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Putin Falsely Blames West For Ukraine Invasion; Nationwide Manhunt For Missing Inmate, Former Corrections Officer; Senate To Vote Wednesday On Abortion Rights Bill. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 11:30   ET




BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Vladimir Putin invoking past Russian victories today as he tried to rally his people after nearly three months of Russia's war on Ukraine.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: Speaking a foreign language.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those who defeated the Nazis showed us an example of heroism for all eternity. This was a generation of victors and we shall always look up to them. Glory to our great armed forces. For Russia. For victory.


GOLODRYGA: Russia has failed to secure any major victories and suffered countless losses on the battlefield. Joining me now is Nina Khruscheva, she is the great-granddaughter of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

She is also a Professor of International Affairs at The New School. Nina, thank you so much for joining us today.

So, let me get your thoughts on Putin's speech and what we saw? As you know the significance of this day in Russia and previously in the Soviet Union cannot be overstated, Putin kept trying to tie today's current war on Ukraine with the Battle of the Great Patriotic War some 80 years ago.

Was he convincing enough for the Russian public?

NINA KHRUSHCHEVA, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, THE NEW SCHOOL: Well, it seemed -- I mean, I'm sure, I'm sure you watched it, and it seemed very subdued because usually there is an emotion of happiness, of victory of some sort of achievement and now it was as if they were going through the motions. I mean, they needed to hold a parade.


KHRUSHCHEVA: They didn't announce any major achievements. They didn't announce any breakthroughs. They just sort of counted that, you know, we've always been victorious.

We had -- we were forced to do it, we try to resolve it militarily -- I mean, sorry, we tried to resolve the Ukrainian crisis peacefully, we will not let -- America is to blame, NATO's to blame, and so on.

But it was a very kind of almost rational speech because we did it because we had to do it. It was done in over on in an hour, as you know, they canceled the air show in numerous Russian cities blaming bad weather, which was never -- I mean, I grew up in the Soviet Union, never it was a problem before because they would always clean the clear out the clouds, but suddenly, they couldn't do it this time.

So, it just seemed like they had to do it, they did it but really was not about convincing. It was what -- it was about stating the ground. And I even read in that speech knowing that Putin could ever be apologetic, but it was a little bit more than usual an explanation of why we had to do it.

And also this war is to prevent a global war, which sort of suggested to me that they're ready to somewhat finish it somewhere close enough.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. He did seem subdued and isolated. I mean, it wasn't just so long ago that you had other world leaders joining him on this day. In 2005, President George W. Bush actually traveled to Moscow to commemorate this day, and no longer.

He is isolated there in that country. But, Nina, while this war may end up being a long-lasting war of attrition, you know, Putin will not declare an Intuit until he can show at least some kind of victory.

I guess the question is, at this point, what would a victory for him look like? Is it officially taking Mariupol, is it a sham referendum for the entire Donbass, so what do you think?

KHRUSHCHEVA: It could be any of this. I mean, it's all in his head essentially, what could be declared victory? I don't know. I mean, you know, you mentioned 2005, oh, my God, that was centuries ago.

I mean, we are clearly not in that -- in that position at all. And in fact, they actually gave an excuses that it's not a -- it's not around anniversary, and therefore, we are not inviting world leaders.

But it really just felt like they just wanted to finish it quickly enough not to have some major disaster happen in the process and just be done with it and move -- and move on. I don't know what he will decide to declare victory.

In fact, he can -- when the rest of Mariupol is taken by the Russians, they can state that as a victory, they can stay to victory that the Kherson region is now operating in rubles and no longer and in (INAUDIBLE).

I mean, it can be -- it really can be anything. And it just does depend on how much he decides he inflicted enough pain on Ukraine, but also how much he actually wants to go back to Russia to somehow figure out how he's going to function what it is a pariah state in the eyes of essentially, almost the whole world.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. I guess, for now, at least we can take it as a bit of relief that he wasn't threatening nuclear war as he has in weeks past.

KHRUSHCHEVA: I will surely relieve.

GOLODRYGA: Nina Khrushcheva -- Yes, I am too. Nina Khrushcheva, thank you so much. And coming up, the manhunt for a missing inmate and a former corrections officer takes a new term. Police have recovered their getaway car in another state. I talked to the sheriff leading that investigation up next.



GOLODRYGA: Now to the manhunt for a missing inmate and former Alabama corrections officer. Investigators say the search for Casey White and Vicky White is now a nationwide effort.

Authorities recently found a car linked to the pair in a Tennessee tow lot and they -- this is now a new security video of Vicky White from a motel the night before she disappeared 10 days ago.

Joining me now is Rick Singleton, the Sheriff of Lauderdale County, Alabama. Sheriff, thank you so much for joining us again. I want to ask you, you know, Vicky White lived next door to her mother.

She spoke with her daily. They were said to be very close. Have investigators been in touch with Vicky White's mother over the past few days?

RICK SINGLETON, SHERIFF, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: They have. As a matter of fact, we have one deputy that the liaison between our office and her mother and we've been in constant contact with her.

GOLODRYGA: And has she shared anything of interest in a strange -- any unusual detail about what happened before Vicky White disappeared.

SINGLETON: She is like us. She's at a total loss. She did not know this about her daughter obviously. And she's very distraught. You know, very stressed out and you know, we're -- she'd been extremely cooperative with us on anything we've asked.

