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Ukrainian Military Liberates Four Settlements In Kharkiv Region; Trump-Backed U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney Wins West Virginia GOP Primary; Biden Blames COVID-19 Pandemic, Putin For High Inflation Rates; Yellen Says Abortion-Rights Rollback Puts U.S. Economy at Risk; Casey White Indicated He Wanted A Shootout, But Wreck Prevented It; House Passes $40 Billion Ukraine Aid Bill; Ukraine Reclaims Four Settlements in Kharkiv Region; Al Jazeera Journalist Shot and Killed in West Bank; Prince Charles Delivers Queen's Speech to Open Parliament. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause at CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta coming up this hour, stalled or just slow going. Russia's military offensive in eastern Ukraine has only made incremental progress as word comes what could be a major counter offensive by Ukrainian forces.

Eleven-day manhunt comes to an end how police were able to track down inmate Casey White after his escape with a now deceased corrections officer Vicky White.

And a glimpse into the future of the British monarchy, with Prince Charles filling in for his ailing mother at the traditional Opening of Parliament.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: Three weeks now into Russia's Eastern offensive in Ukraine by many accounts, Ukrainian forces are mostly holding their ground, as well as retaking territory lost in the early days of the war around the city Kharkiv.

Ukraine's second biggest city has been the scene of intense fighting, but according to President Vladimir Zelenskyy, the Russian occupiers are gradually being pushed out. Ukraine's Military Police Russia deployed about 500 troops from Donetsk and Luhansk to Kharkiv, a move which analysts say is likely meant to protect resupply lines from Russia, as well as to prevent cross border attacks.

Ukraine's general South says the country's armed forces are resisting on most fronts and for more settlements, near Kharkiv, and now back under Ukrainian control, but Russia's failures on the battlefield could lead to a dangerous new phase, according to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, who appeared before the Senate on Tuesday.


AVRIL HAINES, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The uncertain nature of the battle which is developing into a war of attrition, combined with the reality that Putin faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia's current conventional military capabilities likely means the next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory.


VAUSE: Meantime, Ukrainian officials say they've uncovered disturbing evidence of a Russian attack on civilians near Kharkiv. Details now from CNN's Scott McLean.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New drone video shows the moment a Russian tank is destroyed just outside the village east of Kharkiv. It's not clear when the video was taken, but it's in an area where Ukraine is launching a counter offensive to retake occupied land.

At the top of the frame is what's left of an evacuation convoy of civilians attempting to reach Ukrainian held territory.

Video posted to social media on Friday shows the convoy was fired on. Cars are riddled with bullet holes. Strollers, car seats and toys are seen strewn outside the vehicles. Some burned beyond recognition.

Police investigators say that there were 15 cars in the convoy. It's not clear what happened to the rest. They say four bodies were found among the cars including a 13-year-old girl. Others are still missing.

About 300 yards away is what's left of a Russian tank. Ukrainian police say the bodies of two Russian soldiers were found too.

Meanwhile, Ukraine says its flag is still flying as Russia continues to pound the Azovstal steel plant the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the city. Hundreds of soldiers may remain inside the bombed out plant some of them thought to be badly wounded.

The rest trying to keep their spirits high. With one soldier on air guitar another as a backup dancer. The 21-year-old medic on vocals, belts out of Ukrainian pop tune inside what's left of part of the plant.

The soldiers inside say they won't surrender. Neither will this young medic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only thing that I can say is that Azovstal is holding on to the Russians. While they are here we are fighting to the last.

MCLEAN: In Odesa officials say one person was killed when one of southern Ukraine's largest shopping malls was hit by seven incoming Russian missiles.


There would have been many more victims were it not for the citywide curfew that kept the mall closed on May 9 rushes Victory Day.

HENNADIY TRUKHANOV, ODESA, UKRAINE MAYOR (through translator): The curfew introduced save us all. Some people ask them the loosening why do we need these excessive measures of precaution at least, we can see now that they are not excessive.

MCLEAN: Russia still more focused on missile and artillery attacks across Ukraine, making little progress on the ground. The front lines a little different from where they were a month ago. Scott McLean, CNN, Lviv, Ukraine.


