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Don Lemon Tonight
New York Shooter Turned Himself To Police; Frank James Posted Intent On Social Media; Russian Forces Attacks Eastern Ukraine; Ukraine Hit Russian Warship; Russian Column Doesn't Show Much Of Their Force; U.S. Sends Another $800 Million Aid to Ukraine; Tornadoes Headed To The Great Lakes. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 13, 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: I suspect that Kramatorsk is going to stand in the minds of Ukrainians the way that we think of things like Pearl Harbor or Columbine, you know, we identify, Parkland, we identify horrific events by the name of a town. And I think that is what Kramatorsk is going to be for the Ukrainian people for a long, long time.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Right on, Jake Tapper. Jake, we'll see you tomorrow. Get some rest. Thank you very much.
TAPPER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
We have major developments on two huge stories tonight in Ukraine and also right here in New York City. We're going to get back to Ukraine because there is some video that you have to see of a mother that is just unbelievable.
But let's talk about what is happening in New York. Mayor Eric Adams summing it up in three words, we got him. But is that fair? Did he get himself? Because Frank James, the man suspected of shooting ten people on a subway train in Brooklyn yesterday, arrested by patrol officers east in the -- in east village neighborhood today, but he turned himself in.
That's why I said, did they get him or did he get himself? Another crazy turn in the story that is full them, law enforcement sources telling CNN that the suspect himself called in a tip that led to his arrest. How much more bizarre can this get?
They said that James told them that he was at a McDonald's on the lower east side of Manhattan. They didn't find him there, but they spotted him just a couple blocks away and arrested him without incident. He's due to appear in court tomorrow. He is going to face multiple counts, including violating a law that prohibits terrorists and other violent attacks against a mass transportation system. He could face life in prison if he is convicted.
To the new video now obtained by CNN which appears to show the suspect walking down the street before the subway attack took place yesterday morning. Take a look at that.
He is carrying a bag. He is pulling a black cart while wearing an orange construction jacket and helmet. Take a look at this video. This was obtained by our CNN affiliate WNBC, and it shows a man, law enforcement believes to be the suspect there.
A criminal complaint reviewed by CNN states that James wearing similar clothes seen by the man in his video. Now investigators are trying to piece together the answers to the biggest question in all this, why? Why set of smoke grenades and fire, and fire a hand grenade 33 times at strangers on a crowded subway train, why?
Why create that terror? Police coming multiple rambling YouTube videos linked to the suspect or clues. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: We need to see more mass shootings. Yes, we need -- yes, no, we need to more, see more mass shootings. To make gun (muted) understand, you're going -- you're going, no, it is not about the shooter, no, it is not about the shooter, it is about the environment in which he has to exist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Bizarre. A lot more to come on the story, a lot more to come. And as Vladimir Putin's war rages on, we are learning tonight there are preliminary discussions about sending a high-ranking member of the Biden ministration to Ukraine, possibly the defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, or, Secretary of State, Tony Blinken. That is according to a source.
But they caution the decision is far from finalized and the visit might not happen. And there is new video evidence tonight that Russia may be using cluster bombs in civilian areas around Kharkiv. Take a look at this.
You can see the final explosions towards the upper left of your screen, followed by a series of multiple explosions on the road there. Then that car drives away and you see something land on the double line. You might not even notice if you are in a car trying to drive away from the explosion.
Now watch that circle, right? There is another explosion, that's why cluster bombs are so dangerous. They randomly scatter what are called bomblets that explode later. More on all of this straight ahead this evening.
But I want to begin with the new developments in New York City tonight on the subway bombing. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is in Brooklyn for us with the latest tonight.
Shimon, good evening to you. We got him. Those are the words from Mayor Eric Adams on the arrest of the suspected subway shooter. And now we are learning that the suspect called a tip in himself. So, who got whom here, what do you know? SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: I think everything
kind of, Don, happened at the same time here. There's a lot going on here. The NYPD, through their crime stoppers, gets this tip from him, he calls himself, he says to this operator that, you know, I've just saw some video of myself, you guys are looking for me, I'm at this McDonald's, here I am, come and get me. He said he was charging his phone in the McDonald's.
