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Don Lemon Tonight
NYPD Looking For A Man Of Interest Over Brooklyn Shooting; Witness Grateful To Be Alive; Ukrainian Army Suspects Of Possible Chemical Used By Russians; Putin Brags His Mistakes; Inflation Felt Before The War In Ukraine; Russian Forces Left Land Mines. Aired 10- 11p ET
Aired April 12, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thank you so much for watching. I will be back tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Eastern for CNN Tonight again live from Ukraine. And before then, I'll 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: Having said that I feel guilty about keeping you, but I really want to know this. The veterans that you spoke with who are going to Ukraine, are they going against the wishes of the Biden ministration or do they have their full blessing here?
TAPPER: You know, I asked a, I asked a veteran about that. Not the one in the piece but a difference one. And his answer basically was one of the great things about living in a free country is that he's no longer in service he can do whatever he wants to do as long as he's abiding by the law.
And so he went, he came here, he trained Ukrainians when he came back, the people at U.S. Customs took a look at his passport, said, OK you are in Ukraine, are you bringing any weapons back? And he said no, and he said, OK, come on in. And that was the end to that.
LEMON: There you go. There you go. Jake Tapper, rest up, I'll see you tomorrow night. Thank you, sir.
TAPPER: Thanks, Don. See you later.
LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
Two big breaking news stories here at home and overseas. A manhunt first, police urgently searching tonight for a subway passenger in Brooklyn who they say put on a gas mask, deployed a gas canister and then began shooting at rush hour commuters as a train pulled into the station earlier today. Firing 33 times. Wounding at least 10 people. Thankfully, though, no one was killed.
Police believe he only stopped firing because the gun jammed. Now the NYPD tonight saying that they are looking for a man, look on your screen right now, that they're calling a person of interest. They are not calling him a suspect. Frank James, that is the person of interest they're looking for. They say that he wanted a U-Haul van connected the shooting.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts ask or call this number, I'll read this slowly, 800, 1-800-577-tips, 1-800-577-tips. The number and the man that was just up on the screen, if you have any information, call that number.
And there are new chilling details about what was left behind at the scene of that subway shooting. A Glock handgun, three extended magazines, two detonated smoke grenades, two non-detonated smoke grenades, a hatchet and gasoline. Quite an arsenal.
Also left the scene, the key to the U-Haul van, a key that they found in Brooklyn right there. The chaos of the attack captured dramatic cell phone videos taken as they suddenly realize that their morning commute had turned violent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YAV MONTANO, WITNESS TO NYC SUBWAY SHOOTING: During the summer thing is firecrackers and it's not until I raise my head up and I see that there's a lot of blood on the floor and I realize firecrackers can't do that much damage. It has to be, has to be somebody with a gun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Passenger you heard I'm going to talk to him in just a moment. Another taking a video of the train pulling into the station and the incredible moment of terrified passengers running for their lives, as smoke pours out of the car.
Can you imagine that? So many people take the subway or mass transit all over the country. Al lover the country. Imagine that, some passengers not even realizing at first that they had been shot. Didn't even realize that they had been shot.
A photojournalist on the scene taking this picture then putting his camera down to help victims in the moment before first responders arrive.
And then we have our other big story tonight, of course, Vladimir Putin continues his murderous assault shelling a frontline town in Ukraine's east, leaving charred wreckage where every day people's homes and cars used to be. That as President Biden for the first time, calls Putin's invasion genocide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Yes, I called it genocide because it has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being able to be a Ukrainian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanking Biden tonight, calling what he said true words of a true leader.
Straight now to our breaking news out of the United States, and CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live for us in Brooklyn tonight. Shimon, hello to you. Good evening to you.
This manhunt still underway now. Investigators have identified a person of interest, Frank James, but authorities are being very careful about whether he is the suspected shooter, what do you know?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, so they're not calling him a suspect, they're using for whatever reason the words person of interest. But they made the effort tonight to identify him, to show photos of him.
They really knew his name pretty early on after the shooting occurred, just hours after they found the U-Haul key, we're also told that there was a credit card, a credit card that was left behind which helped identify the person as well.
So now officials are trying to find this person. We believe that this person left the cell phone behind as well. So, it's making -- making it difficult for authorities to try and track this person through that. But there's really no word from authorities at this point tonight that they have any idea of where this person is. But certainly, they are searching for him throughout the city, Don.
