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Intensifying Fighting At Mariupol Steel Plant; U.S. Fed Raises Interest Rates Half A Percentage Point; Fed Aims To Curb U.S. Inflation With Rate Hike; Ukrainians Reach Freedom After Fleeing Occupied Kherson; Dave Chappelle Tackled Onstage in L.A.; Major U.S. Reservoirs at Risk of Drying Up. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 05, 2022 - 00:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber at CNN's World Headquarters in Atlanta.

Ukraine is reporting progress on the ground as its counter offensive in the Kharkiv region takes back more territory and inches closer towards the border with Russia. Ukrainian forces have now retaken the village of Molodova, which is just 21 kilometers or about 13 miles from the Russian border and shouldn't be confused with Moldova the country. It's the latest village to come back under Ukrainian control in the last two weeks.

Meanwhile, Ukraine says Russian forces have made few advances in Luhansk and Donetsk regions despite heavy bombardment on a number of fronts. Russian forces have been trying to move south from the Kharkiv region in an attempt to surround Ukrainian forces defending Donetsk.

And in the Luhansk region, new drone footage shows stunning demonstration in the town of Popasna. The drone appears to have been used by the Russian military as they tracked Ukrainian troops amid intense street fighting.

All right, for more on the situation in Ukraine, let's bring in Isa Soares in Lviv, Isa.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: A very good morning to you, Kim. And we're keeping a close eye on the besieged city of Mariupol this morning.

Russia claims it will open humanitarian corridors beginning in the next hour to allow civilians to evacuate the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. Moscow says it will pause fighting there for 10 hours has not been confirmed from the Ukrainian side though.

This is what the complex has endured though over the past few days, relentless, as well as growing attacks from Russian forces. Civilians are trapped there along with the city's last Ukrainian defenders.

Here's how a Ukrainian commander inside the plant is describing the situation, have a listen.


LT. COL. DENYS PROKOPENKO, AZOV REGIMENT COMMANDER (through translator): For two days now, enemy has broken into the territory of the plant. These are heavy, bloody battle. I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the enemy's onslaught.


SOARES: While Ukraine says Russia has renewed attempts to take the plant have not been very successful. Sara Sidner has more for you.


VADYM BOYCHENKO, MAYOR OF MARIUPOL (through translator): Our brave boys are defending this fortress, but it's really hard.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A grueling, bloody battle as Russian forces try to distinguish the last pocket of Ukrainian fighters holed up in Mariupol's sprawling steel plant. Video from Russian separatists shows tanks moving in, a barrage of explosions from the air.

According to a senior U.S. defense official, a couple of thousand Russian forces are still in the devastated city. Russia's defense minister claims Putin's forces have reliably blocked the Ukrainian fighters cornered in the plant. The Ukrainian foreign minister says the plants still hold despite the relentless Russian attacks.

Out front spoke to one of the Ukrainian commanders inside the plant on Monday. At the time, he spoke about their fight.

SVIATOSLAV PALAMAR, STATIONED INSIDE MARIUPOL'S AZOVSTAL STEEL PLANT (through interpreter): We will be fighting as long as it is needed, despite extremely difficult conditions.

SIDNER: According to the mayor of Mariupol, there are still hundreds of civilians inside that plant, including 30 children.


SIDNER: And tonight, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a private phone call was urging the U.N. secretary general to help save the lives of the people who remain in danger. And for those who have managed to escape, you can see it in their faces just how difficult it has been. Little food, no water, none of life's essentials. A far cry from the way things used to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This one girl said you can start your life on a new page, but I don't want to. My previous pages were so clean and light, I want to go back to my pages and I know that it's impossible. SIDNER: And while the grinding assault continues, a different story is being told in Russia. A state T.V. host returning to the air after visiting Mariupol, the man known to many as the voice of Putin claims those remaining in Mariupol don't want Russia to leave. Propaganda, plain and simple.


SOARES: And that was Sara Sidner reporting there and we saw evacuation of course taking place yesterday for the city of Mariupol itself. More than 300 people were evacuated according to President Zelenskyy speaking overnight.

Let's get more on all of this Daniel Treisman is a political science professor at UCLA. He's also the co-author of Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century. And he joins me now from California.

