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The Lead with Jake Tapper
U.S. Reeling After 10 More Mass Shootings In Deadly Weekend; Uvalde Officials Dodging Questions Nearly Two Weeks After Massacre; Dem Negotiator: "More Confident Than Ever" On Bipartisan Gun Talks; British Prime Minister Wins Vote To Stay In Power; Mexican President Snubs U.S.-Hosted Summit Of The Americas; Zelenskyy Visits Frontline Troops As Russia Intensifies Attacks; Baby Formula Shortage Forces Some Moms To Rethink Nursing. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 06, 2022 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right. You see him here, cameras caught him throwing a tantrum, trying to cover his mother's mouth, the duchess of Cambridge here. It would have been some furniture moving on the balcony.
This morning, his parents thanked everyone for a fantastic weekend, tweeting out this image saying we had an incredible time, especially Louis.
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A horribly bloody weekend in the United States of America.
THE LEAD starts now.
At least 10 mass shootings in just one weekend in the United States -- 10. Graduation parties, popular night spots. Are our elected leaders doing anything to try to stop the carnage?
Plus, the credibility of the leader of a major U.S. ally called into question. After years of scandal, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's political fate now comes down to a secret vote. Results due any minute will determine whether he survives.
And more shipments of baby formula on the way, but so many U.S. parents desperately want to know where is all this formula going, and how do I get some?
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
And we start today with our national lead and what seems to be growing optimism among negotiators in the U.S. Senate that some kind of deal on guns can be reached, as the United States reels from yet another horrific weekend of gun violence.
Now, it's not clear exactly what this compromise on Capitol Hill might look like, whether it includes increased background checks or new mental health provisions and funding or encouraging states to enact red flag laws or all of the above, or none of the above.
But one of the lead Democratic negotiators, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, told me this yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): I have never been part of negotiations as serious as these. There are more Republicans at the table talking about changing our gun laws and investing in mental health than at any time since Sandy Hook.
Now, I have also been part of many failed negotiations in the past so I'm sober minded about our chances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: For too many Americans, a possible deal cannot come soon enough. CNN has confirmed at least ten mass shootings in the U.S. over the weekend, from Phoenix, Arizona, to Saginaw, Michigan, to Chesterfield, Virginia, to Philadelphia, under a mile from where I grew up. At least 14 people killed in total. More than 60 others injured.
So many of these victims are folks just in the wrong place at the wrong time, who went to a mall or a restaurant for dinner, or out to celebrate a 22nd birthday. Only to have their names added to the terrifyingly frequent, sickening American statistics for gun violence victims.
CNN's Alexandra Field starts off our coverage today with what local leaders say needs to happen next to keep our communities safe.
MAYOR TIM KELLY, CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE: It's going to be a long hot summer.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across America, mass shootings at malls, graduation parties, even funerals, all in a single weekend.
KELLY: We will do as mayors what we have to do to keep our people safe, but we could sure use some help at the federal level.
FIELD: The mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, urging lawmakers to act after a nightclub shooting there left 14 injured and three killed early Sunday morning, the second mass shooting in that city in just two weeks. Philadelphia's mayor calling a steep rise in gun violence deeply troubling and implementing a curfew for part of downtown after a mass shooting in a busy night life area.
COMMISSIONER DANIELLE OUTLAW, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: Horrendous and unthinkable acts happened in a very popular local and tourist hangout.
FIELD: Eleven people were injured and three people died. One of them believed to be one of the suspected gunmen. The search now on for the suspects. Police say several individuals pulled guns after a fight started. Hundreds of people were out at the time on South Street.
Among the victims, Kristopher Minners, a resident adviser who was out celebrating his 22nd birthday.
Philadelphia's district attorney saying it's time for real action.
LARRY KRASNER, PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We have come to the point where any legislature who is accepting donations, directly or indirectly from the gun lobby belongs out of office.
FIELD: Since Friday, at least 10 mass shootings in nine different states claiming the lives of more than a dozen people and leaving at least 60 more wounded. In Summerton, South Carolina, seven people injured, one killed at graduation party. In Phoenix, it was strip mall, eight wounded, a 14-year-old girl died.
