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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Biden Says They Have Not Yet Verified Russia Has Begun Withdrawal Of Some Troops; January 6 Committee Issues Six More Subpoenas Related To Investigation Into Fake Electors; Families Of Sandy Hook Victims Reach $73 Million Settlement With Gunmaker; Russia Skater Had 3 Heart Medications In Her System; Alarm Over Sharp Rise In Homicides In Major U.S. Cities. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 15, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: If he expects an easy, quick victory, they say that he is very, very wrong.

Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts right now.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: President Biden offers Russia a way out of the Ukraine crisis along with the clearest warning yet of the price to be paid for not taking it. John Berman here in for Anderson.

The President spoke at the end of a tense and somewhat confusing day with mixed signals at every turn. On the one hand, Vladimir Putin claimed that a number of Russian troops are pulling out of the region; on the other, he accused Ukraine of committing genocide against ethnic Russians, which many believe could be a pretext for invasion; on yet another hand, his flurry of high profile diplomacy continued today, it was the turn of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

And then there were the apparent cyberattacks today against Ukraine's Defense Ministry and the website for two big banks. With all of that to process, the President warned Russia against any such attacks on the US or NATO allies. He said claims of a Russian pullback have not been verified, and used a higher figure, 150,000 for the number of Russian troops threatening Ukraine. An invasion, he said that remains distinctly possible, his words, which he also tempered with his appeal to the Russian people.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To the citizens of Russia, you are not our enemy, and I do not believe you want a bloody destructive war against Ukraine, a country and a people with whom you share such deep ties of family, history, and culture.

Seventy-seven years ago, our people fought and sacrificed side by side to end the worst war in history. World War II was the war of necessity. But if Russia attacks Ukraine, it would be a war of choice or a war without cause or a reason.


BERMAN: The President there doing what every Cold War President once did routinely and Ronald Reagan once did so well, trying to go around the man at the top and here, trying to appeal for whatever it may be worth to Putin's superpower pretensions while reminding him of the responsibilities that come with it.


BIDEN: Two paths are still open, for the sake of historic responsibility, Russia and United States share for global stability, for the sake of our common future, to choose diplomacy.

But let there be no doubt that if Russia commits this breach by invading Ukraine, responsible nations around the world will not hesitate to respond. If we do not stand for freedom where it is at risk today, we will surely pay a steeper price tomorrow.


BERMAN: We will certainly talk about his remarks tonight and bring you the very latest on all aspects of this crisis. To that end, we have live coverage tonight as only CNN can from CNN's Kaitlan Collins of the White House, Clarissa Ward in Kyiv, and Nic Robertson, in Moscow.

Kaitlan, I want to start with you. President Biden said the U.S. has not yet been able to verify that Russian troops are leaving positions near the Ukraine border. What is the White House hoping to see that would indicate clear de-escalation? And how likely do they believe at this point that an invasion is likely?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've talked to the officials, John, about what this would look like if they thought an invasion was going to happen or if they thought Russia was de-escalating. They said it would take some time either way, either direction that Putin took to figure out what was happening, to make sure they could verify what was being heard on the ground and to make sure the Intelligence was correct, and to make sure what they heard was right.

Because they are proceeding with caution here, given the level of concern about what they've said about a pretext for invasion concerns here. So, when it comes to this, the President said today, they haven't been able to verify this claim from Russia that Putin made earlier that they are drawing back some of these troops that have been on the Ukrainian border.

And for good reason that claim from Putin was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, given claims that he has made before that were not accurate or maybe they were just moving these forces around, but leaving the equipment therefore allowing them to come back at a later date.

And so I think two things that stood out really from the President today was saying that they still haven't verified these claims and that they do believe there's still a distinct possibility of an invasion happening, which they've been warning about pretty loudly for several days now and the President giving us an updated number of how many Russian forces are there.

Previously, the U.S. assessment that we had heard publicly was about 130,000. Today, President Biden said 150,000 and the White House said those words were chosen pretty carefully.

