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Greg Norman Downplays Murder of Journalist; Ex-Jaguars Kicker Sues Team; Biden Warns Democrats; Fast-Moving Blaze Engulfs Homes in California; Homes Collapse into Ocean; Pennsylvania's Tight GOP Primary. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 12, 2022 - 06:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Let's be clear about what's happening here. Saudi Arabia is trying to sort of change the orbit of the golf universe, right, so that it does revolve more -- or around Saudi Arabia. They're trying to do it with money. They have Greg Norman as the CEO. Look, I love Greg Norman. I'm a golfer. I'm an Australian- American. But he's making so much money off of this. He's not really someone who doesn't have a conflict in this situation.

ROGIN: Right. I have no real opinion of Greg Norman before today and I am not really a golf fan. But, you know, to the extent that sports figures and celebrities rite large aid despots and dictators in what we call sports watching, which is using sports to launder their image after committing crimes and atrocities, that's a despicable thing to do. It's a disgusting thing to do.

And he's not the first and he won't be the last. And this is a pattern of how dictatorships use elites in a free and open societies is to cover up their crimes and to get back in the good graces. And they do it with a boat load of money. And it works. And we've seen it in history and we've seen it recently.

We saw the Beijing genocide Olympics and we'll see not just Saudi Arabia but lots of other golf countries and countries around the world throw a bunch of money at a bunch of sports figures. And what it -- the message it sends to all the activists is that we're all for sale. That actually nobody really believes in human rights when you throw enough money at them. And, unfortunately, Greg Norman, who I have no previous opinion on whatsoever, has just confirmed the worst fears about how Americans and other people -- and Australians and other people in free societies can be bought by dictatorships any time they want.


Josh Rogin, nice to see you.

ROGIN: Any time.

BERMAN: So, we have NFL news. Josh Lambo, former kicker for the Jacksonville Jaguars, is suing the team, alleging that the former head coach, Urban Meyer, created a hostile work environment and the team did nothing to stop it.

CNN sports anchor Andy Scholes joins us now with more.



So, Urban Meyer's tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars did not even last a season. It was riddled with controversy the entire time and now the team is being sued for his alleged actions.

Josh Lambo, who was cut by Meyer and the team in October, is suing the Jaguars claiming that he suffered professional ramifications, including lost wages and benefits, as well as extreme emotional and mental distress because of the harassment and hostile work environment under Meyer.

Now, Lambo claims Meyer kicked him in the leg while he was stretching in warmups before a practice during the week of the final pre-season game last year. Lambo says Meyer told him, hey, expletive, make your f-ing kicks, and then kicked him in the leg.

Now, Lambo says he told Meyer immediately, don't you ever f-ing kick me again.

And Lambo said Meyer then told him, I'm the head ball coach, I'll kick you whenever the f I want.

Now, the lawsuit alleges Lambo told his agent about that incident and he notified the Jaguars' legal council the following day. According to "The Tampa Bay Times," in December Meyer disputed Lambo's account and said there were witnesses to back him up. Meyer, though, was fired the day after Lambo's allegations came light.

Now, we've reached out to Meyer and the Jaguars for comment on the suit.

Lambo is seeking back pay, damages and other legal fees. And, John, he would have made $4 million in the last year of his contract with the Jaguars this season.

BERMAN: It will be interesting to see which way this goes, but that was a mess of a season for the Jaguars to be sure.


BERMAN: All right, Andy, thank you very much.

SCHOLES: All right.

BERMAN: President Biden issuing a major warning to his own party, saying inflation is, quote, going to scare the hell out of voters.

KEILAR: And a neighborhood in southern California up in flames this morning. You can see the pictures here. Evacuations are now underway.



KEILAR: President Biden sending a stark warning to Democrats Wednesday as the November elections loom, saying, quote, inflation is going to scare the hell out of everybody. It's currently scaring small businesses.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is joining us now.

Tell us how it's scaring small businesses, Vanessa.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is certainly scaring them. Remember, small businesses are still digging out of the financial hole that they experienced at the height of the pandemic. And now they're dealing with this one-two punch, paying more for just about everything they need in order to do business and paying for higher wages for their employees in this competitive job market.


YURKEVICH (voice over): What is a French fry without a side of ketchup.


YURKEVICH: For Clodagh Lawless, owner of The Dearborn restaurant in Chicago, it's a huge cost savings.

LAWLESS: Let's say we do 200 covers and 100 of them want an extra ketchup. That's 20, 25 cents, which doesn't seem like a lot and multiply that by a week, by a year.

YURKEVICH: Ketchup and nearly every other ingredient used at The Dearborn has become more expensive in the last year. Inflation is pushing meat prices up 13.9 percent, butter up 16 percent and eggs up a whopping 22.6 percent. Big increases for small businesses.

LAWLESS: I thought at this stage that we would be in a better position financially, but it's been very difficult, mainly because of where we're at right now with inflation.

YURKEVICH: But some good news perhaps, prices rose just 0.3 percent last month, and food prices rose less than 1 percent, with energy dropping 2.7 percent. But an 8.3 percent year-over-year inflation still stings.

