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G7 Pledges Unwavering Ukraine Support As President Zelenskyy Arrives In Japan; Russia Attacks Kyiv In 11th Air Raid Since The Beginning of May; Migrants In Florida On Edge Ahead Of New State Immigration Law; Hundreds Of Migrants Arriving Each Day In New York City; Debt Talks End, GOP Rep Not Confident Of Deal This Weekend; Supreme Court Shields Twitter From Liability For Terror Content; Suspect Arrested Four Years After Newborn Found Alive In Plastic Bag; Colombian Armed Forces To Saturate Jungle Over Missing Kids; Brittney Griner Plays First Official Game After Russia Imprisonment. Aired 11a- 12p ET

Aired May 20, 2023 - 11:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

And Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made a dramatic appearance in Japan where he's holding crucial meetings with world leaders at the G7 summit. Zelenskyy is pleading his case for continued support in the war with Russia. Ukraine depends heavily on support and weapons from the G7 leaders who released a statement saying this. "We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine for as long as it takes," end quote.

President Biden is expected to have a face-to-face with Zelenskyy tomorrow, and in a significant win for Ukraine, the U.S. has signaled it will now allow allies to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and support training its pilots. That's a major about-face for the Biden administration.

Russia and Ukraine are not the only thing on the agenda at the summit. Western leaders are also tackling ways to confront China's increasing military power and how to approach the growing impact of artificial intelligence.

CNN international correspondent Marc Stewart is in Hiroshima, Japan. So what has come out of today's meetings thus far?

MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. It is just after midnight now in Hiroshima, Japan. And we've had a very busy day. Some significant headlines to pass along.

First of all, President Zelenskyy's arrival here in Hiroshima. Even though he's been on the ground for a very short time, he has already met with the heads of state from Italy, from India, as well as the United Kingdom. We'll be watching his calendar because more meetings are expected to take place in the hours ahead.

And then the other big headline of the day, that position paper, as you mentioned, released by the G7. Diplomats use the fancy term "communique".

Among the takeaways, commitment by the G7 to stand by Ukraine for the long haul. "As long as it takes" is one of the phrases that we've heard. That means expect G7 nations to continue to support Ukraine by providing financial aid, humanitarian assistance as well as military support.

In addition, that note also mentioned China, urging China to tell Russia to remove its troops, to pressure Russia to remove its troops from Ukraine. In addition, it raised concerns about some of its economic practices saying in effect to China you need to play by the international rules, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And Marc, then looking ahead what can be expected from that highly-anticipated meeting between President Biden and President Zelenskyy?

STEWART: A lot of anticipation, of course, for that meeting. And first of all, it has ripe symbolism. To have the president of Ukraine standing with the president of the United States, the leader of the free world -- that photo opportunity within itself sends a message of global unity.

Another point to look forward to, perhaps after that meeting, is an announcement by the United States of additional aid to Ukraine -- about $375 million is the price tag that we are hearing. That includes artillery, ammunition, rocket launchers.

As we have heard from the president of Ukraine over and over again, military hardware certainly is needed. It may get that wish tomorrow, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Marc Stewart in Japan, thanks so much.

Ukraine's President Zelenskyy is front and center at the summit. Meantime back home Russia struck the city of Kyiv in new drone attacks.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in eastern Ukraine. So Nic, what's at stake here for Zelenskyy while he is abroad?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. Russia in an effort to take advantage of Zelenskyy being away from his home continuing its attacks on Kyiv.

Officials are saying, look, we believe that the Russians are trying to do two things. One, they're trying to deplete our missile defense system reserves. And the other is to attack the psychology of the people living in Kyiv.

[11:04:45] ROBERTSON: Perhaps the bigger developments today or possible developments, because Ukraine is denying what I'm about to tell you, that Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the Wagner mercenary boss who's given to a lot of propaganda and this cannot be taken at face value, that he is claiming that Russian troops have finally taken control of the town of Bakhmut, the center of Bakhmut.

We know the Ukrainian forces are fighting intensely around that city. Officials are saying the city has not fallen to Russian hands.

