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BlackRock CEO Warns High Inflation Likely To Last Years; UK Joins U.S. In Offering Long-Range Missiles To Ukraine; U.S., S. Korea Launch 8 Ballistic Missiles In Warning To N. Korea. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired June 06, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Another inflation warning coming today, this time from one of Wall Street's top CEOs, BlackRock's Larry Fink telling Bloomberg News he expects prices to stay high for years.


LARRY FINK, CEO BLACKROCK INC.: Now with greater recognition that inflation is not transitory, it is probably with us for a number of years.

And it's the type of inflation that, yes, I don't believe the Federal Reserve has the policy or the tools to do much with it right now, and I'm personally not blaming the federal reserve for where they -- where we are right now but I believe most of the problems we're living with today are more policy generated and supply generated.


BOLDUAN: Add to that, a Democratic member of Congress is speaking up about the damage inflation is causing too many American families arguing in a New York Times op-ed there is a way -- there is way more, that Biden can do to lower prices.

Joining me right now is the author of that op-ed, Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna. It's good to see you, Congressman, thank you for coming in.

You say that you support the ideas that President Biden is putting out there and pushing to try to help lower costs and people's lives but you also think there's way more he can do, like what?

REP. RO KHANNA, (D-CA): Kate, we need an all-out mobilization to lower the price. Every day, it shouldn't be that we're running through a brick wall. Here's what he could do.

He could appoint an Emergency Task Force directing the Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture to buy and sell essential products in food and gas to stabilize prices. Julian Salazar, who writes for CNN, a Princeton historian, endorsed

the idea and said, actually, it's one of the biggest things that the president could do to have a successful first term.

BOLDUAN: No, Biden and his team, they've struggled with this, what can you do, and what's out of your hands kind of issue in general with inflation?

Saying, on one hand, we've heard them say that they have ideas on how to help, but on the other hand, also saying that, pretty clearly that there is not much that they can do. Just two examples, let me play Secretary Buttigieg, as well as the president himself.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Price of gasoline is not set by a dial in the Oval Office. And when an oil company is deciding hour by hour how much to charge you for a gallon of gas, they're not calling the administration to ask what they should do. They're doing it based on their goal of maximizing their profits.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a lot going on right now but the idea we're going to be able to no click switch, and bring down the cost of gasoline is not likely in the near term, nor is it with regard to food.


BOLDUAN: So a lot of people think that they are stating the obvious here, that a lot of this is out of their hands, but do you think they are wrong?

KHANNA: I don't think it's fully in their hands but I think we have to try more unconventional approaches. FDR could have just said, well, this is out of my hands but he said, no, I'm going to try things and mobilize to help the American people in the time of economic recovery during the great depression.

During inflation, there are things we can do. There are things we've done in the past. The most obvious is that the government can buy critical supplies of gas and food and resell it to the American public without a profit so when the price spikes, we have that product to be able to sell more cheaply.

That's the idea behind the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That's the idea behind a lot of the Department of Agriculture's policies to have price stability for critical food like wheat, like eggs, we can do this and we shouldn't be doing it.

And the only other thing I would say is that we have to be willing to try things that may not be conventional in order to achieve the goal.

BOLDUAN: Have you talked to the White House about this?

KHANNA: I have. I've had good conversations with them. You know, they say, well, how do we know it will work? Of course, there's no 100 percent guarantee that a policy would work. But if it's not working, then try something else.

The other thing is, look, the big oil companies have made record profits. Sheldon Whitehouse and I have a bill saying tax some of those profits to give people a rebate so that they have some relief at the pump.

I guess my point is this. I support everything the president is doing but I don't think it's enough, that my constituents don't think it's enough. We need to every day be saying here are the two, three things we're doing to lower price.

And I don't have this view that just let the markets decide and if inflation is there and gas goes to six bucks, there's nothing we can do. I strongly disagree with that. I think there are roles that the government can play intervention in an emergency to bring price stability.

BOLDUAN: Really quickly before I let you go. A big focus also on the Hill this week is going to be the public hearings that are going to be getting started for the committee investigating January 6.


BOLDUAN: We've heard a lot of -- we've certainly heard some reporting of how this investigation has been going now for weeks and months. But really the public display that is going to be put forth is a major moment for this committee.

Just your take on what you think they can accomplish with these public hearings. Do you see this as the last best chance to show people or convince people how close the country came to the brink?

