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Don Lemon Tonight

Russian Soldiers Brags Their Brutality; Judge Jackson Made It To The Supreme Court; Mykolaiv Heavily Bombarded By Russians; Kremlin Spokesman Admits Massive Loss Of Troops; More Ukrainians Fleeing The Atrocity. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 07, 2022 - 22:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks for watching. I will be back tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Eastern for another edition of "CNN TONIGHT" live from Lviv. And I will see you tomorrow afternoon on "THE LEAD" which begins at 4 p.m. eastern. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now. Hey, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hey, Jake. I want to talk to you about some of your reporting. Again, I saw that you visited a hospital in western Ukraine today. What was it like?

TAPPER: You know, it was obviously very sad talking to these victims, these civilians who were doing nothing other than living their lives when they got -- their apartments were bombed or through panic, they tried to flee and were injured trying to flee.

But one of the things that I really felt was just how close this all is. It's like standing in a hospital in Queens and feeling like this is just happening in Brooklyn, you know. I mean, although it's actually farther away than that. But it feels so close, because it's obviously all just one people. And that just really felt very resonant when I visited the hospital.

LEMON: Well, it was a spectacular report and that it showed what people are dealing with there. And, as I've been telling you every night and I was saying it when I was there, we need to show these images. People need to know the horrors of what's happening on the ground there, and I appreciate you showing it. We'll see you tomorrow night, Jake. Get some rest and be safe.

TAPPER: Thanks, buddy.


And, I want you to look at this. This is new video of the war in Ukraine. Showing just how suddenly Russia rains down destruction. A building in Borodyanka. The front completely blown off. A table and chairs visible. And you can just see right a mug on that table. Almost as if somebody was about to sit down to dinner there.

Somebody's jacket and bag still hanging on a door, on a hook on the front door, a picture of sudden destruction in Vladimir Putin's war.

We have new evidence tonight of just how indiscriminate and brutal that war is. A Ukraine official saying tonight 26 bodies have been found in the rubble, or of just two houses in Borodyanka. And nobody really knows even now how many may still be there. The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, saying tonight the situation in Borodyanka is, quote, "much worse than in Bucha."


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): After Bucha, this is already obvious, and the work on dismantling the debris in Borodyanka has begun. It's much worse there, even more victims of the Russian occupiers.


LEMON: That as we are learning about Russian soldiers caught talking and killing civilians in Ukraine -- about killing civilians in Ukraine. German foreign intelligence service says it's intercepted radio communications of Russian soldiers talking about shooting Ukrainian civilians. That's according to a source. German media report the intercepts report chatter of killings in Bucha.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting rages in the east, and Ukraine's top diplomat warns the battle for Donbas will rival World War II and begs for more weapons.


DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: My agenda is very simple. It has only three items on it. It's weapons, weapons, and weapons.


LEMON: Weapons, more weapons. I'm going to show you the pictures of the sudden destruction of the war in Ukraine. I want you to see some more pictures, here at home. A day for the history books. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and President Joe Biden sharing an emotional moment as the judge is confirmed to become the 116th Supreme Court justice, the first Black woman in history to be confirmed to the highest court in the land.

The Senate voting 53 to 47 to confirm her. Just three Republican senators crossing party lines to vote for Judge Jackson. Much, much more coming up tonight on this very historic day.

But I want to begin with CNN's Clarissa Ward and a firsthand look at the devastation in Chernihiv.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For Week, Chernihiv was completely cut off from the rest of the country. Once a vibrant city of 300,000 people, now parts of it a wasteland. Just 45 miles from the Belarusian border, it was quickly surrounded by Russian forces. There was no power, no water, and little food.

Seventy-one-year-old Ivan Ivanovic survived the relentless bombardment. But his struggles are far from over. He's saying that he's hungry. He needs something to eat. He's asked us if we have any groceries.

Less than one week after Russian forces left this area, Chernihiv is reeling, and the true scale of its loss is only starting to emerge. Outside the morgue, makeshift coffins stand ready for the dead. Authorities say at least 350 civilians were killed in the bombardment, and they expect to find more.


Overwhelmed, morgue director Sergei Andreav (Ph) is now using a refrigerator truck to store the bodies of those who have yet to be identified. Their relatives likely fled the fighting or were killed in it. He tells us hundreds more died because they simply couldn't reach the hospital.

