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Biden Urges Oil Companies To Boost Supply, Slams High Profits; Consumers Pull Back Spending Due To High Gas & Food Prices; Western Intel: War At Pivotal Moment In Ukraine; Accused Buffalo Shooter Faces Federal Hate Crime, Gun Charges. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired June 15, 2022 - 13:30   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: A big decision from the Fed minutes from now to tackle inflation. It could announce the biggest interest hike in nearly 30 years.

Of course, the cost of gas is a key factor in all of this. We're talking more than $5 per gallon on average nationwide.

Now President Biden is putting big oil on notice. He sent a letter to seven major oil companies, including Shell, Exxon and B.P., demanding they boost supply.

CNN business editor-at-large, Richard Quest, joins us now.

Richard, great to see you.

The president is really trying to paint these oil companies as bad guys here. They are making huge profits. How much do they control the prices at the pump?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE & CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" That's a really good question. Because they do and they don't. And the amount of money they are making some will certainly see is obscene and unconscionable and needs to do something about it.

Look at the major profits from the major oil companies. You are talking about Shell, up 91 percent. Chevron up 300 percent. B.P. similarly large numbers, higher.

The reason, of course, is that so much of the oil price is basically set by the international markets. When you have tight supply, increasing demand at the moment, the war in Ukraine, and a variety of other factors on production, that's why the price is going up.

Now what can the oil companies do? Not a huge amount. They can produce more, but there's a whole lot of problems, which we can talk about why they can't suddenly ramp up.

One other point to remember in all of this, taxes. So, 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent of the price of gasoline heating oil, all the petroleum products goes to the federal government in the form of licensing, taxes, federal taxes, gasoline taxes.

So everybody is making a great deal of money out of this and the poor consumer is the one who is paying.

CABRERA: Right. Exactly.

We've reported that domestic oil production -- if it's a supply and demand issue, domestic oil production isn't as high as it was pre- pandemic. Why aren't these companies producing more oil right now?

QUEST: Two reasons. Firstly, they've shut down because of the pandemic. And secondly, they've shifted away from fossil fuel and refining because, of course, the future is clean energy.

Now we are turning around to those same companies saying, would you minds ramping up that nasty oil refinery that we actually asked to you close down or not do much with in the past.

The oil companies, and particularly the oil explorers, those who are digging and pulling out the non-traditional, the shale oil, they have been so badly burned in the past. Boom to bust. Price goes up, they all go in. The pace collapses, they go bankrupt.

So the industry overall is very shy about actually ramping up when there are so many other factors and actually the price could, could come down quite a bit. For instance, if the war in Ukraine came to an end.


One final point, of course, about this hole messy business, it is, we are hoping to move away from oil-based fossil fuel products in the future. And as long as that continues to be the dominant force, there's no reason to invest in more refineries.

CABRERA: I really appreciate that information.

Richard Quest, thanks so much.

Does all this have you worried about your finances?

I want to bring in Michelle Singletary, author of "What to Do with Your Money When Crisis Hits, A Survival Guide."

Michelle, that rings true. Right now, we are in one of those moments.

With the Feds about to raise interest rates, what should be at the top of our financial to-do list?

MICHELLE SINGLETARY, AUTHOR: Well, number-one job for you right now, if you have credit card debt, get rid of it. It will be more expensive with more rate hikes coming.

One expert suggested it might go as high as 20 percent on average for many credit card holders. So that means if you are rolling that balance from month to month, it will cost you more. CABRERA: And so, you know, there's paying that credit card debt down.

Do people need to be kind of stocking away savings right now or is that not -- I mean, a lot of people don't have that expendable income, I suppose?

SINGLETARY: Yes. You know, if you have room in your budget, definitely supersize your savings right now. We don't know a recession is coming. We know things are folky in the economy.

Right now, if you got some extra. You need to put that away. That might mean you not taking that vacation or put off that big renovation project that you have been dying to do, since we're all home and looking around at things to be done.

There are two parts of our economy. Those folks who are moaning and groaning but, honestly, you are OK.

Your retirement has bloomed tremendously over the last two years. You were working at home so you weren't spending. Maybe you've got some stimulus money and you didn't need it.

I'm going to need you to calm down and stop acting like the sky is falling.

But then there are other folks who were hurting before the pandemic. They were hurt during the pandemic.

And right now, higher gas prices, higher foods, higher rent, could be they can't put food on the table or they got to cut some meals. Those are the folks that we need to be concentrating on.

And I've been encouraging people, you know, if you can have someone come live with you, come live with you. If you come out of school, go home and stay.


SINGLETARY: I have three adults in my house. And that's how you weather the storm.

And if you can help other people, please do. You know, food banks, your churches in the communities helping folks, that is how you help them weather the storm.

CABRERA: You are right. We are all there. It takes a village sometimes, it feels like.

For those people who have been saving for retirement and they have 401Ks and they're seeing the stock market tank, what is your advice there?

SINGLETARY: So can I just do an example? Go like this, don't look. Stop looking. Because it's not going to help you.

If you got some time before you have to retire, just don't look. I haven't looked. I don't want my heart to shake. But you know, if you are near retirement, you already should have had

some things in place. Experts say one-to-two-years-worth of living expenses. So now, right now, you wouldn't have to pull from that.

But if you are in retirement and you have fixed income, things coming in, cut where you can and try not to pull money out, or if you were going to pull three or 4 percent, pull 2 percent, if you can afford it.