VAUSE: Live to Ukraine now, CNN's Melissa Bell is standing by in Lviv this hour. So it was what do we know about these Ukrainian grain -- gains, I should say, in the east of the country?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, that they are all the more important, John, specifically becomes there, because they come off the back of all we've seen these last few days and weeks those gains within the Donbas region after Russian forces and so concentrated their efforts there. And of course, were the south around Mariupol you were just hearing there from Scott McLean.

What we're talking about are four towns the north of Kharkiv, between Kharkiv and the Russian border. Now, that's important because that Ukrainian counter offensive had been all about trying to push the Russian artillery that has so been pounding Kharkiv these last couple of months for the most part of them, John, further from the city, Ukraine, second cities trying to better protect its civilian populations that have taken such a hammering over the course of the last few weeks.

But it is also about more than that. It is also about those crucial supply routes between Russia and their forces to the south, across the Ukrainian border. And of course, wars are also about things like momentum, and morale and the fact that they've been able to take these towns again, between Kharkiv even that border could prove crucial to that regard within the context again, of what we've seen these last few days.

Mariupol essentially being taken so much into the hands of Russian forces and the strikes that we saw on Monday night towards a set Odesa, which give us a hint of what they may be hoping for next.

This is something we heard very clearly when Avril Haines spoke to the Senate, select the Armed Forces Committee yesterday about what American intelligence believes may be on Putin's mind.

And as you mentioned a moment ago, it is a question of from what she said, the fear of the further instability that may come from that disconnect between his ambitions and what appeared to be Russian capabilities on the ground with a particularly uncertain period that this war may not be entering.

Now, she did say that American intelligence does not believe that there's any particularly increased or heightened threat at this stage or the move towards the nuclear phase of this conflict. But she did say that what American intelligence feared for Ukraine was that there could be escalatory steps taken Russia's military. Russia's industry could be reoriented, for instance, martial law could be introduced.

And these are all things that American intelligence and Ukrainian intelligence are going to be doing very carefully as they try and work out precisely what Russia is planning to do next.

One certainty is certainly trying to distract attention from Ukrainian forces towards other fronts with 2000 -- 20,000. Belarusian troops said towards the Belarus border with Ukraine a part of it that so far had not been engaged in any action.

So these are some of the areas that they're looking at. But what we believe what we're pretty certain about is that it is more uncertainty ahead as we the world waits to figure out in Ukraine specifically exactly what Russian forces are planning to do next. John.

VAUSE: It does appear this has a long ways to go still, Melissa, thank you. Melissa Bell live for us in Ukraine.

Two U.S. politics now, two primary races are being closely watched to gauge how much influence former President Donald Trump has over his party.

CNN projects that Trump-back to West Virginia Congressman Alex Mooney has handily defeated Congressman David McKinley in the Republican primary for a newly created district. But Trump's preferred candidate for Nebraska's Republican primary for governor did not come out ahead. CNN projects that Jim Pillen has won that race over the Trump back Charles Herbster.

We're now just hours away from the release of key data on U.S. inflation ceilings. CNN's Rahel Solomon has details on soaring prices and the White House response.


RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It is his top domestic priority. That's how you as President Joe Biden described fighting inflation and comments Tuesday, he called inflation, his top economic challenge.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I want every American to know that I'm taking inflation very seriously, and it's my top for domestic priority.

SOLOMON: The event just one day before a key inflation report is due, the Consumer Price Index. CPI serves as a snapshot of where prices stand compared to a year ago. The last reading puts CPI at 8.5 percent, the highest pace in 40 years. The expectation for Wednesday is closer to 8 percent. A slight softening in inflation, but so high.

Biden acknowledging the hardship that inflation is causing to American families at the gas pump, the grocery store and beyond.


He pointed, however, to global factors out of his control as the primary sources of inflation. He cited the pandemic and its impact on supply chains around the world. He also pointed to Russian President Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine and its impact on energy prices. Rahel Solomon, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: A little earlier, I spoke with our political analyst David Sanger, I asked him when President Biden says inflation is topping his domestic agenda. What does that actually mean?


DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It means that he knows that between now and the midterm elections. He's got to go turn this around. And certainly he's got to turn it around before he may be running in 2024. But you know, it is difficult because while there are elements of the inflationary spiral that you could certainly blame on President Biden, there are elements that you can't.

So obviously, the pandemic helped contribute to supply chain issues that drove up prices, particularly as soon as demand is picked up.

Second thing that's done it is the war in Ukraine, not Joe Biden's fault. But once the United States had to go after oil production in Russia that pushed up prices, and of course, Ukraine is a big provider of wheat, other food, stuff, so that contributes as well.

And you know, thirdly, you have to remember that Biden's own stimulus plan from a year ago probably contributed somewhat significantly to inflationary pressures along the way that is -- that certainly on him.

One of the oddities of this particular moment is that people feel like the economy is awful, because of the inflation, but the other elements of the economy are doing pretty well. Growth has been pretty good. Unemployment has just been down at record lows, as you've seen. In fact, the low unemployment is part of what is pushing up wages. And that is part of what's pushing up inflation, so the two go hand in hand.

It is fair to say that President Biden didn't really see this coming. There were some economists Lauren Summers at Harvard, former Treasury Secretary among others who have predicted this, but I think you could well argue that Biden should have been probably better prepared and maybe a little more cautious in the economic stimulus. But he had risk at the downside to which was the economy could actually just Sloane slow down. That didn't happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: The U.S. Treasury secretary says ending federal abortion rights would hurt the American economy set women back decades. Janet Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee that access to reproductive health care, including abortion allows women to finish school, increases their participation in the workforce and their earning potential.

The Testimony comes more than a week after the leak of the U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion indicates the justices plan to overturn the landmark case Roe v. Wade that made abortion law of the land nearly half a century ago.

Meantime, abortion rights protesters have been demonstrating outside the homes of the Supreme Court justices. This was the scene in front of Justice Samuel Alito in Virginia.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says as long as the protests are peaceful, he's OK with it. Adding that given the possibility that Supreme Court might over -- overturn Roe v Wade, quote, outrage directed against the court is deserved.

And New York State is allocating $35 million to protect and support abortion providers. Governor Kathy Hochul says the fund would ensure the safety of patients as well as staff and expanded abortion access and capacity across the state.

Financial break when we come back, after an 11-day ban on an Alabama fugitive is back in custody. We'll have more on how the police ended the chase potentially saving many lives.

Plus, the routine flight takes a turn for the dramatics. One passenger that saved the day landing the plane with no experience whatsoever. There he is on the ground and safe.



VAUSE: In the United States, law enforcement in Indiana say a recaptured fugitive was planning a shootout with police before his car was forced off the road to a high speed chase.

In Maine (ph), Casey White was transported back to Alabama after living date manhood back to where they now deceased corrections officer Vicky White helped him escape. CNN's Omar Jimenez has these details.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The final moments of a manhunt heard through police dispatch. Only one shot was fired.

SHERIFF DAVE WEDDING, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA: The female suspect shot herself. The male suspect gave up.

JIMENEZ: An Indiana sheriff says numerous weapons wigs in $29,000 in cash were found inside the car. WEDDING: There were at least four handguns semi-automatics nine millimeter so any one of these weapons could have been used to ambush our officers.

JIMENEZ: Police chased the pair in southern Indiana after their car was spotted in a motel parking lot by an Evansville police officer.

WEDDING: Members of the U.S. pass force basically ran the vehicle and pushed it into a ditch and we later found out had they not done that. The fugitive was going to engage in a shootout with law enforcement


JIMENEZ: The fugitive Casey White was driving. Vicky White was found in the car and died just hours later, after law enforcement said she shot herself as the pursuit ended.

WEDDING: She was unconscious with a gunshot wound to her head and the male suspect gave up without incident.

JIMENEZ: Tuesday, Casey white waived his extradition hearing in Indiana saying he wanted to go back to Alabama.

SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: When we bring him back, he will immediately go before the judge and transported directly to the Department of Corrections.

