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At This Hour

United Nations: 5.5+ Million Refugees Have Fled Ukraine; Manhunt Intensifies For Missing Inmate, Alabama Corrections Officer; 1/6 Committee Requests Information From 3 GOP Lawmakers. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET

Aired May 02, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The humanitarian crisis from the war in Ukraine is a catastrophe and getting worse by the day. The United Nations reports now that more than 5.5 million Ukrainians have fled the war-torn country and other 7.7 million had been displaced inside Ukraine. And the White House has announced that the First Lady, Jill Biden, will be traveling to Romania and Slovakia later this week to meet with Ukrainian refugees and humanitarian aid workers to shine a spotlight on this ongoing crisis.

And joining me now is Daria Khrystenko. She's one of the millions who have been forced to flee Ukraine since the war began. She and her 10- year-old son are now in Poland. Daria, thank you so much for being here. You're now in Poland, but you had to go through four other countries before finally landing in Poland. Can you just tell us about your journey, and what did it -- what did it take to get there?

DARIA KHRYSTENKO, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: Hello, Kate. Thanks for having me. Well, my story is short, I would say. As soon as the war broke out, I had to wake my son up and we immediately left Kyiv. We went to my parents' town and from there, we left to the Moldova border. It took us almost ten hours to get to the border and we waited seven more hours in the border. Then we went from Moldova to Romania, from Romania to Hungary, then Slovakia, and then finally we reach Poland.

Well, we're -- also, I was very lucky to very quickly find a job. And I'm a teacher so I am now part of these teaching programs sponsored by CARE and PCPM where I can work with Ukrainian kids.

BOLDUAN: And I want to ask you about that because that's a big part of your story now and what you're doing in your time and how you're giving back. But first, when you left with your 10-year-old son and your mother, I mean, what was it -- what was it like when you told him that it was time to go? How did you keep him calm the entire time? I mean, you said you're hours and hours waiting at each of these borders. I mean this clip -- this is a really scary journey. You didn't really know how this was going to end up. How did you keep your son calm this whole time?

KHRYSTENKO: Well, it was -- it was the best option for us because we were -- before we will leave Kyiv and we stayed several days at my parents' town where we were -- we were staying at bombproof shelters, simple basements, we heard these air missile sirens all the time and it was just logical to leave. And we were afraid to stay, so my son, he understood that this is an unsafe place. And we told him that we need to go to a safer place. And that's why he was -- he was very obedient and very good during the way. He knew that we are going to a safe place.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And since you've been in Poland, as you were mentioning, you've actually been starting to teach other Ukrainian refugees who connected this program through CARE which is sponsoring a program to hire Ukrainian refugees through the Polish center for international aid. What has that been like for you?

KHRYSTENKO: Well, it's all. It's a lot because when we came the first thing was to do have some kind of job and to me, as a teacher, of the -- being part of the teaching program, it was like the best option. And to help -- Ukrainian kids adjust and to feel at home, to feel normal again, this is like a big mission for all teachers. I'm not just a teacher. I am -- I'm a translator. I help them solve issues problems they have and not only them their parents as well. So I'm the connector between children, their parents, and school.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And it's a long journey to how all of you got there and it's going to be a very long journey no matter where you end up after this. I mean, you found safety now. But what is the future hold for you, Daria? How do you think about that in this moment? I'm sure it's really probably day by day but I mean, what's your biggest concern now for you, your son, and your mother?

KHRYSTENKO: Well, of course, the biggest concern is to return and to have a place to return to, to have home.


KHRYSTENKO: For now, our home is -- we still have home. We have our flats in Kyiv and in my mother's place so -- and we -- the biggest concern is to help Ukraine. This is our biggest concern, to help our country, to help people who are fighting no matter what, so --

BOLDUAN: And I'm sure -- do you want to -- do you hope -- do you hope and want to go back?

KHRYSTENKO: You know, to help through bridge our people and this is amazing.

BOLDUAN: Do you hope and want to go back to Ukraine?

KHRYSTENKO: Of course, we hope to go -- to go back to Kyiv. But we want to go back to safe Kyiv to --

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

KHRYSTENKO: To a free Kyiv.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Daria, it's a real pleasure to meet you. And I'm sorry it's under these circumstances. Thank you so much for talking to us.

KHRYSTENKO: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, an urgent manhunt now underway out of Alabama, police searching for an escaped inmate and the corrections officer that was last seen with him both missing since Friday. The latest update is coming in. That's next.