GOLODRYGA: So she seems surprised to see that her daughter is part of this manhunt right now.

SINGLETON: Absolutely. Just took her total new mass surprise.

GOLODRYGA: Earlier today, you mentioned that there's more video of Vicky White, a video of her actually shopping. What can you tell us about what's in that video?

SINGLETON: We know she was shopping for men's clothes in one of the local department stores. We also know that she was shopping in an adult store. [11:45:00]

SINGLETON: And so you know, we don't have to have copies of those videos but this was in the days leading up to the escape so it just tells us that this was very well planned and calculated, she had obviously had a change of clothes for him.

I don't know exactly what that was, but obviously, she will plan to -- plan this escape to the end. (INAUDIBLE)

GOLODRYGA: And shopping in an adult store as well. I know that you could not specifically say the nature of their relationship. Does that signal to you that they, in fact, are romantically linked?

SINGLETON: Well, if they weren't, I would assume they are now. You know the contact that we knew about that she had with him between the 2020 when he was in our facility, and when he was brought back on February 25 this year was by phone. They were in contact with my phone number in that period of time at other times.

GOLODRYGA: You also found what you believe to be the getaway vehicle about two hours north of the jail in Tennessee. What are you learning from that?

SINGLETON: Well, we think that it was probably not part of their plan and it probably through them occur, but that vehicle is random, is usually just about two hours north of town, we know they left Florence right around 10 o'clock that Friday morning, this vehicle was reported at 1:50, which is three hours and 50 minutes later, a two-hour graph, we had an hour and 50 minutes.

During that time, they obviously tried to spray paint the car so that means they had to stop somewhere and spend some of that time doing that. We don't know how long the car had been there when it was reported at 1:50 so it seems like it was just abandoned on the spur of the moment because of some kind of mechanical issue.

GOLODRYGA: You also note that they could have caught a ride with someone else. Given that, how possible is it that they're working with a third accomplice either by will or force?

SINGLETON: Well, at this point, of course, anything's possible. We really don't have any information or details about how they left that area, went play abandoned the car. You know, there are all kinds of possibilities. We're looking to every possible scenario that we can think of.

GOLODRYGA: Are you also looking into the scenario that they could have left the country at this point?

SINGLETON: I thought obviously, a possibility given the time-lapse, that's something we're also considered and trying to follow up on, especially with our Mexican and Canadian partners.

GOLODRYGA: So you're working with authorities in both countries, then? SINGLETON: Yes. The Marshal's fugitive task force is leaving no stone unturned and you know, they have resources nationwide, and then also in other countries so they're using all the resources at their disposal to help us locate Casey White and Vicky White and get them off the street.

GOLODRYGA: We now know that Vicky White allegedly used aliases to orchestrate this escape, including when she bought that getaway vehicle. If she can continue to be using these fake IDs, how does that complicate the search effort?

SINGLETON: Well, obviously, you know it does complicate it. You know, if he was using her own identity that would make it fairly easy to maybe find her. We do know she used a false identification to purchase a car here locally.

And she had two faults by being aware of I wouldn't be separate shocked if you hadn't have additional or new ones now. And I'm sure he probably has a false identification as well.

GOLODRYGA: Sheriff, given how close you said Vicky and her mother were and the fact that her mother is just as shocked as you are right now as to what's transpired over the past 10 days if Vicky White is listening to you that this her mother has a message for her.

SINGLETON: Do I have a message for her? You know, she needs to report herself to local authorities wherever she's at. She's still in my opinion at risk. Casey White is a dangerous man. He's supposed to be on medication.

Whether he's taking his meds or not, I don't know. He didn't leave the jail with any. So you know, and when he gets off his meds, he can -- he can be extremely dangerous. So --

GOLODRYGA: What med --

SINGLETON: For her own safety --

GOLODRYGA: What medication is he on?

SINGLETON: It's for -- it's to control his temper and those kinds of things. He has some issues that he's on medication for and when he's off his med, I'm told he can be extremely violent.

GOLODRYGA: Makes a search all that more significant and timely that they are found. Sheriff Rick Singleton, thank you so much. And coming up, the Senate plans a critical vote on a bill to protect abortion rights as the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v Wade. More details up next.



GOLODRYGA: A critical vote this week in the battle over abortion rights. The Senate is set to vote Wednesday on a bill that would codify abortion rights into federal law after a leaked draft opinion shows Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v Wade.

CNN's Melanie Zanona is live on Capitol Hill. So, Melanie, this would be a largely symbolic vote, no? Do they have the votes?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, you're absolutely right. But Senate Democrats are trying to go on offense here. They are pressing ahead with a vote that would not only codify a woman's right to an abortion but also ensure that health care providers have the right to provide the procedure.

Now, a similar bill failed earlier this year. It does not have the support of Republicans, including Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who do support abortion rights but believe this specific bill is too broad.


ZANONA: And it also doesn't have the support of all Democrats with Joe Manchin being opposed to abortion. But the passage is not the point here. Democrats want to use the strategy to put every Republican on the record that's because the Republicans have been reluctant to talk about this issue.

They want the midterms to be focused on crime and inflation, not abortion but no doubt abortion moving center stage here on Capitol Hill this week, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Melanie Zanona, thank you. And thank you so much for watching. INSIDE POLITICS starts right after this quick break.