And Daniel, a very good morning to you. Let me start really with what we've just heard from Sara Sidner, and said really that Mariupol steel complex, as we've been looking at in the last 24 to 48 hours, it's been completely battered and decimated by Russian military. How do you see this playing out?

DANIEL TREISMAN, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, UCLA: Well, the Russians clearly would like to take the Azovstal steel plant before May 9th. It seems that Putin would like to announce a victory on May 9th. And, and the last remaining part of Mariupol that the Russians haven't taken yet is the steel plant.

So, they look as though they're trying really hard to make that happen. So, that Putin on May 9th and say that the Russians now have completed the takeover of the land bridge that will link the Donetsk, Luhansk to Crimea.

But as you record it, they're having a very hard time. And it's not at all clear that by May 9th they'll have made progress and have completed that operation.

SOARES: And you know, Daniel, I was speaking to the CEO of the Azovstal steel plant, I would say probably about two weeks ago now. And I remember him saying to me, it's not Azovstal that Putin wants. It's the symbolism that comes with that.

And obviously, that symbolism will be incredibly important to him, and to his rhetoric, and to his message on that May date Victory Day. Talk to us about the symbolism for Putin for this date, if indeed he does make -- he does take Mariupol here.

TREISMAN: Well, right, so Mariupol is this last city that the Russians have been fighting so hard, it's trying to take four weeks now. They control all the land between Donetsk and Crimea. Clearly, it was a major objective to connect Crimea, the Russian occupied peninsula of Crimea to the parts of eastern Ukraine that Russian troops controlled. And that Mariupol stood in the way and it got down to just the Azovstal steel plant, which was still untaken. So, it's a thorn in his side, it's preventing him from announcing this

at least partial victory in what is proved to be an incredibly difficult war compared to what he anticipated going in.

SOARES: And I remember asking some of my guests on set here, Daniel, you know, several weeks ago, whether Mariupol would be the win, the trophy, the generals would probably be handing him. Some at the time said perhaps not, he wants obviously Donbass, but he's really struggled on that front.

Do you believe, you know, as we've been hearing from U.S. and Western officials, as they have been suggesting that Putin will use this perhaps Daniel, as an excuse to really -- to declare victory over the Donbass? Or do you think it's going to be more a de-escalatory move from him? Or will he double down? I mean, what are the options here?

TREISMAN: I think he remains committed to taking consolidating power in at least Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics and to expanding the boundaries of those.

He may not be able to announce significant advances by May 9th, on those fronts, given a lot of resistance. But I think that remains the key objective.

There are also rumors that he might do other things like announcing the formal annexation of Donetsk and Luhansk, or even that Kherson region which Russians also control at this point, or even that he might announce a general or partial mobilization.


TREISMAN: But all of those rumors are unverified. We don't know at this point. Many options that he could choose between on May 9th.

SOARES: Yes, really trying to read between the lines trying to look at the Putin playbook to try and understand what could come of course, we have Crimea as an example of that.

But as you clearly pointed out, Daniel, Kherson, which we've seen they're trying to have, obviously a referendum independence referendum for Kherson, we have seen pushback, of course, from Ukrainians in Kherson. We shall keep an eye on the developments in the coming days.

Daniel, always great to have you on the show. Daniel Treisman now joining us from Stanford in California. Thank you, Daniel.

TREISMAN: Thank you.

SOARES: Well, the European Union is proposing a ban on Russian oil imports. We broke that story yesterday if you remember the show but may find it tricky in fact to implement it. It's part of their six package of sanctions on Moscow for its war on Ukraine.

The Czech Republic and Bulgaria are seeking exemptions from the ban while Slovakia and Hungary say they need at least three year transition period. And here's more from Hungary's foreign minister. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER SZIJJARTO, HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): It is not a matter of lack of political will or a question about intention or time. This is simply a physical, geographical and infrastructural reality.


SOARES: While the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says the ban on Russian oil is the next step to make Russian President Vladimir Putin "Pay a high price for his brutal aggression on Ukraine".

And I'll have much more of course from Lviv next hour. In the meantime we'll send it back to Kim in Atlanta, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right, thank you so much, Isa. The U.S. Federal Reserve is taking action to bring down inflation but it could mean higher mortgage, car loan and credit card payments.

