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Pennsylvania's GOP Primary Close Tight; John Fetterman Recovers from the Hospital; Madison Cawthorn Conceded His Defeat; Midterm Election a Test to Trump's Grip; Donald Trump Wants a Loyalist Candidate; A Huge Defeat for Russians in Luhansk Region; Ukrainians Rescued but Taken into Russian Territory; President Biden Condemns Terrorism Attacks. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 18, 2022 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching election night in America. CNN special coverage of the midterm primaries.

And I'm Rosemary Church.

We are closely watching the most important election night in the U.S. so far this year. These five states are holding critical primaries, some of which have been filled with intrigue and suspense. The results of these elections will of course decide which candidates appear on state ballots in the November midterms.

And, those results, in turn, will determine whether Democrats lose their razor thin majority in the House and Senate. Tonight's votes, while local, are also considered a referendum on the performance of U.S. President Joe Biden and the test of former president, Donald Trump's grip on the Republican Party.

Well, the nail-biter of the night the Republican Senate showdown in the swing state of Pennsylvania which is still too close to call. Trump's pick, celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz was considered the front runner in what became a three-way contest. Oz is now neck and neck with retired hedge fund executive Dave McCormick. Conservative, Kathy Barnette who picked up a lot of momentum in recent days is now no longer in contention.

Oz and McCormick address their supporters earlier. Take a listen.


DAVE MCCORMICK (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Unfortunately, we are not going to have resolution tonight. But we can see the path ahead. We can see victory ahead, and it's not because of you.

MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: We are making up a ferocious charge. But when it's this close, what else would you expect? Everything about this campaign has been tight.


CHURCH: And on the Democratic side, CNN projects John Fetterman will get the Senate -- Senate nod despite an astonishing setback. Pennsylvania's lieutenant government suffered a stroke last week and just had surgery to install a pacemaker with a defibrillator.

Earlier, Fetterman's wife thanked supporters of their election night headquarters, she says her husband is resting at the hospital and is on track for a full recovery.

So, I want to bring in CNN political commentator, Charlie Dent, who is a former U.S. Republican representative from Pennsylvania and Democratic strategist, Caroline Heldman who joins us from Los Angeles. Good to see you both.



CHURCH: All right, let's start then with the race that's too close to call in the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary, where Trump endorsed candidate Mehmet Oz is locked in a tight race with Dave McCormick.

Charlie, I want to go to you. Is Oz or McCormick in a better position to take on Democratic John Fetterman? And how nervous would Trump be right now with his kingmaker status being put to the test?

DENT: Well, in my, view I think that -- I think that Dave McCormick would actually be a better candidate in the general election against John Fetterman. Because I think that Dave McCormick's profile, West Point, you know, army during the Gulf War, Bush treasury administration, you know, successful businessman, Pittsburgh, Bloomsburg where he's from in Pennsylvania.

He, I think he would play much better in the suburbs relative to John Fetterman in the Philadelphia, in particular, I think he would draw a very nice contrast. And I think that he would win this race. The win would be at his back. I think Oz could win too, but I think he prevents a greater challenge for Republicans against Fetterman.

So, I think it's a very winnable -- it's a very winnable race for Republicans right now.

CHURCH: Right, and Caroline, whichever GOP candidate wins Oz or McCormick, they will go up against John Fetterman, of course who easily won his primary race despite his health issues. How will Fetterman likely go up against either one of these two GOP candidates in the November midterms?

And you know, we have to consider his health situation here as well, but what about in terms of support for him?

HELDMAN: Well, it's hard to say how the health issue will play eight months from now, which is an eternity in political races. I agree with Charlie that either of these candidates in the Republican side would be very competitive with John Fetterman. But he has crafted himself as a man of the people. He is six foot eight. So, he is this looming presidency. He wears shorts.


He's, you know, an understated outsider and he has cast himself as being authentic. The question of course about his health this a pretty routine procedure. So, I imagine that it won't play that big of a role in eight months.

