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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Ukraine Using Facial Recognition Technology To Identify Bodies Of Dead Russian Soldiers; Two Russian Reporters Briefly Able To Publish Anti-War Articles On Pro-Kremlin Website; Shanghai Under World's Strictest COVID Lockdown And The Rules Are Getting More Extreme. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 13, 2022 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: New pictures, and a thank you, from Ukraine's Defense Ministry, we want to show you. These are some of the Howitzers, the U.S., has recently sent, the Ukrainians.

A note, from the Commander and the Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reads, "Special greetings and thanks from our artillerymen to the American people for the M777 Howitzer. My guys know the price of artillery. First of all, they wanted to convey that this is a high- precision and very effective weapon. Together to Victory!"

Earlier today, a U.S. defense official said that Ukrainian artillery is quote, "Frustrating," Russian efforts, to advance in the Donbas.

President Zelenskyy said tonight, almost 27,000 Russian soldiers are now dead, a number CNN can't confirm. He also says that six more settlements have been liberated, in the past 24 hours, more than 1,000, since the war began.

Tonight, we have former Director of National Intelligence, retired General James Clapper, to discuss a phone call that's been 84 days in the making. Top U.S. and Russian military leaders, talking finally, again. We'll discuss the importance of that nearly hour-long call, as well as the state of the war.

Also tonight, how Ukrainians are using facial recognition technology, on the battlefield.

Plus, the story of two Russian journalists, who were briefly able to defy the censors. They risked their lives to do it.

We start with a preliminary hearing that could become a first in this war, the prosecution of an alleged Russian war criminal, even as the war goes on around it.

CNN's Melissa Bell has the story. And we should warn you, some of the images, you'll see, are graphic.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Still at war with Russia, but already fighting for justice. Ukraine's opened its first war crimes trial. A 21-year-old Russian soldier, Vadim Shysimarin (ph), accused of shooting an unarmed civilian, on the fourth day of the war.

So far, Ukraine has identified 11,239 alleged war crimes, according to the country's prosecutor. They include the massacre of 300 unarmed civilians, in Bucha, and the killing of many hundreds of civilians, mainly women and children, in the more than two-month-long siege of Kharkiv.

IRYNA VENEDIKTOVA, UKRAINE'S PROSECUTOR GENERAL: We have now some evidences that commanders gave the orders, shot civilians. But from other side, we understand that ordinary soldiers have their own responsibility, for this atrocity.

BELL (voice-over): And that, says Iryna Venediktova, is a message that needs to be sent now, so that Russian soldiers understand, there will be no impunity, even as the fighting, in regions, like Luhansk, continues.

She says she's been helped in gathering facts, by the many foreign forensic teams, working in towns, like Bucha, evidence that will also be used by the International Criminal Court, as it investigates both Russia's overall aggression, in Ukraine, and the individual war crimes, allegedly committed, by Russian soldiers, which Russia denies.

LUIS MORENO-OCAMPO, FORMER PROSECUTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: And faith (ph) have to understand, they cannot use the armies, to invade another country, and they cannot use the army, to kill civilians.

BELL (voice-over): For now though, it is in this small courthouse, in Kyiv that Ukrainian justice will have its first say. But can a trial be fair during a war?


BELL (voice-over): Shysimarin's (ph) Ukrainian lawyer says he has faith in the impartiality of the country's judiciary, and that the court can be trusted, to make a reasoned decision. He has yet to enter a plea.

The Kremlin spokesman says he has no information about the case. But the size of the media pack inside, spoke to the interest, and emotion involved, on all sides.

Shysimarin's (ph) court translator, telling CNN, at the end of the hearing that she, for her part, felt no anger towards the 21-year-old, who could face life in jail. "After all," she told us, "the tears of Russian mothers, are salty too."


COOPER: Joining me now, from Kyiv, Ukraine, Melissa Bell.

Melissa, in your piece, you noted the prosecutor saying she wanted to send a message now, so that Russian soldiers understand, there'll be no impunity. How unusual is it, to have this kind of trial, at this point, in a war?

BELL: It's very difficult, to find a single example, in recent history, Anderson, because, often war crimes are tried, in another country, and after the event.

That's the point, about international justice, which is usually, where it takes place, is that it takes time, to collect the evidence. It is happens often many years after the war has ended.