But he didn't stay and wait for the police. He walked out of the McDonald's, went for a stroll through the lower east side. And that is when they found him. The police found him, there may have been people who called in tips to the 911 to say they saw him. A lot happened at the same time.
The police officer saw him they took him into custody. What's also really interesting, Don, is that there was another person, a 17-year- old kid who is out on a field trip for a school who saw him hours earlier around 10.30 in the morning. Jack Griffin is this kid's name, I spoke to him, I spoke to his mother.
He took photos of this suspect as well. He's called the police. They didn't call him back right away but you could see in the photos that the suspect is sitting around in the lower east side. He's sitting outside in a restaurant, people are walking by. Like without a care in the world as if nothing had happened. As if there wasn't this man hunt for him. So, a lot was going on this morning. And finally, finally, police were able to catch up with him and take him into custody, Don.
LEMON: Let's talk about this video, videos online. We show just a short segment of them, Shimon, what do they show?
PROKUPECZ: So really disturbing, right, Don, there are several of these videos where he talks about wanting to kill people. Talks about watching people die. And also, just talks about just hatred and violence. Here is more of what he said in these videos, Don.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: I've been through a lot of (muted) where I like to say I want to kill people. I wanted to watch people die right in front of my (muted) face immediately. But I thought about the fact that hey, man, I don't want to go in the (muted) prison.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROKUPECZ: Don, also interestingly, he talked about crime in the subways. And then he mentioned the mayor, Mayor Eric Adams, saying how he can't stop it, there were other threats made and that's why we saw yesterday the NYPD increased security around the mayor, Don.
LEMON: Shimon, a lot of new information revealed by investigators, what are they finding now?
PROKUPECZ: Yes. LEMON: We saw some of the things that he left behind the train, but what else do they find there?
PROKUPECZ: There are also videos, more videos that they've been able to view and obtain of him walking, carrying this car, walking they say with these armed vests and the helmet that he used in the subway, that witnesses reported seeing the alleged shooter wearing during the attack.
And also, they recovered the gun they say that the gun according to their records, that was purchased legally by the suspect in 2011. And there was nothing to stop, him to prevent him from buying this gun. So, they have that evidence, the gun was recovered here in Brooklyn below on a subway station.
They also found a lot of other things, they say that links into the scene, they found debit cards, of course they have the U-Haul car. They also have a storage locker, a unit out in Philadelphia that they were able to access through a search warrant where they found other pieces of evidence, other kind of like stuff they had stockpile that believe he was there retrieving material.
So they've done a lot of work here in the last -- over -- in the overnight hours to try and build this case and they say they have a lot of evidence. That they believe points him, points them into the direction of being here. And tomorrow, we're expecting that he's going to be in court and will likely hear more evidence and more about what the prosecutors here. He's not charged by the federal government, so he'll be in the U.S. attorneys, he'll be over here the Department of Justice in Brooklyn tomorrow.
LEMON: All right, Shimon, you'll be reporting and we'll be following up. Thank you very much, Shimon Prokupecz.
I want to bring in now CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow, and criminologist Casey Jordan. Good evening to both of you, good to see you.
Casey, I'm going to start with you. The suspect Frank James called a tip that led to his capture, to the capture of himself. That's strange. What does that say about his state of mind, does that tell you anything?
CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Well, that along with all of the so- called bread crumbs that you just finish mentioning, you know, the credit cards, the keys left at the scene, I mean, he didn't -- he didn't try really to get away. He stayed right in New York City and walked around for a day or so. And made the phone call himself, told the police where they could find him.