But I think that if you're Mitch McConnell and you're looking at the Senate races and the two that, you know, are going to be highly competitive in North Carolina and in Pennsylvania, you are just really happy that it's Dr. Oz and it's McCormick who are the final two here and not Kathy Barnette who is more of a wild card who's been criticized in some of Islamophobic tweets.

So, it's definitely a good night for Republicans that these are the two front runners. It's going to be a very tight race in November.

CHURCH: All right, and of course we do have a lot to cover, so I just want the panel to stand by for a moment. We will get back to you.

The Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor will be Trump backed Doug Mastriano. The state senator is a champion of the big lie that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. And if Mastriano becomes governor in November, he will have control over the states' electors in the 2024 presidential election.

Now, his Democratic opponent has already called him a dangerous extremist who would restrict the vote and spread conspiracy theories. Take a listen.


DOUG MASTRIANO (R), PENNSYLVANIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: They like to call people who stand on the Constitution far-right and extreme. I repudiate that. That is crap.


MASTRIANO: That is absolutely not true. Actually, their party which the media stands for and advocate for, they've gone extreme. So, on day one, any mandates are gone. On day one, any jabs for job requirements are gone. On day one, CRT is over.


CHURCH: CRT of course stands for critical race theory which focuses on historical patterns of racism and how they affect minorities.

So, let's bring the panel back in because of course this was a big win for Donald Trump in Pennsylvania's GOP governors race with this pick, Doug Mastriano we just heard there, coming out on top. But Charlie, could Mastriano end up being more of a liability here for

the party with his support of Trump's big lie, and of course his other extreme views when he goes up against Democrat Josh Shapiro in November?

DENT: Yes, Doug Mastriano's nomination tonight is a catastrophe for Republicans in November. One thing I can predict right now is that neither, whoever is the Senate nominee is, whether it's McCormick or Oz, they will not be standing anywhere near Doug Mastriano at all between now and the November election.

They will not want anything to do with him. I don't see any path forward for Mastriano to win. You just saw in that clip you showed us that, you know, he doesn't have the capacity to pivot to a general election message. He has to moderate, and he simply incapable of it.

Josh Shapiro is very strong in the Philadelphia region. And in particularly in the Philadelphia suburbs, he would have to, Mastriano would have to make inroads. I just don't see how we can do it. I think a lot of swing voting Republicans and independents will defect and support Shapiro.

So, I just don't see the path forward. And it's the sad thing is the Republican Party of Pennsylvania really nothing to prevent this from happening. They didn't start panicking until five days ago to try to condition the field and shape the field.

Obviously, this is supposed to be done months ago. But they didn't, they played Switzerland, they've abdicated their leadership responsibilities and did nothing. And so, and they wouldn't put their thumb on the scale, they left it to Donald Trump. And of course, he put his whole butt on the scale for Mastriano at the end here.

Just, look, Trump, this is going to Mastriano and so Trump just kind of jumped on at the end, really putting the screws to Lou Barletta, the congressman who was one of his earliest supporters for president. So, there was no loyalty here from President Trump to Lou Barletta.

But bottom line is, Trump may notch a victory here in the primary. But he just cost the Republicans a seat. They've cost Republicans a seat or the governorship of Pennsylvania which is really too bad.

CHURCH: Right, it is an extraordinary pick, isn't it? And Caroline, I mean, just in case, I mean, the worry for Democrats is that if Mastriano were to win in November against Josh Shapiro and become the governor of Pennsylvania, he would have control over the state's electors in the 2024 presidential election. How big a concern is that? Or are people pretty much wiping him out as any possibility?


HELDMAN: Well, I don't -- I agree with Charlie. I don't think he has a possibility of winning because this is truly is a purple state. And, Mastriano led the efforts to overturn the free and fair election last time around. He was also there for the violent insurrection. He said that he left before the violence actually have been in Washington, D.C. I'm sure more information will come out about that now that he has a laser focus on hand his candidacy.

But it's also about abortion. Right? This is the governor in a state where that is still on the table with Republican legislators. So, I think the most pressing issue is the big lie, abortion, they really disadvantage this Republican candidate come November. And I agree with Charlie that Trump really did cost the Republicans a gubernatorial election for Pennsylvania tonight.

