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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Victory Day Celebration In Russia; Russian Soldiers Accused Of Raping Women, Men, And Children; Pennsylvania's Governorship Race And The 2024 Presidential Elections; Crowded Pennsylvania Gov's Race Could Impact 2024 Pres. Election; Dem Sen. Hassan Slams GOP Views On Abortion In New Ad; Study: Remote Learning Likely Widened Racial, Economic Achievement Gap; U.S. Marshals: Surveillance Photos Likely Show Fugitive Casey White With New Getaway Vehicle In Indiana; New Mexico Battling The State's Second Largest Wildfire. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 09, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Mariupol to Mykolaiv, Kherson to Kramatorsk, Russians war in the name of saving Russian speaking people in Ukraine has focused most violence in the east, where most people speak Russian. In Victory Day, Ukrainian towns under Russian-control held muted memorials to a past war while the present rages on.
This man survived the Bilohorivka air strike and his response to Putin's parade. Sarcastic, let them celebrate. We would celebrate, too. Imagine what they bombed. An ordinary village with only pensioners and children. They died in a Russian thrust into their village during an operation to throw a military bridge across the Donetsk River, shown here in this satellite image.
The move is intended to cut this supply route to Russian speaking Ukrainian towns now under bombardment. Ukrainian forces are counterattacking but Russian artillery is already hitting the road and oil refinery next to it.
(On camera): With the killing of at least 60 people, civilians cowering in a school not far from here, it's clear that the Russians are continuing with their campaign to obliterate civilian life, but this is also a sign that they're pursuing traditional tactics, trying to break the infrastructure that could support the Ukrainian war effort.
(Voice-over): Putin's allegations of Naziism in Ukraine are turned back on the Russian leader by survivors of the real war against Hitler's ideology. She says, I think victory will be ours, only ours. If I were younger, I would have ripped this thug's throat out with my teeth.
The president is insisting Ukraine's victory is certain. The one who is repeating the horrific crimes of Hitler's regime today following Nazi philosophy, copying everything they did, he is doomed. But it will be a long, hard fight to turn the lessons of history into
a modern day Ukraine victory in Europe.
KILEY (on camera): Now, Jake, it's quite telling really, the muted celebrations in those towns under Russian control relatively light turnout, if you like, for the parade itself in Moscow. No air show in Moscow. No air show in Rostov-on-Don as being interpreted here as a possibility that maybe Vladimir Putin doesn't have planes to spare for demonstrations because they're all tied up in the battle here in Ukraine. Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Sam Kiley reporting live for us from Kramatorsk, Ukraine. Thank you so much. Let's bring in former U.S. ambassador to NATO during the Obama administration, Ivo Daalder. Ambassador Daalder, thanks for joining us. So, the context of this muted display relatively is that U.S. and western officials had been warning that today, Putin would have a statement of major escalation, a declaration, something big.
But today largely came and went with no change in public posture from Russia and a rather muted display compared to previous years. So what do you think happened?
IVO DAALDER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: You know, I think Putin may well have blinked here. Clearly, in the few weeks, in the run-up to this Victory Day parade, the west has consistently increased its capabilities, its support of Ukraine. The rhetoric has become robust, the sanctions have become deeper and more severe.
And there was this expectation that Putin would escalate, and instead, I think he justified basically the war in the Donbas, saying that there was a pre-emptive strike coming from Ukraine on the Donbas and on Crimea and he had to act. Really, announcing pretty limited war aims, nothing like the full-scale mobilization let alone the declaration of war that people were expecting.
And my sense is that Putin is seeing that he's being -- he's facing some really severe resistance, not only from the Ukrainians, but also from a west that is determined to make sure as the G7 put it yesterday, that Russia does not win in Ukraine.
TAPPER: So, Putin, as you know, continues to paint the United States and NATO and Ukraine as the aggressors here, which of course, is not true. But it does sound as though Putin is still trying to sell this war to the Russian people. Is there skepticism, is there evidence of skepticism among the Russian people?