Now, of course, the trouble with that, since war crimes began to be prosecuted, at the end of the Second World War, is that there is this sense of impunity, on the ground.

Yes, crimes can be judged after the event. But there tends to be, during the war itself, a sense that during war, terrible things happen. Terrible things are done by men to other men.

This time, what she's saying, the prosecutor, here, in Ukraine, is that if we can go through the Ukrainian judiciary, and I think what's remarkable, is that no one, just a few weeks ago, could have imagined that the system, the country would still be standing, to such an extent that its judiciary could function, in a normal way.


And the reason, she wants to get there quickly, with these trials, going through due process, using all the evidence collected, by the very many foreign forensic teams, gathering evidence, here, is that it sends an important message.

We talked about all those settlements, now being liberated. We've attempted (ph) to find evidence of war crimes, as they've gone. She's saying, to the Russian soldiers, still in Ukraine, "Look, you will be brought to justice." She believes that that can change the nature of the war, being prosecuted, here, altogether, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Melissa Bell, thank you. Appreciate it.

The U.S. Intelligence Community is undergoing a sweeping internal review, after what lawmakers believe were two critical failures.

One, according to sources, was the failure to accurately estimate how long the Ukrainians would be able to fend off Russian forces. Critics say that better Intelligence might have helped send more arms sooner, to Ukraine, had the U.S. believed that they had a fighting chance.

The other failure, an overestimation of how long it would take the Taliban, to take over Afghanistan.

One of the Intelligence agencies, involved in the review, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. I'm joined now by a former director, of that agency, retired Lieutenant General James Clapper, also CNN National Security Analyst.

So Director Clapper, I'm wondering what your initial reaction is, to this internal Intelligence review?

Should there be a reassessment, in how the U.S. goes about, assessing the strength, of foreign militaries, and perhaps the will to fight? Because that seems what these two things have in common. The Ukrainians had the will to fight. The Afghan government forces did not.

LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER (RET.), FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Anderson, that's exactly right. And this is what this whole issue boils down to, is will to fight. And we have never, to my knowledge, done that very well. I say, we, as a government, both the Intelligence Community and the Government writ large.

Going back, to my war, in the early 60s, we overestimated our clients, the South Vietnamese, underestimated the will to fight at the Viet Cong, and the North Vietnamese.

Fast forward to Desert Storm, we profoundly overestimated the will to fight the Iraqis. And again, in Afghanistan, overestimated the will to fight, of the Afghan military, and the viability of its government, and underestimated the Taliban.

So, we've done it again. Point is that this - the ball's thrown (ph) into the area of mysteries rather than secrets. And I think if there's a critique here, and (inaudible) believe in post mortems, especially when your vision turns 20/20, if you can learn any lessons.

I think, for me, the one lesson, in the Intelligence Community, is if you're going to make assessments, like this, predicting will to fight, before two combat forces, actually mix it up, in a combat situation, I suggest, is extremely difficult. So assessment, but caveat it by saying, once combat is joined, all bets are off.

COOPER: It is a hard thing, to estimate, because, many people will say that they are - want to fight, in a particular country.

In Iraq, there were plenty of people, who would have said, under Saddam Hussein, "Oh, I'm willing to fight and die for Saddam Hussein," but the reality of the battlefield was very different.

CLAPPER: That's exactly right. And that's what makes doing this predictively.

Again, you're trying to forecast, ahead of time, before a combat force actually engages. And I assert that it's difficult to do that, for one soldier, how a soldier is going to fight, let alone a soldier as a part of a unit.

And I just think it's exceedingly difficult to do. And if the Intelligence Community, figured this out long time, if it had been easy? Then, it figured it out a long time ago. And it isn't easy.

Now, I'm not suggesting, don't do their critique. I'm very interested in what led the State Department's Intelligence arm, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, who apparently thought the Ukrainians would put up a stiff resistance. It turns out they're right.

So, ought to look at that, and say, what led the State Department, to come to that conclusion? So, there could be some useful things come from this. But I'll just point out the difficulty, of assessing, will to fight, ahead of time.