BERMAN: So Nic, we heard President Biden speak directly to the citizens of Russia saying, quote: "You are not our enemy." How was that message received? Was it even heard?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It hasn't really been heard yet. I mean, the speech came very late here in the evening. And typically, you know, this is -- you know, what President Biden is trying to do here with this message is clearly a very good way to try to communicate with the Russian people because what the Russian people hear about the United States from the Kremlin is the precise opposite.


They hear that it is the United States that is ratcheting up the tensions, that it's the United States that's at fault here, that's the aggressor in this situation.

I find it highly unlikely that the Russian government state media would run President Biden's words as is. The independent media here have been all but crushed by President Putin particularly accelerated over the past couple of years, a lot of journalists have left the country.

So while President Biden has sort of tried to reach out around the Kremlin. They've got a pretty strong guard on what people get to hear here. That said, a lot of people here don't want war, and a lot of people have easy access to the internet, and will be able to pick this up in different ways.

But there is a very heavy spin from the Kremlin against President Biden and against the United States here.

BERMAN: Clarissa Ward in Kyiv. We learned today that a cyberattack took out services for Ukraine's Ministry of Defense and several state- owned banks. Have those issues been resolved? And any sense who is behind it?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So we know that the two banks that had been targeted, their websites are now up and running again, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry website, though appears to still be down. We don't know yet who is responsible for it.

But really, what it underscores is this kind of perpetual state of confusion that Ukrainians find themselves in. On the one hand, they hear a sort of positive sounding from President Putin today that let's continue on the path of diplomacy; then on the other hand, they're seeing these cyberattacks taking place, which we don't know that they were perpetrated by Russians, but obviously, one of the things that has been said over and over again, is that the Russians could try to use cyberattacks as a way, a prelude, or an entree into a more significant altercation here in Ukraine.

And so it gives this sense of anxiety. And, you know, we talked about the troops as well, that Putin says he is withdrawing some of the troops, and then we hear from President Biden today that they haven't seen any evidence of that yet, or they haven't been able to verify it and we heard also from NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg that they haven't seen any signs of de-escalation yet.

And what that does is to leave people in this sense of confusion and anxiety hoping very much that there is still a possibility for the diplomatic process to play out and there have been some real signs that that door has opened just a creek further, but also, the waters being a little bit muddied by things like these cyberattacks taking place.

BERMAN: Yes, as we said, at the top of the show, mixed signals today and probably deliberately mixed signals.

Kaitlan, the President had strong words for Russia warning against targeting American or NATO companies with infrastructure -- sorry, those company's infrastructure with cyberattacks. How worried is the Biden administration about such attacks?

COLLINS: I think that they are concerned that that could be part of what an invasion would look like. They're not necessarily saying it would just be kind of the traditional sense of an invasion, they've kind of been preparing for all aspects, not just cyberattacks and Ukraine that could potentially destabilize the government there, but also wide-ranging ones maybe in response to, if there are U.S. sanctions imposed in response to a Russian invasion.

And so, what we've been told by sources is that back since the fall, when the National Security Council recognized that a Russian invasion certainly could happen, it looked like they were preparing potentially to create the capability to have one, they started preparing for that outcome, that outcome of that happening.

And so you saw President Biden warning about that today, but also, I think trying to make Americans here recognize the consequences of what this invasion would have potentially on their lives, saying it would not be a painless invasion, just somewhere far away in Eastern Europe, that wouldn't affect them, saying that there could be cyberattacks on American companies saying he has warned President Putin about that, but also warning about what it could do to the energy market here and energy prices in the United States.

BERMAN: So Nic, to you in Moscow, Russian lawmakers today passed a resolution asking for Vladimir Putin to recognize the two regions in Eastern Ukraine as essentially independent from the rest of the country, breakaway pro-Russian regions. They have separatist movements there. They are agreed to be backed by Russia.

How likely is it that Putin will recognize these regions, and how would that change the military situation? ROBERTSON: Yes, I don't think he will do it in the short term because

what he is saying at the moment is that he wants to follow the Minsk Agreement and that is to get the Ukrainian government to speak directly to those separatist leaders, which they don't want to do for a number of reasons and there are a number of reasons that both Russia and Ukraine interpret the Minsk Agreements differently.

