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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Questions Raised Over Justice Alito's Claim The Premise For Overturning Roe Cannot Be Applied To Any Other Precedent; Moldova Winery Helping Provide Shelter To Ukrainian Refugees; Sheriff's Office: Corrections Officer Vicky White No Longer Employed By The Department. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 04, 2022 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: As protesters, across the U.S., mark a second full night, since that draft Supreme Court decision that would strike down Roe v. Wade, President Biden and Democrats are sounding alarm.

They believe that the draft decision, if indeed it does become the majority opinion, maybe just the first of several similar fights, to come. And that some conservatives may use the legal rationale, and the court's decision, to challenge, and eventually overturn other decisions that have secured rights for Americans.

That's despite the author, Justice Samuel Alito, writing in the draft opinion that this decision pertains only to Roe.

Last hour, I spoke with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who specifically cited same-sex marriage as one of the rights, secured by a previous court decision, that she believes could be challenged.

I'm joined now by Jim Obergefell, who was the plaintiff, named in the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage, nationwide.

Jim, are you concerned that if Roe v. Wade is overturned that then marriage equality could also be at risk?


This leak decision, even with Justice Alito has mentioned that he doesn't believe it applies to marriage equality, it, to me, is a clarion call, to people, who are opposed to LGBTQ+ equality, to marriage equality, to file suit, to start something that would end up in Supreme Court, so that they could overturn it.

COOPER: I just want to read the part of Justice Alito's draft opinion that "Politico" released, which pertained to what you just said.

He wrote, "To ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion."

He had voted against legalizing same-sex marriage. So, do you think, if this did go to the court, I mean, if same-sex marriage got to a case, another case that went to the court that he would - he would be willing to overturn it?

OBERGEFELL: Unfortunately, I do. This draft - this leaked decision, talks about rights that are not specifically enumerated, in the Constitution, having to be based, in our nation's history and traditions.

Well, marriage equality, as an affirmed right, has existed for only six and a half - almost seven years. That, I'm sure, does not fall into his description, or his definition, of our nation's long history and tradition.

So, even though he says it wouldn't apply to marriage equality, it only applies to abortion? I don't honestly buy that, Anderson. And I truly believe there will be a challenge.


But it concerns me, because it's not just the LGBTQ+ community. It isn't just marriage equality that's at risk. It's so many rights that we take for granted that we rely on. For example, the right to privacy, the right to marriage.

Actually, let me talk about the right to marriage. That was only mentioned by the Supreme Court, for the first time, in Loving versus Virginia, 1967. That right is not written down anywhere, in the Constitution.

So, what would prevent someone, what would prevent this court, from overturning, Loving versus Virginia? Because, it affirmed a right that is not specifically outlined, specifically written into the Constitution. So, for that same reason, I am very worried about marriage equality.

COOPER: I guess, one of the arguments that conservatives make is that the Loving case, the right that that case, made into law? That is widely supported.

Whereas, abortion is not something that the court ruling was a final say, in how people in the country felt about it, that it's still something that is very divisive. And, I guess, in Alito's argument that is sort of the difference. And that's why this would only pertain to the right to abortion.

Do you buy that?

OBERGEFELL: No, I do not, because the support for a woman's right to control her own body? That right is pretty strong, across the United States. And even if it weren't as strong as it is, that doesn't mean that gives the court, justification, to take back a right that was affirmed, almost 50 years ago. So, I don't buy that argument at all, Anderson.

This decision is taking away a right that our nation has relied on, for almost 50 years. And it sets up the loss of additional rights, especially with this originalist bent that this Court has, and this idea that the Constitution should only be interpreted, based on the time, when it was written, or at the time it was written.


OBERGEFELL: So, that means we're going to go back to the late 18th Century, for our nation.

COOPER: Jim Obergefell, I appreciate it. Thank you. Thanks for being with us.

I'm joined now by Wendy Davis, a former Democratic State Senator, from Texas, Jeffrey Toobin, former federal prosecutor, and CNN's Chief Legal Analyst, and Ross Douthat, columnist for "The New York Times."