These are just the latest of the 246 mass shootings in America this year. That's the same startling numbers as this time last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, but a big jump from 2020 and 2019.
The endless grief, the shattered sense of peace and unshakeable horrors seen in recent weeks from buffalo to Uvalde, bringing the national conversation over guns to a fever pitch.
MURPHY: I'm more confident than ever that we're going to get there, but I'm also more anxious about failure this time around.
FIELD (on camera): And, Jake, just moments ago, officials right here in Philadelphia announcing that they have taken a suspect into custody. That suspect was taken to the hospital with a hand injury after he was struck by a police officer who fired back. Officials here also saying that they have a warrant out for the arrest of another suspect -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Alexandra Field in Philadelphia for us. Thanks so much.
Turning now to Wisconsin and what officials say appears to be a targeted attack, former Circuit Court Judge John Roamer was found tied to a chair and shot to death on Friday. The suspected gunman appears to have also shot himself, but he did survive. Investigators say they found a list of other possible targets in the suspect's car, including the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is in New Lisbon, Wisconsin, which just got an update on the investigation from the state's attorney general.
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The shooting death of former Judge John Roamer in Wisconsin on Friday has set off an investigation into other possible targets.
JOSH KAUL (D), WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERAL: This act appears to have been related to the judicial process.
BROADDUS: A source familiar with the investigation says law enforcement is focusing on a hit list that names the judge and other political leaders.
KAUL: There were other targets, and, you know, Judge Roamer was among them. And the investigation into those details is continuing. We do not believe there's currently an active ongoing threat related to this incident. We notified everybody who we had reason to believe may have been a target.
BROADDUS: The list, according to the source, also targeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
GOV. TONY EVERS (D), WISCONSIN: Somebody that devoted his life or good share of his life being a jurist in the state, in rural Wisconsin, and that's hard work, to be targeted like that, it makes me frankly sick to my stomach.
BROADDUS: The State Department of Justice said law enforcement attempted to negotiate with the gunman at the judge's home. When they entered, they found the judge, who had been shot and killed. Police found the suspect injured in the basement from an apparent self- inflicted gunshot wound. Fifty-six-year-old Douglas Uhde survived and the authorities won't say whether he told them anything. No charges have been filed.
KAUL: All I can say is he's in critical condition and the investigation is ongoing.
BROADDUS: The suspect has criminal convictions dating back to at least 2002. And court records show in 2005, his case involving armed burglary and firearms charges came before Judge Roamer, and he sentenced him to six years in prison followed by nine years extended supervision.
The suspect also brought a civil lawsuit against several law enforcement officials after his 2001 arrest. Judge Roamer, who retired in 2017, was 68. The state's attorney general said identifying any potential threats is now a primary concern.
KAUL: We have seen a rise in domestic extremism. I think it is important that we take a look at the protective measures that we have in place for judges and other public officials.
(END VIDEOTAPE) BROADDUS: And, Jake, we also heard from a federal judge, Esther Salas, whose son was killed in a targeted attack back in 2019. She's pushing to get legislation passed that would better protect judges and justices. She wants some of their personal information like the address of their home to remain private.
Meanwhile, here in Wisconsin, about 100 yards, 100 feet on the other side of this barricade, investigators are still searching the home of the judge who was killed. When he retired about five years ago, he wrote a letter to the former governor thanking the citizens of Wisconsin, calling it a job and a responsibility at times he could barely fathom -- Jake.
TAPPER: Adrienne Broaddus in Wisconsin for us, thanks so much.
In Uvalde, Texas, today, 13 days after the massacre at Robb Elementary School, some of the 21 victims, including 19 children are still being laid to rest. And police and local officials meanwhile are refusing to answer questions about what went so horribly wrong 13 days ago.
They're not providing any official briefings. They're even dodging CNN cameras.
CNN's Omar Jimenez is in Uvalde.
