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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Putin Defends Ukraine Invasion, Does Not Signal Escalation; Official: Biden Tells Top National Security Officials Leaks About Intel Sharing With Ukraine Must Stop; Schumer Plans Wednesday Vote For Bill To Codify Roe V. Wade; Wall Street Sharply Lower Amid Inflation Fears, Tech Selloff; Study: Rise In Gun-Related Injuries Strains Overburdened Hospitals. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 16:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Investors are concerned about inflation and a possible recession.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Tech stocks took a beating today. The Nasdaq is down more than 4 percent. S&P 500 is on track to finish at a 13-month low. Last week was the fifth straight of losses for all three major U.S. indexes.

CAMEROTA: Okay, and THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: If Putin had new plans for Ukraine, he did not appear to drop any hints today.

THE LEAD starts right now.

In grand fashion, Putin used Russia's World War II victory commemoration parade to defend his invasion of Ukraine and slaughter of civilians while Putin's forces are accused of dropping a bomb on a school killing dozens.

Economic turbulence. Stocks slide. Inflation fears intensifying, and analysts say get ready for gas prices to skyrocket further in coming days.

Plus, tourist site tragedy. New details on the three Americans who died as a popular vacation site in the Bahamas and the American woman flown to a Florida hospital.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We start with our world lead. And what was billed as a World War II victory day parade in Russia ending minutes ago with no new victories for Vladimir Putin to declare. Celebration just wrapped up with fireworks ending a day of events meant to honor the soldiers who helped defeat Nazi Germany.

The West feared that Putin would use today to escalate his so-called special military operation in Ukraine to declare an outright war. Instead, Putin spent his speech defending his decision to invade his neighbor to the west and selling the war to his own people by falsely claiming the danger from Ukraine was growing every day before he ordered his troops to invade.

United States ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas- Greenfield, responded to Putin's rhetoric and lies in an interview earlier today with CNN.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: President Putin has recognized he has no victory to celebrate. His efforts in Ukraine have not succeeded. He didn't announce a withdrawal. He didn't announce any new deals with the Ukrainians. So I suspect, and we have all assessed, that this could be a long-term conflict that can carry on for additional months.


TAPPER: Behind the pomp and circumstance, the reality of what Putin is actually doing in Ukraine. This, for instance, is what is left of a school bombed by Russian aircraft on Saturday. It was being used as a shelter when it was hit. Around 60 people, 60, are thought to have been killed. And rescue efforts have been slowed by more Russian shelling.

And in southern Ukraine, nonstop shelling is destroying towns near the front line, but neither side seems to be making much progress as of now.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh visited with some of the Ukrainian civilians caught in the cross fire around the key port city of Kherson.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Both nothing and everything has changed here, the front lines have barely moved on the road to the southern city of Kherson, the first Russia captured in the six weeks since we were last year.

But instead since than almost everything in between is being torn up by shelling, it literally does not stop, trapping people who physically cannot flee in the churn of a brutal stalemate.

Here in the village of Shevchenko are two neighbors, both called Lyuba.

LYUBA, LOCAL RESIDENT (translated): This granny lives on the second floor. And she's learned quickly how to run.

WALSH: We move to the yard as the shell gets closer.

LYUBA: Oh, Lord, this is a nightmare.

WALSH: Lenid (ph) manage to get down to his wife's basement shelter. She's installed a plank on the way here to help him rest.

They used to get dressed up to go to bad, it was so cold down here, but mentioned leaving she chuckles.

LYUBA: I've got plans for tomorrow. Every day I go out, the goats are waiting for me. I'd sleep longer but there's shelling and the goats are asking for food. They are my children of war. That's what I call them.

WALSH: Nights spent here are focused on hatred.

LYUBA: Russian soldiers are just following orders. Putin I would cut into four pieces and scatter the pieces around the world.

WALSH: Across the road is Valentina, alone. Shells also seem to just miss her.

VALENTINA, LOCAL RESIDENT (translated): I was born in a time of war and will probably die in one. When I die, as my mother said, bury me in the garden. So I can see what happens here. Lord, how much more?

WALSH: Overwhelmed yet hauntingly eloquent.


VALENTINA: Look at these torments. This house was smashed to clay. I'm left alone in four walls. Nothing anywhere. I cry to my dead husband to rise up and see what's happening. Better to lie down at night and never get up. Neither see nor hear. Pity the people, the soldiers.