We'll take a look at how financial markets are reacting but President Joe Biden is promising a record reduction to America's deficit while going on the attack against MAGA Republicans. That's next, stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: U.S. President Joe Biden is sharpening his rhetoric against the Republicans ahead of the high stakes midterm elections when control of Congress will be at stake.

On Wednesday, he went after what he called the ultra MAGA agenda of those who still support Donald Trump's Make America Great Again movement. He said MAGA Republicans are protecting billionaires at the expense of working class Americans.

And he took an aim at Republican Senator Rick Scott's economic plan. Here he is.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me tell you about this ultra-MAGA agenda, it's extreme as most MAGA things are. It will actually raise taxes on 75 million American families, over 95 percent of who make less than $100,000 a year.


BRUNHUBER: Biden claims his administration will reduce the deficit by a record amount as opposed to Trump's administration which increased the deficit every year he was in office.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has issued its biggest interest rate hike in 22 years in an effort to bring down inflation.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell announced the half a percentage point increase on Wednesday. Powell says similar increases will be on the table for the central bank's next few meetings. But for now, the Fed isn't considering steeper hikes. Inflation in the U.S. is the worst in 40 years and the war in Ukraine, plus COVID lockdowns and China mean prices likely won't come down anytime soon.


JEROME POWELL, CHAIR, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: I'd like to take this opportunity to speak directly to the American people. Inflation is much too high. And we understand the hardship it is causing. And we're moving expeditiously to bring it back down.

We have both the tools we need and the resolve that it will take to restore price stability on behalf of American families and businesses.


BRUNHUBER: Wall Street responded to the Fed's decision with a major rally.

The Dow had been pretty flat most of the day but a late surge pushed the market to its best day in two years. Blue chip stocks gained more than 900 points. The S&P 500 was up three percent and the NASDAQ rose 3.2 percent.

All right, for more on this, let's bring in CNN Kristie Lu Stout who's live this hour in Hong Kong with more. So, Kristie, how are markets in Asia interpreting the latest move and the comments from the Fed?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Asian markets are tracking higher after the U.S. Federal Reserve, as expected hiked interest rates by half a percentage point, its biggest rate increase since the year 2000. It also signaled more tightening ahead all in a bid to tame inflation, which is at its highest level in 40 years in the United States.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rallied after those comments made by the Fed Chair in which he said that the committee is not actively considering a bigger rate increase but analysts warn there is pain in the pipeline. There is a lot of concern about the pace of tightening could drive the U.S. economy into recession.

Now, let's take a look at how Asian markets are responding right now. We'll bring up the live chart for you. I should add that markets in South Korea and Japan are currently closed for public holiday. And as you can see, all green arrows, they are all tracking higher.

Now, here in Asia, we are also monitoring U.S. Futures. If we bring up that data for you, you could also see that we are expecting a lower start to the day but only marginally so by less than tenth of one percent.

[00:20:10] STOUT: Now, look, inflation is at its highest level since the 1980s. And American consumers they are feeling it. They're feeling it with the price of gas, price of groceries, home prices as well, retail sales remain strong.

But economists point out something that they call revenge spending is a factor behind that as we go into year three of the pandemic.

But despite the rally that we're seeing here in Asia, analysts who have been talking to say, look, it's not going to be all good news. In fact, they told me there are real reasons to be worried. Take a listen.


MICHAEL EVERY, GLOBAL STRATEGIST, RABOBANK: I think the market is getting very, very badly wrong about what the Fed said. The fact that the Fed didn't do 75 when the market was maybe thinking about it shows once again the Fed is behind the curve. We have supply side inflation, which is going to get worse because of what the Fed just did.


SOARES: Don't forget, the global economy is facing two additional challenges, China's ongoing and very tough in punishing zero COVID policy, which has been affecting domestic spending in China as well as a global supply chain. And on top of that, the ever fluid and brutal war in Ukraine, back to you Kim.

BRUNHUBER: We have plenty of headwinds there. Kristie Lu stout in Hong Kong. Thanks so much.

STOUT: Got it.

BRUNHUBER: So, as we just mentioned, the Feds interest rate hike is meant to bring inflation under control, but it will also have an impact on people buying homes and cars and those paying off student loans and credit card debt.