CHURCH: All right. There's another part to this, of course, North Carolina, Congressman Madison Cawthorn has lost his reelection bid. The freshman Republican lawmaker conceded the primary to his opponent, State Senator Chuck Edwards.

Once thought of as a rising star Cawthorn repeatedly found himself mired in scandals and controversy. Voters don't appear to have followed former President Donald Trump's urging though to give Cawthorn a second chance. Chuck Edwards will now be the Republican nominee to fill that House seat in the general election. He praised Cawthorn while describing the concession call he received.


CHUCK EDWARDS (R), NORTH CAROLINA HOUSE CANDIDATE: Just as I suspected he was a -- he presented himself in very classy and humble way and offered his support to our campaign in absolutely anyway that we could use him. And I'm extremely, extremely pleased that we were able to end this contest on that note.


CHURCH: Al right, let's go back to our panel now. Not great news for Donald Trump in the North Carolina House primary with this endorsed candidate, Madison Cawthorn conceding to Chuck Edwards. Pretty early in the night, in fact, after Republicans turned on Cawthorn in response to that very long list of embarrassing missteps.

But as we mentioned, Trump doubled down on his support for Cawthorn, even calling on voters and the party to give him a second chance. So, he certainly shares in this big loss. Doesn't he, Charlie?

DENT: Well, yes, he does. But on a very human level, this young man, Madison Cawthorn he's seen to be in crisis. He's struggling and is engage in self-destruction behavior. Of course, he should not be in the U.S. Congress. But I hope this young man gets the help he needs. He dealt with a very serious accident years ago. And his behavior has just been so bizarre that, you know, on a human level, I just hope that his family and his friends, you know, help this young man.

But you know, he can't deal with this while he's in Congress. I'm really pleased that he was defeated. But again, on a human level I just feel that this man needs a lot of attention.

CHURCH: Yes, and of course, all of those missteps playing out so publicly. Caroline, what is your response to the hit Trump endorsement power took from this loss specifically? HELDMAN: Well, it's interesting. Trump's endorsements is on counting

the big ones in the last couple of weeks. Eight endorsements, five appeared to be winning. But, you know, as Charlie pointed out, he would jump in late when he wants a win. In this particular case, you know, Madison Cawthorn was going down for the Republican Party. Used him as an example of what happens when you're out of steps in terms of your behavior.

I mean, he accused members of the party of having orgies and snorting cocaine. Also, he was out of step policy wise. He went against most members of the Republican Party in the Congress in supporting Ukraine. He spoke up publicly against Zelenskyy.

And so, this is, you know, a lesson of what happens. And it doesn't matter what party it is. This is what happens when you go up against your party. And they very carefully planned, as Cawthorn called it a drip campaign against him where we saw some really terrible behavior. Yes, self-destructive. He has, you know, imploded his political career, his life path in the last couple of years and it's happened in a very public way.

I think empathy is a good response. But also, you know, this is someone who should not hold public office in the Republican Party has essentially taken him out of public office.

CHURCH: Yes, just extraordinary, isn't it? Caroline Heldman, Charlie Dent, many thanks to you both for being our panel. We appreciate it.

DENT: Thank you.

HELDMAN: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, razor-thin margins in a key race that could shape the U.S. Senate. We will break down the Pennsylvania race for the Republican Senate nominee as our U.S. midterm primary coverage continues. Do stay with us. Back in just a moment.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, more now on our top story, Tuesday's U.S. midterm election primaries. The critical Republican primary in Pennsylvania for Senate is still too close to call. Trump backed celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz is facing off against former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and conservative activist Kathy Barnette. Both Oz and McCormick address their supporters earlier with each of them predicting victory once the votes are counted.

Well, CNN senior political analyst John Avlon has now -- has more now on the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Here's what's happening. Oz seems to be gaining in some of these counties, suburban Philadelphia Bucks County in particular where his headquarters is. So, he's making some incremental gains. He is switched to momentum into the poll position.