WALSH: It's not so much that life goes, but that it has nowhere else to go.

These men selling cows milk, although that's not what Lenid has been drinking.

Hello to everyone, he says, 40 times a day and night they shell.

Barely a window is intact, shrapnel flying through the glass daily.

Yesterday was Svitlana's turn but she can't leave. She's waiting for her son to return from the war in Mariupol.

Our children are all at war she says, my son is a prisoner, if he comes back and I have gone, it's like I've abandoned him, we wait, hope, worry. He is alive and we will live.

On the road out of here, the shrapnel rises, fiercely above the warm fields.


WALSH (on camera): And Ukraine, well, occupied, frankly, by Ukraine fighting a war in which it's ludicrously accused of being Nazis. In the east, you mentioned the airstrike on a school, but also concerns that Russia's making advances there, too, but also Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy giving a powerful speech in which he said this wasn't really a battle between two armies, but two visions of the world, and declaring that world currently Ukraine has one victory day, soon it will have two to celebrate, and someone else, he meant Vladimir Putin, would have none.

A message clearly of defiance here but you can hear air sirens behind me. This is a country deeply on edge, and it has been for a matter of days, Jake, because they felt the Kremlin or trying something today. So far comparatively it's quiet, but no major uptick. People are concerned about what's tonight might bring, though, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Nick Paton Walsh in southern Ukraine for us, thank you so much. To Russia now, and to CNN's Matthew Chance who is in Moscow, where the Kremlin imposed strict laws regarding how Russia's presence in the Ukraine is allowed to be described.

Matthew, what do you make of Putin's speech, what stood out the most?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I mean, what's not the most to me is the fact that this was a widely anticipated event, that many people speculated about what's going to be the back draw to one major enactment on what Vladimir Putin intended to do about this conflict, what he called his special military operation inside Ukraine. There was speculation he could've made a formal declaration of war on Ukraine, and mobilize the country to want more of a raw footing which would give him troops, more conscripts, more resources to plow into what is essentially a stuttering military campaign in that country.

But to add to your question, what's striking is he didn't do any of that, perhaps he had pause, he had reason, he felt to hesitate, perhaps he understood that not everyone in Russia is on board when it comes to more bloodshed or warfare, more conflict in neighboring Ukraine. And so, that's something that I think was a takeaway from this that he was -- it was a much more muted victory day parade than was expected, Jake.

TAPPER: How did this year's parade compared to previous years?

CHANCE: Well, it was more muted partly because of the lack of pronouncements that were expected, as I just mentioned. But the parade itself there was no air show for instance, it was meant to be 77 aircrafts flying in a spectacular sort of display above Red Square. I'd seen them rehearsing for the past couple of days.

The Kremlin said they don't need to cancel that aspect of the parade, because of the bad weather, it wasn't very cloudy and very stormy. I think they need really good visibility to conduct precision flying in that way. He did of course make it less spectacular. There were fewer troops than we normally see, fewer pieces of military equipment, if you are a variety of military equipment.

But having said that, there's still 11,000 troops across the cobbles marching and stepping in the Red Square. There was something like 130 or more than that, different pieces of military equipment, including, of course, the jewel and crown of Russia's military, it's intercontinental domestic missiles, its nuclear weapons, which it so often sort of reminds the West that it possesses it will be prepared to use.


TAPPER: Matthew Chance in Moscow for us, thank you so much.

Ukraine's railways are a crucial resorts for not only evacuating civilians to safety but bringing in more supplies, weapons, humanitarian aid to the front lines. Now those railways have become one of Russia's key targets.

But as CNN's Scott McLean reports for us, the railway workers are not running away from Russian strikes. Instead, they're choosing to stay in the line of fire to keep this essential resource up and running.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The train from Kyiv takes about 25 minutes to reach the Irpin River. But this is the first time in almost two months that a passenger train has actually been able to roll across the bridge that spans it. One of two rail bridges here has just been rebuilt. The other is still impassable. A vital link between Kyiv and the bombed-out Irpin suburb was destroyed as Russian troops try to advance toward the capital.

