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Axiom Flight Successfully Docks; Missing New York City Boys Found Dead; Whelan Speaks about Detainment; Uvalde Body Cam Footage Released; Meta Fined by EU. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired May 22, 2023 - 09:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is leading the mission and is now the first woman to command a private space flight. Plus, there are three paying crew members, including the first woman from Saudi Arabia to travel to space.

CNN's Carlos Suarez is live at the Kennedy Space Center in morning.

What's the goal here of this whole mission, Carlos?

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, well, the four-member crew is going to do a number of experiments over the next couple of days, including taking a look at some cancer research when it comes to stem cells.

As you mentioned coming out to me, the docking process completed ended at around 9:12 this morning eastern standard time. The International Space Station we're told at this hour is currently over the Pacific Ocean. And that four-member crew, they've got a little bit more work done before they open the hatch. And once they get that done, they'll be able to meet the seven other astronauts that are currently living -- or currently on the International Space Station, though just a few minutes ago we're told that one of those astronauts aboard the ISS already welcomed this four-member crew, telling them by radio that they look forward to meeting them.

The four-member crew that's right now in the process of trying to make it on to the ISS include two Americans, as well as two Saudis. Peggy Whitson, she is the commander of the SpaceX Axiom 2 space mission. She is a former NASA astronaut. She has a great deal of experience in space. She has spent 665 days in space and she was once herself a commander aboard the International Space Station. She is joined by John Shoffner. He is the mission pilot. And then there are also two mission specialists, Ali al-Qarni. He is one of the two Saudis. And then he's also joined by Rayyanah Barnawi, who, as you mentioned, John, has made history, becoming the first Saudi woman in space.

Again, John, the docking process is complete. It looks like come around the 11:00 hour is when they're going to open that hatch and then these four crew members will meet the seven other astronauts and then they're going to get going on some of these space experiments over the next couple of days.


BERMAN: Eleven people at once. That's a mignon.

All right, Carlos Suarez, at the Kennedy Space Center, thank you very much.



All right, so we're going to turn to this back here in New York.

A mystery in New York City has ended in tragedy. Two bodies recovered have been identified as two young boys who were reported missing last week, eleven-year-old Alfa Barrie and 13-year-old Garrett Warren. They were last seen together sometime between May 12th and May 13th. Their bodies, though, found in different rivers in Manhattan. They were over two miles apart.

CNN's chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller is here with more on this.

John, this is -- since these boys went missing it has really captivated New York City. And this also just a strange, tragic, horrible situation. What more - or police -- do police have any more leads on what really happened here?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So, it starts off as a very concerning mystery because you have two boys, go to the same school, playing together after school, who disappear over different times and then are found in different rivers. It was really suggestive of potential foul play where, you know, someone might be murdering children and dumping the bodies in the river. So that sent it soaring in terms of public concern. And rightly so. As it - as it shapes out, it seems to be more of just a profound tragedy and probably a horseplay gone wrong.

This is what police know now. They have a witness who's a 13-year-old boy who says he was on the scene. That the two boys were engaged in horseplay by the water's edge. That the older boy, the 13-year-old, went to push the 11-year-old towards the water. The 11-year-old didn't let go of him. They both ended up going in and disappearing.

Here's where the disconnects begin, which is, that's not reported by the third boy for a couple of hours. He walks around. He finds a grown up. He tells the story. The grown-up calls 911. But they don't have a chance to -- the boy won't come on the phone to describe what happened. The grown-up relays it. Helicopters, boats, divers, everybody comes. The search turns up nothing. So. they don't know who they're looking for or who the caller is. They're able to trace back the caller later, but that is kind of the disconnect because the boys aren't reported missing by their own families for a couple of days.

BOLDUAN: That seems maybe just -- the profound tragedy made worse as -- maybe an unnecessary delay in really mustering up the resources to try to find these boys, to help them. So, what happens from here?

MILLER: I don't see the unnecessary delay.

BOLDUAN: I'm saying - I'm saying that -- that they didn't get the information that they would need to try to - to try to go find -- pinpoint where they needed to be and get where they needed to be.


MILLER: You know, it's -- it's really interesting because they sent, you know, boats, helicopters, divers, and they searched. But because, Kate, of the quality of the phone call, they could hear a child in the background describing it. They had the - the adult on tape. They had the transcript of it. There was a lot of detail there.


MILLER: So, they kept coming back to that spot the next day and the next day and doing directed patrols. But the bodies surfaced, one in the East River about - about 40 blocks down, but another all the way around Manhattan in the Hudson River, which struck everyone as odd. But if you know those currents, it can carry you north around the tip and back down. Very treacherous waters, which is why they probably disappeared so quickly after going in.

BOLDUAN: That's a good point.

It's good to see you, John. Thanks for that update.