Senator Davis, do you think there's a real threat to other rights, grounded in privacy and liberty?

WENDY DAVIS, (D) FORMER TEXAS STATE SENATOR: I absolutely do. And I agree 100 percent, with what Mr. Obergefell said. These rights absolutely are under threat.

And let's just talk about contraceptive care, for a moment. Already, there's a march against the use of Plan B, the morning-after pill, which is not an abortion medication. It's actually something that prevents fertilization, which is exactly what the pill does.

And we know, of course, that the Supreme Court granted those rights, in two different cases, one for married people, one for non-married people, in 1972. And those rights did not exist, back in the early 1800s.

And it's certainly the case that if you extend the reasoning, of this particular opinion, if it becomes the reality that we live with, at the end of June or early July, then we certainly are at risk of losing those rights.

And I don't think it's too catastrophic, or alarmist, to say that. Because I live in a state, where I see the march, heading in that direction. And, I think, we are at risk, in a way that many people don't fully appreciate, or realize, right now.

COOPER: Ross, do you believe that's too catastrophic, or alarmist?

ROSS DOUTHAT, OP-ED COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES, AUTHOR, "THE DEEP PLACES": Yes. And, I think, honestly, what you're hearing here, in these arguments is, in a way, a vindication of the point that Alito is making, in the draft decision. That abortion, by virtue of the continuing and perpetual controversy over it, the fact that the public split on the issue, has not meaningfully changed, in the 50 years, since Roe was handed down.

And that it has become one of the defining controversies, in our national politics, makes abortion radically different than all of the other issues that are being brought in, in order to essentially attack this potential decision.

The idea that Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court justice, married to a White woman, is going to overturn Loving versus Virginia, the idea that Brett Kavanaugh is going to vote to overturn Griswold, are frankly ludicrous suppositions.


And I think it's - I just think it's really telling and - I mean, I'm honestly somewhat surprised by it. But it is somewhat telling at least that Democrats have leaped so quickly to this rather than actually straightforwardly just talking about abortion.

And I think it's a continuation of a larger pattern, in this debate, which is that even though the country leans pro-choice, Democrats are very uncomfortable, making these kinds of debates, just about abortion, because they know just how conflicted Americans are, and have been, on that issue, which is why Roe, and Casey, and every Supreme Court ruling has so conspicuously failed, to settle that debate.

COOPER: Jeff, what do you make of Ross' argument?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: What I don't get, about Ross' argument, is that the Supreme Court, often rules, on areas that are very controversial.

Loving versus Virginia, many States, already, at that time, banned interracial marriage. And the Constitution - and the Supreme Court said, the Constitution demands that the States, who think differently, have to change their laws. That often happens with Supreme Court opinions.


TOOBIN: It is not just when the Supreme Court goes with what the national consensus is.

The reason we have a Constitution is that sometimes electoral majorities have to be told "No," that the Constitution supersedes the will of the majority. So, that's why I don't think your point is consistent, with the whole idea, of having a Constitution.

DOUTHAT: So, the point that I'm making is not that the Supreme Court can't rule, in defiance of public opinion.

It is that, historically, when the Supreme Court rules, on controversial issues, those rulings are successful, and become, in effect, what people like to call super-precedents, when they do actually settle national debates.

The debate over interracial marriage is settled. The debate in Griswold is settled. I think, fundamentally, the debate over same-sex marriage, for any imaginable future, is settled.

And the unsettlement around Roe, I agree, it's not the only reason that the Supreme Court would end up revisiting it. But it is a signal that this issue is fundamentally different.

And that the analogies being drawn to these - this, the idea that you're going to have essentially this sort of, this role of recent decisions, and decades-old decisions being rolled back, doesn't make any sense.

I mean, I'm curious, if Jeffrey, do you think that Clarence Thomas would rule to overturn Loving v. Virginia? I--


DOUTHAT: Is this actually an argument that's being advanced?

TOOBIN: I doubt it. But we're talking about a lot of decision.