DAALDER: There's not a lot of evidence of that yet, but there is, of course, the reality that the cost of this war are very, very significant. If the 15,000 to 20,000 Russian soldiers killed number is correct and there's no reason to doubt that British intelligence sources, that's more than the number of soviet soldiers died in Afghanistan in 10 years of war.
And that's just in 10 weeks. And so he needs to be worried that perhaps particularly in the places where Russian soldiers are coming from, the villages outside of the major metropolitan centers where his support should be highest, that that may turn against him. So he needs to justify the war and he's using both World War II and the sacrifice, the 27 million Soviet people who died in that war, as one way to do it.
And to say, listen, this is not just Ukraine we're facing. We're facing the bad, strong west, and that's why we're suffering the casualties that we are. That's why he's selling the war as it is. But, you know, clearly, he's worried about the support that he's having at home and he's worried about not achieving some of the goals he has set out abroad.
TAPPER: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, spoke with our CNN's Kylie Atwood this morning. She made it sound as though Russia is, simply put, losing the war. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA THOMAS GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: President Putin has recognized he has no victory to celebrate. His efforts in Ukraine have not succeeded. He was not able to go into Ukraine and bring them to their knees in a few days and have them surrender. He gave up on taking Kyiv.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Still, she said it does not appear that Putin is anywhere close to ending the war. How do you anticipate this is going to play out?
DAALDER: So, I think we're in for a long, hard, very hard slog with the continued fighting in the Donbas and in the southeast where the Russian forces now are concentrated and western equipment continue to help the Ukrainians push back on the Russians. We saw some major gains by the Ukrainians in the north, in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, that is now outside of artillery range from the Russians and the Russians destroying bridges on the way out, indicating that they had no intent in coming back.
But the Russians have significant military capability. They will continue to push. And so what I see is the Russians not winning, but it is going to take a while before the Ukrainians can claim that they have achieved what they need to achieve, which is to push the Russians at least back to where they were on February 24th, if not further. And it's going to take a long time. We, however, have indicated rightly in my mind that we will be there to help the Ukrainians to ultimately achieve that goal.
TAPPER: We're learning today that President Biden has told his top national security officials that the leaks about U.S. intelligence sharing with Ukraine aren't helpful, they were overstated, and needs to stop. This of course comes after reports that the U.S. and intelligence played a role in the sinking of Russia's Moskva warship and the killing of Russian generals.
A "New York Times" opinion columnist Thomas Friedman wrote, quote, "The staggering takeaway from these leaks is that they suggest we are no longer in an indirect war with Russia but rather we are edging toward a direct war, and no one has prepared the American people or Congress for that." Do you agree?
DAALDER: Yes. No, I don't agree that we are moving toward a direct confrontation. I think the president has laid a very, very clear line between direct military fighting between U.S. and NATO forces on the one hand and Russia on the other and support for Ukraine. And that support is going to be material in terms of the equipment, the tanks and the artillery, and everything else that we're sending in, but it's also going to be information and intelligence and that's to be expected.
I think the president is right to be upset about the kinds of things that are being leaked in the last few days. We don't want to go into these kinds of details. It's also not clear that it's in fact even true. The intelligence that the Ukrainians have is quite significant. But we need to be very clear that we don't -- we are not in this to have a direct confrontation with Russia and we need to maintain that line.
I also would note that given what Putin said in the Victory Day parade, he seems to be well aware that he doesn't want a confrontation with the United States and NATO either. And so I think that the risks of escalation always big, always strong, are a little less today than they were just a few days ago.
TAPPER: Former U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.
The horrors of war, CNN talks to a Ukrainian woman who was raped by Russian soldiers and became the target of vicious rumors in her own village.
Then a breaking update, a second getaway vehicle has been located in the search for that missing Alabama corrections officer and inmate. That's ahead.
