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Staggering Death Toll In Afghanistan; E.U. Set To Decide On Ukraine's Candidacy Status; New Subpoenas In Trump Election Scheme. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 23, 2022 - 02:00   ET




NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Nick Watt. Just ahead. A staggering death toll in Afghanistan after a powerful earthquake and leveled villages, whether now hampering recovery efforts as the Taliban plead for aid.

European Union leaders meet today to consider candidate status for Ukraine and that says Kyiv would send a strong signal to Russia.

Plus, just hours ahead of the next January 6 hearing, the U.S. Justice Department issues new subpoenas related to Donald Trump's plans to overturn the 2020 election.

More than 1000 people are dead in Afghanistan after an earthquake struck early Wednesday morning. And that terrible toll is expected to rise. The epicenter of the 5.9 magnitude quake was southwest of coast near the country's border with Pakistan, with most deaths reported in Paktika Province. Multiple international agencies now deployed to provide emergency relief but the U.N. says $15 million in aid is needed immediately for rescue and recovery efforts.

That number also likely to increase. And bad weather is making digging through the rubble to find the dead and any living even more difficult. Also, strong winds and monsoon rains are making it difficult for helicopters to land with supplies. According to the U.N. many more crudely built homes have simply been swept away.

For more I'm joined by meteorologist Derek Van Dam in Atlanta. But first let's go to Vedika Sud in New Delhi.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Nick, this is the deadliest earthquake to hit Afghanistan in the last two decades at least. Now let me start with a video that's coming from the worst hit region that is the Paktika Province that you were talking about. What you see here are a series of graves that have been prepared probably by the locals of this -- of this area. This really encapsulates the tragedy that's unfolding on the ground, the grief, the loss, and the unfolding tragedy that will also in terms of casualty numbers go up in the coming days, according to agencies, because there are still a lot of people under the rubble in these homes that have been destroyed.

Like you mentioned, these are crudely built homes. These are built with mud and bricks, and they're already fragile because of the Indian monsoons that had hit the region earlier this week. And with the quake, they've just been destroyed. Now 70 percent of Gayan district in the Paktika province we've been told, has been completely destroyed. The houses there completely destroyed.

Aid agencies are trying to reach these areas. Now remember, Nick, like you mentioned these remote villages we're talking about, as far as health amenities is concerned. It's very poor out there. Also remember Afghanistan has been in the midst of conflict for decades, for them to even get that kind of money to build infrastructure to protect themselves from earthquakes has been very difficult.

According to the World Health Organization, this is a very, very serious situation. According to the United Nations, they're saying they've made sure that all their teams are rushing to the spot to help with aid. And this comes at a time this humanitarian tragedy comes at a time when Afghanistan is in the throes of an economic and humanitarian crisis where almost 50 percent of its population are in dire need of food. Nick?

WATT: Vedika Sud in New Delhi. Thank you very much for your time. I want to bring in Derek Van Dam in Atlanta. Derek, the weather has been hampering aid efforts. What does it look like over the next few days?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes, it really is. And the rain there has been heavy over the past seven days. And I really believe that the staggering death toll that we are seeing here is a combination of the earthquake occurring in the middle of the night but also the rainfall that has soften some of the building material likely used in the majority of the homes, that (INAUDIBLE) eastern Afghanistan homes.


VAN DAM: We've had over 50 millimeters of rain across the area where the epicenter took place. Take, for example, this image near the epicenter of one of the buildings that completely collapse. It is made, basically of brick and mud. And it collapsed with the intense shaking. A look at some of the newly built structures behind it likely reinforced with wood allowing for some flexibility as the earthquake and the tremor struck the region and allowing for that building to stay up right during the course of the earthquake.

Now, this was a 10-kilometer deep earthquake. That is a very shallow earthquake. Why does this matter? Well, the fact that it was so shallow and near the surface of the Earth means that it really rattled the ground, it rattled the structures at the surface. If was -- if it was 200 kilometers deep, per se, it would just basically rumble the surface of the earth and we wouldn't have this widespread destruction that we have seen.

There have certainly been aftershocks, there was just recently a magnitude 4.5. We should expect to see aftershocks continue, you can see the average number of aftershocks ranging from 3.9 to 4.9 averaging between 10 to one depending on the amount of time after the original earthquake. What we want to talk about as the weather for the search and rescue efforts.