"There was a constant flow of dead people like this in our morgue. The main reason was heart attacks, pneumonia, diabetes," he says. "And I believe all of this was because they didn't get medical treatment on time."

Cut off from the main cemetery by constant shelling, the city was forced to clear a wood to make room for the dead. Buried in large trenches, their names sign-posted for relatives to find.

It's so heartbreaking to see as people here looking, desperately trying to find their loved ones among this mass of new graves. "Did you find him?" This woman asks? She is looking for her husband, Vladimir Shulga (Ph). "I can't find him," her daughter tells us. I need to keep searching."

Those who are lucky enough to find their family members can at least say goodbye. The farewell brings little solace. At one grave, relatives mourn the death of Vladimir Adrichenko (Ph), a Ukrainian soldier who was ambushed by Russian forces as he tried to recover the bodies of his fallen comrades.

His father Leonid (Ph) said it was 17 days before the Russians left and he could finely reach the place with his son was killed. "I dug the ground with my own hands. I uncovered his face, he says, and I recognized him. We waited for him and then we lost him," Vladimir's wife says. "They took him, and we lost him."

Russia's war has taken so many from Chernihiv. And while its forces may have retreated, the grief will long remain.


WARD: Don, you can probably see behind me that it is completely pitch-black here, and that's because there is a mandatory order after nightfall. Nobody can have lights on because even though those Russian forces have retreated, people here seem to think that it may be a temporary thing because they are so close to that border. They still live in perpetual fear that those Russian soldiers and that incredibly intense bombardment could return at any moment. Don?

LEMON: Clarissa, thank you very much for that.

I want to turn now to CNN's Ben Wedeman, live for us in the southern city of Mykolaiv. Ben, hello to you.

Russian forces may be pulling back from around Kyiv. But cities like Mykolaiv still being hit by heavy artillery and rocket fire. The latest on the ground there tonight.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, we were just a little while ago hearing more incoming rounds on the outskirts of the city. And this seems to be the pattern, day in and day out. They're not hitting the city with massive bombs that destroy buildings, the likes of which we've seen around Kyiv and areas elsewhere in Ukraine.

They're using cluster munitions, cluster bombs. We were at a market today that a few days ago was hit by some of those cluster bombs, and me and Kareem Khadder, the producer, we walked around counting every impact point. Within a 100-yard radius, we found 23 impact points, each one of those impact points sprays shrapnel in every direction. There is still dried blood on the ground in the various places, windows shattered.

And this is -- in this instance, there are nine people killed, 41 injured. But every day there are incidents like this. Hospitals have been hit. Schools have been hit. And these are munitions that they have no military purpose when you're shooting at a city. It's all intended simply to terrorize, to maim, to kill and demoralize, because this is a city that resisted the Russians, was able to keep them from entering the city.


Many people say this is what happens. We defeated them on the outskirts of Mykolaiv, and now they're punishing us. Don?

LEMON: You know, Ben, Mykolaiv and other cities in southern Ukraine could soon be under Russian assault again. You say they defeated them and then they're trying to punish them now. But now how are they preparing for this, that possibility?

WEDEMAN: Well, keep in mind they're not very far away. In fact, our incident the other day when we came under Russian artillery fire, it's maybe a 40-minute, 35-minute drive from here. And what we saw the other day was that Ukrainian forces are digging new trenches. They are rigging explosives on bridges to blow up in the event the Russians come any closer. It appears they're laying land mines as well.

So, there are preparations being made. It's not in any sense certain that the Russians will actually focus on this particular part of the country, but this city's bitter experience has taught not only the military, but also ordinary civilians that they should be prepared. So, we've also seen, for instance, people have been queuing up to buy

petrol, because the fear is that if there is a Russian advance, perhaps the fuel will run out. So, there are many ways in which people are preparing for something that no one is willing to rule out. And that's of course a return of Russian forces to the outskirts of this city. Don?

LEMON: Ben, please be safe. Thank you. We appreciate your reporting.

I want to turn now to CNN's military analyst, retired general Wesley Clark. He is the former NATO supreme allied commander. General, thank you. I appreciate you joining us this evening.

One report after another, it just gets worse and worse and worse. The more reporting we get in, the worse it is. Ukraine's foreign minister very clear about what his country needs from NATO. Weapons, weapons, and more weapons. Saying, again, that sanctions are not enough. Can NATO get Ukraine what it needs and get there it in time?

WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: That's the big question. We don't know. It's coming from different countries. Most of what they need for the battles in the east, the United States doesn't have. They need T- 72, T-55 tanks. They need self-propelled 152-millimeter artillery. They need anti-air and they need air cover. They need those MiGs and Sukhoi fighter planes that other people have that got to get in there.

That's what they need. Now the United States is still supplying them things, Stingers and Javelins and so forth. But in the open terrain, in the kind of war of movement that's likely to happen on the east and is starting to happen now, this is a different kind of warfare.

This is not about ambushing columns of tanks moving down roads. This is about wide-out maneuver where the enemy is moving pretty fast. You to have command and control. You to respond to it. You to be able to fight day. You have to fight night. And you to have a lot of artillery to keep the enemy away, got to target his artillery.

So, they're talking about needing maybe 100,000, maybe 200,000 rounds of artillery. This is not stuff brought in by airplanes, landed in Poland and so forth. This is big truck convoys, movements by rail.

So, this is a real logistical challenge. And the thing is, Don, it's a comparative, competitive challenge because on the other side, Russians are trying to do the same thing. They've got a tougher problem because they've got to bring soldiers in who will fight. And that apparently is a real challenge. But they do have a preponderance of equipment, and the Russians also have a sanctuary. So, they're not being struck.

And in addition, Russians have an industrial base, which Kyiv doesn't have. So this is a tough period of time. Two weeks? Four weeks? Something like this, it's the next decisive phase of the war, and it's also the decisive phase of the Biden administration foreign policy.

Because if Ukraine is successful, it can roll back Russia into Donbas and beyond. Whatever negotiations then, the aggressor gets no benefit. If it's unsuccessful in Ukraine, the Russians keep on coming. Putin is not going to be satisfied with Donbas.

LEMON: Right. Yes.

CLARK: So, it means it's a never ending problem.

LEMON: You're right on about that. There is no doubt. Look, since you're talking, you mentioned Donbas. You're talking about shifting their focus here. Russia is shifting its focus to Donbas, where Ukraine's foreign minister says the fighting will come close to the battles of World War II.

General, talk about the scope and how you see this new phase of the war playing out. And do you believe what the foreign minister is saying? Is he right? Is this going to come close to World War II?


CLARK: That's certainly what the Russians expect to be able to do, and that's what the Ukrainians are preparing for. What that means is wide open battlefields. It means lots of artillery fire in advance. And then it means formations of tanks moving -- separated. And it means what the Russians call operational maneuver groups.

So, 10 tanks, 20 infantry fighting vehicles go 30 miles deep. They look for a gap in the Ukrainian position. Then they circle around and try to find the artillery. And then if they run out of fuel, they just hold there and defend. And the Ukrainians are left with a series of problems. There is going to be a left and the right and behind them. Which one do they hit first? What if they can't get through the ones behind them?

And ultimately, what the Russians want to do is encircle the defending Ukrainian forces, squeeze them and annihilate them. That's the World War II battlefield. That's not what was fought in Kyiv. This is different.

LEMON: Yes. In addition to anti-tank and anti-air missile defense, the secretary of defense I should say, Lloyd Austin saying today that the U.S. is giving Ukraine another critical tool. Listen to this and then we'll talk.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We are providing them intelligence to conduct operations in the Donbas.


LEMON: Listen, I talked to him and he didn't want to broach that suggest. But this is the first time that the U.S. publicly is acknowledging that their -- one of their roles is and that's helping, one of their roles is helping Ukraine in the Donbas. How critical is that intel to the defenders?

CLARK: It depends really on how candid we are. If we gave them everything, if they could digest it and use it, it would be, I think very, very valuable. But the Ukrainians aren't blind, and they're not deaf. They're picking up a lot on their own. They speak the language. They know the codes. They know who they're talking to when the Russians are speaking. So, they've also got pretty good intel.

What we have is the overhead imagery in realtime. We have a lot of electronic information on their radars and sensor networks. So, we can probably augment what the Ukrainians have. Will we share it? That's the question, and how much. That, you know, we don't have any way of knowing that. Usually, the United States doesn't share everything. Not even with close allies in NATO. So, we just don't know.

LEMON: General, just invaluable information. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

CLARK: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: I appreciate it. Russia leaving a swath of destruction across Ukraine, but can the west sanction its way out of this? Should the U.S. and Europe risk getting more directly involved? Or is that playing right into Putin's hands? The big questions for none other than Fareed Zakaria, and he is here next.