JIMENEZ: The pair who are not related disappeared from an Alabama jail April 29th after Vicky White told colleagues she was taking the inmate Casey white to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation. They never got there. And no such evaluation had been scheduled. Authorities later found her patrol car abandoned in a shopping center parking lot.

SINGLETON: She arranged purchase the getaway car. She sold her house, got her hands on cash, you know she went shopping velcroed for him. You know, she just obviously put the plan together.

JIMENEZ: Then the pair fled and a pickup truck which was later spotted at a carwash in Indiana, then transferred to a Cadillac which was spotted about a week later at a nearby motel.

(on camera): Sheriff, do you have any idea what they were doing here for a week?

WEDDING: Well, I think he said that he was just trying to find a place to hide out lay low. And they thought, you know, they driven long enough that they wanted to stop for a while, get their bearings straight and then figure out their next place to travel.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The manager at the motel said he didn't recognize them when law enforcement showed him their photos.

PAUL SHAH, MOTEL 41 MANAGER: The good they were looking nobody was here under that name. So we do not know whether they're stayed at my hotel or not. WEDDING: There's a lot of questions that won't be answered until we have a much deeper investigation.

JIMENEZ (on camera): Now the sheriff told me, he believes Casey White and Vicky white couldn't initially get a room at that motel because of a lack of ID and that they paid a separate person to rent the room for them, but it's still unclear if that person even knew who they were at all because the sheriff says there are no other suspects in this case and no plans to charge anyone else as part of this investigation.

And while there are still some loose ends to tie up at least on the Indiana side of things, the sheriff says he believes this case is solved. Omar Jimenez, CNN, Evansville, Indiana.


VAUSE: Well, in Florida, passenger with absolutely no flight experience took over the controls of a light plane after the pilot suffered what appears to be a medical emergency.

For about four minutes he was in radio communication with air traffic control and then you can see the landing right here was shaky, but it was safe. The pilot was unable to fly. Now this was part of their conversation between the young pilot and air traffic control.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent, and I have no idea how to fly the airplane but maintain at 9100.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Caravan 333LD, roger. What's your position?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea. I see the coast of Florida in front of me and I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the situation with the pilot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is incoherent. He is out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 3LD, Roger. Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me, push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate.


VAUSE: This was a Cessna Caravan so it was a quite a complicated plane to fly. So the fact that a passenger who had absolutely zero experience managed to make this landing safely many are considering an exceptional job.

Well, Ukraine's army is claiming new gains against Russian forces in Kharkiv, just ahead. How U.S. and British intelligence believes Vladimir Putin will react to losses on the battlefield.


VAUSE: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN Newsroom.

In Washington, the $40 billion aid package for Ukraine has been approved by the lower House. If approved by the Senate, the funding will be for military and humanitarian assistance in Ukraine, but also in that bill $9 billion to restock U.S. military equipment that has been sent to Ukraine. There have been some concerns in the United States over depleted stockpiles of stinger and javelin missiles. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters the aid is needed urgently.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: legislation we put forward is because of the urgency that we saw when we were in Ukraine and in Poland. We can't wait. Time is of the essence.


VAUSE: The Ukrainian military is claiming a successful counter offensive against Russian troops in and around Kharkiv. the Ukrainian General Staff Reports the forces that have recaptured four villages in the region despite an increase in the number of Russian troops.

Local officials plead Moscow is trying to reinforce supply lines and protect against cross border attacks. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered praise for his armed forces.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The Armed Forces of our state provided us all with good news from the Kharkiv region. The occupiers are gradually being pushed away from Kharkiv. I am grateful to all our defenders who are holding the line and demonstrating truly superhuman strength to drive out the army of invaders.


VAUSE: To Washington now and CNN military analyst retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. Colonel, good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, so if the Ukrainians have in fact retaken this real estate on the outskirts of Kharkiv, it puts them within striking distance of Russia's RIA (ph) supply lines. Is this looking like the Ukrainians are about to begin some kind of major counter offensive?


LEIGHTON: Well, it could be. They may not have all the things that they need in order to mount a counter offensive like that, but if they can, I think they would certainly be well-advised to do so like this especially given the fact that the Russians have had some difficulty getting their logistics lines and supply lines situated properly.