Omar, there remains so many unanswered questions about what happened 13 days ago. Why do investigators say they're not getting any updates?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, that is the major question at this point. It's been ten days since the last Texas Department of Public Safety briefing, but even had they were giving regular updates, that information quickly began to conflict. Now, they are punting any questions over to the Uvalde district county or excuse me, the Uvalde County District Attorney's Office.
And even today, the Texas DPS released a statement when we continued to ask questions, saying: The Texas Department of Public Safety is committed to working with multiple law enforcement agencies to get the answers we all seek. The Texas Ranger investigation is taking place at the request of District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee of the 38th Judicial District. As this is still very much an active and ongoing investigation, it is appropriate at this stage to refer all questions to the D.A.'s office.
So we have, but the district attorney hasn't gotten back with any information of significance. Plus, when approached in person, does not answer any questions, Jake.
TAPPER: Omar Jimenez in Uvalde, Texas, where there are a lot of questions and no answers.
What can Congress do on gun violence after years of getting nowhere, some lawmakers feel this time may be different. I'll ask a key Democrat in negotiations what's realistic. Plus, the results are in. Will Boris Johnson stay in power to lead one
of the United States' closest allies?
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In the politics lead, after decades of any serious action on Americans' gun violence crisis, key Senate lawmakers negotiating legislation addressing mass shootings are currently expressing cautious optimism that Congress may be able to do something this time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURPHY: I'm more confident than ever that we're going to get there. But I'm also more anxious about failure this time around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CNN's Jessica Dean is live on Capitol Hill for us.
Jessica, what do we know about the timeline of these negotiations and what a potential compromise bill might look like?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, we know the senators are working as quickly as they feel like they possibly can because they want to continue to push forward while they have the momentum, as we just heard with you there with Senator Murphy, there is cautious optimism, but they're all very much clear-eyed about how something like this could fall apart.
So they're trying to move as quickly as they can. Senator Mitch McConnell saying earlier this afternoon that he hoped they might have a deal by the end of the week. It's unclear at this point that they will be able to get to that point by the end of the week, and the they need more time, it's likely that Chuck Schumer would give them some more time as they're showing progress.
What they're kind of circling right now in the Senate are things like red flag laws, expanding background checks, safe storage for guns, mental health funding, also school security funding. And one thing that Senator John Cornyn who is of course a very key negotiator, he's really representing Republicans in these talks right now, just told us a little bit ago, he said they're really zeroing in on one specific situation which is what happens if a juvenile has a juvenile record but then turns 18? How do they make sure that that person is screened properly and not able to get a gun if they have had a record that when they turn 18 they don't have anymore, walking through kind of some of those things and to that end, the discussions continue.
We know that a set of four senators including Chris Murphy, Kyrsten Sinema, John Cornyn, and Thom Tillis will be meeting later this evening. Let's listen to what -- go ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Here, you want -- you want to look at two things that could have prevented this. An age requirement would have prevented an 18-year-old and basically a red flag law that's basically intended to try to help a person get some mental help.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think there should be a ban on assault weapons, ban on AR-15s?
MANCHIN: You know, talking about bans, I wouldn't have a problem. I'm looking at some of these things, what is the necessity. Tell me what the purpose is, and let's use them for those purposes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: So, you have a conservative Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin, talking to my colleague Manu Raju there about some of the things Democrats would like to see, Jake. But as you well, they certainly cannot get ten Republicans to support something like an assault weapons ban or maybe even raising the age.
So, again, it all comes down to what will Republicans be willing to accept here -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jessica Dean on Capitol Hill for us, thanks so much.
Let's discuss this with Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch of Florida. He's a member of the House Judiciary Committee. He's the chief whip of the Gun Violence Protection Task Force. His district in Florida includes Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, site of the horrific Parkland shooting in 2018.
Congressman, thanks for joining us.
So, Senate Democrats say this moment feels different than after prior mass shootings. Senator Chris Murphy, leading negotiations for Senate Democrats, told me he's confident a compromise can be agreed to.
You've gone through this before. How do you see it?
REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL): Well, I don't know that it should feel different. It should feel the same every time. We should be repulsed by what's happening. Ten mass shootings in a weekend, 250 so far this year.
