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New Day

Today, Senate to Hold Key Vote on Protecting Abortion Rights; U.S Warns War Becoming Unpredictable And Escalatory; Biden Says Fighting Inflation is His Top Domestic Priority. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 07:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Maybe wasn't always the best in his mind.


He had to build overtime. And I wonder what he would bring to analyzing games.

CARI CHAMPION, HOST, NAKED WITH CARI CHAMPION: Well, I think there is something that's very smart about this. Because I have seen Tom Brady and we all know when he graduated from Michigan, he was nothing special. And he is -- he does this thing where he trolls us on social media and he's very funny.

So, you know, every year during the draft, he would post this photo of himself, you know, getting ready to go to the pros, if you will, and he looks nothing like himself. It's always motivation. It's just a reminder. So, as an analyst, I couldn't see him without taking the little bit of what he knows in terms of, obviously, how the game is played, but he knows how this game works behind the scenes and in front of the camera.

He is very socially active. He's funny, he's clever. I think a lot of people will be surprised by his personality. I've met him a few times and he's been really quiet, very reserved, but he's very funny, just a quiet, dry humor. It will be interesting to see how one of the greats, their minds, actually translates the games for those who are watching it with them as opposed to those who are watching him play it.

That's going to be the exciting part for me and everyone who is a fan of football. I mean, it's hard to not like Tom Brady.

KEILAR: I think it is. It really is. Cari Champion, thank you so much for being with us.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. New Day continues right now.

Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is -- what day is it? It is Wednesday, May 11th. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

And in just a few hours, the Senate will hold a key vote on a bill aimed at preserving access to abortion nationwide. It needs 60 votes to pass in a Senate that's currently split 50/50. The translation, it won't pass.

What it will do, says Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is get every member on the record on the critical issue of abortion rights.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, one of the few historically anti- abortion Democrats, says he will vote to codify the Roe v. Wade decision.

KEILAR: So, this is coming in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that indicates the court may be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, and that has sparked protests nationwide both for and against abortion rights.

Republican Senator Susan Collins calling police over a message that abortion rights protesters had written outside of her home in Maine this past weekend.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is live for us on Capitol Hill. Sunlen, what are we expecting today.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, this is certainly an important political moment for Democrats on Capitol Hill, even though the outcome will not be a surprise. Now, in just few hours, the Senate will move to vote on a bill that will codify Roe, make it the law of the land, but it will, indeed, fail. Democrats do not have the 60 votes needed to pass that threshold with the 50/50 split Senate, and, largely, Republicans united against this bill.

But important look out for today is how some key Democrats vote on this bill. Look out of moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin. He, as of last night, was still undecided on how he would vote. And in the past, he describes himself as someone who is pro-life and proud of it. This bill was brought to the Senate floor in February of this year. He actually voted with the Republicans to bring that down.

Now, Democratic leadership are trying their best now to ratchet up the pressure of this moment, talking about how the stakes are higher now that this draft opinion by the Supreme Court is out, trying to say this vote is not abstract, that it's real. But all the while, they do admit that this is largely symbolic in nature. This vote today in just a few hours is largely intended to force, to put every senator on the record, where they stand on this issue.

And that's why today's vote will be so interesting to watch, Brianna, but also, notabley, certainly, Democrats here are facing increasing pressure, especially ahead of the midterm elections to do something in the wake of this leaked draft opinion.

KEILAR: All right. Sunlen, we'll be watching with you. Sunlen Serfaty live on Capitol Hill, thank you.

SERFATY: Thanks.

BERMAN: All right. Key Republican primaries overnight in West Virginia and Nebraska tested the power of former President Trump's endorsement. Joining me now, Harry Enten, CNN Senior Data Reporter. Harry, what do the results tell us?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Look, I think there were two key races that we were looking at. West Virginia was one of them. Donald Trump endorsed Alex Mooney. He's got the check mark. He's got the check mark. He defeated David McKinley. They were both incumbents that were running, even though McKinley got the incumbent slide. They were both incumbents basically because of redistricting, they merged. And look at this margin. Look at this, 54 percent to just 36 percent, so a big large win for Alex Mooney.


But go over to Nebraska, go to the heartland, something very, very different happening. Charles Herbster endorsed by Donald Trump, he doesn't have the check mark. The check mark, in fact, goes to Jim Pillen, who, in fact, was endorsed by Pete Ricketts. So, this was an interesting race.

We always talk about things in terms of Trump endorsements or not, but sometimes local politics play a role. And Jim Pillen had the endorsement of Jim Ricketts, the incumbent governor, said this is the guy who want to replace me, and guess what, the check mark, he won, he beat Herbster by a little. But you know what, a little is enough.