But the key thing is, folks, please don't panic. Don't sell now if you have to because then you will lock in the losses.

This is actually a good time to be in the market. There's something called color cost averaging, where you have a set amount of money, you put it in the market every month.

And guess what, you get great deals right now. And you are buying more shares for less. It's like it's a sale.

And that's what you should be doing. Keep putting money in your 401K. Keep investing for your future. Keep investing for your kids' college


And just don't look, you all. Just don't look.

CABRERA: All right. Michelle Singletary, thank you for that news we can use.


U.S. Intel officials say Ukraine has hit a pivotal moment. What happens now could determine how this war turns out. Details next.


CABRERA: Today, the Biden administration announced another $1 million in military aid for Ukraine. The Pentagon says more Howitzers, more ammunition are part of this package along with coastal defense systems.

And this comes as Russia claims it destroyed a warehouse full of NATO- supplied weapons in western Ukraine.

Right now, much of the ground fighting is still in the east, where Russian forces continue to advance.

More than 500 civilians are still sheltering under a chemical plant in Severodonetsk. An official there tells CNN they haven't gotten food supplies in two weeks.


The Russians claim they will open a humanitarian corridor to evacuate those civilians but only to Russian-held territory.

I want to bring in CNN's Katie Bo Lillis. Katie Bo, you have some reporting about intelligence officials saying

the fighting in Ukraine right now is critical. It's at a critical stage that could determine the long-term outcome of this war.

What are they seeing as both possible outcomes?

KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Ana, so U.S. and Western military intelligence officials see the situation for Ukraine in the east, whereas you mentioned heavy fighting has been concentrated in April, as increasingly dire.

Officials broadly believe that Russia has a conventional military advantage in the east. Of course, you seen the United States in the last hour announce this additional weapons package.

So for U.S. officials and Western officials tracking the fighting here, they see this as a potentially pivotal moment.

They're tracking kind of two potential pathways, two ways that the fighting could unfold here.

Under one scenario, it's possible the Ukrainians could stop the Russian advance as it is, where they are, kind of freeze the battle lines in place, potentially entering into a long-term protracted stalemate that could last for years.

And the second possible alternative, of course, is that Russia could continue to make incremental gains.

The concern here being that if Russia is able to consolidate its gains in the east, then they might be able to use that as a springboard to penetrate deeper into Ukraine at some point into the future.

Really, a critical moment for Ukraine here. And the big question is now, this additional Western military aid just announced that's going to Ukraine, will it be enough? And will it get there in time -- Ana?

CABRERA: Katie Bo Lillis, thank you for your reporting.

Disturbing new details about the alleged shooter in Buffalo, New York, including visiting Tops Grocery Store multiple times before the shooting and allegedly counting the number of black people there.



CABRERA: Today, we're learning the suspect accused of killing 10 people last month in a racist attack at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket will face federal hate crime charges.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is in Buffalo, New York, for us.

Brynn, a lot of disturbing new details coming out today about how long this attack had been planned and the possible motive. What are you learning? BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, horrific details, Ana.

Merrick Garland, the A.G., actually came here to Buffalo to visit with the families of the 10 victims killed in the attack to personally tell them about these charges he has filed.

We know there are 26 charges. And they are related to hate crimes, firearm offenses.

And as you mentioned, Ana, there are some just horrific details in this affidavit.

And the fact that he planned allegedly this attack for years, actually getting more serious about it earlier this year, the 18-year-old alleged shooter.

The fact that he came to the store multiple times over the past few months and did reconnaissance, making maps of this area, trying to get a tally of how many people were black inside the store, their approximate ages, the location of the security guard, who was a victim of this attack.

Actually visiting the store two and a half hours before this attack took place, according to the court records.

And also at one point in the affidavit it mentioned how he apologized to one of the white employees who was injured in this attack, saying sorry for the fact that they were injured.

So just so many details laid out about why this was a racist attack, why these hate crime charges are now filed at the federal level.

Keep in mind, Ana, this 18-year-old, he's facing a number of state charges as well. But the difference here is that these federal charges could carry the death penalty.

When the attorney general was asked if that would definitely be pursued, he didn't give a clear answer, saying the indictment still needs to be filed, and that's something that will be discussed with the victims' families and the survivors of this attack -- Ana?

CABRERA: Brynn Gingras, again, big new detail there, Federal hate crimes case now against the Buffalo, New York, shooter.

Thank you very much.

Now an update on the coronavirus pandemic. FDA vaccine advisers are meeting right now to discuss the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines for children as young as 6 months old.

Later today, there will be separate votes for each vaccine to determine if they'll be authorized for emergency use.

Now, even if the FDA votes to recommend both vaccines, the shots won't be administrated just yet. The final green light comes from the CDC. Of course, we'll let you know as soon as there are new developments there. I do have a quick programming note for you today. Join some of the

biggest stars as they lift their voices for Juneteenth, a global celebration for freedom. And this will be Sunday night starting at 8:00 Eastern only here on CNN.

That does it for us today. Thank you so much for spending part of your afternoon with me, or morning if you're on the west coast. I'll see you back here tomorrow. Until then, you can always join me on Twitter, @AnaCabrera.


The news continues right after this.



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Hello. I'm Victor Blackwell. Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. Alisyn is off.

We begin with breaking news. Right now, the U.S. central bank is announcing its decision on interest rates. Now the expectation is the Fed will order the biggest rate hike in 28 years.