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U.S. And NATO Allies Poised To Announce More Military Aid To Ukraine; Accused Buffalo Shooter Facing Hate Crime, Gun Charges; FDA Advisers Meet To Discuss Vaccines For Kids Under Age Of 6. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired June 15, 2022 - 11:30   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: As the war in Ukraine enters its fourth month, Russia is making more gains in the eastern part of Ukraine, President Zelenskyy imploring the West to send more heavy weapons. CNN has just learned the Biden administration is expected to announce a new round of military aid soon. CNN's Ben Wedeman joining us now live from Ukraine with more. Ben, good morning.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we understand that the United States is going to announce that they will provide a billion dollars in additional military aid to Ukrainian armed forces under these very difficult circumstances. They are going to provide according to that U.S. official, howitzers, artillery, ammunition, and coastal defense systems. Now, the other day, we spent a good deal of time with Ukrainian soldiers who were training in the use of U.S.-supplied light arms, and what is very clear whether you speak to ordinary soldiers or their commanders, is that what they need most, what Ukraine has needed most now for several months since the beginning of this offensive in the eastern part of the country is heavy long-range artillery.


WEDEMAN: The battle is still raging in one final corner of the city of Severodonetsk, which is about an hour's drive east of here. And that city has been bombarded for months now by Russian artillery, which, of course, the Russians have far more artillery than the Ukrainians. This situation has basically gotten worse and worse in the last two months. The Ukrainians will obviously be grateful that the U.S. and its allies are going to be announcing other packages in the coming days but the problem is they need this help and they need it now. Erica.

HILL: Yes, that's for sure. Ben Wedeman, with the very latest for us, Ben, thank you.

Coming up here, two officers killed in the line of duty in California as they respond to a call for help. The details are next.



HILL: Developing right now, the Justice Department just announcing federal hate crime and gun charges against an 18-year-old accused of killing 10 black people in a racist attack at a Buffalo grocery store. And we're just moments away at this point from Attorney General Merrick Garland holding a news conference. He arrived in Buffalo a short time ago. CNN's Brynn Gingras is there live for us with more this hour. Brynn?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erica, the Attorney General actually just left the scene here where I am in Memorial and he's now going to announce those federal charges formerly with other members of the DOJ. In about 15 minutes or so, 26 new federal charges against this 18-year-old shooter related to hate crimes and also firearm-related charges as you just laid out for your viewers.

And this complaint was filed a little -- you know, just about an hour ago or so in the Western District of New York and really gives some horrific details of the evidence that was collected by federal authorities in this case. Details, some that we knew, some that we did it, but all horrific and explaining why these hate crime-related charges can move forward, some of which include how this 18-year-old shooter was targeting black people inside this grocery store specifically picked it because of the zip code of this area, predominantly black community the fact that he fired 60 shots inside that store.

We learned that federal agents actually raided the suspect's home and in that home found a note where he apologized for his -- to his family for carrying out this attack and saying that he had to do it because of the future of the "white race," so, just a lot of details that we're learning in this criminal complaint. And, of course, with these new charges, they're in addition to state charges that the 18-year-old shooter was already facing, but this raises the penalty that he could face if convicted because now the death penalty is on the table again. We're going to get that announcement soon, Erica. And then we're learning that Garland and others will be visiting some of the first responders of that day of that horrific incident here in Buffalo that happened one month ago yesterday, Erica.

HILL: One month. Brynn, appreciate it. Thank you. I take you now to Southern California where two police officers are dead after responding to reports of a stabbing at a motel. Police say the fire -- the officers were fired upon when they arrived on the scene. Authorities say they were shot at in the room where the incident started, and then in the parking lot as the suspect fled, the suspect, authorities say was also shot and killed. We're also learning some new details about those two slain officers, one of them a multi-decade veteran of the force, the other had been on the job for less than a year. Both are being remembered as devoted family men dedicated to their community.

Nearly 100 million Americans at this hour facing excessive heat warnings and advisories from northern Florida where you might expect it all the way up, as you see there into Michigan. That is almost a third of the entire U.S. population dealing with this heat. CNN's Omar Jimenez live in Chicago now, with more. It is rough out there.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erica. It's hard to believe a day and a half ago, we're dealing with tornado warnings here in the Chicago area and now we are dealing with excessive heat. We're at one of six cooling centers located in the city of Chicago at community service locations just to try and give people some relief. And that's important because, of course, everyone has to remember not everyone has air conditioning here, and so it's not just cooling centers like this outside of the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours they've got these open, they're pointing people towards libraries, even splash zones to try and get again, some form of relief. I want you to take a listen to a doctor, in particular, who lays out how dangerous this heat can get and how quickly it can happen.


DR. SARA FRIEDMAN, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, ABBOTT NORTHWESTERN HOSPITAL: When you are not making sweat anymore, that means you are moving to a new phase because your body isn't responding the way it's supposed to respond. It can take days. It can take months. You can get kidney disease. You can get heart disease. It's not a little deal to get sick from the heat.