To me, this indicates that this man never intended to get away with it. Really, I don't see it even the legally he's going to be charged with a form of terrorism. His goal was not to terrorize people, I think his goal was simply to cause as much mayhem as possible, get as much attention as possible and he knows that he's going to prison for the rest of his life. Remember, he called the police. I think and I don't like losing the
were cry for help but he is all in. He's resigned to the idea that he's homeless, probably unemployable at this point, he never got the services he needs and you know what, he can get those in prison.
I'm not sure he's in touch with it, Don, but at some subconscious level. I think he did it knowing he would be caught, wanting to be caught, get his 15 minutes of fame. Cause a lot of mayhem because of course he is seething with anger but he knows where he's going and he seems to be OK with it.
LEMON: OK, Jonathan, this guy is just walking around, I mean, he's gone from -- look, I don't know how we got to the other borough. Right? But he got to a whole other borough. If he got to it on the train, on the subway, if he walked. All these cameras. We're going to get him? He calls himself, I mean, come on, what's up with that?
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, listen, Don, I mean, you're right. I understand what you're saying. But listen, New York City is a great location to hide in plain sight.
LEMON: Jonathan, I get that but don't make excuses. This is New York City.
LEMON: We have the best police force in the country --
WACKROW: I'm absolutely not making excuses.
LEMON: We have more cameras than anybody. We have, what, a billion people who take the subway a year. Come on, I'm a citizen of New York City.
LEMON: And if my police department can't find this guy with all these cameras, I am worried about that, that concerns me.
WACKROW: Well, listen, Don, I mean let's -- this incident occurred just about 38 hours ago. And we now have somebody in custody.
LEMON: Yes, why so long?
WACKROW: I mean, with all --
LEMON: Why so long?
WACKROW: What's that?
LEMON: Why so long? Why so long? Thirty-eight hours is a long time.
WACKROW: It take time -- LEMON: That's a whole lot of time -- that's a lot of other people who are in danger. There are a lot of citizens, a lot of -- hold on, a lot of people are in danger. A lot of citizens, people who live here in New York City, a lot of visitors, 38 hours is a long time especially in a city like New York that has so many police officers, the best police officers in the country --
WACKROW: It's way too long.
LEMON: And so -- way too long. So, what's up? I know people don't want to talk about that. What happened?
WACKROW: Listen, Don, hors -- you know, one hour is way too long when you have somebody an unmitigated thread walking around New York City. But I do think that, you know, in this instance, looking at the totality of the circumstances, the confusion, the mass chaos at the point of incident. NYPD working with their federal partners worked very swiftly to identify items of evidentiary value at that site and then act upon.
Now listen, I would've rather had them get this suspect last night when they had that van. They didn't get it. Your point is well taken. This person was out in the -- out in the city, way too long, that was too close for comfort for all of us. But at the end of the day, this was resolved, he was taken into custody without incident.
LEMON: There were reports that, or at least a report that someone called and police never responded. Did not respond to the call, said they saw the guy on the lower east side, and they never got a call, police never went. Did you hear that?
WACKROW: Listen, that needs -- yes, I heard that reporting, that needs to be investigated very quickly. And here's why, Don. You know, all day long, every news outlet reporting the story has been putting up the telephone numbers and photographs of the suspect, crime stopper telephone numbers. Asking for the public's help.
When the public does help, and they make outreach, you have to act upon it because this could've been, you know, addressed and the suspect taken into custody hours earlier.
LEMON: So, look, had the former police commissioner on last night, Bill Bratton, and he said in 2014 he proposed new cameras for the subway system. That they be connected somehow, albeit in a matrix. They didn't want to spend the money. So, what's the breakdown, what do you make of that?
WACKROW: It's infrastructure cost. Right? People are putting finances above the safety and security of New Yorkers riding on mass transit.
