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Abortion Rights Advocates Holding Rallies And Marches Across U.S.; Parents Scramble Nationwide As Baby Formula Shortage Worsens; U.S. Congressional Delegation Makes Surprise Visit To Ukraine; Three Key Bridges Blown Up As Russia Retreats, Ukraine Advances; Moscow Extends Brittney Griner's Detainment Until June 18; One-Stop Shop For Pet Lovers. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 14, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin today with rallies planned coast to coast marking a day of action for abortion rights. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take part in over 200 events across all 50 states. The rallies are in response to a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion revealing a majority of justices poised to strike down Roe versus Wade. And if overturned, constitutional protections for abortion rights would be eliminated in 26 states, likely.
We have reporters covering this in several key cities today. CNN's Joe Johns is live for us in the nation's capital; Polo Sandoval is covering the New York event; Adrienne Broaddus joins us from Chicago; and Nadia Romero is live in Atlanta.
So let's begin in the nation's capital with you Joe. So the D.C. rally is near the Washington Monument and it will kick off what -- at about noontime and then people will start making their way to Capitol Hill outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. And the point, obviously, the message they are trying to send is there is strong support for upholding Roe versus Wade even though the court appears to be poised, if you will, to strike it down.
What we're told here is that they are expecting about 17,000 people in the nation's capital for this event but that certainly could be affected by the weather. And rain is in the forecast.
A coalition of organizations is throwing this rally and march, if you will, including the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Women's March and others. One of the messages they are sending especially from Ultraviolet, another one of those organizations, is that they are very concerned about this.
They see this, if you will, as their worst nightmare even though, Fred, the nightmare is not fully realized because it's only a draft opinion that's been released. Could be a couple of weeks or a couple of months before we know if that same language is going to be in whatever the court says.
Back to you.
WHITFIELD: That's right. Joe, thank you so much. We'll check back with you.
Polo, on to New York now and what's the plan there?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, right now still in the planning stages but in a little under an hour then that's when things should really get under way.
We're currently in Brooklyn not far from the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. The plan here is for demonstrators to basically march across the Brooklyn Bridge and then come together in Lower Manhattan. That's expected to get started in just under an hour.
More of the plan is hoist up this massive pink banner, it reads upside down, there you see. It says "Our bodies, our future, our abortions." This is really the bulk of the message that demonstrators are hoping that the rest of the nation will hear.
These are two demonstrations that are planned in New York City today. Peaceful demonstrations right now but certainly going to go not only to that message of seeking to not overturn Roe v. Wade but also a message to neighboring states that this is obviously definitely a stronghold -- pro choice stronghold so it certainly is really a message more from women to other women in other states that this hopefully, at least they want this to remain a safe place for women to seek this kind of health care. Back to you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Polo in New York. Thanks so much.
Let's go to Chicago now where we find Adrienne Broaddus. So what's the plan there?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. Different city and state but similar to what our colleague Joe mentioned in the nation's capital. Supporters are expected to show up here at Millennium Park, it's in the heart of downtown Chicago.
Organizers say they will likely share their stories of support as well as their reproductive health stories. This rally starts in about three hours and as you mentioned it's one of hundreds happening across the country.
And earlier this week, the city's Mayor Lori Lightfoot vowed to protect women's rights saying she pledges to invest and ensure what she calls equitable access to abortion and reproductive care. She's backing that pledge with a $500,000 investment to increase access to reproductive health care here in the city of Chicago.
[11:05:00] BROADDUS: As you may know, Illinois is one of most liberal states when it comes to abortion rights in the Midwest, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Adrienne, thank you so much.
Nadia Romero in Atlanta and what are your he expectations at that rally?
NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, I spoke with organizers who were very fearful that they would get rained out today. But it is hot and sunny which means they are expecting about 3,000 people to make their way to Liberty Park here in Atlanta.
You can take a look behind me where people here are still setting up. We have about an hour or so before this should fill up with supporters. Mostly organized by Planned Parenthood Southeast. We know about 12 or so other organizations across the state of Georgia also coming out to support on bringing their protesters from all across the state.