COOPER: Yes. I didn't really know much about - I've read this, "The Times'" reporting, on the State Department unit that did have - they were sort of the outlier, in the U.S. Intelligence predictions, about Ukrainians' will to fight. And apparently, they also, on the WMD, in Iraq, they also had been an outlier, on that.

What is that unit? Where does that - I mean, is that as - in the world of Intelligence, I imagine that's a relatively small one?

CLAPPER: You're exactly right about your history, Anderson.

And my fingerprints were on that Weapons of Mass Destruction National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002. I was then, in the Intelligence Community, as Director of what was then National Imagery and Mapping Agency. So, I participated in that National Foreign Intelligence Board meeting.


And again, the State Department, along with the Department of Energy, dissented, from the majority view. The problem then was, and it makes me wonder, what happened here, that dissent was not prominently displayed, in the text of the NIE. Just is a footnote.

And the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, of State Department, has long been known, as a contrarian group. And I certainly paid a lot of attention to them, as DNI, particularly when they dissented. That's a small group. But they have assembled a very capable group of analysts. And they have a long-standing reputation for that.

COOPER: Yes. Really fascinating! Retired Lieutenant General James Clapper, appreciate it. Thank you.

Some of the more unique technology, on the battlefield, is not merely the weapons involved.

CNN's Sara Sidner has details of another kind of tech that Ukrainians are using, to identify the Russian, dead, and alleged Russian criminals. Now, we warn you, some of what you'll see about to - about to see, may be disturbing.


SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside this refrigerated train car, a gruesome sight. The bodies of Russian soldiers, packed and stacked, for storage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Look, this is looted.

COL. VOLODYMYR LYAMZIN, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE). SIDNER (voice-over): "Every Russian soldier, who is stored here, as a dead body, has committed a crime, against Ukraine," he says. "Storing the bodies of the enemy aligns with the rules of war, set out, by the Geneva Convention," he says.


SIDNER (voice-over): After the end of the active phase of combat, the parties must exchange the bodies of dead military. But they have to try to identify the dead men first. This is where the Ministry of Digital Transformation comes in.


SIDNER (voice-over): "We have identified about 300 cases," he says.

They do it by using a myriad of techniques. But the most effective has been facial recognition technology. They upload a picture of a face. The technology scrubs all the social networks.

SIDNER (on camera): It's really fast.

SIDNER (voice-over): Once they have a match, they go one step further.

FEDOROV (through translator): We send messages to their friends and relatives.

SIDNER (on camera): These are often gruesome photos, of dead soldiers. Why do you send them to the families, in Russia?

FEDOROV (through translator): There are two goals.

One is to show the Russians, there's a real war, going on here, to fight against the Russian propaganda, to show them they're not as strong, as they're shown on TV. And Russians really are dying here.

The second goal is to give them an opportunity, to pick up the bodies, in Ukraine.

SIDNER (voice-over): They do get responses from Russian families.

SIDNER (on camera): They're responding with basically saying, "You will be killed. I will come. And I will also take part"--

FEDOROV: Yes, yes.

SIDNER (on camera): --"in this war."

FEDOROV (through translator): 80 percent of the families' answers are, "We'll come to Ukraine ourselves, and kill you," and "You deserve what's happening to you."

SIDNER (on camera): What about that 20 percent?

FEDOROV (through translator): Some of them say, they're grateful, and they know about the situation, and some would like to come and pick up the body.

SIDNER (voice-over): The technology is not just being used on the dead. It is also being used, to identify Russian soldiers, who are alive, some of whom are being accused of war crimes.


SIDNER (voice-over): "We have established the identity of one military man. We have a lot of materials, irrefutable evidence," this prosecutor says.

This is footage of the Russian military man he's talking about. He says he was caught on video, in Belarus, trying to sell items, he had looted, from Ukrainian homes.

But his alleged crimes go far beyond that. The soldier is accused of taking part, in the execution of four Ukrainian men, with their hands bound behind their backs.

CNN obtained new video, of the scene, just before shots were fired. You can see what appears to be soldiers standing around, and a man on his knees, on the ground, to the right of them.

Prosecutors say, the soldier was first identified, by the technology, and then by a Ukrainian citizen, who said this soldier tortured him, after entering his home.

KRAVCHENKO: Photo material.

