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Biden Hosts British PM In First White House Visit; Desperate Rescues Continue In Ukraine Flooding; U.S. Officials: Ukrainian Forces Suffered Losses Of Soldiers & Equipment In Assault On Russian Lines; Televangelist Pat Robertson Dies At Age 93; Survivor Of Iowa Apartment Collapse Speaks Out, Sues Owner & City. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired June 08, 2023 - 13:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right, we are standing by at the White House. You see live pictures here of the East Room where President Biden will soon hold a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. This is Sunak's first visit to Washington as prime minister.

And the working relationship between both nations has remained steady despite Britain's somewhat recent political turmoil, with a head of lettuce famously outlasting Sunak's predecessor Liz Truss' time in office.

Let's go now to CNN White House correspondent, Arlette Saenz.

Arlette, how have the meetings gone so far? What are we expecting from the news conference?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived here at the White House a little over an hour ago, meeting in the Oval Office with President Biden.

And at the top of the agenda is expected to be the issue of the war in Ukraine. So much of the relationship between the two countries, between the two men has been cemented around rallying support for Ukraine.

And this meeting here at the White House comes at a critical time as there has been an uptick in fighting in Ukraine. And U.S. and Western officials have each said that they have seen signs of a long- anticipated counteroffensive is beginning.

In addition to Ukraine, the two leaders also are expected to be talking about economic cooperation, as well as regulating artificial intelligence. That is an issue that has been of quite some importance to the British prime minister.

Now, this all comes really at a key moment for the relationship between the two men. They've met about four times on previous occasions. But this meeting here at the White House is really the most sustained interaction between the two leaders.

Of course, there are generational differences between the two men, ideological differences between the two. But so much of their work has been on that issue of Ukraine, trying to get more military aid from various countries for Ukraine.

Both countries have said that they support the training of Ukrainian forces on F-16 fighter jet, as well.

This is also playing out against the backdrop of that in-fighting within the Republican Party when it comes to where, whether and how much and when more aid should be provided to Ukraine.

So in just a few moments, we will be hearing from both leaders in a rare press conference at the White House.

KEILAR: All right, we'll be watching for that.

Arlette, thank you so much, live for us from the East Room.

We'll bring you this news conference once it begins.

Also tonight, Prime Minister Sunak will join our Kaitlan Collins for an exclusive interview. That is tonight on "CNN PRIMETIME" at 9:00 Eastern.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Arlette mentioned one of the topics of discussion for the two is the war in Ukraine. And focusing on that now there are desperate search-and-rescue efforts continuing amid devastating flooding from a recent dam collapse.

Both sides say their rescuers are coming under fire as they work to find survivors. Ukraine says Russia is also shelling evacuation areas injuring at least nine people.

Earlier today, President Zelenskyy toured badly hit Mykolaiv and Kherson where he visited an evacuation point for a medical facility.

We're also getting video of incredible rescues, including this one. A woman in a wheelchair carried to safety. One of the many innocent people rescuers are racing to now find.

The flooding has not stopped the fighting. Ukraine's deputy defense minister says an offensive is taking place in several directions.

But U.S. officials say Ukrainian forces have suffered losses of heavy equipment and soldiers as they met stiff resistance from Russian forces in recent days.

Let's get perspective from retired Army Major John Spencer. He chairs Urban Warfare Studies at the Madison Policy Forum.

Major, thanks so much for sharing part of your afternoon with us.

First, I want to get your reaction to the reporting that Ukrainian forces have met a stiffer-than-expected resistance from the Russians.

MAJ. JOHN SPENCER, U.S. ARMY, RETIRED & CHAIR, URBAN WARFARE STUDIES, MADISON POLICY FORUM: Now, I think that's expected. I think it's a clear sign that the counteroffensive we've all been waiting for is on the way.

We're out of the shaping operations and the Ukrainians are attacking at multiple points across the front. They will find a weakness in the Russian line and then they will surge the main effort through that.

But there is no bloodless war. So it's not surprising to me that they're meeting resistance. It's just, it's a good sign that the offensive is on its way.

SANCHEZ: Major Spencer, it also comes amid the fallout from this dam collapse. There is extensive flooding across the southern part of Ukraine. And Russian forces are allegedly shooting at Ukrainian rescuers.

How does this flooding now impact the battlefield?

SPENCER: I mean, it will have little effect on Ukraine's advancement. But it is a global impact. It will have a global impact. It's an ecological and humanitarian disaster at a scale we haven't seen since Chernobyl.


And, yes, the Russians are shooting mortar, snipers, artillery at rescue workers. It's no surprise. It's horrific. But Russia uses war crimes as a method of warfare. And it should and can stop.