The good news going forward is that we don't see any major weather systems moving through. So the rain not to be a concern for the next seven days, computer models not indicating any significant precipitation. However, for the helicopters trying to land and perform the search and rescue operations, winds will be an issue, Nick, they could gust over 40 kilometers per hour coming up. Back to you.

WATT: Derek Van Dam in Atlanta. Thanks very much. Now, as we mentioned, aid groups are on the ground providing help to the victims of the earthquake. Find out how you can help them at

We are now just hours away from the start of a summit in Brussels that should open the door for Ukraine to join the European Union. The E.U. will decide if Ukraine will get a candidate status but a full membership could still be years away. On the eve of the Summit, President Zelenskyy did some last-minute lobbying of European leaders. A senior E.U. official says all current members are expected to get behind Ukraine's candidacy.

The head of each of the U.S. executive arm says her agency is on board with it too.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Our opinion stems from a careful and thorough assessment on the reality of the underground. And this evidence tells us that Ukraine, the opinion of the commission deserves a European perspective. It deserves the candidate status, of course on the understanding that the country will carry out a number of further important reforms.


WATT: CNN and CNN International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is live this hour in Brussels. Nick, this is more than just symbolic, right?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, it is. I mean, this is the hope that Ukrainians are looking for. This is what President Zelenskyy wants to be able to say to his nation that their suffering is leading towards. Ursula von der Leyen who you just heard from there has used a very emotive language. She has said that we know that Ukrainians are willing to die for the European perspective.

But we want them to live with us in the European dream. So, from the sort of leadership positions here at the E.U. as well, and certainly Charles Michel, the president of the European Council who will be chairing the leaders as they begin to arrive here this morning. He's had the very same view, very clear that candidate status should go to Ukraine. And that's the expectation that it will happen today.

Of course, behind the scenes, there's a lot of detail and a lengthy, lengthy process. And President Macron of France has been one of those leaders who said look, yes, this is the right thing to be doing, the right message to send to Ukraine, but they cannot shortcut all the processes Ursula von der Leyen alluded to that a lot of work needs to be done years of work, and some European countries are sort of more ready to shoulder that or sell that to their populations than others.

But the idea of Canada's candidacy status, that does seem to be sort of in the bag today, tomorrow.


WATT: Nic Robertson in Brussels, thank you very much. Meantime, in Ukraine itself, three foreign fighters sentenced to death by pro- Russian separatists are preparing their appeal. That's according to state-owned Russian news agency TASS. And on the frontlines Russian troops are gaining ground south of the city of Lysychans'k near Severodonetsk. Ukraine says they've taken a number of villages and came within 10 kilometers of the outskirts of the city.


WATT (voice over): Russia is also keeping up its relentless attacks on Severodonetsk. The Ukrainian defenders are concentrated in a chemical plant, where hundreds of civilians are holed up as well. President Zelenskyy says it's already clear what Russia wants to accomplish in the region.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): In Donbas, massive and air artillery strike. The goal of the occupiers in this direction remains the same. They want to destroy the whole Donbas step by step. All they need to make a new city like Mariupol completely broken.

WATT: And in the northeast, Russian forces are ramping up artillery strikes on Kharkiv. And Ukraine's military believes Russia may be preparing a second assault to try to take the city.


WATT: Now Ukraine says it has received more than 100 long-range howitzers from the west but say troops on the front, they need hundreds more to counter the vast number of Russian guns they're facing and to blunt the Russian advance. Ukrainian troops describe their defensive line as a "meat grinder." We get more now from CNN's Ben Wedeman on Eastern Ukraine's frontlines.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): New round soon to be loaded into the breach. These Ukrainian troops wait for the order. They're preparing to fire this gun. Ukraine has received more than 100 M777 howitzers. But we've seen steadily the Russians are gaining more and more ground. This helps but it may not be enough.

With sophisticated U.S. made and supplied 155-millimeter howitzers like this, Ukraine hopes to counter Russia's massive superiority and firepower. That superiority has allowed Russian forces to push forward, subjecting cities like Severodonetsk and Lysychans'k to intense bombardment.

This drone footage shows Russian tanks entering the town of Toshkivka just outside Severodonetsk. Outnumbered and outgunned in the east, Ukraine has warned Russian forces may soon intensify their attack. This artillery is firing rounds with a range of around 20 kilometers or 12-1/2 miles. The target we're told Russian armored personnel carriers.