TAPPER: Back in our "World Lead," Ukrainian officials say that reports of rape have exploded since Russian troops first invaded the country nearly three months ago. And now as CNN's Sara Sidner reports for us, prosecutors are changing their rape investigation protocols to ensure that victims are properly protected and that perpetrators can be charged with war crimes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this pine forest, the remnants of a nasty battle caught in the cross fire, a quiet farming village in Ukraine's Brovary district. Here, Russian soldiers are accused of doing more than destroying homes. Two women say they raped them too.
MIKA, RAPE SURVIVOR (through translation): What that son of a bitch did to me was horrible. He forced me to -- I can't talk about it. I'm ashamed and scared.
SIDNER (voice-over): She shows us where Russian soldiers fired a shot in her home in March. She says she heard them say their names, one was Oleg, the other Danya.
MIKA (through translation): Danya started to pull me by the hood. I told him it's painful. He said come with me.
SIDNER (voice-over): She says they dragged her down the street to her neighbor's small farmhouse. There, a grandmother, her daughter, her daughter's husband, and her grandson were all inside sleeping when the soldiers arrived.
SIDNER (on camera): What happened when the soldiers showed up at your house?
VALENTINA, MOTHER OF RAPE SURVIVOR (through translation): I hear them banging on the door so hard that everything around was shaking, even the windows.
SIDNER (voice-over): She said she stayed in the house. Her son-in-law went outside with the soldiers and the neighbor.
MIKA (through translation): There was a short conversation. Then there was a sound like a bang. Shot like a firework. My body was shaking.
SIDNER (voice-over): She They killed him, she says. They took his wife, while the Russian soldiers marched the two to this empty house. She says she heard them talking.
MIKA (through translation): They were calling each other by name, saying look who we are going to (BLEEP).
SIDNER (voice-over): She said she tried to reason with the soldier who had a hold of her.
MIKA (through translation): Danya told me he was 19. I told him I was 41. My younger son is the same age as you. I asked him if he has a girlfriend. He said yes. She is 17, but I haven't had sex with her. Then why are you doing this to me? He answered, because he hadn't seen a woman in two weeks.
SIDNER (on camera): She said the soldier promised not to kill her, but when she escaped, she had to risk her life just to get home because this village was under heavy bombardment.
MIKA (through translation): There were bullets flying around from the forest. I thought, oh, my god. Someone will see me and kill me.
SIDNER (voice-over): The two women survived the assaults, but then became the target of nasty gossip by other neighbors who saw Russian soldiers roaming around one of their homes. Grandmother Valentina explained why, saying her traumatized daughter went to the Russian commander demanding help burying her husband.
VALENTINA (through translation): You guys came at night and killed him. You have to help us bury him.
SIDNER (on camera): We're standing on the grave.
SIDNER (voice-over): She takes us to her backyard and points to two patches of dirt. Her daughter couldn't bear the pain and left the country. Her neighborhood decided to stay and fight back.
MIKA (through translation): Did they see it? Did they see it? They didn't see it. I could accuse some of them too.
SIDNER (on camera): Do you feel like you've been punished twice, once by the rape and then a second time by the rumors in the village?
MIKA (through translation): Yes, it's really true, but God can see everything.
SIDNER (voice-over): Since the war began, the ombudsman for human rights of Ukraine says reports of rape on a new hotline have exploded.
LYUDMYLA DENISOVA, UKRAINE OMBUDSMAN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (through translation): There are more than 700 calls since the 1st of April.
SIDNER (voice-over): The United Nations says rape is often used as a weapon of war. But the ombudsman says tracking down evidence and identifying perpetrators of any war crime is especially daunting.
SIDNER (on camera): It sounds to me like many of these war crimes will go unpunished. How do you not lose your mind listening to these horrific stories of rape?
DENISOVA (through translation): It's very difficult. You know, someone has to do it for our fighters, risking their lives on the front lines. They are in danger every minute. This is my own front line.