CNN's Brian Todd has more.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Allison Braun (PH), a first time homebuyer in Cherry Hill, New Jersey learned the hard way that with low inventory and high competition, those trying to purchase a home don't have much leverage these days.

ALLISON BRAUN, HOME BUYER: To be quite honest, I did not expect it to be this difficult to get a home.

TODD: A pricey housing market could be about to get worse, homeowners and prospective homebuyers across America will likely find some tough sledding ahead. Because interest rate hikes mean it will be more expensive to borrow money.

If you're trying to buy a home, experts say, the asking price may not be much higher than it is now. But --

MICHELLE SINGLETARY, AUTHOR, WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR MONEY WHEN CRISIS HITS: The cost to buy that house is going to be higher. Because mortgage rates are going up.

TODD: That means many new homeowners will not only be paying higher interest on their mortgages, but could also get less house for their money. What about renters?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Renters could be indirectly affected by interest rate hikes to the extent that let's say a landlord has to pay a higher rate on his mortgage if he has an adjustable rate mortgage or thought, you know, he or she could refinance and can't for example, that could get passed along to renters.

TODD: But higher interest rates won't affect just homeowners. What about paying off your credit card, car loan or student debt?

SINGLETARY: If you've got credit card debt, it's going to cost you more. If you're buying a car, it's going to cost you more. Because the rates of the -- to borrow that money to get that car is going to go up.

TODD: Experts say there could be some good news for people who have significant money stashed in savings accounts. With the new interest rate hike, they say, those accounts will start to earn interest again. But analysts warn it may not be enough interest to make much of a difference.

RAMPELL: You might see the interest that's being paid on a savings account go up a touch as a result of the announcement. But remember, it still may be below the pace of inflation.

TODD: What can many of us do to brace for higher interest rates? The analysts we spoke to say if you can hold off on that major purchase like a house or a car that you've been thinking about? Hold off on that for as long as you can.

For others, they say it may be time to think outside the box regarding your living situation. Living with relatives or sharing a home with anyone else they say can help you ride off these rate hikes.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: Hundreds of Ukrainians are breathing a sigh of relief after leaving a city occupied by Russian forces.

Next, they speak to CNN about their life under occupation in Kherson. Stay with us.


[00:28:25] BRUNHUBER: Leaving their homes and lies behind and calling themselves lucky. That's the case for hundreds of Ukrainians who managed to get out of the city of Kherson after weeks of living under Russian occupation.

Nick Paton Walsh spoke with some of them as they tasted freedom again.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The road to salvation here is a dusty track where a few know the route just follow the car in front.

Above the trees, a dust likely from fires caused by distance shelling. These are over 100 cars that have run the gauntlet out of Kherson, the first city Russia occupied.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No school, no almost hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the moment, it's terrible. There's so many Russians, military there.

WALSH: What do they do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They, the moment they do not.

WALSH: Eyes (PH) her tell of exhaustion, hours held at Russian checkpoints. The only emotion left after two months under the Russian gun, a slight smile of freedom.

The idea dawning that life under occupation is behind them. Even if a life displaced by war is ahead.

You can see just in the length of this queue here. The scale of the desperation that we're talking about here. People fleeing Russian occupation, leaving the small winning at first light from the city of Kherson, the first to be occupied by Russia at the start of the war. Some of them on their fifth attempts to get out.

Something this time was different. It was easy.



WALSH (voice-over): "We left early when they were all asleep," she says.


WALSH (voice-over): "Goods have dried up. Everything is from Crimea," she adds.

Edick (ph), in front, squeezed ten in here.


WALSH: "They're always shooting."


WALSH: "We tried for a week to get out."

WALSH (voice-over): "We were just on the way to get out and they let us pass as human shields when things were flying over us," she says. "It was terrifying."

"Five attempts," Edick (ph) said. "They didn't let us through. Just turned us around."

They fled a city where things were not going according to the Kremlin's plan. The sham referendum Russia plans to consolidate control never happened.

And this weekend, almost at the moment when they introduced the Russian currency, the ruble, the Internet and cell service suddenly went off.

For even the youngest, the hope ahead is palpable.