LEMON: Tonight, Russian forces intensifying their bombardment of eastern Ukraine, especially in the Donbas region. Ukraine's foreign minister saying the battle for Donbas will be reminiscent of World War II. President Zelenskyy warning that the atrocities in Borodyanka near Kyiv and are worse than in Bucha. At least 26 bodies found today under the rubble of two houses there.

A lot to talk about with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS.

Twenty-six bodies, Fareed. Two houses. Hello to you. Man, this is crazy. What our crews are seeing, CNN crews are seeing on the ground firsthand, that's evidence of atrocities carried out by Russian forces. At the same time, Germany is claiming that they intercepted Russian radio communication of soldiers talking about shooting civilians. Are we going to see many more Buchas and Irpins?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: I think sad to say what we are witnessing in Ukraine is essentially a replay of Russia's strategy toward Chechnya. People thought that for some reason, that was a one-off. You know, the Russians were particularly brutal because I don't know what the argument was, that the Chechens were Central Asians or Muslims. I don't know what.

But what really happened there was the Russians were losing, and they decided that they were going pull out all stops, observe no rules, no norms, no ethics, and they appear to be doing the same thing.

So, I think you're absolutely right, Don. We're likely to see more and more of this -- we're essentially everywhere we are able to uncover, we are seeing this. And we are seeing worse things that are not as easy to display on television. But the Russians have put land mines in large parts of Ukraine, which are these terrible, horrific new kind of land mines that detonate merely when they sense movement around them. They will be sitting there forever. They will -- they will cause death and amputation and loss of limbs and things like that for probably a generation or two in Ukraine. And all this is happening right now.

LEMON: Boy, Fareed, k the former President Bill Clinton wrote a piece for the Atlantic about Russia, NATO and Ukraine. He is defending his record against those who say his support for expanding NATO led to this conflict.

And here's what he writes. He says, I Understand that renewed conflict was a possibility. But in my view, whether it happened depended less on NATO and more on whether Russia remained a democracy and how it defined its greatness in the 21st century.

So, I'd like to hear your take on this, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: I think it's a very intelligent piece. And what he reminds us is this was a very difficult decision, Don, because I didn't, yes, the Russians were objecting to NATO expanding. And let's be clear. What NATO wasn't trying to go after these countries and make them a part of NATO. These countries, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic were desperately asking that they be anchored in the west.


And so, what Clinton is talking about is look, if you had not taken these countries in, you would have had vast swath of countries, you know, that had historically been oppressed by the Soviet Union desperately searching for some security. Moscow would have tried to in some way reincorporate or re-dominate them. They would have tried to struggle to escape.

In other words, just the struggle we're seeing in Ukraine, right? But we would have seen it play out with Poland, with Hungary, with the Czech Republic, with the Baltic states. So, what he says essentially is that the United States came up with you can call it a kind of hedge strategy.

We're going to work with Russia, cooperate with them. But the insurance policy was that if Russia was to reemerge as a kind of imperial power, these countries, Poland, Hungary, the Baltic republics were given some security, were given a place in the west.

Now I think the Clinton administration did the right thing. The question becomes, which I think is a legitimate one is, in 2008, the Bush administration dangled the prospect of membership of NATO for Ukraine and Georgia without ever really explaining whether they would actually get it, any road map.

So that seemed to me a bad -- that seemed bad diplomacy where you did enough to outrage and enrage the Russians without actually securing the Ukrainians and Georgians. You didn't make them members of NATO. And that left them in a no-man's land. But I think Clinton is on sound ground when he says that, look, we

were hoping for the best but you have to also prepare, you know, for plan B that is if Russia doesn't go down the route you hope, these countries do need to have a home. And that home was going to be in the west.

LEMON: Russia's war against Ukraine has already rocked the world order. General Milley described it. He said it is the greatest threat to peace and security of Europe and perhaps the world he has seen in his 42 years serving. Should the U.S. and west consider getting more directly involved, or is that exactly what Putin wants?

ZAKARIA: No, I believe we are at a stage where we do need to get more involved now. That does not mean sending combat troops. But let me put it to you this way. General Milley is right. The fate of the future of -- the shape of the world depends on whether Russia wins or Ukraine wins.

