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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Stocks Dive After Fed Chair Warns of "Pain" To Tame Inflation; Justice Department Releases Redacted FBI Affidavit For Mar-a-Lago Search; Heightened Fears After Power Issue At Ukraine Nuclear Plant; State Department Confirms U.S. Citizen Killed In Ukraine; Moderna Sues Pfizer And BioNTech For Patent Infringement Over mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired August 26, 2022 - 16:00   ET


ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: The affidavit is out.

THE LEAD starts right now.


The Justice Department revealing significant concerns over top secret documents and lax security at Mar-a-Lago and its push for the FBI's unprecedented search at the former president's home.

Plus, Donald Trump's reaction to the affidavit's release.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: This is a police attack on our country and it's a disgrace. And the people understand it.


HILL: And new CNN reporting on former Trump officials who say they're not surprised to hear classified docs were handled in such a haphazard way.

Plus, the head of the Federal Reserve today warning of economic pain on the horizon, saying the only way to tame inflation is to slow economic growth, including the job market.


HILL: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Erica Hill, in for Jake Tapper this afternoon.

And we begin with the money lead. A major slide on Wall Street. The Dow, as you can see there, down about 1,000 points. This after a sobering assessment today from the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Taming inflation, Powell warns, will require some pain.

Let's get straight to CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon.

So, Rahel, Powell's warning really led to a jolt on Wall Street. That's a pretty significant drop. RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, really spooking Wall

Street and Main Street in terms of the messaging we heard here. And to put this in perspective, Erica, we haven't seen a day like this in the market since mid-June. Every sector in the S&P 500 closed lower today. So, it was a broad-based sell-off as investors really parse through what the Federal Reserve chairman was trying on get across.

He talked about the fact that the Fed will not stop raising interest rates until they are confident. He said -- Chairman Powell said we will keep at it until we're confident the job is done. The job, of course, being lowering inflation. But the concern is being felt in the markets is that when it is all said and done, we will likely be in a very different place economically in terms of consumer spending, in terms of the labor market, and the fear is that we are much more likely now heading toward a recession.

Every time the Fed has to be more aggressive in terms of rate hikes, it increases the chance of a policy misstep and that's what you're seeing today.

HILL: Wow, lots to look at. Rahel, appreciate it. Thank you.

Let's turn now to the politics lead, and the bombshell affidavit released today, laying out the probable cause for why the FBI felt it was necessary to search the residence of former President Donald Trump.

So, here's what we learned. In the 15 boxes of documents that Trump returned to the National Archives in January, boxes kept at Mar-a- Lago, were 184 classified documents. 67 of which were confidential, 92 were marked as secret, 25 marked as top secret.

The National Archives also flagging this to the DOJ. Of most significant concern was that highly classified records were intermixed with other records and otherwise improperly identified. The classified materials were found among newspaper clippings, photos, magazines. Well, agents grew concerned that there could be more classified documents at Mar-a-Lago where the affidavit notes there is not a secure location authorized for the storage of classified information.

But the search was not just about getting documents bag. Agents also believed that evidence of obstruction will be found at the premises.

Let's being our coverage with CNN's Jessica Schneider who's been pouring through this 38-page affidavit throughout the afternoon.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT ( voice-over): Startling new details about the hundreds of pages of documents former President Donald Trump kept at Mar-a-Lago for months, as the National Archives tried to get them back.

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: The top secret stuff and compartmental can get people killed. It is completely alarming. SCHNEIDER: The now unsealed affidavit revealing 14 of the 15 boxes

the Archives retrieved in January 2022 contain classified information, 184 unique documents in all, 67 marked confidential, 92 marked secret, and 25 marked top secret, including documents with markings like HCS, particularly alarming to intelligence experts.

STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA RUSSIA STATION CHIEF: The HCS stuff basically means there is information in those boxes in the basement of Mar-a- Lago that pertain to human sources. They usually get imprisoned and if it's in a place like Russia or any other authoritarian society, they oftentimes are simply executed. That type of information is just incredibly sensitive.