"It was sad to leave," he says, "but where we're going will be better."

This is happening as villages and roads change hands daily here. These Ukrainian soldiers in the next village, anxious to not have their location or faces shown.

"We evacuated 1,500 people over the last week," one said. "Kids, elderly. Russians led them through if they say they're going to Kherson. Further on, they drop off their cars, bikes and go on foot to our side."

Across the fields, the agony of Russia's blundering and senseless invasion pours out.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kocthubayeva (ph), Ukraine.


BRUNHUBER: Just ahead, the U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that threatens to end legal abortion is sending shockwaves through the U.S.

Visit a woman's clinic in a state where abortion may soon be outlawed. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: Across the U.S., anger is building over the likely loss of federal abortion rights. New demonstrations were held around the country on Wednesday. Abortion rights supporters are furious that the Supreme Court appears

to be on the verge of striking down Roe v. Wade, the landmark law given women to constitutional right to end their pregnancies.

Meanwhile, we're getting a grim warning from the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She says more people may die without access to safe and legal abortions. Here she is.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Those who have resources will easily cross state lines to be able to do so, and those who don't may take matters into their own hands and may not get exactly the care that they need in order to do so. And -- and I do think that lives could be at stake in that situation.


BRUNHUBER: Health clinics that perform abortions in the U.S. are often subjected to protests and harassment, and sometimes even violence. CNN's Gary Tuchman visits a clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee, to see how people there are coping in the wake of the Supreme Court bombshell.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These two men are anti- abortion protesters, trying to convince the frightened woman behind the wheel not to drive into this women's medical clinic parking lot, where she has an appointment for an abortion.

The woman who walked up to the car is the co-director of the clinic, assuring the patient, who speaks little English, she is safe with her and that they will protect her while she's here.

This type of confrontation at the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health in Tennessee is very common, but it's happening at a very unusual moment in time, with the knowledge that legal abortion may be ending very soon in this state.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Corinne Rovetti is a nurse practitioner and one the other co-directors of this clinic, which provides all types of gynecological health care.

ROVETTI: What kind of society is that, that we force people to -- to motherhood when they're not prepared or ready to do that, or know that they're already stretched to their limits and cannot support another child?

TUCHMAN: Under a Tennessee law passed in 2019, if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, this state will then ban abortion 30 days after the ruling is issued.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Exceptions will only be allowed to prevent the death of a pregnant woman, or a serious injury.

Dr. Aaron Campbell is one of the physicians who performs abortions here. He's the medical director.

DR. AARON CAMPBELL, KNOXVILLE CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH I think people will pursue unsafe, illegal abortions. And I think people will get sick and die. And I think that blood and their death will be on the hands of these lawmakers that are passing these laws.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dr. Campbell's late father was also the medical director here for many years.

CAMPBELL: I think he would be devastated.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): There are very few places that provide abortions in Tennessee. There was another clinic just a few miles away from here.

CAMPBELL: On New Year's Eve, our local Planned Parenthood affiliate was burned down, ruled to be arson.

TUCHMAN: And it hasn't reopened?

CAMPBELL: It hasn't reopened. It's not been rebuilt.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Doing this type of work has long been intimidating and often frightening for the medical professionals. Many of the patients who come here for routine checkups do it partly out of support and loyalty for the clinic, Lisa being one of them. And she shares the employees' emotions about what the Supreme Court seems poised to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes me angry.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): For now, the anti-abortion protesters say they will continue to be here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not here to intimidate people. We're her e--

TUCHMAN: But you do, and you know that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if the child was outside the womb, we wouldn't be acting like this.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And the clinic employees say they will continue to do their jobs, but they know their life is on the law, and that perhaps there's now not much they can do about it.

TUCHMAN: What are you going to start telling your patients?


CAMPBELL: I don't know. I don't know that any of us know.

TUCHMAN: I just talked to one of the other co-directors of this clinic. She says she was born in 1979, which was six years after Roe became the law of the land. She says she finds it incomprehensible that Roe will no longer exist, and that's one of the reasons she believes she still has hope that one of the conservative justices might change his or her mind.

This is Gary Tuchman, CNN, in Knoxville, Tennessee.


BRUNHUBER: Another round of brutal weather in parts of the U.S. have a look at this.

