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Trump's Legal Team Ask the SCOTUS to Jump In; President Biden Set to Visit Florida; Death Toll from Hurricane Ian Now at 109 and Counting; U.S. and South Korea Show Their Might to North Korea; Elon Musk Decides to Buy Twitter; Liz Truss Makes Her Speech of a Lifetime; Oath Keeper Members Faces Trial. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired October 05, 2022 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, the U.S. Justice Department must now respond to an emergency petition former President Trump filed with the Supreme Court. What he is asking for and how it might impact the FBI investigation into classified documents found at his home.
A day after a North Korean missile flew over Japan, the U.S. and South Korea test for a number of missiles in response. But not all of it went as planned.
And Liz Truss will soon speak at the British conservative party conference. A crucial moment for the prime minister less than a month in the job.
UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: Good to have you with us.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump is asking the Supreme Court to intervene in one of his latest legal woes. Lawyers for the former president filed an emergency request on Tuesday. It centered on a dispute with the Justice Department over a trove of classified documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate.
CNN's Jessica Schneider has more now from Washington.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Former president Trump's legal team asking the Supreme Court to step in to this ongoing saga over the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago. Trump's lawyer filing an emergency request at the Supreme Court, asking the justices to once again let the special master reviewing all of these documents seized, regain access specifically to the 100 classified documents. And if the special master were to get back access to those classified
records, that would actually mean that Trump's legal team would also get to see them. That's something that they've long been fighting for.
Now this was a very narrow emergency appeal to the Supreme Court on very technical grounds. They basically said the 11th circuit never even had the authority to stop the special master from reviewing those classified documents in the first place.
This request from Trump's team, it did go directly to Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative, he oversees all petitions coming in from the 11th circuit. He has set a deadline for next Tuesday for the Justice Department to respond to this.
Eventually, though, all nine justices will likely weigh in on this. And Trump has appealed to the Supreme Court several times in the past few years. With little luck though, they have not been favorable outcomes for him. In fact, earlier this year, the justices allowed the January six select committee to get access to Trump's White House records, despite Trump's objectives.
And back in 2020, they actually ruled that he could not block his financial documents from prosecutors in New York. Now since this was filed as an emergency order the justices could potentially rule very quickly here after DOJ response early next week. So we'll see how quickly the court moves and what they do.
Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: Renato Mariotti is a former U.S. federal prosecutor and the host of the podcast On Topic. He joins me now from Chicago. What have you with us.
RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER U.S. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Real pleasure.
CHURCH: So, former President Donald Trump has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in his legal fight over classified documents seized by the FBI at his Mar-a-Lago home. And Justice Clarence Thomas has responded by giving the Justice Department a deadline. What is all this mean exactly?
MARIOTTI: Wow, it's a little complicated. First of all, the Trump team essentially did a emergency appeal of a very narrow portion of the ruling at the court of appeals, and essentially it was only the portion in which the court of appeals said that the special master, the independent person taking a look at the classified documents was no longer supposed to take a look at the classified documents in the case.
So, basically, Trump's team is asking for the special master to continue his review with the classified documents. I have to say it's a pretty technical legal argument and a narrow one. That one in which I think even if the Trump team is successful, I'm not really sure what, how it moves the ball forward for the former president.
[03:04:57] CHURCH: So, about 100 classified documents are at the heart of Trump's emergency appeal to the Supreme Court. Right? And he wants those documents to go back to the appointed special master for a review. And he, and he also says the DOJ has criminalized a dispute over these documents and he wants them back. So how do you expect the Supreme Court to respond to these arguments?
MARIOTTI: I think there's a very good chance that the Supreme Court is not going to take this case or this issue up at all. I think that they're actually going to just decline. To hear the issue in which it will essentially deny the relief that the former president is seeking.
If they do, I suspect that, I would expect that the former president would lose. The law is on the side of the court of appeals here. While there is some merit to Trump's arguments, it's a pretty narrow issue. It's one on which the DOJ is on solid ground. And like I said I really don't think he will achieve much here with this emergency appeal.