But President Putin wants to put pressure on the United States, on Germany, and France and he said this again today to put pressure on the authorities in Kyiv to have those negotiations.


Now, that's something that he says can't take too long that he wants it to happen. So you can see, he is working an angle here with a timeframe in mind, and so he has had, by the Duma taking that vote today, there is a track now opened up for him because that vote goes to his table, it will be up to him to sign off on it or not over a period of time.

So he'll sort of play this out. If he doesn't get what he wants, perhaps through talks that are not forthcoming so far, then he can go that route. He is also saying today, accusing the Ukrainian authorities of genocide, committed against Russian speakers in the eastern area of Ukraine in that separatist area, without presenting evidence, something he said before that word "genocide" gets bandied around by Russian politicians perhaps a lot more liberally than the context that we would normally use it in.

But again, that helps create a narrative for Putin at some point, to say, okay, I've got to go in and protect the Russian people in the east of Ukraine. He has handed out 600,000 passports to them, by the way.

So you can see all these different potential pretext and quasi legal ways that he can develop a narrative to say, I've got to go and do this.

BERMAN: Yes, Putin is trying to give himself more levers to pull here, and just to give people a sense of how this is all connected, Clarissa, tomorrow, the President of Ukraine is the Lansky is supposed to travel to one of those regions. Any indication why he is making this specific trip?

WARD: Well, first of all, I think this has to be seen in the context of this holiday, National Unity Day, which President Zelensky just announced, and he picked Wednesday, the 16th, and jokingly referred to the fact that this was supposed to be the invasion day, but we're going to call it National Unity Day.

He will be traveling to the city of Mariupol in the southeast of the country, and this is significant, because one of the speculations has been that Russia might try to essentially join Russia to Crimea by forming a land corridor. And if they do that, they will be going directly through the City of Mariupol, it's a city of about half a million people. It's just about 25 miles away from the Russian border. These are some of the first people who would know if there was any

kind of a Russian invasion. And so by traveling there tomorrow, it is a powerful symbol to the people of Ukraine, that you know, that Ukraine remains uncowed by Russian aggression and that it will continue to defend its territory.

Of course, the reality undergirding that which we saw for ourselves when we were in Mariupol is that this city is incredibly vulnerable, and if there were to be some kind of a potential invasion, it would likely be cut off from the rest of the country in very little time at all.

So an important symbolic gesture, but you know, remains to be seen whether anything definitive will come out of it.

BERMAN: Clarissa Ward, Kaitlan Collins, Nic Robertson -- it is an honor to get to speak to three such terrific reporters in crucial locations around the world, and my thank you to you all.

Perspective now from CNN military analyst and retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling who joins us now. General Hertling, you heard the President say the U.S. has, quote, "not yet verified" that Russia has begun the withdrawal of some troops. So what did you make of that remark? Wouldn't the United States know if the Russian troops were really moving? We'd be able to tell? Yes?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Absolutely, John, and it's been a roller coaster of a day since we last talked at 6:00 AM this morning. What I'd say is, there are certainly ways to not only verify but to just see. It doesn't take verification, both satellite imagery and high flying aircraft would be able to pinpoint the movement and where these forces are going. And certainly that Intelligence feed has made its way to the President after the various members of Putin's Cabinet said this morning that they were going to start pulling back.

They are not pulling back based on Intelligence. They may be repositioning, but are they repositioning from their motor pools to attack positions? Are they repositioning to where they should be if they're pulling back and that's from motor pools to reel heads to travel back into Russia? That latter is not happening. They're still in the area and preparing the potential for attack?

BERMAN: Yes, this is a knowable thing and I imagine the next 24 hours will be crucial to determining the posture there. How about President Biden's new numbers saying that 150,000 Russian troops are now encircling Ukraine in Belarus. What is the significance of that higher number?


HERTLING: I'm not surprised, first of all, John. I mean, I'll give one example.

You said your reporters who were in the south, near Crimea and there has been constant reporting today about aviation access helicopters, 60 helicopters landing in Crimea that weren't there yesterday. That's about the size of a U.S. Military Aviation Brigade or Rotary Wing or Helicopter Brigade.