But really, we're talking 1,000 votes here. Here is the major x-factor to pay attention to, though. Lancaster County, OK, right this you see Kathy Barnette in first place, McCormick second, the key issue to watch here. This is getting into the weeds but this is what we're doing at this time of the hour.

It's 7,000 outstanding votes that are going to have to re-process. They were primarily mail-in votes. McCormick could have a real edge in that. So it's one more reason why this thing is far from over. And it could be not hours, but days because we are well within recount territory.

Now I want to bring your attention to a Democratic race, not a lot of them going on right now. But this House race in Oregon is really key. Take a look at this House race for district five in Oregon. OK? You say, why are we paying attention to this? That's because here you've got a centrist incumbent, Kurt Schrader, endorsed by the President of the United States.

Right now, 40 percent in. He is being beaten handily by a progressive candidate, Jamie Mcleod-Skinner who he outspent six to one. This is partly the perils of redistricting. It's a more liberal district than it was when he'd been held it in the past. And he's held this since 2009.

But this is the president's prestige on the line, a lot of money coming in for Schrader. Right now, progressives in a poll position in Oregon five. So it's a reminder that the center is under attack in both parties right now. This is a cautionary sign for some Democrats.


CHURCH: Our thanks to John Avlon there. Our election night coverage of the U.S. midterm resumes in just a moment. Coming up, we will have the latest and key races to watch, and how they might shape control of Congress. Those stories and more when we return.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, we are following the closest primary contest in the U.S. right now. The Pennsylvania Republican race for a U.S. Senate seat.


MCCORMICK: We love you. We're going to take back the state. We're going to take back this country, and it's because of you.

OZ: When all the votes are tallied, I'm confident we will win. (CROWD CHEERING)


CHURCH: Those two men are separated by a razor-thin margin as you can see. The former hedge fund executive Dave McCormick trails former TV Dr. Mehmet Oz by less than 3,000 votes. Oz is backed by former President Donald Trump.

Now whichever Republican wins, they will face Democrat John Fetterman. Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor in November's general election.

CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, he's going to join me now from Los Angeles. So, we'll take a closer look at all of this. Always great to have you with us.


CHURCH: So, let's start with that very tight race in the Pennsylvania Senate primary where Trump endorsed candidate Mehmet Oz fighting for the lead against Dave McCormick. Whoever wins of course will go up against Democrat John Fetterman, who enjoyed an easy win despite his health issues.


CHURCH: How do you expect this to play out? And what could it mean for November, do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, several, several points. First, this is an absolutely indispensable race for Democrats in November. You know, midterm elections through American history are tough for the party holding the White House, or especially when the president's rating is depressed as Joe Biden's is now.

And that means Democrats are going to be on the defensive in most places in November. They have four Senate incumbents who are facing very tough races in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire, and potentially even Colorado.

In this environment, Rosemary, it's hard to imagine they're going to win all of those races, which means if they have any real chance of holding the Senate, it will require them to win Pennsylvania, which is their best chance to pick up a seat now held by Republicans. Pat Toomey, the incumbent Republican is retiring. This is going to be a close race.

As I think Alice said before in an earlier segment, you know, Pennsylvania is a very close state. And against either McCormick or Oz, it is going to, I think be a close contest. But most Democrats think they probably have a better chance of beating Oz who is vulnerable on a lot of different fronts, including being kind of a carpetbagger coming back to the states, flip-flopping on a lot of issues. McCormick might be tougher as a general election candidate, but

Fetterman is such an unusual profile, a kind of a blue-collar populist, a big guy that he -- the matchups are hard to predict with him than they might be with a more conventional candidate.

CHURCH: Yes, understood. And Ron, the GOP primary races offer an opportunity, of course, to assess Trump's endorsement power.