And that's -- this I think would be a good time for them to do that actually.

VAUSE: Well, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence appearing before the Senate Armed Services hearing had this outlook for the next month. Here she is.

AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The next month or two of fighting will be significant as the Russians attempt to reinvigorate their efforts. But even if they're successful we're not confident that the fight in the Donbas will effectively end the war.


VAUSE: So we're looking at a period of time when this could escalate quite significantly escalation. So how crucial will this next month be for the Ukrainians? I mean would you expect them to continue one maybe with this counteroffensive or dig in and go toe-to-toe with the Russians?

LEIGHTON: I think that, you know, part of it is going to be, of course, what the Russians do in response, John. I think that the Ukrainians will try to take things to the Russians in an offensive way. But if they do that, they have to expect some pushback from the Russians and that pushback could be fairly substantial.

Having said that though, I think this is a very opportune time for the Ukrainians to muster their forces, put them in a position where they can actually cause significant damage to the Russian supply lines and the Russian forces that are still on Ukrainian soil, especially in the area around Kharkiv.

So this would be the time to do that. If they don't do that, then they are in for a much longer war of attrition at this point.

VAUSE: A guy called Igor Girkin, a Russian army veteran who played a key role in the illegal annexation of Crimea had this assessment of the Russian campaign in Donbas.

The general conclusion unfortunately is bleak. The best case scenario, the enemy will be slowly pushed out of the Donbas with large losses for both sides, of course, across many weeks and possibly many months.

Overall, the enemy is defending competently, fiercely, it controls the situation and its troops.

So I guess the question is this Russian offensive -- is it failing? Why are the Russians doing so badly yet again? Or is it just an offensive which is moving very, very slowly? And does it matter either way?

LEIGHTON: Well, it certainly matters. I think that, you know, the fact that they're having difficulties like this on the Russian side speaks to their lack of momentum. And any army that has a lack of momentum is going to have difficulty achieving victory.

Momentum is I think a key component of warfare. When you look at what the Russians have been doing or failing to do, I think what you see, John, is a real possibility that they are going to grind themselves into the eastern Ukrainian territories, especially the Donbas region, and kind of force a war of attrition on to themselves and onto the Ukrainians.

So it's very likely that even though they have every intent of making offensive operations a reality, I think what really is going to happen is that they are going to end up having an almost World War I style situation or a Donbas-style situation ala 2014.

And that could be a significant drain on Russian resources. It will also, of course, be a significant drain on Ukrainian resources.

But that is something that I think is highly likely given the lack of speed, the lack of precision on the part of the Russians when it comes to mounting these operations.

VAUSE: With that in mind the latest assessment from British military intelligence says, "As this conflict continues beyond Russian pre-war expectations, Russia's stock pile of precision -guided munitions has likely been heavily depleted."

I think that Moscow will struggle to replenish its stockpile. So what does that actually mean in the big picture?

LEIGHTON: So what that could mean is that there might be two extremes of weaponry used by the Russians. On the one hand you will have, instead of precision guided munitions, you would have the so-called dumb bombs, the ones that aren't guided by the PGM type system.

The other possibility is, of course, they would use hypersonics like they've used against Odessa and that is something that is, of course, not only dangerous but it's also a disproportionate use of military force since they're striking principally civilian targets with these hypersonic weapons.

So you might have almost a dichotomy on the one hand, you'll have these very sophisticated weapons being used. On the other hand you have some very unsophisticated weapons being used. And that could kind of speak to the lack of preparation and the lack logistical support and industrial support for the Russian war effort.

VAUSE: Colonel, as always thank you so much. Good to have you with us.

LEIGHTON: Thank you John. Good to be with you.


VAUSE: With that we'll take a short break here on CNN. A lot more when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VAUSE: Welcome back. Well, breaking news at 39 minutes past the hour. An Al Jazeera journalist has been shot and killed in the West Bank. Israeli Security Forces say they were operating in the area at the time.

Let's get more details now from CNN's Hadas Gold, live in Jerusalem. So what do we know? What happened?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is terrible and tragic news. Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh who a longtime veteran correspondent in Jerusalem with the Al Jazeera Network for several decades was shot and killed while on assignment in the West Bank town of Jenin. This is according to the Al Jazeera Network as well as the Palestinian Ministry of Health who say that she was shot in the head by a live bullet.


