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Don Lemon Tonight
Witnesses Bravely Videotaped Russian Atrocities; Mariupol Civilians Dig Graves In Order To Survive; Sergey Lavrov Appears To Blackmail Ukraine; Ukraine's Victory Is The World's Victory; GOP Lawmakers Added Fuel To The Fire; Destruction In Kharkiv Is Unfathomable; A Citation Read To Congressman Madison Cawthorn; V.P. Kamala Harris Tested Positive For Coronavirus. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 26, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Stay with CNN for the latest from Ukraine. The news continues. I want to hand it over to Don Lemon for DON LEMON TONIGHT. Don?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Anderson, it's hard to believe so much atrocity with the sky behind you, it's just gorgeous as morning approaches there, at least daylight. I have to talk to you about this incredible reporting that you did from Bucha. What was your take away from the images and the work of the war crimes prosecutor?
COOPER: You know, it's really interesting. I spoke to the International Criminal Court's prosecutor over the course of the last several weeks and again tonight. But this was the local prosecutor in Bucha who is building -- trying to gather evidence.
And I was just surprised at the volume of evidence he has already been able to gather. He showed us these images taken by an eye witness who lived on one particular street who documented over the course of several days at great risk to himself -- I mean if the Russian soldiers had seen him videotaping what was going on in the cell phone camera, they would have killed him, there's no doubt about it.
But from his window he documented over the course of several days successive people being shot and their bodies were left out. Any neighbor who tried to move the bodies or treat the bodies to bury them would be shot at as well. One person at least according to the eye witness was wounded trying to do just that.
They've also gotten, you know, traffic surveillance camera video images of Russian forces. They're trying to identify individual Russian troops to build -- you know, it's a very difficult thing, as you know to build a war crime case. And that's what they are trying to do step by step and they're continuing to gather evidence as we speak.
LEMON: It's no surprise, Anderson, that Putin lies, right? He lied about the atrocities in Bucha today. What did he say? COOPER: You know, he -- the Russian lie -- the big Russian lie is
that -- that this was all -- this was all false, that the satellite images we have seen of bodies in the streets while the Russians were in control of Bucha, those are fake. The bodies that we saw that international journalists saw with their own eyes, those were killed by the Ukrainians and put there or killed by Ukrainians during the conflict and left where they were killed.
All of that is part of the Russian lie. And they just deny that they are killing civilians, they deny that they are hitting residential areas, you know, the huge -- there is overwhelming evidence already that that is simply not the case.
But what's significant about these images that the prosecutor has found out from an eye witness is that this -- this means that there is not just the satellite image when Russia was occupying, there is now the cell phone camera image taken over successive days in which you see on March 5th, for instance, there is two people who have been killed laying in the street outside this person's house, this eye witness's house.
The next day he takes another video on March 6th, and there is another person who has been shot and so that's why he recorded a second day of video. And on the 7th when more people are shot, he recorded more.
So, you actually see -- and there is metadata inside the camera which prosecutors have control of now that can prove what day the photos were actually taken.
LEMON: Yes. All evidence. All evidence. Anderson Cooper doing an incredible job. Anderson, thank you so much. We'll see you tomorrow night. Get some rest. Thank you so much.
This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
And those new photos that Anderson just shows you of the dead in the streets of Bucha. Photo shared by the prosecutor trying to build the war crimes cases. That's why I said evidence, all evidence. Those photos are the latest evidence of the depravity of Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine. Evidence he is trying to sweep away with denials of images that we have seen with our very own eyes.
And we have new satellite images tonight, new evidence of Russia's brutality, reportedly forcing desperate starving civilians near Mariupol to dig graves in exchange for food, so many graves that you can see them from space.
That as the U.S. is ramping up aid, ramping up pressure and ramping up the rhetoric on Russia's war. It's not solely about Ukraine defending itself any more. Now it is about Vladimir Putin's threat to the whole international order. Chairman of the joint chiefs saying this in an exclusive CNN interview. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: If Russia gets away with this cost-free, then so goes the so-called international order. And if that happens, then we are entering into an era of seriously increased instability. So right now, it's -- now is the time and right now is the opportunity here to stop aggression and to restore peace and security to the European continent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And Ukraine fights to defend itself. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov adds talks of nuclear weapons into the mix saying, of the nuclear threat, and I quote here, "the danger is serious. It is real. It cannot be underestimated."
