that changes minds?

BERMAN: And, of course, Merrick Garland could investigate without a criminal referral. He doesn't need a criminal referral from Congress to investigate any of the things that some of those in Congress want him to investigate.

KING: That's one of the conversations actually among committee members. The Justice Department, remember, we had reporting in the last ten days to two weeks that the Justice Department was moving past just what happened that day to look at the organizing and the financing. So there are a lot of people on the committee who say, we're doing some of that fact gathering, too. Let's let the Justice -- let's be patient. Let's just -- let's see where this goes. Maybe Merrick Garland is going to get there on his own. Let's see how serious that is and step back a bit.

BERMAN: Running out of time, though, pretty quickly given now that it's April and the clock may run out in November.

John, speaking of November, the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, has made an endorsement in the Pennsylvania Republican primary for Senate. He's backing Dr. Mehmet Oz, right, and not David McCormick, who is a hedge fund operator, a guy who worked in the George W. Bush White House, a guy for whom Hope Hicks and other Trumpers worked for.

What do you think of this endorsement?

KING: I think that the former president listened to the Hannitys and listened to his own instinct. And he said it himself, if you've been on television for 18 years, that's a poll, Donald Trump. That's how Donald Trump's mindset works. People must like you if you've been on television all that long.

There were a lot of people -- you mentioned, the former Trump staffers who worked for Mr. McCormick. There were a lot of people in the Republican Party who say he's a safer candidate. He's a guy with more discipline. He's a guy with fewer controversial positions. He's a guy with a lot less take, if you will, going back to the tape library and finding things that Dr. Oz has said on television.

But it's not how Donald Trump's mindset works. So, will this be a race where, again, a state like Pennsylvania, the Republican senator is retiring, Democrats need to win that race. The math is the -- the math and the dynamics, the wins are all against the Democrats at this moment in the midterm year. They need that race.

Is Donald Trump doing them a favor here? That's one of the things -- we've got a long list of things to watch. That race is one of them.

BERMAN: And it's interesting, for McCormick, could you make an argument that if McCormick wins despite Donald Trump endorsing his opponent, it actually makes him stronger. It gives him something of the Glenn Youngkin argument in Virginia, I did this without Trump?

KING: Right. That's a critical point. I was thinking ahead to November. But you make an important point, we have primary season first. And this will be one of the races.

Congresswoman Cheney, we were just talking about her in the context of January 6th. Her race also, Trump has endorsed her opponent in the primary. The Pennsylvania race, the Wyoming race will be among the three, four, five races we watch to see, does Donald Trump still have Republican primary magic or is his influence waning?

BERMAN: It will be fascinating to watch.

John King, great to have you on this morning. Thanks so much for being with us.

KING: My pleasure.

BERMAN: And you, of course, can watch John on "INSIDE POLITICS" at noon today and every day.

We have new details this morning on the death of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins, what he was doing when he was killed on a Florida highway.

Plus, new CNN reporting back here. Why the White House is bracing for a huge migrant surge at the border. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BERMAN: All right, time for the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

President Emmanuel Macron in France and far right challenger Marine Le Pen appear to be the top two candidates after the first round of elections in that country. That sets up a rematch of their 2017 race, in a runoff election that takes place in two weeks.

Tragedy in the football world. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins fatally struck by a dump truck early Saturday morning while trying to cross a highway on foot in south Florida. Haskins was just 24 years old.

White House officials, we're told, are increasingly concerned about the potential fallout from an expected surge of migrants at the U.S./Mexico border at the end of next month. That's when President Biden's decision to terminate a restrictive Trump era border policy, known as Title 42, takes effect.

The world's top ranked golfer is now the Masters champion. Scottie Scheffler won his first career major going wire to wire at Augusta. Tiger Woods struggled in the final two rounds after making the cut. He finished 13 over par for the tournament.

Today, President Biden is set to announce new regulations to contain the use of untraceable firearms known as ghost guns. The president is also expected to name Steve Dettelbach as his nominee to lead the federal agency known as the ATF, which is responsible for enforcing the nation's gun laws.

Those are the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." More on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning. Go to

A mass shooting in Willowbrook, California, outside of Los Angeles, on Sunday, leaving two people dead and five others injured.


Police say the motive is unknown and no arrests have been made. This at the end of a weekend of gun violence across the nation.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz here with that.