You know, we've talked about the call of action that we're having all across the country. and especially so here in the southeast. You just heard from Adrienne talking about how often people in Chicago, how much access they are able to have in the state of Illinois. That's not the case in the southeast where you're going to find states with some of the most restrictive abortion laws.
So it's very important for the organizers here, they say, to bring people out and for them to know that abortion access is still available even if this Roe v. Wade gets overturned that there is still hope for the future.
We spoke with one organizer earlier today who explained why she says this is a call for action and not a time to be fearful. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This isn't the moment for fear. This is the moment for action. These anti-health politicians are the ones who should be afraid because we are going to come for their seat at the polls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMERO: And you heard the verbiage there, Fred. She said anti-health legislation and that's really a key part of the messaging today that this isn't about just people wanting to have abortions but this is about protecting the right for people to decide what's best for their body and what's best for their health care, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Nadia Romero there in Atlanta.
All right. Another huge concern for women and families. Parents across the U.S. are scrambling as a nationwide baby formula shortage gets even worse. Sky high inflation, supply chain delays and a recent recall at a major U.S. formula manufacturer have all played a part in this crisis.
CNN's Brian Todd has more.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jusstine Ne has searched far and wide on Oahu for formula for her 7-month-old son.
JUSSTINE NE, NEW MOM IN HAWAII: I wasn't able to breastfeed, you know, depending on the formula to feed babies is very stressful.
TODD: About 4,000 miles away in Ankeny, Iowa, new mom Emma Feinhart had similar problems, finding formula for her 4-month-old daughter, Poppy.
EMMA FEINHART, NEW MOM IN IOWA: I never imagined I would have had to look high and low for formula.
TODD: Millions of families in America confronting that same crisis. A nationwide shortage of baby formula that has gotten worse. In recent days, more than 50 percent of formula was out of stock in eight states. Nationwide, the out of stock rate is 43 percent. That's according to Datasembly, an agency that tracks how much product is on store shelves.
BEN REICH, DATASEMBLY: We have never seen numbers like this let alone in such a critical category like baby formula.
TODD: The reasons for the shortage, supply chain problems stemming from the pandemic, historic inflation and a devastating recall. In February the company Abbott Nutrition recalled three brands of its formula after some infants got sick from a bacteria and two died.
What should parents do now?
DR. MEGAN RANNEY, ASSOCIATE DEAN OF PUBLIC HEALTH, BROWN UNIVERSITY: Worried parents should go out and buy formula even if it's not the same formula brand that your baby is used to. Your baby will transition to another formula brand over day or so.
TODD: Experts say don't stretch out the formula you've already got by adding water or something else. That can cause illness. And don't do what many desperate parents have reportedly tried, making their own formula.
DR. RANNEY: Formula is a complex mix of nutrients, vitamins, minerals. It is nearly impossible to get the proportions right doing it at home. There are also concerns about bacterial contamination.
TODD: How long will new parent have to deal with this shortage. Datasembly didn't want to estimate weeks or months.
REICH: We don't see any evidence of this letting up of, you know, the issues that have caused this out of stock crisis are continuing to factor into stocking issues. TODD: The Biden administration just announced its working with
manufacturers to get more baby formula on the shelves faster. But in the meantime, new parents are going to have to deal with limited purchases. Chains like CVS, Walgreens, Target and Walmart are limiting the number of cans that customers can buy in each transaction.
Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Brian.
And so far the Biden administration has not given a timeline for when the shortage could end.
Let's bring in CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright from Wilmington, Delaware where the president is spending the weekend. So Jasmine, what exactly is the White House do try to get this formula on store shelves quicker?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well Fred, they have taken a number of steps in recent days but it comes as questions continue to mount as the why the White House didn't move sooner to avoid what we're seeing now which is bare shelves and very concerned parents.
Take a listen to my colleague, Jeremy Diamond, asking the president this very question yesterday at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Could you have taken the steps sooner before parents got to these shelves and couldn't find formula?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we had been better mind readers, I guess we could have. But we moved as quickly as the problem became apparent to us. And we have to move with caution as well as speed because we got to make sure what we're getting is, in fact, first rate product. That's why the FDA has to go through the process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: So there we heard from the president himself going on the defensive a little bit but the fact of the matter here, Fred, is that it is going to take time for the product to actually get to the shelves.