This is happening while Zelenskyy is away. But I've been talking to commanders here about the good news for them, they say that these F- 16s can get into the hands of their pilots. The pilots can get trained and they can bring them to bear on Russian forces near the frontlines.

They say that will be a game change to give them some air superiority, allow them to target more deeply behind Russian lines, hit their supplies, hit their fuel lines, hit their ammunition lines and turn the tide of the battle.

So they want that equipment, but of course, it's going to be a while before the F-16s actually arrive here and are battle ready in hands that are battle competent to take them to the enemy.

WHITFIELD: All right. Nic Robertson, thanks for that update. Appreciate it.

With me now, Joel Rubin. He is a former deputy assistant secretary of State during the Obama administration. So good to see you, Joel.

So President Zelenskyy has said before that he is concerned about war fatigue overall on the part of his allies. But now hearing the U.S. Giving kind of the green light on F-16s, the allies coming together during the G7 all saying they're very committed to Ukraine. Should Zelenskyy have that kind of worry right now?

JOEL RUBIN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Fredricka, it is great to be with you.

And this is a transformative moment for Zelenskyy getting these kinds of commitments at the G7. Certainly there are going to be ups and downs, and publics are always wondering when this will end here in the United States. It's always a question that persists.

But the commitment is real. What we're seeing from the G7 and from President Biden on making this decision on the F-16s really is a critical moment.

It will transform the battlefield. It will change the entire plan and dynamics for Ukraine. It will give them confidence that what Zelenskyy is doing and has been doing in particular the last couple of days is working and that the world really does stand united behind Ukraine.

WHITFIELD: So you agree, it will be a game changer, but then there's the timeframe.


WHITFIELD: The urgency. How quickly will Ukrainian pilots get the training, if they haven't already? How soon will they get those F-16s from those allied nations?

RUBIN: So Fredricka, process-wise, the training is now going to be under way. That's what the president has signed off on. Now after that, the decision about which F-16s to provide from where, from our European allies, how will that flow? That will take several months.

And so this is analogous to the M1-A1 tank decision and if you recall, the tank debate happened for a number of months. And then eventually Germany moved forward in supplying Leopards and the United States we came through now with our M1-A1s there on the way to being delivered.

So there is an unfurling flow. And so yes, the planes will take several months, but all of this cascading flow of supplies is under way. That's the kind of reinforcement over the horizon that will give Ukraine a lot of confidence as it prepares for its upcoming offensive.

WHITFIELD: So, the G7 nations, you know, all pronouncing their support for Ukraine. And they are all in unison as it pertains to pressure on China as well these G7 nations -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.

How much leverage does the G7 have on China to offer this kind of pressure to say, you know, pick a side? It shouldn't be Russia, by the way. How much leverage do they have?

RUBIN: Yes, you're right. Really, the question of picking a side is paramount and that's sort of what's driving all of this. And the visit now in many ways by President Biden is designed and was designed to reinforce the need to really counter China and confront China on these diplomatic questions.

The visit to Japan, he had the meeting scheduled with the Quad as well going to Papua New Guinea and of course, and really the debt talks have derailed that. That's an unfortunate outcome.

But that was designed to put pressure on China and say the United States is not backing down, our allies are not backing down. The G7 economies are together unified with the sanctions package now looking at multiple countries, third-party countries, territorial sanctions what we call them, to try to put pressure on China as well to say we're not going to allow you to just supply Russia and backfill their military.

And I think that's really the conversation. China has been engaging now in dialogue as well with the United States. Jake Sullivan had diplomatic meetings with his leadership alongside Xi in Vienna.


RUBIN: And the pressure is rising. I think that this commitment we're seeing now from the G7 will only increase that pressure. And China is going to have to look at Russia and say, you know, the West isn't backing off and you need to pull back and come to a diplomatic solution.

WHITFIELD: And Joel, you know, the G7 -- now it's the G7, it used to be the G8, Russia was at the table. It is no longer at the table. China does have great influence over Russia.

What kind of difference do you believe it's made in the power or the depletion of power for Russia to no longer be at the table?