And President Volodymyr Zelenskyy bluntly slams what he calls Russia's blackmail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Given the level of the threat, we believe Russia has no right to turn nuclear energy into weapons and blackmail the world with the use of nuclear weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin calling the nuclear saber rattling dangerous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: It's dangerous. And any kind of rhetoric like that, you know, I think is unhelpful. You know, we said over and over again that a nuclear war cannot won by either side. And so, I think saber rattling, and -- and rhetoric like that is just unhelpful. And so, again, hard to say what's motivating Mr. Lavrov. But, again, I think that kind of talk should be avoided.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Also tonight, we have major new developments in the January 6th investigation, a CNN exclusive as a matter of fact. Newly obtained texts reveal what a little-known congressman was doing behind the scenes to advance the scene to overturn our free and fair election.
And never before heard sound from Kevin McCarthy just days after the insurrection, how he was worried the rhetoric from far-right Republicans was dangerous. We've got more to come on all of this tonight. So, make sure you stay tuned.
But I want to begin though with CNN's Phil Black, live for us in Kyiv. Phil, hello to you. First question, Mariupol's mayor says a third mass grave has been found around the city. We see the satellite images. And what is worse, civilians being forced to dig these graves in exchange for food. Tell us more about what's happening there, please. PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Don. So, this is
from the mayor who is an official who isn't in the city but throughout the war he's been -- he's been a strong source of information for what's going on within it as it has been under siege.
He makes the point that this third new mass grave that's been detected on the outskirts of the city has been detected through assessment of commercial satellite imagery as you touched on there. And what it shows is these trenches that have gotten bigger over time, bigger as they have been filled in over time.
And you're right, he makes the point that without necessarily attributing the information but he says that people on the ground were made to help with the mass burial, made to work in order to receive food and water. This is at a time where there was no other aid going into Mariupol, going into the settlements and communities. They wanted help from the Russians. They had to dig and bury those bodies.
Now if this is true, well, it adds to that overall picture that has been developing in Mariupol for so long now of absolute destruction and extraordinary human loss of life. We still don't know how many people died there. The best estimate is still around 20,000 according to the Ukrainian government. And Russia does now control pretty much all the city.
But fighting continues because there is still a holdout, there is still a last stand taking place in a sprawling steelworks there, where there are said to be thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians under constant daily bombardment who are living in the fear that Russian soldiers could still try to storm the side. Even though Vladimir Putin has said that should not happen, Don.
LEMON: Let's talk more, Phil, because eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian official says that they are shelling almost along the entire front line. What do you know, what's the latest?
BLACK: So, this is almost a daily message that we hear now across the east and the south. What we hear from Ukrainian officials is that there is this constant large escalation in Russia's efforts in bombardment. So, yes, shelling, rocket attacks. But also ,in their efforts to actually physically take ground.
The key point is though, that every day Ukraine says we were able to repel these attempted offenses. We were able to stop them from taking this territory. We inflicted losses on them instead there is now very much this fairly upbeat assessment, I think that you hear from Ukrainian officials at all levels including President Zelenskyy that Ukraine is ready for whatever Russia has.
Part of that is because they believe they are now getting the weapons they need to stop Russia on these new battle fronts, but we don't know what Russia has planned next. For the moment though, whatever Ukraine is doing it seems to be working, Don.
LEMON: Phil Black in Kyiv. Phil, thank you very much. We appreciate your reporting. Now I want to turn to the west now. Ramping up the pressure on Vladimir Putin.
Here to discuss the former Secretary of Defense, William Cohen. Good evening, Secretary. Thanks for joining us once again.
Between General Milley warn -- warning of a threat to the entire - let's see, is he there? And they have some issues with him. Secretary Cohen, can you hear me? Apparently, we don't have Secretary Cohen. Do we have Peter Zwack? We'll get to our next guest now. We'll get back to Secretary Cohen. Technical issue there.
I want to move on now. I want to dig into the military side of all this. Here to discuss now Brigadier General Peter Zwack, the former U.S. senior defense attache to Russia. Lucky for me that you are ready to go as we lost Secretary Cohen. So, I appreciate you joining us on short notice. And you're going to be a little bit later on. Thank you very much.