CHURCH: And of course, we don't know what they will do. How careful does the Supreme Court need to be in terms of not looking to politically charge given three of the justices are Trump appointed.
MARIOTTI: Yes, I think that -- I think that something that is very important in the Supreme Court right now to make sure that they preserve the -- you know, their independence and preserve the confidence that the public has in the institution. And that's why I think they'll just stay out of this. They don't really need to be involved in the dispute at this stage.
This emergency relief that Trump is seeking is actually rather unusual. And you know, there was two Trump appointed judges on the court of appeals who sided with the other judge to essentially deny the relief that the former president was seeking here. And I would expect that the justices would just let that ruling stand.
CHURCH: So, you think the Supreme Court wouldn't reject this but obviously Donald Trump doesn't think that's the case. So why do you think he's so sure?
MARIOTTI: Yes. I think that he's -- what happened here is he wants to keep fighting, he's upset that he lost in the court of appeals. He's asked the attorney to find a way to fight, they've come up with narrow grounds to do so. And this, to me, as an attorney who represents clients all the time, this strikes me as something where an attorney is dealing with the difficult client who wants to fight and he's finding a narrow issue in which to do so.
But it's really not clear to me how actually even winning here would really move the ball forward for the client. Because ultimately, at the end of the day, the former president is under criminal investigation regardless of whether or not the special master takes a look at these 100 documents or not.
CHURCH: We'll see what happens. Renato Mariotti, many thanks as always.
MARIOTTI: Thank you.
CHURCH: U.S. President Joe Biden will visit Florida in the coming hours to tour the damage from Hurricane Ian. He'll meet with Governor Ron DeSantis as well as emergency officials and residents impacted by the storm. The death toll from Ian across the southeastern U.S. has grown to at least 109.
Florida officials say it's unclear how many people are still missing. Thousands of rescues have been made in Florida alone with some areas said to be completely unlivable.
Ahead of the president's visit, Governor DeSantis announced immediate repairs would be made to the damaged Sanibel Causeway. In this video, you see what the bridge looked like before Ian on the left, and on the right is how it looks now. Several sections completely destroyed. Cutting the island off from the mainland. Statewide, the main focus now is on cleanup and recovery.
CNN's Carlos Suarez is in Fort Myers with more.
CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The need for help in Florida, immediate.
UNKNOWN: All of our food at the house went back.
SUAREZ: At one food distribution site in Fort Myers the line of cars grew by the hour. The Cajun Navy Foundation on the ground in Florida for days. Handing out crucial supplies for residents without basic services.
UNKNOWN: So we've got diapers, there is water, food.
SUAREZ: Thousands so far have been rescued from destroyed or flooded homes with harrowing stories of survival.
STAN PENTZ, FORT MYERS, FLORIDA RESIDENT: We got pushed away, and I went round the building and I was able to find some bushes. And I grab onto it, and I put myself in. Halfway in. I just stayed there for hours. Hours.
SUAREZ: State officials working to compile a list of those missing.
UNKNOWN: We hope to have a better number on that going into the next couple of days.
SUAREZ: Hurricane Ian's death toll now over 100. More than half of those deaths in Lee County where rescuers face large areas of homes, boats and bridges shattered in Ian's wake.
CARMINE MARCENO, SHERIFF, LEE COUNTY, FLORIDA: We're probably another three to four days left in search and rescue and recovery. But until we go through the rubble, until we see exactly what we have, we're not certain who is missing. And what those numbers will be.
SUAREZ: County officials identified 46 of the 55 bodies recovered. One of those killed, an Ohio mother, celebrating her 40th birthday in Fort Myers who could not find transportation to leave her vacation rental before the storm.
MARCENO: These are not numbers. This is -- this is family members.
SUAREZ: For the hardest hit barrier island, the only way in and out is by air and boat.
UNKNOWN: I just dropped some people off at their house. I'm just going to get supplies.
