Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Biden Addresses Inflation Concerns, Food Supply Issues; Soon, Senate to Vote on Abortion Rights Bill, Expected to Fail; Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) Discusses Senate Vote on Abortion Bill; Kharkiv Officials: Ukrainian Troops Retake More Areas from Russia; Ukraine: 1st Russian Solder to Stand Trial for Civilian Death; Lacrosse Team Alleges Racial Profiling After Bus Searched in GA; Senate Approves Funding for Additional Security for SCOTUS Judges, Their Families. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 14:30   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- regardless of what it was. No other nation has done that.

It's one of the reasons why, in some places, we're called the ugly Americans, we think we can do anything. We know we can do anything. We know.

This nation leads the world. We stand up for freedom. We're the United States of America. And when we are united, there's not a damned thing we can't do.

It's not hyperbole. It's a fact. The students of history, it's a fact. There's nothing beyond our capacity when we work together, nothing.

So I'm here to say God bless our farmers. And I mean this sincerely, got protect our firefighters. And may God protect our troops.

Thank you for what you do. America owes you. They owe you big.




CAMEROTA: -- we were listening there to President Biden at a family farm talking about ways to increase the global food supply and take care of family farms.

Victor, just another dangerous byproduct of the war in Ukraine, which, of course, is the breadbasket of the world, and now is having this ripple effect of food shortages.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Yes, the president mentioned Russian forces that have blocked off the Black Sea, the Azov Sea, and stopping some of the exports of wheat from Ukraine.

And of course, referencing Putin's price hike as he did in the speech about inflation across the country yesterday.

The president also mentioned that Senators Duckworth and Durbin were not in attendance because of this vote in the U.S. Senate today. That's expected to happen next hour.

It's a vote on a bill that would preserve access to abortion nationwide, a move that's triggered by the leaked draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court could soon overturn Roe v. Wade. The vote is expected to fail.

CAMEROTA: Because it faces widespread opposition from Republicans, and now at least one Democratic Senator as well, Joe Manchin.

CNN's Jessica Dean joins us now.

Jessica, what exactly is in this bill and why is Joe Manchin a no?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the Women's Health Protection Act. And, Victor and Alisyn, it's important to know that they voted on the House-passed version of this bill earlier this year and it failed then, as it's expected to do today.

So what this particular bill does is not only codify abortion rights into federal law. So it would explicitly give people the right to an abortion and providers the right to perform those abortions.

But it also goes beyond that. It would do things like end mandatory ultrasounds and mandatory waiting times that we've seen in some states across the country.

It would also end restrictions on telemedicine. Some providers use telemedicine and use pills for abortions, rather than an in-office visit. They would end restrictions on that as well.

And it would allow for abortion after fetal viability if the mother's health or life is at risk. Those are some of the things that are in this legislation.

Again, they talk about in the legislation that they feel the need to do this because of the bills that they say have restricted abortion access in states all across the country and made it increasingly difficult for women to get access to abortion providers and abortion care.

And of course, now Democrats bringing this bill back to the floor in light of this leaked draft that shows the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

And it's important to note, Alisyn and Victor, also, that they're not getting pushback just from Republicans, including Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who have their own version of this legislation that codifies abortion rights, but some on the left say it doesn't go far enough.

They say they can't support this legislation because it goes too far. Susan Collins explicitly concerned about religious exemptions not being present.

But also they're getting pushback from a member of their own party, Senator Joe Manchin, who told us earlier today the same thing, this is simply too broad and he'll be voting against it.

Alisyn and Victor, we're expecting the vote within the next hour.

CAMEROTA: Jessica Dean, thank you for explaining all of that.

BLACKWELL: Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono joins us now. She's a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator, welcome back.

Let's start with this vote. You don't have the 60 votes to break a filibuster. That was clear when Leader Schumer announced that it was coming this week.

So is this a vote to pass legislation or just to put Senators on the record?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Well, the way it's looking is that it is a very important bill that says to the American people exactly where every single Senator stands on who actually gets to decide on the question of control of our bodies.

Is it the woman or is it government? This is a bill that says it's the woman who gets to decide, not government.