Thanks to the Americans, I think we can win this war, says Bokdan (ph). The only problem is we need more barrels, more artillery and more ammunition. Or in plain English.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need your help.

WEDEMAN: His comrade Gratch (ph) puts a number to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- weapons to win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need at least 500 of these guns he says.

This has become an artillery war and victory in this war will come from the barrel of a gun. Ben Wedeman CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


WATT: Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to brush off the economic sanctions imposed by the West by aggressively pursuing more trade with other countries to fill the gap. Mainly in the bloc known as BRICS, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which accounts for about 25 percent of global GDP. The group is meeting in a virtual summit hosted by Beijing.

In his opening remarks, the Russian leader claimed his country's trade with BRICS members grew some 38 percent in just the first quarter of this year. Let's bring in CNN Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson live this hour in Hong Kong. Ivan, will this increase trade with BRICS blunt the impact of the sanctions?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly. I mean, in May of this year, the Russian crude oil exports to China broke records and were at the highest ever and we know that Russia has also been selling energy to India, even as it is losing its traditional markets in Europe as a result of the sanctions.


WATSON: Some of these sales are at a discount I might add but with energy prices at a high, that can help compensate for some of that. So, part of the message that the Russian and the Chinese leaders are bringing to this BRICS summit and mind you, Beijing and Moscow have made it clear that they have a friendship, a partnership with no boundaries. One of the messages they're bringing to the table is that they really hate the Western-led sanctions. That they're not fair. This is, as they put it, as an example of hegemony. So, Vladimir Putin's message was echoed very much by his close friend, the Chinese President Xi Jinping. Take a listen.


XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF CHINA (through translator): It has been proved time and again, that sanctions are a boomerang and a double- edged sword to politicize, instrumentalize and weaponize the global economy and to willfully impose sanctions by taking advantage of one's dominant status in international, financial and monetary systems will only end up hurting one's own interests. As well as those of others and inflict suffering on people around the world.


WATSON: What you're not going to hear at this BRICS summit is any criticism of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In fact, Xi Jinping described the war there as a wake-up call, not because of Russia's aggression there, but rather because of "Attempts to expand military alliances and seek one's own security at the expense of others, which will only land oneself in a security dilemma." China does not like what it describes as blocks or clubs.

The interesting thing here is that one of the members of this BRICS summit is India, which is also a member of the Quad group, which is the U.S., Japan and Australia. China really does not like that agglomeration. And that is one of the challenges faced here. Yes, India is still doing business and trade with Russia at a discount. It is refusing to denounce Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But India is also has fought deadly border clashes with China in the Himalayas.

And it's getting closer to China's Western rivals. And that is perhaps suggest one of the limits of what this BRICS summit can accomplish if it's seeking to be a competitor and arrival to groups like for instance the G7 which will be meeting in Germany this weekend, Nick.

WATT: Ivan Watson in Hong Kong. Thanks very much. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

Just ahead. The U.S. Justice Department issues new subpoenas related to Donald Trump's plans to overturn the 2020 election.



WATT: Sources tell CNN that the U.S. Justice Department is issuing new subpoenas related to the scheme by Donald Trump along with some associates and supporters to put forward a slate of fake electors to basically change the 2020 presidential election result. Those subpoenaed include the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party and officials from Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, the House committee investigating the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot also aimed at disrupting the 2020 election process will hold its fifth public hearing in the day ahead. The focus Trump's pressure on the Justice Department to back his false claims that the election was stolen. Then the chairman says the panel will take a longer break than planned until mid July to evaluate new evidence.

Among that new evidence, a British filmmakers footage and interviews documenting the final weeks of the Trump presidency. The film Unprecedented will be released this summer on Discovery Plus which is owned by the same company CNN.



IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: My father, he's very honest, and he is who he is.

ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: He believes everything that he's doing is right.

D. TRUMP: I think I treat people well, unless they don't treat me well, in which case you go to war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we talk for a minute about January 6?



WATT: Jessica Levinson is a law professor at Loyola Marymount University and host of the Passing Judgment podcast. She joins me now from Los Angeles. So, Jessica, this trailer, clearly the committee now has Trump and his children talking about January 6, around the time of January 6, how important might that be?

JESSICA LEVINSON, LAW PROFESSOR, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: I think it's important because it matters what the president knew, what he understood. And then what despite that, he asked people to do. And this is a consistent theme that we've seen throughout the hearings, which is we've seen witness after witness say I told the president the election was not stolen. I told the president there was no legal path. That's step one.

