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U.S. Finalizing Massive $2.5B Military Aid package For Ukraine; One Killed, Trooper Wounded Near Controversial Police Training Project; Florida Gov. DeSantis Blocks AP Course On African-American Studies; Tech Layoffs Accelerate As Microsoft To Lay off 10,000 By March; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 19, 2023 - 10:30   ET




BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: The U.S. is preparing to send billions more in aid to war-torn Ukraine. Right now, it is finalizing a package that includes two and a half billion dollars' worth of weaponry, and that includes Stryker combat vehicles for the first time. Source telling CNN, the package is not done yet, but it could come before the end of the week.

The new aid would be one of the biggest packages since the war began last February. Would reportedly include more armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Combined with the Strykers, it marks a significant escalation in the armored vehicles that the U.S. has committed to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Joining me now is the former President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. Thank you so much, Mr. President for the time today.

So there you heard it, the U.S. had to deliver Stryker combat vehicles for the first time and additional Bradley Fighting Vehicles. How significant will this new equipment be for the country?

PETRO POROSHENKO, FORMER PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: First of all, I want to thank United States -- people United States government and president for the great leadership. You play in supporting Ukraine and in protecting the free world against Russian aggression.

I can talk -- name that this is the game changer. Because 200 armed vehicle from Canada 200, armed vehicle from Great Britain, and 50 from Sweden, some from the -- altogether, we expect him that that should be about 1,000 armed personal carrier.

And this is that really help us to stop the Russian offensive operation and to provide a counter offensive operation already within two or three months. This is the -- I just returned back from Bakhmut and we know exactly what is the situation on the east of our country.

This is extremely difficult because Putin concentrated everything he can for the -- for this attack. And we ruined Putin plan. And we applaud the transatlantic leadership of United States. And we think that the -- everybody now understand that we are not only protecting Ukraine, and you are not only supporting and helping Ukraine, we together protect freedom, democracy of the whole free world.

GOLODRYGA: There appears to have been a change in strategy, Mr. President, in terms of how far the U.S. is willing to aid Ukraine against Russia. Prior to the last few days, the U.S. was set on the February 23rd boundaries there in terms of whatever it would take to get to the negotiating table.

Now it seems that the United States seems open for Ukraine to actually take back or attempt to take back Crimea by providing Ukraine with weaponry to at least attack that land bridge connecting Russia to Crimea. Of course, Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

Ukraine has always been defiant. That is your mission to take back Crimea. You say it is yours. I'm curious to get your response to what appears to be a shift in strategy on the U.S.'s part too.

POROSHENKO: First of all, Ukraine never have any doubts that we should release from Russian aggressor, every single piece of Ukrainian intelligence. And the only factor that we can free or -- and provide the territorial integrity and sovereign of Ukraine on all the territory, including the Donbas and including the Crimea.


And with that situation, we -- I personally don't see any changes in Ukrainian policy. And I don't see practically changes in the American policy. Because me as a president, all five years, feel the strong and reliable support of United States, including Crimea in question.

We need their more support from the United States in the other question, because I can confirm you that it would be impossible the peace without Ukrainian membership in NATO. And with that situation, we really also expect the great leadership of the United States because Ukraine now already passed the most difficult exams for being the candidate in NATO. And NATO need now Ukraine as much as Ukraine need NATO. So we really count on your support.

GOLODRYGA: Mr. President, if I could just get you to weigh in, as we conclude here on what your thoughts are, what your message would be to German Chancellor Scholz, given that there appears to be a bit of a conundrum with regards to the other heavy weaponry that you need right now. And that is tanks.

The United States says they are not going to be sending Abrams tanks. They are in favor of Germany sending their Leopard tanks. There are about 2,000 Leopard tanks that have been distributed to other NATO allies.

Germany, at this point, has said they will not do so and not even permit other countries to deliver tanks to Ukraine unless the United States delivers its own tanks. What do you think Germany is up to here? And what is your message to Chancellor Scholz when he says that he won't bring you tanks now? POROSHENKO: Look, all western world, the major, should learn unity. You should learn how to speak one voice policy. Germany, United States and other member states. At the end of the day, we can bring to the situation that Poland and other NATO member states will supply for us, the tank, without the permission of Germany.