And do we want a world in which might makes right, where countries like Russia and China can simply gobble up their neighbors, can tear up international agreements, can just dominate over the weaker? Or do we want something which was a little more ordered, a little more open, you know, that was constructed really ever since World War II?

If we believe the stakes are that high, we can't afford to let Russia win. And sitting there and worrying about are we escalating too much, are we taking risks? Yes, we're taking risks. But the risk of losing is surely catastrophic. So, we should be trying to give Ukraine on a different scale level of armament.

To give you a sense, Don, the Congress in 1941 I think appropriated about $13 billion of lend lease to Britain, you know, when the United States was not involved in World War II. We're appropriating about $13 billion to Ukraine, but that was in 1941 dollars, and we're doing that today. In other words, I don't know how you do the math, but at least multiply by 25 or 50.

We should be thinking much more seriously about sanctions on Russian oil and gas. The Germans are very resourceful, inventive country. The world is awash in oil, natural gas, coal. Nuclear can be restarted in Germany. There is all kinds of solutions. But you cannot say that because you're going to have temporary inconveniences, we are going to let the Russians win.

If we start from the proposition that is an unacceptable outcome for the United States, for the west, for democracy, for the shape of a peaceful, open world, the question then becomes what can you do to ensure that Russia does not win?

LEMON: Fareed, I always enjoy GPS, but I've been particularly enjoying it your war coverage over the past month or so. It has been fantastic. Thank you, sir. I'll see you soon.

ZAKARIA: Thank you.

LEMON: Thousands of troops killed. Tanks completely destroyed. And now something unexpected from the Kremlin, an admission that it's true.




UNKNOWN: Let's go through it. You've lost thousands of troops. How many troops have you lost?

DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESPERSON: Yes, we have. We have -- we have significant losses of troops. And it's a huge tragedy for us.


LEMON: It is amazing to watch that. That was Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. His admission that Russia has significant troop losses marks the latest setback from Moscow as its invasion of Ukraine nears its second month.


So, joining me now CNN national security analyst and former CIA chief of Russia operations, Steve Hall. Steve, thanks for joining. Good evening. What do you think about these comments from Peskov?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, first of all, credit to the Sky News interviewer. He did a great job. But Peskov's comments were interesting, and it's perhaps a good example of what happens during interviews with live TV. Because he did admit that there had been significant Russian military losses, which at least on the air I think is the first time we've heard that.

But importantly is the audience. So, he was speaking, you know, to a western media outlet as opposed to a Russian media outlet. He was speaking in English, not in Russian. So, you can be sure that that information will not make it back to the Russian people. It will make it out to the west. But of course, we've been talking about this for a long time. So, it --


LEMON: Russian people will never see those comments?

HALL: Sorry?

LEMON: Russian people will never see those comments?

HALL: No, they will never see them it. Because again, Putin has clamped down so hard on, you know, any source of outside information, you have to be a really gifted and really interested and energetic young Russian, you know, computer expert who can get on, figure out a way to get on the internet past all of the blocks that the Russians have put up. So, yes, it's going to be hard.

LEMON: Wow, amazing. So, Steve, Peskov was also asked whether Russia's withdrawal from Kyiv and its surrounding region could be seen as a humiliation. Here's what he said.


PESKOV: No. It's a real understanding of what is going on. Actually, the troops were really withdrawn from that region as an act of a goodwill during the negotiations between two delegations, Russian and Ukrainian delegation.

And it was an act of a goodwill just to, well, to lift tension from those regions in order to show that Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions for continuation of negotiations.

UNKNOWN: But it's --


LEMON: So never see those comments, but never see the images coming out of the towns that they've withdrawn from, those horrifying images. They show anything but goodwill. Can you interpret this doublespeak for us, please?

HALL: Yes. You know, the Russians have this thing that they do. They admit nothing, they deny everything and then they'll make counter accusations. Or in this case, some ridiculous comments. Right? Russia -- Russia is just full of goodwill, that's the real problem, Don.

Is that they just, you know, they just got a little too much goodwill on their hands. And that's why they withdrew from the west and that's why things are going so swimmingly for everybody in Ukraine.

So, you know, this is just more of the Russians, the Russians' propaganda that is directed toward the west. What I find interesting is if you listen to that entire interview, his use of language that they learned when they were doing active measures against the United States in 2016 in our elections and also throughout other European countries, they used -- they learned that we really listen carefully when they say things like fake news. When those phrases are used, it gets people's attention.

