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Finland's Government Expected to Propose Joining NATO on Sunday; GOP candidate Kathy Barnette Surges in Polls Days Before PA Primaries; Judge Hearing Arguments on Biden Administration Ending COVID Border Restriction for Migrants. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 13, 2022 - 10:30   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, the Finnish government says it plans to propose on Sunday, formulate that the country joins NATO. The proposal would then go to the Finnish Parliament to be debated before a final vote. The country's foreign minister tells reporters that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has heavily swayed public opinion for joining NATO for the first time ever, a majority of Finns now support joining the alliance.

Joining me now to discuss is the former Prime Minister of Finland, Alexander Stubb. Good to have you on. Thanks for taking the time.


SCIUTTO: So in the midst of this momentum towards joining, we had perhaps consequential comments from the Turkish President, Recep Erdogan, he says he does not view it positively. When asked about Finland and Sweden joining NATO, is that a significant comment? Could Turkey stand in the way here?

STUBB: Well, I've met President Erdogan on a few times. And obviously, it's difficult to verify what exactly he has said. But I think the base case that we have to look at is that Finland and Sweden have always been in favor of Turkish E.U. membership. And I think there's an element of tit for tat here. I remember as a young civil servant actually, in the summit meeting at Helsinki in 1999, when we opened the door for Turkish accession to the E.U. and the negotiations. So in that sense, I think I am not convinced that Turkey is going to be a problem here.

SCIUTTO: OK, let's look to the changes in Finland because Finland is a country that has resisted joining NATO for many decades. Building this position, in effect, a sort of neutral position between Russia and the West. That's changed public opinion on NATO has changed this all about the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

STUBB: Sure is. I mean, first of all, I've been in favor of Finnish NATO membership for the better part of 30 years, probably because I'm a convinced transatlantic supporter, and I thought we should have joined in 1995. But having failed that I was always in a minority. So on the 24th of February, when Putin attacked Ukraine, opinion polls changed overnight to roughly 50 in favor 20 against, then they went to 62 in favor and the latest opinion poll we had was 76% in favor. And now that the Prime Minister and the President came out in favor of NATO membership, I predict the next week we're looking at NATO membership somewhere north of 80%. So it's been a radical shift. And in that sense, I call this boot is NATO enlargement.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, and elicited very much against Putin's hopes here right to enlarge rather than divide which seemed to been his intention. Russia responding they're calling it a threat. The former President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev video said that Russia's military would "seriously strengthen the number of ground forces and air defenses along that border," it's an 800 mile border with Russia would more than double the border between the Alliance and Russia, are we going to see that border militarized in the coming years, Finnish forces on one side, Russian forces on the other?

STUBB: Not that much more than what we've already had. Remember that Finland has 900,000 men in reserve 280,000 mobilized in war time, we have 62 SATs just bought 64 F-35. So on top of that we have one of the strongest artillery is in the system. So, you know, the border is already quite heavily militarized. And I can tell you that they are not on the western flank of us. We're not defending ourselves against Sweden. So in that sense, there's nothing new. We also have to understand that there's going to be a lot of disinformation and information were coming out of Russia in the next few weeks. I actually think it's been quite mild so far. Final point, Finnish and Swedish NATO membership is win, win for the Baltic Sea region, for Finland, for Sweden, and for the Alliance and European security.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you about what Europe looks like after this because Putin's invasion of Ukraine driven in part by his fear, you could call a paranoia being surrounded by NATO, a bigger NATO, you know, arguably surrounds him more, right? And whether that's justified that feeling is justified or not, do you fear that enlarge NATO would increase the risk of a broader conflict in Europe going forward?

STUBB: No, and the reason I say this is that at the end of the day, this is not about NATO. It's about values. The reason Putin attacked Ukraine was not a fear of NATO enlargement, but it was a fear of the Europeanisation of NATO. You have to understand that he's against anything that has to do with a liberal democracy and freedom. The future of Europe, unfortunately, is divided into two. On one side of the new Iron Curtain, you'll have an aggressive authoritarian, totalitarian revisionist and imperialist Russia by the way fully isolated.


And on the other side, you'll have about 40 European states are more or less democracies, abiding by international law and cooperation. And that's the future, I'm afraid in the foreseeable future. For Finn, it's sad, because we have 1340 kilometers of border. We would like to have a Sweden type of Russia, but it's not in the cards at the moment.