LEMON: Do you know how much my taxes are here, and they -- what do you mean the cost? Taxes are high in New York City. They could -- they should be able to afford that. WACKROW: No, the cost of implementation. Don, listen, I am a big
supporter of implementing different technological solutions to make our communities safer. But it's also a process of people in processing technology to make that work. But it all takes funding in the right resources. Listen, this is the moment, let's seize this moment to make that happen now.
LEMON: Thank you for your candor. I appreciate that. Casey, when someone is posting about mass violence and shooting, putting it all out there, what does that tell you and what should -- what should be done about that?
JORDAN: Well, we call that leakage. We need to take it very seriously. But we have to understand that it is happening, Don, at such a prolific rate. It's so massive because social media is so core to our being these days that everyone just very often when they can't -- don't have a therapist, can't get to mental services they need, they rant on social media.
It's an ocean. There is no way that law enforcement and authorities at social media sites can actually investigate. And what can you do, you have a first amendment, people are allowed to vent. They have to make a very specific threat. I don't know that he really did that in any of his videos. He was not specifically making a threat that anyone could act on.
And all you have to do is gather information, gather intelligence, and all that does is really help you identify who the person is once they've committed their violence.
JORDAN: So, yes, call it in when people see this, they need to alert authorities. But understand, authorities are drowning in the ocean of social media because there is so much of this out there.
LEMON: Yes, yes, you're right about that. He was known to authorities, he had nine prior arrests in New York from 1992 to 1998, three arrest in New Jersey, one as recently as 2007.
LEMON: In court tomorrow. Thank you, Jonathan, I didn't mean to be hard on you but people want answers and I do. Look, I live in the city, I'm worried about my safety every single day and the safety of my love ones. And I just want to make sure --
WACKROW: Well, listen, Don, I think you bring up a great point. The last 38 hours have left New Yorkers on edge. And you know, we have to start building safer communities that involves the transportation system in every aspect of our society. So, listen, those are hard questions that need to be answered. LEMON: Yes. I know people today including my loved one who did not
take the subway today who walked to every single apartment they had because they were afraid to take the subway because someone was out there. So. And there are many people here, millions of people, who are afraid to take the subway every single day here in New York City.
Thank you both. I appreciate it.
JORDAN: Good to be here.
WACKROW: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: As Vladimir Putin's war rages, CNN's reporters are on the ground across Ukraine tonight. We're going there live, right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: That is so close, those are Russian positions. They are shelling towards us. We are just over a mile away from the Russian forces. This is the route into Kharkiv and then on into Ukraine. For now, this is the front line. That could change at any moment now, they are trying as hard as they can to push that front nine inwards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The horrors of Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine are brutally clear in the video you're about to see. And I have to warn you, it is disturbing. This is the heartbreaking moment that a Ukrainian mother, it's really her worst nightmare, her fear comes through in this moment, the discovery of her son's lifeless body dumped in a well, after the retreat of Russian forces.
"My little son," she screams. Straight now to CNN's Phil Black live in Kyiv for us tonight. Phil, hi to you. It is awful, it is awful, gut wrenching, and probably all too common with the atrocities that are being uncovered in this area.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don. That mother recognizes her son and identified his body because of the shoes that he was wearing. And as you said, she screamed out, 'my little son." These scenes are still playing out in the counties and communities around the capital of Kyiv that were until recently occupied by Russian forces. Bodies are still being recovered.
The individual circumstances surrounding each of those killings are still being investigated. There's the also is a big operation to find, identify and deal with munitions, bombs, explosives that Ukrainian officials say have been deliberately left behind to make the area unsafe. So, yes, there is still a big effort to essentially understand all
that took place while these communities were behind Russian lines. And it's expected to take some time to play out, Don.
LEMON: There is new video, Phil, that appears to show Putin's forces using banned weapons. And you can see what seems to be a cluster munition going off in Kharkiv. What are you hearing about this attack in Kharkiv?
BLACK: So, we know at the video shows, you can see the bomblets dispersing and across a civilian area and they're detonating building and then on a road. This isn't the first time that Russians or there's been evidence that the Russians have been using cluster munitions in built-up civilian areas.