LEMON: Shimon, as many cameras as there are New York City, you cannot walk two feet without a camera and they have no idea. I mean, can't they just track him from camera to camera to camera?
PROKUPECZ: Some of the cameras actually at the train stations here were malfunctioning at the time. For whatever reason, we don't know. So, they've not been able to get a good idea how those cameras. But certainly, cameras outside of their businesses all along 4th Avenue here. It's believed that he escaped outside through the train station.
So presumably, there would be cameras along this avenue that would've captured him. I know the NYPD was out here all day looking for video, looking for some of that footage to see if they could pinpoint which way he went, where he was.
But still, Don, surprising is that maybe, given how much surveillance we go through on a daily basis here in New York city, they have no idea where he is at this point.
LEMON: That is. I mean, considering the amount of cameras from the city, the amount of cameras from the state, the government cameras, the cameras from all the bodegas and the businesses, it's just odd that they aren't able to see who this person is. They did find a Glock and extra magazines, what else did investigators find?
PROKUPECZ: So, pretty frightening scenario when you think about the things that he had in his bag. It certainly gives credence, this thinking from authorities that this was well planned, that this was premeditated. They found a hatchet, they found two grenades, the smoke remains that were not detonated, two others that were.
They also found gasoline and fireworks. This kind of home grade fireworks that they found that was store grade that they found, that they believe he purchased. And so that is what they found in his bag. They are also offering a $50,000 reward. They're hoping that could help them in identifying him.
But you know, Don, when you think about this gunman, this shooter. He picks probably the worst time. If there is an even is the possibility. Right? When you think about, he did this, he started his attack as the train was pulling into the subway. The doors were closed, trapping people inside, they had nowhere to run until the train pulled into the station. And
then they were able to get out. But until that moment, how terrifying that must have been for them, feeling trapped with the smoke billowing inside the subway and with them, no place for them to run until the car, the subway car pulled into the station. And then they were able to run out.
LEMON: As I understand from watching the coverage, Shimon, there were five victims injured during the shooting, children, right, because there was a school nearby. They were committing to school and probably other schools, right? I know there's one school nearby but there are probably a number of other schools in the area.
PROKUPECZ: There is.
LEMON: What more do you know about the victims and their injuries and the children?
PROKUPECZ: So, the governor visited some of the wounded today at one of the hospitals here in Brooklyn, most of them were children. She says everyone is doing OK, you know, as best as can be expected that they are expected to survive, certainly the emotional trauma of this especially on children has got to be really, really concerning. And that is something that of course officials are concerned about.
And really just the trauma on the city, which, you know, we all rely on the subways here so much. It's the lifeline on the city to get us around, trains were filled tonight, people were going home from work, people were taking the subway. It's just needed for the economy of the city and it's basically how people get around.
But most of the injured, they are expected to make it, obviously there are some very serious leg injuries, many of them being shot in the leg and lower parts of their body. Some of them just as they were trying to flee from the smoke and the gunman kept firing at them, Don.
LEMON: All right, Shimon Prokupecz, thank you very much. I appreciate that.
Let's talk more about that person of interest they're looking for and other things surrounding this crime. The former New York City Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton is here. The perfect guest to have on. Thank you very much, commissioner. I appreciate that. Can we just talk about what Shimon and I were talking about. I mean,
there's cameras everywhere. And so, do we have this false sense of the security of that because there's camera everywhere that we're safe that they can find a suspect someone is robbing us or trying to mug us because I know I walk around New York City saying, there's a camera there, there's a camera there, there's a camera there. If something happens to me, they're going to find the person. This happened this morning and they still can't find him, and they still can track him.
BILL BRATTON, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: New York City, with the exception of possibly of London, has more cameras than just about any city in the world. Understand, however, that the connectivity between all these cameras is limited. There are police cameras, there are private sector cameras, a lot of them different technology. So, it's not as if all of these cameras are going to a central network where they can be reviewed.
You have to climb up of the poll and some of them. The cameras below ground on the subway system, many of them are very, very old. And they are oftentimes impacted by the steel dust, steel rail, steel wheels on those rails, so the system is not as foolproof as people might think.