MILLER: Thanks.


BERMAN: Paul Whelan, the American wrongfully detained in Russia, tells CNN he feels confident the wheels are turning toward his release.

And a year since the massacre at the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school. CNN is speaking to the families of some of the kids who survived that day. Why these families want others to see the horrific footage of their children escaping.



BERMAN: Twelve people were killed, dozens more injured in El Salvador after soccer fans rushed a stadium to watch a big match. Officials say the event was oversold and that many tickets were fraudulent. El Salvador's president promises there will be an exhaustive investigation.

In the Philippines, a huge fire has left the historic Manila central post office in ruins. It took firefighters seven hours to douse the flames. The building was first constructed in 1926 and was known for its grand entrance and ornate columns. Authorities still do not know what started the fire.

In Sudan, a ceasefire is about to go into effect between rival military factions. This is brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia. The Sudanese Armed Forces says the pause will allow for desperately needed aid to make it into the country. It is estimated at least 850 people have been killed since the battle for government control began in mid-April.


BOLDUAN: A CNN exclusive now. Paul Whelan is speaking from the Russian prison where he has been wrongfully detained for five years now. The former Marine called CNN from his prison camp in remote Mordovia and he said that he feels confident that the wheels are turning is what he said towards his release, though he still fears that he could be left behind once again.

CNN's Jennifer Hansler has this exclusive reporting.

And you spoke with Whelan on the phone. Tell us more about what he said, how he is doing right now.

JENNIFER HANSLER, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT REPORTER: Well, Kate, Paul told me he feels positive and confident that there are efforts underway by the U.S. government to secure his release from Russia. I should note he sounded a lot more optimistic, a lot more uplifted than when I last spoke to him back in December, right after the release of Brittney Griner. At that point he was very disappointed that he had not been included in that release, that he had been left behind for the second time last year. U.S. officials said Russia refused to include him in either prisoner swap for Brittney Griner or Trevor Reed last year.

This time when I spoke to him he said he was confident that he had been made a priority by the U.S. government, but he still was a bit concerned that he could be left behind again, particularly now that the Russians have arrested another American, "Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich. And Paul said he wants these efforts to move a lot faster. He said his day to day existence in this prison camp, in that remote Russian part of Mordovia is very depressing, conditions are hard.

Kate, take a listen to what he told me.


PAUL WHELAN: I remain positive and confidence on a daily basis that, you know, the wheels are turning. I just wish they would turn a little bit more quickly.

I'm more confident now. You know, I feel that my life shouldn't be considered less valuable or important than others who have been previously traded. I have been told that although Evan's case is a priority, mine is also a priority.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HANSLER: And, Kate, I should also note that Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the U.S. has given Russia a proposal to free Paul Whelan and Russia has not yet engaged on that proposal.


BOLDUAN: Yes, it is good to hear his voice, though. It's great reporting. Thank you so much, Jennifer Hansler for us in D.C.


BERMAN: So, today is the beginning of what is expected to be an emotional week in Uvalde, Texas. This is the last day of class for the year. Students will not be in school for Wednesday's tragic anniversary. One year since a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers inside a fourth grade classroom. Uvalde officials will hold a news conference later today.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz has been speaking to the families of survivors and victims, including parents who wanted to see body camera footage from that day. And we do want to warn you that some of this footage is disturbing and includes this moment officers physically overcome after responding to the scene.


BERMAN: This is just a small portion of the video that CNN has obtained and just a small part of what those parents faced.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz joins us now.

Shimon, you did a wonderful hour that aired last night speaking to so many of these families and they want this video public. Why?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, a couple of reasons. One of which is obviously they want their -- folks, the country, the nation, the world to understand exactly what their kids went through.


The other thing is that they want law enforcement and political leaders to understand what the failure on the law enforcement part, the damage that it did to their kids because of the trauma that they have suffered because they were in those rooms for so long. And they're hoping that lessons can be learned. And they're just aggravated that no one has been making any of this public, that no one has been giving them answers.

But something else, John, extraordinary happened when I was interviewing one of the mothers. She didn't really understand how badly her daughter was injured and what was going on to her daughter in the moments after she was removed from the classroom. And we showed her that exchange. And it's difficult to watch. Her daughter passes out. And look at - look at the video now as law enforcement was trying to keep her awake. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anybody need medical attention?

Yes, they do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we need?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you need?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you need?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got one in the leg. One in the leg.

Where does it hurt?

OK. Yes. No. That's OK. That's OK, OK? What about your let? What's the matter with your leg?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. We're going to get everybody taken care of.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's got one in her leg. We need to get pressure on the leg. Does she need a tourniquet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, stay awake. Stay awake, OK?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you carry her?

ON SCREEN TEXT: 4th grader Kendall Olivares is wounded and loses consciousness on the bus to the hospital.