Now there were new report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe released today looking at breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law makes the point that using these munitions in built-up populations like areas like this is almost always a war crime. And it says it is aware of at least 134 incidents of these weapons being used, Don.
LEMON: The Russian military, Phil, is also threatening to strike Ukrainian decision-making centers, including where you are in Kyiv. How worried are Ukrainian officials tonight about this?
BLACK: Well, they have no reason to doubt the will and the intent of Russia to follow through on this threat, just given everything that Russia has already done to this country through this war. That Russia has made this threat to strike what it described as decision-making sentence because it says it has evidence that the Ukrainians are thinking about and planning more operations to strike targets across the border on the territory of the Russian Federation.
Now there's one, only been one really high-profile attack which the Russians blame Ukraine for, that was the destruction of a fuel depot in the city of Belgorod a few weeks ago. At the time, Ukrainian officials were quite unwilling to confirm or deny, reluctant to talk about it at all.
One of the theories to explain their reluctance was that they feared escalation. They thought that Russian might strike back. Now that's exactly what Russia is saying it will do if the Ukrainians even continue to think about launching these sorts of attacks on Russian soil, Don?
LEMON: Phil, Russian forces have been pummeling the port city of Mariupol. We've been talking about that for weeks. We've been seeing this happening for weeks.
The mayor says 180,000 people are still waiting to be evacuated. How bad things got in there?
BLACK: Well, yes, 120,000 people in the city itself, that's the estimated number. Another 60,000 in the area surrounding it. These are people who have been there throughout the siege, throughout the blockade and the bombardment as that city has been destroyed. And we've heard that the humanitarian situation there is truly desperate.
What we think though is that these people would not be under as much daily bombardment as before because Russian forces now control most of that city. They had driven the Ukrainian defenders back now into one small isolated area where these fighters are now essentially preparing for a last stand. These are people who have been fighting throughout without resupply for weeks. They have been surrounded. And they've now fallen back to this position.
It's unclear how long they can hold out but they are obviously clearly committed. And they say they will fight to the very end.
LEMON: All right, Phil Black for us in Kyiv tonight. Phil, thank you very much. Please be safe. Russian troops taking aim at eastern Ukraine, but not everyone is fleeing. CNN on the ground, speaking with the people who refused to leave their homes. That's next.
LEMON: Russia turning its war efforts to eastern Ukraine after failing to capture the capital city of Kyiv, the town of Barvinkove among the areas bracing for the terror to come from Russian forces.
CNN's Ben Wedeman reports now.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All is not quiet on Ukraine's eastern front. Not far from the town of Barvinkove, Russian mortars warn of what's to come.
Ukrainian officials say the offensive in the Donbas region, the eastern part of Ukraine has begun. Perhaps, it has. Or perhaps this is the softening up before the onslaught. Among Ukrainian troops, bravado.
UNKNOWN: We are stronger than them.
WEDEMAN: This officer gives a more sober assessment that Russians are building up for an attack.
"They are coming and coming and coming," Lieutenant Leonid tells me, "we're not in an easy situation."
Russian shelling Tuesday killed three people, including a 16-year-old girl, according to the town mayor who has been urging residents to leave. Not everyone heeds his call. The stubborn few waits for supplies.
"This is our town," insist Galina, "we are staying here, we know our soldiers are protecting us."
Lyudmila looks to a higher power. "We'll pray to God," she says, "maybe He will save us all."
Eighty-three-year-old Yelizaveta sits outside her home. She too is staying put.
"My son's wife is scared and will probably leave today,' she says, "but I am not afraid."
And then off she goes on her bicycle, gathering storm be damned.
And Mother Nature may be lending Ukraine a hand. There is rain in the forecast. And when it's raining, Russian forces are unlikely to move forward. And Ukrainian army is taking full advantage of that. We have seen them laying mines, digging trenches and sending more troops and armor to the front. Don?