This is, Jake, we've talked about this. This is something that is only partisan under the Capitol Dome, not out in the real world where people are afraid to go out in public, afraid to go to school, afraid to go to the grocery store. So, if it means things need to change in the Senate, then great. I'm thrilled that they feel different.
What we're talking about doing here is so straightforward and has such broad support across the country that I'm hoping that we'll finally see that same support up here in Washington.
TAPPER: After the Parkland massacre in 2018, something remarkable happened in Florida, which has a Republican-led legislature and had and still has a Republican governor. They banned weapons sales to people younger than 21, imposed a three-day waiting period, created a red flag law, did more for school security. This is all under the senate, current senator, Rick Scott, when he was governor. He's now in charge of electing Republicans to the Senate.
How do you make the case for Republicans on a national level that the law passed in Florida is good politics for them?
Our correspondent Leyla Santiago did a great report on this last week, interviewing the Pasco County sheriff who said these red flag laws work.
DEUTCH: And they've been used thousands of times. It's good, Jake, look, to put this in the simplest terms, you know how you can tell it's good politics in Florida? Because those Republicans who voted for it didn't get voted out because they supported some commonsense measures. They were re-elected.
This is -- this is what we need to do. And by the way, there was also some compromise in that. And I think as we think about how to pull something together in Washington -- yeah, we're going to have to do all of the above. We're going to have to deal with gun laws and hopefully raising the age, just like it's 21 to buy a handgun, certainly ought to be 21 to buy an AR-15.
The violent history checks, background checks, the red flag laws we have said have been used all across Florida so successfully. Also, we're going to have to invest in mental health because it's the right thing to do, and we're also going to have to take action to make our schools safer. It's not -- that alone won't do it. But hopefully we'll be able to come together on a big package that includes the kinds of things that will check boxes for different members but all of which taken together will make our communities safer.
There is no reason -- there's just no reason that we shouldn't be able to move forward with the broadly supported efforts to make our communities safer. That's what the House bill that we're going to vote on this week will do. And that's what Senator Murphy and his colleagues are working to get to.
You were in Florida after Parkland, Jake. You saw what happens to a community. Think about that happening in community after community after community. We cannot wait any longer, and wreak this kind of pain and heartache on more communities. We have to take action.
TAPPER: Do you think that what made the difference in Parkland was all of those kids and parents going to Tallahassee and basically camping out there for weeks and talking to the legislators? I mean, why was this ruby red state, and I'm sorry but that's what Florida is now, sir, why was this ruby red state able to pass all of these sweeping measures, comprehensive, after Parkland and it doesn't happen in other places, including Washington? DEUTCH: Well, I'll tell you a few things, Jake. First, the state
representative for Parkland, Jared Moskowitz, took a number of these Republican state legislatures to the school, to the crime scene, to see just how horrific this was, to make it real for them.
Likewise, the families, as you point out, the families and the survivors, the young people, went to Tallahassee because this was personal to them. The emotions were raw, and they just laid out their hearts for the legislators. And it just became -- it ultimately became too difficult to turn them away.
Washington is different. It's big, and people come from all over, and it's harder to make it as personal. But how are we going to get this done? We need to make it personal for every senator and every member of the House.
This is not some abstract debate about the Constitution. This is about families whose lives will never be the same, whose family members will never, never get to enjoy any of the constitutional rights that we spend so much time debating because their lives were taken brutally from them, and we need to act to stop all this gun violence. It's got to be personal.
The families are coming back up this week. I know that. The young people are coming back up. The March For Our Lives is going to be marching again. All of this is a reminder that it's intensely personal, not just for the families but for an entire generation of young people who are tired of seeing people dying beside them in school, on their way to school, when they go to the movies.
They want action. And they're going to keep speaking out. It's just a question of whether my colleagues in the house and in the Senate will appeal to their humanity, will hear them, will hear them as the kind of pained individuals that they are so that we can come together and strengthen our resolve to do the right thing.
TAPPER: Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch of Florida, thank you so much for your time. Good to see you.
Coming up, the snub to President Biden. Why Mexico's leader is following through with a threat and boycotting a visit this week to the United States,.