DOUTHAT: You doubt it?

TOOBIN: I doubt it, absolutely.

DOUTHAT: Could you just say that Clarence Thomas - let's just say Clarence Thomas - can we agree, Clarence Thomas is not going to vote to overrule Loving v. Virginia?

TOOBIN: I think it's unlikely. But remember, Clarence Thomas thinks, all these decisions should be returned to the States that these decisions about personal behavior and personal property - should go to the States, and let the people decide. That's what this whole opinion is all about.

COOPER: Senator?

TOOBIN: Is that let the people decide.

COOPER: Senator Davis, I'm wondering what you make of Ross' argument, and how concerned you think people should be?

DAVIS: Well, first of all, I don't think anyone, who believes that abortion should continue to be allowed, in every state, in this country, is shirking from the argument that it should be protected. And there's no attempt, here, to try to divert attention, to other rights that may be threatened.

It's simply a part of what opening this right to privacy, and foreclosing it, in some instances, will create an opportunity, to argue. And, I think, we all have to agree, it's going to create that opportunity.

And we have federal courts now that are stacked with judges, who believe very differently, than I believe, or others believe. I believe in the idea that we do have inalienable rights, God-given rights, and that we agree to give some of those up, in order to be a functioning part of society.

The Bork view, and the view of so many of our federal courts, now, as President Biden pointed out, today, was that government grants you those rights, and government can therefore easily take them away. That's what I think we are threatened by, right now.

And the idea that we aren't going to continue, to fight this argument, or stand our ground, on abortion rights, because we fear the ripple effect, of a law, like this, is just absolutely not true.


Because we know the impact of losing that right, on women, on our families, on the economy as a whole. And we're going to fight on those grounds, 100 percent. But we're not going to give up also arguing what the ripple effects of this law might be.

COOPER: Ross, just out of curiosity, on marriage equality? I mean, Alito voted against it. Clarence Thomas voted against it. Do you think they have seen the light, and now embrace it?

DOUTHAT: I think if in the unlikely event that marriage - that same- sex marriage returned, to the Supreme Court, there, I do think you might get Thomas and, possibly, Alito voting against it. I think, Barrett, Kavanaugh, I think, you could end up having, the - if it actually came to a vote, it would probably be seven to two, to uphold it. That would be my guess.

COOPER: Interesting.

DOUTHAT: But I also don't think - I don't think the court would take the case, even. I think it would just find a way to sort of swat down a challenge. I'm not - I wouldn't disagree that there could be - could be challenges raised. But I think it is very, very unlikely that that would be the actual conclusion of that kind of challenge.

COOPER: Ross Douthat, appreciate it. Jeff Toobin, Wendy Davis, thank you.

We're going to continue the conversation. Just ahead, we're going to look at the possible end of Roe, and legal abortion, through the eyes of a women's clinic, in Tennessee.

And later, Russian troops, invading a massive steel plant, almost two weeks, after Vladimir Putin, told on camera, his Defense Minister, not to invade, because of the lives it would cost. So much for that!

The breaking news, from Ukraine, when we continue.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Earlier today, the Head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said in an interview that more women may die, if Roe is overturned. She said that without women's clinics, which provide a wide range of services, besides abortions, some women will not have the resources, they need, and that lives could be at stake.

Our Gary Tuchman, is in Tennessee, tonight, at a non-profit women's clinic, to see just what might happen, according to them, should the court overturn Roe.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These two men are anti-abortion protesters, trying to convince the frightened woman, behind the wheel, not to drive, into this Women's Medical Clinic parking lot, where she has an appointment, for an abortion.

The woman, who walked up to the car is the Co-Director of the clinic, assuring the patient, who speaks little English, she is safe with her, and that they will protect her, while she's here.

This type of confrontation, at the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health, in Tennessee, is very common. But it's happening, at a very unusual moment, in time, with the knowledge that legal abortion, may be ending very soon, in this state.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Corinne Rovetti is a nurse practitioner, and one of the other co-directors, of this clinic, which provides all types of gynecological health care.

