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Today, West Virginia and Nebraska Head to Polls For Primary Elections; White House Says, FDA Working Around the Clock to Address Baby Formula Shortage; Chef Mario Batali on Trial For Sexual Misconduct. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 10, 2022 - 10:30   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, voters in two states head to the polls for primary elections. Today, the focus on Nebraska and West Virginia races in each state offering another glimpse of how significant an endorsement from former President Donald Trump is, a host of other issues in there as well.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, absolutely. CNN National Correspondent Kristen Holmes is in West Virginia this morning.

So, we are keeping a close eye on some races there. Bring us up to speed, Kristen.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Erica and Jim. Well, that's right, there are two big races we're watching. It is another primary day and another test of Donald Trump's status as kingmaker in the Republican Party. The first race we're watching is here in West Virginia.

This is a big deal. This is the first time we're seeing two sitting U.S. congressmen facing each other in a primary. This is because of the redistricting. West Virginia lost a seat because of its shrinking population. And this has become one of the ugliest races in the country.

On one side, you have Congressman David McKinley. He has been endorsed by the popular Republican governor, Jim Justice, as well as Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. On the other side, you have Alex Mooney, also, again, a sitting U.S. congressman, and he has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

The popularity of the former president in this state is palpable, something that Mooney himself noted when we spoke to him just a moment ago. Take a listen.


REP. ALEX MOONEY (R-WV): I'll tell you this about President Trump, when he's in, he's all in. He really went all out for me, and I really appreciate that. I think the voters of this state saw it. Every voter I talk to knows he endorsed me. But I also try to explain why he endorsed me. There's, I think, good reasons for that as a Republican.



HOLMES: And all over the state, we have seen -- or all over the district, we have seen signs that say Mooney in giant letters and just slightly smaller letters under that, it says endorsed by Donald Trump.

Now, the other race we're watching very closely is the Republican primary for governor in Nebraska. This is somewhat of a proxy war between the current Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, who is termed out, and former President Donald Trump.

Ricketts had actually asked the former president not to get involved in this race, which Trump then denied doing, when he actually endorsed a controversial businessman, Charles Herbster. Herbster himself is facing a slew of sexual misconduct allegations which he denies. Ricketts has poured money into another candidate, Jim Pillen. This race is really seen as wide open, so keeping a close eye on that as well.

SCIUTTO: Kristen Holmes, thanks so much.

HILL: In Shanghai, the city government is further tightening its already strict lockdown measures.

SCIUTTO: Strict, an understatement. Take a look at this video of officials kicking in someone's door, kicking it in to enforce their hard line policies. They're locking people in their apartments. Under the new rules, even residents with negative COVID tests can find themselves placed into a centralized government quarantine. They're putting up fences outside the doors, the entryways to apartment buildings.

Selina Wang is with us now. Selina, what are people saying there? Because you often see in Chinese social media, despite censorship, people complaining about things they don't like, and we're seeing that with the government policy here on COVID.

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jim, there have been protests, which are rare in authoritarian China. Those sensors are racing to keep up with complaints. People are angry and outraged.

I've spoken to countless residents who are dealing with anxiety, insomnia. They've been trapped in their homes for more than a month and these rules are only getting more extreme. In some cases, entire buildings are being forced out of their homes, sent to government quarantine all because just one person in their building tested positive for COVID.

In this one video from Chinese social media, you can see police in hazmat suits at the door of a resident. They are arguing with each other. The police say they need to be taken away to quarantine because one person on their floor tested positive.

And you can actually hear the police saying, quote, stop asking why. This is China. It's not like you can do whatever you want, like in America, unquote.

Now, we've reached out to the Shanghai government for more details. We do not know what ultimately happened to these residents.

But we do know, Jim, that in some cases, residents being sent away are being forced to hand over their apartment keys to health workers. Those health workers are then going into their apartments, disinfecting the whole place. You can see in this video we got from Shanghai, they're spraying disinfectant all over, on couches, furniture, artwork, in some cases, destroying their property.

And in so many instances in Shanghai, people are not scared of getting the virus itself, but they're scared of a positive test and being taken away from their homes and sent to quarantine, many of which are in poor and unsanitary conditions. Jim, Erica?

SCIUTTO: Goodness.

HILL: You can certainly understand why. I mean, that video, it is -- it is something. Selina, I appreciate it, thank you.

Still to come, government agencies rush to help deal with this shortage of infant formula. We're going to have an update for you with the latest from WIC, Women Infants and Children Association. That's next.



HILL: The Biden administration says it is working around the clock to address the nationwide baby formula shortage, saying the FDA is taking several steps, including working directly with major infant formula manufacturers to increase production.

In six states right now, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Texas and Tennessee, more than half of baby formula was completely sold out during week starting April 24th.

Joining me is Brian Dittmeier, he's the senior director of public policy for the National Women, Infants and Children Association. Brian, it's good to have you with us.

As you look at this, I mean, I remember when -- my kids are much older now, but when you have a baby, especially if you have a baby who requires a specific formula because of their own needs, this is scary. It's tough to deal with. What are the options right now for those parents?

BRIAN DITTMEIER, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, NATIONAL WOMEN, INFANTS AND CHILDREN ASSOCIATION: Yes, no, I think you hit the nail on its head because there are a lot of options in the infant formula space, but those options do narrow down when you have allergies, digestive issues or a metabolic disorder. And that's a lot of parents right now who are scrambling to find a suitable alternative for their baby's infant formula.