SIDNER (voice-over): One of Ukraine's top prosecutors is investigating this case and told us the details described by these women behind this gate very clearly constitute war crimes. This survivor says she intends to help them prove it.
(On camera): What should happen to these soldiers?
MIKA (through translation): I want them to be punished by the court. The judges must decide what to do with them. Shoot them, kill them, tear them apart. The bastards.
SIDNER (on camera): And you can hear her anger there. We should mention that the lead prosecutor in this case says this particular case and what happened in that village has caused them to change their protocols when it comes to rape survivors. The prosecutor says basically what they're going to do now is try to figure out just exactly how to protect and maybe remove people to a safe place so that they don't have to deal with what he called bullying even if it's coming from their own communities, Jake.
TAPPER: Sara Sidner reporting live for us from Kyiv. Thank you so much. We'll be right back.
TAPPER: In our "Politics Lead," just eight days remain before voters in the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania go to the polls to cast their ballot in the commonwealth's primary races, one for an open U.S. Senate seat and the other, potentially far more consequential, a wide open and crowded race for governor. As CNN's Kyung Lah reports for us now, the ultimate winner of the Republican field could end up impacting the next presidential election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just days left before the gubernatorial primary in the battleground of Pennsylvania. We arrive at Republican state Senator Doug Mastriano's campaign rally.
Open to the public, the campaign had said CNN could come. To this event at an indoor hotel courtyard next to the pool, but at check-in, a volunteer says journalists are not welcome.
(On camera): Do you know why media isn't being allowed in?
UNKNOWN: No, I don't.
LAH (voice-over): We're here because Mastriano is one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination for governor. He's avoided nearly all independent press. The voters rely on reporters to understand their candidates.
(On camera): After the Mastriano campaign said that media wasn't allowed at their political rally, we rented a room from the hotel, who gave us permission to record the event from here.
(Voice-over): With the CNN producer registered as a guest in the crowd and us in a balcony, Mastriano took the stage, railing against abortion rights, COVID restrictions, and what he claims is Marxist ideology in public schools.
DOUG MASTRIANO, PENNSYLVANIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Wow. Any god- fearing, flag waving patriotic Americans in the house here?
LAH (voice-over): Mastriano shot to national prominence in 2020, baselessly raising doubts about Pennsylvania's presidential election results. Donald Trump lost here by more than 80,000 votes. But Mastriano has ignored the truth, instead banging the bogus drum beat of election lies as a state senator.
MASTRIANO: We are here today to try to find out what the heck happened in the election.
LAH (voice-over): As a gubernatorial candidate, his rally opened with a prayer mentioning fraud without offering any evidence.
UNKNOWN: We ask God, as the ballots go forth, Lord God, that you remove every fraudulent ballot, Lord God.
LAH (voice-over): The campaign fuses politics with Christianity. Framing Mastriano as a commonwealth savior.
UNKNOWN: God used you to call us.
LAH (voice-over): Mastriano is one of nine candidates vying for the Republican nomination. A hotly contested race that could impact the next presidential election. The next governor has the power to appoint the top elections official in the commonwealth.
BILL MCSWAIN, PENNSYLVANIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I am Republican candidate for governor.
LAH (voice-over): The field includes former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, to State Senate President Jake Corman, but it's Mastriano who Democrats believe and hope they'll face in November.
UNKNOWN: If Mastriano wins, it's a win for what Donald Trump stands for.
LAH (voice-over): This state-wide ad is paid for by Shapiro for Pennsylvania.
UNKNOWN: Our next governor in Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro.
LAH (voice-over): Josh Shapiro is the likely Democratic nominee for governor and current state attorney general. Gambling that by boosting a more right-wing candidate in a swing state, Democrats come out on top this November.
JOSH SHAPIRO, PENNSYLVANIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: They are extremists. They are out of touch with where I know Pennsylvanians to be.