BERMAN: Now, Charles Herbster, there had been some sexual misconduct allegations against him. Any sense of how that played into the results?

ENTE: Yes. I think it hurt him. And, basically, if we look right here and the polling share pre-allegations, what do we have? We have 36 percent. This is with undecided allocated. Look at where he ended up. He ended up at 31 percent. It was a small difference, but if you go back to this slide and you can see how close this race was. You see here that drop from 36 to 31 probably made the difference.

And I look at political science all the time. This is the type of drop that you might expect from harassment allegations of which there were many against him. So, to my mind, it did, in fact, probably make the difference, John.

BERMAN: So, the Trump endorsement so far this season, how effective has it been?

ENTEN: So, look, Trump May endorsement scorecards in races where there was either two incumbents running in the case of West Virginia two or there were no incumbents at all. Donald Trump is still four for five. He's still four for five. So, he's not doing half bad. But he would rather be 5 for 5, I bet, if he had his druthers, he would not, in fact, have endorsed Herbster. That is the first blemish on his record. At this point particular month, we'll obviously see where we continue to develop. But at this point, getting that Trump endorsement is still a helpful thing.

BERMAN: And this is his toughest stretch coming up. In the next few weeks will really test the power of some of these endorsements.

How about turnout, Harry? What are you seeing there?

ENTEN: Yes. So, look, I think back when we were in 2018, right, we were saying, oh, look at those turnout for Democrats, right, they're really outperforming Republicans in those primaries. There are really more Democrats coming out and voting those primaries. And, obviously, we're told the story that Democrats would do very well in the 2018 midterm elections, at least in the House.

But take a look here, the 2022 primary turnout relative to 2018. In Indiana, the GOP did better than the Dems. In Ohio, the GOP did better than the Dems. In Nebraska, the GOP did better than the Dems. In West Virginia, the GOP did better than the Dems compared to that 2018 baseline.

And I think that gives you a story here. Any one individual primary doesn't give you a story, but when you're seeing it across the board and you go back to Texas in March, where it was the exact same thing, it probably gives you a pretty good indication where the national environment is and the fact that Republicans are doing very well, very strong, as we head into the summer, and then ultimately the fall.

BERMAN: These are the trends that Republicans no doubt would very much like to see. Harry Enten, thank you, as always.

ENTEN: My pleasure, John.

KEILAR: Murder suspect Casey White is back in Alabama this morning, two days after a nationwide manhunt ended with him in handcuffs and the corrections officer who helped him walk out of jail last month mortally wounded.

Police have released this dramatic new dash cam footage of Monday's arrest in Evansville, Indiana.

CNN's Omar Jiminez is there with details. Omar, what are you seeing?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna. Well, for starters, the more than ten-day saga of Casey White and Vicky White being on the run is now over. After late last night, Casey White was returned to Lauderdale County in Northern Alabama in handcuffs and shackles after being transported in an armored caravan to a judge who explained he would now be charged with escape in the first degree in addition to his capital murder charges. And then he was transported to a correctional facility over a hundred miles away.

Here in Evansville, Indiana, police released dash cam video of his arrest, picking up right after law enforcement rammed the vehicle he and Vicky White were in, causing it to crash. And it shows multiple law enforcement officers restraining White before eventually getting him up and placing him on the hood of his car. He made it out with just minor bumps and bruises, but not Vicky White.

That body camera video, I should say, also released by Evansville police shows law enforcement trying to get her out of what was a mangled vehicle at that point, and the process took over five minutes, at least, based on what was released.

We know she was on the phone with 911 prior to that, as they're trying to get to her, she had already shot herself, according to the law enforcement timeline, and when she was eventually pulled out, her body was completely limp. And as we know now, she was declared dead. And with her death, her true motivation for masterminding this, as the Lauderdale County sheriff has described, may have gone with her.


But, of course, there are still many more questions in this case that may come from an impending trial of Casey White at some point in the future, Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. Omar Jimenez live from Indiana, thank you.

BERMAN: We have troubling new data this morning as the rate of gun- related deaths across the country appears to be getting worse. The CDC says the U.S. firearm homicide rate in 2020 was the highest recorded in more than 25 years.

CNN's Jacqueline Howard has the latest.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: John and Brianna, the rate of gun-related deaths in the U.S. appears to be getting worse. Here's what the new CDC report finds.

For the year 2020, that's the most recent year that we have data available, 79 percent of all homicides and 53 percent of all suicides involved firearms. Now, that's a slight increase from the previous five years. But there was a big jump in the firearm homicide rate from 2019 to 2020. Nearly 35 percent, the suicide rate stayed about the same.