We have about 1.2 million infants who participate in the WIC program and formula feed their infants, and every single one of them is stressing about where their next can of formula is going to come from.

HILL: So, I mean, where is to going to come from? Because we've had with my colleagues over at CNN Business and their reporting, there's all kinds of wild stuff out there on social media, people perhaps buying formula from unknown sources, right, people who say they have something to sell. I would imagine that's not something that you're encouraging.

DITTMEIER: Exactly. We're cautioning away from some of those risky business practices and then I would also say risky feeding practices, you know, things like using homemade infant formula recipes, diluting formula or introducing cow's milk too early.


All of those could have nutritional implications for the infant.

And so when we think of how parents can really react to this, you know, we've received assurances from manufacturers that they're going to ramp up productions but that has not yet really translated to increased stock on the shelf.

And so while we're optimistic this may get better in the future, right now, we're really encouraging families to call ahead to their store to really save the trip because we've heard from far too many moms that have gone to five or six stores and still come up empty handed.

HILL: Are you hearing from parents who have flat out not been able to find formula? Meaning --

DITTMEIER: Yes, it is quite scary.

HILL: -- you don't have any at home, they're totally out?

DITTMEIER: And, you know, that's why it's a communitywide effort here because we've got every stakeholder at the local level working on this. The retailers have been really helpful in guiding this process as well as, you know, the food banks and community supports, the WIC agencies, of course, all of us in a team effort to make sure that there are no gaps in the actual supply.

HILL: As you mentioned, the FDA says it's working -- we've talked about the FDA says it's doing its best to help -- do what it can to increase production. The fact that one Abbott plant was shut down in February, I think, leaves a lot of people scratching their heads that maybe one plant could lead to this. Does it really all go back to that one plant?

DITTMEIER: As with other industries, there were some supply chain challenges last fall, but they were mostly resolved by the time that this product recall started in February. And so it really is mostly attributable to Abbott Nutrition's recall of several powdered infant formulas.

And so I think that leaves a pretty strong question of how did we let the market get this centralized. In the WIC space, there's only three companies that compete for contracts in the WIC space. And so you really start to question is there really competition here.

HILL: Does that mean -- really quickly, does that mean you may change that on your end when it comes to WIC maybe looking to other partners?

DITTMEIER: I think our first step here is to make sure that we can resolve the supply chain challenges and provide relief for parents, but I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned from how this recall was handled. And you know, FDA and USDA have been working really hard on both ends, I think, to first resolve the supply chain challenge but then to identify what can be done better in the infant formula sector moving forward.

HILL: Brian Dittmeier, great to have you here this morning. Thank you.

DITTMEIER: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Chef Mario Batali is back in court right now accused of sexual assault in an encounter at a Boston restaurant. We'll have the latest on that trial that trial, coming up.



SCIUTTO: Right now, the chef, Mario Batali, is facing a second day of testimony in the sexual misconduct trial against him in Boston. Batali waived his right to a jury trial instead opting for a judge to rule on the case.

HILL: The alleged victim testified yesterday Batali was so drunk when he groped her. He could barely keep his eyes open. Today, we'll hear from a woman who texted with the accuser.

CNN Correspondent Jean Casarez joining us now with more of the details. So, how does this play out, especially given that Mario Batali said he wants a bench trial, he doesn't want a jury here?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting. So, a judge will be the fact finder and determine the law and the judge will have to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Mario Batali caused an indecent assault and battery on this woman.

And so this is the second day of the trial, and what the accuser is saying, and she's already taken the stand, but she is saying she, in 2017, went to a bar that she and her friend used to frequent every week, and that she got there, lo and behold, she sees Mario Batali. So, she wants to take a picture of him but she doesn't want him to know. So, she takes the picture.

He saw she was taking the picture so her friend said, look, go over to him because I think he wants you to delete it. She went over there, and he said, no, that's all right. He said, we can take some selfies. Ten selfies were taken all together.

And she is saying that while the camera, the iPhone that she is taking the selfies on were from, really, you know, waist up, that with his right hand, he was groping her virtually every part of her body.

I want you to listen to a little bit of her testimony in court.


NATALI TENE, ACCUSED MARIO BATALI OF ASSAULT: He has one of his arms around me. He has his face pressed up against mine, and he's pulling my body closer to towards his.

He's kissing the side of my face. He has his other arm wrapped around the back of me.

His hands were in sensitive areas touching me, touching my body, so it was -- it was like a selfie but other things were happening simultaneously.


CASAREZ: Now, if you notice, we're not seeing the photographs, and that's because this is an alleged sexual assault victim. We're not seeing her face. The judge has seen all the photos. But on cross- examination the defense is saying there was quite a space.

You can see the tile floor between the two of you, so how is he doing all of this when he is at this distance? Also, there were two sets of photographs, ten all together. And with that time period, why didn't you walk away. And the defense is also saying you had jury duty several years ago. You said on your form you were clairvoyant, and you'd be able to see things that others would not know about or understanding, you would not be a fair juror.


Is this true, are you clairvoyant? She said, well, to a degree.

HILL: Wow, a lot happening there. Jean, I know you'll continue to cover it for us. I appreciate it. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Thanks so much to all of you for joining us again today. I'm Jim Sciutto.

HILL: And I'm Erica Hill.

Stay tuned. Bianna Golodryga picking up our coverage after this quick break.