Coming along with that is at least 4,000 people, both pilots, maintenance, fuelers. So you talk about expanding that to additional Iskandar battalions, different artillery battalions and you quickly go from 130,000 to 150,000, and I think that's what the Intelligence Community has been watching over the last several weeks, several days of an increase coming into different attack positions or different assembly areas that would contribute to that number that we're talking about now.

BERMAN: Now, even with this increase, General, as you've looked at this, your opinion has been that you are not convinced Vladimir Putin will attack. Why is that?

HERTLING: I'm not convinced he's going to attack on a large scale. John, I think he's going to continue to try and probe I think the interesting piece to watch for is what happens in the southeast part of Ukraine and additional forces rolling into the Donbas.

The interesting thing about that, though, is that President Biden and the NATO allies have all said any additional incursion from the 2014 attacks into Ukraine would be considered an attack. So he is looking to gain leverage, and as Nic Robertson just reported, watch very carefully, two things.

Number one, the cyberattacks and any kind of indicators that Russian troops or actually actions in the Donbass or in Crimea are spiking a little bit because that will give Mr. Putin an excuse, in his mind to go in to protect, quote-unquote, "Russian citizens." Nic said -- he made the statement about the 600,000 passports that have been distributed in the last four months in the Donbas, Intelligence count set at about 700,000.

So he is looking to gain support from the world saying he is just protecting Russian citizens in this area, but that hasn't been the case since 2014, and it certainly isn't the case today.

BERMAN: General Hertling, I really appreciate it. I'm sure we'll be talking to you again soon. Maybe even within a few hours. Thank you.

HERTLING: Okay, great, John. Thank you.

BERMAN: Next, we have more breaking news. New subpoenas from the January 6th committee, who and what they are targeting now and what it says about the growing scope of their investigation.

And later, another boot drops in the Russian skating scandal. The Olympic star in question who is still competing by the way and is just 15 had not one, not two, but three substances used to treat heart problems in her system.

We will be joined by the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.


BERMAN: Breaking News from the House January 6 Committee, six more subpoenas aimed according to Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, at the effort to send bogus slates of presidential electors to Washington for Congress to certify. Two Trump officials were subpoenaed along with four state lawmakers and officials from battleground states. One of them is Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano.

Our Gary Tuchman caught up with him during a rally last year pushing for Pennsylvania to conduct a similar so-called audit to the one he just been down to see in Arizona.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Would you like Democrats to come here with this late conventions and overturn your votes?

DOUG MASTRIANO (R), PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATOR: You're afraid of transparency.

TUCHMAN: I am not afraid of --

MASTRIANO: You're terrified. He is afraid.


MASTRIANO: He is afraid of a proper forensic --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't handle the truth.

MASTRIANO: And I wonder what are we afraid of here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The truth. Afraid of the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you scared of the process?

MASTRIANO: It was really heartbreaking.

TUCHMAN: There have been two weeks in Arizona --

MASTRIANO: I mentioned in my speech. I've seen better elections in Afghanistan.


BERMAN: For more on all this, we are joined now by CNN's Ryan Nobles at the Capitol. Ryan, tell us more about who these people are who are getting subpoenas and why the Committee wants to talk to them?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, John, because these are the folks that were behind the scenes in this effort to coordinate a group of swing state Republicans that were going to offer up a fake set of electors that they sent to not only the Vice President, but to the United States Congress with the hopes that they would be the electors that would ultimately give Donald Trump back the White House.

And among them, Michael Roman and G. Michael Brown. These were two of the officials that were responsible for the Election Day activities for the Trump Campaign on that day. And then these state level officials who played a big role in all the activities that took place after the election to sow doubt in the results in these key swing states, despite any evidence whatsoever.

What it shows here is that the Committee believes that this effort was part of a much bigger scheme to try and circumvent the will of the American people, and that ultimately, it led to the violence that we saw here on January 6th -- John.

BERMAN: So Ryan, a number of these individuals are elected officials and some are running for higher office. Are any of these positions that they're running for responsible for election integrity?

