Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Police: FBI Breach Suspect "Contained," But Not in Custody; CDC Official: NY Polio Case "Tip of the Iceberg"; Zelenskyy: Russia "Maximizing" Risk of Nuclear Disaster; Satellite Images Show 7 Russian Warplanes Damaged in Crimea; Russia Dangles Freedom to Prisoners if They Fight in Ukraine; Soon: Attorney General Merrick Garland to Speak. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired August 11, 2022 - 13:30   ET



ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It could serve as a rallying cry or an inspirational moment for similar unhinged, extremist, violent people.

I've been to the FBI Cincinnati office before. I've walked into that screening center. It's very hard to get through an FBI office anywhere. You have to go through a (inaudible) center. You have to go through a magnetometer and present your I.D. and all that stuff. That process worked as it intended.

What we don't know is what this guy was doing or what his motive was. But we do know he was willing to kill law enforcement by the fact that he traded shots with police on the road.

He exhibited a level of intentionality by surrounding himself with body armor before he even approached the FBI screening center.

This is very, very dangerous and could have really serious implications on the safety of our law enforcement personnel going forward.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Are you surprised he was able to get away from that office after initially trying to make that breach?

MCCABE: It is, really. We need to know more about whether or not he simply walked up to the screening center and was speaking to personnel through a telecom system or whether he was actually inside that small room.

Obviously, there was a response by FBI agents. I've seen in some reporting that there was gunfire exchanged there on the FBI grounds. We don't know exactly where or how that happened.

It is odd to me that he was able to get back into his vehicle and get out of there. But maybe that helped us avoid a worse encounter there on the property.

CABRERA: OK. We'll wait to get more information. Again, want to reiterate we don't know the motive here. Officials are

working to try to detain somebody who tried to breach the FBI office in Cincinnati.

Thank you so much, Andrew McCabe, for sticking around for us.

Quick break. We'll be right back.



CABRERA: Listen to this. One confirmed case of polio in Rockland County, New York, is now sparking fear of a silent outbreak. A senior CDC official warns this one case could mean there are hundreds more out there.

Let's get right to CNN senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen.

Elizabeth, we know polio is vaccine preventable. There's only one known case. Why are officials so worried?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the first time a considered official has said this. This is first the CDC official has said this. This is the first on CNN.

It's because three out of four people who have polio don't know it. They're asymptomatic. They could be spreading it. And the people they spread it to could, unfortunately, become paralyzed.

So you couple this with the fact that this case is in the middle of a county that has a very low polio vaccination rate, and that is a perfect storm for very bad news.

Let's take a listen to CDC's Dr. Jose Romero.


DR. JOSE ROMERO, DIRECTOR, CDC NATIONAL CENTER FOR IMMUNIZATION & RESPIRATORY DISEASES: We're definitely concerned. Finding polio in a country where we've had high levels of vaccination, haven't seen polio cases for over 40 years is significant.

Remember that this is just the tip of the iceberg, the very, very tip of the iceberg. Because it's the rather case that causes paralysis. That means there must be several hundred other cases in the community circulating before you see this one case.

It's not just this community. It's any other community surrounding it that has low vaccination rates that's also at risk.

So the spread is always a possibility, because the spread is going to be silent.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COHEN: So let's take a look at the low vaccination rates that Dr. Romero was referring to. If you take a look nationally, it's really quite good, 92 percent of the country is vaccinated against polio, or children rather.

So 60 percent is the rate in Rockland County, New York. That is stunningly low. And 58 percent in neighboring Orange County, New York, just north of New York City. This is obviously bad news.

As Dr. Romero put it, people have basically forgotten. They believe the anti-vaxxers and they forget, and those images of children paralyzed and in iron lungs.

I can't imagine taking that risk with my child. It's amazing. But the anti-vaxxers have excellent marketing. And they've convinced some of these parents.

CABRERA: Some of these parents have no personal experience during the time of polio. So it's so important to remember the potential consequences of paralysis.


CABRERA: Thank you, Elizabeth Cohen.


The U.N. warns of catastrophic consequences if Europe's largest nuclear power plant takes any hits in Ukraine. We'll talk to an ambassador who just returned from the region about this dangerous situation. Stay right there.


CABRERA: In Ukraine, President Zelenskyy says Russia is maximizing the risk of nuclear disaster in the south where Europe's largest nuclear reactor has come under shelling in recent days.

The U.N. secretary-general says he's gravely concerned about possible catastrophic consequences. And today, the State Department says the U.S. supports calls for a demilitarized zone around that plant.

Joining us now is Kurt Volker. He is the former U.S. ambassador to NATO. He was also a U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations.

Ambassador, you just returned from a trip to Ukraine. What's your assessment of the situation there right now?

KURT VOLKER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO & FORMER U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR UKRAINE NEGOTIATIONS: Well, first off, the war is far from over. There's a long way to go. The Ukrainians have fought back. They've protected Kyiv in the west. But there's a lot of fighting that is still happening.

[13:45:03] Secondly, the Ukrainians have incredible resilience and determination to take their territory back. The Russian assault has been fairly brutal but they're determined to fight back.

The Russians seem to have exhausted themselves. They're not really able to advance and take much more territory right now.

And Ukrainians are using that to try to go on their own offensive and take territory back, particularly in the south around Kherson. And that's why we saw some of those attacks in Crimea overnight.

CABRERA: The potential threat of the shelling that we're reporting around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant can't be overstated here. President Zelenskyy says Russia is turning this plant into a battlefield.

Your reaction? And what do you think needs to happen?