GOLD: In video we are seeing of the aftermath, she was wearing a press vest during the time of her death.

A second journalist, Ali al Samoudi, was also shot and is in stable condition. This is according to the Palestinian ministry of health.

Now the details of what happened are still being worked out. The Israeli military says that they were in the area to conduct counterterrorism activity. They say they came under massive fire when gunmen shot towards Israeli forces by tens of armed Palestinian gunmen. They say the terrorists also hurled explosive devices toward the soldiers, endangering their lives.

Now Al Jazeera is saying that she was shot, that Shireen Abu Akleh was shot by Israeli forces. The Israeli Defense Forces say that they're currently investigating the situation and looking into the possibility, they say, that the journalists were hit by Palestinian gunmen.

We are still working on the details of this story. This is a developing story but just absolutely tragic news that a journalist was shot and killed while on assignment in the West Bank. Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, John.

VAUSE: What story were they covering in Jenin?

GOLD: Well, Jenin has been a kind of a main nucleus of where a lot of these clashes we're seeing between Israeli forces and Palestinians have been happening in the West Bank.

Several of the recent attackers, there have been at least six attacks targeting Israelis since late March, several of those attackers have come from the Jenin area. So it's been a place where often Israeli security forces conduct raids, what they say are counterterrorism activities.

They are suspects so it's often a dangerous place of clashes. It's been really a focus of Israeli military activity there. And so the Israeli defense forces say that they were raids, they're conducting counterterrorism activities. And Al Jazeera says that she was on assignment in Jenin covering that situation.

VAUSE: Hadas, thank you for the update. Indeed a tragic story regardless of who shot her. Hadas, thank you. Hadas Gold there for us in Jerusalem.

Well, Sri Lanka has ordered troops to quote, "shoot on sight" anyone damaging state property or assaulting officials. This comes after protests in capital of Colombo left at least eight people dead.

Thousands have taken to the streets angered by the government's handling of a worsening economic crisis. The resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the man on the right of your screen did little to appease the demonstrators.

Many protesters say their ultimate aim is to force his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, out of office. You can see him on your left of screen.

Still to come, Prince Charles filling in for his absent mother at the opening of the U.K. parliament. A preview of the future for the royal family. That story and a whole lot more in a moment.



VAUSE: It's gone 46 minutes past the hour. Welcome back, everybody.

Well, if Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gets control of Twitter, his main goal, he says, will be to encourage free speech and to that end he would reverse the permanent ban on former U.S. President Donald Trump. Take a listen.


ELON MUSK, CEO, TESLA AND SPACEX: I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.


VAUSE: Musk goes on to say Twitter should be very cautious with permanent bans and removing Donald Trump's account may have only amplified his voice among the right wing.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali has been found not guilty of indecent assault after allegedly groping a woman at a Boston restaurant back in 2017. The judge said Batali's conduct was not befitting of a public person of his stature but added the accuser had significant credibility issues and her motivation was financial gain.

Natalie Tene had accused Batali of groping her during an impromptu selfie session, an allegation Batali has denied. Britain's Prince Charles took center stage on Tuesday to open a new session of parliament, he delivered the Queen's Speech in absence of his mother Queen Elizabeth missing a ceremony for only the third time since taking the throne nearly 70 years ago.

CNN's Max Foster has details.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: This was a very symbolic moment in modern British history. We've got used to seeing Prince Charles step up to represent the Queen when she can't make an event.

But this was a core constitutional responsibility, the opening of parliament. The monarch has to be there. She couldn't make it because of this recurring mobility issue, so she issued legal orders to allow Prince Charles and Prince William to represent her instead.

For the very first time, Prince Charles read the Queen's speech, written by the government, it sets out the legislative agenda for the coming parliamentary term.

CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: Her majesty's ministers will work closely with international partners to maintain a united NATO and address the most pressing global security challenges.