LEMON: Ben Wedeman, thank you so much. And new tonight, Ukraine claims it hit a Russian warship with a missile strike. Russia says otherwise. CNN hasn't been able to independently verify what exactly place. But the ship, the Moskova -- the Moskva, excuse me, is infamous for something else.
It was one of the warships in the exchange at that Snake Island, that happened in Snake Island in February, do you remember when Russian officers demanded Ukrainian soldiers to surrender or be bombed. And Ukrainian soldier said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN (on screen text): Russian warship go (muted) yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I want to bring in now CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. General, good to see you. Thank you so much for joining us.
MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Good to see you, Don.
LEMON: CNN is still trying to verify what happened to this warship, but what would it mean if Ukraine did hit the ship?
HERTLING: It would be a good tactical victory, Don. I mean, we are talking well first of all, Ukraine, the Ukraine intelligence service reporting it first in terms of striking it with a Neptune missile. Now a Neptune is a Ukrainian developed land-based antiship missile. I don't think the Russians knew that this was a capability of Ukraine. And the fact that the Ukrainians were reporting it first, and that it was only later that Russia claimed that there was a fire in one of their ammunition carriers within the ship. That was what caused the damage and the smoke on the ship.
But if reports are to be believed, that that sure has leaned towards starboard, our report, I don't know, I'm not a navy guy, that it is sinking fast. It has a crew of about 500 people. They have a lot of equipment on board. And it certainly was capable of reinforcing any action that Russia was perceived to have started in the Odessa region.
LEMON: General, we saw there in Ben's report showing us how tense the situation already is in eastern Ukraine. France's military is warning Russia could launch a large-scale offensive in the Donbas region and that could happen in just a days. How bad do you think this is going to get?
HERTLING: I'm not sure I agree with the French assessment, Don. I really think there's -- the Russians are still having major personnel and logistics problems. They're trying to bring some of the battle tactical groups, battalion tactical groups, excuse me, that were attacking into Kyiv and Kharkiv early in the war down to the east, and attacking to the Donetsk and Luhansk area, the Donbas.
I'm not sure they have been able to regenerate those forces. I think it will probably weeks, several weeks before they get any kind of capability to reinforce the actions. They are certainly showing some activity in the east, but it isn't significant right now. Not only do they have personnel problems, but they also have logistics problems.
You've seen the line of Russian vehicles that are lining up in the north and people are making a big deal out of that. But truthfully, I've seen that column on your film clips, there is a lot of things that jump out at me from that column. And not a whole lot of tanks in that particular column. Not a whole lot of fuel trucks. There's a lot of BMP and BTR's which is a Russian personnel carrier.
But what's also important in that is that most of the soldiers were on top of the vehicles. I see the film coming up now. That tells me as a soldier it reinforces what I know to be the Russian approach. They may be taking a break on the side of the road, but also, you'll see a lot of Russian soldiers not wanting to get inside of the vehicles because of what they have seen their bodies go through already in the first couple of fights.
You're going to see more and more attacks with Javelins, the new switchblades that were announced, that the U.S. is sending them. Other NATO countries are still sending anti-tank weapons systems to fight the Russians. I think the fight in the Donbas is going to be a new type of action, but it's going to be just as deadly for the Russians.
LEMON: Interesting, all of that, that's fascinating that you saw all that in that video, General. Thank you for that. Because I don't know if anybody else would have pick that up. So, thank you.
President Biden unveiling an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine. There is a lot of it, including attack helicopters, there's switchblade drones and Howitzers. How far will this go in helping Ukraine in this war?
HERTLING: Don, if you take a look at the fight Ukraine will have to be conduct in the east, they are going to have to have very mobile reserves. The fight they were fighting to the north of Kyiv and the different access of approaches was a hasty defense with limited counterattacks. And they executed that very well.
