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U.S. Passes $40 Billion Ukraine Aid Bill; Ukraine Reclaims Four Settlements in Kharkiv Region; Russia has Fired 10-12 Hypersonic Missiles; Al Jazeera Journalist Shot and Killed in West Bank; Georgia Prosecutors Interviewing Fake Trump Electors; Biden Blames Putin and Pandemic for Surging Inflation; Stolen Grain Being Sent Abroad by Russia. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 04:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Max Foster in London. Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Believe me, I understand the frustration. I know the families all across America are hurting because of inflation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump loved West Virginia and West Virginia loves Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a passenger flying a plane that's not a pilot and the pilot is incapacitated.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster.

FOSTER: Hello, it's Wednesday, May 11th, 4:00 a.m. in Washington, 11:00 a.m. in Ukraine. More help could be on the way soon to Ukraine to fight off Russia's brutal invasion. A U.S. House lawmakers have approved an aid package worth about $40 billion in addition to the nearly $14 billion already provided to Ukraine earlier this year. If the Senate approves, U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law.

Meanwhile in eastern Ukraine the mayor of Sloviansk reports missile strikes on two areas of the city. He says there are no reports of casualties so far and the damage is still being assessed. But Russia is not succeeding on many fronts. And that's evident in videos like this one where Ukrainian forces claim that they destroyed a Russian tank near Kharkiv. Now the U.S. intelligence -- U.S. director of national intelligence says Russian failures could lead to a dangerous new phase of the war.


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.


FOSTER: Ukraine's general staff say the country's armed forces have recaptured four more new settlements near Kharkiv. Russia set to be redeploying troops to the north due to concerns about Ukrainian counterattacks.


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.


FOSTER: And in southern Ukraine a military commander in Mariupol says many soldiers are badly wounded after the Russian bombardment of the Azovstal steel factory. An estimated 100 civilians remain trapped in that plant.

The U.S. defense official says Russia has fired about 10 to 12 hypersonic missiles at targets in Ukraine since the start of the conflict. Ukrainian officials claim a new type of hypersonic missile hit a shopping mall and two hotels in the port city of Odessa on Monday.


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We know that the Russians have fired hypersonics in Ukraine before. And you know, it is a combination of things. It could be that he is concerned about the nimble and effective Ukrainian air defenses and trying to avoid those air defenses. But it could also very well likely be two other things. One, to test these systems operationally. They tested them outside of combat, but now they are tested them in a warzone to see how effective they actually are.

And number two, to send a strong message potentially to the West, the United States, that I have this capability. This is a very difficult to defeat capability, and so, you know, making it clear that he doesn't want the West more involved with Ukraine than it already is.


FOSTER: Senior military analyst Cedric Leighton breaks down why hypersonic missiles are so lethal and hard to detect.


COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: The key thing here, it really is something that we don't have very many defenses against at the present time. Because it is possible that it cannot only be difficult to detect, but once it is detected, it can evade the missile systems that are looking at it. And also, the fact that it can go at a far lower trajectory than what is normal for missiles.

So, when you see an aircraft like this one launch a missile like this -- and we'll see this in just a second -- there is the missile right there underneath this Mig.


And once it comes around, it'll actually acquire a target but it can fire like it does right here and it will go after the target in a way that -- is a map of the earth navigation capability. And when it comes out from the aircraft -- from underneath the aircraft, the aircraft goes away, the missile takes off and it finds the target. In this case this ship and it goes right in there and actually takes that target out. So, it is very difficult to detect.


FOSTER: CNN's Melissa Bell is live for us this hour in Lviv, Ukraine. A reminder there, Melissa, that Russia is willing to use more lethal weapons and it has those weapons.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I think the nature of the target is important as well. You know, when you look at a map of Ukraine and you see the gains that have been made -- substantial gains that have been made -- we were mentioning a moment ago the steel works in Mariupol, the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in the city. The taking of Mariupol, its strategic importance to Russia's wider aims, the importance of towns like Kherson, to the water supplies of Crimea. And that strike should have come against Odessa I think at this particular moment.