And it is a constitutional right that women in this country thought we had for almost 50 years.


BLACKWELL: So is this a bill to preserve access as it is today with Roe in place, being the law of the land, or is the goal of the bill to expand it?

HIRONO: The bottom line is this is a bill that is going to enable the woman to make the decision.

And so we can have all kinds of arguments getting into the weeds about this, that or the other thing.

But the fact of the matter is that the radical right-wing justices put on the court by the Republicans, particularly the last three justices, have decided that they're just going to overturn almost 50 years of a constitutional right.

That is the bottom line that we, through this bill, are restoring that ability of women to make the decision, not government.

BLACKWELL: But, Senator, it's not getting into the weeds on this thing or the other. It's what the legislation is. It's what is guaranteed by it. As you may have heard in the previous report, you probably know from

Senator Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, also now fellow Democrat Joe Manchin, they say it goes too far. They say that this is not simply preserving the access today, it is going beyond that.

So to those concerns, you say what?

HIRONO: I disagree. So I don't know why Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who I respect very much, I don't think that they went around for the last so many years saying that they do not support Roe.

So what I don't understand is why they do not support the bill that will be before us today.

BLACKWELL: So I'll tell you --

HIRONO: That's a question that should be asked of them.

BLACKWELL: So let me explain what some of the concerns are, is that this would not allow for, as they would phrase it, religious freedoms. It would require Catholic hospitals to perform abortions.

It would ban some of the waiting periods. It would ban ultrasounds that are mandatory in some states.

And that is what some, who are against this bill, who support a women's right to choose, say that this expands what the states allow right now.

HIRONO: This bill does not prevent Catholic hospitals from not doing abortions. So Senator Collins is wrong in that.

And as far as the other limitations that the states have been passing for a long time -- I mean, basically, Republican legislators with Republican governors, are all kinds of limitations that have nothing to do with protecting a woman's health.

These are all limitations put in place to make it a lot, lot harder for a woman to make the decision.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about the testimony during the confirmation hearings of the signatories of this opinion.

Do you believe that when they talked about the precedent, stare decisis, respecting Roe, that they lied to you and other members of the Judiciary Committee?

HIRONO: I don't consider that they lied. But what they said was, sure, they will look at precedent. But we all know that the Supreme Court gets to undo precedent anytime they have the majority votes.

And for the longest time, Justice Alito held this view about abortion. He said in his draft decision that Roe was wrong from the moment it was decided. So he has long harbored this view.

Suddenly, he is now not a dissenter with his view. He is now in the majority, thanks to the three Trump justices who are on the court.

So the Supreme Court can un-do precedent anytime it wants. That's the bottom line in my view.

BLACKWELL: The Supreme Court can un-do precedent at any time that it wants?

HIRONO: Pretty much. Yes.

BLACKWELL: All right, Senator Mazie Hirono, thank you so much. Thank you for your time.

HIRONO: You're welcome. Thank you.


CAMEROTA: Well, Ukraine announces the first Russian soldier set to stand trial accused of killing a civilian. We have the implications and the details for you next.



BLACKWELL: The Ukrainians say they are retaking territory from the Russians, specifically in the area of Kharkiv, Ukraine's largest city in the east. The regional leader there said that Ukraine is liberating more areas from Russian occupation.

Look at this drone video. It captures the destruction of a Russian tank in that area.

And more American help may soon be on its way.

CAMEROTA: Ukraine's president thanked the House of Representatives today for passing another $40 billion in security and humanitarian aid for his country.

CNN's Erin Burnett is in Kyiv for us.

Erin, video shows that the Russians are making -- were making a hasty retreat from the Kharkiv area. So do we know what happened there?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": You know, look, the Ukrainians have been talking about some of the gains that they've been making there. Today, talking to the mayor of Kyiv as they shot down a Russian helicopter around the Kharkiv area. So they have seen those gains.

But, of course, they still have concern. And Ukrainian officials say that they believe the Russians may be simply just reinforcing, and about to put more troops in.

And also, of course, that they have been focusing their efforts right now on places like Kherson, which they have completely consolidated under their control, at least for now. [14:45:01]

The Russians have announced today saying they're going to be issuing Russian passports for Ukrainians who live in this occupied city that the Russians now claim.