Ukrainian railways says it's lost access to 20 percent of its network, due either to Russian occupation or Russian bombs. They've cut off access to long stretches of track. Orange vested workers have been quietly repairing this span for weeks, ever since the Russians finally retreated.

OLEKSANDER PERTSOVSKYI, UKRAINIAN RAILWAYS: It's effectively less than four weeks, which normally would take months and months of civil engineering work, planning, projecting. So, now, like now when the situation is stopped, everyone works 24/7.

MCLEAN: The railway has been an indispensable tool and getting supplies in and people out of the most dangerous areas. But it's also been a huge target for Russian bombs. Repairing the damage is dangerous work.

The railways says that well over 100 rail employees have died since the war began, some of those have been fighting on the front lines but many others said they've been just showing up for work.

PERTSOVSKYI: Every morning, railway people are not asking themselves whether to go to work or not, this is their duty.

MCLEAN: That is precisely how Vadim Levitskiy feels about the job he's had first 26 years. Despite war, he's kept showing up, sometimes even repairing tracks amidst Russian shelling. He has a wife and daughter at home.

VADID LEVITSKIY, RAILWAY WORKER (translated): They worry and wait for me at home. When the war started, they told me that they would not go anywhere without me.

MCLEAN: While Russian tanks moved east and south, Russian missiles are still falling across the country, last week six railway substations were destroyed in one night, taking out the ability to run electric trains in the West for two days. In early April, a Ukraine official said a passenger train station in Kramatorsk was hit by a Russian missile, killing 57, including five children and injuring more than 100.

And last week, a rail and road bridge was hit in Dnipro, a critical rail link.

OLEKSANDR KUBRAKOV, UKRAINE INFRASTRUCTURE MINISTER: What they're doing is they're trying to stop the delivering of weapons, delivering of humanitarian goods, all support from the West.

MCLEAN: But whatever damage is done, won't last long, the army of Ukrainian rail workers is even bigger than Ukraine's actual active duty military. Despite the danger, they're here to stay.

IVAN GARMONOVYCH, RAILWAY WORKER: Where I am going to go? I work here. I'm not going anywhere.

MCLEAN: Staying put so Ukraine can keep moving.

Scott McLean, CNN, Ukraine.


TAPPER: And our thanks to Scott McLean for that reporting.

Coming up next, what President Biden is reportedly warning his own national security team about sharing intelligence with Ukraine as the White House reacts to Putin's big speech today.

Plus, COVID was bad enough. Now, new analysis shows just how much gun violence but on America's health system during the pandemic.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our politics lead, President Biden promising to put even more pressure on Vladimir Putin, after the Russian leader defending his war in Ukraine at a victory day parade in Moscow, or at least attempted to defend it.

The White House also signing Putin's propaganda and lies today.

CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins joins us live.

Kaitlan, what is the Biden administration saying about Putin's speech?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, they think it was pretty muted. Obviously, they're watching it really closely to see if Putin may be new announcements, or tried to claim victory, or the clear mobilizing more forces. He did not make either of those. But they say basically that they believe he engaged in revisionist history in the speech today, Jake, by trying to claim its Western aggression that is responsible for the invasion of Ukraine. For this ongoing war, instead of course, Russia which has conducted this invasion at the White House has repeatedly called unprovoked, and unjustified.

But, Jake, just because you did not see Putin today saying he was announcing it that any new forces are moving, it doesn't mean that the White House thing anything is changing on the ground in Ukraine. Instead, they do believe Putin is continuing down this path. And you heard the CIA director over the weekend saying that he believes right now, Putin's mindset is that of he can't afford to lose this war. So they do expect you to continue, just because he did not declare any new mobilization or forces today.

TAPPER: There's been a lot of talk about these leaks, about intelligence sharing, between the United States and the government leading to the sinking of the Moskva, for the killing of Russian generals. President Biden spoke about that with his national security team on national television. Tell us more.

COLLINS: Yeah, he had three separate phone calls last week on this, Jake. Remember, last week, the White House officials said several days, pushing back on the reporting that the U.S. was providing intelligence to Ukrainians. It was helping them kill Russian officers, Russian generals. They were saying they did not provide that information with the intent of that happening.


But, Jake, of course, as you and I talked about last week, that doesn't mean that that didn't happen. But Jen Psaki just confirmed that President Biden was displeased by the leak of that intelligence, the kind of intelligence that the United States is sharing with Ukraine. She said that's mainly because President Biden believed it was an overstatement of the role that U.S. intelligence is playing, and an understatement of the role that Ukrainian intelligence is playing.