ROVETTI: What kind of society is that that we force people, to motherhood, when they're not prepared, or ready to do that, or know that they're already stretched, to their limits, and cannot support another child?

TUCHMAN (on camera): Under a Tennessee law, passed in 2019, if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe versus Wade, this state will then ban abortion, 30 days after the ruling is issued.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Exceptions will only be allowed to prevent the death of a pregnant woman, or a serious injury.

Dr. Aaron Campbell is one of the physicians, who performs abortions, here. He's the Medical Director.

DR. AARON CAMPBELL, KNOXVILLE CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: I think people will pursue unsafe illegal abortions. And, I think, people will get sick and die. And, I think, that blood, and their death, will be on the hands of these lawmakers that are passing these laws.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dr. Campbell's late father was also the Medical Director here, for many years.

CAMPBELL: I think he would be devastated.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): There are very few places that provide abortions, in Tennessee. There was another clinic, just a few miles, away from here.

CAMPBELL: On New Year's Eve, our local Planned Parenthood affiliate was burned down, ruled to be an arson.

TUCHMAN (on camera): And it hasn't reopened?

CAMPBELL: It hasn't reopened. It's not been rebuilt.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Doing this type of work has long been intimidating, and often frightening, for the medical professionals.

Many of the patients, who come here, for routine checkups, do it partly out of support and loyalty, for the clinic. Lisa (ph) being one of them. And she shares the employee's emotions about what the Supreme Court seems poised to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes me angry.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): For now, the anti-abortion protesters say they will continue to be here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not here to intimidate people, here, because--

TUCHMAN (on camera): But you do. And you know that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if the child is outside the womb, we wouldn't be acting like this.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And the clinic employees say, they will continue to do their jobs. But they know, the writing is on the wall, and that perhaps there is now not much they can do about it.

TUCHMAN (on camera): What are you going to start telling your patients?

CAMPBELL: I don't know. I don't know that any of us know.


COOPER: And Gary Tuchman joins us now, from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Are any of the employees there, holding out hope that one of the Supreme Court justices might change his or her mind?

TUCHMAN: Anderson, I just talked to another one of the co-directors, here at the clinic. She was born in 1979, six years, after Roe became the law of the land.

She says she feels it's incomprehensible that Roe will no longer exist. And that's one of the reasons, she says, she still has hope that at least one of the conservative justices will change his or her mind.


COOPER: Gary, appreciate it, Gary Tuchman.

Up next, the breaking news, tonight, from "The New York Times." Officials says the U.S. has provided Intelligence that has helped Ukrainians target and kill many of the Russian generals, who died in the Ukraine war.

We'll talk it over, with our generals, coming up.



COOPER: Ukrainian forces, in a number of towns, around Kharkiv, have been making progress, defending their country.

CNN's Matt Rivers has the story of how Ukrainian soldiers, in one village, near Kyiv, helped stop the Russian advance, on that city.



MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outgoing fire, from a frozen foxhole, not far from the flaming pieces, of an exploding armored vehicle.

As the quiet still, of a nighttime bunker?


RIVERS (voice-over): Is shattered by what the soldier says was a direct hit, right nearby.

This is what happened, in the tiny town of Moschun, just northwest of Ukraine's capital city. It was here, as much as anywhere else that the Battle of Kyiv was won.

By early March, Russian forces had flooded South, Ukraine's seat of power in its sights. They had arrived just west of Moschun, occupying that entire area. The Irpin River, the only thing, between them and the town, where Ukraine would make it stand.

RIVERS (on camera): Is it strange to just walk through this area now, when it's safe?


RIVERS (voice-over): He says, what's strange was being here, when all hell broke loose.

Three Ukrainian soldiers, who fought here, took us around Moschun. Before the ground assault, they said, relentless artillery rained down. There was little they could do, but wait it out.

Just listen to this video, taken by a soldier


RIVERS (on camera): So, they dug this trench, here, just across the river, from Russian positions, of course, to take cover, from things, like this. So, this would be spent ordnance, a rocket, fired from a Russian attack helicopter, here, on the Ukrainian position.