RUBIN: It was a major blow to Russian prestige to be kicked out after it invaded Ukraine about eight years ago initially. That was a symbol of Russia being integrated into the West after the fall of the Soviet Union.

And so this kicking out, this loss of prestige, global pariah status that Russia now exists in, that is something that Vladimir Putin had tried and has tried for a number of years to get out from under. It has not worked. He's only deepened his pariah status.

And I think for the Russian people, Russian leadership, the politicians, the political military elites, they have to understand, and I think they do, by seeing Zelenskyy being feted by the G7 and Russia no longer there, at how far out of the global mainstream they are and whether or not their future really should depend any longer on Vladimir Putin.

That's a symbol and a sign that they're seeing today in particular from these meetings.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. Joel Rubin, good to see you. Thanks so much.

RUBIN: Thanks, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up, a state of emergency in more than a dozen counties across New York City. The city is bracing for hundreds of asylum seekers to arrive daily, but already officials warn resources are thin.

And four years after an abandoned newborn was found alive in a plastic bag, the child's mother is under arrest. Details next.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

New fears for the migrant community in Florida this morning ahead of a law that goes into effect July 1st. Any business with more than 25 workers will be required to check its employees' immigration status.

CNN's Carlos Suarez takes a closer look at this law's potential fallout.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Francisco Maldonado finds himself struggling to ease the fears of workers on his farm in Homestead, Florida. Many are undocumented and all are facing important decisions in the wake of Florida's new immigration law.

FRANCISCO MALDONADO, FARM OWNER: We're going to try to see if we can make them stay as long as we can, you know. I don't know what's going to happen after July 1st. From now on, it's just rumors and just people thinking that they have to leave.

SUAREZ: One of his workers, Faustino, says he knows of workers leaving Florida over the uncertainty. Faustino said he came to the U.S. from Guatemala at the age of 14. But after nearly 20 years of planting and picking fruits and vegetables in south Florida, he's not going anywhere.

"It's sad that some people are moving or they're scared to go to work. If we don't do these jobs who's going to do them? We're the ones who have to do this work."

The new law, which goes into effect in July requires a business with at least 25 workers to use e-verify, a federal program that checks the immigration status of workers with penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.

Most farm owners including Maldonado say they keep the number of employees under 20.

MALDONADO: We had a lot more workers, but we cut back a little bit. So I think we're still on the right number. And I don't think it's going to affect us much. But we still don't know yet.

SUAREZ: The impact of the new law goes beyond jobs. Certain hospitals will have to ask patients about their immigration status, and the law makes it a felony to transport someone in the country illegally into Florida.

For Governor Ron DeSantis, this expansion of e-verify is making good on a promise he made in 2018 during his first run for governor.

GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We want businesses to hire citizens and legal immigrants, but we want them to follow the law and not do illegal immigrants. And that's not that difficult to do.

SUAREZ: In response to the law, the national Hispanic rights group LULAC urged immigrants, no matter their status, not to travel to Florida. Locally, immigration advocacy groups like WeCount are meeting with workers in agriculture, hospitality and construction to answer questions about the changes.

ESTEBAN WOOD, POLICY DIRECTOR, WECOUNT: These immigrant workers really are the drivers of Florida's economy. And what Florida is doing by the government, by imposing and implementing this law is really punching down on the communities that make this economy run.

SUAREZ: For some workers, the fear of losing their job is overwhelming. A 21-year-old nursery worker cried out of frustration saying she and her 3-year-old child have nowhere else to go and no one to turn to.

"I worry for myself and I worry for others. We're all in this together. And the situation is tough."

There's been talk of a work stoppage to protest the new immigration law with folks taking to social media to post videos of empty job sites and farming fields. However that is something that immigration groups tell us they're not seeing just yet.

In fact, every single worker that we talked to this week told us they can't afford not to be in the fields, they can't afford not to be making money and sending that money back to their families.

Carlos Suarez, CNN -- Homestead, Florida.


WHITFIELD: The overall number of migrants crossing the U.S. border may have dropped in recent weeks. We're going to update you.