SCIUTTO: Alexander Stubb, the former Prime Minister of Finland, thanks so much for joining us.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Up next, voters are heading to the polls in five states on Tuesday for some key primary races, Pennsylvania getting a whole lot of attention. Some of that may have started with Dr. Mehmet Oz, but now it is a crowded field. And much of the focus is on a woman who was once considered a longshot, but it's now a top contender.



HILL: The race for the Republican Senate nomination of Pennsylvania taking a big turn these last couple of days, less than a week to go now before the primary election. And Kathy Barnette is not only surprising a surging rather in the polls, but she is now virtually tied with her main opponents, David McCormick and TV Star Dr. Mehmet Oz who of course has been endorsed by former President Trump.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, and they were -- the distant front runners for a while now Barnett is a top contender. She's facing more scrutiny than ever as well. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has the details.



JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: For months Kathy Barnette campaigned across Pennsylvania, drawing attention, yet remaining largely an afterthought in the Republican Senate race. From the outside the race played out as a vicious two men brawl.

DR. MEHMET OZ, (R) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Madmen has flip flopped on every major issue. Dishonest Dave is added again.

ZELENY: Fueled by big money and big names of TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick, former head of the world's largest hedge fund, but less than a week before the primary election, Kathy Barnette's late surge is sending shockwaves across the GOP and provoked this dire warning from former President Donald Trump who's endorsed eyes. Cathy Burnett will never be able to win the general election against the radical left. Tonight. She gently disagreed.

BARNETTE: And I look forward to working with the President. So thank you so much.

ZELENY (on camera): I know you're on the rise, when you agree?

BARNETTE: I would agree.

ZELENY (voice-over): In one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country, which Democrats believe offers the best chance to pick up a seat to help hold their majority, a messy Family Feud deep inside the mega movement is spilling out for all to see.

BARNETTE: MAGA does not belong to President Trump, MAGA although he coined the word MAGA is actually, it belongs to the people. Our values never, never shifted to President Trump's value.

ZELENY: A compelling personal story sparked interest in her candidacy.

BARNETTE: I am a little black girl from a pig farm in southern Alabama, who grew up in a home with no running water, no insulation, and outhouse in the back and a well on the side --

ZELENY: And her campaign roared to life as she pushed utterly false claims the 2020 election was stolen. She's linked her candidacy to Doug Mastriano. The front runner in the GOP governor's race here. Suddenly his polls show a three way contest entering the final stretch, rival Republicans are in a mad scramble to scrutinize Barnette's background in hopes of slowing her surprising rise.

OZ: She is a mystery person. We don't know much about it. We have to be able to learn and she's not willing to share.

ZELENY: An outside group backing us also weighed in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meet, crazy Kathy Barnette, Pennsylvania's wackiest Senate candidate

ZELENY: A CNN review found Barnette has a history of making anti Muslim and anti-gay statements.

BARNETTE: All the eyes are against --

ZELENY: In many tweets, she also spread the false conspiracy theory, former President Barack Obama is a Muslim. It's an open question whether the torrent of criticism will animate or turn off the vibrant grassroots supporters in the party's base. The conservative Club for Growth has her back booking $2 million in ads to promote her candidacy.


ZELENY: What drew you to her candidacy?

DAILE: She's an authentic person.

ZELENY: You asked about Trump's endorsement of Oz and his blistering words for Barnette, Kristen Daile had this to say.

DAILE: President Trump gets to be wrong. He has this one wrong.


HILL: Jeff Zeleny with that report for us, if elected in November, Kathy Barnette would become Pennsylvania's first black Senate.

SCIUTTO: Right now a federal judge in Louisiana's hearing arguments on whether to block Title 42 from ending just 10 days from now. CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is there with a preview.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Jim and Erica the question before a federal judge here in Louisiana today is, can the administration end Title 42. That is a public health authority invoked at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic that allows officials to turn migrants away at the U.S.-Mexico border because of the public health crisis.

Now, in April, the Biden administration announced that it would end this authority on May 23. That sparked fierce criticism from Republicans and Democrats and it also sparked lawsuits, one of which is here today. Arizona, Missouri, Louisiana filed a lawsuit last month, saying that by ending this authority, the states would endure harm and that the administration did not follow the proper procedures in ending it.