When you look at the east of Ukraine on a map, that's about a 300-mile frontage. What they're going to have to do is stop the Russian assaults in various areas. To do that, you are going to have to have a mobile reserve, people that can move fast in different weapon systems, you know.
And as the Biden administration announced they provided a lot of Humvees, some other equipment, that were wheeled equipment, some counter artillery radars, as well as some artillery pieces. All of those things contribute to the kinds of offensive operations with reserves and quick reaction force that the Ukrainians are going to have to basically generate in the east to try and stop any avenue of approach that Russia uses.
So, it will be interesting to see them using these new pieces of equipment, the artillery, the counterfire radars, the fast-moving vehicles, many more pieces of Javelin and Stinger missiles, as well as some of the new switchblade drones that they will be getting. All of these things will contribute. It's giving Ukraine the capability that is reinforcing what they've done in the past under a new type of operation.
Russia is going to attack on several fronts in the east. They are going to do some of the same things we saw them do trying to raise towns and conduct artillery strikes against civilian populations. But they are also going to be coming on multiple smaller axis in a different kind of terrain. They are going to have to secure river crossings. They are going to have to secure smaller towns.
But what we've seen so far, Don, truthfully, is Russia does not like to get off the roads to maneuver. So, they are going to be trapped on some of these lesser roads in the eastern part. And I think that's going to give the opportunity for Ukraine to conduct, like I said, quick reaction forces and conduct counterattacks and more mobile warfare in the eastern areas of the Donbas.
LEMON: We are always in light when you come on. Thank you, General. We appreciate it.
HERTLING: My pleasure, Don. Thank you.
LEMON: Western countries united, sending aid to Ukraine. And now more countries could be joining NATO. Are Putin's attempts to divide actually bringing the rest of the world together against him? Stay with us.
LEMON: There are new satellite images tonight that show Russian forces continuing to redeploy and move into eastern Ukraine. This adding to mounting evidence Vladimir Putin's army is ramping up its assault on the Donbas region.
Joining me now is a former Defense Secretary, William Cohen. Secretary Cohen, always a pleasure. Good to see you, sir.
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Good evening, Don. Thank you.
LEMON: It is clear at this point that Putin isn't looking for an offramp, so where does that leave the Ukraine's tonight? Talk about the days and the weeks there are -- they are in for coming up.
COHEN: Well, you just heard from General Hertling and you indicated that it was always enlightening. It's also uplifting as you hear the general analyze the battle situation and provide a lot of positive words in terms of what this new equipment will do with the fighting will of the Ukrainian forces will do, and to provide them with a great moral boost as these weapons are coming in.
And I think the Russians will have their hands full even though they have more manpower, more equipment and try to overwhelm the Ukrainians just by the size where they say that, you know, quantity has a quality of its own. But listening to General Hertling analyze it, I think the Ukrainians have a quality of their own that the Russians don't have.
So, we've seen what the Russians are capable of, the barbarism, the plunder, the absolute horror they can inflict. But even so, the Ukrainians are still there. There's still fighting and they are going to be more capable of fighting.
So, I think there's reason to be hopeful even though there is going to be a lot of -- a lot of war damage and killing of people, personnel, innocent civilians, as well as the soldiers involved.
COHEN: So, war is not a happy occasion for anyone. And long war certainly, don't benefit anyone. The longer this goes on, however, I think the Ukrainians have a better chance of prevailing.
LEMON: Yes. Barbarism is the right word that you said. I heard that. A senior defense official tells CNN that Russian forces are having significant morale issues. This official says that they have been disillusioned by the war, weren't properly informed or trained, weren't ready physically or mentally.
What kind of an impact do you think this going to have in the next phase of this fight? You mentioned it in your answer a moment ago, but I mean, they are dealing with a lot. And they are bringing in new people who don't seem to even be as enthused about this war as the people that were there before.