SCHNEIDER: The Justice Department redacting pages of information from the affidavit, in order to protect witness information and other key details from the ongoing criminal investigation into classified material at Mar-a-Lago.

In particular, prosecutors writing in their legal memo to the judge, information in the affidavit could be used to identify many if not all of these witnesses. If witnesses' identities are exposed, they could be subjected to harms, including retaliation, intimidations, or harassment, and even threats to their physical safety.

ROBERT LITT, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: At the end of the day, this is probably a net plus for the government. The judges found that they have excised all information that would compromise sources and methods that the Justice Department would be concerned about.


SCHNEIDER: But left unredacted is an email Trump attorney Evan Corcoran sent to the National Archives in May claiming Trump had the authority to keep the papers at his Florida home after he left office, saying Trump has absolute authority to declassify documents and presidential actions involving classified documents are not subject to criminal sanction.

But DOJ investigators weren't deterred saying there was probable cause to believe additional documents that contained classified NDI, or national defense information, or that of presidential record subject to record retention requirements, currently remain at Mar-a-Lago and there is probable cause to believe evidence of obstruction will be found.

HALL: What is a good explanation for why really anybody, certainly, former president included in that group, would want this stuff or have this stuff stored in the basement?


SCHNEIDER: Now, of course, a significant portion of the search warrant affidavit remains redacted. That's because DOJ's criminal investigation is still moving forward here. Prosecutors have previously revealed they're looking into violations of the Espionage Act, concealment of government records and obstruction.

So, Erica, the next question is, will anyone ultimately be charged? And if so, who? Erica?

HILL: Important questions. Jessica, appreciate it. Thank you.

We are also getting reaction, not surprisingly, to today's development from Trump world. I want to bring in CNN's Kristen Holmes who has more on that.

Some former officials even weighing in.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erica. So, the reaction from Trump world has been split into three categories. The first is that very public pushback. That's where you see the former president who took to his social media page. He posted saying this is a total public relations subterfuge by the FBI and DOJ. We heard from the spokesperson, we heard from his allies, all across conservative media. This was the face of it saying it is political and a witch hunt. No surprise there.

The next camp was the people who were a little bit concerned. These are the allies that we've been speaking to over the last several days who worry that Trump is in real legal peril. They pointed to the fact that there was such enormous amount of documents that were there. Could that lead to some kind of legal trouble?

Now, the third group, and this was really interesting. This was former Trump officials staffers, both at the White House and at Mar-a-Lago, who said that they weren't that concerned or even surprised at what the Archives found inside those boxes in terms of the classified documents being mixed with newspapers and photos and personal correspondence.

That was because of Trump's record keeping. They said that Trump was known to just walk in and out of a room, to go to a box of documents, or a stack of documents, sort through it. Pull stuff out. Move it to a different pile.

One source told me that he had stacks, and that's how he kept things organized. And these stacks could have anything from a tweet that he had written out to the presidential daily briefing. He would also just stop by a file. Take a couple of them, riffle through them, move to another pile. No real sense that there was record keeping there.

And another source privy to conversations that Trump had around these documents said that he was really often showing off some of these documents. Some of his correspondents with Kim Jong-un, for example -- just another way that these documents were not properly kept or stored. So they weren't shocked to hear that there was a box that had both classified documents that were mislabeled, as well as newspaper clippings and photographs.

HILL: That is telling.

Kristen Holmes, appreciate the reporting. Thank you. Also with us, CNN's Kaitlan Collins, former assistant U.S. attorney

Elie Honig and CNN's Abby Phillip.

Elie, let's start with you on this.

When we look at everything that we did learn in this affidavit, I know you were hoping to learn certain things. I think you got a little of what you wished for despite all the redactions here. One of the things that stood out, the judge note that there were multiple civilian witnesses. That stood out to you, why?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think there were a lot of important things in here. Multiple civilian witnesses. Let me break this down, civilian witnesses means normal people, not cops, not FBI agents, not military personnel, normal people.