It can be challenged from the United Kingdom, the Leopard from Germany and others. We definitely now need the tank. Without tank, it is impossible to provide the offensive operation. And if we expecting that we should, through Russian aggressor, wait from Ukrainian territory, this is impossible without that defense. This is very difficult without jet fighter. And this is impossible without the tank.

And the sooner we do that, the better. And this is my message to Chancellor Scholz. I know -- and the Chancellor from the position of the Germany, now, it's strongly connected with the position of NATO. And in other messages that the whole European people support supply of Ukraine the tanks.

GOLODRYGA: All right. Well, President --

POROSHENKO: And Ukraine may be paying significantly higher price than Germany.

GOLODRYGA: President Petro Poroshenko, we appreciate your time. We'll have to leave it there for today. Thank you so much for joining us.

POROSHENKO: It's a pleasure.

GOLODRYGA: Stay safe. Stay safe.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: A Georgia State Trooper is recovering this morning and a man is dead after a shooting at the future site of a controversial police training facility. A closer look at the fight over so-called Cop City.



GOLODRYGA: In Atlanta, a man was killed and a Georgia trooper was injured near the site of a proposed and controversial Law Enforcement Training Center. Law enforcement was conducting an operation to clear protesters from the project site dubbed, Cop City, when they say a man fired at officers from inside the tent. He died at the scene. This is just the latest in a series of clashes surrounding this facility.

BERMAN: CNN's Martin Savidge is here with the latest on this. Well, what is the latest in the trooper's condition, Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Morning to you, John. The condition of the trooper is said to be stable. He's in the intensive care unit. Authorities are crediting life-saving measures that were applied on the scene right after the moment he was shot. They also had to shut down a major highway in Atlanta to get him to the hospital in time. We expect an update later today. John.

BERMAN: Martin, why is this training center so controversial?

SAVIDGE: Well, it goes back some time. But the tensions between protesters, and it's a small but very determined and aggressive group of protesters, and authorities have been increasing over the past few months. Last month, there was used of Molotov cocktails, there were objects and rocks thrown at police. And there have even been charges now those arrested for domestic terrorism.

The facility is about 85 acres. It's going to cost about $90 million. The protesters say what they're opposed to is the deforestation of the area that will have to occur to build that facility. They also say, this will only provide military-style training for a police department that will then be used against civilians.

The police department pushes back and says, they need a state-of-the- art training facility. And, yes, this kind of training will help boost morale at a time that hiring for many police departments across the country is extremely low.

But the irony out of all of this, a facility that is designed to improve public safety so far has only led to violence and now one death.


BERMAN: All right. Martin Savidge, thank you very much for your reporting

SAVIDGE: You're welcome.

BERMAN: So this morning, Florida's governor is blocking an African- American studies course from being taught in the state's classrooms. Governor Ron DeSantis rejected a College Board request to approve the AP course because he says he believes it promotes critical race theory, which he recently banned under what he's called the Stop Woke Act.

The Florida Department of Education writes, quote, as presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law, and significantly lacks educational value.

GOLODRYGA: CNN senior national correspondent Sara Sidner joins us now with the latest. So, Sara, this whole issue has become so toxic and controversial. What is the board saying?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At this point, the board has always said, look, we work through these things, when we first proposed something, you know, states can look at it and they can rejigger it. So it's not over yet.

But at this point in time, this idea of critical race theory has always been created as the Boogeyman. And it means everything and nothing at this point, because generally, critical race theory is taught in law schools. And it is about the idea of the theory that racism exists and is embedded in the legal system that we have here. And it's kept that way to keep basically black America down. That's kind of the overarching idea of critical race theory.

But when it comes to this particular course, it's been tested in 60 schools. There hasn't been a lot of reaction to that. And this is the same organization, the College Board, that oversees the SATs. And so this is sort of a rigorous look at what African-American history is in this country.