And a big moment in the UK just now. Results of that secret vote determining the fate of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. We'll tell you what it is.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Breaking news. That's Britain's conservative party reacting to their leader, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, surviving a vote of no confidence. The vote was triggered by a member of his own party after Johnson was criticized by his response to cost of living increases and his role in what's called party-gate, holding staff drinking parties during COVID lockdown.
CNN's Max Foster is outside of 10 Downing Street in London.
Max, what do we know about this vote?
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he does survive, but he's pretty wounded as a result, and his position is heavily weakened. So, 211 of his members of his parliamentary party voted to support him, partly because there isn't frankly an alternative to Boris Johnson right now, so they're looking ahead thinking if we get rid of him, who do we replace him with? That's part of the case that he made to his parliamentary party earlier today when he tried to convince them to back him.
But, 148 members of his parliamentary party voted against him, to have him removed. That's a big number and exposes a deep rift within the governing party here.
Just to put it in context, Theresa May, his predecessor, had a confidence vote, and Boris Johnson's result was worse than hers, and she only lasted for a few months before she was forced out. So he's got a huge challenge ahead for him to rebuild confidence within his own party, but also to rebuild confidence in the public because we saw over the weekend the jubilee events, whenever he turned up, he was booed. The polls are bad for him right now, so he's got a huge job ahead of him.
The one benefit for him is he's protected from another confidence vote for a year. There can't be another one for a year, so we'll wait to see what he has to say.
I think -- well, I'm pretty sure he's preparing for him to give a statement in the coming hour or so. We'll wait to see what he can say now. I suspect he'll say something like, you know, this was a vote of confidence in me. Let's move on. That's what he typically does in these situations.
TAPPER: All right. Max Foster, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Also in our world lead today, a significant snub to President Joe Biden. The Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he will not be attending the Summit of the Americas hosted later this week by the United States, after Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela were not invited.
Let's bring in CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House.
Kaitlan, this move threatens to undermine the entire gathering. What does the White House have to say?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, it's definitely seen as a rebuke, given, of course, the whole point of the summit is to show that the United States is reestablishing its leadership in the region, that they're coming together to combat surging migration among dealing with other issues. And, of course, President Biden is hosting it in L.A.
And so, now, after weeks of wrangling and trying to get the Mexican president onboard, he now is not going to show up, and instead, is sending a deputy in his place to come to this summit, and of course, it is what you said, it's over. The invite list, the guest list from the White House because they decided in the end despite some pushing from certain leaders to invite Cuba and Nicaragua and Venezuela, they decided not to do so in the end, a decision that the White House defended today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: At the end of the day, to your question, we just don't believe dictators should be invited. So we don't regret that. And we will -- the president will stand by his principle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Now, Jake, I should note that reporters in the room asked the White House about how they square the idea of they don't want to invite dictators, they say they're not inviting these leaders to this summit yet they're in the middle of planning a visit for President Biden to go to Saudi Arabia in July, that is something they have been working on. They haven't finalized it yet.
And Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary, defended it as saying what's in the United States' strategic interest is what they keep in mind with planning certain summits with world leaders. I should note, Jake, the Mexican president is not going to be at the summit this week in Los Angeles, but he will be coming here to the White House next week as the White House is referring to him as a close ally, just not one at the summit that the president is hosting.
TAPPER: OK. So, we only take positions against dictators if they can't help us with energy? Got it.
Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, CNN's exclusive access to some of the most gruesome operations happening in Ukraine right now.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our world lead, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy getting a first-hand up close look at the front lines as fighting rages in eastern Ukraine, meeting with soldiers in areas facing heavy Russian bombardment.
Moments ago, we just heard from President Zelenskyy who claimed more than 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers who defended the besieged steel plant in Mariupol might be detained in Russian occupied territory right now, so many of their fellow fighters did not survive that battle. And the painstaking work is under way right now to try to identify their remains.
CNN's Ben Wedeman got exclusive access to the capital's main morgue. We want to warn our viewers, some of the images you will see might be disturbing.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And so, it begins on a sunny summer morning, the grimmest of tasks.