RIVERS (voice-over): Thinking they'd soften the town, the Russians decided, it was time to strike. With this bridge destroyed, they built a pontoon bridge, here, and started sending Special Forces troops, across the river.

Across the river, the Ukrainians waited, some seen here, ready to fight back. Street battles raged. Homes were shredded. Houses now with so many bullet holes, like freckles on a face.

The Russians, some seen here, actually took part of the town. But that success would be short-lived. Because the woods were up next.

Moschun is surrounded by dense pine forest, the perfect area for Ukraine, to stop an advance.

Video shows Ukrainian troops lined up, in neatly-dug positions, and Russian troops would quickly come under heavy fire. Video shows the results, multiple dead Russian soldiers, in the snow.

RIVERS (on camera): That body was found, right there. And there were several other Russian soldiers that were killed, right in this area, including this soldier, whose body armor, is still left behind.

This was not artillery unit versus artillery unit, here, in these woods, in this town. It was infantry versus infantry, close proximity fighting.

RIVERS (voice-over): As sounds of explosions, ripple around them, Ukrainian soldiers, race toward an unseen enemy, carrying between them, what is likely the kind of weapon that could do something like this.

Ukrainian drones captured the destruction, of Russian armor, sitting ducks, on the lone road, through the trees.

RIVERS (on camera): And here, on the ground, you can still see the remnants, of two destroyed armored personnel carriers. The body parts of the soldiers that were inside still litter this area.

Ukrainian forces say some 500 Russian soldiers, and 40 armored vehicles, made their way, into this part of the forest. And if they were able to continue, and get through? It could have changed the tide of the entire war. RIVERS (voice-over): Moschun sits only about three miles, from Kyiv's city limits, and roughly 15, from the city center. Ukrainian troops tell us, had the Russians broke through, the thousands of Russian troops, just across the river, would have made an all-out push, into Kyiv.

But a fierce Ukrainian counter-attack turned the battle around quickly. Soldiers going house to house, retaking the town, even destroying the pontoon bridge, Russia had used, to bring soldiers across. Ukrainian forces, also stripping, what they could, from the better-supplied Russian soldiers.


RIVERS (voice-over): He says, "They suffered heavy losses, here. Even though they dominated us, in aircraft and drones, and 10 to one in artillery."

For these three soldiers, the victory, in the Battle of Kyiv, is something the world should have seen coming.

RIVERS (on camera): Should the rest of the world have been surprised?


RIVERS (voice-over): "Our army turned out to be one of the best in the world. And nobody was more surprised than the Russians," he said, adding one more thing in English.


RIVERS (voice-over): Matt Rivers, CNN, Moschun, Ukraine.


COOPER: The Ukrainian forces, defending their country.

For perspective, let's turn to retired Brigadier General Peter Zwack, former U.S. Defense Attache to Russia, Author of the book, "Swimming The Volga: A U.S. Army Officer's Experiences in Pre-Putin Russia."

And retired Major General Dana Pittard, a CNN Military Analyst, and Author of "Hunting the Caliphate: America's War on ISIS and the Dawn of the Strike Cell."

General Zwack, Ukrainian forces have retaken the village of Molodova, east of Kharkiv, just 13 miles from the Russian border, not to be confused with the country, Moldova.

What does it say to you that Ukrainians have been able to retake territory, so close, to Kharkiv, and so close to Russia?

BRIG. GEN. PETER ZWACK (RET.), FORMER U.S. DEFENSE ATTACHE TO RUSSIA, U.S. ARMY, GLOBAL FELLOW, KENNAN INSTITUTE AT THE WILSON CENTER: Yes, it's frankly quite unbelievable that Kharkiv has stood like a castle, between the Kyiv region, and the Donbas, now for almost 10 weeks. And it's a big city. It's Ukraine second biggest city. Four major battles were fought over at the Second World War. And the Russians just don't have, I believe, the force structure to - they can't be everywhere.

