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New Day

Appeal Hearing Today for Brittney Griner; Ted Deutch is Interviewed about Kanye West; Southeast Braces for Storms; Ray Mabus is Interviewed about Energy. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 25, 2022 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Moments ago, the appeal hearing got underway for WNBA star Brittney Griner in a Russian court. This comes three months after Griner was convicted of smuggling cannabis into the country. Her -- cannabis oil. Her lawyers say Griner is hoping the court will reduce her nine-year sentence, but she's not expecting miracles.

CNN's Matthew Chance monitoring this for us.

What do we expect to happen today, Matthew?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we're not expecting fireworks. In fact, I had a conversation with the lawyers in Moscow a few days ago, and they said, look, you know, anything could happen, of course. They're pushing for the sentence of nine years to be overturned and the verdict to be overturned as well. But what they're hoping for is, at the very least, a reduction in the amount of time that Brittney Griner has been sentenced to serve in a Russian prison.

She's been sentenced to nine years. Perhaps that will go down to eight years is one suggestion that one of the lawyers made to me, but they could leave it unchanged because, you know, as we know, Brittney Griner, who's appearing in court right now, outside of Moscow, she's appearing not in person but by, you know, video conference from her pre-detention trial - pre-trail detention center where she's currently sort of staying.

You know, it could be that, you know, they don't change that at all because she's become something of a political pawn. There are massive efforts underway, of course, in the United States to have her potentially released, potentially swapped for a Russian national. In particular - one in particular, Victor Boot, a notorious arms smuggler, in the prison swap. But that hasn't come to anything yet, John.

BERMAN: When will we find out what happens with this appeal?

CHANCE: We should find out pretty soon. I mean, as you say, the appeal has now got underway. It could take an hour. It could take a couple of days. Who knows what the judge in the appeal is going to say. He might - he or she may delay it for some time in the future.

The problem with it is, or the issue with it is, is that this will be the end, essentially, of Brittney Griner's legal opportunities to have her sentence reduced or thrown out. And so after this outcome is handed down by the judge, then Brittney Griner will essentially be left to serve the rest of her sentence, potentially, unless there's a prison swap, in a Russian prison.

BERMAN: Nine years. Think of it.

All right, Matthew Chance for us, thank you very much.

Hate-filled banners spotting over a Los Angeles highway, one referencing Kanye West's anti-Semitic comments. Former Congressman Ted Deutch joins us to discuss, next.




KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: The thing about it being Adidas, is, like, I can literally say anti-Semitic shit and they can't drop me. I can say anti-Semitic things and Adidas can't drop me. Now what?


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Actually, no, because add Adidas to the list of brands that has cut ties with Kanye West over his anti-Semitic comments. That list growing by the day. We just learned that this happened.

Talent agency CAA announced that its dropping West as a client. Balenciaga. Vogue publicly cut ties last week. Production company MRC said it's shelving a documentary on West. California Governor Gavin Newsom is condemning increased incidents of anti-Semitic hate in Los Angeles, including this. These are banners expressing support for West hung over a freeway overpass. Photos taken Saturday show a small group of demonstrators with their arms raised in what appears clearly to be a Nazi salute here behind these banners reading, honk in you know, alongside another banner that says, Kanye is right about the Jews.

Joining us now is Ted Deutch, from Florida congressman and the CEO of the American Jewish Committee.

Sir, thank you so much for being with us.


KEILAR: So we just learned Adidas, I mean they've been under pressure for quite a while now. They are now going to be dropping Kanye West. What's your reaction to this? DEUTCH: Well, it's the right thing to do. I saw those reports that the question is, how did it take so long? And we've rightly focused on Kanye. And we've focused on these outrageously anti-Semitic comments and the response from corporations. But it's not just corporations severing ties. We want to be clear that every corporation firmly stands up to anti-Semitism. Jew hatred is on the rise in this country and what this whole Kanye episode shows is that we need to take it seriously.


If we don't, if it remains unchecked, then there are serious repercussions, and the community feels at risk.

KEILAR: What's the impact of someone like Kanye West, who is so influential, so wealthy, has so many resources, spreading this kind of rhetoric?