KHANNA: Kate, I do think these are going to be powerful hearings. So far, what we've seen is the prosecution and accountability have a lot of folks who came on January 6, stormed the Capitol, got caught up in a mob, and were engaged in the insurrection.

What I don't think the American people understand fully is how high up this one, how orchestrated the effort was at the White House to literally overturn the election results, to invalidate state results.

And I think what the hearing will show is that this was done at a very high level at the White House by a lot of people who really wanted to subvert American democracy, that narrative is going to come out.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thank you for coming in.

KHANNA: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up still for us, Russian missiles, they strike Kyiv as Vladimir Putin is issuing a new threat if the U.S. sends Ukraine long- range missiles. We're live in the war zone next


[11:41:13] BOLDUAN: Britain is now joining the U.S. in sending Ukraine more advanced rocket systems. Now, this announcement comes as Russia launches its first strikes in weeks on Kyiv and as Vladimir Putin has also issued a new threat to the west that he'll attack new targets if the U.S. supplies Ukraine with longer-range rockets.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is standing by. He's live in Kramatorsk, Ukraine. Ben, what does this new threat from Putin mean?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's interesting is that you quoted him as saying, if the West, if the United States, and the UK supply Ukraine with these long-range systems there, they will expand their sort of range of targets here in Ukraine.

The problem is it's not if. We heard last week that the United States is going to do it and this morning, we heard from the British defense ministry that they're going to supply similar weapon systems as well.

Now, in the past, President Putin had may -- has made similar threats over Western aid arms assistance to Ukraine and the consequences weren't as grave as we expected. But over the weekend, on Sunday morning, Kyiv saw its first airstrike -- or rather missile strikes in weeks and that was on a railway facility, just outside the capitol.

And British intelligence is interpreting that attack as perhaps an attempt by the Russians already to try to stop the delivery of Western arms to Ukraine.

And these arms are desperately needed in this part of the country, particularly about an hour and a half's drive from here to the east in the city of Severodonetsk, which has been a battle zone for weeks and weeks, but the fighting there has intensified.

Last week Ukrainian officials were conceding the Russians had been able to take over 80 percent of the city. Over the weekend, the Ukrainians launched a counter-offensive saying that they had taken back 50 percent.

But as of this morning, they say the Russians are back on the offensive, taking more ground. So really, it is street-to-street fighting. The problem is that there may be as many as 15,000 civilians caught in the middle, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Wow. It's good to see you, Ben. Thank you very much. Joining me now for more on what Ben has reporting, former U.S. ambassador for Ukraine, John Herbst. Also with us is retired brigadier General Steve Anderson. It's good to see you both.

You know, General, what do you think of this latest threat from Putin as Ben was laying it out? I mean, he's threatening a wider bombing campaign if long-range missiles -- longer-range missiles, I guess, head to Ukraine, but does seem to dismiss the latest weapons as, I don't know, nothing new coming from the U.S.

BRIG. GEN. STEVE ANDERSON (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Well, thank you, Kate. We definitely need to consider it seriously but we should not allow ourselves to be bullied. I mean, he's been doing this and he will continue to do this.

But he knows that he's got to win the information war that he's losing right now. And he -- I think most of the -- this kind of bluster is mostly to the people in Russia. We need to keep our attention on an eye -- our eye on the ball here. The attention span of the American public is somewhat waned, actually, rather significantly.

Nothing is more important than this conflict right now in the world right now. I mean, I get it on mass shootings and gas prices inflation in the light, but this represents an existential threat to our nation.

We need to continue to hold the line and support Ukraine with everything we possibly can to include continued arms shipments. I remind Americans that we were spending $300 billion a day 15 years ago in Iraq.

So the $40 billion that we spent thus far in Ukraine is really only four months of the war in Iraq. And again, this is a much more important unexistential threat to our nation.


BOLDUAN: And, Ambassador, I mean, there is, I guess we can call it a pattern of Putin threatening, bigger, bolder, more deadly action when it comes to moves by the West.

At the same time, as we've seen throughout this war, Putin is also ordered some of the most deadly actions without warning and often lying about it all along the way. What should the Biden administration do with these threats?

JOHN E. HERBST, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Kate, you're absolutely right. The Biden administration obviously needs to look carefully at what Putin says. But in fact, of the - the General is right that we have to stop Putin in Ukraine.

We can do that without one American life being at risk by sending the weapon systems that will, in fact, lead to a defeat of Putin's current defensive in Donbass. Putin is bluffing.