Now, since then, more than a dozen states have joined the lawsuit, mostly Republican led. The Biden administration saying in court filings that this was an extraordinary measure and it has the authority of the CDC to invoke and terminate this authority.

Now, the judge in this case has temporarily blocked the wind down of Title 42 that will hold until he makes the decision in this case or until May 23.


While all this is happening Arizona announcing this week that it will start to bus migrants to Washington D.C. that is a step that Texas has already taken. Arizona now following Texas' lead. All of this, Jim and Erica coming to a head just 10 days before the Biden administration intends to end Title 42

SCIUTTO: Priscilla Alvarez, thanks so much.

Coming up next, is challenges of feeding the people of Ukraine with so many supply lines are blocked by the fighting. We're going to speak with a member of the World Central Kitchen who has been feeding millions there, working right now in the city of the Dnipro.



HILL: As Russia's war in Ukraine continues, those in many of the areas near the front lines are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their most basic needs, including food. But our next guest is working with a nonprofit, World Central Kitchen as part of their relief efforts. So here you see a picture of Anton Sadykov delivering groceries to families. And really important here too. This is also right near where he grew up in a pretty special picture.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, he's joining us now live from Dnipro, in the center of the country. Anton, so good to have you on. In my time in Ukraine, what struck me is that every Ukrainian is doing his or her part to help save their country really here and you are certainly doing your part for your country, but even your hometown. Tell us how that makes you feel?

ANTON SADYKOV, REGIONAL LEADER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: Well, hi, Jim. Hi, Erica. Hi, America. So here in Ukraine, we do -- everyone do everything for our victory. And we have a lot of volunteers we have everything we need, even if we need dinners, our volunteers will find. So now I'm in our warehouse in Dnipro, where we produce our grocery bags that is about 33 pounds each. And we make deliveries to different places to the frontline to little, small villages in our country where refugees leaves and we help them with that. grocery bags. And sometimes it's so heavy, sometimes we need two people to carry it on from our tent in different places. I know maybe you have some pictures from that delivery.

And today we work on in Ukraine. We do more and our 23,000 sold in packages per day and make deliveries to different places. And my region is Dnipro, Zaporizhia, Luhansk, Donetsk, we do deliveries on tracks and with our volunteers -- volunteers, we call them heroes. They goes to the frontline to very, very close to some shellings. Sometimes they cannot even take the car. But they take some supermarkets, you know, that's --

HILL: A shopping card. It's -- yes, a shopping card.

SADYKOV: And bring. Yes, and they bring it there and leave our packages under the trees and after that some people when there is no shelling can get here and can get there, the tree and take their bags.


HILL: It is incredible. I was going to say Anton, it's an it's incredible, not only the risks that they are taking right to get that food right up to the front lines for the people who really need it. But this is so much about local efforts on the ground. So working with local restaurants, local chefs, local farmers, are you still able to get everything you need all the food that you need?

SADYKOV: Now, we have some problems with tomato, pasta, with something but our procurement team in Poland in different countries that do everything so we make deliveries here from Europe by trains to our warehouse and so now we have everything, everything ended up, I could try to show you. I don't know, if it possible, I could show you, our warehouse. Here we have conveyer, and now it stopped but it's already for maybe 10,000 packages next day -- next day and (inaudible) every hour to find tracks to hear to warehouse so we are ready. And we still work with restaurants with everyone with refugees hops, where we are first on the first Ukrainian checkpoints, we will be always ready to feed people with hot meals and so, yeah.

SCIUTTO: I've seen -- Anton, I've seen the work of world central kitchen there, the work you -- Jose Andres', Nate Mook doing is remarkable. Thank you so much and thanks so much for joining us today, we wish you the best of luck.


SADYKOV: Thank you very much. Thank you. And be brave like Ukrainian.

SCIUTTO: We will try. That's a high standard. Thanks so much to all of you for joining us today. I'm going to share on Twitter, how to donate to the World Central Kitchen. I'm Jim Sciutto. HILL: And I'm Erica Hill. Stay tuned at this hour with Kate Bolduan picks up after this quick break. Have a great weekend.