If they're witnesses, they have first hand knowledge meaning around Donald Trump, around Mar-a-Lago.

And the phrasing that DOJ used, the prosecutors used. Sometimes you can sort of decode this stuff. Significant numbers. A broad range.

So, that doesn't mean one. I can tell you that for sure. It doesn't mean two. You wouldn't say that, two, for a judge.

So, we're not just talking about one person who sort of turned from the inside circle. We're talking about a lot of people giving FBI information that they felt comfortable to going to a judge and using it to establish the probable cause and needed to do this search.

HILL: Which is interesting when we think about how much may be behind this, right, and the concerns over what needed to be redacted, a significant amount of that was.

You know, Kaitlan, as we were hearing from Kristen, the way that former President Trump was known to handle documents when he was in the White House, right? I'm going to take this, throw it over here. I'll make some notes on things.

When you hear about that and you hear about how all these documents were mixed up in boxes, just based on your experience covering that administration, covering that White House, is it surprising?


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No. If you -- if you know how Trump handled documents, it's not surprising at all, given -- you know, his staff secretary, the person who controls the paper flow through, in and out of the Oval Office, really important orders, memos, things that the president has to sign, and technically, they need his signature, they always have a really tough job.

Whether it's Trump telling them, go and create this executive order for me to do X, Y, Z, which he did not have the authority to do. It was a point of focus and that office always had, you know, one of the more challenging roles I would say in the Trump West Wing. And so, when you're reading through the affidavit today, what's not redacted, and they talk about what they took in the 15 boxes.

And they say it was a collection of newspapers, magazines, articles that had been printed out, photos, miscellaneous printouts, notes, personal and post presidential notes, and also a lot of classified records. All mixed in. None of it really properly documented. It was unfoldered, mixed in, not labeled properly. None of that is a surprise.

The question is whether it is a defense and whether they tried to use that as a defense, because the one thing that we did know from the end of Trump's time in the White House was people noticed a lot of documents going over to the residence part of the White House, not staying inside the West Wing. And people raised questions about it.

And Pat Cipollone, who was the top attorney in the White House, clearly had questions about it. I do think that's the other side of the factor here. Not just him taking a bunch of stuff as some people have said. The question is whether or not he knew intentionally what was mixed up in these boxes.

HILL: And, you know, Abby, I know you pointed out, and mentioned to me earlier. One of the thing that stood out was this letter that was included that Jessica just mentioned as well from Evan Corcoran, attorney for the Trump team, which also plays into all that we're learning about what was there or known or not known about what was there.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That letter is dated back in May. And that is prior to this search of the former president's residence.

And it indicates a couple of things. One, they were very aware that this was a serious criminal matter. His attorney, Corcoran, wanted this document included as an exculpatory document. Even though what it seems to indicate is that they were trying to come up with some legal explanations, or excuses for why Trump's behavior would not warrant a criminal action on the part of the DOJ. To me, that's telling. They already knew things were going south.

But then on top of that, they've had so many opportunities to just simply return the documents. If this was just a question of whether Trump was putting documents in the wrong place, kind of mishandling them, oops, they ended up in this box and should have been in this box, that would be one thing. What is unanswered in all of this is why the documents were not returned on multiple occasions.

It took the National Archives seven months to get the first documents back from Mar-a-Lago. And then subsequent efforts to get documents, didn't bring all the ones back that were classified.

To me, this is the Trump team once again revealing information that is not at all exculpatory. It only shows they pushed back and pushed back hard, frankly, when DOJ tried to get a sense of what was left in Mar- a-Lago in terms of these very sensitive documents.

HILL: Which makes you wonder why. Why all the pushback. Elie, there are also questions about the time line here. Not just the

time line which we talked a fair amount about how long it took to get the documents. When they had the firsts, they get them in January. The FBI doesn't look at them until May.

