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European Leaders Meet With Zelenskyy in Kyiv to Show Unity, Support; Dangerous Heat Scorching Cities Across U.S.; CNN Reports, Trump Confidants Advising Him to Wait to Announce 2024 Plans. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 16, 2022 - 10:30   ET




ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania are all in Ukraine in a show of unity and support as Russia's brutal war continues in Ukraine. Now, this morning, they toured some of the most devastated areas around the capital, Kyiv.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: They also meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy amid his criticism, the Ukraine is not receiving enough support from these allies. Just yesterday, the U.S. announced that it would send another billion dollars in aid to Ukraine.

Right now, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in Brussels meeting with NATO leaders. The NATO secretary general just gave new details about the forces that NATO is sending to its eastern flank for the first time since the cold war. Listen.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: This will mean more NATO forward deployed combat formations to strengthen our battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance, more air, sea and cyber defenses, as well as prepositioned equipment and weapon stockpiles.


MARQUARDT: In an exclusive interview, the Ukrainian defense minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, is revealing details to CNN about the conversations he has been having with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, as well as other NATO officials.

HARLOW: Our Matthew Chance joins us from Brussells. Matthew, Reznikov says he was given clear, long-term assurances about support from the west. Is that right?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, he is very insistent. Look, I mean, the Biden administration has already committed $40 billion in assistance to Ukraine because of this fight with Russia. It's announced, as we've been reporting another billion over the course of the past 24 hours in military aid. And so it is a very costly undertaking providing the kind of backing that Ukraine needs to continue to resist this sort of rolling forces of Russia.

But when I sat down with Oleksiy Reznikov, the Ukrainian defense minister, he was absolutely insistent that he had been promised by the United States and other allies that that kind of support would continue into the future. Take a listen.


OLEKSIY REZNIKOV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: I fixed (ph) yesterday that our partners will never stop. I was told that. I spoke with my friend, Lloyd Austin, secretary of defense of the United States, Secretary of Defense of U.K. Ben Wallace and our other colleagues.


They told me, Oleksiy, don't worry, we will not stop, we will continue help to your country, to your people, to your president.

CHANCE: I mean, realistically, how sustainable is a commitment, commitment with no end to Ukraine security for a country like the United States, for instance, that is just got itself out of an unending war in Afghanistan? Do you really believe that that is a genuine commitment by the United States to continue to militarily back Ukraine into the future, no matter what?

REZNIKOV: I heard yesterday and I felt that it is absolutely honestly that I saw the eyes of Lloyd Austin, for example, or General Mark Milley, Ben Wallance, or our partners from the Baltic countries, from Poland, I saw the real understanding that they will never stop with us.


CHANCE: And there's a real understanding on the part of the defense minister as well about what those weapons for. The Ukrainians say they've got a plan, a three-stage plan, first of all, to stabilize the military situation on the battlefield, to stop themselves suffering more losses by the Russians, to push the Russians back to the pre- February 24th boundaries when Russia came in in this latest invasion. And then, ultimately, to liberate all Ukrainian territories, including Crimea, the defense minister said. And that, of course, may be a major red line for the Russians.

MARQUARDT: And an incredible task for the Ukrainians. Ukraine by their own admission, saying that Russia has taken over 20 percent of their country, and that does not include Crimea. Matthew Chance in Brussels, thanks very much.

HARLOW: Yes, what an important interview at an important time. Matthew, thank you.

Coming up next for us, a Michigan baby formula plant really at the center of much of this has just reopened after that recall. It shut down again because of flooding. We'll explain. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


MARQUARDT: Extreme heat is still scorching much of the United States. More than 65 million people and more than a dozen states are under heat alerts today and over 150,000 people are particularly vulnerable after storms knocked out their power in Ohio and in Wisconsin.

HARLOW: Let's bring in our Omar Jimenez, he is live in Chicago this morning. Temperatures are expected to top 90 degrees today, just severe weather really all across the Midwest.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy and Alex. We're still seeing a lot of very hot days across the Midwest. I can tell you here in Chicago, even though it is expected to be in the 90s today, it is much cooler than it was yesterday where we saw record temperatures of 96 degrees Fahrenheit registered at O'Hare. It broke a nearly 30- year record here. It was 15 degrees higher than it typically is, and for perspective, yesterday last year, it was only 77 degrees.

But as you know, these temperatures aren't just high, they can be dangerous as well. Nearby Milwaukee County, they are investigating two possible heat-related deaths in a 39-year and an 89-year-old. Those autopsies are expected today.

The good news is that there and here, while it's still hot, it is just slightly cooler at the end of a week where we've seen tornado warnings, excessive heat. Last night, there were thunderstorms and, again, hopefully today, can begin at least a path toward longer form of relief.

MARQUARDT: And, Omar, these storms in the Midwest are affecting another nationwide crisis, are having an impact on that Abbott baby formula plant in Sturgis, Michigan. What more do you know?

JIMENEZ: That's right, Alex. So, this baby formula plant has had to now stop production because they are now assessing damages from heavy winds, hail, flooding. And the reason that is significant is because, just two weeks ago, they had finally restarted after being closed for months following an FDA inspection that found harmful bacteria, and that shutdown drove what was a nationwide baby formula shortage.

But take a listen to the FDA commissioner who says that is not what is going to happen this time around.