It is important we've been hearing from Avril Haines, the head of American intelligence mentioning the possibility yesterday in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee that it may be that one of Russia's strategic aims is actually to create a land corridor all the way to the Transnistria region of Moldova. Well remember, we've seen those explosions these last few weeks blamed by Moldova, by Russia, on Ukrainian forces. But Ukrainians have describe it as false flag operations.

So that is one of the possible strategic aims that the Admiral Haines certainly believes that Russia may now be looking to pursue. That is one of the big questions of course that she put before that committee yesterday. And of course, that emerged from that speech that we heard at Russia's Victory Day on Monday. The lack of clarity by exactly what's going to happen next. And again, she spoke of that disconnect, Max, between his ambitions and his at least conventional capabilities on the ground.

And I think that's why also President Zelenskyy has been speaking so triumphantly about those gains to the north of Kharkiv. Those four towns were captured just south of the Russian border. Because that Russian offensive in the east and south of the country has so far been relatively success in gaining ground. This counter offensive from Ukrainians, crucial at the moment not just for cutting off Russian supply routes but also because of momentum and morale.

FOSTER: OK, back with you throughout the day. Melissa Bell in Lviv, thank you.

We're following some breaking news this hour, Al Jazeera says one of its journalists have been shot and killed in the West Bank whilst on assignment covering clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians. The Palestinian health ministry has confirmed her death. Let's go to CNN's Hadas Gold live from Jerusalem. Journalists die all the time as she try to tell their stories, but this was a celebrated journalist in apparently wearing a press vest.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Shireen Abu Akleh was a well-known veteran correspondent for Al Jazeera, has been reporting from this region for several decades. She was well liked in well respected by so many here. This is such a tragic day for journalism around the world but also for the journalists here who cover the story.

According to Al Jazeera she was shot and killed this morning while covering clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the West Bank town of Jenin. In addition, another journalists Ali Al-Samudi was also shot and injured but he is in stable condition. That's according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

And videos that we've seen in the immediate aftermath of Shireen's shooting, does show that she was wearing that full protective gear, the press vest, the helmet, all of that that is clearly identifying her as a journalist. The Al Jazeera network is directly blaming Israeli security forces saying that they called the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli forces accountable for deliberately targeting and killing our colleague Shireen Abu Akleh. I also want to play some sound from one of her colleagues, Ali Al-Samudi who was with her. Take a listen.


ALI AL-SAMUDI, JOURNALIST (through translator): We were going in to film the army operation and suddenly one of them shot at us. They didn't tell us to leave. They didn't tell us to stop. They shot us. The first bullet hit me, the second bull lit hit Shireen. They killed her with cold blood because they were killer specializing in the killing of Palestinians. They are claiming Palestinians killed her. There were no resisting groups here. The resistance was there, we wouldn't go to that area.


GOLD: Now the Israeli Defense Forces says they are investigating the incident, including they say looking into the possibility that they were hit by Palestinian gunmen. The IDF says they were in the area to conduct counterterrorism operations.


Jenin, where they were, is a place that has been a big focus of Israeli military operations in response to a series of attacks in Israel, that have killed 18 people. Several of those attackers have then from Jenin. So, there have been regular military operations, raids and clashes and as a result in Jenin.

Now Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has just released a statement. I will read part of it to you.

He says: According to the information we've gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians -- who were indiscriminately firing at the time -- were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist. Palestinians in Jenin were even filmed boasting, we had a soldier, he's lying on the ground. However, no IDF soldier was injured, which increases the possibility that Palestinians terrorists were the ones who shot the journalists.

Max, this is obviously a very quickly developing story. We will stay on it. What we know as for Shireen in Jenin, there was a symbolic funeral held for her. They carried her body through the streets along with her press vest. And then as far as we know her body is now being sent for an autopsy and that she will also apparently be buried tomorrow in Jerusalem -- Max.

FOSTER: Our thoughts for her family and colleagues. We know many people that know her, of course. And it's a harrowing story for our industry. Hadas, thank you very much.