At the same time, the resolution of this investigation within 10 hours they had a person of interest identified. They put it out in the news media. The law enforcement community did an extraordinary job gathering evidence and basically analyzing that evidence. And continues to gather evidence this evening looking at videos, looking at smartphone information for public for supporting it.
So, I would not focus at this stage too much on the failure of those cameras systems. Ironically, when I was a police commissioner in 2014, Don, the MBTA -- the MTA in New York is buying thousands of new train cars. I propose to them in 2014 that they equip every one of those cars with closed-circuit so they can capture and can see what was going on in every one of the 10 cars in a 10-car train.
In the era of 5G technology, you'd be able to monitor that from a central police facility. The only (Inaudible) to that they did not spend the money to put those cameras in those new train cars (Inaudible) going online very soon. Just think how beneficial that would've been if cameras on every one of those cars today.
LEMON: I think you're -- I think, you're 100 percent right on that but everyone I've been talking to, just asking the question that New Yorkers and as you know as a New Yorker, New Yorkers are asking, wait a minute, all those cameras that are out there and they can't find this guy.
That is the question on everyone's mind, especially that this happened in the morning. People have to commute again in the evening and there's someone out there that, I'm not saying it's the failure of the New York City Police Department -- I'm just surprised that they aren't unable to track this person on camera considering the proliferation of cameras in our society, that's it. BRATTON: But they have to basically access each and every one of
BRATTON: They're not connected to essential system, they're not all connected to spectrum.
LEMON: Right. So, what does it mean, though then, that authorities are asking for public's help in finding this person of interest? Wait, before you answer that, do you have any doubt that they're going to find this person and find them soon?
BRATTON: Not at all. They have people looking for him in the city now knowing who to look for, as well as law enforcement across the country with (Inaudible) if he's still in New York who knows at this juncture. But this is tried and true police method. Get a photo of the individual, put it out, put out a reward as an additional incentivization, and they will quickly find this individual. At Milwaukee (Inaudible), spending time in Philadelphia, who for whatever reason came to New York to commit this crime.
This is an emotionally disturbed individual who is living in an alternative universe that is basically separated from reality. Looking at a lot of what the police are looking at his social media. Granting this individual is significantly emotionally disturbed. And that may (Inaudible) -- police ultimately find him.
LEMON: That's why I want to ask you about. They described -- and we can put him back up -- they described the shooter as being a dark- skinned male, heavy set, the photo released says a person of interest description. Is that out of precaution having called people suspects before and then they're not actually involved? So, what is it?
BRATTON: It's a term of a description that you in the media should understand that. They have not the ability at this time to definitively put that gun in his hand. What they have is a license, and a credit card and a rental agreement with this vehicle that they found. That indicating that he may have been on that train.
But is there anybody at the moment that can identify that this individual had his hand on those guns? They actually seek to put fingerprints, DNA, and see if they can in fact match it up, then he moves from being person of interest to a suspect. With this evidence to tie him definitely into this crime.
So that certainly what they are working on now. One of (Inaudible) of the investigation the forensic investigation.
BRATTON: As they're looking to apprehend him, and then when they apprehend him, see if they can matchup with DNA with what they may find on all the items that were found in that (Inaudible).
[22:15:02] LEMON: I understand that. Listen, especially as you said as the term suspect and person of interest, we do it all the time but they seem to take, make a particular point of this time. So, I just wanted to make sure there wasn't something -- there was nothing I was missing.
So, let's talk again about what they --
BRATTON: You know, I think --
LEMON: Go on, sorry.
BRATTON: I think you in the media and the public just don't quite understand that --
LEMON: No, I get it, I get it. I understand. I understand it. I'm not sure everyone in the public, because there are people who have asked me again, what's the difference between a person of interest and a suspect. And a suspect is someone, as you said, you can, that you have strong evidence you can put the gun in his hand. You can't do it at this point. So, I understand. So, thank you for answering.
BRATTON: What's the journalist versus a reporter.
BRATTON: What's the distinction.
LEMON: Right, exactly. So, let's talk about what was found. A handgun, they found a Glock handgun, three extended magazines. Two detonated smoke grenades, two non-detonated smoke grenades, a hatchet at the scene. Do you believe, I think you said you believe that this was premeditated and meant to cause mass -- mass casualties? What's to -- is there -- what's to stop this from happening again?