CHURCH: And we saw the former president enjoy a big win in Pennsylvania's GOP governor's primary race where Doug Mastriano came out on top. But will Mastriano's extreme right wing views and of course he supported Trump's big election lie help or hinder him in November when he goes against Democrat Josh Shapiro? What do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, yes, first of all, I think the issue of who Trump endorsed is probably less revealing of where the Republican Party is going than the question of which candidates endorsed Trump. Right? I mean, Trump's own personal scorecard tonight was kind of mixed. Mastriano won the governor primary in Pennsylvania. His candidate won the Senate primary in North Carolina.


But he did not, his preferred candidate did not oust the incumbent governor in Idaho. And obviously, as we're saying in Pennsylvania Senate race is photo finish toss-up.

Yet, what I think is more revealing is how many candidates tried to wrap themselves in the manner of Trump. Even David McCormick, who is now in this neck and neck race with Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Trump called him a liberal Wall Street Republican. And yesterday, he went on Breitbart radio, which is a very conservative web site, and spent half an hour praising President Trump, describing himself, essentially, as a warrior for the American first agenda and promising to go to Washington to uphold that.

I mean, that sort of thing is what we are seeing. It's that the Trump wing of the party is clearly the dominant wing in these primaries, as it was in Ohio, and North Carolina, Pennsylvania. But one impact of that is your question about Mastriano. This is a very good environment for Republicans. There are going to be Trump endorsed candidates who are going to win in November.

But it's also possible that people who he had picked will be too extreme even for this climate and this environment. There's that risk in Georgia, there's a risk in Arizona, and there is certainly that risk in Pennsylvania with Mastriano who is not only an election denier and someone who wants to repeal the state law, allowing mail balloting on demand.

He is a candidate who wants to ban abortion in six weeks without exception for rape and incest. And that is a, I think a very tough proposition to sell in a truly purple state like Pennsylvania. CHURCH: Yes, good point. And bad news, of course, for Donald Trump in

the North Carolina GOP, House primary race.


CHURCH: Where he has endorsed candidate Madison Cawthorn lost to Chuck Edwards due to a very long list of embarrassing missteps. Why do you think Trump doubled down on his support for Cawthorn, even calling for him to be given a second chance? And how does all of this reflect back on Trump?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Look, I think Trump, you know, Trump's choices are idiosyncratic and based on his sense of personal loyalty to him. Plus, he definitely has an affinity for celebrity. I mean, why did they pick Oz in Pennsylvania as someone who is, you know, until recently expressed liberal views on a whole lot of social issues that are important to the Trump base?

I think, you know, Trumpism, for Trump, loyalty is a one-way street. And candidates who he thinks are loyal to him, he is going -- he is going to endorse. He is not really about maximizing the party's chances in November. He is about maximizing his personal control over the party.

And I think, you know, the part that can get lost in all of this is that whatever happens to Trump's personal influence, the value of his personal stamp of approval in the party, Trumpism is consolidating its advantage among Republicans in the Republican primary electorate in the season.

You see the remnants of the conservative opposition to Trump. Essentially, Sarah Longwell one of the leaders tweeted the other day, you know, I used to think the party could be win from Trump or he could be excise from the party. I no longer believe that. It's metathesized across the party.

Trumpism is here to stay in the Republican Party. It has big implications for the competition with Democrats. It also has big implications for small d American democracy since so many of the candidates he is endorsing are essentially, not only election deniers in terms of 2020, but threatening to undermine the election of 2024.

CHURCH: Ron Brownstein, always great to get your analysis. Many thanks.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: One of Russia's worst defeats in Ukraine has turned into a tank graveyard. Coming up, CNN visits the aftermath of a failed bridge crossing. What the Ukrainians say was crucial to their victory. That's ahead.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Spurred on by Russia's war in Ukraine, Finland and Sweden are

one step closer to joining NATO. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that both countries have handed in their applications.

Now, this comes after Ukraine reported more missile strikes in the east. The town of Bakhmut came under attack on Tuesday, the Ukrainians say Russian strikes hit a five-story building and wounded a nine-year- old child. This was the scene as emergency crews race to save his life. Police say at least one person was killed.

Meanwhile, a retired Russian military officer is breaking ranks with the Kremlin on the war in Ukraine. Here is what he said on Russian state media.