Hey, Shimon.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, tragedy, certainly. When you think about it, so many of these victims, so many of these people were just out celebrating a birthday. In another case, just celebrating a night out when they were all caught in the middle of gunfire.

And also a very tragic incident here in New York City, in the Bronx. A 17-year-old girl, just walking home from school on Friday, when she was caught in the middle of gunfire.


PROKUPECZ (voice over): Tragedy from coast to coast as shootings rock neighborhoods nationwide.

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, shots fired early Sunday morning at a nightclub leaving two dead and at least ten injured according to police.

CHIEF WAYNE JERMAN, CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA POLICE: This is another mindless and senseless gun-related incident.

PROKUPECZ: Police are still uncertain about the number of shooters, but they believe the suspects may have slipped out as the crowd of up to 150 rushed for the exits after the shooting began.

MAYOR TIFFANY O'DONNELL (R), CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA: This is not who we are. This is not Cedar Rapids. Today, I challenge all of us to meet the need so clearly before us. We must be the change.

PROKUPECZ: A birthday party in Indianapolis ended with gunshots early Sunday morning.

SHANE FOLEY, PUBLIC AFFAIRS SUPERVISOR, INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN POLICE: Some type of fight or disturbance broke out, and then shots occurred.

PROKUPECZ: Officers arrived at the scene and found one man dead and at least five others with gunshot wounds.

And in Georgia, the Coweta County coroner arrived at a fatal armed robbery and discovered his father, mother and son were the victims. The local police chief, shocked.

CHIEF STEVE WHITLOCK, GRANTVILLE, GEORGIA POLICE: Right now I'm speechless, really. I've had a hard time talking about it.

You know, we don't have stuff like here in Grantville like that. I mean this is a nice, quiet little town.

PROKUPECZ: Tommy Hawk, his wife Evelyn, and 19-year-old grandson Luke were killed at the family's shooting range. The ATF is assisting in the investigation where police estimated at least 40 guns were stolen.

In Los Angeles County, police responding Sunday afternoon to a shooting in the Willowbrook neighborhood that left two dead and five others wounded.

LT. VINCENT URSINI, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S HOMICIDE BUREAU: There were at least two vehicles that approached the area. There were suspects within that vehicle that shot the victims.

PROKUPECZ: In Washington, D.C., four people shot near Nationals Park at the conclusion of the game Saturday night. Two teens were among the injured. All injuries appear to be non-life-threatening police say. And in New York, shots rang out during what police say was a dispute

between two individuals on Friday in the south Bronx, resulting in the death of 16-year-old Angellyh Yambo. Two others teens were wounded. A 17-year-old was arrested the next day in connection with the shooting. A police source told CNN a so-called ghost gun has been recovered. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York calling for a crackdown on the privately made firearms.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): These guns are too easy to build, too hard to trace and too dangerous to be on our streets. The number of ghost guns in New York City and on Long Island are skyrocketing.


PROKUPECZ: And later today we're expected to hear from President Joe Biden at the White House where he's going to announce new regulations as they relate to ghost guns. Of course, all of this coming as there is mounting pressure from all across the country on the White House to do more to try and stem some of this gun violence.


BERMAN: All right, Shimon Prokupecz. Shimon, thank you very much.

I want to show you some new images now coming out of Irpin. This is just outside Kyiv. This is from our correspondent Frederik Pleitgen. Look at this. Just the cars, stacked on top of each other there. My goodness. This gives you a sense of the level of destruction left behind from the Russian occupation, the temporary Russian occupation of this suburb of Kyiv really.

The Ukrainians pushed the Russians out, but this destruction is what they've left behind. Obviously, it's a mix of civilian. You also saw some military vehicles in there.

Again, there was heavy fighting in this town for weeks and weeks. I can give you a sense here of where this is on the map, Irpin, right here, just outside of Kyiv. This is an area, again, all this area was under Russian occupation. The Ukrainians have managed to push them back. And now Ukraine, in total control, although that's the destruction the Russians left behind.

Finally, Julian Lennon, son of Beatles legend John Lennon, breaking his vow never to sing his father's iconic song "Imagine." And he publicly performed it in honor of Ukraine. Lennon says he's been disturbed by the unimaginable tragedy and went on to condemn what he called Russia's murderous violence.


The performance was part of Stand Up for Ukraine, a Global Citizens social media event to raise money of refugees.


JULIAN LENNON (singing): Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do.