SANCHEZ: Major, Ukraine has blamed Russia for the dam collapsing. Russia has blamed Ukraine. It sounds like you estimate that it was Russia that was behind the attack. Why?

SPENCER: Well, one reason is Russia has had control of it since March. Another reason is that you can't do that damage with artillery or any other type of bombing.

That had to have been a planned action. And the most likely, like 99 percent, it's Russia.

But it doesn't matter to me. Where is the international community? Where is the U.N.? Where is ICRC? Where is a call to create a military exclusion zone around that humanitarian disaster?

I mean, that's the leadership that I see with that video of President Zelenskyy visiting.

Where is Putin? He's in a bunker outside of Moscow, despite his narrative that he cares about Ukrainian citizens.

SANCHEZ: Notably, you mentioned the international community. And I wanted to ask you about Turkish President Erdogan. He says he proposed both to Vladimir Putin and to Volodymyr Zelenskyy

that they should establish an international commission to investigate the dam collapse.

Is that a good idea? Is it even realistic?

SPENCER: I mean, sure, it is realistic. But it's like, you know, having the observers at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and saying, who is putting you at risk? What does it mean?

I'd rather have a call to the United Nations to send the supplies that that entire region, thousands of people will need, potable water, sump generators, solar power, all that.

But if we need to know who did it, sure, send in a nonpartisan international group to go verify who did it.

SANCHEZ: Major John Spencer, we have to leave the conversation there. As always, we appreciate your insight.

SPENCER: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course.


KEILAR: Twenty-four hours alone in the Cascade Mountains. A 10-year- old and a story of survival.

And he helped make the Christian right a powerful political force. Televangelist Pat Robertson has died. We have a look at his life and legacy ahead on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.



KEILAR: He ministered through millions around the world through his Christian Broadcasting Network. And he counseled presidents and political leaders. He even ran for the White House himself in 1988.

Televangelist Pat Robertson died earlier today at the age of 93 leaving behind a very rich and complicated legacy.

CNN's Stephanie Elam has more.



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pat Robertson was a seminal figure of the religious right. He founded the Christian Broadcasting Network, the political advocacy group, the Christian Coalition, and the Christian college, Regent University.

But he was also known for his outspoken views on homosexuality, feminism, and a host of other hot-button issues.

ROBERTSON: There isn't one single civilization that has survived that openly embraced homosexuality.

ELAM: In 2001, he agreed with fellow Televangelist Jerry Falwell that God allowed the 9/11 terrorists to succeed because America had moved to the left and removed religion from the mainstream.

ROBERTSON: I totally concur.

ELAM: The Yale Law School graduate and Korean War vet had a religious awakening in the late 1950s.

He bought a bankrupt local station in Portsmouth, Virginia, and it became the first outlet for the Christian Broadcast Network. It was the first Christian TV network in the U.S. and became one of the world's largest TV ministries.

Its flagship program was the daily show he hosted, "The 700 Club," named for the 700 donors who launched it in 1961.

ROBERTSON: I plan to make a formal announcement of my candidacy for the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States.

ELAM: Robertson, whose father was a congressman and U.S. Senator, ran as a Republican presidential candidate in 1988.

He came in second in the Iowa caucus, but his campaign didn't fare as well in other primary states.

He dropped out of the race and returned to hosting "The 700 Club," where he famously made bold predictions that didn't always come true.

ROBERTSON: Romney will win the election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You believe that?

ROBERTSON: I absolutely believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What makes you believe that?

PATERSON: Because the Lord told me.

ELAM: Pat Robertson, a key founder of the conservative Christian movement who never shied away from expressing his views, no matter how controversial they might be.


SANCHEZ: You're watching CNN NEWS CENTRAL. Here's a look at some of the other headlines we're following this hour.

Four children are among the six victims of a stabbing attack at a playground in southeast France. Investigators say the suspect, a Syrian asylum seeker, is now in custody and do not believe it was a terrorist act. The young victims range in age from 22 months to 3 years old.

Also, the prime suspect in the 2004 disappearance of American teen, Natalee Holloway, is on his way to the United States to stand trial. Peruvian officials handed over Joran van der Sloot to FBI agents at a military base in Lima this morning. He now faces extradition and fraud charges.


And a 10-year-old girl is rescued after surviving more than 24 hours in the mountains of Washington State. Search-and-rescue teams from at least seven counties were called in to help after she wandered off from a family picnic.

Officials say the resourceful 10-year-old slept between some trees and stayed close to the river. She, fortunately, suffered only a few minor scratches.


KEILAR: Thank goodness.