BRATTON: Nothing. Basically, let's face it, in New York City, one of our most vulnerable areas, certainly our trains. A closed confined area as those trains are moving between stations, that the ability to communicate is eliminated. The ability to exit is impossible as the doors are controlled remotely.
And you no longer can pass between cars on your subway cars because of the high number of people who injured themselves (Inaudible) in the past. I just find it amazing quite friendly that this individual fired 33 shots which indicate (Inaudible) had 30 rounds in it.
Evidently then injected that instead of the new one, and the new one jammed thankfully after three rounds of fire, otherwise he could've caused even more damage. But just think about crowded that train car was that only 10 people were actually hit out of the dozens upon and dozens who were there.
Unfortunately, his aim was low so most of these people seems to have been in the lower extremities, the legs rather than in the torso where there might have been much more loss of life. So, we have something to be thankful for. And understand, one that the weapon apparently jammed before he could get off another 27 rounds that quick.
And two, the train was coming into the station so people were able to flee. But it had to have been a horrific scene in that subway car, the smoke and then noise. People in a confined space, 33 rounds going off in rapid succession, the absolute error that these people were subjected to in that two-minute on that subway.
LEMON: Trapped, they were trapped.
LEMON: Thank you, Commissioner. I really appreciate it. And if we -- if something happens, we may be calling you back. Hopefully, they'll get him soon, maybe they'll get him in the hours that we're on air in this program live tonight. So, we'll call you.
BRATTON: We need to be thanking law enforcement for really less than 10 hours that that an individual out there that all of us need to be looking for to get him basically into custody as fast as we can.
LEMON: Commissioner Bratton, thank you. I appreciate it.
BRATTON: Thank you.
LEMON: I want to bring in Yav Montano, he was in the subway car this morning when the shooting start and he joins us by phone. Yav, thank you very much. I appreciate you joining us.
Let's talk about what the commissioner said. Being trapped in that car, terrifying, what happened.
MONTANO: Well -- to explain it shortly, I'm sitting in the front end of the car, and the drama started happening in the back end of the car. So, I look to the right, I see a smoke, smoke coming from the ground, I don't know what it is, I automatically assume it's a train problem.
But then I see a bunch of people running in my direction, so I get up and a hide behind of what's inside it's like that the chairs have by the doors, I hid behind that, and stayed there. And from there I heard firecrackers, what I thought was firecrackers.
And it's not until a little bit later, when I saw a lot of blood on the floor that I realize that there is somebody with a gun in there using a gun and shooting. So, amidst all the chaos there were a couple of people who are close to me that we're trying to keep people calm, they were trying to help in any way that they can.
There is this one gentleman he tried to open the door to get between the carts, and they're locked but he used as much strength as he could to open the door, and the next door was there to get to the other cart, locked as well. [22:19:57]
So, a lot of people did what they could've done, did the best they could've done in the situation, and ultimately, I can't even explain how lucky I am, you know. Earlier in the day didn't really set in, until I heard all the news that the guy's gun jammed, and he had all of these weapons and extended magazines in his bag, and he brought all of this just to cause chaos. And I just, you know, I just feel thankful, I just feel lucky to be here. You know, I take the train every day.
LEMON: Let me ask you, Yav.
MONTANO: The craziest thing that you see is, you know, somebody yelling, you know, you're not going into regular work day or school day thinking that something as crazy as this could happen, you know.
LEMON: Yes. So, you take the train every day. Can you imagine, though, if this was a local, right?
LEMON: If it was an express, it is between the long stops, some of the stops are 7 or 10 minutes, right? Then he could have --
MONTANO: Yes. So, it was between 59 Street and 36 Street.
MONTANO: So, that's about, I would say, about three -- three minutes --
LEMON: Three minutes.
MONTANO: -- if it's all clear. But the conductor made it clear a few thoughts before that, there is some train traffic ahead of us, so between the stops there be some stoppage, but ultimately, we'll get to the station.
So, when I think was the drama started to happen at the local station before 36th Street, because we're on the express line going to Manhattan, between the local station and the 36th Street station, we were right there. We were right there by the train station. This -- that's when all this drama happened with the train left the station perfectly fine perfectly normal and it's not even until a couple of minutes in that all of this drama unfolds.