He's making these threats because he knows if we send more sophisticated weapons in the right quantities, the Ukrainian forces will blunt this latest Kremlin offensive.

So largely by bluff, he is trying to stop us. But your point is a good one that has escalated this conflict substantially without us doing anything.

BOLDUAN: And, General, maybe this has something to do with what we're talking about.

But you've got continued having fighting in eastern Ukraine right now, but also these first Russian strikes in Kyiv in weeks, mostly hitting what Ukraine is described as infrastructure, and facilities. What is Russia doing with this?

ANDERSON: Well, Kate, we're in the middle of a war of attrition, and you're going to see lots of ebb and flow.

I mean, many analysts such as myself have predict -- have been predicting this for months, that once the blitzkrieg that turned into a sitzkrieg, on the 24th of February was blunted and once the Battle of Kyiv was -- the Russians were severely defeated, then it turned into this slogging long war here, where neither side really can gain the advantage.

So the Russians have shown themselves essentially meant military incapable of conducting offensive operations, and maneuver warfare.

But yet the Ukrainians are badly outnumbered. They don't have the artillery and that's why we need to continue to support them. But that's why these lines have been drawn, we're in the middle of a war of attrition, it's going to be a lot of back and forth, we need to continue to support the Ukrainians. We're probably in the middle of a new Cold War.

That means months, perhaps years, and so we have to commit ourselves as a nation to keeping our alliances strong with NATO and continuing to support the forces of Ukraine to the maximum extent possible.

They're fighting a courageous fight for the freedom of the entire world. And we -- they deserve it and should get our support.

BOLDUAN: And speaking of NATO, Ambassador, I mean, NATO just began naval exercises in the Baltic Sea on Sunday with Finland and Sweden involved.

I mean there's more than 7000 personnel, 45 ships, 16 countries all involved. I mean, the official word is they're not -- these exercises are not being held in response to any specific threat, of course, but they seem to -- these exercises seem to look differently now.

How important do you think this is in the grand scheme of things?

HERBST: The exercise in the Baltic Sea are a very good idea. NATO is demonstrating its support for Finland and Sweden now that they've said they want to join the Alliance, and now that Putin has threatened them for their interest in joining the alliance.

And there, these are long, neutral countries, decades and decades-long neutral countries.

They want to join NATO because they realize that Putin's policy is very aggressive and dangerous to them. And that's why we go back to what the General said we have a vital interest in helping Ukraine defeat Putin because if Putin loses in Ukraine, his plans to go after the Baltic States, our NATO allies can go nowhere.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you both. Thank you very much for your time.

HERBST: Thank you, Kate. BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, the U.S. and South Korea, and a new show of force against the North -- against North Korea, details in a live report from the region next.



BOLDUAN: The U.S. and South Korea launched eight missiles in a unified show of force against North Korea's latest missile tests. Let's go to our CNN Paula -- CNN's Paula Hancocks. She's live in Seoul, South Korea with much more on this. Paula, what more are you learning about this?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, this was a real tit for tat. We saw on Sunday morning, local time, North Korea firing eight short-range ballistic missiles into the waters of the East Coast.

And then in response, the U.S. and South Korea did something very similar in the early hours of Monday morning, local time.

Now, we heard from the South Korean side, the Joint Chiefs of Staff here saying that even if North Korea is able to fire these missiles from different locations, they said we have the ability and readiness to immediately strike with precision.

So this is really a message to North Korea from Washington and Seoul to show that they would be able to strike those areas where the missiles came from if they wanted to.

Now what was unusual about North Korea over the weekend is the fact that there were eight missiles. That they were from four separate locations and they all came within about 14 minutes of each other, the firing.

Japan's defense minister said that that was unprecedented. So clearly the U.S. and South Korea feeling they had to have some kind of strong response to what they said. Of course, we don't know whether this would make any difference to Kim Jong-Un and his calculus.

Meanwhile, the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency says that they believe that one of the entrances to the underground tunnel where nuclear tests have been carried out in the past by North Korea has been reopened potentially to prepare for a seventh underground nuclear test. They said if that happens, it would be a cause for serious concern, Kate.


BOLDUAN: Yes. It's very -- just a really good reminder right there, Paul, of while the world's attention has moved to another part of the -- another part -- another region, largely cannot forget to focus on what's going on with North Korea at any time. It's good to see you. Thank you very much for that update.

Thank you all so much for being with us At This Hour. I'm Kate Bolduan. INSIDE POLITICS with John King starts after the break.