But it did prompt these several phone calls that President Biden had last week when the Defense Secretary Austin, CIA Director Burns, and the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, telling them that he believes these leaks about what it was the U.S. is sharing with Ukraine, counterproductive and that he believed that this needed to stop, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Also in our politics lead today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer today turning the spotlight on the fight over abortion rights. Schumer is expected to hold what will largely be a procedural vote, today on Senate legislation, that would attempt to codify Roe versus Wade. Ultimately, it would set up a Wednesday vote in the Senate, that is widely expected to fail.

Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan joins us now.

So, Congresswoman, Majority Leader Schumer says, quote, this is no longer an abstract exercise. But if this legislation does not have the votes to pass in the Senate -- it has in the House, but not in the Senate -- isn't this a futile exercise?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): So, first of all, it's already passed the House. It passed last September.

I think what it's doing -- they are leveraging this opinion that came out from the Supreme Court. But what you see is people, it's race people awareness that this isn't just a something that anyone is talking about but this could really happen and states across America.

So you need to get senators on record, where they stand, so as people go to the polls in November, they know with their voting for.

I don't think it's going to be the only issue, Jake, but I do think that people suddenly are being reminded in a way that was not there the last few months. Their votes have consequences.

TAPPER: So, Congresswoman, I'm old enough to remember when Democrats held majorities in both the House and the Senate, a veto-proof majority in the Senate, and President Obama within the White House. This has been the Republican plan for decades now.

Why didn't Democrats try to pass this back in 2009?

DINGELL: Well, I don't disagree with you in some ways. I'm not sure that the votes were there. we've -- this is already a hard issue for a lot of people. We should have codified it, which is what we try to do in the House last time. I don't think of ourselves as old, I prefer the work season, to remember when that was there.

But I remember that there were a lot of men, quite frankly, and some women that were very squeamish about codifying Roe versus Wade. I think we've learned. We're here. We go to look forward. We can't look back.

And I think we need to work towards making sure -- look, it's never an easy addition for anybody, but it's a woman's right to choose, it's between her, her doctor, her fate, her partner or spouse. It's about a person that is present in her life. And I don't give a lot of thought that we would be looking at, what we are looking at going back.

TAPPER: For the record, I called myself old. I didn't say anything about you, just for the record.

So, you --

DINGELL: That's right. You and I have been around peers.

TAPPER: You represent Michigan. The governor of Michigan is out with a new op-ed in "The New York Times" today, highlighting her lawsuit, which would ask the Michigan Supreme Court to rule on whether the state's constitution protects the rights of a girl or woman to get abortion. She writes, quote, I'm not going to sit on my hands waiting for Congress to do something, whether for legislation, executive action, ballot initiative or civic engagement.

The answer to the overtly political ruling of a supposedly apolitical unelected bodies is to engage in every way, and at every level. The answer is to get creative.

But just to be frank, isn't there a limit to what can be done in terms of protecting Roe v. Wade? I mean, at the end of the day, if the Supreme Court rules the way we think they will, it goes back to the states, and then it's up to legislatures.

DINGELL: So, we're going to -- okay, you just said why did they do something before with the women that are here now? I'm in office now. I wasn't in office back then, she is in office now.

By the way, she started that lawsuit before this leaked, I might add, trying to anticipate what's going to happen, and how you could protect people at the states. And at our state level, we're also circulating petitions to try to get it on the ballot for the fall. There are a number of other strategies that could frankly get to the same room and come to consensus on.

But right now, we've got a look at every potential possibility of how you protect a woman's right to choose.


That's what this is about. The way the Supreme Court opinion draft was written, it was probably threatening for a number of other things.

But right now, where we are, where we are looking forward, we cannot go backwards. And each of us has responsibility to do what we can, to protect that woman's right to control her own body.

TAPPER: House Speaker Pelosi used her weekly deal colleague, to encourage your fellow Democrats to keep fighting, to protect a woman's, or a girl's right to have an abortion, if she decides. Quote, we know we must carry forward this fight in the weeks and months ahead. Our proud pro-choice House majority must continue this fight in the public arena, so that the American people know that their rights are on the ballot this November.