All of this, honestly, took like three minutes to happen. The smoke grenades going off, until the doors opened and everybody got let-out. It was three minutes but it felt like forever.
LEMON: Did anybody try to -- where you just so shocked and you didn't -- you know, couldn't believe what was happening, anybody try to intervene, or, you know, try to stop it or hold him or --
MONTANO: The thing -- well, this is the thing, so the smoke detonator, whatever it was --
LEMON: You can't see.
MONTANO: -- it went off so there is absolutely no site at all. Like I was in the front of the train, the front of the cart I couldn't even see past halfway down that same cart that's how smoky it was. No matter how high or low you've got, you just couldn't see. All you can see was, bodies piled on top of each other, people trying to get as far away as they can. People screaming, people -- just utter chaos and mayhem.
LEMON: Yav, I've got to go but, how are you doing?
MONTANO: I'm trying to look at the good things positively. There's lots of negatives to take from this, but it's a hard thing, a hard pill to swallow, you know, the reality of the situation. But all in all, I'm just thankful I'm here. I'm thankful my life was spared by a greater power, whoever, I'm thankful that I'm here, and I hope that everybody else on the train is OK.
I just -- I just -- don't want NYC, I don't want my city to be remembered like this, you know, I don't I don't want this to be -- I don't want this to be a regular thing.
LEMON: Yes. Right on. I think that's a good place to end this. Yav, we're happy that you're here. We're sorry that you had to experience this, and that people got injured, but we're also very happy that no one lost their lives. And we hope that they --
LEMON: You'll be well, thank you so much.
MONTANO: You too. Thank you very much. Bye.
LEMON: I appreciate you joining us.
Look, it happened in New York City, there is a surge in crime, and that has to stop. But this could also happen in any city where there is mass transportation. So, we've got to remember that. We got to -- he's right, this has to stop.
A lot more tonight, on the shocking attack on passengers in a subway car in Brooklyn. And up next, Vladimir Putin's war raging. Ukrainian forces five-hour battle to liberate Zaporizhzhia region. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Do you remember how Russia bragged that they would seize Kyiv in 48 hours? Instead, Ukraine has been repelling the enemy for 48 days.
Today, it is worth remembering.
LEMON: Tonight, Russian forces battling for control of Mariupol, where a Ukrainian official says as many as 22,000 people maybe dead and heavy fighting reported today in Zaporizhzhia, in Zaporizhzhia region. Ukrainian officials saying a fierce five-hour battle took place as their military tries to retake the area, but there were pushback by Russian forces.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is in the southeast part of Ukraine, in the key port city of Odessa. And there he is, he joins us live 5.27 a.m. there. Ed, hello to you. What can you tell us about this five-hour long battle?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a region that has been hotly contested there in the southeast of Ukraine near Mariupol. In this battle, we were told by Ukrainian military officials lasted, as you mentioned 50 -- five hours and it was in large part handled by a brigade of territorial defense soldiers.
And so, you understand the terminology here, you know, you have the Ukrainian army, and whenever you hear a talk of the territorial defense, these are the volunteer fighters that have been called up to fight in this battle, they work alongside the Ukrainian army in many cases and in many villages across the area. Going back-and-forth, five hours, a barrage of gunfire.
They were able to push back Russian forces from a portion of that region. But at the end of those five hours, Russian forces were able to get reinforcements, and push those territorial defense fighters back out of that area.
But it really just goes to speak to just how intense the fighting is right now, and will become. Because this is the region of Ukraine where the Russians are expected to reinforce and reinvigorate their fight for Ukraine, so you can expect more of these kinds of battles to take place in the weeks ahead.
LEMON: Ed, you know, let's talk about those reports of chemical weapons being used in Mariupol. The Biden administration is saying that they're looking into those reports. CNN has not been able to confirm them, what do we know?
LAVANDERA: Well, this took place, it was a report from a unit there in Mariupol that says that they've gotten some evidence that several of its fighters had taken on some injuries in a fight, and after an attack, that seemed to suggest that some sort of chemical or poisonous material might have been used.