And researchers found that counties with the highest poverty level had firearm homicide rates nearly five times as high as counties with the lowest poverty level. And suicide rates, 1.3 times as high. John, Brianna?

KEILAR: Jacqueline Howard, thank you so much for that.

This morning, a dire warning from the U.S. director of National Intelligence that Russia's war on Ukraine is likely to become more unpredictable and escalatory here in the months ahead. So far, the Ukrainians have put up a stronger than expected resistance, as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency says that Ukraine has killed between eight and ten Russian generals during this ongoing conflict.

CNN's Katie Bo Lillis is joining us now. Katie Bo, tell us more about your reporting here.

KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Hi, Brianna. This was a pretty grim assessment from Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday. She said that the war over the coming months is likely to enter an unpredictable and escalatory phase, those were her words, in part because, according to the intelligence community, there's a mismatch in between Putin's ambitions for his war in Ukraine and his actual conventional military capability to carry out those conventions.

So, as Haines described it, even if there are indications that Putin wants to, for example, try to form a land bridge across the southern bite of the country up to Transnistria in Moldova, the intelligence community believes that he actually lacks the ability to do that without a mass mobilization inside Russia that would bring thousands of more troops to the fight. The result, according to Haines, is likely to be more ad hoc decision-making out of Kremlin, out of Moscow.

Now, it should be noted that Haines did say that they don't view it as an imminent possibility that Putin is going to turn to nuclear weapons, that he would likely only do that if he believed that there were an existential threat to Russia or to his regime.

But this is Haines really drawing some pretty clear lines around what the intelligence community is actually going to be able to predict in advance in this next phase of the war.

KEILAR: All right. Katie Bo Lillis, thank you for that.

BERMAN: A new warning about China's ambitions. U.S. intelligence officials warn that Beijing is, quote, working hard to build a military capable of seizing Taiwan. The director of National Intelligence calls the threat to the island acute.

CNN's Will Ripley joins us now live from Taipei, where I imagine this news, while not unexpected, Will, is a bit concerning.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, to hear that within a decade, the United States believes that China could try to make a move on Taiwan. There was talk at the beginning of the Ukraine war, maybe China would seize the opportunity to do something. But actually things have been pretty quiet when it comes to China, with the exception of last week when there was a larger group of planes that flew near the island.

But what U.S. intelligence, what analysts I've spoken with basically say is that China is observing this. They're studying the world's response to the war in Ukraine. They're seeing the kind of response that western countries are providing. And then they're making their own assessments about when and how, not if, to take Taiwan.

Now, it's not that China is necessarily rearing for a war here. They, of course, would love to have Taiwan voluntarily be absorbed by the communist rulers in Beijing who have never ruled this island, that they claim as their own for more than 70 years since the end of China's civil war, but they're also developing a huge number of weapons, both asymmetric weapons that could challenge U.S. aircraft carriers, they're flying attack helicopters near the island just in the past few days, John.

So, there clearly are a lot of challenges facing Taiwan. They want to build alliances with the U.S. and their allies to make them hopefully rally in support of this island, but also, Taiwan is being urged by the U.S., according to The New York Times, to buy more missiles and smaller arms to defend itself from Chinese weapons.

BERMAN: All right. Will Ripley in Taipei, Will, thank you very much.


KEILAR: And joining us now is Jane Harman, former Democratic Congresswoman from California and former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Thank you so much for being with us.

Where do you see things right now? What are your concerns?

FMR. REP. JANE HARMAN (D-CA): Well, if we're talking about China ratcheting up its defense arsenal, we shouldn't be surprised at all. We should be warned that these are very advanced weapons, and I think we're taking that warning seriously by urging Taiwan to up its advanced weapons.

But on the other hand, China's economy is in bad shape. The quarantine that it has imposed on its cities around COVID isn't working and is making its citizens angry. And China is becoming less and less popular in Europe, a major trading partner. So, I think it has other priorities, much higher than that.

In addition to that, the Ukraine war is going badly for Russia. And I don't know that China really wants to have -- to imagine something going badly for Xi Jinping, should that happen over some time period. So, I think the warning is good. You know, yay for our intelligence committee for being on top of multiple threats across the world. They're doing a great job. But I think we can exhale for the moment.

BERMAN: I just want to follow up on something you just said there. Are you suggesting that the Russian effort in Ukraine, the invasion of Ukraine, which is not going well, you think that will make it less likely that China tries to take over Taiwan?

HARMAN: Yes, because protracted conflict is not what China would want. Now, let's understand, Taiwan is smaller and it's inside the landmass of China. No one has missed that. I mean, it's an island. But -- and there's a lot of history there. But Taiwan is very well armed and very well supported by much of the world. And I think the risks for China of trying to do this outweigh the benefits.