SUAREZ: Emergency officials are racing to build a temporary bridge to connect Pine Island to Cape Coral north of Sanibel.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We're going to have that bridge patch this week so they are going to be able to go and access.
SUAREZ: The National Guard and group of volunteers began an airlift of food and supplies for stranded residents.
UNKNOWN: We got extensive water damage within this building.
SUAREZ: School buildings un-spared. DeSoto County schools say, a high school will remain closed for two months. And elementary school in Fort Myers Beach shows dust and debris everywhere. School officials say they may relocate students, teachers and staff.
CHRISTOPHER BERNIER, LEE COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT: This is not going to stop us from opening our schools as soon as we can.
SUAREZ: Preparations out here are well underway ahead of President Biden's visit here later today. The White House says he is going to meet with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. And he is going to get a briefing by the governor. We expect the president to take a look at the damage by air and by ground.
Carlos Suarez, CNN, Fort Myers Florida.
CHURCH: A day after North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan, the U.S. and South Korea test fired four missiles off the Korean peninsula in a show of force.
In a separate exercise, South Korea says a locally made missile crashed due to its abnormal flight and the incident is under investigation. Both countries also staged a bombing drill with fighter jets in the Yellow Sea.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials are concerned about Pyongyang potentially preparing for a nuclear test.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PATRICK RYDER, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: There has been indications in the past that the DPRK is preparing a test site for what would be its seventh nuclear test. If they do, do such a test, from our perspective it would clearly constitute a grave escalatory action and seriously threaten regional and international security and stability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: For more on this story, I'm joined by Paula Hancocks, who is with us live from Seoul. So, Paula, the U.S. and South Korea test fired missiles into the sea to protest North Korea's missile launch over Japan yesterday. What is the latest on that, and of course, other global reaction?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, this was the second exercise, coordinated exercise the U.S. and South Korea carried out in less than 24 hours. We're told that the reason for it is to show North Korea that they are capable militarily of responding to anything that they might do. So, it wasn't direct response to that missile launch over the top of Japan on Tuesday.
Now we heard from John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator speaking to CNN. He said the purpose of this drill, the second between U.S. and South Korea was to make sure that North Korea knew that they could respond if necessary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, SPOKESMAN, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: We want to see the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. He hasn't shown an inclination to move in that direction. And quite frankly, he's moving in the opposite direction by continuing to conduct these missile tests which are violations of Security Council resolutions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: And the United States would like a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss North Korea as well. Russia and China less keen on that.
Now we also know that the U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Japan's leader Fumio Kishida and they did discuss this launch. President Biden saying that it is dangerous for the Japanese people. Calling it dangerous and reckless. And there has been widespread condemnation from around the region as well.
The fact that there was no warning for this particular missile launch as there rarely is from North Korea. But concerns about those in the region, and certainly concerns from those in Hokkaido waking up to that alert on Tuesday morning as the -- as the missile flew overhead.
So, there -- we are hearing from the U.S. and South Korean side really is a coordinated effort now and has been over recent hours to show that they are able to respond in kind if they so desire. Rosemary? CHURCH: Many thanks to our Paula Hancocks, joining us live from
Well, time for a short break. When we come back, the new British prime minister is set to address fellow conservatives why this one speech could make or break her political career.
And later, prosecutors played a secret recording from the Oath Keepers ahead of the January 6th U.S. Capitol riot. What it reveals about the group's plan to keep Donald Trump in office.
CHURCH: For months, Elon Musk has been trying to back out of buying Twitter. But now in a surprising turnaround, he has put his original offer of $44 billion back on the table. That send Twitter stock price surging more than 20 percent in trading after being halted twice. It's now sitting at $52 a share just shy of the price agreed upon in the original deal. But there is a catch.
In return, Musk wants Twitter to drop a lawsuit the company filed for his attempt to reneged on the deal. In June, Musk claimed he was misled over the number of fake accounts.
Well, Wall Street has been on a tear this week. The Dow surged 825 points Tuesday for its second straight day of gains. It's now back above the key 30,000 milestone. And no longer in a bear market.