And then we have seen witness after witness say, but the president did this anyway. And the president, for instance, the last hearings talked about the pressure campaign that the president exerted on state of elections officers. And now we're moving on to the Department of Justice. So yes, it matters what the president said. And it matters what people are saying under oath, even more than what they say in the documentary.

WATT: And -- I mean, President Trump is famous for saying stuff that he shouldn't say. So maybe he said stuff to this British documentary maker that he shouldn't have said.

LEVINSON: Absolutely. I think for the hearings, it matters what said in an outside of the courtroom or under oath but -- and not under oath. But when it comes to a potential criminal indictment. I would say we all really need to focus on what are the under oath statements that we're hearing, and we are hearing a very consistent narrative here.

WATT: And so, as you mentioned, we've already heard from the state officials who were pressured by Trump, we've already heard from the Capitol Police. We've already heard from members of Vice President Mike Pence's who were pressured by Trump. So tomorrow, it is going to be the turn of Department of Justice officials. Why is that important? What might we hear from them that will really push this case, I suppose, against the Trump presidency and against the president himself forward?

LEVINSON: I think we're going to hear new themes, but more of the same, which is again, that the president was told he didn't win the election, that there's no legal path, but he tried one anyway. And the first fork in the road that we really heard about was the path with respect to state election officials. And now we're going to hear how he tried to pressure the Department of Justice, how he potentially almost elevated one assistant U.S. attorney who had, frankly, conspiracy theories with respect to whether or not the election could be undermined and overturned.

And how he tried every path to try and undermine this valid election. We're going to hear the Department of Justice say that the president did what he's not supposed to do, which is exert political pressure. The Department of Justice is supposed to be an independent agency, making in so many cases their own assessment, yes, answerable to the president in some cases but in this case not going outside of the constitution.


LEVINSON: And I think what we're going to hear is that people did not go along with it. Members of the Department of Justice simply did not comply. And that's also really important.

WATT: And the question that a lot of people are obviously asking is, did what President Trump do rise to the level of criminal activity? From what you've heard so far, do you think that bar has been met?

LEVINSON: I do. And in fact, there's a federal judge who when ruling on an evidentiary matter that resolved around John Eastman, and who was a adviser to the president, that federal judge said, I think it's more likely than not that these two federal crimes occurred. And those two federal crimes were obstruction of a congressional proceeding, and defrauding the U.S. government in preventing the government from counting Electoral College votes.

So, if you look at the elements of those particular federal crimes, yes, I think there's enough there. Now we all have to remember that what happens in the committee to very different standard of proof, what happens in a courtroom, a prosecutor needs to be able to show all of those elements beyond a reasonable doubt. But I think there's enough there. WATT: I mean, of course, it's up to the current Department of Justice to decide whether to bring charges. I wonder if tomorrow, the previous Department of Justice, the Trump Department of Justice, I wonder if these officials will be asked in the committee room if they think what the President did rose to the level of a crime.

LEVINSON: I mean, that would be a fascinating question to ask them. I can absolutely imagine that for a bunch of reasons. They'll say that's not before me, it wouldn't be proper for me to answer. That's a hypothetical. I don't have all of the information. But you could see somebody say, you know what, I'm actually familiar with that code. I'm familiar with the federal law. And I know what the president asked me to do. And I know what he wanted.

And I know it's not just improper. And I know, it's not just immoral, but I also know that it actually violates federal law. And so yes, if it were up to me, I would try him. I would indict him. That would be a fascinating moment.

WATT: Jessica Levinson, thank you very much for your insights and your time.

LEVINSON: Thank you.

WATT: And you can see the entire hearing, plus, in depth analysis right here on CNN starting at 2:00 on Thursday afternoon in Washington, that's 7:00 in the evening in London and 2:00 a.m. Friday morning in Hong Kong.

Coming up on Newsroom. Time is running out for residents in a South African township that's dangerously close to running out of tap water. Will they get rain anytime soon? We'll get a look at the forecast after the break.



WATT: We are about two weeks away from day zero, that's when people in the Nelson Mandela Bay area, formally Port Elizabeth in South Africa will completely run out of tap water. The four dams in the area, have been drying for mouth due to extreme drought, water system leaks, and poor management. Heavy rains would help the situation, but none are expected anytime soon. CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us again now from Atlanta with more for the forecast down there in south Africa. Derek.