This is video from Seminole, Oklahoma, after at least one tornado tore through the area several hours ago. A number of buildings have been damaged, but there are no initial reports of injuries.

Earlier in the day, tornado watches were issued for millions of people across Oklahoma and Texas. Forecasters said the region could also see winds of up to 70 miles an hour.

I'm Kim Brunhuber at CNN Center in Atlanta. WORLD SPORT is next for our viewers on CNN International.



BRUNHUBER: We're learning new details about the shocking onstage attack of comedian Dave Chappelle in Los Angeles Tuesday night. The suspect is now in custody, but a motive is still unknown.

CNN's Nick Watt has the details.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dave Chappelle was introducing the next act. Suddenly, the comic colossus tackled by a man who rushed the stage, wielding a knife shaped like a replica gun.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, he rammed right into him.

WATT (voice-over): CNN's Rachel Crane was just a few feet away, sitting in the second row.

CRANE: One second you're laughing, and the next second, honestly, I was fearing for my life, because I thought that perhaps this man had a bomb in that backpack on his back.

WATT (voice-over): He did not, and Chappelle was not injured, according to the LAPD, quickly cracking jokes.

The 23-year-old male suspect was hurt in the melee, taken to hospital and arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. Any motive remains unclear. Chappelle, in his recent Netflix special, does note that he angers a lot of people with his comedy.

DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: Now listen, women get mad at me, gay people get mad at me. Lesbians get mad at me. But I'm going to tell you right now, this is true. These transgenders, these (EXPLETIVE DELETED) want me dead.

WATT (voice-over): This assault took place just about a mile away from another recent on-stage attack on a comedian: the infamous Oscars slap.

Last night, Chris Rock was also performing, soon by Chappelle's side, making reference, cutting the tension.

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Was that Will Smith?

WATT (voice-over): So, still unclear why this happened and maybe more importantly, how this happened.

CRANE: It felt like an eternity before the security got there and, you know, intervened. In actuality, I'm sure it was just a few seconds. But it was a very charged moment and everybody -- there were gasps, screams.

WATT: Also still unclear, how this suspect could have gotten a knife into the Hollywood Bowl through, past the metal detention, particularly with so many high-profile performers and guests in attendance.

Also ironic that earlier in his set, Chappelle was joking about having to increase security at his home after somebody was hanging around on the street and shouting at him.

A spokesperson for Dave Chappelle tells CNN that he, quote, "refuses to let this overshadow the magic of his shows here at the Bowl."

Nick Watt, CNN, Hollywood.


BRUNHUBER: Actress Amber Heard took the stand for the first time in the tumultuous defamation case filed by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.

On Wednesday, Heard detailed the early days of their relationship, claiming she endured physical and sexual abuse.


AMBER HEARD, EX-WIFE OF JOHNNY DEPP: I just laughed, because I thought he was joking, and slapped me across the face. And I laughed. I laughed, because I -- I didn't know what else to do.

I thought, this must be a joke. This must be a joke. Because I'm -- I didn't know what was going on. I just stared at him, kind of laughing still, thinking that he was going to start laughing, too, to tell me it was a joke, but he didn't.

He said, You think it's so funny. You think it's funny, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You think you're a funny (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And he slapped me again. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT (voice-over): -- is suing Heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed where she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse.

In earlier testimony, Depp said he has never struck a woman and that Heard was abusive towards him.

Well, it's been nearly a week into the search for an Alabama correctional officer and the inmate she's accused of helping escape from jail.

Officer Vicky White and inmate Casey White were last seen leaving a detention facility last Friday. Now, the two aren't related. The Lauderdale County sheriff is urging the correctional officer to turn herself in.


SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: Vicky, you've been in this business for 17 years. You've seen this scenario play out more than once and you know how it always ends. Go ahead and end it now.


WATT (voice-over): Warrant was issued for Vicky White's arrest on charges of permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree.

Climate scientists say the drought gripping the Western U.S. is the worst in more than 1,000 years. Communities in Southern California are being urged to sharply cut their water usage by 35 percent or risk running out of water during the hot summer months.