KEILAR: I want to play something that Nancy Pelosi said this week, that she's getting some blowback for. Here it is.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I want the Republican Party to take back the party. Take it back to where you were when you cared about woman's right to choose and you cared about the environment and all -- hey, here I am, Nancy Pelosi, saying this country needs a strong Republican Party, and we do. Not a cult, but a strong Republican Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Should she be getting blowback from within her own ranks for that?

HARMAN: I think she's totally right. This is a democracy. We need the competition of ideas. And, yes, she is also right that the Republican Party historically, certainly the parts I know well, was pro-choice and was pro-civil rights, with great leaders in the party, back in the day. And I was elected in a lean Republican district 30 years ago, right after the Casey decision, and right after the Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill hearings, by a group of -- my wedge was a group of Republican women who formed Republicans for Harman, because I was the pro-choice candidate in the race and made a huge difference.

And I think that Democrats ought to be pitching to Republican women, keep the issue simple, and make sure they understand, 75 percent of the country is pro-choice. Make sure they understand what's at stake here right now.

KEILAR: Jane, always great to have you. Thank you so much for being with us.

President Biden naming inflation as his number one priority right now. Was the Fed too slow to get this problem under control?

And we're joined by a former presidential adviser who served in four administrations. Why he says Biden should only serve one term.

BERMAN: And just an incredible story, when a passenger is forced to land the plane when the pilot gets sick.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent and I have no idea how to fly the airplane.


BERMAN: I have no idea how to fly the airplane. We are joined by the air traffic controller who was on the other end of that call.




JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I know that families all across America are hurting because of inflation. And I want every American to know that I'm taking inflation very seriously and it's my top domestic priority.


BERMAN: President Biden there addressing what's on everyone's mind now, as inflation concerns grow, the Fed is increasing interest rates in the biggest rate hike in 22 years. Joining me now, Barron's Trending News Reporter Sabrina Escobar, as well as Business Insider Columnist Lynette Lopez.

Sabrina, everyone knows that inflation is happening right now. It's happening to all of us. What will make it better?

SABRINA ESCOBAR, TRENDING NEWS REPORTER, BARRON'S: Well, it's obviously very difficult question, but I think the interest rate hikes will certainly help to curb inflation in the long run. It will come with some pain in the short run, but certainly the hikes will help to tamp that down.

BERMAN: Sabrina -- sorry, Linette, to you, inflation makes everyone gloomy and grumpy. It just does. It has that effect on people economically, politically, and everything else, but I was reading this article in The New York Times this morning, in times, actually, historically speaking, things are pretty good for consumers out there in terms of how much money they have, disposable income-wise, home ownership, things like that.

LINETTE LOPEZ, COLUMNIST, BUSINESS INSIDER: This is what makes the question of, oh, did the Fed act too late or too early, a little bit complicated. Because you don't want to raise rates while the economy is weak. You want to make sure that the economy is strong enough to take the hikes.

And looking at the numbers for the past few months, the job numbers, they're still very strong.


We still have wage increases, and that is going to give the Fed confidence to know that its policy is correct and that it can keep hiking.

BERMAN: You know, Linette, we heard from President Biden yesterday giving this speech, saying that he knows that inflation is the top domestic priority, trying all of these things. How much can he actually do in the White House about this?

LOPEZ: I mean, inflation is coming from everywhere. It's coming from lockdowns in China. It's coming from the war in Ukraine. It's coming from that we don't have enough truckers to get goods from A to B. There are so many -- one hedge fund manager yesterday told me it was like whack-a-mole, trying to figure out where all the supply chain disruptions were.

So, Biden can do only so much. The Fed can do only so much. We have a very strange set of inflationary conditions in the world right now.

BERMAN: And then, Sabrina, in terms of investors, they're just going ayayay right now. The stock markets are bonkers. How much longer will that go on?

ESCOBAR: Well, if we knew, if we had a crystal ball, then I'm sure we would be sitting in a very different place right now, right? We would be very wealthy. Because it is very up in the air right now.

I think money investors are forecasting that this is going to last for a couple of months at least and that the markets will be volatile going forward.

I know at Barron's, we've talked about it potentially seeing it turn around and become more stable by the end of the year, hopefully.

BERMAN: Well, fingers crossed. Again, we have an inflation report coming out in just a few minutes. It could show that it peaked and it started to come down, or it could show that six more weeks of winter.

Sabrina Escobar, Linette Lopez, thank you both for being with us.

So, no country for old men? Why one of the most recognizable political analysts says that Biden should not run for re-election.

KEILAR: And the death toll is now rising in that deadly blast at a Havana hotel.