Workers at Kyiv central morgue examine the contents of 160 dirty, putrid body bags. Containing the badly decomposed remains of soldiers killed during the two-month siege at the port city of Mariupol and in the city's sprawling Azovstal steel plant where Ukrainian forces made their last stand.
Ukraine and Russia have conducted an exchange of bodies as part of the agreement that ended the siege. Forensic examiner Liliya Philipchuck has been on the job for three years. Since the war began, she's had little rest.
We also examined the bodies from Bucha and Irpin, she says, referring to Kyiv's suburbs where retreating Russian forces are accused of committing atrocities against civilians.
Olena Tolkatchova is also helping. She's affiliated with the Azov Brigade which fought in Mariupol. The brigade is a nationalist militia that was integrated into Ukraine's armed forces.
The morgue is already full of bodies from Kyiv, from Bucha, from Irpin, she says. So we have to put them in a refrigerator truck.
Morgue workers search the ripped and ragged clothing for documents and tag and bag the personal items. This is just the start of a long process.
Some of these bodies have no identification, so their DNA will have to be sampled. And it may take a month, maybe more, to find out who they were.
And only then will their loved ones know their fate -- finality for the living and the dead will have to wait.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Kyiv.
TAPPER: And our thanks to CNN's Ben Wedeman for that report.
Let's bring in right now, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor. Ambassador Taylor, you just saw one depiction of the horrible loss of
life inflicted by Russia against the Ukrainian people in that piece. Ukraine has also had some positive momentum recently. Ukrainian officials say their Navy forced Russia's fleet in the Black Sea to retreat about 65 miles. Ukrainian forces say they have killed another Russian general, and a military official on the east says Ukrainian forces have retaken half of Donetsk, although the situation is changing every hour, every minute there.
Where do you think we are, where do you think Ukraine and Russia are in the larger picture of the war?
WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Jake, I think what we're seeing is a slugfest. It's a tactical slugfest. In particular, Severodonetsk as you just described where it goes back and forth, Ukrainians counterattack.
The Russians unleash unbelievable bombardments from the air, from air strikes, from cruise missiles, from long range artillery. It is horrific. And it goes back and forth.
So that is a key battle. The Ukrainians are nearly surrounded there, when you take a look at the map, it is not -- it's not good from the Ukrainian standpoint. They have been fighting. You just talked about they fight in Mariupol. They have been fighting in Severodonetsk as well, but it's grim. It's a slugfest.
TAPPER: We're seeing new images of what Ukraine says is a Russian cruise missile flying, quote, critically low over a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. That seems rather concerning.
TAYLOR: It is, Jake. Any time there are weapons, there are missiles, there are cruise missiles in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant, you have to worry.
We remember how the Russians really didn't pay attention to what was going on at Chernobyl. Chernobyl is not even an operating power plant any longer, but it does have radioactive materials there, and similarly, in other nuclear reactors that are in operation. So, they're clearly not paying attention to this and when they send missiles in the vicinity, that's troubling.
TAPPER: Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning that Russia will strike new targets if the U.S. does supply those long range missiles to Ukraine. UK intelligence also says this weekend's strikes on Kyiv were an attempt to disrupt the flow of western weapons to front line Ukrainian units.
How seriously should the U.S. take this threat when considering the next round of aid to Ukraine?
TAYLOR: Jake, we should provide the next round and the next round and the next round after that, and increasing volume, increasing weight, increasing range. This is what we have heard. We have heard this kind of bluster from President Putin and Foreign
Minister Lavrov before. I'm sure we'll hear it again. What we need to do is support the Ukrainians with as much of the weapons as they need to win this war.
TAPPER: Ambassador Taylor, CNN team in eastern Ukraine today saw long lines of civilian cars driving west from the Ukrainian controlled portion of the Donetsk region in Donbas, Ukrainian officials say these evacuations are extremely dangerous.
Why do you think so many civilians waited until now to try to leave?
TAYLOR: Jake, I imagine that the fighting up around Severodonetsk that you have been talking about was just north of Donetsk, is getting to the people who have stuck it out. Ukrainians who have stuck it out all this time.