So, listen to this. I want you to listen to this. This is the Defense Secretary Austin after meeting with his counterparts in Germany. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AUSTIN: Ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so do does everyone here. I know that we are all determined to do everything we can to meet Ukraine's needs as the fight evolves. And that includes talking today about a framework for continuing to work together and look ahead.
We have much more to do. Ukraine needs our help to win today. And they will still need our help when the war is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He says that Ukraine can win this war. Civilians are being targeted. Cities are getting flattened. So how do they win?
PETER ZWACK, RETIRED U.S. ARMY: The Ukrainians have an x factor. And that is the will and the spirit to toil on, to fight on against an occupying force that has no business to be there. And the deeper that occupying force gets into Ukraine, the harder it is for their soldiers, the bulk of which that don't want to be there.
It's going to be a grind. It's going to be ugly. There are going to be a lot of losses. Still, the Russians are working their way in on four different axes. The Donbas. You've got the epic siege battle in Mariupol. You've got the south and Kherson. And you have Kharkiv.
All of these take a lot of forces to fight and reduce for the Russians. They've got a lot of fire power. I think they are making up some of their deficiencies, if you will, in ground combat skills right now in mass fires. It's still -- it's still very, very dangerous. But the staying power of the Ukrainians, I believe, is something that the Russians simply don't have in an increasingly unpopular, bloody endeavor.
LEMON: OK. So, General, how significant -- let's talk about this new drone video that shows Russian military vehicles enforce a scene on a Bucha Street near civilian bodies. Russia's repeated denials that they were responsible for any carnage there. How significant is this video?
ZWACK: What I find grotesque about it is that the -- apparently the -- the forensics, if you will, of this goes on over days and weeks, the bodies have been out there. The Russians have been there and they didn't have the dignity or allow the civilians to pick the bodies up. I find that grotesque.
And then of course today Vladimir Putin straight to the sec gen of NATO, the United Nations sec gen's face said that this is a Ukrainian provocation. It's ghastly. The evidence is there. And I think history will judge. And that may be sooner than later.
LEMON: Yes. General Zwack, when you hear the U.S. Defense Secretary, Milley and Austin, right, both talking about weakening Russia, what does that mean? Does that go beyond the U.S. providing weapons to Ukraine?
ZWACK: I think right now the focus is to ensure the Russian conventional offensive power is -- is attrite is enough where they can't reach out on the ground and launch offensives, aggressions or whatever. I was in Moscow in 2014. We saw it the first time. That was -- that was big but minor compared to what's going on.
And then there is Georgia. Every nation is allowed -- it's entitled to its defensive forces. But the offensive forces of following aggression and all that, I think that's probably what it means. And, again, we're just going to have to see what happens.
LEMON: Thank you, General. I appreciate you joining us. We'll see you soon
ZWACK: My pleasure.
LEMON: I want to bring in now the former defense secretary and that is William Cohen. Loud and clear now, right?
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Right. Thank you.
LEMON: Good to have you on. So, between General Milley warning of a threat to the entire world order, General Austin exhorting the west to have Ukraine's back and Germany pledging heavy arms, is there a shift here in the sense of urgency?
COHEN: I think so. We've seen the level of destruction that the Russians have leveled against the people of Ukraine. And I think there is genuine concern that they are trying to annihilate the country, the people, and just erase it from the planet.
So, I think there is a sense of urgency to get these weapons into their hands. And I was curious about your examination of the general about the use of the word weakening. We are certainly not helping the Ukrainians to help strengthen the Russians. We are there to make sure that the Ukrainians have the capability of weaking the Russians, defeating them, beating them up and killing their soldiers.
We're witnessing also, I think the Nazification of the Russian soldiers. The clip that you ran about forcing the people to dig graves for their own food and water. You would expect the Nazis to do that. And that's what is happening in terms of this particular war.
So, when General Austin -- I should say Secretary Austin says that we want to weaken the Russians in terms of their capacity to inflict that kind of pain and suffering upon the Ukrainian people, I'm with him.
LEMON: Yes. You're right. And they're claiming, they're de-Nazifying Ukraine. And they're actually the ones who are behaving as Nazis.