As you mentioned, Don, CNN has not been able to verify that. The Ukrainian government, President Zelenskyy have also not verified that this is what has happened, but tonight in Ukraine, President Zelenskyy also said that he's asking the world to react preemptively to this. He says that the Russians have made it clear that they are open to
using chemical weapons, and if you -- if the world waits for the weapons, those types of weapons to be used, it will already be too late.
LEMON: Ed, you have been in the southeast of Ukraine for some time now, speaking with people and seeing the villages where heavy fighting has taken place. What do these towns look like now?
LAVANDERA: Well, it's interesting, you know, we spent the last couple of days driving to areas in the small villages very close to the front lines the southern front of this war in Ukraine. And what you find is, as the battle lines and the front lines have moved back and forth over the last few weeks, you know, we were in the town of Bashtanka which is just north of Mykolaiv, excuse me, and this is a village that about 12,000 people had been fighting off the Russians and really dramatic kind of way. Just a few weeks ago, you can listen to a little bit of what that battle was like.
LAVANDERA: For more than a week in March this little town of 12,000 people fought off the Russians anyway it could. Town council member Vitaly Homerski (Ph) put out a Facebook plea that if anyone knew how to fire a cannon, they should race out to help. A humble force of about 100 people pushed the Russians out. More than 170 buildings were damaged. The charred wreckage was left all over town.
But the mayor tells the story of one fighter who became an instant legend. A 78-year-old man who was told, he was too old to fight. Instead, he made a Molotov cocktail and threw it at a Russian artillery system blowing it up. We've asked to speak with the man but we're told by city officials that they're protecting his identity to keep him safe.
LAVANDERA: And Don, that town of Bashtanka it's about 25 miles from the front line but, you know, what we learned is that, you know, once these towns kind of liberate themselves or they pushed back the army -- the Russian forces, the war isn't over. They are now kind of in the mode of being the place where so many refugees from the Russian occupied areas now come for safe haven. And these towns kind of become support systems for their neighboring towns just down the road that are still in occupied territories.
And it was interesting as we were talking to the city officials there, we were in the city war room, if you will. And we notice the calendar on the wall that started, that showed X marks starting on February 24th and the city officials there say, that's how they mark the days that every day that they have survived the battle. There is, you know, in their lives right now there's before the war and after.
So, it was really fascinating to see that calendar in the way they've marked it up here in the last month, in the month and a half.
LEMON: Ed Lavandera reporting from Odessa, Ukraine. Ed, thank you very much. I appreciate that. As Ed said, Ukrainians are giving this war all they've got, something Putin wasn't expecting. How did he get this war so wrong? Fareed Zakaria is here to answer that question, he's next.
LEMON: Vladimir Putin apparently thought that he'd roll right in over Ukraine, roll right in and get right out. Right? Sure, it hasn't worked out that way. His military has failed to capture Kyiv and continues to face strong resistance from Ukrainian forces. And earlier today, Putin pushing a blatant lie that sounds like he still doesn't understand his miscalculations in this war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): And what we're doing, we are helping people. We're saving them from Nazism in the first place and on the other hand, we're protecting Russia. Taking measures to protect Russia's security and it is obvious that we had no choice. It was the right thing to do and I have no doubt that objectives will be achieved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I want to make this quite clear. What Putin is doing is absolutely nothing to do with his bogus claims of saving Ukraine from Nazism. He just wants to pound the sovereign nation into dust.
So, joining me now, Fareed Zakaria, the host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS.
Fareed, thank you. Good evening to you, sir. So, as I said Putin expected that this invasion is going to go quickly, but it has been nearly two months and Russia has made really some major miscalculations here. How did Putin get this so wrong, especially considering Ukraine is a neighbor with deep historical ties?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: It's a very good question, Don, and I think there are sort of two levels at which the miscalculation, the fundamental miscalculation reflects. The first is, he miscalculated the degree to which there would be fierce nationalistic resistance from Ukraine. And that is because, fundamentally, Putin doesn't understand that Ukraine is a separate nation.
Yes, they share some cultural elements of the Russia, yes, some parts of Ukraine share the language. But, you know, lots of people speak English around the world, that doesn't mean they want to be ruled from London. And he didn't understand this that Ukraine had a separate political identity that was very, that they were fiercely devoted to.