The house has already voted to codify Roe, as you note, what more can you do legislatively?

DINGELL: Well, we're going to have to see what the Senate does, and the Senate's not willing to, you know, we get confirmed to the Supreme Court justice by waving the filibuster, but some of the same people that voted to that are unwilling to do that now.

So, what do we have to do? We have to talk about the issues that are at stake in November. And Jake, I want to be really clear. I don't think this is going to be the only issue that people are going to decide how they vote in November. But I think it's going to energize a lot of people, bringing off the sidelines, and start thinking about how could it act on any of those things.

I think by the time we get November, the Democrats and President Biden are going to be working to protect working families, to protect jobs, to protect people's individual liberties. The Republicans have the agenda of the billionaires, and Democrats have got to define what is at stake in November, and not, by the way, not forget that people have been voting, going back to what's happening to the supply chain and COVID, and when president Trump was president.

That's what's helped contribute to inflation and higher gas prices in the war in Ukraine. But we've got to show it we are doing to try to bring those down, and protect our democracy.

TAPPER: Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan, thanks so much for your time. Good to see you.

Coming up next, gas prices near a record, just before summer travel kicks into high gear, and predictions of prices hitting $4.50 a gallon, $4.50 a gallon in a matter of days!

Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we have some breaking news for you in our money lead. A few minutes ago, Wall Street ended another dismal day with across the board sell-offs, particularly in tech stocks. The Dow Industrial closes down by nearly 654 points. The broader S&P 500 and Nasdaq also closed sharply lower.

CNN Business anchor Richard Quest joins us live.

Richard, I wish I could have you on to talk about good things, but some economists say a weaker stock market is better for the economy. So, that's one way to look at it.

If that's the case, how do we square that when we see 401(k)s and others investors drop along with stocks?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDTIOR AT LARGE: You don't square it, Jake. You just realize and make the argument that, yes, in the larger, wider macro sense, a lower stock market means better valuations, therefore corporates profit. Therefore, a more solidly based economy, which is great, 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the road, but for people who are retiring now or who have got to look at what the market is doing for income next month, next year, in three years' time, it's a lot more difficult.

So, yes, what is happening is an enormous shake-out of excess. It is painful to watch, and there is a seriousness now. We lost 4.5 percent on the Nasdaq today. There is a seriousness about these losses that wasn't there before because eventually they will have a wider economic effect.

TAPPER: So there is disconnect, though, right? Because oil prices dropped sharply today. But today's AAA gas survey shows regular unleaded gas averages at $4.32 a gallon. That's a penny short of the all-time high set on March 11th. How much higher is it going to go? We're seeing predictions of the average hitting $4.50 a gallon in the next couple of weeks.

QUEST: The contradiction is in the facts you said. And the first is that, Jake, the oil price fell, but why did it fall? The oil price fell because China's in lockdown, therefore, it doesn't need as much. Shipping has got problems, and therefore there is a supply issue.

So, we're seeing a fall in oil on the basis of a slowdown in economies, not because there's some vast increase. Also, OPEC said they would produce more. I think in terms of the price of gas, the economic pressures are going to be simple. We're heading to the summer and the driving season, demand goes up.

There are problems, of course, with Russia. Therefore, prices stay high. Unless, there's a reason, and I can't see one at the moment, that prices will stay where they are, give or take, and they could well go higher in the event putin turns off the taps to Europe.

TAPPER: Richard, the latest inflation numbers are going to come out Wednesday. Now, last month's report shows consumer prices going up at an annual rate of 8.5 percent. That's the worst since 1981, when I was 12 years old. If the number is down a bit in the new report, will that make a difference?

QUEST: No. Because it's -- the numbers are -- they fluctuate somewhat, and we won't have seen the effect of the Fed's interest rates, the monetary lag is six to nine months.


So the interest rate increases we're seeing now won't be felt until, say, early next year, really seen properly until early of next year as it continues. Which is why people talk of a recession in mid to late '23, not now.

What I think you will see in the inflation numbers, even if they come off the top slightly, you'll see a hardening underneath of real inflation. Wage inflation, the sort of thing that the Fed really will be concerned about as it decides on its half-point increases likely in the next few meetings.

TAPPER: Richard Quest, always good to see you. Thank you so much.