I mean, that seems like a really long time. You have these boxes that you've been fighting to get back and no one is opening them up.

HONIG: I can't begin to explain that, Erica. But no question Donald Trump's strategy in this matter, as it often is just to delay, to drag this out as long as possible. Primarily it is on the Trump team. But DOJ and the Archives took their merry time as well. I mean, to allow five months to lapse with those documents sitting there before they're reviewed?

But it is important to keep in mind, during that crucial period in early '22, that's when this case escalated from the Archives trying on get these documents back administratively, bureaucratically, up into a criminal matter.

That's one of the biggest questions we had answered today. How did this get to DOJ? How did this become FBI involved? How did it become criminal? Because they got those boxes, they saw there were highly classified documents that had been unfoldered, word of the day, unfoldered.

HILL: I thought it was just me, the nonlawyer, but unfoldered. Me, too.

HONIG: Yeah, they use context clues, if you know what I mean. But to see classified documents mixed in with newspaper clippings, photos, no wonder that's alarming. And then when they realized, we didn't even get them all. There's more. That's when they called in, the heavy hitters of DOJ and FBI.

COLLINS: Also, I think part of this was Trump does not care about the National Archives. He does not respect it as an institution, likely wasn't familiar with it. This is what I heard from people.

Clearly they made it very obvious they wanted these documents back.


That they didn't belong to Trump. That he, you know, didn't have this ability to keep them. But Trump, what people argued is he doesn't see the National archives

as this entity that really has teeth that he has to listen to. I think when the Justice Department got involved, it was a little bit different but it does raise questions about the correspondence and what that looked like. So, one argument that also stood out in a letter that Abby was talking about is, his attorney makes the argument that he has the power to declassify things. That's what we've heard. He doesn't say that he did declassify all these documents that were interspersed, unfoldered in these boxes.

HILL: As we look at all of this, too, Abby, the message has been this well worn message, right? That this is a witch hunt. This is all political.

But based on everything we're learning, I wonder, perhaps the message hasn't changed from the former president himself. But is there a sense that this information could be taking the wind out of sails of others trying to push that narrative?

PHILLIP: Well, I don't think it has stopped the Trump team from claiming it is political. That is a baseless claim. Everyone can go online, find the document and read it themselves and determine whether it is political or not.

It's a pretty straightforward legal document. And there is really no inkling of politicalization, except in the part of the document that is a letter from Trump's team which notably says that Trump is the leader of the Republican Party. At every turn, the Trump team is the one that reminds everyone about the political side of this.

But I will say this, look, I think the American people are not stupid. I think people understand what classified documents are. They understand the sensitivity of it. They understand that the president in particular has a special responsibility to treat those documents with care.

And so I don't necessarily think that spin that is totally outside of the realm of the facts is necessarily going to prevail here. You have to just apply a common sense test to this. And I think most people understand that classified documents should not be in anybody's home willy-nilly, put in with your picture of you and your kids. That's just not how things are supposed to be handled and people get that.

HILL: Yeah. Absolutely.

Thank you all.

Elie, stick with us. I know we're going to continue to talk about this. You can catch Abby this and every weekend on "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY", 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. right here on CNN.

Well, that affidavit behind the Mar-a-Lago search also notes, quote, clandestine human sources, spies. Could some of the boxes recovered from the former president put national security and perhaps lives at risk? We'll ask a former CIA official.

Plus, American Marc Fogel locked up in a Russian jail? The Biden making a special request to bring him home.



HILL: We're back with more from our politics lead. A judge releasing the redacted version of the affidavit used to search Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.

Elie Honig back with me, along with Steve Hall, during the conversation. Of course, worked in intelligence. So, Steve, when we look at this affidavit, it says some of these documents have markings on them. Among the markings, HCS, which stand for human intelligence control system. Basically, these could be foreign agents, they could be spies. So, the documents, I guess there is an understandable concern that they could perhaps reveal the identities of those working in the field for the U.S. government, or perhaps folks in law enforcement, national security.