VAN DAM: Yes, Nick, I want our viewers to envision this, imagine going to a communal tap within your town, taking 50-liter jugs, filling them up, and I'm literally wheelbarrowing them to your house over a mile or just over a kilometer away. That's what one community has to do within the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality amongst a multiyear that is plaguing the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

It is very dry throughout this region, and unfortunately this has led to several dam failures across the Greater Belhar region, this is formally known as Port Elizabeth within the Eastern Cape. One particular dam has already failed. There is another dam known as the Churchill Dam that has only five days left of water. You can see the remaining dams that supply roughly one million people. Their water, the taps at their water supply.

Now, we collectively have about just under 12 percent of that dam storage available. So, what led to this potential disaster? Well, it comes down to poor management, changing weather patterns from climate change, but also leaking pipes underneath the ground. So, what do we do to solve the problem? How do we avoid their day zero? Well, we need several days of rainfall. And we needed to be heavy, as well. In a 24- hour period we need at least 50 millimeters.

So, will that come anytime soon? We do have a weather system that's going to move across the Southern portions of the continent that'll bring some rainfall to the Eastern Cape, but not likely enough, unfortunately. Computer models only depicting anywhere from 15 to 25 millimeters of rain in and around the hardest hit areas.

Now, as we look towards the climatological averages, it looks like August, which is the rainy season is, of course, winter in the Southern hemisphere will be the wettest part of the year. So, hopefully we can get that rain soon. But it may not come soon enough, because obviously people there are already preparing for the worst, which of course would be water running dry other taps. Nick.

WATT: Thanks very much, Derek. Now, I want to bring in Joseph Tsatsire, he is the director for water distribution for the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. He joins us live from Port Elizabeth.

So, Derek just showed us images of people wheelbarrowing water right now to their homes. What happens -- what do those people do when we get to day zero? How will they get water?

JOSEPH TSATSIRE, DIRECTOR, WATER DISTRIBUTION, NELSON MANDELA METRO MUNICIPALITY: Good day to you. Good day to your viewers. Thank you for the opportunity. I need to stress, you know, Port Elizabeth, obviously, has got various sources of water into the city. And we are talking, you know, about 40 percent of the areas that usually gets its water from Churchill and Impofu Dam. But obviously, we're going to experience, you know, intermittent and water disruption as a result of hydraulic failure of those dams. Obviously, we had planning, you know, a contingence plan in order to ensure continuity from the water supply point of view.

WATT: OK. But how are people just going to get the water that they need to survive? I mean, just on a personal level, what is it going to mean to these people? What will they have to do to get water?

TSATSIRE: OK. So, there are quite a number of things that is currently happening. The first one is that, you know, in your intro you mentioned that, you know, that Churchill I think is at eight percent. And Impofu is just around 11 percent. Obviously, we are now making plans to extract what you call dead water from that dam. And we are floating pumps and bilges to ensure that we have good water continuity for the next couple of months or two months or so. And obviously, as part to that process, we are preparing what we call as well water collection points.


You know, on a strategic points in our spine of articulation system where we will actually then erect, you know, steps. Residents will be encouraged to go and pick up water from there using containers. And we are also installing, you know, rainwater tanks within the suburbs. Again, residents are encouraged to collect water from those rainwater tanks for basic consumption.

WATT: And how are you going to try to ensure that this does not happen again? I mean, listen, some things are out of your control. Climate change. But, you know, bad management and also leaking pipes. What are you going to do to try and address those issues?

TSATSIRE: So, there's been quite investment, you know, on our water augmentation skims. What has been happening -- in fact, I need to mention this upfront, that we have been experiencing drought since 2015, almost seven years to date. We have received, you know, below average rainfall. And I think as a result, we have actually invested quite a lot in our water mix to ensure that, you know, we have good diversification in term of, you know, groundwater that we have.

We have also drilled in, you know, deep arches and wells. You know, that's going to give us, you know, a total of plus or minus 30 megaliters on a daily basis. And that will go a long way in ensuring that we create the resilience which we required for the future.

Some of these bowls are going to give us water end of July up until the end of September. So, the plus or minus 30 megaliters would be available in our articulation grid. And this will actually go a long way in reducing and mitigating the days that are which you are mentioning in the 40 percent parts of Port Elizabeth.

WATT: OK. And do you feel you are, perhaps, a cautionary tale for the rest of us? What should the rest of us in the world learn from what you are going through right now there in South Africa?