But again, they're very concerned about reinforcements coming.

And speaking to the mayor of Kyiv, who had just spoken to the leader of the region there and also to the mayor of Mariupol, they are concerned about Russians beefing up in terms of reinforcements.

And also they don't believe that there's been any change in Putin's overall goal. So there's a sense of what is he going to do. They believe his goal remains the same.

That he still plans to -- that his goal is to take the heart of the country, the capital of Kyiv. And that his overall ambition for Ukraine has not changed, even though his focus is now much more in the east and south.

BLACKWELL: Erin, Ukraine also just announced the first Russian soldier to stand trial in this war for killing a civilian. What do we know about that?

BURNETT: So what we know about him is he's a soldier that Ukraine has identified as a 21-year-old Russian, who is actually in their custody, Victor and Alisyn.

So this is a soldier that they have as a prisoner of war in their custody, in one of the Elite Fourth Guard Tanks Division. So he's an elite situation.

What they say is he's alleged to have done in February in a region east of Kyiv here is that he and three other Russian soldiers feared being captured by Ukrainians, so they stole a private car.

As they were driving away, they see a 62-year-old Ukrainian man on a bike and he's on his cell phone. Apparently, one of the other soldiers allegedly in the car says to this soldier, shoot him, so that he doesn't report to the Ukrainians our position.

And he fires his Kalashnikov several times out of the window, shooting him in the head and killing him.

So the Ukrainians say they are going to take this to trial. This is a war crime. It would be anywhere from 15 years in prison to life in prison for this particular soldier.

But it is significant because it is the first, it is the first trial that they are going through and because they actually have him in custody.

And as you both know, we don't even -- can't even comprehend the number of war crimes. You go to any village here and the stories you hear from rape and torture, the investigations that need to be done, it's countless.

And they already, of course -- Ukraine alleges that there have been more than 10,000 documented war crimes that they are looking into -- Alisyn and Victor?

CAMEROTA: Yes, so this is a significant development.

Erin Burnett, thank you very much for --

BURNETT: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: -- reporting from there for us.

BLACKWELL: A historically black university says its women's lacrosse team was racially profiled during a traffic stop in Georgia. CNN spoke with a player who was on that bus and you will hear her describe the experience next.



CAMEROTA: The president of Delaware State University, a historically black college, is expressing outrage. He says the school's women's lacrosse team was racially profiled during a traffic stop in southeast, Georgia.

This happened last month, when sheriff's deputies pulled over the bus as it traveled back from a game in Florida, allegedly for a traffic violation.

But one of the players says it turned into a search for drugs.

Here's a recording, showing part of what happened.


UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: I'm coming on the bus right now just to tell you all we're going to check you all's luggage. OK? If there's anything in you all's luggage, we're probably going to find it. OK?


BLACKWELL: CNN's Amara Walker is with us.

You spoke with the player who recorded that video. What did she tell you?


Yes, she said she was scared. Even shaking during this encounter with deputies. I do want to mention that she has a relative who was killed during a police encounter back in 2019 in Colorado. His name being Elijah McClain (ph). That might ring a bell.

So you can only imagine what was going through her mind during this apparent traffic stop.

Saniya Craft is her name. She's 19 years old, a freshman at Delaware State University.

She said she started recording because she thought this was just going to be a part of her video blog about her school's lacrosse team.

During what police say was a traffic stop -- it happened on I-95 in southeast Georgia, conducted by the Liberty County Sheriff's Department on April 20th.

The lacrosse team was driving back to Delaware from Florida after a game there in a chartered motorcoach. That stop, as you can see, quickly turned into a search of the students' bags and their suitcases.

Craft tells me that the search went on for quite some time, about 20 minutes. Multiple deputies responding to the scene.

And she said that deputy, that voice you heard from the deputy there on the bus, when he boarded that bus, she said she was quite intimidating. He was also accusatory, she says, in his tone.

And he referenced marijuana a couple of times when you listen to that video, even though marijuana was never found. Nothing illegal was ever found.

We heard from the sheriff, the Liberty County sheriff, William Bowman, on Tuesday, and he pushed back against allegations of racial profiling.