DEUTCH: Well, when Kanye, with all - as you point out, all of the resources and the - and the huge social media following does this, it gets a lot of attention. But at the same time that we've been dealing with this, let's remember that in Massachusetts there was a group that put out the names and addresses of Jewish groups saying that they should be dismantled. And in California, at Berkley - Cal Berkeley Law School, there was a whole effort by groups to turn a blind eye, to make sure that nobody was invited to speak to them if they support Israel, if they're Jewish and support Israel.

We've seen on college campuses around the country increases of anti- Semitic acts. So, this draws attention to it. But this isn't unique, unfortunately. And we need to speak out about it, confront it and we need to be strong and taking action to repel it. What happens - and if I can just say, when there's anti-Semitism in our country, it suggests not just that there's a threat to the Jews, but that there's really something wrong we need to address. The White House was clear about that yesterday. We need to come together to confront this.

KEILAR: He -- I mean in that distinction between Israel and Jews, right, Kanye West, in his recent rant, the things that are getting the most attention, they have nothing to do with Israel. He's talking explicitly about Jewish people. He's dabbling in tropes. He's talking about them as a group. He's saying that there is a double standard. I mean, he is going on a tirade in some of the things that we're hearing. And you've recently had the right embracing him.

What's the effect of conservatives embracing him?

DEUTCH: Well, nobody, nobody - nobody should embrace an anti-Semite. Nobody should be embrace someone who spews hate. And nobody should be giving a platform to someone who says the kinds of things that Kanye says. But, again, it is not just about -- it's not just about Kanye, it's about this alarming rise in anti-Semitism in our country.

And in Kanye's case, what you point out is the use of anti-Semitic rhetoric and some of the really outrageous things that he said. People often understand the straight-up calls for violence from anti-Semites. They don't understand the history of anti-Semitism and the threat that it's posed to the Jewish community throughout history. AJC has a resource called translate hate, which helps people understand just how damaging it is when we hear this kind of rhetoric and what kind of threats it poses to our community and to the country.

KEILAR: We really appreciate you being with us. This is, obviously, getting so much attention and for good reason.

Ted Deutch, thank you.

DEUTCH: I appreciate the opportunity. Thanks.

KEILAR: Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily blocking an order that would force Senator Lindsey Graham to testify in the Georgia election probe. What this means for the investigation, ahead.



KEILAR: This morning, severe weather is threatening much of the southeast. Cities like Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta are facing damaging winds, hail, and even possibly tornados.

Let's go to CNN meteorologist Chad Myers with more on the forecast.

All right, what are you keeping your eye on here?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, double-edged sword. We really need the rainfall. We really do. And the Mississippi River, that -- barges can't get through without being half empty. So they'll take the rain. But even last night there was reports of damage across parts of Oklahoma and Texas as the squall line moved through.

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

So, let's get to it. Where does this weather go? It is in this yellow zone here across the east. Birmingham, Huntsville, all the way down to Mississippi and Alabama. This now is noon. Storms are firing along this squall line.

And then, by later on today, look at the colors you see here. It's the warmest part of the day. It's when the weather will be the strongest.

But the weather's going to continue in the overnight hour us. Some of these wind events could even be after dark or after you're asleep, if you are on the east coast here on the southeast coast.

Here's the rain. We will take it. Many spots, two inches or more. And we need that much to get it to run off. You just can't get a half inch and hope the Mississippi goes up because it's been so dry the ground is just absorbing it.

Temperatures right now, 44, Kansas City, and almost 20 degrees warmer in St. Louis because of that front. And highs today pretty nice across the southeast. You'll notice an increase in humidity. Maybe not the best hair day across the southeast today.

KEILAR: I could have told you that, Chad. Thank you so much. Not for you. Not for you.

MYERS: I Know.

KEILAR: You look great. For me.

Chad, thank you so much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

KEILAR: So, fuel prices spiking as winter approaches. We're going to speak to the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia on how the U.S. should respond.



BERMAN: This morning, a group of 30 House Democrats is urging President Biden to shift strategy in Ukraine in a way. The letter is calling for direct negotiations with Russia to end, quote, the prolonged conflict. The Kremlin's continued weaponization of oil and gas continues to send shockwaves through the global energy markets, leading to soaring energy costs for consumers and fuel supply shortages.