LAH (voice-over): At an abortion rights rally, Shapiro hammered away at Republicans and Mastriano.
(On camera): Has the general already started for you?
SHAPIRO: I think it's pretty clear he's going to be their nominee. We think it's important that the people of Pennsylvania know that there's a clear contrast between he and I. Our democracy was birthed just a few blocks away here in Philadelphia. We have a unique responsibility as Pennsylvanians to defend it.
LAH (on camera): And these final days, both Democrat and Republican have been talking about abortion. Shapiro leaning into protecting access, hoping to energize women's suburban voters. Mastriano pledging that he will sign a so-called heartbeat bill if he is elected governor. The primary, Jake, is one week from tomorrow. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Kyung Lah reporting live from Pittsburgh. Thanks so much. Let's discuss with my panel. Maria Cardona, I want to start with your reaction to Kyung's report from Pennsylvania. Do you think it's possible that Mastriano could actually get the nomination? He does seem to be embracing the Trump legacy more than any of the other voters, but he's focusing on, it seems to me, this false vote fraud thing as opposed to the economy, which really is something Pennsylvanians, I think personally, are more affected by.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this is the problem that Republicans are having I think all over the country, with their primaries, and especially primaries where Trump is a player and a huge shadow, which is a lot of them. That they have to go so extreme to the right to support the big lie, to talk about how 2020 was a fraudulent election in order to grab the base of the Republican Party, which still genuflects at the altar of Trump.
And I think that is going to be a huge problem for them. It's how they need to win the primary, but it's going to put them in a huge danger zone in order to win the general election. And I think Josh Shapiro has it exactly right. To make this about a contrast, I don't believe the majority of Pennsylvania voters are extremists.
The way that Mastriano is running is as an extremist candidate. And by the way, I have to give kudos to Kyung Lah and her team for making sure that they got in there to be able to cover this. And the fact that Mastriano's campaign did not want press there should be a red flag and a huge alert for every Pennsylvanian who wants their governor and everyone who runs the governorship to be held accountable, because as you know, that's what the press does. That focuses and underscores how extreme a candidate Mastriano is going to be.
TAPPER: So, Kristen Soltis Anderson, the governor's race could decide so many things in Pennsylvania. The issue of abortion rights in the commonwealth. Do you think the Shapiro pro-choice position will be more popular or less popular than the Mastriano pro-life position if one were to try to figure out which one will help either candidate should they get the nominations? KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: In this case, as with many races across the country, I think it's going to come down to not candidates saying that the other person is extremist. But what do these candidates actually say? It's one thing to, you know, run an ad saying my opponent is an extremist, it's another for that person to come out with a position that's very tough.
In Pennsylvania, for instance, since this is a different candidate Conor Lamb, but a Democrat had positioned himself as relatively moderate sort of being unable to go on the record and say, where, if at all, he would support any restrictions on abortion. And so in the same way that for any Republicans who are out there saying, I want a complete and total ban on abortions, or I want a ban on abortions at six weeks, where that is outside of where the mainstream of public opinion is, so too are things that say I don't believe there should be any restrictions on abortion at all. And I think where candidates actually fall on that spectrum, will determine a little bit of the extent to which voters factor that into their decision making.
TAPPER: Yes, Conor Lamb running in the in the Democratic primary --
SOLTIS ANDERSON: Right in Senate.
TAPPER: -- for the Senate seat there. Maria, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told USA Today over the weekend that a national ban on abortion is a possible future step saying, "If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies, not only at the state level, but at the federal level, certainly could legislate in that area. And if this were the final decision, that was the point that it should be resolved one way or another in the legislative process. So yes, it's possible it would depend on where the votes were."
Do you think that is actually likely to happen if Republicans win the House and Senate this November?