So in the meantime, the White House has taken a number of steps including yesterday they announced a new Health and Human Services Website hhs.gov/formula that is supposed to be able to assist parents as they go on sort of a quest trying to find more infant formula for their newborn babies.
And now another thing that they say that they do -- you can see that web page on your screen there -- but another thing that they're going to do is they're talking to manufacturers trying to get more of that product on shelves. The FDA says that they will have an announcement next week about some of the efforts that they have done and tried to streamline the process.
And they have also taken a number of more limited steps here. Now, that includes importing infant formula from abroad. That's something that before this happened, that was not exactly happening. They have also been urging states to allow those who are on the (INAUDIBLE) government assistance program to be able to access more types of infant formula. Really asking for more flexibility as sometimes their options on that program are kind of limited.
And now something that is under consideration by the White House but they just haven't pulled the trigger on yet is enacting the Defense Production Act. If in emergencies it allows the White House to take control over what is being produced in this country. Now that's again something that they have not decided on. But it is a range of the things that are under consideration as this White House tries to respond to what could potentially be an emerging crisis here, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Jasmine Wright, thank you so much. We'll check back with you.
All right. Still ahead, I'll be talking with one Georgia congresswoman who will be attending the Atlanta rally this afternoon. Her push to defend abortion rights, next.
Plus, CNN speaks to the families of some Ukrainian soldiers still trapped inside the besieged steel plant in Mariupol. Their plea for help as Russia continues its bombardment. We're live from Ukraine, straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.
We continue to monitor the abortion rights rallies planned coast to coast today.
I want to bring in Georgia Representative Nikema Williams for more on this discussion. She is the chairwoman for the Democratic Party of Georgia and will attend the Atlanta rally later on this afternoon.
So good to see you.
REP. NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): Good to see you.
WHITFIELD: So what is the plan? What's the expectation? What's the hope from the rally in in Atlanta and really from coast to coast?
WILLIAMS: So today's a day of action and what we're seeing is people want to make sure that their voices are heard because it's clear by the leaked documents from the Supreme Court that there's going to be a decision that's not going to be favorable to the majority of people in this country.
Not Democratic women, not Republican women but 68 percent of people in this country do not want Roe v Wade over turned. And so today is a day of action across the country so that people hear our voices and understand exactly what's at stake.
WHITFIELD: If indeed that draft opinion ends up being if final opinion ends up being the final opinion, the correlation is being made that it will then of course be up to states. Senator John Thune among those who said it should be up to state legislatures to determine abortion rights.
What are your concerns about if that indeed is to happen? A final decision would mean over turning or removing abortions rights for some 26 -- in some 26 states. But what are your concerns about it being up to state legislatures to either make allowances or not for the access to abortion?
WILLIAMS: So it's not just access to abortion but when we talk about state's rights this is the same argument that they are making on voting rights. And I'm a black woman from the south. And so I understand when they say states rights, I takes me back to a place in our not so distant history where states were determining if I have the right to vote. If I have the right to be a full person in this country.
And so when this is happening, we need a federal government, United States Congress, to step in and make sure that people are protected across the board because right now, we are going to face a time -- I've never lived in a time when Roe v Wade was not the law of the land, was not the precedent that's established. And now here we are.
WHITFIELD: What do you fear or what are you concerned might be next?
WILLIAMS: So today I want to be clear to every one watching that abortion is legal. If you need care, please get the care that you need. But what we're seeing, what is coming out of this court is that abortion is going to be illegal, and in many states without exceptions.
WILLIAMS: And so what you're saying is you're inserting your beliefs in between that of a doctor and a woman when she is seeking the care that she needs. I don't know why an individual chooses abortion care but one in four women by the age of 45 will have an abortion.
WHITFIELD: And how did we get to this point?
WILLIAMS: We saw the judges that were being appointed by conservative judges. We saw the Supreme Court hearings where potential justices lied in their Senate confirmation hearings about their views on Roe v Wade, about it being established precedent. And here we are.