I do want to note that gas prices in the U.S. are down again today, and down about 10 cents on average over the last week.

With me now is the former Navy secretary and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, former governor of Mississippi, Ray Mabus.


Very nice to see you here. Thanks so much for joining us.


BERMAN: So, you think that Vladimir Putin, and we can see it, is trying to weaponize oil, weaponize energy. How do you think the U.S. should respond?

MABUS: Well, we're responding pretty well now in terms of sanctions and things like that, in terms of helping Europe. But I think that in the shorter term, not the longer term, the way we've got to respond is by moving off fossil fuels, because as long as we are on fossil fuels, our economy, our families' pocketbooks are going to be absolutely dependent and beholden to people like Vladimir Putin because the oil and gas prices are set globally. We don't control it in the U.S. And it's only by moving off of these, it's only by taking away the source of Russian power and Russian money that we're going to - we're going to become truly energy independent.

BERMAN: You want to talk about shortest of short terms. There are members of Congress that we've spoken with here, Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and others, you know, Dick Durbin, who say we just need to cut ties with Saudi Arabia at this point where you were ambassador. It's time to stop selling them weapons. What do you say about that?

MABUS: Well, I think what the Saudis did and what OPEC did, you know, was a political statement more than anything else. I think that there's got to be some consequences. Not sure what those consequences are to be, if they are to be as drastic as you talked about, but there ought to be consequences for not supporting the effort particularly in Ukraine but not supporting the effort to lower energy prices, particularly for American families.

BERMAN: There's a lot going on with the Ukraine conflict and it's multifaceted. One is the energy back and forth, but also what's happening on the battlefield. And you had 30 House Democrats yesterday send a letter to the White House saying, hey, it's time to open up a door for negotiations with Vladimir Putin in the midst of everything else. There was pushback on that. What do you think of that? What do you think of the idea of negotiating or holding discussions with Putin when he has invaded another country?

MABUS: I don't think that's our decision. I think that's a decision for Ukraine to make. They're a free people. They're fighting back. And I think that they need to be given the opportunity that they are taking to win on the battlefield. And if they want to negotiate, that's up to Ukrainians. But until that day, we need to support them and support them in all possible ways.

BERMAN: Back here in the United States, again, I started by mentioning that gas prices are down about 10 cents over the last week. They've been very high last spring, then they dropped every day over the summer, then they started rising again, now dropping again. Do you think this is because of U.S. policy? What do you think is driving this?

MABUS: Well, oil and gas prices are set globally. And it spiked in the spring because of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. That's the only reason. This is Vladimir Putin's price spike. Oil markets do not like chaos. They don't like uncertainty. And when somebody invades a -- somebody like Putin invades a free, democratic country, that throws everything into chaos. Everything into uncertainty.

As we've come along a little bit, you've seen it begin to go down, but it just shows that we can't get out of this. We can't drill our way out of this. We can't get out of this in any way unless we begin to substantially, seriously cut our ties and our usage of fossil fuels.

BERMAN: And some of the best short-term answers involve long-term planning.

Ambassador, secretary, governor, great to so you here in person. Thanks so much for joining us.

MABUS: Appreciate it, John.

BERMAN: NEW DAY continues right now. KEILAR: With the midterm elections now two weeks away, control of the

Senate is very much up for grabs.

I'm Brianna Keilar, with John Berman this morning.

And today is a major day in the tight Pennsylvania Senate race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz. Voters in Pennsylvania will hear from them tonight in their first and only debate.

Tonight, in New York, a highly anticipated debate between incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul and Republican challenger Lee Zeldin. Zeldin making crime the focus of his campaign.

BERMAN: Last night in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis and his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist tangled and abortion rights, the Hurricane Ian response and the incumbent governor's White House ambitions.


CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA GOV. CANDIDATE: Ron, you talk about Joe Biden a lot. I understand.


You think you're going to be running against him. I can see how you might get confused, but you're running for governor. You're running for governor. And I have a question for you. You're running for governor.