SIDNER (voice-over): "We showed these photos to the witnesses and victims. They identified the specific person, who was among other Russian military personnel, who killed four people, in this particular place," the prosecutor said.

The end result of all their investigations they hope will be a full record of what happened in Ukraine, and the proof they need, to prosecute those, who committed crimes, against its people.


COOPER: Sara, did any of the Ukrainian officials, you spoke with, express guilt, or concern, about sending graphic photos, of dead sons and fathers, back to the soldiers of families, in Russia?

SIDNER: I'm glad you asked me that question, because I did ask that question, to the Head of the Ministry that's been sending these photos. And the response was pretty stark.

The response was "No." He said, basically, "Look, they came here, to fight with us. They came here to kill us. They made their choice. And it is our duty, to try and figure out who they are. And this is one of the ways to do that."

[21:15:00] But they are using this, as a two-pronged approach. One, to try and identify these men, and to try and alert the families, about what happened, to their loved ones, and give them a chance, if they want to bury them, at a later date, when the war is over. And two, they're trying to use it, to fight against propaganda and disinformation.

And they are using that two-pronged approach with this, for every single person that they identify, Anderson.

COOPER: Is there - do they have any concerns that the photos may galvanize people, in Russia, further against Ukraine?

SIDNER: Look, they're hearing that. He said, 80 percent of the time, the people that they talk to are angry. They say things like "We're going to come over and, and kill you ourselves. And we're happy this is happening to you. And my son or father, or husband is a hero." And so, there're certainly that response from Russia.

But, from their perspective, here, in Ukraine, this is what they have to do, to try to identify the bodies. And this is just one more prong to their approach. And so, they're not going to stop doing it.

They have, so far, identified 300. But, as you know, there are thousands of dead soldiers, and some soldiers, who are still alive that they are looking through with this process.


SIDNER: Anderson.

COOPER: Sara Sidner, appreciate it. Thanks.

Still to come tonight, a conversation with those two Russian journalists, I mentioned, who published anti-war articles, on what was supposed to be the biggest day of the year, for Vladimir Putin, and his defense of the war, in Ukraine. They risked their lives to do it. We'll talk to both of them.

Later, a look at a hotly-contested Senate contest, in Pennsylvania. Tonight, the front-runner in the Democratic contest, and the dilemma, he presents, for Democrats.



COOPER: On Monday, as Russia celebrated a symbolic holiday, to honor the Soviet victory, over the Nazis, Victory Day, they call it, a day that Vladimir Putin also used, to defend his war, in Ukraine, two Russian journalists broke through their country's harsh censorship laws.

They managed to post anti-war articles, to a pro-Kremlin news site, where they worked. The articles were taken down, almost immediately.

They claimed Russian officials, were lying, to relatives, of those killed, on that sunken Russian warship, and accused Vladimir Putin, of launching one of the quote, "Bloodiest wars of the 21st Century."

Joined by those two reporters, who did this, Aleksandra Miroshnikova, and Yegor Polyakov.

Yegor, I understand you both decided to do this, around the same time. How did you - how did you come to that decision? Why did you do this?

YEGOR POLYAKOV, RUSSIAN JOURNALIST: Because of the conscience, because of the people, who are dying, right now, in Ukraine, because of - you know, there is no good decisions for rationale. So, for the future of Russia, of course, again, something like that.

COOPER: Aleksandra, I mean, you obviously knew the risks that you were taking. Why did you decide to take this step?

ALEKSANDRA MIROSHNIKOVA, RUSSIAN JOURNALIST: Because I cannot continue like this anymore. And I had no other choice, but to do this.

And I know about the consequences, and the risk that I took. But this is the war, and everyone is suffering, people suffering in Ukraine. So, Ukrainian people are under much greater risk than I am, right now. So, I suppose that's why.

COOPER: And Aleksandra, did you know that Yegor was thinking, about doing this, as well? Or how did you guys connect on it?

MIROSHNIKOVA: I didn't know. But I had a plan. And I respect, Yegor. And I can't just quit job like this, and not say a single word to Yegor, because he gave me this job, and I was grateful for this.

So, I came to him, and I say that, "I'm going to quit, and I am going to do this - with this plan." And he said something like, "That's a great plan. But I have something better. So let's help you."