Let's just take a look at how Wednesday is shaping up for the U.S. stock market. So, futures are in negative territory there. We'll keep a very close eye on that. It generally signals where the start is in the coming hours but we'll check that out.
And then let's take a look at European markets. Also, in negative territory. The FTSE 100 down nearly one -- nearly 0.6 percent there.
Well, it's been billed as the speech of a lifetime for British Prime Minister Liz Truss who is now fighting to save her leadership of the conservative party. She is set to address the annual Tory conference in Birmingham in the coming hours, while her plan to write the British economy faces fierce criticisms from all sides. Truss has already abandoned a tax cut for the wealthy but she is sticking by her broader agenda.
So, let's bring in Julia Chatterley, the host of CNN's business program First Move. She is live in Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, Julia.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, good to be here.
CHURCH: So, billed as the speech of a lifetime for Lis Truss. What is all at stake for the new prime minister when she takes to the stage in the coming hours?
CHATTERLEY: This is a hugely important moment for her among many to come. However, I think the good news is the bar is incredibly low. All she's got to do after this speech is not fall further behind in the polls. And not create financial market stability instability. And I'm being a bit facetious.
But how hard should it be? Probably harder than it looks because it looks like she is going to insist on continuing to push her high growth, lower taxes policy. I've taken an extract from the upcoming speech. Take a listen to this.
We need to grow the pie so that everybody gets a bigger slice. That's why I'm determined to take a new approach and break us out of this high tax low growth cycle. That's what our plan is about. Getting our economy growing and rebuilding Britain through reform.
Reform in essence is good if you can grow the economy. Unfunded tax cuts is not good. And the unfortunate fact, Rosemary, there is a lot of those on the table. She has to somehow reestablish trust with voters, with financial markets and within her own party. And that remains a huge challenge for her and it begins today, but it's going to take more than one speech.
CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. And Prime Minister Truss is promising a new Britain for a new era. But she -- she will carry on with her unpopular economic reforms, right? So how is that likely to play out for her and her party given the resistance to her economic plan?
CHATTERLEY: It's going to be unwelcomed to say the least. They have a very tight timeline now. The chancellor has said he will come out and explain some of their policies. It was due on November 23rd. We don't have a date for that.
The good news again is that if you look at sterling versus the dollar, it has recovered. A lot of the ground that it lost over the past week as a result of them abandoning that cut to the top rate of tax. But there is still more than 40 billion pounds worth of tax cuts that are planned. They have to postpone some of those at the very least or the turbulence will be back, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Unbelievable, isn't it? Julia Chatterley, great to have you with us, joining us live from Abu Dhabi. I appreciate it.
CHATTERLEY: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, two major powers are close to slapping new sanctions on Iran after its violent response to anti-government protests. The details on that, next.
CHURCH: Court will resume Thursday in the trial of five alleged members of the Oath Keepers for their role in the January 6th U.S. Capitol riot. But prosecutors are getting down to business, laying out their case.
CNN's Sara Sidner has details.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: FBI Special Agent Michael Palian took the stand of the government's first witness in the seditious conspiracy case against five people affiliated with the Oath Keepers for their alleged roles in the January 6th attack.
The agent verified Oath Keeper leader Stewart Rhodes' voice on secretly recorded audio of a planning meeting. The far-right militia group held shortly after the 2020 election. The scratchy audio played in federal court where cameras are not allowed.
We are not getting out of this without a fight. There is going to be a fight. Rhodes can be heard saying, but let's do it smart, and let's do it while President Trump is still commander-in-chief.
The recording was the first major piece of evidence prosecutors used to establish the defendants hash the plan to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power to keep President-elect Joe Biden from taking office months before January 6.
So, our mission, going to be to go into D.C. But I do want some Oath Keepers to stay outside and stay fully armed and prepared to go in if they have to, Rhodes can be heard saying.
The attorney for Rhodes got the FBI agent to acknowledge that his client was referring to going to D.C. on November 14th and that the date, January 6, was not mentioned.