WHITFIELD: Since the expiration of Title 42 last week, federal immigration authorities have seen a significant drop with the migrant encounters on the southern border. Just 3,000 per day now. But hundreds of asylum seekers continue arriving each day in New York City.

A new arrival center was opened at Manhattan's Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan Friday to accommodate the growing number. Mayor Eric Adams says 15 more buses are expected to deliver hundreds of migrants in the coming days. That's in addition to the 35,000 migrants already in the city's care.

More than a dozen counties in New York have also issued states of emergency in response to Adams' plan to relocate migrants outside the city.

CNN's Gloria Pazmino is joining us right now from New York City with more on this outside the Roosevelt Hotel. So what are you seeing this morning?

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes Fred, you know, it's interesting you mentioned that drop of migrant encounters at the border because while that number has decreased, here in New York City they are still dealing with an increase of people that are arriving here in the city or who are already in the city who need to be placed into shelter and connected to resources.

And I want to just give you a look at what's happening behind me. You see the Roosevelt Hotel. Behind that white van, you'll see two city buses. And those buses have arrived here from Port Authority Bus Terminal. They were there to meet with another bus that was bringing in migrants from the southern border earlier today. We've seen about three or four buses arrive this morning with about 20

to 25 migrants in them. They are arriving here to the Roosevelt, which is meant to operate as a first stop, a sort of intake center where people can come in. Get food, water, medical care, have a place to go to the bathroom and to shower and to rest. And then the idea is that they will be connected to the resources that they need, whether it's housing, shelter, schooling for their children or any other sort of resources that they might be in need of.

This behind me here is not supposed to be a permanent solution. That is a much bigger question here in New York City as the numbers continue to increase. The mayor has said that the city is in dire need of federal funding.

Now, the much larger question here is what to do in terms of shelter. People are being placed into shelter, but the city is running out of space and some of these migrants will need a more permanent solution.

We're seeing about 600 migrants arrive per day. So the city really dealing with a big challenge here but doing its best to keep up with both the numbers and the needs of those who continue to arrive here, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Gloria Pazmino, we'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much.

All right. Coming up, a massive victory for Silicon Valley. Two Supreme Court rulings preserve social media companies' ability to avoid lawsuits for terror-related content. We'll discuss the impact of the major ruling straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: All right. Now to the nation's looming debt crisis. We're now another day closer to a potential default. The high-stakes negotiations between the White House and Republicans have broken down for now. Talks ended Friday with no clear indication when the two sides will meet again in person. The U.S. now has only 12 days before potentially running out of money to pay its debts.

For the latest, let's bring in CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright in Washington. Jasmine, where do things stand?


Well, going into this weekend we heard some mixed messaging from the White House. On one hand, we heard from President Biden who's in Japan where he expressed optimism about potentially making a deal. He said that he was not at all concerned about the state of negotiations.

Obviously here in Washington on Friday we saw that kind of whiplash of movement on Capitol Hill. We saw negotiators really hit a snag here, a pause in their talks. We saw them leaving the room saying that no progress is being made. Eventually they went back into that room on Friday and sources in the

room told us that they had a candid conversation but left without any indication that there would be a deal or even when they would meet again.

Still President Biden in Japan overnight, he described these as kind of the natural ebb and flow of major negotiations. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It goes in stages. And what happens is the first meetings weren't all that productive. The second ones were. Third one was. And then what happens is the carriers go back to the principals and say this is what we're thinking about and then people put down new claims.

I still believe we'll be able to avoid a default and we'll get something decent done.


WRIGHT: So there we just heard from the president. He calls himself an optimist there.

But on the other hand, we heard from White House communications director Ben LaBolt in a statement overnight who really slammed Republicans for what he said was pushing the country to the brink of default. He accused them of holding the economy hostage. And also said that if Republicans could come to the table in good faith that there is a path available to make a deal.

Of course, really kind of voicing the frustrations that we heard from both sides of the aisle. Republicans are also upset at the Democrats because they feel like they're holding too tight to these spending cap options and also the fiscal spending for the year of 2024, not trying to revert back to 2022.

So those are kind of the issues at hand of where things are sticking. But of course, here time is ticking and it is not on Democrats or Republicans side.