COOPER: Can you just talk about the decision, the process that you went through? Because obviously, you know the risks. You know the dangers, to yourself, to other colleagues, to your families. Can you just talk about your decision-making?

MIROSHNIKOVA: I honestly don't understand--

POLYAKOV: For me--

MIROSHNIKOVA: --what other choices do we have. Because it's just unbearable, to see what happened - what is happening in Ukraine, right now, and just stay silent, and doing nothing. That's - it's impossible, for me.

COOPER: And Yegor, for you?

POLYAKOV: The most difficult thing was to live with two lives, during this period.

COOPER: To live with two lives?

POLYAKOV: Yes. When you work, as a typical editor, and thinking about your plan? It was really difficult. It was a great stress. But still, I am agree with Aleksandra that there is no excuses. Even risks for me, for our relatives, for our friends, colleagues.

COOPER: And Aleksandra, how will you support yourself? How - what will you do now, do you know?


MIROSHNIKOVA: I don't know. I am doing nothing right now. And I don't want - and I don't know what to do in the future. I am just trying to wake up at the mornings, and live through the day. That's all I am doing, right now.

COOPER: Are you fearful?

MIROSHNIKOVA: Yes, of course. But fear is just an emotion. We can't let an emotion define our actions. So, of course, I'm a little bit fearful. But OK. Fear is just an emotion. I have many emotions in my life.

COOPER: Yegor, do you have any regrets?

POLYAKOV: No. No regrets. As far as, already said, there is no excuses for doing nothing. There is no excuses for not to speak about it, for silence. There is no excuses just to live longer, and think, "OK, that's something that don't disturb me," or something like that.

I think that people, all over the world, all over the civilized world, should do something, and should answer question, what they can do, not why they can't do.

COOPER: Aleksandra, what do you want to say to people?

MIROSHNIKOVA: I absolutely agree with Yegor. And I think that even people, inside Russia, can do something.

And some people do a lot of things. There are amazing people in Russia. For example, this week, a few activists, were arrested, in Russia. Their names is (inaudible). They were activists in anti-war movement. And they were arrested, this week. And they do something.

But even regular people, who don't have enough power, or enough bravery, to do such things, they still can do something, maybe a little thing, maybe a donation, to some charity fund, for Ukrainian, maybe to help Ukrainian people, who now are in Russia but - so even small things are great. So, people can do something.

COOPER: Yes. Aleksandra and Yegor, I really - it's an honor to talk to you. You're very brave. Thank you for talking with us.


POLYAKOV: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, with protesters outside Supreme Court justices' homes, and a leaker, inside the court that Chief Justice John Roberts struggles to maintain order. A look at what maybe his greatest test, after more than 15 years atop the nation's highest court.



COOPER: Abortion rights supporters, plan rallies, across the country, tomorrow, fearing that Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe v. Wade, after the draft opinion leak.

Tonight, Republicans, angry about the recent protests, outside justices' homes, are hoping a law, from 1950, will put an end, to the demonstrations. The federal statute makes it illegal to picket, or parade, with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or a court officer. A law, they're demanding, Attorney General Merrick Garland enforce.

Meanwhile, days after the Senate passed a bill, to extend security, to justices' families, House Democrats want to expand that protection, to staff and clerks. An attorney, in Fairfax County, Virginia, where some justices lives, tells CNN, he won't prosecute those peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.

As we watch tensions, on both sides, of the abortion battle, heat up, the Chief Justice of the United States, has to continue, try to keep the court functioning.

Paula Reid on John Roberts' challenge, and the path that led him to this moment.


CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, SUPREME COURT: We do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle. We do not caucus in separate rooms. We do not serve one party or one interest. We serve one nation.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Known for brokering compromises, Chief Justice John Roberts appears to be the only route, to a deal?



REID (voice-over): That preserves some nationwide right to abortion.

Sources tell CNN that Roberts did not vote, with fellow conservatives, who signed on to a draft opinion, reversing the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. That, and the draft's unprecedented leak suggest Roberts has lost control of the court, he's led, for nearly 17 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you plan to investigate the leak?

REID (voice-over): Roberts says the court is investigating the leak. And he's called the breach absolutely appalling, and says he's worried one bad apple, had tainted people's perception, of the nation's highest court. (PEOPLE PROTESTING)

REID (voice-over): On Thursday, at a D.C. area Law School, Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the opinion, didn't address the draft. But a student asked, how the justices were getting along, in these challenging times.

