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Tanya Altmann is Interviewed about Formula Shortage; Myhailo Lliev is Interviewed about his Bomb-Sniffing Dog; Musk on Twitter Purchase. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired May 13, 2022 - 09:30   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, anxious parents scrambling to find baby formula amid this nationwide shortage as the House Oversight Committee launches an investigation into how it happened. The FDA and CDC are looking into some of Abbott Nutrition's powdered infant formula products after a whistleblower raised concerns about concealed safety problems at a Michigan production plant.


BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: We were aware of this from when the FDA had to take its action back in February with Abbott and with the steps in the Michigan facility. And we have had a team on this from the FDA and in the interagency process since then.

We have been working closely on this issue in the wake of that recall to try to address the attending impacts of that.


HILL: Dr. Tanya Altmann is a pediatrician and the spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics. She also consults for an Australian formula brand not yet available in the United States.

Dr. Altmann, good to have you with us.

You know, I'm curious, I want to start on the misinformation because there's so much of it out there. What are you hearing from your patients? Because the White House, as we know, has said consistently contact your pediatrician.

DR. TANYA ALTMANN, PEDIATRICIAN: Yes, you know, and as a pediatrician, I think that's really my role to help consult with each family on what is best for their baby. Parents are scared right now. And I really think this is going to take a multipronged approach for us to solve in the United States. And that includes, by the way, supporting breast- feeding and the Human Milk Bank of North America.

But in addition, I think we are going to have to start accepting help from other countries that already have high quality infant formula that meets the Infant Formula Nutrition Act and is already tested and we know (INAUDIBLE) I know the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that in some cases cow milk can be introduced under 1 year of age. And I think that really depends on the nutrition that your baby is eating. In other cases, toddler formula may be a better option to get that extra iron and nutrition.

And, again, you know, as you mentioned, talk to your pediatrician as there are so many brands available, store brands as well, and we can often help parents navigate switching brands to figure out what is best for their infant.

HILL: And that's what can be so confusing. I think in one camp you do have children, and in some cases adults, who rely on some of these formulas or nutrition supplements that have to have a very specific kind for very specific health reasons and health challenges.


Not every baby has to stick with that initial formula that they were given, which to your point is why it's so important to consult with your pediatrician. So I knew -- I know you say that you can switch formulas. Obviously, check with your doctor first.

You have some other dos and don'ts that I think are really important, which speaks to the misinformation out there. Can you just walk us through some of those, including -- I mean let's start with this one, should you make your own formula at home?

ALTMANN: Sure. So that's a real good point, Erica. And, you know, infant formula is a very precise scientific food product that has been based on decades of research. And you have to have specific ratios of fat, protein, electrolytes. And you can't simply buy these individual ingredients at the store and mix them up yourself in your home.

The other thing is it has to be consistent throughout. So pretend you're making soup, right? You can't have too much nutrition fall to the bottom. Each spoon or ounce has to be equivalent in terms of calories. And so that's why we see the dangers when parents try to make their own infant formula. In addition, it can be contaminated with serious infections. And we've seen historically that to be a problem and too many babies have ended up in the hospital because of that.

HILL: You know, to that point about getting -- getting the right amount in each spoonful, which is such a great picture to use the soup there. I know you also say you should never add water to stretch the supply. Is it for that reason?

ALTMANN: Exactly. When you add water, which I know can be so tempting to parents because you're mixing powdered formula with water anyway, it can really dilute the nutrients. So then you're getting less, you know, carbohydrates, you're getting less fat, and the electrolyte ratio is going to be off, which can cause serious problems with your infant. HILL: Really quickly before I let you go, there's a lot of back and

forth here. There's a lot of finger pointing happening. Are you, as a doctor, getting the information that you need about why this plant is still shut down, why it's taking so long to get it back online?

ALTMANN: You know, I think -- I think that's a really good point. And I think this is going to be a big wake-up call to the formula industry in our country that we need better oversight, that we need more options. Why does WIC only have a contract in each state with one company, right? I mean these are families that are really in need of infant formula and they should have multiple options. And I think if everybody in the United States takes a look at the different options for their family, that will also help alleviate some of the stress on the short supply we have for those families who are truly in need.

HILL: Dr. Tanya Altmann, good to have you with us this morning. Thank you.