Speaking of Secretary Austin as you said, he is denying the war in Ukraine is becoming a proxy fight between the U.S. and Russia. A lot of folks say this is a proxy fight. When questioned about that he defies it.
But you know when you have billions pouring into Ukraine to fight. And they're talking about a weakened Russia to make sure it can't do this to any other country. I mean, is that true? He is denying it but isn't this indeed a proxy war? No?
COHEN: I don't think number one he said to any other country that may have been the implication. I don't know if he used those words that they couldn't do it again, meaning they couldn't reconstitute and come back and attack -- not only Mariupol but Kyiv and other cities.
But in any event, I think there is an implied warning there. That Russia has its eyes on Odessa, on Moldova, has its eyes on the Baltic states. And so, I think it's a -- a message to say, wait a minute, you've gone too far, way too far. You've initiated this.
By the way, talking about a proxy war. This is something the Russians initiated against a country that is posing no threat to them and now for Putin to say or to Lavrov to say it's a proxy war, it was never a war because they never in combat face-to-face. They are shelling and killing individual innocent people.
And so that's hardly a combat in the traditional sense. It's a war of slaughter on the part of the Russians. But in any event what NATO is doing is saying we are going to do our level best to give the Ukrainians the best weapons we can to help defeat the Russians.
This is not simply holding a stalemate now. There is no stalemate, no peace agreement that can be had at this time as long as the Russians continue to slaughter innocent civilians. So, I think we're going to give them what they need. And the reason that Lavrov is using the word nuclear is because the Russians are losing on the ground. They are actually afraid of losing.
LEMON: Let me ask you this next question because it goes to what you said, because it goes into what you're talking about. You know President Zelenskyy gives his nightly message, right, in his address. He says tonight that Russia has no right to blackmail the world with nuclear threats.
LEMON: But the reality is Putin does have nuclear weapons. No one knows if he will use them or not. Is there a real risk to the U.S. turning up this rhetoric?
COHEN: There is a risk to not turning up the rhetoric as well. The rhetoric has been elevated because the threat is so dangerous. You talked about depravity on the part of the Russians. We'd have to go to the devil's dictionary to find a word that's adequately describe what's taking place.
But when Lavrov uses cavalierly or intentionally with intent to invite fear, he is using a -- what I would call an extinction level event, nuclear weapons use is an extinction level event that will alter the countries, the planet on a level that we have only contemplated in the worst extreme level.
So, it's important that he not be allowed to get away with this, to say we might go to nuclear. If you go to nuclear you can't predict what the consequences is going to be. But they could be an extinction level event that we have not seen before. Certainly, since the end of World War II.
It has to be condemned, and I'm glad Secretary Austin condemned it and also General Milley. It has to be condemned and robustly.
LEMON: I want to get this in before we -- before we're done here. And that is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin predicting that the U.S. will get further pulled into this war, even saying that it could be engagements. Do you see that happening, Secretary?
COHEN: Potentially we could become more involved, surely if the Russians use a nuclear weapon and that could pull the entire NATO countries and others. This is not -- you know, we can't have countries sitting on the sidelines any more when they think they are acting in self-interest wherever they are, the Middle East, China, India, there are no sidelines in a nuclear weapons environment. Everybody is on the front lines.
And so they need to get involved and get off the sidelines and say, Mr. President, President Putin, don't even think about using nuclear weapons and we are prepared to take action and to join the west and helping to prevent that if necessary.
LEMON: Secretary, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.
COHEN: Good to be with you, Don. Sorry about the interruption.
LEMON: No, it wasn't you. It happens. Thank you very much. Next, a CNN inclusive. Newly obtained texts revealed the little-known
GP -- GOP congressman involved in efforts to overturn the election.
Plus, the New York Times releases new audio of Kevin McCarthy after January 6th worrying the rhetoric of some members of his own party could incite violence. We will tell you who he is talking about.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: He is threatening people in jeopardy. And he doesn't need to be doing this.
(END VOICE CLIP)
LEMON: Breaking news now on the January 6th investigation. The New York Times obtaining audio of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy worrying that the rhetoric of some far-right House members could encourage violence against other lawmakers in the days following the insurrection. On a January 10th call he urged GOP leaders to monitor public statements from some members, including Matt Gaetz.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
MCCARTHY: Well, he is putting people in jeopardy and he doesn't need to be doing this. We saw what people would do in the Capitol. You know, and these people came prepared with rope, everything else.