Alito dodged, saying "This is a subject I told myself I wasn't going to talk about today regarding, you know - given all the circumstances. The court right now, we had our conference this morning. We're doing our work. We're taking new cases. We're heading toward the end of the term, which is always a frenetic time as we get our opinions out."

Now, Roberts is on the defensive, a place he has rarely occupied, during his undaunted ascent to the court.

Growing up in Indiana, and educated at Catholic institutions, he attended Harvard, for undergrad and law school. Roberts became a star appellate advocate. And, in 2005, President George W. Bush, nominated him, to the Supreme Court.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that Democrats and Republicans alike will see the strong qualifications of this fine judge.


REID (voice-over): During his confirmation hearing, Roberts laid out his view, on the role of a judge.

ROBERTS: They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.

REID (voice-over): In his first decade, as Chief Justice, Roberts led the 5-to-4 conservative bloc, as it lifted campaign finance regulations, in the 2010 Citizens United case, and rolled back voting rights protections.

His first major clash, with fellow conservatives, on the bench, came in 2012, when he cast the vote that saved former President Obama's Affordable Health Care Act.

Then, former President Trump transformed the court, with the appointment of justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I like him and I respect him. But I think we have to use some commonsense.

REID (voice-over): Trump repeatedly disparaged the judiciary, and undercut Roberts, and his message of impartiality.

TRUMP: This was an Obama judge.

REID (voice-over): Prompting Roberts to issue an unusual rebuke, of a sitting president. "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges."

With a 6-to-3 conservative super-majority, Roberts will have an even tougher time, convincing colleagues.


REID (voice-over): Not to completely overturn Roe v. Wade, despite his warnings, during oral arguments, about ignoring long-standing precedents.

ROBERTS: If we look at it from today's perspective, it's going to be a long list of cases that we're going to say were wrongly decided.


COOPER: Paula Reid joins me now.

Where does this go from here, Paula?

REID: Well, Anderson, the court insists, this draft is not the final decision, of the court. And based on his past patterns, Roberts could still privately be writing an alternative opinion, and sharing it, with some of the justices, to see if they would possibly sign on.

Now, on Monday, the court is expected to issue orders, and opinions. But it's highly unlikely that they would release this abortion opinion. But all eyes will be on the justices, for the next month and a half, as they finish out the term, and the nation waits, for this critical decision.

COOPER: Paula Reid, appreciate it. Thanks.

Ahead, the fight for the control of Senate. A look at the Democratic front-runner in Pennsylvania. But the question is, will his politics help or hurt his chances? That's next.



COOPER: Tonight, we continue to look at one of the most hotly- contested election primaries, in the nation, next week, one that could make the difference, in controlling the U.S. Senate.

Last night, we showed you, how the Republican race in Pennsylvania, may be in for an upset, with a longshot candidate, surging against a field that includes the former President's pick.

The Democratic contest looks clearer. But tonight, Kasie Hunt shows us how even if their front-runner wins the nomination, it could create a challenge of its own, for the Left, heading into the fall.


KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST (voice-over): Standing six feet eight inches tall, in gym shorts, and a hoodie, you'd never assume John Fetterman is a politician, let alone the Democratic front- runner for Senate.

LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN, (D) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Your County - is your county a Blue county?


HUNT (voice-over): Greeted like a celebrity, at a local bar, here.


HUNT (voice-over): The tattooed Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor is the heavy-favorite to win Tuesday's Democratic Senate primary, here, in swing state, Pennsylvania.

FETTERMAN: We have to flip this seat.

HUNT (voice-over): That will be tough for any Democrat. Just 33 percent of Pennsylvania voters say President Biden is doing a good job. And because this race could decide control of the Senate, Republicans are prepared to pour in millions of dollars, airing attack ads, even tougher than the ones he's faced from his own party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans think they'd crush socialist Fetterman.

HUNT (voice-over): Fetterman supported Bernie Sanders, for President, backs legalizing marijuana, and used to call himself a progressive.

HUNT (on camera): You did say in 2021, "I've run as a progressive, before it was cool to do so."