CARDONA: Yes, I do, because Mitch McConnell said it. And, you know, Jake, I think Democrats have learned our lesson and frankly, other people who have said that Democrats are kind of hair on fire for this issue of thinking that Roe v Wade is going to be overturned. Well, guess what? It's about to be overturned.
So I think that we should absolutely be expecting if the Republicans take over the Senate for this to be absolutely an option. That is very real. That is not something that Democrats are making up to try to make people scared or nervous. No, it came out of Mitch McConnell's mouth.
And you also see so many of these candidates that the ones that we're talking about today in Pennsylvania. They are talking about an outright ban on abortion, again, in order to gather the support of the right wing in the Republican Party. But I also think that they believe it, they were in a debate, the ones in Pennsylvania for governor, they were in a debate recently and they all tried to out right wing each other saying how much they would absolutely ban and criminalize abortion. And so, yes, I think it is a danger and it is absolutely something that Democrats are going to be able to mobilize around. TAPPER: And Kristen, we, politically, we already have an idea of what Democrats will do with comments like McConnell's. Take a look at this digital ad for the New Hampshire Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan who's running for re-election highlighting those comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAGGIE HASSAN (D-NH): Three men, one agenda, fulfilling Mitch McConnell's decade's long crusade to criminalize abortion. With Roe v. Wade, on the verge of being overturned, these three men and their one agenda mean a woman's fundamental rights or freedoms hang in the balance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: How do you think the issue works in New Hampshire?
SOLTIS ANDERSON: I mean, New Hampshire is a swing state. And so it's going to be one where things are pretty evenly divided where it's I'm certainly not an issue that the Republican candidate would put front and center. They've got issues like the economy that I'm sure they would rather be talking about.
At the same time, as you noted, this is a digital ad. And so the thing that is beneficial about a digital ad is if you are Maggie Hassan, you can target that ad at folks who are pro-choice donors across the country to raise a lot of money. The question is when do you put your money where your mouth is and put that kind of an ad on the airwaves, where a lot more of the swing voters will see it?
Last week, the Hassan campaign went up on air with an ad that was trying to put distance between Senator Hassan and President Biden over things like gas taxes and these economic sort of kitchen table issues. So whether Democrats decide they want to, you know, elevate this and put this on the airwaves, they very well may but that is still an open question.
TAPPER: But do you really -- do you think that we're not in an era where digital ads can actually be more effective than TV ads? I mean --
SOLTIS ANDERSON: There's -- it's not about effectiveness, it's about who you can target them and who is seeing them. And I think your average swing voter who's probably not super tuned into political news, consuming it with the voracious this that folks like you and I are, Jake and Maria, you know, I think that when it comes to digital ads they can have a ton of power absolutely. But I think it also tells us a lot about the strategic choices that someone makes when they choose to put something on the airwaves where it is much more broadly seen, versus when they choose to put something online where they can be much more precise about to whom they've targeted.
TAPPER: All right, Kristen and Maria, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it. Coming up --
CARDONA: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: -- we heard stories about children during their online classes from fast food parking lots because they didn't have access to WiFi. And now new numbers show which students suffered the most from remote learning during COVID. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our health lead, wow, who could have predicted? The devastating impact remote learning had on the children who could least afford that problem. New research says students who learned remotely during the pandemic likely suffered large losses and achievement compared with those who continued with in-person learning. The effect of which has widened the achievement gap for kids in low income areas.
This is all according to a new study for multiple organizations including Harvard University's Center for Education Policy Research and analyze data from over 2 million students in 49 states.
And joining us now is one of the authors of this report, Thomas Kane, he's a Professor of Education and Economics at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. Professor, thanks for joining us. How large is this likely achievement gap between kids who were forced into remote learning and those who were not? How much of these students been set back?
THOMAS KANE, PROF. OF ECONOMICS, HARVARD UNIV. GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION: So we estimate that in high poverty schools, students lost about half of a year of learning if their schools were remote for half or more than a year last year. And that's a large effect. I mean, there have been very, very few educational interventions that have ever been shown to have an impact that large. And so we need to be preparing over the next couple of years, some aggressive actions to try to close these gaps.