JIMENEZ: And, of course, the most vulnerable here, infants and the elderly.


JIMENEZ: Chicago, in particular, knows how deadly this heat can get. There is one particular heat wave in the 90s that killed hundreds of people as a result of heat-related deaths. Luckily, we're supposed to get some relief from this in the evening hours tonight, but until then, it's going to be a long hot day here in Chicago. It will be too much of the Midwest, Erica.

HILL: A very long day that's for sure. Omar, appreciate it. Thank you. I hope you can go cool off now. As we take a look around the country, Yellowstone National Park remains closed for a second day now after those record-breaking floodwaters triggered -- destroyed roads as well. Officials now say that part of the park may actually stay close for the rest of the year. CNN's Nick Watt has the latest from Montana.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erica, we are at the northern entrance to the park and this northern entrance is going to remain closed for some time, probably for the whole of the summer, perhaps even beyond. The problem? The Yellowstone River. About three months- worth of water barrel down this channel in the course of just three days. It was a late, late dump of snow. That early high temperature in the summer that melted that snow, add in some rain and this river rose to historic records, all-time highs.

Now, here where I'm standing, this used to be a home for National Park workers. We'll show you the video right now of that home being washed away. The other thing that was washed away, the only access road into the north of the park, which used to run alongside the Yellowstone River and has now been washed out in a number of places that could take months to repair. Now, thousands of people who were in the park, most of them have now been taken out. There are still some backcountry hiking -- camping groups. They've been in contact with officials. They don't appear to be in any great danger right now.

But climate change is wreaking havoc for the people who live and work here and rely on this park. And also for the thousands of Americans who want to visit this park, more than 2 million acres 1000 miles of trails, 500 geysers, the oldest national park in America, now entirely closed. They think they're going to be able to open the west and the south maybe in a few days, maybe in a week or so they might have to introduce a reservation system so it doesn't get packed. But this northern part, this is going to be closed for some time.

And there's another potential issue. There is still about 12 inches of snowpack up there. And high temperatures are predicted in the 60s and 70s even at altitude for this weekend. So that could mean more water barreling down the Yellowstone River, Erica.

HILL: Yes, more water. The last thing we need. Nick, thank you. Coming up here, vaccine advisors to the FDA discussing COVID vaccines for kids as young as six months old, details every parent needs to know next.



HILL: Happening now, vaccine advisors for the FDA, meeting at this hour to discuss and vote on COVID vaccines for kids under the age of five. Now, if authorized, that means the youngest kids could begin getting shots as soon as next week. The vaccine advisors voted to authorize Moderna's vaccine for kids ages six to 17, offering a second option there for parents in addition to Pfizer. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joining me now with more. This is a moment that so many parents have been waiting for, for the tiniest kids out there starting at just six months.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Finally, parents are going to be able to get a vaccine for their very young children. Let's take a look at what that efficacy data looks like, Erica. So first is Moderna. We have a Moderna and a Pfizer version of this. When they looked at children's blood when they gave them this vaccine, their antibody response to the vaccine was as good as it was in adults. So, the estimated vaccine efficacy in a trial with about 6000 children, when you look at two to five-year-olds, it was 36.8 percent. That is not great. When you look at six-month-olds to 23 months, it's 50.6 percent, better, but still, sort of barely over what would be really considered effective.

Now, if we take a look at the Pfizer vaccine -- COVID-19 vaccine for young children, again, good antibody response, just like adults, a clinical trial with 4500 children, the estimated vaccine efficacy against getting ill was 80 percent. It was better. We should also know Pfizer is three doses, Moderna is only two, so you get seem to be getting a better response with three doses than two.

I think it's also important to note here that while these are the -- this is preliminary data, this is -- this is not sort of the final data. Now, let's take a look at these doses. As we said, Pfizer is three doses. So you get one dose, then another one three weeks later, then another one eight weeks later. Moderna you get one dose and then another one four weeks later. That efficacy data is not as good and there's an excellent chance Moderna in the future will be a three-dose vaccine. The doses are way lower for six months to four years, it's three micrograms, and then you can see it gets larger as people get older. For the Moderna, it also gets bigger.

Now let's take a look. I think a lot of parents might be thinking to themselves, boy, you know, the kids that I've known who've gotten sick with Omicron. They weren't that sick at all. Why am I vaccinating my child with an experimental vaccine because it is experimental?


COHEN: Why am I doing this when children don't seem to get very sick? I want to show you some numbers that I think really explain the answer to this question. Take a look all the way to the right. That's about how many deaths there were for children with COVID about 600 last year. For measles, for mumps, for chickenpox for all sorts of other things before vaccination, far fewer children die. So in other words, it is worth vaccinating because you don't know if your child is going to be one of the ones who get sick, Erica.

HILL: Absolutely. Elizabeth Cohen, appreciate it and appreciate the update there. Thank you. Thanks to all of you for joining me this hour, INSIDE POLITICS with John King starts after this quick break. Stay with us.