When you hear that, when you see what is in this affidavit, what is your biggest concern?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yeah, it really does send chills up the spine of anybody who's ever worked at CIA and worked at human intelligence. So, human intelligence is information collected abroad from humans, from people.

So we have heard that some of the other documentation is top secret SCI, SCI is usually more technical in nature, technical spying. When you see human, you're talking about people. If someone finds out you're doing something technical, they can take measures.

If someone finds out you have a spy, if a foreign government says, I can tell because of the nature of the information or perhaps how it is phrased. I can figure out who the spy is. I can mount a counterintelligence operation in that country and basically imprison them or execute them. It's what happen in a place like Russia or China.

So, again, it boggles the mind as to why any civilian, anyone who does not have a SCIF, a secure location to store that information would keep that type of extremely sensitive and potentially extremely damaging information at their homes, Erica.

HILL: There's also the risk of other classifications that were listed in the affidavit. FISA, ORCON, NOFORN and SI. NOFORN stood out to me, that's no foreign nationals, meaning no foreign nationals should see those documents.

We've talked a lot just in this hour about the haphazard nature the former president had when he would look at documents, throw them one place, they didn't go back where they supposed to. The fact, though, that that was allowed to continue, and these ended up in boxes, and ended up at a private residence, I mean, how concerned are you about what else may have been there?

HALL: Yeah, I'm extremely concerned. No foreign stuff, no foreigners allowed to see it. That's a pretty broad classification for a lot of secret and sensitivity documents. The FISA stuff as well. It stands for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That the act that allows the U.S. government to spy in the United States to collect or surveil in the United States, foreign spies, foreigners trying to spy against the United States. The Russians do it all the time. The Chinese do it all the time. To find a FISA document means the former president decided to keep classified information that had only to do with that topic, counter intelligence investigations, foreigners trying to spy in the United States. Again, the question that Abby mentioned in the previous segment is,

why? Why in the world would anybody keep that information so sensitive and so potentially damaging, Erica?

HILL: I wonder, Elie, if there could be some argument from the Trump team.


Well, if this is the way that he handled documents, right, as Kristen Holmes was reporting, former officials were not surprised to hear that there were boxes comingled with -- unfoldered, you know, improperly identified, classified documents, newspaper clippings, photos. Could that be a defense, oh, I didn't know they were in there, I didn't take it on purpose?

HONIG: Yeah, I mean, not only could it be a defense, but let's remember, we're very focused on the defenses, rightly so, because Trump and his defenders have offered up all manners of defenses, many of which hold very little if any water and some of which are still contradictory. But if there's ever going to be a prosecution, prosecutors have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. And what you have to prove, the hardest part often of what you have to prove as a prosecutor's knowledge and intent, essentially that Donald Trump has had an idea what was in those boxes and acted with intent to violate the rules.

You don't have to show that he understood each of the specific elements of the law, but if it's the case that this was just careless mayhem, sort of chaos, that is not going to be enough for prosecutors.

HILL: What about this claim that he had absolute authority to declassify documents?

HONIG: There's two issues here. First of all, it is lively agreed that the president has very broad authority to classify, some argue unlimited. This is a debate that's been going on in law schools and constitutional circles for decades.

I actually lend towards unlimited authority. But there's a separate question, did he use that authority? Even if he has a limited authority, you need some evidence that he exercised that while he was president. Today, I have seen no such evidence and quite a bit of counter-evidence including those 18 former officials who told CNN they had never heard of or seen any evidence from any such declassification.

HILL: That definitely raised some quesetions.

You know, Steve, when we look at this, you know, 37, 38 pages, by my very unofficial account, almost half of it feels like it's redacted. There are entire pages that are blacked out. Typically, this would remain under seal until there were charges, but if never charges perhaps later on we would learn what was in this, and what do you think the chances are that we ultimately do learn what's behind this black lines? HALL: I'm sorry, it was that to me, Erica?