So, there is a lot peppered in Peskov's comments. There is a lot of stuff that is going to catch the attention of the west, and especially right-leaning folks in the west, not just in the United States, but throughout Europe. It's an interesting use of verbiage there.

LEMON: So, the Russian people will never see the interview, they'll never hear those comments, they'll never see those images most -- more than likely. What about the Kremlin? What about Putin? How is -- is he going to see it? Is the Kremlin going to see it? And how is it going to be perceived by the Kremlin, and Putin?

HALL: Yes, you get into that -- into that, as I said before, that really byzantine what's going to happen inside the Kremlin. It is a little bit like game of thrones. You just never know who is going to say what to who and whose head is going to get chopped off.

But in this particular case, I think -- I think Peskov is probably pretty safe. Because again, it might have been a slight error for him to admit that, but he did admit in a way that the public in Russia isn't going to hear it, and I think that will be a long way.

Also, who wants Peskov's job in Russia. He is the guy who has to explain this not only to the Russian people, but also to the west. I think he'll be given a pass on this and probably just maybe a wag of the finger saying hey, you need to be a little more careful next time.

LEMON: Steve Hall, always appreciate it. Thank you so much.

HALL: My pleasure.

LEMON: Thousands of people scrambling to escape eastern Ukraine, many packing onto trains speeding out of the region. CNN's Ivan Watson got on board one of them and heard the tragic stories of those who are fleeing.



LEMON: It's a humanitarian catastrophe, those words from a Ukrainian military commander about the situation in Mariupol. A city encircled by Russian forces for more than 40 days. Ukrainians who have gotten out of Mariupol and other parts of eastern Ukraine are scrambling to get on board evacuation trains, trains that will take them to safety in western Ukraine.

CNN boarded one train carrying more than 1,000 people, mostly women and children. Husbands and fathers must stay behind to fight. Our Ivan Watson spoke to some of the evacuees.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I've been speaking with Katya, who is eight months' pregnant right now. And she is traveling alone with her daughter heading west because they don't know what will happen. And I asked where are you going to give birth to your child? And she said, well, wherever it's safe right now.

And that's just an example of one family. She's left her husband behind. He's serving in the military right now.

Further down the train, I meet a group of women and children who just escaped southern Ukraine.

How long did you live under Russian military occupation?

UNKNOWN: One month. One month from 27 February.


WATSON: How would you describe that experience?

UNKNOWN: All this time I went outside only two times. Just because I hear a lot of cases of -- WATSON: Rape?

UNKNOWN: Rape. Raping.

WATSON: In addition to unconfirmed stories of rape, the women tell me they've seen drunk and filthy Russian soldiers asking residents for supplies like food and toilet paper.

UNKNOWN: They just drape flags on the -- on our building, main building.

WATSON: Which flags?

UNKNOWN: Russia flags.


UNKNOWN: Just like that.

WATSON: On the police station?

UNKNOWN: Everywhere. They just love this, I think. And they think that flag can change our minds, our Ukrainian minds. But it's not work like this.


LEMON: Our thanks to CNN's Ivan Watson. And to see Ivan's full report, go to

Now here in the U.S., a day for the history books and a long time coming. The Senate confirming Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman who will sit on the Supreme Court.



KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: On this vote, the yays are 53, the nays are 47, and this nomination is confirmed.


LEMON: A historic vote today. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson becoming the first Black woman confirmed to the highest court in the land. Joe Biden celebrating the moment with Judge Jackson saying she will be an incredible judge.

Let's discuss now with CNN's senior analyst is Laura Coates, and she joins me now. Laura, good to see you.

Let's start with the significance of the vote today. It was an overwhelming moment in so many ways. Tell us what you were thinking as it happened. As if I wasn't watching you --

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Don, it's great to see you.

LEMON: -- for the 10 o'clock audience because I was watching you today when it was confirmed. But go on, sorry.

COATES: We've all been watching you for all these past weeks and the tremendous reporting you're doing. So, I'm glad to see you back.

LEMON: Thank you.

COATES: And I have to say, it's unbelievable that here we are, and more than a 200-year history, the idea that this is the 116th person to be confirmed, and only the first Black woman to be confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Just thinking about what she had to endure, not only in a professional world in terms of her extraordinary career as a jurist, as an attorney, as a federal public defender, as a member of the sentencing commission, but then to have to have -- suffer the indignities of that idea of the confirmation hearing process, where she was asked questions that were ranging from asinine to completely irrelevant, trying to get an audience at the electorate, as opposed to actually understanding who she would be as a jurist.