Another defendant, Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs is also heard on the call, prosecutors said. We have been issued a call to action from D.C. This is the moment we signed up for, he's heard saying.
Jurors also have heard secretly recorded articles of Rhodes after January 6, trying to get a message to Trump, they said. My only regret is that they should have brought rifles. We could've fixed it right then and there. Rhodes can be heard saying about the capitol attack. If he's not going to do the right thing, he's going to let himself be removed immediately.
Prosecutors relied on videos to establish the defendants, some in military combat gear were at or in the capitol, including new video of Thomas Caldwell.
THOMAS CALDWELL, MEMBER, OATH KEEPERS: Today I wipe my ass on Pelosi's doorknob.
SIDNER: Prosecutors also zeroed in on a patch Kelly Meggs wore at the capitol that says, I don't believe in anything. I'm just here for the violence. And showed jurors messages from a group chat on the Cignal app called friends of Stone, as in Roger Stone.
It was the first evidence the jury saw of Rhodes interacting with someone close to President Trump. And in Cignal messages to fellow Oath Keepers days after the election, Rhodes wrote, we aren't getting through this without a civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body and spirit.
Prosecutors say some began planning for violent election night, showing text messages between Meggs and his wife while watching the results roll in. Trump wins Kentucky, I'm so nervous. I'm going to go on a killing spree. Pelosi first. Shut the f-up, you're giving me stress.
SIDNER (on camera): Now, Kelly Meggs the person that was a part of that chat message, his attorney has been painting him as someone who is severely disabled. He said that he was on a lot of opioids that day when he went to the capitol. And in court, he has been using cane. He said look, he can say whatever he wants. He can speak because of its first amendment right. But it doesn't mean that he actually went and did something illegal.
As for some of the other attorneys, there are five defendants which means that each of their attorneys gets their chance, get their craft at the witnesses that the prosecution brings. And so, each of them did today.
We heard from Thomas Caldwell's attorney who poked holes in the FBI's initial case against their client that they had to revise. The initially said that Thomas Caldwell went into the capitol. He did not. They said he destroyed government property. He did not. They said he was the leader of this group and later changed that to Mr. Rhodes.
So, he tried to poke a lot of holes in the FBI's initial case. But in the end what we are going to see is a ton of evidence and a lot of witness testimony that this jury is going to have to go through, understand and make a decision about.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Washington.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The European Union is weighing new sanctions on Iran. And the U.S. is expected to ramp up its penalties sometime this week. As the Iranian government takes a hard line against the protest sweeping the country.
High school girls marched in Tehran Tuesday, calling for greater rights and freedoms. Similar rallies were held at other schools and universities across the country. Iranian state media reports that 400 demonstrators who had been detained since the start of the unrest have now been released.
So, let's bring in CNN's Nada Bashir. She joins us live from London. Nada, the U.S. and the E.U. responding to the violent government crackdown on protesters, now ready to impose new sanctions on Iran. What impact might they have?
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, Rosie, we have seen fierce criticism of that violent crackdown by the Iranian regime for members of the community throughout the last few weeks since these protests really first sparked. But now, of course, we are hearing the U.S. and the European Union taking a firmer stance, taking firmer action against the Iranian regime.
We heard from President Joe Biden, actually, on Monday, firmly expressing his support for those peaceful protests, and also condemning the violent crackdown that we saw around Sharif University on Sunday. The violence that really ensued over the weekend.
Now, of course, we're hearing from a source familiar with the Biden administration's plan of actually that they will be looking at expanding their sanctions on Iran. Focusing on law enforcement officials and on others believed to be directly involved in that violent crackdown on peaceful protests.
And of course, this is an additional round of sanctions. We've already seen U.S. sanctions on Iran having a debilitating impact on the regime. And, in fact, we actually heard from the Iranian supreme leaders speaking on Monday addressing those protests and the violent crackdown. He actually accused the U.S. and Israel of inciting the unrest that we are seeing in Iran. Causing the instability and, in his words, trying to get in the way of the progress that Iran has made in the face of western sanctions.