And so I'm of the belief, when people show you who they are, you should believe them. They lied. We knew that they were not telling the truth going into these hearings and now this is the result.
WHITFIELD: And that precedent stare decisis, just last night Justice Thomas spoke to a conservative group in Dallas. And he said when someone -- and this is in reference to stare decisis -- some of those words that were chosen by justices during their confirmation as you made reference to saying Roe v Wade is precedent. It's the land of the law.
And so last night Justice Thomas says when someone uses -- I'm quoting now -- "When someone uses stare decisis that means they're out of arguments." How do you decipher that?
WILLIAMS: What I hear is they sat in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and they lied to the United States Senate. They lied to the country about what they would do and how they would decide cases as a member of the Supreme Court of this country.
WHITFIELD: Did it sound as though Justice Thomas is saying when the reference is made to stare decisis or precedent that judge, justice is simply out of arguments? He went on to say they are just waving the white flag.
WILLIAMS: So Justice Thomas is one that I won't pretend to understand his thought process because there've been a number of things that he's said that is not in line with the mainstream of this country and where we should be going and giving people more rights in this country, not fewer.
What I know as of today is that women now are going to have fewer rights than their parents, their grandparents. And so we have an obligation to step up and take decisive measures as a legislative body in this country.
I've introduced a resolution so that we are affirming that women and doctors should not be criminalized for seeking abortion care in this country.
And we've already passed the Women's Health Protection Act. It awaits the Senate. And we don't have the vote to get it done. We saw that just this week. So today is also about raising our voices and making sure that we continue to mobilize for these midterm elections.
WHITFIELD: Is it your hope that these rallies, these marches could be potentially influential to the U.S. Supreme Court since this was a draft and is it your hope that potentially it will influence their decisions before a final? Or do you believe this movement is symbolic of something else?
WILLIAMS: I think we're looking towards the midterms. We understand that elections have consequences. That's what got us into this predicament. And we have elections on the ballot. We have U.S. Senate races. We have every United States Congress race and the state house races across the country that are going to be determining our access to autonomy over our bodies.
So we have an obligation to continue to do this through the midterm elections and elect leaders that are truly going to represent us.
WHITFIELD: And speaking of this election year upcoming November, now we're seeing former president, Donald Trump who has been campaigning for David Perdue who is seeking the gubernatorial spot. The incumbent Bryan Kemp is getting support from the former vice president, Pence. What does this mean for the landscape particularly for Democrat, Stacy Abrams, who you are helping to support across the state? How does the campaigning of the former White House for different candidates. How might that be influential?
WILLIAMS: So right now, while they are in the middle of their family feud and trying to figure it out, Stacy Abrams is out talking to every voter, every corner of every county in the state of Georgia because she truly represents one Georgia. She is working to make sure that we can all have a better life while they're feuding with each other on who can be Donald Trump's best friend.
WHITFIELD: All right. Good luck today as you head out to the rally here in Atlanta. And of course, there's some 200 across the country coast to coast.
WILLIAMS: Big day.
WHITFIELD: Yes, big day. Congresswoman Nikema Williams, thanks so much.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Good to see you. And glad to see you in person after these many years during this pandemic. Of course, we're still in the middle of but we are safely at a distance here and now in the same studio.
WILLIAMS: And tested negative.
WHITFIELD: Excellent. Thank you so much.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Good to see you.
All right. still ahead, a GOP senate delegation makes an unannounced visit to Ukraine and meets with President Zelenskyy. We're live in Kyiv, next.
WHITFIELD: All right. We have some breaking news out of Ukraine. A U.S. congressional delegation led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell makes an unannounced visit to Kyiv where they met with President Zelenskyy, as you see there. Zelenskyy said the visit is, I'm quoting now, "a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine from the United States Congress and the American people," unquote.
CNN's Melissa Bell is in Kyiv. So Melissa, any details emerging from that meeting?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know exactly when this congressional visit happened, Fredricka. Just that the video has just been made available where you see, as you said, the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell leading that Republican congressional delegation to meet with President Zelenskyy.