QUEST: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up next, the new numbers that underscore America's gun violence epidemic and its strain on the health care system.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our health lead, a new CDC study outlines how gun violence added to the already strained health care system during the first year of the COVID pandemic. Firearm related incidents jumped 15 percent more than expected during that time, with more than 62,000 total flooding hospitals with gunshot victims. Competing for beds in ICUs already overcrowded with COVID patients.

Now, experts say that in addition to the rise in incidents, hospitals were further stressed because gunshot victims require immediate attention and extra resources to care for. And while the number of COVID hospitalizations are down from those days, U.S. hospitals are still in the grips of a gun violence epidemic nationwide. Let's discuss this with Dr. Megan Ranney, professor of emergency medicine at Brown University and cofounder of the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine.

Dr. Ranney, good to see you.

So, gun violence as a public health issue is something you have been very passionate about for many years. What's your reaction to what the study found about the first year of the pandemic?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, BROWN UNIVERSITY: None of this is a surprise, Jake, to anybody who has been working in an emergency department or trauma intensive care unit over the past two years. This is also, of course, like many of the epidemics we are seen worsen over COVID, not new. This public health epidemic has been going on for years. We have more than 100 people who die and well over 200 who are injured every day across the U.S. a portion of those folks make it to the doors of an emergency department, but about half of them die before they even reach our doors.

Those folks are gun suicides who are rarely captured in the numbers that are shared with the public. And Jake, I think the thing that's toughest for me and other folks who've been working on this issue for years is that it is preventable. In the same way COVID-19 is preventable by applying a basic public health approach.

There are a multitude of things that can and should be done to decrease the number of injuries and deaths that our country continues to fail to take action on.

TAPPER: One of those, it seems to me, would be at least a public education campaign about the importance of trigger locks or gun safes so children, adolescents can't have access to guns, or no one except for the gun owner. What else do you think?

RANNEY: Look, that's exactly right. Actually, in the last two years, gun deaths have surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death for American children across the United States. And remember, COVID is in those top ten deaths as well. Safe storage is a key way to stop kids from getting access to their parents' or family members' guns. It also stops guns from getting stolen from cars. New studies are out

showing just how common it is for guns to be stolen. That research was done by every town. On top of that, it's things like extreme risk protection orders or red flag laws which make a big difference in terms of helping to stop suicides and mass shootings.

And then training folks up in "see something, say something", how to recognize signs of concern and how to help connect folks to resources. To help stop shootings before they happen.

TAPPER: Let's turn to the other deadly epidemic we have lived with for the past few years. The Biden administration is warning the U.S. could see 100 million COVID infections, that's not hospitalizations or deaths, but infections this fall and winter. Right now, hospitalization have ticked up in 23 states, mainly in the Northeast, where people are more likely to be vaccinated. So how concerned are you about this?

RANNEY: So, that's a great question, 100 million infections. The big unknown is how many of those do turn into severe infection, hospitalization, and death. Right now, here in Rhode Island, we have seen a surge in cases for well over a month. We have seen hospitalizations increase a little but not a lot.

If we can stay at this level of severity, this is something manageable. But there are two big buts. The first is, as you said, this is currently happening in the Northeast. When these new variants get to the south and to other areas where there's less vaccination and boosting, I worry that the impact on hospitals is going to be far worse.

The second big but is Congress has not yet voted to re-appropriate money for tests, for personal protective equipment, for new vaccines. If we get hit by a new variant, if those infections are something far more dangerous, we're in for a lot of trouble. The free market is not set up to purchase vaccines on the scale needed to set up our country for this issue of potential national security threat. It really depends a lot on Congress voting to re-appropriate those funds.

TAPPER: Just over a third of the country still is not fully vaccinated, the number who have received booster shots is lower. All the evidence shows the vaccines work and are preventing hospitalizations and deaths. Not necessarily infections or sickness, but hospitalizations and death.


And the White House is warning we could soon see a sizable wave, and President Biden is hosting a global COVID summit this week. What do you want to see get done in addition to more tests, more vaccines out there, in order to convince these people who have gotten vaccinated or boosted to do so?

RANNEY: So we here at Brown have actually been working with the Rockefeller Foundation and others to work community by community to help educate folks, to help dispel myths and misconceptions, and to help make vaccines easier to access. It's both around structural racism and factors of equity and around reaching rural folks, people who are lower income, people who may live in states where health policies are not as good.