To have her endure that with the dignity, the grace, and to be as, you know, willing to answer the questions and do so with such poise really show so many people what she would be like and have been as a jurist.

But for me, as a mother, as a Black woman, as an attorney, I cannot tell you how much it straightened my spine even further. How much with every single no that I heard this morning from different people who I thought how could you possibly say no to her qualifications, other than for political reasons?

I remember turning to my daughter and just saying don't worry, sweetheart, over the course of your life, you are going to hear a lot more than 47 nos. But eventually someone will put some respect on your name and they may one day call you justice.

And so here we are, a Black woman, for the first time, soon to be called, and frankly synonymous with the word. It's amazing.

LEMON: You know, she's going to change the makeup of the court for the first time. Right? It won't be dominated by white men. The impact of the decisions, what impact will that have?

COATES: Well, you know, many people are looking at the idea hey, she's replacing Justice Breyer, so ideologically perhaps it won't change the votes. But as my colleague Joan Biskupic pointed out Sandra Day O'Connor many years ago, when she was were looking at the first, you know, African-American to come to the office or the post, et cetera, was the idea thinking, you know what? It would actually change the discussion. And the idea of having the vibrance of experience.

Remember, I don't believe to be objective and impartial that you must be robotic in the work that you do or have your head in the sand like an ostrich. In order to be impartial and objective you must first have had lived experience.

It's almost like telling somebody, I'd like you to judge the behavior of a giraffe and never having seen one. You have to have the breadth of experience, and her as a former federal pro -- former public defender, excuse me, somebody who has had the experience on the commission and sentencing, somebody who has been a trial court and an appellate judge, this breadth of experience better informs and infuses one's ability to be objective and consider the law in a wholistic way.

And finally, you know, Don, public confidence has been shaken in this Supreme Court time and time again. It's often viewed as a partisan, political extension of the branches of government, as opposed to an apolitical branch, an apolitical entity that is supreme in nature.

Having people look at the court and see themselves, have people look at the court and see that it's not just a continuation of sort of the notion of white, land-owning men, as our country was first formed. I think it really can go a long way to restoring confidence in the highest court in the land.

LEMON: Laura Coates, what a day, huh?


COATES: Don Lemon, what a day. What a day.

LEMON: I was just listening to you as you were saying that. It's always -- it always strikes me when people say, well, why do you have to bring color into it? Because I'm a person of color, and that's part of my experience. And isn't that part of the reason that I'm here is part of the diversity.

So, it may not change the outcome of even what we put on the air here at CNN. Sometimes it does. Or in any job. But it certainly changes the conversation, right? In the room. And it gets people to think about things that they may not have to think about, because they never had to think about it before.

And that's all -- that is a plus. That is something that is what real diversity is. And it always strikes me as odd, especially with the Republicans -- hang on, producers, Laura and I need to have this conversation.

It always strikes me as odd when people, especially on the Republican side, right, of the aisle, say, well, you know, maybe -- shouldn't be thinking about it because of her color or that sort of thing. It's all part of it. It's about lived experiences. That's what our law is about, as well. That's what the country is about.

COATES: Well, it really is. I mean, certainly red, white, and blue is the hallmark of the United States, but so is black and brown. And the colors have been as much of an impact on the history of America, modern and ancient, throughout our entire lives.

And I think really, it's odd to me that we would believe that the one place that race has had no impact is in the laws of this country. I'm here to tell you, that's not the case. And you know, I can tell you, I have to say this, Don.

Because I think you probably saw the same thing. The indignity of the confirmation hearing was one thing. The indignity of watching so many members of Congress leave the room before the final vote was tallied. The idea that some couldn't be bothered to put on a tie and have to vote from a cloak room.

The idea that some senators, at least one in particular, Rand Paul, didn't bother for whatever reason to show up until, I guess he felt as if it was the appropriate time to do so.


COATES: I mean, it's a sustained indignity and slap in the face. And I wonder whether we will return to place or maybe one day reach a time when decorum is equally extended as well.

LEMON: Just because they're small doesn't mean that she has to be or that we have to be, as well. So, Laura, thank you. I heard you loud and clear. And we'll be right back.