MIKHAIL KHODARYONOK, RETIRED RUSSIAN DEFENSE COLUMNIST (through translator): I must say, let's not drink information tranquilizers. The situation for us will frankly get worst. The biggest flaw in our military and political situation is that we are in total geopolitical solitude. And the whole world is against us, even if we don't want to admit it.


CHURCH: CNN has visited the aftermath of what could be the most crushing defeat for Russia so far in this war. Sam Kiley reports from the Luhansk region after a failed river crossing. A warning though, some of his report is graphic.



SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The first signs of a Russian disaster, a Z mount Russian tank being salvaged by Ukrainian troops. A few days ago, this was the scene on the edge of these woods. Russian pontoon bridges and the ferocious Ukrainian artillery attack.

The Ukrainian commander with us cast an eye to the sky, looking for Russian drones. This is no place for complacency. Ukraine and NATO have claimed that Russia suffered badly here. They estimate 70 to 80 vehicles destroyed and a whole Russian battle group of a thousand men mold.

So, we are at the edge now of the area where the Russian armor was caught after it across the pontoon river. You can see down here there is a destroyed tank, next to it an armored personnel carrier, and if you look down the road here, you've got another armored personnel carrier, and another, and another.

The Ukrainians were able, they say due to their superior reconnaissance and intelligence to work out where the Russians were going to cross and then bring in devastating levels of artillery. And this is the result. This is only the edge of it. Russia has now shifted its attacks elsewhere, at least for now.

When you see this, how do you feel?

UNKNOWN (through translator): Super. Great, I understand that our artillery is working and our troops are working too because there is both artillery and ground fighting. The units in cooperation with other troops were pushing the enemy across the river on foot.

KILEY: Shattered Russian armor scattered along this path throughout the woodland. On the ground, we can't move forward. The track is mined, a real disaster for the Russians. But something that the Ukrainians are now seeing here that means that the pressure is up this particular front for now and that they believe that the Russians are focusing more of their efforts elsewhere.

Ukrainian soldiers pick over the debris of this victory. But the chilling truth is that many of their comrades have ended up like this. And while this is a success in the grinding war for Ukraine, Russia remains an immediate threat.

And they've asked us to get out of here with the military commander because they are worried that our cars are going to attract attention. And therefore, attracting coming -- this is still clearly an extremely active area.

And one, as it was for the Russians, that's a considerable relief to leave.

Sam Kiley, CNN, Bilohorivka.


CHURCH: Ukraine says evacuations are still underway for soldiers at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. But there is growing concerns about where things go from here. We know they are being taken to Russian control territory in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine says that was the only way to get them out, adding that officials are working on a prisoner exchange.

But, on Tuesday, Russia announced plans to interrogate the soldiers for alleged crimes against civilians. And a Russian lawmaker called them, quote, "Nazi criminals" who should not be exchanged. Casting doubt on whether Russia will actually agree to hand anyone over.

Still, in his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said negotiations are ongoing and called for continued pressure on Russia.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): The evacuation mission continues. And it's led by our military and intelligence, involving the most influential international mediators. We also spoke separately with the president of France about our European integration steps and considering Ukraine's application for E.U. candidate status. I continue to gather the largest possible international audience for Ukraine, support our state at all levels and put pressure on Russia, information pressure, diplomatic, as well as cultural is what we need.


CHURCH: And for more CNN's Suzanne Malveaux joins us now from Lviv. Good to see you, Suzanne. So, what more are you learning about the situation right now in the city of Mariupol? And of course, evacuations at the steel plant there?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, of course that's a great deal of concern in terms of what happens to those now prisoners, those Ukrainian soldiers who spent weeks inside of that steel plant without food, water, supplies. Many of them severely wounded.

We just saw yesterday, about 250 in those buses, those convoy of buses that left. They are now in a Russian prison in a town of Orlivka. And essentially, their fate is uncertain at this time.

We did hear from the president, the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy trying to offer some sort of support and some comfort to his people and particularly, the families of those now prisoners in terms of where they go from now.