TSATSIRE: One of the important thing is, you know, your behavioral change around how we interact with water. And being it's prudent that we need to reduce our consumption and ensure that our per capita consumption, you know, is within the world guidelines of plus or minus, you know, 120 liters per person per day.

The second thing is from a leakage management point of view. And I think we need to invest quite more into our infrastructure and to ensure that, you know, we reduce leakages within our articulation system. Again, you know, improve operational efficiency to ensure that, you know, we deal with leaks quicker. And that is actually important in ensuring that -- it's ensuring that, you know, at least, you know, the sustainable management of water resources is within your -- reach within the city.

WATT: Thank you very much for joining us. Joseph Tsatsire, director for the water distribution for the Nelson Mandela Day Metropolitan Municipality.

Now, still to come on Newsroom, Prince Charles visibly affected as he lays a wreath at a memorial to honor the thousands of victims of the mass killings in Rwanda in 1994. Details after the break.



U.S. lawmakers are urging the Federal Reserve chair to tread carefully in the fight against inflation after the biggest interest rate hike in nearly 30 years. Jerome Powell appeared on Capitol Hill, Wednesday to begin two days of hearings. He told Senators that he's committed to fighting inflation. And he said the central bank is not trying to provoke a recession, but one is certainly possible. Even so, Powell insisted rate hikes will continue until prices level off.


JEROME POWELL, CHAIR, FEDERAL RESERVE: At the Fed, we understand the hardship that high inflation is causing. We are strongly committed to bringing inflation back down and we're moving expeditiously to do so. We have both the tools we need and the resolve it will take to restore price stability on behalf of American families and businesses. It is essential that we bring inflation down if we are to have a sustained period of strong labor market conditions that benefit all.


WATT: Across the Atlantic, prices are rising even faster. The UK just reported its highest inflation rate in 40 years. Up 9.1 percent in May, that's the worst in the G7. And it may climb even higher. The central bank says inflation could reach 11 percent in October.

A second day of rail strikes is underway in the UK. So, millions are facing another day of disruptions. These are Britain's biggest rail strikes in decades. Talks have so far failed to reach an agreement in a row over pay and future conditions for workers, which means more strikes are planned over the weekend.

Britain's prime minister is heading to Rwanda for a commonwealth heads of government meeting. In the wake of a controversial deal struck with the East African country to fly asylum seekers landing in Britain on to Rwanda. The first flight planned for last week did not take off after the European Court of Human Rights intervened just minutes before takeoff. Boris Johnson defended the agreement in parliament before he headed to Rwanda.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: When it comes to the Rwanda policy that we are pursuing, that policy, Mr. Speaker, has not being ruled unlawful by any UK court, nor, so far by any International Court, Mr. Speaker. We will continue with that policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WATT: Prince Charles is also in Rwanda to attend that summit. The first time a British royal has ever visited the country. He and his wife, Camilla, met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Wednesday. As well as with survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

I'm Nick Watt. World Sport is next. And my colleague, Lynda Kinkade, will join you in about 15 minutes as CNN Newsroom continues. This is CNN.


RAMPELL: I think that -- it's a gimmick. I think they need to show that they're doing something because voters are understandably quite frustrated and many of them are suffering from the fact that gas, among other items that consumers buy has gotten much more expensive recently. So, they need to say that they're doing something, and they have very limited tools available, to be clear.

The main reason why gas prices have gone up so much recently has to do with the fact there is this unprovoked war in Ukraine that has led to a lot of Russian oil being taken off-line. So, there's this big supply shock. Demand is really strong. And it's very difficult to fill in the hole that was basically created by all of that Russian oil becoming unavailable.

LEMON: Well, and --yes, listen, we mentioned the Former President Obama. Jason Furman, a senior economic official in the Obama Administration is warning a gas tax holiday would add to inflation. Do you agree that lowering prices and potentially driving up demand could make inflation worse?

RAMPELL: I think it's possible. Because what's effectively happening is that demand for gas is already really strong, as we've been discussing. And supply has not been able to accommodate all that demand. If, in fact, you do succeed at making gas a little bit cheaper, you might actually increase demand for gas. And over time whatever savings you might have seen initially will disappear.