BOLDUAN: We have some breaking news coming in. Law enforcement in Alabama are holding a press conference right now to update on the search for a missing inmate and a corrections officer that was last seen with him. Their big developments are just announcing, let's get over to CNN's Nadia Romero. She's been tracking this and joins us now. Nadia, the sheriff just making a pretty big announcement about what they now think happened.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this is filling in some of those answers to many of the questions we had over the weekend. The share after reviewing some more video footage telling us that both the officer, Vicky White, and the inmate Casey White, not related. They were seen on videos of surveillance showing them leaving the detention center on Friday and walking straight over to the parking lot.

Now, we know that later, her patrol car was found abandoned in a shopping mall but the sheriff's office was having a hard time figuring out a timeline, so now they're starting to piece together exactly what happened as they tell us in a press conference that's happening right now. The other major development is about Officer Vicky White. The sheriff saying that there is a warrant out for Vicky White for permitting or facilitating an escape in the first degree.

This is one of the biggest questions that people had about this case and something that the sheriff just wasn't able to answer when asked, is Officer Vicky White an accomplished or is she a victim? Well, either way, the sheriff drawing a line in the sand saying that she violated the department policy, multiple policies there, and that she violated the law in his opinion, so that is why we have this warrant out for permitting or facilitating an escape in the first degree. They believe that she was a part of this escape, saying that all indications point to her being involved. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Nadia real quick on that because that's an important question, right? If she willingly helped him escape or if somehow we -- she was coerced or threatened? The sheriff not necessarily making that determination yet, but is drawing a line saying that she did not follow a protocol. Is that where you're hearing?

ROMERO: Yes. So there is this question about how she came about helping him. We know that she made up the story that he had a mental evaluation and that she wasn't feeling well. And we know that that wasn't true. There were no mental evaluations or hearing scheduled at all for the inmate. We also know that the policy was that two officers were supposed to escort this inmate at all times and she took him by herself, so those are things that she did, and that's where there's warrant comes from. But whether or not she was threatened or coerced by him, that's something that the sheriff says we simply won't know until they find her and they get to the bottom of it.

BOLDUAN: Very interesting. All right, this is ongoing right now, a press conference. Nadia, thank you very much for that. I really appreciate it. More updates to come. In the meantime, joining me right now is Matthew Fogg. He's a retired Chief Deputy of the U.S. Marshal Service. It's good to see you. It's been a bit. I really appreciate you coming back in. What do you think of this news that we're just learning this update from the sheriff that now there's a warrant not only for the inmate but also for this corrections officer?

MATTHEW FOGG, CHIEF DEPUTY, U.S. MARSHALL SERVICE, (RET.): Well, that's right, Kate, I mean, that to be honest with you, when I first heard you, I said, there's no way in the world that somebody's -- a female is going to walk in and take a male that 6'9'' of an institution. All about protocols, U.S. Marshals, everywhere I've ever worked in handling moving prisons and so forth, there's always got to be two people there involved.

And for her to come in and just hook this man up and they're hooking into scape, when I mean hook up, I mean, putting the handcuffs and all of that on him, and taking him out of here, that would have had to raise all kinds of flags, especially with a female taking a male. And then, of course, with his background and they had all types of information in their records to indicate that this man was a high risk. So it's just too many things that are here.

And then also, as my understanding, maybe I'm wrong that she had resigned or she had retired or something before this. If I'm -- maybe I'm wrong with that.

BOLDUAN: Put in some retirement papers, right.

FOGG: Yes, that's crazy. So if a retirement was in, it would seem like why would she have been there anyway? But the fact that I think what happened also is the level of command that she -- that she represented.


FOGG: She was a high official. I think deputy or somewhere up into high ranks. So I could see how, in the lower ranks, as being a command and control environment, you are always concerned with questioning someone that has rank over you because you're worried about what the repercussions that would be if it turns out that your questioning turns out to be wrong questioning.

So, all those might have come into play but it just says -- it is absolutely absurd to say that this woman took this man out by herself, protocols against all protocols, other officers watch this happen, and then they go away for six hours without anyone saying anything.

BOLDUAN: What does this search look like now for -- I mean, this man is considered dangerous.

FOGG: Right.

BOLDUAN: We know obviously, she had a weapon on her so there could be a weapon in -- at least one weapon involved. What does this search look like right now?

FOGG: Well, I mean, they're going through everything that they know of him when it comes down to who he's been in contact with, and they got all his jail records on who makes phone calls and so forth. They've got all -- they've got her records, probably by now to see numbers in places that she's called.