This is, as I say, this is a slugfest. This is grim. It goes back and forth. Ukrainian civilians are trying to get out of harm's way. They know that the Russians are merciless. So they're moving now.
TAPPER: All right. Ambassador Bill Taylor, always good to have you on. Thank you so much, sir.
Coming up, how the baby formula shortage is forcing many parents to make a tough decision as the wait goes on for more supply to show up on store shelves.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our health lead today, baby formula maker Abbott finally restarted production this weekend at its previously shuttered Michigan plant. The plant is focusing first on making EleCare. That's a specialty formula for babies who cannot tolerate other kinds of formula. Abbott expects this production to hit stores two weeks from now.
The endless delays and perpetually empty stores have some mothers weighing an agonizing decision to breast feed longer or restart nursing after having stopped.
CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now live.
Elizabeth, you're talking to some of these moms. What are they telling you?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They're telling me, Jake, that they're really struggling. They nursed their babies for a number of months and then they said, you know what, it's time to wean. I'm going back to work.
Well, they feel like they can't because of the formula shortage. So, I want to introduce you to two moms who live in Mississippi in the Jackson area. The first is Amy Goff (ph). She has a 10-month-old baby daughter named
Ava (ph). When she went back to work before the shortage, she was done. Everything was fine. The baby was taking formula.
But then the shortage happened, and so now Amy is having to relactate, six months she hasn't breast fed, she feels like she needs to relactate because she can't find a formula that works for her baby because the one that did work she just keeps going store to store to store and can't find it.
I also want to introduce you to Stratton Brown. She's the mom of 4- month-old Zoey. Stratton was ready to wean Zoey, to go back to work, and now she can't do that.
Now, I want to be clear, Jake. These moms are not complaining, but it is tough to go back to work and do that routine of pumping and nursing.
Let's take a listen to what Stratton told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STRATTON BROWN, MOTHER: I have no complaints about nursing. It's the extra on top of it, the pumping, it's the schedule, it's rigorous, it's not getting to sleep through the night. It's kind of frustrating in that sense to not have control over like what I'm doing with my life at this point surrounding feeding her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: So, Stratton and other moms telling us as you just heard her, this is not how they planned to do this. They feel sort of forced into this. They're waiting for more formula to arrive on shelves -- Jake.
TAPPER: Elizabeth, there are of course many moms and families who aren't able to breast feed for any number of reasons. What relief might be coming for them?
COHEN: All right, let's take a look at what's coming down in the pipeline. So, first of all, 38,000 cans of Gerber Good Start were sent to a major retailer May 28th through 29th. We don't know exactly where that is, lots of people are hunting for it.
Now, EleCare, which is a hypo-allergenic formula is supposed to hit shelves June 20th. But that's a specialty formula that's going to be made in that plant in Abbott. That's not for all children. Similac and other products will take a lot longer and there are shipments of formula from the UK, Germany, and Australia that are expected this week.
Jake, it's going to take a while before parents really see sort of the fruits of all of this on their local store shelves -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.
Coming up, brand-new CNN reporting. A U.S. service member suspected of attacking other Americans at a U.S. base in Syria. The striking details ahead.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, want to work less but get the same paycheck? The one of a kind four-day work week experiment that is launching today for thousands of workers.
Plus, a missile tat for tat playing out after North Korea launches eight missiles. The United States and South Korea firing back.
And leading this hour, how high will it go? A new week and a new record high for gas prices, $5 a gallon may seem cheap with what may be coming as pressure grows for the White House to take further action.
And as CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports for us now, this comes ahead of another key report this week that's expected to show more bad data on inflation for the month of May.
JEAN-PIERRE: We have a lot of work to do and we understand what the American people are feeling.
COLLINS (voice-over): Record-setting gas prices causing a massive headache for the White House.
GINA RAIMONDO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: Inflation is a problem. I will grant you that.
COLLINS: As the national average for a gallon of gas jumped to $4.87 today, President Biden's top aides are arguing there's little he can do to lower prices on his own.