TAPPER: And achievement gap between kids in low income versus high income areas. That's not new. But you found that the gaps in math achievement did not widen in states such as Texas or Florida that generally kept classroom learning in person as much as they could. Explain what your research shows in this part.
KANE: So I think what we did -- we learned just how important in- person schooling is, that where schools remained open, the gaps, you know, everybody lost a little bit because remember, those schools were out in the spring of 2020. But the gaps did not widen. And yet, in places where kids went home, schools are much more unequal than schools -- I mean, the homes are much more unequal than schools are. And so gaps widened in those areas that shifted to remote instruction.
So like it was -- it was like we got to see just the importance of public schools as a part of our social infrastructure. We turn the switch off and gaps widen. We turn -- we kept the lights on and gaps didn't widen. So it was -- it should be concerning us all that achievement gaps widened during this period. And that we got to -- we've got a lot of work to do to make sure that these gaps don't become permanent.
TAPPER: There were people in the media and in public life sounding the alarm on this after it became clear that remote learning was not really achieving anything for -- especially for younger kids. And one of the issues was those who questioned remote learning would often face criticisms such as this since deleted tweet I'm going to bring up from the Chicago Teachers Union chapter, this is from December 2020. It said, "The push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism, and misogyny." What's your reaction to that?
KANE: Well, you know, I do think we all ought to look back to last year. There was a lot of legitimate uncertainty about like, what the public health benefits would be to staying remote and canceling in- person classes. But what we've learned -- and by the way, public health researchers are going to continue to argue over that, over the next couple of years, so I'm just like, what were the public health benefits to remote versus in-person schooling.
But whatever the outcome of that debate, we know that the costs for kids were large. And that, you know, we need to be embracing that and recognizing what we need to do to try to close these gaps.
TAPPER: And I imagine there are a lot of issues. One of them being some families can afford to have a parent who's at home, some families cannot, some families only have one parent at home. Then in addition, millions of American students and households don't have internet. Many were forced to go to a fast food parking lot and log on or ask teachers to hand deliver assignments, while schools were still doing remote learning. What are the long term effects on these kids?
KANE: Well, we estimate that if these losses become permanent, that it -- and you were in a high poverty school that was remote for the majority of last year, the impact on earnings will be about 5 percent of -- like a 5 percent decline on earnings the rest of your career. Now, that may not sound huge, but when you spread it across 50 million students in K-12 education, it's about $2 trillion a year. So, I mean, $2 trillion in foregone earnings over the -- over --not per year, but over the course of their lifetime, lost earnings.
TAPPER: Is it too late? Are there some solutions that schools should undertake to try to help these kids who have been so negatively impact?
KANE: So school districts as I'm sure you know, have received a lot of federal aid and they have 30 more months to spend those federal dollars. And so our hope is, districts will start to develop plans now that are -- that have a hope of closing these gaps.
My concern is that many districts plans from what I've seen so far are just not commensurate with the magnitude of their losses. They're planning interventions for 10 or 15 percent of their students, when a much larger percentage students could use the help. And we don't have time for a year from now to find out that the district's catch up plans were undersized.
Districts need to be looking at their plans. Now parents need to be asking, OK, can you provide me a rationale for why our district's plans are big enough to close these gaps? And show me the research on the effects of these different interventions our district is trying, and let's make sure that they add up.
It's a math problem that school districts need to be doing right now, is to say like is the size of our recovery effort commensurate with the size of our students losses?
TAPPER: Yes. Professor Thomas Kane, thank you so much for your research and for coming here today. Appreciate it.