But there is a process that he says that they will have international mediators involved in the transportation and looking over what the status and the future of those very severely wounded, about 50 or so, those would be intended to be swapped for Russian prisoners of war.

And so, that is the process that they are going with. We've also heard from the Russians who have expressed a great deal of concern. And really, some doubt whether or not some of those would be passing this investigative process.

They say they have a committee that will move forward to see their crimes that they have been committed they say, against the Russian friendly folks who have been in that Donbas region.

CHURCH: And Suzanne, what is the latest on fighting in the east in the Donetsk region and of course, near the city of Kharkiv?

MALVEAUX: Well, Ukrainian officials say that it has intensified. As you know it's been weeks now that the Russians have controlled about 90 percent of that region. And what they're trying to do is essentially, just roll through the Ukrainian defense line. And so, they have escalated the air attacks in that area.

Ukrainian officials say now 15 helicopters, the Russians are using to push forward and just keep the pressure forward. If they were able to do that in the days or weeks to come, it would severely Ukrainian military forces quite vulnerable from three different directions. And so, this is something that the Russians have decided that they are going to put more firepower behind. It is an effort that has escalated in the days, at least according to Ukrainian officials.

And so, they are trying to push back as hard as they can. And north of Kharkiv, that's another area that we're watching very, very closely as Russian forces continue to engage in these small villages on the border. And that is essentially meant to distract these Ukrainian military on those border missions, those skirmishes, if you will, and keep it from the main battle that is taking place in the east. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Right. Suzanne Malveaux joining us from Lviv in Ukraine. Many thanks. And do stay safe.

All right. Back here in the United States, an emotional day in Buffalo, New York where U.S. President Joe Biden met with grief- stricken families days after 10 people were killed in a hate fueled racist shooting. Mr. Biden and the first lady paying their respects and leaving flowers for the victims of Saturday's shooting at a supermarket, targeted police say because it was in a predominantly black neighborhood.

The president called the mass shooing of domestic terrorism, and condemned the racist ideology of the suspected shooter.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Jill and I bring you this message from deep in our nation's soul. In America, evil will not win. I promise you. Hate will not prevail. And white supremacy, will not have the last word. White supremacy is a poison. It's a poison.


CHURCH: Those comments coming as we learned troubling new details about the 18-year-old suspected shooter. He legally obtained an AR-15 style rifle. Believed to be the same weapon he described modifying in a racist statement posted online before the attack.

Law enforcement officials say they appeared to be no red flags that would have prevented him from obtaining the three guns found in his possession. Last year, he held -- he had a mental health evaluation, but it did not rise to the level of legal concern.

And in a statement to CNN, the communication service Discord says, the suspect made his online chat logs visible to some people about 30 minutes before the shooting began.

Well, the man accused of opening fire inside a church in Laguna Woods, California now faces 10 charges including murder in the first degree. Sixty-eight-year-old David Chou appeared in court Tuesday via an audio feed at an arraignment that has now been continued until June 10th. He was denied bail.

At least one person was killed, and five others injured in the shooting on Sunday. Investigators have said they believe the shooting was likely politically motivated with the suspect upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan.

One of the latest tests of the power of Donald Trump endorsement is still too close to call. We will update you on the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania. That's next.



CHURCH: More now on the tight race to determine the Republican nominee for a Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Trump backed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz is neck and neck with former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. Conservative activist Kathy Barnette has also put in a strong showing but is out of contention now.

Whichever Republican wins will face off against Democrat John Fetterman in the general election who won his primary Tuesday night.


The November race could be one of the contests that determines which party controls the Senate.

Well, the U.S. Congress held its first public hearing on the subject of UFOs in decades on Tuesday. Long considered a fringe topic, officials are viewing it with new sense of urgency. The question isn't whether actually terrestrial life exists, but whether a foreign adversary like Russia or China was testing a new technology in American airspace.

Last, year the U.S. intelligence community released a report examining 144 cases of what are popularly referred to as UFOs. They were only able to explain one of them.

And thank you so much for spending part of your day with me. I'm Rosemary Church. The news continues after a short break.