Because it's not just the U.S. now looking to impose those sanctions and financial penalties on the Iranian regime. We have heard yesterday from the European Union, following that meeting of the European Parliament in Strasburg that they, too, will be looking at further restrictive measures or otherwise sanctions on the Iranian regime. That was the message we heard from the E.U.'s chief diplomat Josef Borrell yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF: We will continue to follow what's happening in the country and to use it as an opportunity to raise our position and concerns on human rights in Iran.
As I mentioned, we will continue to consider all the options of our disposal including restrictive measures for foreign affairs council, will decide about it on the next meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASHIR: And look, Rosemary, on the diplomatic front, we've seen the Iranian envoys to the U.K., to France being summoned for talks regarding those protests, the violent crackdown and there has on the whole been widespread condemnation of this violent crackdown, as well as widespread support for the efforts of many people we are seeing in Iran. Taking a brave stand against the Iranian regime.
And, in particular, the brave women and young girls who are standing in defiance of those restrictive measures placed on them by the Iranian regime and by, of course, the notorious morality police. Rosemary? CHURCH: Yes. Nada Bashir joining us live from London, many thanks for
Now, to the U.S. midterm elections. And a growing scandal in the Georgia senate race, that has Republicans in damage control mode. The Daily Beast is reporting that former football star and Republican candidate, Herschel Walker, paid for his then girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009. Walker, who claims he is anti-abortion calls the report a flat-out lie. CNN cannot confirm the allegation.
Walker is in a tight race against Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock. Georgia is a battleground state and a walk or win could put Republicans back in the majority if this so-called October surprise doesn't sink his campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I have no idea, but it is a flat-out lie. And now you know how important this seat is. This seat is very important that they'll do anything to win the seat. I never asked anyone to get an abortion. I never paid for an abortion. And it's a lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Herschel Walker's son however is calling his father a liar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIAN WALKER, HERSCHEL WALKER'S SON: They say they have receipts whatever. He gets on Twitter. He lies about it. OK, I'm done! Done! Everything has been a lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, still to come, Ukrainians make gains on the battlefield amid a powerful advance in the south. The latest in a live report just ahead.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Oil ministers from OPEC Plus could announce a big cut in oil production when they meet in just a few hours. Now, that means energy and gas prices would rise just weeks before the U.S. midterm elections.
And as Europe faces soaring energy costs amid Russia's war in Ukraine, the Biden administration has launched a full-scale pressure campaign to try to persuade Middle Eastern allies against the cuts.
Vladimir Putin has taken the next step in his move to forcibly annex four Ukrainian regions by signing into law, measures approved by Russia's parliament. This action coming as Russia is losing ground in the very regions Moscow is claiming as its own. Ukrainian troops are making significant gains amid a powerful advance
in the south where Ukraine says that Russian forces are leaving mines in villages as they retreat.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his troops are pushing even further towards the Russian occupied city of Kherson. This, as Ukrainian forces raise the nation's flag over more liberated towns, and one official says that troops are breaking through Russian defenses in the Kherson region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): The Ukrainian army is quite rapidly and powerfully advancing in the south of our country as part of the current defense operation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And as Ukrainian forces regain ground, they are finding devastated towns. And in one case, they claim to have uncovered a torture chamber in a formerly occupied town in the Kharkiv region. Police say a number of items were found, including a container full of extracted gold teeth. Local residents report hearing screaming constantly coming from that building.
Well, CNN's Scott McLean is following developments and joins me now from London. So, Scott, we haven't seen this before, a sobering assessment of battlefield losses by Russia's own defense ministry and Russian media. What might this signal?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rosemary. Yes. Look, it's often difficult to figure out where exactly the front lines are on the ground, who's winning, who's losing. The sort of fog of war makes it so that both sides emphasize their wins. But they don't really make much of their losses.
But now, the Russians are acknowledging quite plainly that they're not doing well in the east and the south of the country. They lost Lyman. The strategic city in the eastern part of the country over the weekend. And now a series of maps used in Russian military briefing illustrate their losses in the south.