NOBLES: Yes, no doubt about that, John, Doug Mastriano who you just showed there in Pennsylvania. He's one of the leading Republican candidates for Governor of Pennsylvania, and then another name, Mark Finchem from New Mexico. He is currently running to be the Secretary of State in New Mexico. That office is of course responsible for conducting and overseeing elections in the State of New Mexico.

This is part of a trend that we're seeing across the country where folks that are aligned with the former President Donald Trump and who support and continue to peddle his big lies about the election results are now seeking offices where they would have done direct responsibility over administering future elections -- John.


BERMAN: Ryan Nobles, thank you so much for being with us.

And because of the Arizona content of tonight's subpoenas, we're joined now by Arizona's top election official Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs. Secretary Hobbs, first of all, what do you make of these subpoenas? And what does it say to you about the Committee's investigation?

KATIE HOBBS, ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, this is an investigative body and I'm glad that action is finally being taken. We've been calling out the actions of State Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward and Mark Finchem who actually is running for Secretary of State in Arizona, not New Mexico, for the last year plus.

And so I'm glad that something is finally being done. The actions of everybody involved in this large coordination have to be, they have to be held accountable.

BERMAN: And Finchem as you noted, is actually running for your job as Secretary of State there. And Kelli Ward is the Chair of the Arizona Republican Party, not only is Ward, one of the fake electors, the Arizona Republican Party actually released video of her and others in December of 2020, signing the fake document. So what do you hope the Committee is able to learn from these individuals? HOBBS: Well, I think what we're seeing is that -- what is coming out

is that more and more of these election subversion activities have been coordinated at very high levels from the former President and his allies, down to the level of these folks at the state that we're trying to convince people to overturn the will of the voters.

BERMAN: So last month, the Committee served subpoenas for state and local Republican officials who they alleged had knowledge of the fake electors plot. But now, we see two Trump Campaign employees seemingly accused of being directly involved here. So how big of a deal is that if there was coordination from the Campaign itself?

HOBBS: Well, I think it's a very big deal, and I think we've known from the beginning, that these seemingly chaotic and uncoordinated attacks actually were coordinated and that these folks were just trying everything they could, throwing everything against the wall to see what stuck.

But there was definitely coordination, and thankfully, that is starting to come more and more to light through the activities of the Commission.

BERMAN: As we noted, several of these people subpoenaed today and are allegedly involved in this plot are running for higher office positions that control elections. What kind of impact do you think this would have on the integrity of elections?

HOBBS: Well, we know that democracy prevailed in 2020 because people on both sides of the aisle, people with integrity did their jobs to uphold the will of the voters. And what we're seeing now is an attempt to install Trump loyalists at every level so that those checks and balances that exist will be removed.

And quite honestly, that's why I'm running for Governor because we have to have people at every level that are going to continue to uphold the will of the voters regardless of whether or not they're happy with the outcome, and we need those checks and balances and I welcome folks to join me in that fight at

BERMAN: Secretary Hobbs, we appreciate you being with us tonight. Thank you very much.

HOBBS: Thank you.

BERMAN: Still coming up, a landmark victory for some of the families of Sandy Hook families as they reach a multimillion dollar settlement with a maker of the gun used in the tragic mass shooting. CNN's Erica Hill has the story, next.



BERMAN: These were the innocent people who were gunned down and killed senselessly in the Sandy Hook massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. And now more than nine years later, some of the victims' families are finally seeing a victory, a $73 million settlement against the now bankrupt gunmaker of the AR-15 style weapon used in the attack was announced today. And the agreement also provides access to thousands of internal Remington documents which is the parent company of the maker of the gun used in a shooting.

A hard fought emotional victory as CNN's Erica Hill reports.


MARK BARDEN, SON, DANIEL, KILLED IN 2012 SHOOTING: We have these moments where there's any kind of a victory or forward progress that you want to celebrate. And then it just kind of hit you like a gut punch that, you know, her Daniel is still gone. It's a strange psychological dynamic --


BARDEN: -- that continues to beat the crap out of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Sandy Hook School called us indicating she thinks there's someone shooting in the building.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Daniel Barden was just seven years old when he was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary, when of 20 children and six adults killed that day in 2012.