So, it's really just trying to narrow down on anybody that might know a little more about the whereabouts. What she does normally, where did she go? What -- you know, what they would have been saying to each other? Because it would have been some type of contact, but before now, we put between them two before the estate. So they're looking at all that.

Now, they're not going to tell us everything because, of course, anything they tell us that could compromise the investigation, but that's what they're looking at right now, and the surveillance cameras and everything. But I said a long time ago, as soon as I heard that there should have been a warrant out for her is, immediately.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Matthew. Thank you so much for being here. Appreciate it. We're going to be talking much more about this I'm sure.

FOGG: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Also developing at this hour, a former Philadelphia police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy has just been charged with murder. Prosecutors just made this announcement moments ago. CNN's Jason Carroll is here now with more on this. What are you learning here, Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A very disturbing story coming out of Philadelphia. And that officer in question, Officer Edsaul Mendoza, he's being held without bail. And this is because the district attorney says that this officer in question he says shot and killed Thomas "TJ" Siderio when he was essentially on the ground, and essentially unarmed.

This coming from the DA just a few minutes ago. It was back in early March, just to fill you in on what happened here, where Philadelphia's police commissioner announced that officer Mendoza would be fired after a 30-day suspension. This was after apparently the officer in question, Mendoza, they had determined that he had used an excessive use of force in the shooting.

A shooting that happened on March 1, the evening of March 1, when Officer Mendoza was apparently in an unmarked car in Philadelphia and at some point, the rearview window was shot out. He gave chase. And when he gave chase, he ended up firing his weapon and shooting Siderio.

Now, just a few minutes ago, Kate, the DA who was very specific during this press conference basically said that this young man who was 12- years-old, basically said he was on the ground in a push-up position, essentially given up when he was shot in the back. Mendoza now facing a multitude of charges including first and third-degree murder charges.

BOLDUAN: A mess. Jason, thank you.

CARROL: Incredible story, yes.

BOLDUAN: Incredible. Thank you so much. Much more to come on that. Coming up also, we have some more breaking news out of Washington. The House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection is now asking three Republican lawmakers to voluntarily cooperate with their investigation. We've got the breaking details. They're just coming in. we'll get that -- we'll get to that after the break.



BOLDUAN: For more breaking news in to CNN right now, the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection is now requesting more information from three Republican lawmakers. CNN's Jessica Schneider is in Washington. She's tracking all of this for us. Jessica, what is the committee asking for now?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the -- Kate O, Kate, you know the committee here once again ramping up their efforts to talk to Republican members of Congress and they're asking very broadly for any details these members might have about what transpired around January 6. So specifically, these members being asked by the committee to voluntary cooperate -- voluntarily cooperate, Mo Brooks out of Alabama, Andy Biggs out of Arizona, as well as Ronny Jackson out of Texas.

Now, the committee has sent these congressmen a letter asking for their cooperation, but as we've seen with Republican lawmakers in the past, they've asked to talk to House Minority Member -- Leader Kevin McCarthy. They've also asked in the past to talk to Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, they have so far refused. So it still remains to be seen if these members of Congress will cooperate.

But, Kate, crucially, you know these members in recent weeks and months, it's been discovered that they have some information that the committee might be interested in, for example, Mo Brooks. He, of course, was at the Stop the Steal rally. He spoke and we know based on reporting from our team and others. That former President Trump asked Mo Brooks to step in to help rescind the election results for 2020, so no doubt the committee is interested in hearing from him on that.

As pertains to Andy Biggs of Arizona, he was one of the ones who helped plan that rally. We understand he may have had meetings at the White House on or around January 6, and then there's Ronny Jackson of Texas. Remember, he used to be a White House physician for both Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Interestingly, there were text messages recently revealed that the Oath Keepers had texted about him and tried to see how they could help keep him safe in the midst of that Capitol attack.


SCHNEIDER: So now the committee wants to hear from Ronny Jackson, as well as Andy Biggs and Mo Brooks -- Mo Brooks but, Kate, if past is any precedent here, we likely won't see any cooperation from these three. They've tried to get previous members -- Republican members to cooperate. They haven't seen anything fruitful from that. We're still waiting from any sort of response from these three members of Congress. But again, the committee right now ramping up their investigative efforts as we head into May and expecting those first public hearings in early June. Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, let's see. Jessica, thank you very much for that. And thanks you all for -- thank you all for being here. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" starts after this.