WHITFIELD: A visit that he posted Telegram he particularly appreciated in the context of that $40 million aid package currently being held up in the Senate by Senator Rand Paul. The expectation, of course, is Fredricka that given the bipartisan support it has, it will get through. The question is when and how long is it going to take for that to happen.
So I think a strong signal being sent by those senators coming all the way to Kyiv, meeting with President Zelenskyy of their support. And that's what he expressed his thanks for in that Telegram post saying that it spoke to him of the strong bipartisan support there was and that this was greatly appreciated by the Ukrainian people who really appreciated that support for the democratic values of Ukraine and their fight for their country.
Now, of course, as I mentioned, it is that question of time. This is a $40 billion aid package that Ukraine desperately needs for its fight on the front line but also for humanitarian reasons. And the time is what's running out here in Ukraine.
That's very much the sense of what Ukrainians are wanting to tell us and Ukrainian officials have been telling us these last few days, both on the battle front and for the civilians that are still looking to get more help.
WHITFIELD: So Melissa, the siege of this steal plant in Mariupol, I mean that continues. And the families of those still trapped, the Ukrainians are trapped inside are making a desperate plea to get their loved ones out.
And many of them include injured soldiers, right. Those who have been in the fight but might still be injured. What have the family members been telling you?
BELL: It's a desperately sad story, Fredricka. You're talking about several hundred very young Ukrainian fighters who have been holed up in the steelworks in Mariupol and that are currently facing dire situation, medically, in a humanitarian level.
We've been getting fresh details of what exactly the conditions in which they're living because of course, communications are so infrequent. It's really hard to get through to them, for the families. And they've been making these desperate pleas.
We understand that there are many hundreds of these fighters now who are so desperately wounded. We're talking about legs having been amputated, arms having been amputate with no more medical supplies with which to provide them with any relief and dwindling food supplies.
What the relatives have been telling us is that they believe that they only have about another week to live if they are not helped.
Have a listen to what one mother, Tanya, whose 21 years son she has not seen since the month of February. She last heard from him on May 9th when he called her for mothers' day. And this is what she had to tell us a short while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TANYA VYCHNYK, MOTHER OF AZOV SOLDIER: I have a strong tie with him. I always feel when he calls, I know I shouldn't be saying anything because it's hard for him and I keep silent. When he wants to say something, he does.
It is holiday. They are in the real hell. They deserve to stand on the surface of the earth and see the sun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: Desperately sad words and a lot of tears today at that press conference that was held by those families who are making a desperate appeal. They've tried the Turkish president. They've now turned to Xi Jinping, the Chinese president to try and intervene to help their children get home, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Oh, me God. It's horrible suffering. All right. Melissa Bell, in Kyiv, thank you so much.
Ukrainian forces are pressing ahead with a counter offensive in the north eastern region of Kharkiv despite efforts by Russia to stop Ukraine's advance as Russian forces pull back, at least three bridges were demolished. Bridges that would have been key to Ukraine's counter offensive.
And you can also see the satellite images showing the sections where the bridges collapsed.
Let's bring in now former secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus. Good to see you, secretary.
So will the destruction of these bridges stall or stop Ukrainian counter offensive?
RAY MABUS, FORMER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: It will certainly slow it down. But what it also shows is the Russians have not been destroying infrastructure like bridges because they wanted to use them for their instant needs. And this shows that the Russians are in a purely defensive posture that they are digging in trying not to be overrun and that the Ukrainians have the offensive.
It will slow it down but the Ukrainians know this area really well. They've been fighting around this area for a long time. And I suspect they'll figure out -- they're pretty agile that they'll figure out ways to get around this. WHITFIELD: Does it -- you know, a simpler way of putting it too -- does it make you think that the Russians are running scared at that juncture?
MABUS: I think the Russians are running a different mind set because when they came in and even when they reset to eastern Ukraine, it was all about going on the offensive, taking land, destroying things in Ukraine. And now it's about protecting what they have. It's not about going on the offensive anymore.
And it may be part of this settling into a much more grinding war and how much longer this will (INAUDIBLE) which means that things like artillery that we're supplying them that the U.S. supplying them become that much more important.