A stunning story of survival. A woman who was trapped in that collapsed apartment building in Iowa describes the frantic moments as her walls cracked and disintegrated around her. Ahead, what rescue teams had to do to save her life.



KEILAR: Now to a CNN exclusive. A woman who had her leg amputated in order to survive that collapsed apartment building in Iowa is speaking out for first time.

This is Quanishia Berry. She was inside of this fourth-floor apartment. You've probably seen it before. It's the one right there where you can see the red top still hanging in the closet.

When this building partially crumbled, rescuers determined they needed to remove her leg in order to pull her free. She's now suing the city. She's also suing the building's owners for negligence.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is reporting for us from Davenport.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You don't see yourself as a victim?

QUANISHIA "PEACH" WHITE-BERRY, APARTMENT COLLAPSE SURVIVOR: No. I'm a survivor. I fought my way, like -- like hell to get through that day.

JIMENEZ: What were you doing that day when, all of a sudden -- I mean, everything changed?

WHITE-BERRY: It was a normal day for us. It was like a crack in the window. Then it continued within the same minutes. We seen another one.

And I'm like, oh, maybe something is -- is a little -- I'm -- I'm a little nervous. I got a little nervous. I said, something's wrong.

LEXUS BERRY, APARTMENT COLLAPSE SURVIVOR: We both were at the door. We each had a cat in our hands. And I reached to grab the door.

Q. WHITE-BERRY: Like, imagine hearing a building get torn down. That's how it sounded when -- when it just -- everything just fell.

Everything just fell. And I fell.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): While help got to the scene quickly, they couldn't get Peach out for at least six hours.

(on camera): What were you thinking when, all of a sudden, I mean, hours were going by and you still were trapped?

Q. WHITE-BERRY: I have to make it. For her especially. I have to survive this. I have to be able to tell this story.

I got these metal pipes of water, gallons of water, just pouring on me. I'm just soaking wet with metal pieces everywhere. And I was taking pieces of the floor, anything I could find around me, like, covering my head so that I didn't drown.

In my mind, I'm just like, how could I be trapped under so much? They were digging me out for hours and hours and hours, to the point where they had to cut my foot on the scene.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Her doctor says he amputated her leg on the scene.

Q. WHITE-BERRY: There was nothing to think about. I wanted to live. I didn't want to be trapped. I didn't want to be -- I didn't want more debris to fall on me, because it was already hard enough.

And to be honest, I didn't want the firefighters to have to be trapped or beaten down or bruised with anything. Like, I -- I wanted everyone to make it out of there alive.

And with no hesitation, amputate what you have to do -- do what you have to do to get me out of here.

JIMENEZ (on camera): What do you think when you -- when you look down there?

WHITE-BERRY: That wound.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): On the scene, a red dress marks where their apartment once stood.

An apartment building where, just days before the collapse, inspectors noticed a brick surface had separated from an interior wall and appeared ready to fall imminently, according to a letter addressed "To Whom It May Concern" from an engineer dated May 24th. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know how they knew about it? They were told

time and time again.

JIMENEZ: It's why Peach and Lexus Berry are suing, alleging the warning signs were known much earlier than a few days prior.

ANDREW M. STROTH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ACTION INJURY LAW GROUP: The family wants the owners of the building, the engineers, the contractors held responsible for this tragic and 100 percent preventable event.

JIMENEZ: But not everything can be recovered in a courtroom.

Q. WHITE-BERRY: When I close my eyes, I was just -- I heard the cracking again. I heard the falling, the dropping again. It's like, it's going to happen again. Like, am I safe in the building I'm in?

JIMENEZ (on camera): What did this take from you?

Q. WHITE-BERRY: I don't think it really took anything from me because you can't take my peace. You can't take my hope. You can't take my power. This is just another steppingstone to my story.


JIMENEZ: And her attitude and strength have just been unbelievable.

Her doctor told us that amputating her leg on scene at that point was a life-and-death decision because she started to become unresponsive after being trap under there for so long.


Now we've reached out to the building owner. They said their heart goes out to everyone affected, displaced, and, of course, killed here as they are still trying to wrap their heads around the building issues.

The city said they couldn't comment on ongoing litigation.

But Peach's lawsuit is the second to be filed among some of those that survived here.

And of course, the pain that was caused from this collapse just over my shoulder here is going to be felt for so much longer -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Yes, it certainly is. But that is an inspiring message to hear from her.

Omar, thank you for sharing it with us.


SANCHEZ: Federal prosecutors appear to have Donald Trump in their sights, but will their investigation lead to an indictment? A decision could be coming soon. And the climate crisis hitting home. Smoke overwhelming the mid-

Atlantic, causing a health risk for millions of Americans, one that may not be going away for several days. We're tracking it on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.