The second mistake was he didn't recognize the reaction of the west. And here, we have, this is an old mistake that dictators always make. They assume that the west and democracies are decadent, they're never going, you know, they're going to mobilize, they're internally divided. They'll never be able to push back.
But what he's seeing is, really remarkable coordination and pushback among the democracies, not just in the west but of Japan and Australia and South Korea. So, it's those two levels at which, a very common imperial dictatorial mistake. You forget that the colony, you know, the colonial nation is a real nation. And you always, dictators always believed that democracies are weak.
You know, in the 30s, the fascists believe that, in the 60s, and 70s the communist believe that. And nowadays is this populist nationalists who believe it. But they're wrong, democracies are strong and Ukraine is real.
LEMON: As we say in our world, they're believing and reading and believing their own press and Putin is doing that about his country. And listening to his military leaders who are, I guess, telling him the truth reportedly not telling him the truth.
Fareed, Russia is deeply authoritarian and it all leads up to Putin. Is that kind of suppressive structure within the government and the military prevent accurate information from getting to him?
ZAKARIA: Absolutely. All those kinds of highly close siloed systems. You know, imagine, if you're the guy who's going to bring bad news to Putin, you're going to think twice, three times, four times before you do that. You're probably going to suffer consequences so only good news goes up. Bad news, you know, dies, and dissent dies.
And the result is you get a very warped reality. And as you said, you start believing your own propaganda. It's a very important point with these kinds of closed systems to understand that people are not being as consciously deceptive as you think. They're all drinking the Kool- Aid. Because that's what allows you to believe it.
You've created a kind of close internal system. And this is where Russia begins to have not just an authoritarian flavor, but almost a totalitarian flavor. Where you are rewriting the truth, you're rewriting history. And it's very, very damaging when you are trying to figure out how do you deal with the real-world practical problem.
Which is why they've lost seven generals on the battlefield, which is why they have really achieved no military objective that they have tried to achieve in the last 50 days.
LEMON: You know, he is saying all of that. But I mean, you know, now he's saying, this is a new phase. Has he realized that he's made a big mistake and that now he's trying to change the calculus here?
ZAKARIA: I don't think there is a fundamental realization that the strategy was wrong. I'm sure he's blaming it on bad execution. He's blaming it on bad intelligence. It's very unlikely that he's fundamentally come to a realization that Ukraine is a real country --
LEMON: But he is embarrassed.
ZAKARIA: And that's what worries me and that's what I'm so glad, we're having this conversation. We should not leave people with the impression that this means that things are going to be better in Ukraine, no. What is likely is that he will double down, he will dig himself in, he will ask the troops to act with even greater brutality.
There will be a kind of lashing out as we've seen. So, the fact that Putin is doing badly, that his calculations are proving to be miscalculations. In the short run does not mean, it is a scary scenario, it is a scenario in which she could escalate, he could use chemical weapons, he could go worse.
So, we have to be very conscious of the fact that, you know, the good news is that Vladimir Putin miscalculated, but that's bad news as well.
LEMON: Fareed Zakaria, thank you sir. I appreciate it.
ZAKARIA: A pleasure.
LEMON: The war in Ukraine impacting people here in the U.S. with inflation rising to highs not seen in decades. We're going to break down what it means for you and your wallet right after this.
LEMON: The war overseas having an impact at home as inflation is skyrocketing, hitting a 40-year high in the U.S. with prices writing more than eight and a half percent from the first of the year. President Biden blaming Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commit genocide half a world away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, joining now, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Golsbee. Good to see you, sir.
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Good seeing you, Don.
LEMON: So, let's talk about -- how much of this 8.5 percent inflation rate can be blamed on the war in Ukraine. Because despite what President Biden says, inflation was a major concern way before Putin's invasion. GOOLSBEE: Yes, that's fair. You know, it depends which products. I
think on energy, the president, gasoline, the president is on pretty solid footing that war in Ukraine and what's happening in Russia has played a big role and that's certainly the most public of the prices. So, there I don't think he's wrong.
On other goods prices, you're quite right, that inflation began before the Russians began amassing troops. We're still in the fact that in the U.S., when we measure inflation, the 8 percent number is looking backward over the last 12 months. So, 11 of them months, we already knew. All that happens and we get one new month and we drop of one month from a year ago.