So, the map on the left side of your screen, if we can bring it up, shows the map that was used in this briefing on Monday. The pink there is the Russian-held areas. The white is the Ukrainian -held areas. The blue there is the Dnipro River. The one on the right is the map that was used in that same briefing yesterday.
So, look at all that white on the western side of the Dnipro River there. That's the Russians acknowledging very plainly that they are losing ground in that area. The Russian media is even acknowledging that things are not going well.
A correspondent for a pro-Kremlin tabloid, for instance, who was actually embedded with Russian troops in Lyman said that, look, there's not going to be any good news from the front lines either from the east or from the south anytime soon. Writing, and I quote here, "our enemy is introducing well-prepared reserves. Realizing its advantages and both personal and intelligence data. A certain tiredness crept in in many areas after a long attacking season during which we liberated large swaths of land. We didn't have enough strength left after that to hold on to them. Why so? Because we simply didn't have enough people."
Another leading war correspondent, Rosemary. This one from Russian state TV acknowledged something very similar. That they simply did not have enough manpower on the front lines. He blamed fat -- in his words, U.S. weapon deliveries and satellite intelligence gathering. He says that the Russians have enough manpower at the moment to hold the line. But he said that it will be two months before they have enough strength to actually make any kind of significant advance.
CHURCH: All right, Scott McLean, many thanks, joining us live from London with that report.
And just ahead, how Barbie could inspire a generation of young girls to follow her into space. We'll be right back with that.
CHURCH: Tributes are pouring in for country music legend Loretta Lynn who passed away on Tuesday. Lynn was a queen of country music for seven decades. Even though she had no formal music training her best- known songs drew from her life and marriage. She documented her upbringing and the best-selling 1976 memoir Coal Miner's Daughter which was turned into a film by the same name. Lynn recorded her 50th and final album last year. Her family said she died peacefully at her home in Tennessee. Loretta Lynn was 90 years old.
Well, the name is Nicole Aunapu Mann and she sets off on a historic mission. In just a few hours from now the NASA astronaut will be the first Native American women to travel to earth's orbit. Mann is mission commander for the SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Endurance. It's set to lift off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center and head to the International Space Station later today. She and three crew members will be there for five months.
Mann is also the first woman to command a SpaceX flight. She's bringing momentous with her including her wedding ring and a dream catcher her mother gave her. And Mann's historic mission also happened to fall on world space week.
As part of the event, Europe's first female commander of the International Space Station took time from her space duties to hear from young girls and answer their questions. And, floating alongside her was a lookalike Barbie astronaut. Part of her push to get more girls interested in becoming astronauts and scientists.
CNN's Isa Soares explains. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Barbie girl to Barbie astronaut. The famous toy is reaching new heights traveling all the way to space to inspire young girls to consider careers in science.
This Barbie is modeled on astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti, Europe's first female commander of the International Space Station, and the first Italian woman in space. To mark the start of a world space week Samantha beamed into earth, along with her lookalike to answer questions for young girls across Europe. And they were very curious about her job.
UNKNOWN: Why did you want to become an astronaut?
SAMANTHA CRISTOFORETTI, ITALIAN ASTRONAUT: Growing up, I was fascinated by the nice sky. And the idea of flying to space, and the sense of adventure and exploration.
SOARES: But there also had some more practical concerns.
UNKNOWN (through translator): Can you eat pizza on board?
CRISTOFORETTI (through translator): Unfortunately, a proper pizza needs to be prepared in a proper oven. And we don't have that on board. We have only an electric oven to heat up food bags. Sometime ago though, we found a way to eat something similar to pizza. Which wasn't bad at all.
SOARES: Samantha's Barbie astronaut first hit the shops in 2021 with some of the profits going to charity women in Aerospace Europe. She will soon return to earth along with Samantha, where she'll be put on display at the European Space Station. Embodying Barbie's motto for girls all over the world. That you can be anything.
Isa Soares, CNN.
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