And Kharkiv is formidable. The Ukrainians have sensed it. They're working around flanks. As we saw in the last report, they rule the countryside. Russians are on the roads, and where they amass. Ukrainians are everywhere else. And, I think, we're seeing that wiggling and chiseling around the Russian forces arrayed to the west of - the east of Kharkiv, and they are being pushed back.

COOPER: General Pittard, it's not clear whether - the U.S. has said that the majority of Howitzers that the U.S. was going to supply, are in the country. It's not clear if they've already been brought to bear, on the battlefield, against Russian forces. That can take time, as we've discussed, in previous programs.


I'm wondering what you make of the battle that we know that is currently going on, between Russian forces, and Ukrainian forces, in the east. How do you think it's going?


The Russians were making some limited progress. The Russians changed their tactics somewhat, to where they had much more coordinated offensive operations, between their mechanized infantry, their armor, supported by aircraft and artillery, and certainly missiles.

So initially, believe that that pushed the Ukrainians back somewhat. But then, the Ukrainians devised methods, to disrupt that, whether it's quick counter-attacks, whether it's the use of some limited artillery, the use of the Javelins. So, the Ukrainians have figured out ways, to defeat the new Russian tactics.

So, right now, the Russians have had some limited gains. But that's probably as far as they're going to go. I agree with General Zwack. They don't have the forces to be able to continue that offensive, unless they get more troops.

COOPER: General Zwack, according to the commander of the Azov Regiment, inside the Mariupol steel plant that has been under relentless attack, Russian forces have breached the perimeter, or are inside the territory, of the plant. He says that, quote, there are heavy bloody battles.

I mean, I don't know, can you give us some insight on how difficult, an assault, on an enclosed area, like this steel plant, could be? I mean, that fighting, if it's inside the plant, it's got to be very close quarters, and just extraordinarily brutal.

ZWACK: You could go back to the Nazi, the German attempt, to grab Stalingrad, and there was a Tractor Works, held by the Soviets, for six weeks that gutted German division on division. In just - so, urban areas are always tough. Industrial areas, with all their galleries, and catacombs, and tunnels, are even harder.

What I do worry about Mariupol and the Azov (ph) is it the - it is 9, May, and the Russians need, want to take it. And they are going to just push as relentlessly and hard as they can.

God bless those Ukrainian defenders. Because it's a tough fight. And I fear for them, it's going to get even tougher. I think the Russians are on a timeline.

COOPER: General Pittard, it's interesting, because I mean, Vladimir Putin gave this televised order, not to storm the steel plant. I mean, obviously, we know Vladimir Putin. What he says is not often the truth about what actually he wants, or intends, or is going to do.

But it is extraordinary, just the juxtaposition, between him saying this, on camera, to his General, and then within days, the attack continuing? And it's at the point now we see this huge shelling of the plant.

PITTARD: Well, certainly, is a ruse. I mean, you can't believe what Putin says. Newsflash, he lies.

The problem is, as just mentioned, is the Russians are on a intense timeline, to have some kind of victory, by May 9. And the significance of May 9, it's the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Great Patriotic War, as the Russians call it.

But it's a huge celebration called "Victory Day." And President Putin wants to claim some level of victory. So, he wants to make sure that Mariupol falls by then. But it's probably not going to happen, because the intense courageous hand-to-hand combat, of the Ukrainians, who are in that plant.

COOPER: Retired Brigadier General Peter Zwack, appreciate it. Retired Major General Dana Pittard, really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Ahead, Randi Kaye takes us to a winery, across the border, from Ukraine, helping refugees escape, the war. That's next.



COOPER: At least 5.5 million Ukrainians have fled Vladimir Putin's war, according to the latest U.N. count. Thousands of those refugees have been taken in by a winery, across the border in Moldova.

Randi Kaye was there, and heard some incredible stories there.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the bombs started dropping, close enough, to see them, these refugees, from Ukraine, decided it was time to go. Tetiana, and her 13-year-old son, grabbed what they could, and fled their home, in Mykolaiv, heading for the border, with Moldova.