And when you're talking about AP, we should mention, it's Advanced Placement. And what does Advanced Placement mean? Well, Advanced Placement means that you're studying a course that you can get college credit for if you pass the AP test.

And so if you're arguing that CRT is part of this, which they are not, then you are also arguing that this shouldn't be taught ever at all, even in college, which is where it's sort of exist. It really is not taught in most K through 12 schools across the nation. We have checked and looked into this.

But I do want to let you hear from someone who was the preeminent scholar on American history, but specifically African-American history. Here is what Robert Gates has said -- Dr. Henry Louis Gates has said this. He says, "Nothing is more dramatic than having the College Board launch an AP course in a field that signifies ultimate acceptance and ultimate academic legitimacy. AP African-American Studies is not CRT, it's not the 1619 Project. It is a mainstream rigorously vetted, academic approach to a vibrant field of study."

This is a man who has been studying this his entire life, has done many, many, many, many documentaries that many of us have seen. And this is how he sees it. And I think you're going to have teachers caught in the middle of all this as well.

So it is a complicated issue, but it is one that has been used as a political sword, basically.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. All right. Thank you so much for at least helping us explain some of that to viewers. We appreciate your time. Thank you, Sara.

Well, Microsoft is the latest tech giant announcing major layoffs. What the company CEO says is behind the cuts, that's next.



BERMAN: New this morning, Microsoft has announced plans to lay off 10,000 employees, joining several other tech giants slashing jobs.

And CNN business and politics correspondent, Vanessa Yurkevich, is following the story. So, what exactly is the company and its CEO saying about these layoffs?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Microsoft CEO is saying that this is in response to changing consumer behaviors and a grim economic outlook. And Microsoft, along with all of the other companies, Amazon, Lyft, Coinbase that have laid folks off, they are looking -- we're looking at this month alone, 37,000 layoffs. That's more than any other month last year, except for one in November when you had sort of a large slew of tech layoffs.

But what happened was, during the pandemic, a lot of us turned to e- commerce, we were online, we were investing in tech. That, of course, is changing. And Microsoft saying, we need to keep up with changing consumer behaviors.

And one of the -- one analyst put it to me this way, they said that tech companies were spending like rockstars. And now, one analyst also suggesting that this is a little bit of a course correction, a little bit of pulling back.

But it's important to note that tech represents about two percent of employment. OK? So this is a smaller, smaller base of employment compared to something like leisure and hospitality, which is 11 percent. And we know that this morning, unemployment claims came out, 190,000. That's below the norm. So we're seeing maybe in other industries that there aren't layoffs happening. This may be just something that is specific to tech.

And we've heard from many other industries as well, they're having trouble hiring people. And one analyst also suggesting that during this course correction for these tech companies, this may be short lived that we may see hiring in other ways. Microsoft saying that they're going to have a huge investment in AI, Artificial Intelligence.

So while we're losing, unfortunately, painfully, folks now in the tech industry, we could see gains rather soon, sooner rather than later.

GOLODRYGA: It's important to point out, that while these are massive companies, as you noted, they're --

YURKEVICH: Name brands.

GOLODRYGA: -- they're just small percentage of the larger labor force.

YURKEVICH: Yes, it doesn't -- it doesn't reflect overall labor market right now. It's an important part of it, because technology is what keeps this world running, but it's not the overall labor market. It's important to note to know what's happening in other industries, which are struggling to hire folks right now.


BERMAN: And maybe tech was a little bloated, not to use -- you know, where the people don't like with during a pandemic.

YURKEVICH: They called it -- one analyst said it's promiscuous hiring.

GOLODRYGA: Promiscuous hiring. Wow. It's the first time I heard that. A little cheeky. YURKEVICH: Me too, but just maybe a little overzealous in the hiring, and now they're pulling back on.

BERMAN: I like your term better than mine. Vanessa Yurkevich, thanks so much for that.

YURKEVICH: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: And thank you so much for joining us today. I'm Bianna Golodryga.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BALDWIN" starts after a quick break.