And there are at least some hopeful signs in the number that came out that the new inflation that's coming in is not quite as bad as what we expected and it's kind of dropping. But the old inflations that are still in there are going to be with us, you know, for the next several months --
GOOLSBEE: -- are high so the overall is pretty high.
LEMON: OK. Gas prices are up more than 18 percent last month alone. Even when you strip out the more volatile food and energy categories, prices still rose --
LEMON: -- at 6.5 percent, am I correct, over last year which is the biggest jump --
GOOLSBEE: Over the last year.
LEMON: -- since August of 1982.
GOOLSBEE: Yes, but this is what I'm saying. The one bright spot in the numbers, where that the amount that prices went up just this month for that core inflation was down to three tenths of a percent which is well below what it has been running. So, --
LEMON: You're saying it's on the way down? Is that what you're saying?
GOOLSBEE: That is on the way down.
LEMON: An indicator that it's on the way down.
GOOLSBEE: The new inflation is at least on the way down and so everybody is hoping that that continues. Because if it did continue, then this would kind of be the peak inflation and we would see things dropping from there.
Now we don't know for sure that that will continue. But that's the only bright spot. And it's not much of a bright spot in the political timetable because the economy just move slower. It's not because the White House wants that to turn around, you know, by May. Or certainly by November. And it's not clear that it is able to do that.
LEMON: OK, let's talk about something -- because this is important to Americans. All right? They're hurting. Food costs are up 8.8 percent from last year. Used cars are up more than 35 percent. Of course, unemployment is low at just 3.6 percent, wages are rising. But it's hard for people to enjoy the gains when they are being so much for food and gas prices. It's wiping out, you know, the raises or the cost-of-living increases or whatever it is. How long do you expect this to last?
GOOLSBEE: I don't know, I'm hopeful that by the summer, you know, the answer to that hinges. I think on two things. Do we get any more COVID variants and then we got to go back through this shut down and people afraid and so we can't spend money on services, that's happened over the last two years? And what happens in Ukraine and to the price of oil.
Let's say those two things don't get worse. Then I'm hopeful that by the summer, you would at least start to see some relief on a bunch of these categories that the inflation rate would come down. And if we maintain the strong job market with wages growing and inflation starts to come down, they begin feeling better.
If we can't address those two, or if wages stall out, then I think people are still going to be upset, you know, going into the summer and beyond.
LEMON: You think?
GOOLSBEE: Yes, I dd think.
LEMON: Austan, listen, I hope your hope is right. I hope -- I hope someone is listening. Please. The man upstairs or somebody.
Thank you very much, Austan. We appreciate it.
GOOLSBEE: You bet, Don.
LEMON: Thank you. Even the Russian troops are pulling out of central Ukraine, they're making sure the destruction is ongoing. CNN sat with first responders to saving Russian land mines. Stay with us.
LEMON: Russian forces now using a brutal new tactic and there warn Ukraine, dropping land mines that explode hours later which can kill and maim unsuspecting civilians.
CNN Nima Elbagir reports from Kyiv, a city under constant shelling.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the central market area in Kharkiv and this is the sight of most of last night's strike. We've coming here with emergency service first responders because the Russians have come up with a new tactic to ensure that the devastation of their attacks last far beyond the first impact.
Lieutenant Colonel Igor Ovcharuk is the head of the bomb disposal team.
IGOR OVCHARUK, HEAD OF PYROTECHNIC GROUP, EMERGENCY SERVICES (through translator): The mines explode by themselves and cause damage. These elements can detonate between three and 40 hours later. So, we have to detonate them remotely to avoid damage to the civilian population.
ELBAGIR: There are unexploded mines all over this area. So, they can't get too close. What they do is they wrap plastic explosives around a wire, link it to a detonator, that's then placed next to the unexploded ordinance. They retreat, then they blow it up.
A brutal new tactic leaving death to lie and wait for unsuspecting civilians.
Nima Elbagir, CNN, Kharkiv.
LEMON: Nima Elbagir reporting from Kharkiv. Thank you very much. We've got more on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Plus, the terrifying shooting of a New York City subway -- on a New York City subway, police announcing what they're calling a person of interest as the manhunt continues. That's all at the top of the hour. Stay with us.