We have to address both of those structural factors and have trusted messengers in the community, Jake, to help get people over their fears and ready to show up and get the vaccines in arms. It's going to be so important come this fall.

TAPPER: It's amazing we're still having this conversation, though, I have to say.

Dr. Megan Ranney, thank you so much.

They booked villas at an all inclusive resort, and then they died. What officials are saying about the American deaths and a woman moved to a Florida hospital.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Also in our world lead, a deadly mystery in paradise. Police and health investigators in the Bahamas are trying to figure out why three Americans, all staying at the same resort, are now dead. The bodies of two men and a woman were found in different locations at the Sandals Resort. A fourth American, a woman, in fair condition, has been airlifted to a Miami Area hospital.

CNN's Carlos Suarez is there in Miami, in the Miami area.

First of all, authorities this afternoon said all four people were feeling ill and were seen by medics the night before three of them turned up dead.

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Jake. According to Bahamian authorities, they say that two of the couples were treated by doctors at different times, the night before some of the bodies were found. We're told that samples had been taken from all four of the victims as well as the two villas that they were staying in, and that these samples would be sent to a lab in Philadelphia as early as tonight.

Now, according to the police commissioner, they're going to try to find the presence of a chemical in these samples, but he did not want to say exactly what type of chemical it is that they were looking for.

On Friday morning, hotel staff found one of the bodies along with a woman inside of one villa. And while they were investigating that room, they sent police to a neighboring villa and they found two more bodies. Now, Bahamian authorities have been quite clear, adamant in that they say no one else at the property has reported feeling sick and that the area in question remains closed -- Jake.

TAPPER: And police say they do not suspect foul play as of now.

SUAREZ: Yeah, that's exactly right. So according to the police commissioner, there are no signs of trauma on any of the victims, but they did say that at least two of the bodies did have signs of, quote, convulsion. Now, we're told that an autopsy is scheduled to take place on all of the bodies today and tomorrow, so we might be able to get a little bit better look at exactly what may have happened here -- Jake.

TAPPER: You're at the hospital where the American woman is being treated. What do we know about her, what do we know about the other victims?

SUAREZ: Yeah, so at last check, that one woman, the only one that survived, she remains here at a hospital in Miami and is listed in fair condition. Now, the names of the other victims were released late this afternoon. She was identified as 65-year-old Donnis Chiarella. Her husband Vincent died. He was 64 years old and the two of them were visiting the Bahamas from Florida.

The two others that died were 68-year-old Michael Phillips and his wife, 65-year-old Robbie. We're told the couple was from Tennessee. Now, in a statement to CNN late this afternoon, the family of Michael and Robbie, they gave us a statement that read in part, quote, our hearts are grieving and broken -- Jake.

TAPPER: So sad. Carlos Suarez in the Miami area for us. Thank you so much.

We're following breaking news in that jailbreak manhunt out of Alabama. Authorities say they have tracked down a second getaway vehicle nowhere near Alabama.

Plus, what new surveillance images reveal about the couple's run from the law.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, a Republican who rose to fame spreading the big lie in 2020 is now running for the governor of Pennsylvania by positioning himself as a savior in MAGA clothing.

Plus, there are new developments in the nationwide manhunt for the Alabama corrections officer and capital murder suspect who disappeared together more than a week ago. Another getaway vehicle has been found.

And leading this hour, a fireworks display marking the end of victory day in Russia. A day that honors soviet soldiers who helped defeat Nazi Germany in World War II. Vladimir Putin using the opportunity to try to justify his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and slaughter of innocent Ukrainians, false lay claiming the danger there would have gone unchecked if Russia had not invaded while there were celebrations in Russia.

In Ukraine, Russian troops were hammering Ukrainians.

As Sam Kiley reports for us now, as many as 60 civilians may have been killed after a Russian missile flattened a school over the weekend in Luhansk where civilians were sheltering.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One man's parade for the many. The many on parade for one man. And on the eve of Victory Day, authorities here say 60 people died in a Russian airstrike.

The victory over German Nazism once united the people of Russia and Ukraine. Not anymore. This is what Putin's modern campaign to denazify Ukraine looked like on the eve of that victory day in the east of the country.