(END VOICE CLIP)
LEMON: Joining me now CNN political correspondent Dana Bash and CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig. Good evening to both of you.
I mean, Dana, what gives? Kevin McCarthy just says one thing in public and then -- it's crazy. And I just want to start by saying, if you remember what it was like immediately after the attack on the capitol there is real concern in his voice on these new tapes. What do these recordings reveal, Dana, about what was happening inside the GOP leadership right after the insurrection?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It revealed that they understood the gravity of what they witnessed, of what they were victims of. And that was the -- an attack on the U.S. Capitol. And it was jarring. It was a very human response. It was a very important response and the kind of response you would expect from a leader. And that is a non-partisan statement, no matter who you are.
BASH: And what is very telling is not only the way Kevin McCarthy changed his public statements but apparently his private statements or at least with a small group. Today, our reporting is that what he said to his leadership following these revelations is, don't let things like this divide us.
And what it does is it really puts the focus right where it needs to be on this story for Kevin McCarthy. Which is that he almost became speaker once, and then he -- he lost it for various reasons. He didn't get the vote. And he doesn't want that to happen again.
And all of the moves he has made politically since that time are -- or since Donald Trump became president and since he became Republican leader again was to make sure that didn't happen again. And it is incredibly, incredibly tricky terrain inside a Republican Party where Donald Trump is there and the people who are in his caucus who are spewing lies all the time. And this is such the ultimate example of that, Don.
LEMON: Well, listen, along the same lines -- and I think this, you -- we may be saying the same thing here. But is this -- not that this is an excuse for what Kevin McCarthy is doing, and others. But is it, Dana, as simple as awful as it was that Kevin McCarthy and others knew and know that this would have been the unraveling of the party and the unraveling of Trumpism had they agreed that what happened on January 6th was the ultimate in basically treason-like behavior from members of the Republican Party?
BASH: Well, there are a lot of Republicans I talked to who argue that those two questions are very, very different. And the fact that they didn't diverge, the question of the end of Trumpism and the end of the Republican Party, that that could have been something that Kevin McCarthy helped push along.
Yes, if Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell and most of the other Republican leaders stood up and stayed with the fact that that was wrong and that Trump did -- was part of the reason why that happened, which we now know he has said in private and he said in private real- time, then that could have helped to cut off the oxygen, not all of it, --
BASH: -- but some of the oxygen to Trump and Trumpism. And it could have a lot of Republicans I talked to think that it could have helped the Republican Party and the ideals, the traditional ideals, the conservative ideals to flourish once again and not be overtaken by conspiracies. And that hasn't happened because that's not the path he took.
LEMON: A chance to change the direction of the Republican -- steer it back into the right back into the right direction, rather than this.
LEMON: Awful --
BASH: In the direction that it was, you know, born to do, the ideals, the policies, not the fealty to one man. LEMON: And the cult of personality. Thank you for that, Dana. So,
Elie, McCarthy also imploring members of his own party not to attack lawmakers who they disagreed with every over the outcome of the election. Listen to this and then we'll talk.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
MCCARTHY: The tension is too high. The country is too crazy. I do not want to look back and think we caused something or missed something and someone got hurt. I don't want to play politics with any of that.
(END VOICE CLIP)
LEMON: So, you know, Elie, it is increasingly clear that at least at first top Republicans were privately horrified by the insurrection. But it's become sadly political at times as time has gone on. But for investigators, what does this signify?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Don, it's such a compelling look at Kevin McCarthy's state of mind back then when it mattered most on January 10th. And it's a reminder Kevin McCarthy is not dumb. He is as dishonest as heck but he's not dumb. And he recognized back then this crucial equation that if you take a bunch of wild conspiracies combined it with inflammatory rhetoric and sort of deeply loyal followers who will do anything that could lead to violence.
And you can hear Kevin McCarthy is legitimately unnerved, he is legitimately worried back then. And this is why investigators, prosecutors are always asking what were you doing and saying at the time of the events? Everyone has got their spin, everyone has got their cover story after the fact, but nothing tells the story quite like what a person was doing in saying back at the time -- and now we have McCarthy on tape.