DR. ROBERT CALIFF, FDA COMMISSIONER: I do want to reassure parents and caregivers that all the government work to increase supply means we'll have more than enough to meet current demand and FDA is committed to working closely with Abbott so that Sturgis can restart producing safe and quality formula products quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JIMENEZ: And Abbott put out a similar statement saying that they do have enough existing supply to meet current demand. But on top of assessing damage, they are going to have to clean and re-sanitize. And so they expect production of new formula to be delayed by several weeks. Alex, Poppy?

HARLOW: Omar Jimenez, thank you very much. That delay is the last thing that they needed.

Well, Yellowstone National Park could partially reopen next week after huge flooding shut down the park.


Local media reports the southern loops, which felt less of an impact, could open as early as Monday. Officials closed all five park entrances as heavy rain and melting snow washed out roads and damaged bridges. Communities surrounding Yellowstone were also impacted by just catastrophic flooding.

MARQUARDT: And next, sources are telling CNN that Donald Trump would like to announce a 2024 reelection bid before this fall's midterms, but we're learning that there is a quid in divide in his camp about whether that's a good idea. That's coming up.



HARLOW: Sources close to former President Donald Trump tell CNN he is eager to announce another bid for the White House before the midterms, but many people in his inner circle are advising him against that.

MARQUARDT: Let's bring in CNN's Gabby Orr, who has this new reporting. Gabby, this would be a really early announcement for a presidential candidate.

GABBY ORR, CNN REPORTER: It would. And to be clear, he is still weighing whether or not he wants to run for president, but he is strongly leaning toward running for president a third time. And now the question inside his orbit has become when does he announce a presidential campaign? Does he do so before the November midterms or does he wait and do it next year?

And this question has really divided his advisers and his allies. Some of them are saying he should just go for it, enter the field, that announcing before the midterms would essentially clear the field and put other prospective Republican presidential candidates on notice that he is all in and plans to run. Others are saying that he should wait and see what the outcome is. If it's a red wave in November, that gives him momentum potentially to announce after the midterms or early next year. But he doesn't need to rush into this.

And, if anything, announcing a campaign for president in such an unprecedented way when you have already lost and are running again, he does not want to have any stumbles when it comes to that campaign announcement. He wants to command deference from other Republican hopefuls, and doing so would mean that there is going to be a lot of planning that needs to take place. And I'm told by my sources that not a lot of planning has taken place at this point.

MARQUARDT: Of course, so many Republicans, potential Republican candidates waiting to see what he does that will dictate what the field looks like.

ORR: A lot. Yes, definitely. He'll be in Nashville actually later this week speaking at a conference with a lot of evangelical conservatives. And it won't just be Donald Trump, it will be a number of names that we've heard floated for 2024.

MARQUARDT: All right. Gabby Orr, thanks so much, terrific reporting.

ORR: Thank you.

HARLOW: Well, the mother of one of the 31 men arrested near a pride rally in Idaho over the weekend is now speaking out about how she says her son was radicalized. Police say Jared Boyce is part of a white nationalist group called Patriot Front and was planning to ride at the pride event. And in a new court filing, authorities say the group was carrying metal shields, a smoke bomb, radios and detailed plans outlining their stand.

MARQUARDT: CNN's Sara Sidner says the mom she spoke with was adamant that she did not teach her son these beliefs, which have led to heated arguments between mother and son. Take a listen.


KAREN AMSDEN, MOTHER OF ALLEGED PATRIOT FRONT GROUP MEMBER ARRESTED IN IDAHO: He's really dug into their philosophy and really believes it and tries constantly to get me to watch their documentaries and read their reports and show me how they're right.

So, when he came home, I was really hoping he would might have had a wake-up call, but when he came back on Monday, I went out to the house to talk to him and he believes in what they did. He was standing by it. He's like, we were there to, you know, prevent them from grooming children and then we were doing what we thought was right, and we have a great legal team, none of these charges are going to stick. And we had anonymous strangers bailing us out because they support our cause and we're doing -- I felt like he was even more entrenched in it.

And so that's when I said, you need to -- we can't do this. You can't live at my house and be doing this kind of stuff, and putting this kind of hate out into the world and putting yourself in danger. You need to move out of my house.


AMSDEN: At that time, I just felt like -- I didn't know what else to do. I've tried everything else. And, honestly, it's so aggravating and infuriating to be trying to have a civil discourse with someone about their beliefs and it just gets -- and I get escalated too because I can't believe that he believes all this ridiculous conspiracy crap and wants to blame people for all these things and hates groups of people. That's not who I am and it makes me sick to listen to it, and sicker to know that this is coming from my son, who somewhere inside has a loving, loving heart.


HARLOW: You can see the pain of a mother there. She also told CNN that her 27-year-old son is back home briefly waiting to collect a paycheck and then leaving again. Alex?

MARQUARDT: Somewhere inside, he has a loving heart.

All right, also this morning, the man captured parading through the U.S. Capitol on January 6th with a large confederate flag along with his son, they've been convicted of a felony for obstructing an official proceeding.


The man drove from Delaware with his family on January 6th, then helped storm the Capitol building, climbing through a broken window and came close to the Senate chambers.

HARLOW: Thank you so much for being with us today, Alex, it's been great to have you. Thank you.

MARQUARDT: It's been a great week, Poppy. Thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

HARLOW: It's been a great week. Have a good vacation. I'll see you back here tomorrow. I'm Poppy Harlow.

MARQUARDT: And I'm Alex Marquardt.

At This Hour starts after this quick break.