GOV. DANNIEL MALLOY (D-CT): What has happened and what has transpired at that school building will leave a mark on this community and every family impacted.

HILL (voice-over): Overnight, memorials blanketed this small Connecticut town. Images of angels, messages of strength for 26 families now faced with an unimaginable horror.

VERONIQUE DE LA ROSA, SON, NOAH, KILLED IN 2012 SHOOTING: One moment we had this dazzling, energetic six-year-old little boy and the next all we had left were echoes of the past. Every day's a realization that he should be here yet he's not.

HILL (voice-over): The shooter that day, a deeply troubled 20-year-old killed his mother before opening fire at the school with a Bushmaster semi automatic AR-15 style rifle. Two years later, the families of nine victims filed a lawsuit against the makers of that gun Bushmaster and its parent company Remington, a move seen widely as an uphill battle given the federal protections that shield gun makers from most legal liability in wrongful death cases brought by family members.

NICOLE HOCKLEY, SON, DYLAN, KILLED IN 2012 SHOOTING: This victory, this landmark historic victory sends a forceful and compelling message to manufacturers into the insurance and banking industries that support them. This is a high risk market. It is not profitable and you will be held accountable.

HILL (voice-over): That historic victory, a $73 million settlement with Remington at its insures which also allows the families to make thousands of internal company documents public according to the plaintiffs attorneys.


JACKIE BARDEN, SON, DANIEL, KILLED IN 2012 SHOOTING: We wanted to make sure that they found everything that had been going on behind closed doors.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: This settlement is a tremendous risk for gun manufacturers, because it allows the plaintiffs and the public to lift the curtain and see how guns are marketed and to whom and why. And how much is spent on that.

HILL (voice-over): Well, the settlement is a clear victory, the families insist it is not justice.

M. BARDEN: That's very emotional, just connected to our little Daniel. It's the whole reason we're here. And it's because he was murdered as a direct outcome of some of these some of what was going on.

FRANCINE WHEELER, SON, BENJAMIN, KILLED IN 2012 SHOOTING: Sure, justice would be our 15-year-old, healthy and standing next to us right now. But Ben, he will never be 15, he will be six forever, because he has gone forever.


BERMAN: And Eric Hill joins me now. Erica, those faces break my heart even to this day. These internal company documents from Remington that were so important to the families to make public, any indication when they will be released in and what do we think is in them?

HILL: So we don't know exactly what's in them nor when they'll be released until it'll be probably at least a couple of weeks. I should point out to that CNN has reached out to Remington and its insurers we have not yet heard back. But as you point out, John, it's those documents that are so important. Jackie Barden who you heard from there, her son Daniel was killed. She said to me those documents were almost more important to her and her husband Mark. This wasn't about the money. This is about the documents. They needed to see what was going on there.

And they also John, they look at this as honoring their son, this fight for this information, this fight to make sure that no other family has to go through with they live day in and day out. That is part of how they honor Daniel.

BERMAN: Yes, and they would not give up these families fought and fought for years for this. Erica Hill, thank you so much.

So we have new details tonight on Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva's December drug test and what she is saying caused her positive results. CNN's sports analysts Christine Brennan and the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, joining us next.



BERMAN: We're following new twists in the saga surrounding teenage Russian figure skating star Kamila Valieva. A newly released document from the Court of Arbitration for sports says that before the Olympic Games she had tested positive for not one but three heart medications in her system. Two of the substances were not banned, one was the banned drug at the center of the controversy. And International Olympic Committee officials said today that Valieva is blaming her doping violation on a contamination from her grandfather's medication.

All of this as Valieva was back on the ice for the first time today since a ruling allowing her to continue competing in the Olympics. She appeared emotional after racing into the lead of the women's singles skating competition.

Joining us now is the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Travis Tygart, a legend, a towering figure in the anti-doping movement, and also CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan, a towering figure in her own right.