In the coming hours, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on legislation to codify abortion rights into law. Democrats likely don't have enough votes to take the legislation forward, but Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says that he will get every member on the record on this issue. The move comes after a leaked draft opinion indicated the Supreme Court will overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump loomed large over two key Republican primaries on Tuesday. In the latest test of just how much power an endorsement from him has. In West Virginia, his backing appeared to help land Congressman Alex Mooney a decisive win. CNN projects Mooney be fellow Congressman David McKinley in the primary for a newly created House district. Mooney expressed his gratitude to the former president during his victory speech. Take a listen.


REP. ALEX MOONEY (R-WV): I also want to thank President Donald Trump for his endorsement and support of my campaign. When Donald Trump puts his mind to something, you better watch out. Donald Trump loves West Virginia and West Virginia loves Donald Trump.


FOSTER: But Trump's preferred candidate in Nebraska's Republican primary for governor did not come out ahead. CNN projects that Jim Pillen will win that race over Trump backed Charles Herbster. Herbster faces multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, all of which he denies.

Prosecutors in Georgia are moving ahead with their criminal probe into Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, as Sara Murray reports.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We have new developments into the criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump is happening down in the Atlanta, Georgia area. We learned investigators there have interviewed a number of the so-called fake electors. These are pro Trump Republicans who put forward these alternate electoral college certificates, part of an effort to try to move some states that Donald Trump actually lost into his column after the 2020 election.

We have learned that one of the folks that investigators have spoken with is David Schafer. He's actually the chairman of the Republican Party in Georgia. He did not respond to our request for comments.

But we learned that investigators are talks to these folks as witnesses, not as targets. This is important because it suggests that the district attorney there is sort of looking at how they might fit into a broader potentially illegal kind of conspiracy to try to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

This is a state that Donald Trump has been obsessed with. He lost it by nearly 12,000 votes this 2020, he was so preoccupied by it that he called the Georgia Secretary of State, infamously asked Brad Raffensperger to find the votes needed in order for Trump to win that state. That of course set off this criminal investigation. A special grand jury has now been seated in that case and we expect these kinds of developments to continue.

Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: Rising inflation and soaring gasoline prices -- can the White House turn that around, and why Democrats are very nervous about the November elections.

Plus, this --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said all right, we'll get to you a runway. What do you see now? And he was just passing the shoreline near boca.

(END VIDEO CLIP) FOSTER: A routine flight takes a turn for the worst. How one passenger saved the day by landing the plane with no experience in the cockpit.

And some very warm weather is in store for parts of the U.S. We'll have the latest forecast.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And, Max, we've had a couple busy days across the southeast, coastal flooding still a concern for some, but the broader picture shows you record heat once again. Big time severe weather concerns stretching across parts of the plains. We'll touch on this -- coming up in a few minutes.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand the frustration. But the fact is Congressional Republicans, not all of them, but the MAGA Republicans are counting on you to be as frustrated by the pace of progress which they have everything -- they have done everything they can to slow down, that you're going to -- will hand power over to them and enact -- so they can enact their extreme agenda.


FOSTER: The U.S. president there warning Americans that MAGA Republicans -- meaning allies of former President Donald Trump, are willing to hinder the economy to help their party retake power in this year's midterm elections.

In the coming hours Joe Biden will travel to Illinois to speak with farm workers about inflation and efforts to lower their costs. On Tuesday, he placed a lot of the blame for the soaring prices on the pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine. CNN's Kaitlan Collins has the details from the White House.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, President Biden came out and said that fighting inflation is going to be his number one priority and obviously that's because it's a number one concern for voters. Who do not approve so far overwhelmingly of President Biden's handling of the economy. And they also don't have a good outlook on the economy despite what you've seen the White House try to tout when it comes to unemployment, when it comes to an increase in wages, inflation and rising prices is still their number one concern.