WHITFIELD: So Ukraine also says that it destroyed two pontoon bridges over a strategic river crossing in eastern Ukraine and is inflicting heavy losses on Russian forces. So how much of a set back potentially is this for Russia's plans in the east?
MABUS: It's a devastating defeat for Russia. It shows that even though this landscape should favor the Russians with their heavy armor, their heavier weapons that Ukrainians are using natural obstacles like this Severodonetsk (ph) River where these pontoon bridges were put across to stymie the Russians.
It also shows that HAT the Russian military hasn't learned many lessons because more than 70 armored vehicles were destroyed here when the pontoon bridge was taken down and up to more than 1,000 Russian troops are potentially casualties there.
Crossing the river on the pontoon bridge in the best of circumstances is a hard thing but this shows how little discipline the Russian have to put that many vehicles that close.
And finally I think it shows the pressure that the Russian military leadership is under to try to make some gains in eastern Ukraine to try to -- they're trying to encircle the Ukrainian army and so far they have just failed miserably in doing that.
WHITFIELD: Ukraine also says that a -- talk about another setback, you know, Russian logistics ship in the Black Sea, that it caught fire and had to return to port. It didn't claim direct responsibility but that was certainly the implication being made by Ukraine. So how meaningful is that in this whole theater of war?
MABUS: It's pretty astounding that the Russia navy is losing to a country that basically has no navy. The ship that you're talking about, the Bobrov is a brand new ship. It was delivered in August of last year. It's a supply ship. It's not warship but it speaks to Ukraine's ability to attack Russian ships wherever they are in the Black Sea. You add that together with the sinking of the Moskov, they sunk three raptor class patrol boats. They sank a landing craft early in the war and it damaged another one. So I think that overall, the meaning is two things. One is an amphibious assault on the critical port of Odessa is probably not in the cards. Those things are hard to do. And they Ukrainians have shown that they can strike the Russian seagoing services pretty directly.
But -- and it shows that the Russians are pulling back their bigger ships, their warships to try to get them out of range. So that limits what those ships can do. It also limits now that the Bobrov has been attacked and set on fire, it limits how much supplies can come in.
But on the flipside, the bad news is the Russians still have a blockade in ports around Odessa. And that they don't have to be very close to do that. They've got mines. They've got other means for reinforcing that against merchant ships. And that means Ukraine cannot be resupplied by sea but it also means that Ukrainian exports of particularly grain can't get out. And that's beginning to loom as a food crisis for the entire world if that's not happening.
MABUS: And the E.U. is helping, beginning to help trying to get that going now in other ways. Non governmental organizations like Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen are helping not only feed people but trying to help feed the world with Ukrainian grain. But this can be a real crisis.
And this is Putin's attack on the world food supply just like it was Putin's gas price hike.
WHITFIELD: Yes. All right. This food crisis and this conflict all being elongated it certainly sounds.
Former secretary of the U.S. Navy, Ray Mabus always good to see you. Thank you so much.
We'll be right back.
MABUS: Thank you, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
A Moscow court has decided to hold U.S. Olympic basketball champion Brittney Griner in Russia for another month. Griner, a player for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury was arrested at a Moscow airport in February and accused by Russian authorities of trying to smuggle hash oil.
She made a rare court appearance, there you see her right there in court, Friday as the U.S. announced she was wrongfully detained in Russia.
CNN's Coy Wire has more.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Fred, one week after the WNBA season tipped off without superstar Brittney Griner, with teams putting her initials on the courts to show their support, the situation has worsened. We're seeing the first images of the two-time Olympic champ since her initial booking photo following her arrest in Russia 86 days ago, in handcuffs, hood over head.
A Russian court ruled yesterday that she will now be detained until at least June 18th. White House press secretary Jen Psaki quick to remind everyone where they stand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The Russian system wrongfully detained Miss Griner. We take our responsibility to assist U.S. citizens seriously and we will continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for all U.S. citizens when they are subject to legal processes overseas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Now the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement to CNN, that Griner's detention is based on objective facts and evidence, caught red handed while trying to smuggle hash oil which is a crime in Russia.