Travis, I want to start with you. You told the New York Times, quote, there's a trifecta of substances, end quote that was found in this skaters system. Explain what you mean by that?

TRAVIS TYGART, CEO, U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY: Yes, well, the document that was out there is that she declared not only l-carnitine, which we saw on the Nike Oregon project case and found a violation based on issues but also hypoxic. And importantly, those two are not by themselves prohibited, but then, of course, the positive for the TMZ. And those three are all aimed at increasing performance and helping reduce stamina, you know, tiredness, oxygen carrying capacity. So it's pretty, pretty incredible a 15-year-old would have those three declared as one positive, but the other two that she was apparently taking that she declared at the time of the test.

So, it raises alarm bells of who's behind her, where the resources, the finance, and the wherewithal to obtain these substances two drugs and one supplement to all an effort, clearly to enhance performance.

BERMAN: And Travis, I mean, the mixture of it tells it an even clearer story to you, is there any reason in your view that these additional substances would be in an athlete's system, especially along with a third (ph)? And could enough, I mean, I know you also said, this is no trace amount here. This is more than would just be picked up by touching a glass that her grandfather used.

TYGART: Yes, the other document, you know, indicated a 2.1 nanogram level, which is not a trace amount, but it's a, an amount clearly consistent with, you know, a therapeutic use dose, or, you know, potentially unintentional dose. But these substances, and the use of them, obviously, are there to enhance performance. I mean, young athletes, obviously, sometimes take supplements and other, you know, substances to help recovery, nutrition, whatever it may be.

But having these three two declared and one obviously testing positive that wasn't declared, the one that is prohibited, just raises, you know, significant red flags and alarm bells that there is someone behind whether it's coach, doctor, the state that's helping this young athlete and teaching this young athlete to use the substances in order ultimately to increase and enhance performance.

BERMAN: So Christine, she did compete for the first time since this controversy came to light the fact that she was caught doping and yet continues to skate. What are the other athletes at the games saying about this?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: John and Travis, you know, they are talking. They're careful. This is the moment, right, this is something that Travis talks a lot about these athletes with fairplay and the opportunity to reach the heights of their career. So that's their focus. But Mariah Bell, who finished 11th, 10 places behind Kamila Valieva, she was talking eloquently about drug testing, about how important it is to her, how she might miss something if there's a knock on the door, what these athletes go through for the privilege of representing their country.

I think a lot of people Travis, you and I've talked about this don't know this, what's going on and Michael Phelps, Michelle Kwan, Allyson Felix, on and Katie Ledecky, what they do every day to be ready to be tested, to prove that they are clean athletes.


So, Mariah talked about it a little bit, but also expressed sympathy for her opponent, obviously Valieva, and I think that's a feeling now, especially with what you were just talking about that, you know, are we talking about child abuse here, you know, this is a 15-year-old. And while this story, of course, has just swallowed up the Olympics and made these, this Olympic experience something less than it otherwise would have been for these great athletes. I think the focus also on Russia and what they're doing to these young girls, they put them on the discard pile before they hit 18. They move on to the next one, and now we're getting an inside look at that netherworld that is really appalling.

BERMAN: Yes. And I will tell you, I've spoken to a number of former Olympians they're all appalled. I mean, they feel more free to speak about it. They were appalled by what's happening in the fact she's competing. Travis, do you have any faith in the election going forward from the world anti-doping agency from the Russians? Do you have any faith about where this is headed Travis?

TYGART: No, not at all. I mean, Russia strikes again, right. And if you play with fire, you get burned over and over and over. And in the world anti-doping agency was the organization that the world was supposed to trust to scrutinize individual Russian athletes to ensure that they were clean prior to coming to the games. And if you remember, you know, the Russians today aren't competing on behalf of their country. They're technically under a quote unquote, ban, which is actually a force of a consequence, but they were competing for the Russian Olympic Committee.