And so, you saw President Biden come out, say that he understands the pain that those Americans are feeling. But instead of offering a ton of concrete solutions on what exactly they believe the White House can do. Because if you talk to officials they say that they do have their limits on what exactly they could achieve to really significantly bring down these numbers. You instead saw President Biden lashing out at Republicans, going on offense a little bit, criticizing them and saying that despite their criticism of his handling of the economy, Republicans have no plans of their own he was arguing.

And instead, he was pointing to proposals that have been put out there by people like Senator Rick Scott of Florida. Which of course would create -- that required that minimum income tax, that's something that about half the nation -- half the households in the nation didn't actually pay right now because they didn't make enough to pay that.

So, President Biden is instead trying to turn this debate around on them, saying that the Republicans here are trying to claim that they have this alternative, but he is arguing that they don't.

One thing to watch for is whether or not Biden does decide to remove those Trump era tariffs on Chinese goods. That's something he promised to do on the campaign but has not done since taking office. Though he did tell reporters it's under discussion since experts have said it could help alleviate some of this pain. But of course, these are big questions for this White House and they want to look like that they are on top of this of course given we are just about six months away from the midterm elections.


FOSTER: Another big problem for Democrats is gasoline prices, they jumped to a new high in the U.S. on Tuesday. National average reportedly surged to $4.37 for a gallon of regular gasoline. And that is up 17 cents in just the past week and is four cents more than the previous record which was set about two months ago.

Another item hit hard by the states -- or in the states -- is baby formula. What started as a shortage has evolved in to a full blown crisis according to one supplier. Data tracking agency Data Assembly reports the out of stock rate for formula is now at 43 percent and is expected to keep rising. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen breaks down how the U.S. government is handling the shortage.

The government says they are doing several things. First of all, they say they are having regular meetings with Abbott which manufactures Similac and they are trying to expedite the price by which formula can be imported when it is made in other countries. They also say that they are looking at where formula is going in various stores in the United States to see if it is going to the right places, to the places that seem to need it the most.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The government says they're doing several things. First of all, they're having regular meetings with Abbott which makes Similac -- that's the one that has had the recall. As well as other U.S. manufacturers, to try to get the numbers up as much as possible. They also say that they are trying to expedite the process by which formula can be imported when it's made in other countries.

They also say they're looking at where formula is going in various stores in the United States. To see if it's going to the right places, to the places that seem to need it the most.


FOSTER: Well, manufacturers say they are producing formula as quickly as they can, but it's just not enough to meet demands.

Grain stolen by Russian soldiers from occupied areas of Ukraine is being sent abroad, that's according to Ukrainian military intelligence. It also alleges the stolen cargo is on Russian ships in the Mediterranean believed to be heading to Syria. Russia's also blocking Ukraine sports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. This affects Ukraine's ability to send out its grain.

Clare Sebastian is joining me onset to discuss the subject. Because you know, this is, you know, one of the major factors in the current food crisis around the world, the lack of grain from that region.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and now we have two issues. The World Food Program says that before the war, grain exports from Ukraine fed about 400 million people. Right now, they say, that number is zero because of the blockade at the port. If this latest report from Ukrainian intelligence is true and that the bulk of the grain that the Russian forces in Ukraine are alleged to have stolen, is now on ships in the Mediterranean, that then suggests that Russia could be trying to profit from its occupation of certain areas of Ukraine and sell this grain, exported itself. Either way this is exacerbating the global food crisis. And if U.S. intelligence is correct and Putin is now bedding in for a long war in Ukraine, this is yet another major global market, the market for wheat just like the market for energy, that's now tried to reshape itself around this conflict and that transition period will cause immense hardship.

FOSTER: And what Europe is particularly dependent on from Russia, but by Ukraine, is gas. At the moment -- well, we understood that the gas continued flowing. Partly because Russia needs the money, right? But there's some disruption on the supplies going through Ukraine.

SEBASTIAN: Yes, I think, you know, it's perhaps surprising that it has taken this long to see any disruption in this conflict. But we are now seeing this morning, the Ukrainian gas authorities are reporting that because of, they say, the interference of the occupying forces, they have now had to stop accepting Russian gas through one of their entry points -- their pipeline entry points. You can see there, there're quite a lot of gas. It is about a third of -- almost a third of the gas that Europe imported from Russia last year came through Ukraine. So, the entry point that they're talking about represents about a third of that. So, this is significant.