The officers frantically try to keep her awake.

Her mother, Kristina Olivares, is seeing this for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wake up for me. OK. Hey, hey.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, hey, look at me. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me. Hey, hey, look at me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wake up. Wake up. Wake up. Look at me. Look at me right here. Right -- look at me. Look at me right here. Look at me right here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people are in there?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wake up. Wake up, baby. Wake up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at me. Look at me.

All right -



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let her out - let her out first. Let her out first. Come on, baby. Come on. I know. I know.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, I'm not going to make you jump. OK. OK, I got you. Come on.


SANDOVAL: And so there you see those kids. What happens is, after police finally go into the classroom, those first kids that come out, that are rescued, they're all taken to the school bus. There are no ambulances to put them on. There are no ambulances. And the ambulances that are there are trapped on the scene. So they put everyone in the school bus.

And so see Kendall Olivares there. She's passed out. Had police not gone in when they went in, she probably would have died.

Her mother never knew she was passing out until we showed her that video. And you see her there leaning against another mother, AJ's mother, who - AJ was shot in the leg. And both of them just seeing how, you know, law enforcement reacted, how they treated their kids. They found it very aggravating. And so they're trying to get more answers and this has - and somewhat helped them. You know, they're very grateful that we did this. I've heard from them last night. I heard from them this morning.

And interestingly enough, John, I'm now hearing from other family members who are saying, can you do the same for us? We need answers. We need closure. And we're hoping that you can do the same for us.

BERMAN: One of the things that is most notable from this is the fact that they need you to do this.


BERMAN: This is where the frustration comes from. The frustration from these families comes from the fact that the first time they saw this video was because of you, not because of government outreach or contacts or information that they have been pleading for, for a year.

PROKUPECZ: Right. For a year. And still not able to get any answers.

And it's not only them. It's the local officials there. The mayor is fighting to get answers. He -- the DA is refusing to give him any information. I think that's about to change because of our story. But, think about this, the fact that we are a year later and that there is still no accountability and there are still so many questions because officials refuse to release the information.

It's not fair to these families. It's just not fair.

BERMAN: That's a tragedy upon a tragedy.

Shimon Prokupecz, thank you for the work you continue to do here.

PROKUPECZ: Thank you.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: Meta is facing a record-breaking fine today, $1.3 billion, from European regulators. They say Meta wrongfully -- wrongly transferred European Facebook user data to servers in the United States. The fine is the largest ever levied under Europe's data privacy law.

CNN's Christine Romans is tracking this. She joins us now.

Christine, what is this about and what is Facebook saying?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So, it's a really interesting story here. So, of course, Meta is the parent of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. This is very big fine. And that really sends a message here, the largest fine ever under EU privacy rules here for transferring the privacy - the information of EU citizens to the U.S. where then it can sit and rest on the U.S. servers.

And one thing that EU regulators have been concerned about is potentially surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies. Like, what happens to that information. And what the company has said is - or what the governments over there say is systemic, repetitive and continuous this information has been - has been transferred. Meta has been ordered to cease the processing of this information and storing it in the U.S. within six months.

Meta saying this is not fair and this is wrong. And they're saying, without the ability to transfer data across borders, the internet risks being carved up into national and regional silos restricting the global economy. Meta will appeal both the decision and the fine.

And I think it really raises pressure on the U.S. and on the EU to come up with some kind of agreement, a framework, a legal framework for how this information will be transfer and stored because clearly the EU does not like the rules under which it is in the U.S.

BOLDUAN: It raises - it just - it also kind of hits on just bigger, broader questions as Facebook is touching on.

ROMANS: That's right.

BOLDUAN: On what can be allowed, where should data be stored. It kind of also like has echoes -- the issues that people have with TikTok.


ROMANS: That's right.

BOLDUAN: And this is a very interesting moment with us.

ROMANS: It's almost information is borderless in a way.


ROMANS: But there are governments and regulators who have to respect the privacy, or at least, you know, kind of the rules on the road that they want their citizens to operate under. So, it really raises the pressure for some. There had been a privacy shield that you - the EU courts knocked down. So, they need to come up with something that these - the EU and the U.S. can work with together.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it puts pressure on governments when they push a lot -- and obviously a lot more pressure on companies as well when you're looking at this massive fine that they're now facing.

ROMANS: That's right. That's right. It's kind of the wild west, isn't it?

BOLDUAN: It really is and we are just watching it play out.


BOLDUAN: It's good to see you. Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.


BERMAN: South Carolina - excuse me. The news is getting me choked up this morning.

South Carolina Republican Tim Scott set to announce he is running for president. What is his plan to get through Donald Trump?

And outrageous behavior in the air. Police say a passenger hit a Frontier Airlines flight attendance with an intercom phone.