VOLKER: Right, well, first off, it's incredibly reckless what the Russians are doing. They've not only taken over the plant but have harassed the crews and not allowed normal operations.

Then they've stored ammunition there, placed heavy equipment there. They are firing on civilian areas from there, trying to encourage the Ukrainians to fire so they can blame them.

The Ukrainians are not doing that. They're making every effort to avoid any catastrophe at the plant.

What Ukrainians will try to do is surround the forces that are there so they are forced to surrender. That's a very risky proposition in itself as the Russians have all that armament and ammunition, stored there at the plant.

CABRERA: I want to ask you about the seven Russian warplanes destroyed in Crimea this week. CNN found this could be Moscow's biggest loss of military aircraft in a single day since World War II.

What do you see as the impact of that?

VOLKER: Well, Russia has a lot of aircraft. Seven is not going to significantly damage their number of aircraft available.

What it does show, however, is that the Ukrainians have the means to attack Russian forces further away from the front lines. This is very important.

Partly, this is the HIMARS that have the U.S. have given them, which have a range of up to 80 kilometers. Partly, it's Ukrainian Special Forces.

But it shows what the Ukrainians can do with longer-range systems. And they desperately need even longer range, which we have thus far not provided but they could put to good use.

CABRERA: It seems like Russia may be lacking in numbers on the battlefield. CNN is reporting that Russia is offering freedom to prisoners in Russia if they join this fight.

I'm going to quote here. "They will accept murderers but not rapists, pedophiles or extremists," apparently, according to a prisoner who spoke to CNN.

You reaction to this?

VOLKER: It's a pretty desperate measure. Putin has depleted about half of his conventional military capabilities, according to British and American sources.

That means the only way they can replenish the fighting force they need is either a general mobilization, which Putin does not want to do because it would alienate the population, or extreme measures such as this.

Even if they do succeed in recruiting prisoners or others into the armed forces, this does not mean they're trained, does not mean they're capable, does not mean they're motivated to fight.

They really are in a very difficult position. Meanwhile, the Ukrainians, highly motivated, well trained, a lot more of them in terms of personnel. And getting much better U.S. and Western equipment.

CABRERA: Quickly, I only have about 30 seconds, but I want to ask you about something close to home. Let's talk about a potential prisoner swap with the U.S. Russia confirming this morning confirming those negotiations are happening.

Where do you think this is headed? And how soon could people like Brittney Griner or Paul Whelan come home?

VOLKER: As much as we'd all like to see Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan come home, I'm pretty convinced Putin plans to drag this out as long as possible.

He's enjoying the game. He's enjoying the political pressure this is putting on President Biden. I think he just wants to drag it out and make it continue.

CABRERA: That's unfortunate. I hope you're wrong in this case.

Ambassador Kurt Volker, thank you so much. I always appreciate your insights and expertise. Thanks for being here.

VOLKER: Thanks.


Her husband, daughter and others were killed in a helicopter crash. Now Kobe Bryant's widow is reliving the aftermath in an invasion of privacy trial. Her lawyers say photos of the victims' remains were shared in ways they shouldn't have been, including in a bar. We'll have the latest out of L.A. next.


CABRERA: We're back with this just into CNN. The Justice Department says Attorney General Merrick Garland will speak at 2:30 p.m. Eastern today, so just over 30 minutes from now.

And I want to bring back CNN's Katelyn Polantz.

Katelyn, we don't know the topic, right? But he has been under a lot of pressure to speak right now about the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right, Ana. We don't know what Merrick Garland is going to say. In about 40 minutes, he's scheduled to speak from the Justice Department building in downtown Washington.

And we didn't expect to see him today. We now will.

And we do know that this is three days after that search of Mar-a- Lago. Pressure has been building for Garland to make some sort of statement to address it. He just hasn't. That hasn't been his way in handling any high-profile cases.

But this is one of those situations that he potentially could want to speak about because there have been calls on how much of an unprecedented situation it is for there to have been a search of the former president's home.

But even yesterday, we saw Chris Wray, the FBI director -- it was FBI agents carrying out this search at Mar-a-Lago just a couple days before. Chris Wray yesterday, he was asked about it, and he said that he didn't want to comment on it.

So, we just don't know what Garland's going to say right now, but we are awaiting.

And also, CNN was able to report previously that there were Justice Department officials who have wanted Garland to make a statement. We'll have to see if that all comes together in about 40 minutes -- Ana?


CABRERA: Katelyn, briefly, just explain why typically the Justice Department doesn't comment in a situation like this after serving some kind of warrant.

POLANTZ: Right. Well, remember, this is an ongoing federal criminal investigation. And as far as we know, it's about national security interests, national security secrets, classified information.

The Justice Department is very, very careful when they are involved in ongoing investigations for a couple different reasons. They don't want to spoil the work that they're doing by revealing too much.

They also want to protect the people who could be caught up in an investigation like this, people they're interviewing, people who could potentially become targets.

So, they really don't want to get ahead of passing it through a grand jury, potentially, if there would be an indictment, and having that approval of a jury of peers to bring a charge against someone.

It just really isn't a situation where the Justice Department ever wants to comment. And often, they won't even confirm that an investigation is going on.

So we will see if we are still in unprecedented times here with Merrick Garland.

CABRERA: Katelyn Polantz, thank you.

We'll be watching closely for you to bring that to you live at 2:30. Attorney General Merrick Garland set to address the public.

That does it for us today. I'll see you tomorrow, same time, same place, as always. You can also find me on Twitter, any time, @AnaCabrera.

Don't go anywhere. The news continues after this with Victor Blackwell.