Well, there are genuine concerns the two largest reservoirs in the U.S. are in danger of drying up. The federal government on Tuesday announced emergency measures to get more water into Lake Powell at the Utah/Arizona border to keep a crucial hydroelectric dam in operation.

For more on this, let's bring in Jay Lund, who's a codirector of the Center for Watershed Scientists at the University -- Sciences, rather, at the University of California-Davis. Thank you so much for being here with us.

So, drought in California and the West are obviously nothing new. So put this in a historical perspective for us. How does what we're seeing now compare with what we've been through before?

JAY LUND, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR WATERSHED SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS: Well, this is one of the worst series of drought years that we've had historically. We had a similar series of drought in California in 2012 and 2016, but this time is essentially a repeat of that severity.

This drought, however, is very different from previous droughts, except for the immediate preceding drought in having much higher temperatures. That's making drought years -- smaller drought years all throughout the West, including all throughout the Colorado River basin, much deeper, because the higher temperatures are evaporating snow pack and rainfall before it has a chance to make its way down to reservoirs and ground water.

WATT (voice-over): And I mentioned there in the intro Lake Powell. I mean, some experts fear this huge reservoir could possibly run out of water.

And Lake Mead, the country's largest reservoir, I mean, you mentioned that drought of 2012 to 2016, I covered that out there, been out to see how, you know, it had reached historically low levels.

There were now -- things are even worse, I mean, so low at Lake Mead that it revealed a water intake valve. That's really a dramatic illustration of the problem that will affect millions and millions of people across the West. Is it -- is it a realistic fear that some taps could actually run dry?

LUND: I think probably not. Most of the urban areas are pretty well prepared. They've thought about these issues for a long time. So for most people, I think they'll probably find a way to scoot around it. They've been moving water back and forth from some of the reservoirs on the Colorado River so that the intake structures and the outlet structures will continue to work.

But we will -- we are seeing, throughout the Colorado River basin and to some degree in parts of California, an aridification, so that, again, the higher temperatures are making it so that we have less water going into the future.

WATT (voice-over): And so, then, the effects of all that in terms of, you know, Southern California, especially not having enough water to meet the normal demands for some 6 million people, so they've imposed these, you know, unprecedented restrictions.

Some people fear they won't be enough, but of course, because water is politics out West, many others say this goes too far.

So, how hard is it to get anything done in terms of reducing usage when so many folks see it as a God-given right?

LUND: Well, I think we've had a fairly good ability to conserve water in cities in the West throughout the United States in conditions when the populace is very convinced that this is urgent.

And so, that requires a lot of thoughtful messaging on the part of local water districts, local water utilities and in local and state and federal politicians. We've had water conservation up to 30 percent or 40 percent, even in the last year or so in towns in California that were really hard-pressed for water during the drought.

So, you know, the root causes here, you mentioned the snow pack or the lack thereof, I guess. Experts say this is climate change in action.

So, beyond the huge, monumental task of slowing climate change, I mean, what else can be done to address this, because this problem isn't going to go away this year.

LUND: Well, I think over time, we're going to have to increase our -- the amounts of water conservation that we do in urban areas, because California urban areas still, per capita, use fairly high rates of water use, compared to other countries and prosperous countries and dry places like Israel, or Spain, or Italy.


But we'll also have tremendous reduction, sizable reductions in irrigated agriculture in the West. In California and Arizona, more than 70 percent or 80 percent of water use in those states are -- is for agriculture. So that's always going to have to be a very big player in this.

WATT (voice-over): Yeah, but that's where the biggest battles usually lie.

We'll have to leave it there, but thank you so much for your expertise. Jay Lund in Davis, California, really appreciate it.

LUND: Very welcome. Bye.

WATT (voice-over): Brazil's president is lashing out at American actor Leonardo DiCaprio for his recent comments about the importance of the Amazon rain forest in the climate crisis.

With deforestation of the Amazon advancing at a record pace, DiCaprio is actively urging Brazilians to vote in that country's election in October.

But President Jair Bolsonaro, who has allowed development of the Amazon since 2019, is pushing back. He denounced the actor's remarks about the Amazon as nonsense and said DiCaprio should, quote, "keep his mouth shut."

I'm Kim Brunhuber at CNN Center in Atlanta. I'll be back with more news right after the break. Please do stay with us.