Griner's agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas saying quote, "Regardless of Russian legal proceedings, Brittney Griner has been officially designated as wrongfully detained by the U.S. government. We expect the White House to use all options to bring her home immediately and safely," unquote.
Her fellow WNBA players, friends, family, especially her wife, Fred, still waiting to find out when they will be able see her again. If convicted, she could face up to ten years in prison.
WHITFIELD: Absolutely heartbreaking.
Coy Wire, thank you so much.
Coming up, we'll take you to Pennsylvania where the Republican Senate primary is heating up. A last minute surge by one candidate is causing an unexpected shift in the race. More on that, next.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.
With just three days until voters head to the polls for Pennsylvania's primary election, the race for the Republican Senate nominee has become an unexpected three-way race.
CNN's Dan Merica joins us now from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. So Dan, with the election just a few days away, a whole lot of excitement. But then where does this race stand?
DAN MERICA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. It's a wide open contest. As you know, a Fox News poll put out this week showed the top three candidates: David McCormick, a former hedge fund manager; Dr. Oz, the celebrity doctor; and then Kathy Barnette, the somewhat unexpected conservative candidate all within one another within the margins of each other. Really a three-person race with a whole lot of undecided voters which makes this wide open and really puts a lot of pressure on the last final days of campaigning here in the commonwealth.
It is somewhat unexpected that Kathy Barnette jumped like this. I caught up with David McCormick yesterday actually and he admitted -- he's new to politics but he didn't see this coming.
But the reason that she's jumped is largely because of the way McCormick and Oz have run their campaigns. They have spent millions of dollars and along with their super PACs attacking one another, focused on each other, making this a two person race and really allowing someone like Barnette who has run, focused more on the GOP grassroots going to events that Oz and McCormick just didn't show up at and has really gone untested and unvetted for months now allowing her to somewhat come up the middle and surprised both of these candidates.
Now Barnette will hold an event behind me here in Bucks County. We have just been told actually press is not going to be allowed into that event. But to really speak to how fractious and intra party fighting this race has become, you know, Donald Trump endorsed Mastriano (ph) who Barnette will campaign with today. In that endorsement Trump also mentioned Dr. Oz who he endorsed in the Senate primary ignoring the fact that Mastriano his GOP candidate pick is actually campaigning with Barnette here in Pennsylvania today.
It is going be a wild next few days here in Pennsylvania, Fred.
WHITFIELD: A wild ride. All right. Dan Merica, thank you so much.
We're continuing to monitor more than 200 planned events today across all 50 states. They're in response to a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would strike down Roe versus Wade. Hundreds of thousands of abortion rights supporters are expected to join in as part of this national bans off our bodies rallies.
We'll bring you the very latest as they get underway. You're looking at live pictures out of Washington D.C. and just moments ago, you also saw live pictures out of Pasadena, California. We're continuing to monitor for you.
But first this week's "Taking Care Of Business".
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are brother and sister team. Obviously known her all my life.
FRANKI SANTI, CO FOUNDER EOLA PETS: We're in the most fun industry in the world, the pet industry.
Eola Pets is a pet community in downtown Orlando. Eola Pets was founded in 2016. Our family is from Puerto Rico. So our parents actually have their own doggy hotel and dog grooming business. Our services include dog walking, in-home pet sitting and training and bathing services. We have our retail store. We also have our online platform.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2020 we had to scramble and we were nervous about our staff, our business.
SANTI: My mom actually gave me some really great advice. She said don't make long-term decisions based on short-term problems.
We turned to our clients and asked them what they needed. Everybody was home and so were their dogs. We started the Amigos Pack Walk, it is great socialization for all of our dog clients. Honestly our best service since we opened.
In 2021 we reached numbers we definitely never thought we would. Inclusivity is a huge value in our business.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We make really great efforts to hire very diverse people. We don't want you to have to change.
SANTI: This year we're actually expanding our bakery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, the cookies and the cakes are actually customizable. We ask what colors you like and what phrase you would like to put on them.
SANTI: I think the future of our business has a lot of expansion. We love to help other small businesses. I want people to know it's possible.