LAWLESS: We're still reeling financially, to be honest, from the effects of being closed for -- on and off for two years during Covid.

YURKEVICH: And despite a strong jobs report adding 428,000 jobs in April, small businesses lost 120,000 jobs.

[06:40:08] Even with restauranters like Lawless raising wages, it's often still not enough in the fierce competition for workers.

LAWLESS: We are seeing a lot of people starting with us for two or three days and then going somewhere else where they can get $2 or $3 more an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, that's awesome.

YURKEVICH: Salon owner Michaella Blissett-Williams isn't losing employees but she can't find more. She's also trying not to pass her increased cost to customers just yet.

YURKEVICH (on camera): What are you experiencing price increases on here as it relates to the salons?

MICHAELLA BLISSETT-WILLIAMS, OWNER, SALON 718: Oh, everything from gloves to foils. Things that we need to do the service have definitely gone up. And now just with inflation, it's just some products are double digits.

YURKEVICH: What does that mean for your bottom line?

BLISSETT-WILLIAMS: Less profitability. It's a catch 22. It's either less profitability or lose business.

YURKEVICH (voice over): She's banking on inflation continuing to cool, especially as she renovates two of her salons. Construction costs are up 11.7 percent on average in the last year.

BLISSETT-WILLIAMS: Doubling the price of a renovation, not doing price increases, it eventually adds ups and that's when it feels very overwhelming.

YURKEVICH: Back in Chicago, Lawless says she's waiting to turn a profit again with already slim margins, higher costs have made that an impossibility.

LAWLESS: I thought there was a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. And really it just depends on how long that tunnel is.


YURKEVICH: And that is the million dollar question, when will this high inflation end. Some economists think we're actually at the peak, but others say these warning lights, they're flashing bright red still. And small businesses, Brianna, are really fearful to pass these extra costs down to their customers. They fear that they're going to lose customers to larger businesses that can absorb these rising costs.

And Clodagh Lawless, the restauranter that you heard from there, she did not receive any grant money from the federal government for her restaurant. She had to take out, Brianna, a $2 million loan. She is still paying that back with interest with these rising costs. The economic pain is certainly not over for many small businesses just yet, Brianna.

KEILAR: Vanessa, thank you so much for bringing us that report. We do appreciate it.

A really chilling scene along the outer banks of North Carolina. Two homes collapsing and just sliding into the ocean, and more may be about to fall.

BERMAN: Plus, international intrigue. The U.S. ambassador to Russia delivering a secret message to the Russian foreign ministry. What did it say? CNN has new details.



BERMAN: Happening now, fires burning out of control in one southern California community, forcing evacuations, destroying homes. Officials say the fast moving fire is a result of strong winds and severe drought.

Let's get the latest from meteorologist Chad Myers.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: John, the scary part about this Orange County fire was that we're talking about winds to 30 miles per hour. Later in the season, when we get to the windy time, the fire season, Santa Ana season, winds are going to blow at 60. And this thing just got out of control so very quickly because of the drought, because it just hasn't rained for really so many years.

This weather brought to you by Safelite, your vehicle glass and recalibration experts.

So, I know, if you're living in the east, you don't even know about drought at all. A couple spots but not like the west, where it just hasn't rained. Things are just dead out there. We haven't even seen green up for spring yet and, obviously, we're going to see wind and fire season here across parts of the west and severe weather on the northern side of the storm right there.

And we're talking about a storm that's off the East Coast as well. A low pressure system that Bill Weir is going to talk about in just a second, what it did to the coast, all the way from the Carolinas down to Georgia.

We'll watch for this severe weather today here. There will be tornadoes on the ground for sure today. Large hail is also possible in the upper Midwest, John.

BERMAN: All right, Chad Myers for us. Chad, thank you very much.


KEILAR: There is severe weather pounding North Carolina's outer banks. Two homes in Rodanthe collapsing and just sliding into the ocean. Officials there are warning that more homes may be lost.

CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir is there -- is here with more on this.

Tell us what is behind this, Bill.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a combination of erosion on a barrier island. Most tend to move over time. And it is higher sea levels. And it's a reminder that sea level rise doesn't come like a Hollywood movie, like something out of, you know, the books of the Old Testament. It's a little inch, a little inch, a little inch here and there, and eventually this is what you have.

Zillow estimates that that house that just went in was worth more than $300,000. It just sold less than two years ago for $275,00, was listed as a two out of 10 on the flood rating. The other house sold for $550,000 in August right there.

There's about a dozen on the outer banks that have been considered so vulnerable that officials have cut off the power to make sure they're not occupied when this happens.

Now, again, this is a barrier island. So, it's a little different than those living on the mainland. But canaries are the first thing to die in a coal mine in the old days. And these days barrier islands are the first to go as the sea level rises.

It's gone up about an inch every five years, but that's expected to accelerate.

So, if you live along the coast and this isn't part of the conversation, this might be a nice clip to show at your next homeowner's association meeting.

KEILAR: Yes, there's still a lot of people who live in these areas. And certainly a lot of people on the East Coast are familiar vacationing in these areas.