Also significant is that we're getting two different sides of the story. Gazprom says that there's no evidence of any forced closer -- no reason why they shouldn't stop working as normal. They acknowledge that Ukraine has actually asked to switch to another entry point. They said that is technically impossible. But this, Max, this is why Europe is racing to find alternatives because it's not just about --

FOSTER: They can do that with oil. They can't do that very quickly with gas.

SEBASTIAN: Much harder with gas. But they are trying to reduce. Because of course it is not just about, you know, Moscow potentially turning off the taps. There's another point of failure here and that is the transit through Ukraine.

FOSTER: Yes, OK, Clare, thank you.

A house along the North Carolina coast collapses into the ocean, just one of many as the local community fears more homes are at risk from strong weather conditions. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri explains the risks along with conditions across the United States.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, Max. You know, the conditions across parts of the Carolinas it's been a pretty rough go here the last couple of days. It's had some strong storms at least as late as Sunday afternoon across this region. But you'll notice, the damage certainly left in place. You do have coastal flood warnings that are in effect through at least this afternoon for 2 to 4 foot inundation possible along the portions of the Carolinas and includes the outer banks region. And high surf advisories also for this afternoon with 10 to 15 foot surfs.

So with this said, with the gusty winds in place certainly going to make it another challenging day around portions of eastern North Carolina as we go into at least this afternoon.

Notice the other big story, the record heat, also a few pockets of strong storms stretching from the northern plains back across portions of western Texas. The last couple days, a couple reports of tornadoes but the vast majority of the action though related to winds and also some large hail. Notice some of these wind speeds across portions of Texas, getting up to category 1 equivalent of a hurricane. Gusts across Pampa, Texas at 81 miles per hour.

Severe weather concern again stretches from areas around say Sioux Falls in Minneapolis, where a small area therefore a level III in place. But around western Texas, eastern New Mexico, also in place for some severe storms in the area as it expands across that region of the Northern Plains going into Thursday afternoon. Primary threats yet again going to be for hail and wind, isolated chance for tornados.

The Southwest, the fire weather concerns remain very high here, especially northern New Mexico where Hermits Peak, Calf Canyon fire now remains the second largest fire in New Mexico state history. Well behind the Whitewater-Baldy fire there from 2012 And ahead of the third largest five in state history that occurred in June 2011. But unfortunately, weather really not improving here with at least critical risk in place across much of New Mexico, much of Arizona and even portions of Colorado as well. Winds at times here this afternoon could gust to once again 30, maybe 40 miles per hour before it is all said and done. Temperatures upper 80s in Albuquerque, 87 in Denver, highs across the Pacific Northwest, Portland around 63 degrees -- Max.

FOSTER: All right, thanks to Pedram.

Now this is certainly a flight to remember. A passenger on a private flight in Florida was forced to try to land the plane after the pilot became unable to fly. With no flying experience, he had to contact air traffic control for help. Here is part of their conversation.


PASSENGER: 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.

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

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

TOWER: What was the situation with the pilot?

PASSENGER: He is incoherent. He is out.

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


FOSTER: And here is the touchdown. The ground crews eager to share the good news with other flights in the area. Take a listen.


TOWER: You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane. Man they did a great job.

AMERICAN 1845: Did you say the passengers landed the airplane?

TOWER: That's correct.

AMERICAN 1845: Oh my God. Great job.

TOWER: No flying experience. We got a controller that worked them down that's a flight instructor.


FOSTER: A movie in the making. Be sure to stay with CNN later today when my colleagues on "NEW DAY" speak with the air traffic controller who talked the passenger through that very lucky landing.

Now still ahead, Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine may be backfiring in more ways than one. Why an historic shift in Europe's defense could also be a crushing blow to the Russian leader.

Plus, after a nearly two week manhunt, an Alabama fugitive is back in custody. We'll have more on the quick thinking by police that ended the chase potentially saving lives.