KAYE (voice-over): She tells me the sky was full of rockets, and they had to run to their car, and hide.

They ended up, here, at the Purcari Winery, about 15 miles, from the border crossing. At the start of the war, the winery opened its doors, to Ukrainian refugees.

KAYE (on camera): How grateful are you to be here?


KAYE (voice-over): She tells me, she is grateful, but anxious. The calm here scares her, because it was calm, in Ukraine too, she says, before the bombing started.

Eugen Comendant, is the Purcari Winery's Chief Operating Officer. He says, they've helped more than 5,000 Ukrainian refugees, housing as many as they can, at the winery, and putting the rest up, at nearby hotels.

EUGEN COMENDANT, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, PURCARI WINERIES: It's our duty, to help the Ukrainian people, as our duty, as Moldovans. Because the heroes, the Ukrainian heroes that are now fighting off, the Russian armies, they're also our heroes. They're also Moldovan heroes, because they're also protecting us, and our families.

KAYE (voice-over): Here, we also met Yulia. She fled Mykolaiv, Ukraine, too.

KAYE (on camera): How close do the bombings get to you?


KAYE (voice-over): Through tears, Yulia tells me, how the bomb hit her house, but they managed to escape, to the basement. They were lucky. This is what the house looked like, after being hit.

Yulia's daughter is here with her. But her husband stayed behind to fight. She tells me she's anxious, being so close to Transnistria, here, the breakaway territory, where about 1,500 Russian troops remain.


Eugen took me out to the vineyards, to show me just how close they are, to Transnistria.

COMENDANT: That over there, all you can see, that's Ukraine. And that one there, you see, that's Transnistria. And the rest is Ukraine. You realize how close the war is to us.

KAYE (voice-over): Corina Timofti helped coordinate the winery's refugee effort.

CORINA TIMOFTI, DIRECTOR OF TOURISM DEPARTMENT, PURCARI WINERIES: In the first week, here, in the restaurant, we made a real bedroom. A large one. They were sleeping here.

KAYE (on camera): They were sleeping in this room?

TIMOFTI: Yes, yes. Because the whole hotel was full.

COMENDANT: So, this is a guest book that we usually have for our guests.

KAYE (voice-over): This guest book, usually reserved, for paying winery guests, now filled with messages of thanks, from Ukrainian refugees.

COMENDANT: You see a lot of the blue and the yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. And, of course, they are messages of peace, and of thanking the Moldovan people, for helping them.

KAYE (on camera): And this one here means?

COMENDANT: "No to war."

KAYE (voice-over): Nyet Viyni (ph) it says, "No to war."


COOPER: And joining us now is Randi Kaye.

So Randi, what made the winery decide, to open its doors, to thousands of refugees?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, this winery is quite close to that border crossing, with Ukraine. And it really did play witness, to all of those - many of those refugees, coming across, from Ukraine, to Moldova. In fact, Moldova has taken in more refugees per capita than any other country, about 450,000.

But this particular winery, Purcari, is especially passionate about freedom. It's a great defender of freedom. Back in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, the winery came out with a special blend called the "Freedom Blend." And it represents - it has three grape varieties.

And it represents the three countries that are still fighting for their freedom, even though they're independent. That would be Moldova, where I am, Ukraine, and Georgia. And, as the Winery puts it, it has the heart of Georgia, the terroir of Moldova and the free spirit of Ukraine. So, this is a special blend that they're now re-releasing because of this war with Ukraine.

So, they're very passionate, about the people, passionate about the refugees. They would never turn their back on them, I'm told, by those, at the winery.

And it was really, it was also very emotional, for the employees there, because of all the refugees there.


KAYE: And they've actually now hired some of the refugees, to work there, as well, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Randi, appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Coming up, new details on the Alabama corrections officer, and inmate, who went missing, last week. What authorities are saying now, about their relationship, what happened in the days leading up to their disappearance? Next.



COOPER: We have new details, tonight, on the saga, surrounding, an Alabama inmate, and Corrections Officer, who went missing, last week.