Let's listen.


WILLIAM BOWMAN, SHERIFF, LIBERTY COUNTY, GA, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: We were not aware that this stop was received as a racial profiling. Although I do not believe any racial profiling took place based on the information I currently have, I welcome feedback from our community on ways that our law enforcement practices can be improved.



WALKER: Now, the sheriff also said K9 units were -- they alerted deputies from outside that motorcoach from before the search began. And that other commercial vehicles were stopped that morning, including a bus where contraband was found.

When I asked Saniya Craft if she believed they were racially profiled, she said, absolutely, yes, it seemed like they were determined to find something.

Back to you.


SANIYA CRAFT, LACROSS PLAYER WHO RECORDED TRAFFIC STOP: I don't think -- I feel like if we were a different color team, like the majority of the lacrosse teams, that wouldn't have happened.

And I do believe that the search was not necessary. And I do believe that they wouldn't do this. And they carried on with it. And the way they looked at our bags was because they were hoping to find something.


WALKER: So, several investigations are under way now, one by the Liberty County Sheriff's Department, one by Delaware State University, along with the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Back to you, guys.

BLACKWELL: Amara Walker, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Now, to this story. Senator Susan Collins called police to report a protest message written in chalk on the sidewalk outside of her home in Bangor, Maine.

It read, "Susan, please, Mainers want the Women's Health Protection Act. Clean up your mess."

Collins said she called the police because she's received threatening letters and phone calls in the past.

Abortion rights advocates also protesting outside the homes of Supreme Court Justices Roberts, Kavanaugh and Alito. The Senate just approved funding for additional security for Supreme Court judges and their families. But what about other judges?

U.S. district judge, Esther Salas, joins us now. Her son was killed and her husband wounded almost two years ago when a man, who was upset with how she handled a case, showed up at her house with a gun.

She's demanding that Congress pass legislation that would protect public official's private information.

Judge, it is great to see, as always.

I'm glad you're here to talk about his. Becau8se what has been it like this week for you watch the protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices?

ESTHER SALAS, U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: Good afternoon, Alisyn. Thank you for having me on the show today.

It's been a crazy week, but a week that reminds us all that so much has yet to be done since Daniel's murder on July 15, 2020. We're going -- the 19th of this month will be 22 months since my son was killed in our foyer home. And we have really begged and pleading with members of Congress to

pass the Daniel Anderl Security and Privacy Act but to no avail. It is in limbo and it continues to remain there.


SALAS: The one thing I must say, the irony of all this, is that, had the bill been passed, the justices' addresses would have been sealed and we wouldn't need this emergent legislation that they're pushing through.

It makes little sense. I'm having a hard time understanding why our leaders just don't pass this bipartisan, bicameral, common-sense legislation. I just don't know what's going on.

BLACKWELL: It's hard to understand.

Because let me show everybody what's in it. This is what you've been asking for.

In the bill named after your son, this would just protect judges, federal judges and other public officials from being able to access things like your home address, Social Security numbers, contact information, tax records, marital and birth records, vehicle information, photos of your car and your home, as well as the schools and employers of immediate family members.

As you say, this has languished in Congress for the past two years. But now, obviously, the Senate just sprang into action, just this week, unanimously approving the funding to protect the Supreme Court justices.

Is that a victory on some level for you?

SALAS: Well, listen, I think what it is, it's a message, it's a sign, it's a red flag. You know, it says to members of Congress that something needs to be done.

I think that the Supreme Court justices and their families should be protected. I do believe that.

But I don't believe it's enough. I think that the time is now. I think that members of Congress have come up with a lot of different reasons as of late, as to why they are not moving this bill.

And I will tell you, much of it is partisan. There's no room for partisan politics when it comes to the federal judiciary, the rule of law, and our democracy.


Each -- you know, the members of Congress have taken oaths, we all take oaths, to follow the law and to do what's right above the partisan nature of politics.

CAMEROTA: Yes. SALAS: Do what's right for the American people.

CAMEROTA: But, Judge, I mean, who is opposed to protecting your home address, protecting the schools that your kids go to? Who's fighting that?