FOSTER: We were given less than 24 hours notice that the Queen wouldn't be able to attend parliament on Tuesday. And that's really the form now. Whenever she's slated to appear at an event, we'll we probably told on the day or the night before whether or not she'll be there.

Max Foster, CNN -- London.


VAUSE: Sally Bedell-Smith, is a CNN contributor and author of "Prince Charles: the Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life". She is up late this hour, joining us live from Washington D.C. at great risk to her synaptic senses (ph). So thank you so much, Sally. Good being with us. Appreciate it.



VAUSE: Ok. So only twice before has the Queen not attended the opening of parliament. Both times, she was pregnant and both times, parliament was opened by a royal commission. The speech was delivered by a presiding member.

So there seems to be a very clear message in this decision to have Charles fill in.

SMITH: Absolutely. She was totally in control of how this unfolded. You know, she wanted her son to be there. She wanted grandson to be there.

I think the message was really stability and continuity. Prince Charles did not sit in her throne, he sat in the throne that had been previously occupied by Prince Philip and before him Queen Elizabeth, and before her by Queen Mary.

And it was unprecedented. It was historic. And he wasn't necessarily her representative as much as he was serving as her deputy really.

VAUSE: It is also a little bit sad it seems.

SMITH: Yes. It was. Her, you know, we have been accustomed all these years to listening to her voice. And his voice is very mellifluous and it was very pleasant to listen to. But, you know, she's and always has been such a presence. She's only missed twice in her entire 70 year reign, in both cases when she was pregnant.


SMITH: And this is evidence of her frailty and also she's being pragmatic about it.

VAUSE: Absolutely. And for this to happen, Queen Elizabeth authorized a letters patent, and this it to hand over the role of Charles and William, they're both counsellors of state. And there's an expectation that we'll this practice happen more and more often as she delegates more and more duties away.

So the next two counsellors of state in line are Prince Andrew and Prince Harry. Is that a problem?

SMITH: I think it is a problem. They haven't shown any inclination so far of putting in any substitutes. I think the Duchess of Cornwall would be an obvious one, but there's a real issue because if for whatever reason Prince Charles and Prince William are out of the country, the other two counsellors are Andrew and Harry.

And that is problematic since Harry has no -- he's no longer a member of the working royal family. And Prince Andrew has retired. So there are elements of this that need to be ironed out and replacements need to be made.

And I think looking forward, we have to be thinking about the Regency Act. Now the Queen is carrying out all of her duties behind closed doors as it were. She's having her audiences with various government officials and her prime minister. And she's doing all the duties that she should be doing.

It's just that in public because of her mobility issues, she is not able to fulfill her job as she has all these years. And that's going to create I think some shifts in the coming months and years perhaps.

VAUSE: And this --

SMITH: As Prince Charles and Prince William and others in the family assume more and more of her duties. VAUSE: This is sort of a softly-softly approach if you like to the

transition of the monarchy.


VAUSE: The Queen is sort of slowly stepping back. Her heirs are increasingly stepping up. and this is an approach which if you know anything about Queen Elizabeth, it's very typical for the 96-year-old monarch, isn't it?

SMITH: Very typical. Everything has been baby steps, all along the way.


SMITH: And this really began nearly a decade ago when she stopped doing as much long haul travel. Prince Charles and the other members of her family, we've seen them in the last weeks and months going to countries around the world.

Prince Charles is about to go to Canada, and this is something that he has become accustomed to doing as has Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. And also the Wessexes and Edward.

And so these are all things that we're accustomed. But there are things that are coming up. The garden parties -- the series of garden parties at Buckingham Palace and Holyrood, and the Queen for the first time is not going to participate in any of them.

So this is -- what we saw today was probably the most dramatic evidence that she is really stepping down. And I think if there is a moment when she decides that she can no longer carry out her duties to the standard that she has always held for herself --


SMITH: She might initiate regency. She may be calling the shots.

VAUSE: I think she will be, judging by her history and her record.

Sally -- thank you so much (INAUDIBLE). You're a great sport for staying up so late as well.

SMITH: Ok. Thank you.

VAUSE: Thank you, we appreciate it.

SMITH: All right.

VAUSE: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

My friend and colleague Rosemary Church comes up after the break.