And as you move farther inland, Bill, then what does it look like as the sea levels rise inch by inch?

WEIR: Well, here's the thing. As you go to the beaches this summer, take a look around. And, chances are, you're on a fake beach. From the southern of Maine, all the way to South Padre Island, communities spend millions of dollars dragging stand off from the bottom of the ocean and pumping it onto these beach fronts because that's where the dollars are made, from tourism and property values as well.

And so what you're going to see, unfortunately, as this plays out over time, the communities that can't afford to do that will be the first to see scenes like that. That opens up litigation, of course. That opens up, you know, plummeting housing values and roiling insurance markets.

So, again, a warning right there. Pretty vivid from the outer banks today.

KEILAR: Yes. Oh, it certainly is.

Bill, thank you so much.

WEIR: You bet.

KEILAR: The Senate primary race in Pennsylvania heating up big time with only days before the voters make their pick. Michael Smerconish is here with his predictions.

BERMAN: And just a short time from now, the Supreme Court will meet face to face for the first time since that leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. We have new CNN reporting about what's in store.



BERMAN: Pennsylvania's primary is just a few days away and the Republican Senate race is heating up as it turns into a three-way battle between Mehmet Oz, David McCormick, and now a surprise contender, Kathy Barnette.

Joining us now, CNN political commentator Michael Smerconish. He is the host of "SMERCONISH" on CNN and "The Michael Smerconish" program on Sirius XM. And he is the commonwealth's favorite son.

Michael, look, this Senate race, Mehmet Oz, David McCormick, it was a two person race until very recently and now there are three. And Kathy Barnette might have the momentum. What's going on here?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: John, I have been involved or paying attention for a long, long time in Pennsylvania. I have never seen anything like the uncertainty that surrounds not only the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, but also in the gubernatorial election.

To your question, Mehmet Oz, Dr. Oz, and Dave McCormick, get this now, they've spent a combined $50 million. Kathy Barnette, up until a week ago, had spent a grand total of $137,000, and yet she's within striking distance.

The answer to your question is that Oz and McCormick have done such an effective job beating up on each other that they've created this third lane for Kathy Barnette. And she could pull it off. We really don't know.

KEILAR: What does it also say, though, Michael, about say the Trump endorsement, Dr. Oz, versus someone with sort of like the soul of the Trump base, Kathy Barnette?

SMERCONISH: You know, Brianna, I'm sure that when all is said and done and the dust settles, people will want to read into this, including me, what does it mean for Donald Trump? My own view is this, I think that President Trump, former President Trump, gave a boost to Oz that without Trump, Oz was fading. And it would have been McCormick. I don't think, in the end, it really comes down to the Trump endorsement. He makes Oz more of a contender than he would have been. Barnette has tag teamed now with Doug Mastriano. He's running for governor in Pennsylvania. And the two of them are, I guess, what President Biden today likes to talk of ultra-MAGA.

So, there's a lot going on within conservative quarters in Republican areas of Pennsylvania. But anybody who says they know what's about to happen I think is lying.

BERMAN: So, you know who may be rooting for Doug Mastriano in the Republican governor's primary? The guy who's going to get the Democratic nomination, Josh Shapiro. And I want to play an ad for you --and, full disclosure here, Michael, you were the one who pointed this ad out to us. I think it's fascinating. This is an ad from the Democratic candidate.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Mastriano who wrote the heart-beat bill in Pennsylvania, and he's one of Donald Trump's strongest supporters. He wants to end vote by mail. And he led the fight to audit the 2020 election. If Mastriano wins, it's a win for what Donald Trump stands for. Is that what we want in Pennsylvania?


BERMAN: So, why is the Democrat running this ad, Michael?

SMERCONISH: So, it's amazing. Josh Shapiro is the attorney general in Pennsylvania. He has no opposition. He will be the Democratic candidate for governor. He wants Mastriano as an opponent. So, very cleverly, and some, by the way, say too clever by half, but very cleverly he touts the conservative bonifies of Mastriano. Hey, he's a Trump guy. He wants to end vote by mail.

In the heartland of Pennsylvania, that area that James Carville said is the Alabama between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, people ears perk up and they hear that and they're like, oh, Mastriano, he's going to be my guy.

But Shapiro is hoping to plant seeds among Democrats and independents that if it is Mastriano, this guy's a real problem. We'll be able to handle him.

So, you know, there's another school of thought that says, wait a minute, Donald Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 and he didn't do badly, although he lost, in 2020. Maybe you need to be careful what you wish for. Just another of the intangibles.

But, listen, if you're not paying attention to people across the country, to Pennsylvania, you really should between now and Tuesday because this really going to get even better.

BERMAN: You could pay attention past Tuesday also. You don't need to limit yourself to these four or five days to concentrate on the commonwealth. It's a very interesting place. Thanks to you, Michael Smerconish. And it will be fascinating to watch this race.

SMERCONISH: See you, guys.

BERMAN: And you can watch Michael's show, or listen to Michael's show, well, you can watch it on CNN, 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.


And NEW DAY continues right now.