HUNT (on camera): So, why won't you say you're running as a progressive now?

FETTERMAN: Because the party has shifted to my platform.

HUNT (voice-over): Republicans see his lead, and have already started their attacks, on issues, like abortion, immigration and crime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He even wants to reduce jail time for murderers. John Fetterman, too dangerous for Pennsylvania!

HUNT (on camera): You've worked really hard to help--


HUNT (on camera): --free people, from prison.


HUNT (on camera): Are you concerned at all that your record on that is going to come back to bite you--


HUNT (on camera): --in general election?

FETTERMAN: And you know what? If it is, they can bring it on.

HUNT (on camera): Do you think our southern border is adequately secured right now?

FETTERMAN: I've always been an advocate, for a secure border, but a compassionate and commonsense immigration reform.

HUNT (on camera): Let's talk about abortion, for a second. Do you support any restrictions on abortion?

FETTERMAN: I don't. I've always believed--

HUNT (on camera): Even in the third trimester?

FETTERMAN: I believe that choice is between a woman, her doctor, and a god, if she prays to one.

HUNT (voice-over): Republicans are guaranteed to use his policy positions against him. And the national mood gives the GOP a clear advantage against any generic Democrat.

But John Fetterman is anything but generic!

FETTERMAN: Basic core democratic principles, I don't even think they're democratic. I think they're just universal truths.


FETTERMAN: Universal truth, you know?


FETTERMAN: Can you live on $7.25 an hour?



HUNT (voice-over): It seems like, to some Democrats, before you may have seated blue-collar voters, here, in Pennsylvania.

FETTERMAN: Not this campaign, you know? We don't change our message or we don't pander. But we talk about those core universal principles and values. And we show up in every community, some of the reddest counties.

HUNT (voice-over): And Republicans have their own potential vulnerabilities.

FETTERMAN: Think of what the alternatives are, you know? A weirdo celebrity doctor? TV doctor?

You know, this is my third statewide race. And I never thought I would have this as a flex, running statewide in Pennsylvania. But I can say, I live here!


HUNT (voice-over): Celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz is the most famous contender, in a brutal three-way primary that's damaged him, and opponent, David McCormick, possibly clearing the way, for Kathy Barnette, who's running by trying to out-MAGA her rivals.


FETTERMAN: In our hyper-divided political world, where it's ultra- MAGA, or reasonable political beliefs, where you can have some mild disagreements, we believe we're going to be coming down on the right side of history and policy. And that's the kind of campaign that we're running.


HUNT: Whether Fetterman can win a general election, is going to depend on who he's running against, on the Republican side. But it also depends on how excited Democrats are going to be, to get out and vote for him.

Black voters, in particular, they're a very important part of the Democratic base, in Pennsylvania. And Fetterman may have some work to do, after he endured attacks, from his primary rivals, over a 2013 incident, when he confronted an unarmed Black jogger, with a shotgun.


COOPER: Kasie Hunt, thanks.

Coming up, China's strict COVID policy has become a nightmare, for millions of residents. Some, having their doors knocked down, kicked in, forcibly taken, into government quarantine facilities, where thousands of beds are crammed together. And others, still under strict lockdown, banned from leaving their homes, and neighborhoods.

We'll have the latest, next.



COOPER: China's still battling a wave of COVID outbreaks. The government reported nearly 2,500 new COVID cases, Thursday, with cases in Shanghai rising from around 1,500 to more than 2,000.

The rise in cases is certainly raising alarm, as China continues to enforce more than a month of lockdowns, and mass testing, causing frustration, and pushback, from residents.

CNN's Selina Wang has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Clouds of disinfectant sprayed over every surface. This is what's happening, to the homes of people, who test positive, for COVID, in Shanghai.

The metropolis has been under the world's strictest lockdown, for more than a month. But the rules are only getting more extreme.

Before, only positive COVID cases, and close contacts, were sent to quarantine facilities, like these, thousands of beds crammed together, or just camping on the floor.

But now, entire apartment blocks, are being forced out of their homes, over just one positive COVID case, sent to prison like facilities, like these.

This video shows Shanghai residents, arguing with police officers, who showed up to take them to quarantine, after someone on their floor tested positive. The officer says, while spraying disinfectant, quote, "It's not that you can do whatever you want, unless you are in America. This is China. Don't ask us why."