HILL: It was, Steve. Yeah.

HALL: You know, my sense is that it seems like the legal folks have done the best they can at DOJ to try to parse out the stuff that would be truly damaging and then of course told to do so by the judge, and the judge seemed pleased with what they were able to come up with.

So, I guess I kind of hoping that we don't really see it isn't some particularly transparent, but, again, sources and methods of the damage it could be done, if that redacted information -- I can tell you certainly, foreign intelligence services are going to try to focus on what has been redacted and they're going to continue to focus on Mar-a-Lago to take a look at, because we all know that that information it's stored in a basement at Mar-a-Lago or elsewhere is relatively easily accessible.

And they're tried to do it before. The Chinese have tried, and now we have interesting new reporting about perhaps a Russian-speaking Ukrainian woman who might have also had access to Mar-a-Lago. So, that's going to be would people are going to be looking at I think.

HILL: Yeah, Steve Hall, Elie Honig, appreciate your expertise, both of you. Thank you.

Up next, marrying the victims of war by number rather than name. Ukrainian cities, scenes of some of the earliest atrocities in the early days of the invasion, still suffering death and grief.



HILL: In our world lead, the Russian controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been reconnected now to Ukraine's electricity grid. The plant was cut off from the grid for the first time on Thursday after nearby fires caused damage to the run ever one remaining power lines. This is all raising fears about the safety Europe's biggest nuclear power plant.

CNN's Sam Kiley has more now on what happened and just how fragile this situation has become.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ukraine's biggest nuclear power plant is making history that no one wants to read. Its six reactors are the first ever to have fallen into enemy hands, and the first to have the main power source for their cooling systems cut during combat. They're also the first to have triggered the emergency cooling system, to avoid meltdown and a radioactive disaster because of war.

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE (through translator): If the diesel generators hadn't turned on, if the automation had not reacted after the blackout, we would already be forced to overcome the consequences of a radiation accident.

KILEY: Its only source of mainline electricity from government-held territory was cut. The government here says by Russian shelling. Russia captured the plant in March and has been using it as an artillery fire base for a month. It has been hitting civilian towns west across the Dnipro River.

Civilians have been fleeing to the town closest to the plant in fear of war and of a radioactive disaster brought on by it. Russian troops, they said, were ill-disciplined and dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We tried to keep away from them. It was scary. They walked around with machine guns and who knows what they could do? At night they would get drunk, shoot in the air. People were scared.

KILEY: The power to cool the systems was restored yesterday, and the reactors eventually reconnected to the Ukrainian grid on Friday, supplying up to a fifth of the country's electricity. But key fears that Russia may cut powers to the cooling system again as part of the alleged plant to steal its output, and that would risk a meltdown.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is only about 20 mile away from where I'm standing. There's a powerful easterly blowing at a moment. If there was a disaster there, radioactive material would be carried into the sun and into Europe.


International demands that Russia removes its forces from the plant and allow nuclear inspectors in are increasingly strident. In Ukraine, nuclear decontamination drills are just another part of war.


KILEY (on camera): Now, the International Atomic Authority is saying they hope to get access to this plant inside the next few days. That's much quicker than had been anticipated. It is not clear whether the inspections mean there could be some kind of demilitarization going forward but that is the international demand, to get the Russians to withdraw at least their military from the power plant and take it off the front line.

HILL: Yeah, there is a lot to take in. Sam Kiley in Zaporizhzhia, thank you.

Well, there's now been sort of six month since Russia launched that full scale invasion in Ukraine. The U.N. human rights office estimates more than 5,000 Ukrainian civilians have died so far in the war. In Bucha, where Russian forces left behind mass graves in early days of the war, the dead are now being buried with numbers rather than names.