And that was on the promise that water was going to ensure that every Russian athlete that did compete on behalf of the Russian Olympic Committee was going to be clean and had passed their drug tests. And they obviously dropped the ball on this one big time and it's now thrown, you know, a grenade in the middle of the Olympics and stolen the moment as Christine so eloquently said, from, you know, clean athletes from around the world, both from the U.S. and other countries they want their moment and want their sacrifice to do it the right way to be rewarded. And we can all know and hope that they're the stars and inspirations that we want and desperate -- so desperately need them to be.

BERMAN: Travis Tygart, Christine Brennan, thank you both so much for what you're doing. Appreciate it.

TYGART: Thanks for having me, John.

BERMAN: Ahead, a look at a high profile murder tonight. What it says about hate crimes in the U.S. and the overall rising crime rate.



BERMAN: There are worries tonight about whether this year we'll see a similar sharp rise in violent crime to the one we saw last year. According to one recent study released by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, homicide rates and aggravated assaults were all up in 2021. One of the cities that saw a large rise New York also reported that hate crimes almost doubled last year.

Miguel Marquez has the story about the latest high profile murder that has alarmed the city while questions still remain.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Christina Yuna Lee, 35 years old, yet another Asian-American woman brutally killed.

SHARON LEE, FME ACTING QUEEN BOROUGH PRES.: It's happening every time you turn around. The news is showing yet another victim. It's hard to catch a breath.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Christina Lee was stabbed more than 40 times say prosecutors found in her bathroom naked from the waist up, while it's unclear whether Lee's race or ethnicity played a role in the attack of the killing, conjures fear all too common for Asian-Americans and women everywhere.

LEE: The guard is up all the time. And it's been for a while.

MARQUEZ (on-camera): So Christina Yuna Lee's apartment is right next to a subway station, but officials say she took a taxi that night or a car, something that happens a million times in this city. Jumped from the car to the door of her apartment. Police say that her alleged killer pushed into the door as she went in followed her six floors up, staying one floor behind her. And then when she opened her door, he pushed into her apartment. Neighbors heard calls for help, dialed 911. And then those calls went silent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It could have been me, it could have been anybody in the building.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Police responded quickly. Prosecutors say the alleged killer inside the apartment spoke to police through the closed door pretending to be a woman and telling them to go away. It took over an hour to get in to the apartment. By that time Lee was dead.

Prosecutors say her alleged killer 25-year-old Assamad Nash was found hiding under the bed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't kill her because she was Asian.

ASSAMAD NASH, SUSPECT: I didn't tell nobody.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Nash has so far been charged with murder and burglary. More charges may be coming, the Legal Aid Society representing him has declined to comment. The killing another fear inducing chapter adding to concerns over anti-Asian hate crimes growing for years.

In 2020 an Asian men sprayed with the cleaning product (INAUDIBLE). A Filipino man's face slashed last year. Last week, a Korean diplomat punched in the face in what the NYPD says was an unprovoked attack. And last month, Michelle Alyssa Go was shoved onto the subway tracks directly in front of an oncoming train.

JULIE WON, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL, 25TH DISTRICT: There's a vulnerability there and a sense of perceived weakness towards Asian- American women and Asian-American seniors that perpetrators tend to be pulled towards because we're seen as easy prey.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Won, a New York City Council members says the rise in intensity of crimes against Asian-Americans comes as little surprise. She blames an increase in homelessness a strain on mental health services and the words repeatedly used by the former president blaming China for the pandemic.



WON: We had a national figure calling this pandemic the Kung-flu virus or the Chinese virus and continue to inflame racism of trying to personify something that has hurt every single one of our lives into something that's tangible where you can scapegoat and say it's their faults.


BERMAN: Miguel Marquez with us now. Miguel could Nash face hate crime charges?

MARQUEZ: It is possible the district attorney here in Manhattan says they are still investigating it. So that is certainly possible. They're trying to figure out whether her identity or her race played a part in this. I also want to show you the small memorial that is growing to Christina Yuna Lee in front of her apartment. Activists and community leaders held a vigil rally earlier today. She will be missed. He will be in courts or due in court this Friday. So we may learn more then. John.

BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE). Miguel Marquez, thank you very much.

We'll be right back.



BERMAN: The news continues. So let's head it over to Laura Coates in "CNN TONIGHT." Laura.