ALTMANN: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next, my conversation with the handler and trainer for perhaps one of the most famous dogs in the world today. A brave one too. Patron has sniffed out hundreds of Russian explosives near the capital Kyiv, saving lives. He's become such a national icon in Ukraine that the president, President Zelenskyy himself honored his work. We're going to have details on just how that little guy does it, coming up.



SCIUTTO: He has become a national icon in Ukraine. An unlikely hero who is saving lives, now winning fans around the world as well, and he's just two years old. That's actually 14 in dog years. His name is Patron, which means "ammo" in Ukrainian. The bomb-sniffing Jack Russell Terrier has helped find and defuse more than 200 explosive devices since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He was honored for his work earlier this week by the Ukrainian president, Zelenskyy.

I had a chance to speak with Patron's handler and trainer, Myhailo Iliev, and Patron, he joined us as well.

Have a look.


SCIUTTO: Myhailo, thank you very much. It's very nice to meet you. Also very nice to meet Patron. I wonder if we can begin, because you bought Patron from a co-worker as a pet originally for your son. So how did he end up becoming a bomb-sniffing dog?

MYHAILO LLIEV, HANDLER FOR BOMB-SNIFFING DOG, PATRON (through translator): Yes, indeed, this was a gift for my son. He really wanted a dog. Well, the way it happened is, my son, who was at school, he went to

clubs attended after school activities. So, I tended to take Patron with me to work. And I started teaching him to react to explosive devices. And then I started teaching him to find explosive devices. Explosive items. And this took a long time. This actually isn't that easy. But he got better and better at it.

SCIUTTO: We see his tail wagging. Can you show us Patron, the hero? Oh, there he is. Fantastic.

I have to ask, because I've seen a lot of videos of Patron doing his work, in very dangerous areas. How dangerous is it for Patron?

LLIEV: Yes, indeed, it's not only dangerous for Patron, it's dangerous for all personnel that are working on clearing and demining. We deal with anti-tank mines, with anti-personnel mines. It could be 20 anti- tank mines a day, ten anti-personnel mines a day.

Since the start of the war we have cleared 2,000 anti-tank mines and our pyrotechnic teams are working in the roads, they're working in wooded areas, and they have cleared many kilometers of artillery shells and mortar shells and the most dangerous, air bombs. And so we've cleared 1,161 anti-tank mines.


And over 21,000 kilometers of roads. All kinds of explosive devices, bobby traps as well.

So, we've inspected 500 hectares of territory and 7.5 kilometers of gas pipelines. We work 24/7.

SCIUTTO: President Zelenskyy, of course, presented you and Patron with a state award for dedicated service. You're doing life-saving work. I wonder how that moment felt for you.

LLIEV: Well, yes, it was very pleasant to receive the award. But that's our job. That's what we do. We make sure that all people can get to a to z without blowing themselves up. And the state is working. And our job is to not let the state down. But nobody thought this would be on such a scale. This is an enormous scale. We have to work 24/7 as long as we have liked.

SCIUTTO: Now, Patron has become a here, right? I wonder, are you training other dogs to do the same thing?

LLIEV: I'm not training other dogs. I don't have time to train other dogs because we work 24/7. I work with my dog. And I make sure we do our job and that we make sure people can return safely to their homes after being under such a horrific attack from the Russian federation. We have to work nonstop 24/7. There are 41 of us and 16 vehicles, and that's just in the Chernihiv region.

SCIUTTO: Well, Patron is a cute, cute little dog. I hope you and all the teammates you're working with are safe and I hope -- I hope he's safe too going forward. Thank you. LLIEV: Thank you very much. We are trying to make sure to avoid



SCIUTTO: All right, Erica, my favorite interview of the year, by far.

HILL: Without question.

SCIUTTO: So far.

HILL: It's going to be hard to top that.


HILL: He's amazing.

SCIUTTO: He is amazing.

HILL: And I love the story of how he, you know, he got this dog for his son, but then just started taking him to work.


HILL: I mean, thank goodness he did.

SCIUTTO: He was a pet.

I mean, and, by the way, like I've seen bomb-sniffing dogs around the world.

HILL: Yes.

SCIUTTO: You see them at the airports, right? I mean that's a serious job. It requires a lot of training. He's a little guy, and he did it, and he's saving lives.

Here's a little fact we learned. So Patron, little dog, as you may have noticed, nine pounds, about kilograms.