Residents, who've tested negative, and are vaccinated, and boosted, are terrified, of being rounded up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, our neighbors do not want to go. None of us want to go.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we don't want to get COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it's safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are putting us in danger.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are endangering us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is this (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your CDC does not know how to run a country.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want us to (Bleep) die in China? To get COVID and die because you think this is the right way to make us go with other sick people?

WANG (voice-over): CNN cannot verify the identity of the speakers, or authenticity of this call that went viral, on Chinese social media.

Police have even kicked people's doors, to pieces, to take them away, to quarantine. Some buildings are banned, from placing any online orders, even food.

Chaos and fighting, outside of this Shanghai apartment. Residents claimed, they weren't given enough food. And some of the COVID workers, beating the residents, to the ground.

As outrage grows over new restrictions that crushed the last bit of freedom people had left, China's Supreme Leader Xi Jinping has vowed to double down on its zero-COVID strategy, and punish anyone who doubts it.

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: When we talk about the zero-COVID strategy, we don't think that it's sustainable.

WANG (voice-over): The World Health Organization Chief's comments were swiftly censored, in China, along with the desperation people have shared online.

In China, zero-COVID has turned into an ideological campaign, to show loyalty, to the Communist Party. At least 31 cities, in China, are under full or partial lockdown, impacting up to 214 million people, turning cities into virtual prisons, all in the name of zero-COVID.


COOPER: Selina, what about you? I know you've been in mainland China. What's your experience been like?

WANG: Well, Anderson, I'm actually just wrapping up a 21-day government-mandated quarantine, because I recently flew into this country, from abroad.

So, I've been COVID-tested, temperature-checked, countless times, since I've gotten here. I can't turn on the AC, because they're worried about COVID going through the vents. I can't open the door, except for to pick up the three meals, they provide, every day.

These measures, they may sound extreme, Anderson. But this is the reality of zero-COVID China. And the country stands alone, in these extreme policies, as the rest of the world is learning to move on, and live with COVID.

But, in China, right now, anyone who criticizes this policy, even health experts, and scientists, are immediately censored. Critics here say that zero-COVID is more about politics than science.

And, in Shanghai, so many are more fearful of the COVID-19 controls, than the virus itself. People caged-in indefinitely, were forcibly sent to quarantine. And the fear is that this deepening repression, is here to stay, Anderson.

COOPER: So wait, so you're in - if you're in your apartment, you can't turn on the air condition, because the government is concerned about COVID coming in through the air condition?

WANG: Exactly. Anderson, I'm actually in a government quarantine hotel. So immediately, when I got off the airplane, I got another COVID test. And a bus took me two hours away from the airport, to this quarantine hotel.

And once, when they opened the door, and sent me here, I haven't been able to step out ever since. There is a fear in China that if you open your window, if you go through - if you have the air-con on that COVID could go through the vents.


There's also disinfectant outside of this hallway. I can hear it. I can smell it. They're spraying it in the hallway, every few hours. A lot of these policies, not exactly science. But still--


WANG: --adhere to, extremely strictly, here, in China.

COOPER: Wow! Selina Wang, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next, a look into a new CNN Special Report, analyzing Russian President Vladimir Putin's motivation, for invading Ukraine.


COOPER: Why is Vladimir Putin trying to destroy Ukraine? And can he be stopped? A new CNN Special Report, looks to experts, for answers, and analyzes Russian President Putin's motivations, for invading Ukraine.

Fareed Zakaria's documentary, "INSIDE THE MIND OF VLADIMIR PUTIN," airs this Sunday, at 8 P.M. Eastern, on CNN.

The news continues. Let's turn it over Don and "DON LEMON TONIGHT."


DON LEMON, CNN HOST, DON LEMON TONIGHT: Anderson, thank you very much.

This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. And we have gotten news, on big stories, here, and around the world.

In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tonight, saying, Russia has lost almost 27,000 soldiers, in its unprovoked war.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Today, we can report on the 200th downed Russian military aircraft. Russia has not lost so many aircraft in any war in decades. And Russia has lost almost 27,000 soldiers.


LEMON: Now, I need to tell you, CNN cannot independently confirm that number.