According to the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office, corrections officer Vicky White, is no longer employed with the department, and she remains the subject of an active arrest warrant, for allegedly permitting, or even facilitating, the inmate's escape.

We have new insight, in the days that led up to their disappearance, and relationship. CNN's Amara Walker has details.


AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Correction officer Vicky White's patrol car, seen here, on surveillance, Friday morning, less than 10 minutes after she escorted Casey White, shackled and handcuffed, into the backseat of her patrol car, at the Lauderdale County Detention Center, and then drove off.

Authorities say, they were headed, here, to the Florence Square shopping center, nearby, where her getaway car was parked. A 2007 copper-colored Ford Edge that authorities say she purchased, and parked here, the night before, amidst the line of used cars for sale.

SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: We had a witness that saw it there, because he was looking at the car that was for sale. Noticed it wasn't for sale, or didn't have "For Sale" sign on it, what he thought was unusual. And when the news broke about, and that patrol car was found there, he called in, and said, "Hey, I saw this car out there."

WALKER (voice-over): More evidence is emerging that indicates the escape was planned in advance.

Court documents show the Assistant Director of Corrections, for this Northwest Alabama county, sold her home, two weeks prior, for just over $95,000, well below the current market value of nearly $205,000.

She moved in, next door, to live with her mother, who told CNN off camera that she had no idea what was about to happen, and that she just wants her daughter to come home alive.

The sheriff says the special relationship between 56-year-old Vicky White, and 38-year-old Casey White, who was awaiting trial on capital murder charges, may have started in 2020, while he was serving a 75- year prison sentence, for a series of crimes, including a 2015 home invasion. The two are not related.

SINGLETON: We do know that there was communication, between the two, other than when she was at work.

We think there was a connection there.

WALKER (on camera): A romantic connection?


WALKER (voice-over): And Sheriff Singleton had these words of advice, for the veteran corrections officer.

SINGLETON: Vicky, you've been in this business for 17 years. You've seen this scenario play out more than once. And you know how it always ends.

WALKER (voice-over): Vicky White, was set to retire, after 17 years of service. Her last day was supposed to be the same day as the escape.


WALKER (voice-over): Lauderdale County District Attorney, Chris Connolly, says he worked with Vicky, nearly every day, for those 17 years, and described her as the most reliable person at the jail.

CONNOLLY: I will trust her with my life. I really would. I thought that much of her.

WALKER (voice-over): While the U.S. Marshals Service says the two are dangerous, and could be armed, with an AR-15, and a shotgun, a warning from a woman, who's in hiding, after she says, she was targeted by Casey White, in that home invasion.

ON THE PHONE: 2015 VICTIM OF CASEY WHITE: If she is still alive, get the hell out. Run. Run. Run as far as you can.


COOPER: And Amara joins us now, from Florence, Alabama.

So, the Sheriff there said that they'd already had a setback, in the investigation. What happened?


WALKER: Yes, well, he was saying that the public was not supposed to know, Anderson, about this getaway car, this 2007 Ford Edge SUV. That information was released, yesterday, because it was an unnamed Police agency that inadvertently leaked that information, on social media. So, Anderson, the assumption now is that Casey White, and Vicky White, have probably ditched that Ford Edge SUV, and are probably now in a different vehicle, Anderson.

COOPER: Amara Walker, appreciate it. Thanks.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: News continues. Let's turn things over to Don, and "DON LEMON TONIGHT."


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Anderson, welcome back. It's good to see you, on American soil, and safe, and sound.

COOPER: Thanks.

LEMON: I got to say - listen, I wanted to interview him. I'm glad you got the interview as well. At least we had him on the air that - your conversation with Jim Obergefell?


LEMON: The plaintiff in the 2015 Supreme Court case, legalizing same- sex marriage, of course, nationwide. He is concerned that this draft ruling, overturning Roe, could put that right at risk.

What did you make of your conversation?

COOPER: Yes, I mean, his argument is essentially, Judge Alito voted against same-sex marriage of course nationwide.