So, yes, it could end up driving up prices in the longer term, perversely. That's why most economists would argue that the way to deal with the inflationary pressures we have right now are not by increasing demand for the things that are already in short supply. And obviously, the Biden Administration is trying to do that in -- at some point. But it's really difficult to do for oil, for energy, for a lot of different reasons. Including that the long-term incentives for energy companies are to not make very expensive upfront investments today because fossil fuels are probably going to get phased out over time as they get displaced by much cheaper renewables. And renewables are getting much cheaper.

So, if you are an energy company right now, and you're thinking about making an investment in, like, a big new refinery, that's going to not pay off for a couple of decades. A couple of decades from now, there may not be much demand for the petroleum products that come from that refinery. So, you have to think about the incentives that these companies face. I mean, Biden has been browbeating these companies, these, you know, there company -- these energy companies for not ramping up refinery capacity. But, again, it's expensive. And it's not clear that it's in their long-term interest to do that. So, calling them unpatriotic or whatever, I'm not sure is going to work either. But, again, Biden, I think, feels like he has to do something.

LEMON: Yes, Catherine, thank you. Appreciate it.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

LEMON: Allegations of harassment, intimidation, sexual misconduct. The NFL commissioner forced to answer questions on the toxic work culture of one of the league's teams, that's next.



Tonight, the head of the House Oversight Committee vowing subpoena testimony from Dan Snyder, the owner of the NFL's Washington Commanders. And today, the Committee questioned NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the league's response to the allegations against Snyder. More now from CNN's Joe Johns.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The House Oversight hearing on the reported toxic work culture of the NFL's Washington Commanders featuring several big hits.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You keep saying you did everything possible. You're studying you have to do more. Yes or no or are you willing to do more?

JOHNS (voiceover): Prior to the hearing, the Committee releasing a 29-page memo detailing findings from its own month-long investigation into the alleged misconduct of NFL team owner Daniel Snyder and the work environment he fostered.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: You're aware that in 2009, Daniel -- Dan Snyder was accused of sexually assaulting an employee on a private airplane, correct?

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: Am I aware of that? Yes, I'm aware of that allegation.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: And Sir, Mr. Snyder, settled those claims for $1.6 million, but he did not inform you in 2009 he'd been accused of sexual assault, correct?

GOODELL: I don't recall him informing of that, no.

JOHNS (voiceover): The Committee concluding Snyder directed his own shadow investigation to target and harass those who made accusations against Snyder or his organization.

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY) OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: It shows the lengths Mr. Snyder went to to harass, intimidate, and silence his accusers, including journalists, attorneys, and former employees, anyone involved.

JOHNS (voiceover): After Snyder who denies the claims refused to appear for the hearing, Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney announcing the Committee will issue a subpoena to compel a deposition from Snyder next week.

MALONEY: If the NFL is unwilling or unable to hold Mr. Snyder accountable, then I am prepared to do so.

JOHNS (voiceover): NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testifying remotely about what the NFL knew and what it has done to hold Snyder accountable.

GOODELL: We impose unprecedented discipline on the club. Monetary penalties of well over $10 million and requirements that the club implement a series of recommendations and allow an outside firm to conduct regular reviews of their workplace.

JOHNS (voiceover): Committee Democrats questioning the NFL's lack of transparency regarding its handling of Snyder.

MALONEY: Rather than protecting women, the NFL is hoping to sweep this controversy under the rug.


JOHNS (voiceover): And pressing Goodell why the NFL never publicly released any of its findings on Snyder and his team.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): That's what redaction is for.

GOODELL: The redaction doesn't -- Congressman, with all due respect, redaction doesn't always work in my world, I promise you.


GOODELL: We want -- we want to -- we need to take extra steps to make sure these people who did come through and courageously come forward --

RASKIN: All right. I've got to re-claim my time --

JOHNS (voiceover): Meanwhile, several Republicans bash the hearings saying Congress has no authority over a private organization like the NFL.

MALONEY: The gentleman will suspend.

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): What is the purpose of -- you can bang the gavel all you want, but I don't really care. What is the purpose of continuing this, Madam Chair? REP. PAT FALLON (R-TX): This hearing is a sham, and it's a farce, and it's a clown show.


JOHNS (on camera): A spokesman for Dan Snyder issued a statement before today's hearing. He said the Committee's investigation into the team was predetermined from the beginning. Calling it a politically charged show trial and suggested that going forward, the Committee should focus on, "More pressing issues instead of an issue the team addressed years ago." Don.

LEMON: Joe Johns, thank you so much. We'll be right back.