CNN's David McKenzie takes a closer look now at Ukrainians reeling from the impact of these past horrors as they brace for new one. And I do want to warn you. The images in this report are graphic.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Bucha, they lived in peace, had families and names. But they died in a war that no one here wanted. Behind each number, an unknown victim, a life worthy of Father Andrii Havelin's prayer.

Each person had their own life and each had one and only one. It's not just bodies that we are burying. For us, these are people who lived once, people to whom the Russians brought suffering and death.

Bucha is now synonymous with the horrors and brutality of Russia's war of choice. When the army retreated, their burned out tanks were cleared. Bucha seems almost normal now. Almost, but not. Not here. Not anywhere in Ukraine, because they are still discovering the dead.

The police forensic team gathers evidence at a shallow grave. They say a man was shot as he fled. They found more than 1,300 bodies in greater Kyiv alone.

Everything changed on February 24th, says Kyiv's police chief. They invaded our country and started killing people. It is very difficult for any country to prepare for this because you never expect such cruelty.

The cruelty, the sheer weight of loss for Oleksandr is hard to comprehend.

This is where the shots were fired, he says, and where the car was on fire. His family, like others, tried to flee the Russian advance. They came to Bucha from Ukraine's war in the east. They were happy here. They were inseparable. The boys, a joy for their father.

But as they escaped Bucha, he says a Russian armored vehicle struck their car again and again. Everyone died. Only Oleksandr lived.

My oldest would have been 10. My youngest, 5, he says. It's very hard. Justice must be restored. Everything must be done to destroy the Russians, to destroy the nation completely. Probably you can't say that. But I want this whole nation to not exist at all, so that they would not be so much grief.

So much grief, too much for any nation to bear in a war that still shows no end.


MCKENZIE (on camera): Well, it was so hard to hear Oleksandr story. The whole team was really deeply affected by it.

You know, we talk about military assets and who is winning this war and how. But really, the civilians in this conflict have been so deeply traumatized by six months and two days of fighting -- Erica.

HILL: They absolutely have, and so important to remember that, too.

David McKenzie, appreciate the reporting. Thank you. The U.S. State Department confirms U.S. citizen has been killed in



It has not released the name of the American or details of what happened out of respect for the privacy of the family. But this marks at least the fourth American who has died in that Russian invasion.

An urgent request. Why the Biden administration is asking Russia to release a detained American immediately.



HILL: The State Department is asking Russia to detain another American. Marc Fogel was arrested 11 months ago at a Moscow airport after traveling with 17 gram of cannabis. His family said he used it for back painful he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

CNN's Kylie Atwood joining us now with more.

So, Kylie, specifically, how is the State Department now trying to get Fogel released?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what we're learning from Marc Fogel's family and legal team, the State Department has made a humanitarian request to Russia in an appeal to release him based on humanitarian grounds. Now, they don't know what the argument that's the State Department put forth was, but the expectation is that it has to do with his age.


He is 61 years old, and his medical condition. He has this chronic back pain.

When I spoke with his sister this week, she talked about the physician that he sees in Russia doesn't even have a translator that comes with them. So the medical condition that he is in is increasingly concerning to his family, the State Department isn't talking specifically about this humanitarian request they have put in but they're urging Russia to provide appropriate medical assistance to all Americans detained in the country.

HILL: So this request to specifically, there are efforts to bring home Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan, who are also in Russia. How does this figure in or complicate matters?

ATWOOD: Yeah. Well, Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner are considered by the U.S. government wrongfully detained. It sounds wonky but it is an incredibly important term because what that means is that diplomats are really working hard to secure their release. They're putting forward proposals. This is an ongoing effort. When it come to Marc Fogel, he has not been determined wrongfully

detained. And so, because of that, there isn't quite the diplomatic back and forth that there is for the other two Americans. And so, that is a significant difference here. Now, we should note that his family wants the State Department to put that label on him and also, senators are calling on the secretary of state to label him wrongfully detained. They say his 14-year prison sentence simply cannot be understood without it being a political ploy in terms of what President Putin is trying to get out of the United States.