LEMON: Elie, CNN's Ryan Nobles uncovered these texts between GOP Representatives Scott Perry to Mark Meadows after the 2020 election that show him pushing to have the nation's top intel official investigate or official investigate the basis conspiracy claims, including this text. This was on November 12th.
And I quote here. It says, "from an intel friend, DNI needs to task NSA to immediately seize and begin looking for international comms related to Dominion. Was China malware involved?"
I mean, you say basically, everything he proposes in these texts is wrong or illegal. Why? Tell us more.
HONIG: Yes. Look, Scott Perry doesn't have the profile of a Kevin McCarthy. But boy, boy, the things he is asking people to do are really extreme here. He is asking to seize voting machines. He is floating the crazy theory about Dominion which has been did debunked. He has a new one I've never seen about the Brits, as he calls them, British people interfering. That's a new one.
And most damaging, he is trying to get DOJ involved. He is the one who is trying to install Jeffrey Clark, this loyalist who is going to use and abuse the power of DOJ to try to lend some heft to these election fraud narratives.
And Don, let's keep in mind, though, the committee seemingly has made a decision they are not going to subpoena their own fellow members of Congress, whether it's Kevin McCarthy, Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene on down the line. That's a political decision that they've made.
The consequence of that is we're never going to hear testimony in the committee from any of these folks. And they are free to do exactly what they've done thus far which is to shrug off subpoena -- well, they haven't been subpoenaed, to shrug off the informal requests and to just go about their business. That's a political decision but it comes at the cost of truth.
LEMON: But more still to come. So, stay tuned. Thank you both. I appreciate it.
Endless shelling, buildings bombed to their very foundations, people living moment to moment without knowing whether it will be their last.
CNN's Clarissa Ward shows us life in Kharkiv. That's next.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It looks like this was kind of dormitory. You can see children's beds here all around. And then in the next room over there was their classroom.
LEMON: Ukraine reporting intense and constant shelling by Russian forces on cities and towns in the east and south. People in Ukraine's second largest city Kharkiv in the northeast, they know the bombardment all too well. They have been shelled on a daily basis since Russian forces invaded more than two months ago. And now much of Kharkiv is destroyed.
CNN's Clarissa Ward gives us a firsthand look.
WARD: There is no rest at night for the people of Kharkiv. Flares light up the sky as artillery thunders through the air. For nearly nine weeks Ukraine's second largest city has been shelled relentlessly. Only by day where you see the full scale of the destruction.
The neighborhood of (Inaudible) was hit repeatedly last month as Russian forces tried to push into the city. No site was spared, not even the local nursery school. [22:40:01]
So, it looks like this was some kind of dormitory. You can see children's beds here all around. And then in the next store room over there was the classroom. Their shoes still litter the locker room. Mercifully, the school had been evacuated, so no children were killed in the strikes.
The mayor of Kharkiv says that 67 schools and 54 kindergartens have been hit here since the war began. And what's so striking when you look around is that it's so clearly not a military target. This is a residential neighborhood.
Just a few blocks away, the bare skeleton of an apartment building. Authorities say more than 2,000 houses have been hit here. Sounds of war are never far away.
So, you can see this is what's left of the bedroom here. It's just astonishing. Two doors down we see a figure peeking out. Seventy- three-year-old Larisa Kremina (Ph) is still living there alone.
So, she is saying that she does have a sister who she could stay with but she also lives in an area that's being heavily hit and she's living in a shelter at the moment. "It's from all sides," she says, "from there and there they can shell."
With her fresh lipstick, Larisa is a picture of pride and resilience. Much like this city, still standing tall in the face of a ruthless enemy.
WARD: Don, the governor of Kharkiv said that three people were killed as a result of today's shelling. Seven injured. And this is what it is like in that city day in and day out. Many residents say that they are fearful that Kharkiv could become the country's next Mariupol.
This happening as we are seeing those images, satellite images from Maxar, what appears to be three mass graves on the outskirts of the city. And harrowing reports coming from people who say that they were forced to dig those graves in exchange for just a little bit of food and water to survive. You can imagine why it is that Kharkiv residents are so full of fear that their city could be next. Don?