Breaking news, on the nationwide manhunt for the missing Alabama corrections officer and the inmate she's believed to be with who may have been spotted for the first time since their escape. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Breaking news in our national lead, the fugitive who escaped an Alabama jail more than a week ago may have been spotted. Investigators just released these photos of what they believe is a new vehicle used by the former corrections officer and the inmate who disappeared together, pictured at a carwash in Indiana. Police believe the man next to the truck is escaped inmate Casey White.
CNN's Nadia Romero was in Florence Alabama for us. Nadia, what are investigators saying about this new vehicle?
NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Jim, this -- or Jake, excuse me, this gives us a good idea of the next vehicle they were in. So remember they left the courthouse here and we found their next car, a Ford Edge that was found in Williamson, Tennessee, about two hours north and then two hours north of there is Evansville, Indiana. And that's where they found this blue Ford F-150.
And in those photos, you can see that vehicle. You can also see Casey White. And U.S. Marshals tell us they know that's him, other three big identifiers for Casey White, it's his size. He's 6'9 and 300 pounds. But then also he has some very recognizable tattoos on his right arm and so that's going to help identify him at every turn.
So this gives us an idea of exactly where they were. We knew that they left a car in Williamson, Tennessee and that the U.S. Marshals put a triangle around that location saying that they wouldn't come back south down to Alabama but they were likely heading north. And now we have confirmation that they did, head north to this carwash. It was spotted a days ago, but it was Sunday night that the U.S. Marshals and other investigators were able to put all the pieces together to let them know that this was the vehicle that Vicky White and Casey White were in. The escaped inmate and the former corrections officer. We also know that Vicky White is facing a new charge that she used a fake I.D. to purchase at least one vehicle here. They say that she was using other aliases as well. Jake?
TAPPER: Bizarre that they went to a carwash. What more are you learning about the inmate Casey White?
ROMERO: Yes, we know that he has a long list of convictions, Jake, dating back to 2010 when he had a domestic violence charge for beating his own brother in the head with the handle of an axe sledge hammer. So that landed him in Alabama prison back then. Then he went on a crime spree in 2015, Jake, and it was carjacking a police chase. He was convicted on attempted murder and kidnapping.
We interviewed one of his victims who said he was just terrified knowing that he was out on the run. He believes that everyone that comes in contact with Casey White is in danger. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Nadia Romero reporting live for us from Florence, Alabama. Thanks so much.
Fire season is just starting and one state is already fighting its second largest wildfire in history. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our Earth matters series, New Mexico is now battling its second largest wildfire in history. The massive fire is a combination of two smaller fires burning in the northern part of the state. The flames are now covering close to 200,000 acres.
CNN's Lucy Kafanov is in New Mexico for us just a few miles from the fire. Lucy, how contained is it right now?
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, just 43 percent contained as of this morning, but that can change in a heartbeat because of these incredibly strong winds. You could see them blowing here. You can see that massive plume of smoke behind me that wasn't here just four hours ago.
These winds moving at 30 miles an hour gusts of up to 60 miles an hour. I can tell you that it's frankly difficult to just stand here. These high winds, high temperatures, low humidity, really complicating firefighting efforts. The crews have not been able to get air support. They haven't been able to use, for example, those helicopters that can drop water that slow down the firefighting efforts.
This is not only the second largest fire in New Mexico history, but the largest one burning in the U.S. right now. It's roughly the size of New York City. Of course, it's just a fraction, a minuscule fraction of the population. But it doesn't make the risk any less dangerous.
We know that thousands of homes, thousands of people are affected. I spoke to one fire official earlier today who said that there's about 12,000 homes who have been under mandatory evacuation but we don't know how many people live in those homes, how many of them are vacation properties, and frankly, how many folks are actually heating the important -- incredibly important warnings to get out of dodge.
I could also tell you that officials are expecting things to potentially get worse, they're expecting a quote, significant increase in the fire risk. And again, the unpredictable nature of these winds make it very difficult for the firefighters to battle them especially without those critical air resources. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Lucy Kafanov reporting for us live from New Mexico. Thanks so much.
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