COHEN: Well, what's happening is they are seeing the truth. They have been lied to. The Russian people have been lied to. Putin has been mainlining lies and disinformation directly into the arteries and the minds of the Russian people, including the Russian military personnel. And what they are doing now is seeing the truth. And our hope is going
to be ultimately that the Russian people will see the truth of what Putin calls this a noble effort. Show the pictures of all of that carnage. Show the pictures of those mothers grieving over there dying -- their dead sons. And then put the word noble up next to Putin's picture.
That tells you why it's really important for all of us to go back and read Orwell's novel, 1984, where you have the creation of the truth ministry, which is really the lie ministry. And that's what happened here. And that's why the morale has been impacted.
So those soldiers were being re-deployed. Those who have survived will see what happens when they jump in their personnel carriers and they see some of these switchblade drones, aircrafts killing them at will. I think that's going to have an even bigger impact. Plus, the fact when the word gets out that one of their major flag ships has been sunk, and attacked by a missile fired by the Ukrainians. I think that the morale problem is going to be increased.
So, it doesn't leave much of an offramp for President Putin. I don't think he ever thought he would have to have one. But there are some who want to give him one, at this point, I think at this point. President Zelenskyy has said on multiple occasions from the very beginning, I'm willing to talk about remaining neutral and not trying to join NATO. But Putin has just dismissed and said I'm going to kill you instead.
And so, he is finding out that's a very hard thing to do, especially when the western countries unite and help someone who is not a NATO member, but stands for democracy rather than dictatorship. And that's really what's at stake here.
Because you see the kind of freedom that they are fighting for and what the Russians are doing in their own country by arresting people for saying it's a war, for saying I'm not for the war and being arrested and told on by students. Now you see what is happening in Russia. So, when the truth finally gets out, I think President Putin is going to be in real trouble.
LEMON: Secretary, always a pleasure, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
COHEN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Thank you. Severe weather warnings for more than 37 million Americans tonight. We're going to tell you if you are in the path of the storm, that's next.
LEMON: I mean, look at that. Thirty-seven million Americans from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes under threat of severe weather for the dangerous combination of damaging winds, strong tornadoes and giant hail. Tornado leaving an 8-mile trail of destruction in Texas on Tuesday. Twenty-three people injured. And in Memphis today, video of a funnel cloud near the Mississippi River.
I want to go now to CNN's Pedram Javaheri in the weather center. This is serious stuff, Pedram. CNN is tracking these threats, of this extreme weather all across the country. What are you seeing, which will be looking out for tonight?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, Don, a couple more hours of this at least. This system here the most aggressive of it. We've seen the line moving in the last couple of hours producing lightning strikes, Don, on the order of 700 strikes per minute.
The frontal boundary here stretches for about 800 miles from portions of Ohio all the way down towards the Gulf Coast. So, we know it's a storm system that means business. Tornado watches they're in effect until about midnight local time here. Across portions of Louisiana and eastern areas of Mississippi, and western areas of Alabama. So, some of these storms could still produce tornadoes.
In fact, severe thunderstorm warnings are still in place here in advance of this feature where, again, some of these storms can produce wind gust of 50, 60 plus miles per hour. So that's the concern moving forward. Anytime you see tornadoes develop into the overnight hours, statistically they are about twice more likely to be fatal than ones during daytime hours for obvious reasons.
And the threat is there but notice the vast majority of what we have seen today has been a tremendously strong straight-line winds, 50, 60 miles per hor. A lot of trees down, a lot of roadways blocked, of course, a lot of destruction left in the path of the system.
But it is migrating a little farther towards the east. And we do expect portions of the northeast to get in on the action. But the threat level drops significantly and gusty winds become the primary threat there for Thursday afternoon, Don.
LEMON: Boy, be safe, everyone. Thank you, Pedram. We appreciate it.
JAVAHERI: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Next, arrested, the NYPD arresting Frank James after he called their tip line on himself. All the details of the subway shooting suspect's arrest after this.