But we should remind viewers, that he did enter into the country with those 17 grams of cannabis and that is something that is against Russian law and something the state department has to look at -- Erica.

HILL: Kylie Atwood, appreciate the update. Thank you.

Up next, how the race to save lives is setting up a legal fight among two giants in the COVID vaccine business.



HILL: In our health lead, the FDA may be days away from authorizing the first updated booster that protects against omicron variants. A Biden administration could get that on or before next Thursday.

Well, all of this unfolding as Moderna is now suing Pfizer and BioNTech for patent infringement. Moderna accuses Pfizer of copying its mRNA vaccine technology to develop a COVID vaccine of its own.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is joining us now.

So, what can happen here? How significant is this lawsuit?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Erica, the first thing I want to say is that Moderna is not trying to take Pfizer's shot off the market. I think that's important to know, especially as you said, when we're moving into a new booster. They don't want to do that.

What they want is a cut of Pfizer's profits. They said Pfizer essentially companied its technology. Pfizer says, look, we've been working hand in hand with the German biotech company BioNTech, and we -- they have their own proprietary mRNA vaccine, I'm sorry, mRNA technology. We are not copying Moderna's. We'll see how this plays out.

Moderna meanwhile is being sued itself for the exact same thing. Two biotech companies are suing Moderna. So, certainly, the lawyers will be very busy.

HILL: Yeah. I was going to say, it will keep them very, very busy. It sounds in circular way as well. Meantime, let's talk about Paxlovid. There is so much discussion about Paxlovid. Every time, we hear about these rebound cases. Are they more common?

COHEN: Pfizer says that only 2 percent of people who have COVID-19 and take Paxlovid get a rebound. But they did that study during delta. Not omicron. Maybe it's higher now.

Let's take a look at an NIH study. NIH did a big study. They said it is more like 5.4 percent, which is much larger than 2 percent.

But, Erica, I'll tell you, once you think of the people you know personally who got rebound, I certainly know people. People we know who are out in the public sphere. President Biden has had rebound. His wife Dr. Jill Biden has had rebound, Dr. Anthony Fauci has. So, has Stephen Colbert. All of them took Paxlovid and experience rebound, too. Faces familiar to people who watch CNN, Dr. Peter Hotez, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, both of them had Paxlovid rebound.

One of the theories here is that what is going on is you only take it for five days. And one of the theories is maybe that length should have been longer. The FDA has asked for more data on this, Erica.

HILL: So we'll see if we get more data on that.

Meantime, when it does come to Paxlovid, who should be taking it? Especially if there are these rebound cases. Is it effective?

COHEN: Yes. I want to be very clear here, these rebound cases make news and they are important. But the drug also does save lives.

Now, if you're young and healthy, you probably don't need to take this drug. You'll get through COVID just fine and you won't have to deal with the possibility of rebound. But there are people who should be taking Paxlovid because they're at higher risk -- older people with underlying conditions. For them, it really can do a lot of good. Keep them out of hospital, keep them from dying.

And there you see the list of the folks who should be taking it. An Israeli study found that people who took Paxlovid were four times less likely end to up in the hospital.

HILL: That's a pretty significant number. Elizabeth Cohen, appreciate it, as always. Thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

HILL: Top secret files? A private club? Why Mar-a-Lago posed a security risk and added urgency to federal agents who wanted documents return. Stay with us.



HILL: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Erica Hill, in for Jake Tapper. This hour, NASA's most powerful rocket yet is sitting on the launch pad, ready to kick off a high stakes race to the moon. But Mother Nature may have other plans in mind.

Plus, a major stock sell-off after tough words of the chair of the Federal Reserve, now warning American households and businesses they're about to feel some, quote, pain in order to bring down inflation. What does that mean for your wallet and even for your job?

And leading this hour, the world has seen some of the reasons the FBI felt they had probable cause to search Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property. The reasons laid out in the newly unsealed affidavit document detailing how Trump initially handed over 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago in January.