HILL: That's it.

SCIUTTO: That's an advantage because most landmines, they need about five kilos of weight to set them off. So, Patron actually has kind of a built in protection against this stuff, which is another advantage for him.

HILL: I love that. I love that.


HILL: And I heard him at the end saying (INAUDIBLE), one of my few Ukrainian words that I picked up, right, thank you.

SCIUTTO: Right. Well, my favorite part of the interview too was when all you saw was his little tail wagging and I thought -- well, anyway. HILL: I was -- I mean I feel like we could talk about Patron all day,

and we would, but we're going to -- we're going to get yelled at.

SCIUTTO: We -- we -- and we may do that. We may still do that.

HILL: But we -- yes, I'm going to talk to you more about it in the break, Jim.


HILL: It's a great interview. I'm so glad you got in line (ph).

SCIUTTO: Thanks.

HILL: Still to come here this morning, Elon Musk sparking confusion after announcing he's putting his plan to buy Twitter on hold. Why? We'll discuss, next.



SCIUTTO: New this morning, Elon Musk creating a lot of confusion around his proposed $44 billion bid to buy Twitter. First, he tweeted out a Reuters story about spam and fake accounts on the platform and said the deal was, quote, temporarily on hold. Market's reacting. And then in the last hour he tweeted again that he is still committed to the acquisition. So, which is it?

HILL: Ah, the question.


HILL: CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter joining us here live to discuss.

So that first tweet sent shares plummeting. I know you were just checking as we came back on the air how Twitter shares were doing.


HILL: I mean, but we look at all of this and the back and forth. I have to say, my first question is, I mean, was he ever serious in the first place?

STELTER: Right, is he serious now? Is he going to continue with this? Nobody knows.

The stock is down 10 percent this morning because investors, some of whom were already skeptical of Musk, are now even more skeptical that he's going to go through with this. And there's a lot of different factors.

But let's examine that very first tweet he posted before 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Who knows where he even is, what time zone he's in right now. But here's what Musk said basically overnight, saying the Twitter deal is temporarily on hold and he linked to a story from Reuters that's 11 days old about Twitter's number of bots and spam accounts. So he's saying he wants to confirm this that spam and fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5 percent of users. Well, anyone who uses Twitter knows that bots and spam accounts, fake accounts, are a plague on the site. So it would seem that he might be using this old article, this 11-day old article as a pretext to back away from the deal. Maybe he wants a lower price for Twitter. And that ultimately might be what this is all about. He might be negotiating in public, trying to get a lower price for Twitter so he doesn't have to pay as much, put up as many of his Tesla shares.

But, as you said, Jim, he said on Twitter an hour ago, still committed to acquisition. Those are his four words, trying to reassure investors. But that's not going to be reassuring to Twitter staffers. They're already stressed out about Musk taking over.

HILL: Yes.

STELTER: And now they're even more anxious about it.

SCIUTTO: Yes, I mean, listen, the markets changed a lot since his offer. I mean Twitter stock is down. Tesla stock is down. He's borrowing money from those holdings to help pay for this.

But -- so, I'm curious, if this were not to go through, what happens? I mean that leaves big questions for Twitter.

STELTER: If this breaks up, he does pay a $1 billion fee. He can certainly afford that. But he may not want to pay it. He might be trying to a find a way to get a lower price without having that breakup fee. If this happens, there is no other buyer for Twitter out there, right? The board went out looking for a buyer and only saw Musk as the option. So, Twitter would be in a very precarious situation.


But I think Musk, he does seem very interested in these issues about free speech. He seems to really enjoy this issue about social media. He seems to want to own it. But maybe he's finding it's more fun just to seem like the boss, actually seem like he's in charge, without actually being in charge.


HILL: That does happen sometimes, doesn't it?

STELTER: Wouldn't that be nice. He can act like it.

HILL: Looks -- looks like it's fun.



HILL: But maybe it's not. The nitty-gritty day to day is not so fun.

STELTER: Exactly.

HILL: Brian, good to have you with us. Thanks.

STELTER: Thanks.

SCIUTTO: Still ahead, an exclusive report. CNN teams on the ground in Ukraine tracking evidence of potential war crimes committed by Russian soldiers. It is a fascinating and an important investigation. You won't want to miss it. It's coming up.