LEMON: Clarissa Ward, thank you so much.
More politics to talk about now. GOP Congressman Madison Cawthorn in more hot water after bringing a loaded gun through a TS -- TSA checkpoint. And it's not the first time he has been stopped at an airport with a firearm.
LEMON: New tonight, GOP Congressman Madison Cawthorn stopped for bringing a loaded handgun into a TSA checkpoint. And it is the second time in just over a year that airport authorities have stopped Cawthorn with a gun. He is avoiding CNN's questions tonight when we tried to ask him about the incident.
CNN's Jessica Dean is here with the details on that. Jessica, good evening to you. So, walk us through what happened. How did Cawthorn get caught with a loaded handgun?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right. So, Don, let's go back to earlier this morning, it was about 9 a.m. Eastern Time at the Charlotte airport. And TSA officials say that's when they discovered a loaded handgun in Congressman Cawthorn's luggage.
We're told that he did say it was his. He claimed responsibility for it. And that he was cited for bringing that handgun through TSA. That is standard operating procedure for them to offer a citation.
But as you mentioned, he had no comment to us earlier today when we tried to ask him about it. And it's not the first time this has happened. Just over a year ago back in February of 2021, it was an unloaded handgun and a loaded magazine that he brought in his carry- on. That went through the Asheville airport in North Carolina, Don. And at the time, again, he claimed responsibility and they took it to the side. But again, two times in just over a year.
LEMON: So, the question is, is he -- does he know better or is he doing it just for the publicity because he thinks it's going to galvanize his base because they are, you know, second amendment folks or what have you. I mean, one would think that one would learn their lesson from the first time you bring a gun to the airport. I mean, no?
DEAN: Right, well and keep in mind, Don, like he's got -- he has a primary coming up next month. And there are Republicans running against him in his home state. And you have House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who says he lost his trust. You'll remember a few weeks ago that Cawthorn said that people in Washington invited him to orgies. And he had seen them do cocaine and then he admitted that wasn't true.
And a lot of Republican leadership and even Republicans in the Senate are really tired of this. They see this as distraction in a year where they want to take back the House and Senate. And in fact, a senator from his home state, Tom Tillis has endorsed one of his opponents in this primary. So it's going to be really interesting to see kind of the interparty dynamics especially within --
LEMON: So, that begs my question, then, is this a cry for attention because he needs it, right? Because this is coming up. But let me just move on and ask you because apparently -- there is unrelated charges that he has to go to court for next month. Right? What's that about?
DEAN: Right. So that's about a revoked license, driving with a revoked license. So that happened just a little -- a few months ago. He has a court date set for May 6th. So, we -- that's a misdemeanor charge. So we should see him settling that.
Again, that's the second time he has been charged with that since 2017. We must say that 2017 charge was ultimately dismissed. But we do expect him to see -- we do expect to see, expect to see him in court on May 6th for the misdemeanor charge of driving with a revoked license, Don.
LEMON: And he is avoiding CNN questions.
DEAN: That's right.
LEMON: Thank you very much, Jessica Dean, reporting from the Capitol this evening. I appreciate it.
COVID making the rounds in Washington, now the Vice-President Kamala Harris is isolating after testing positive.
LEMON: So here we go with the COVID information, the Vice-President of the United States, Kamala Harris, isolating tonight after testing positive for coronavirus. An aide saying, she has been treated with Paxlovid, an antiviral medication.
Harris tweeting today, I tested positive for COVID-19, I have no symptoms. And I will continue to isolate and follow CDC guidelines. I'm grateful to be both vaccinated and boosted.
The vice president just returning from a week-long trip to California. The White House saying she's not been in close contact with the President Joe Biden due to their schedules. Harris was supposed to take part in this morning's intelligence briefing with the president but did not, however the White House saying that the two spoke by phone. And aide also saying Harris will work for the V.P.'s residence -- from the V.P.'s residence and will return to the White House when she tests negative.
The joint chiefs chairman, General Mark Milley suggesting if Russia gets away with invading Ukraine cost-free, then say goodbye to the current international order. So, how far is the U.S. willing to go in holding Russia accountable?
LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
A new warning from the joint chiefs chairman, General mark Milley, the top U.S. general bluntly laying out what is at stake in Russia's war against Ukraine.