WRIGHT: You're right. It's just 12 days until that x date, potentially June 1st is when the Treasury Department outlined that the U.S. would be unable possibly to pay its debt, defaulting for the first time, bringing with it economic consequences.

Now this issue has really shadowed over the president's time in Japan. And we know that he's leaving tomorrow to come back early, skipping Australia and Papua New Guinea to really be able to shepherd this to a deal. Both sides continue to say that they want a deal but of course, more time is going to have to be spent in that negotiating room to get one in just these 12 days, Fred.

WHITFIELD: all right. Jasmine Wright, thanks so much. All right. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed social media

companies a massive victory. It protected online platforms from two lawsuits with major implications. In the first case, the court ruled unanimously that Twitter was not liable for hosting tweets created by the terror group ISIS. The court dismissed the second case which accuses Google's subsidiary YouTube of aiding and abetting terrorism thus dodging a chance to narrow a key liability shield for Websites, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

I want to talk about all this and what it all means with CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers and CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. Good to see both of you.

Jennifer, you first. So the court was in agreement on the case against Twitter. So what does that suggest to you?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What happened in the Twitter case is interesting because they actually didn't rule on the parameters of Section 230. They decided the cases on the common law issue of whether Twitter had aided and abetted terrorism.

The plaintiffs sued under an act from 2016 called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. And so the court said we don't have to reach the meaning of 230. We can say that the defendants here, Twitter, did not aid and abet the terrorist acts that the plaintiffs were suing over.

So they really kind of punted on the scope of Section 230, which does allow all sorts of other cases to go forward that require an analysis of that statute.

You know, we don't have answers as to the scope of 230, but they didn't take the opportunity to define it in such a way that would provide liability here. So good news for plaintiffs who want to continue trying to make those cases.

WHITFIELD: And Juliette, does this provoke any new concerns for you as it relates to national security?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. I mean this has been a percolating issue. And I think the underlying theme of the court is we are not qualified to reassess or to assess 230. If Congress wants to change Section 230, then they'll resist any case against it.

And it really is incumbent on Congress, where you do get some bipartisan support to essentially look at 230 and see whether it is still valid in a day and age in which we know algorithms and radicalization sort of joined forces to create the kind of incitement that would lead to violence.

It's interesting, these cases are not touching on right-wing extremism. They are ISIS-related cases about foreign terrorist organizations using U.S. platforms to try to not only recruit but raise money and then of course, organize. If the Congress determines that we no longer want to treat social

media companies as, you know, sort of mere platforms, as agnostic (ph) and that actually they do have either an affirmative duty to get this stuff off or will be held liable if they don't. That is a lot of difficult decisions by Congress, but honestly some that need to be made.

You cannot simply say anymore these social media platforms have no duty to get this stuff off. We know what it's doing. We know that it's leading to violence.

WHITFIELD: And Jennifer, I mean the case involving Google centered around whether it can be sued over YouTube's algorithm promoting terrorist videos on its platform. And in dismissing the case, does it suggest that the court was fully prepared to tackle kind of the nuances of Internet speech?

RODGERS: I think Juliette's right that they're not really well- prepared to do that. But here we see what the Supreme Court often does, which is tries to decide a matter on the narrowest possible basis and then kicks it back down to a lower court for determination based on their decisions.

So here they said in the Google case, we're going to send it back to the circuit court to reassess given our decision in the Twitter case. But I think it kind of foreshadows that the plaintiff there is not going to be successful either.

They're just not going to find liability based on what the -- has been proven that the platforms did in this instance, which is really not to screen out that kind of content at the front end, and then using algorithms that are content neutral and viewpoint neutral, the court is suggesting that that is not going to lead to liability at this point.


WHITFIELD: And Juliette, so you know, how does law enforcement handle I mean the real implications of terror-related content actively spreading online?

KAYYEM: So we have an example. People sort of -- I think people think it's so hard and we'll hit First Amendment rights.

One example is child pornography. The social media companies have gotten really good at getting something that most people, hopefully everyone, finds so noxious to any notion of free speech and is also criminal that they can get it offline. And they do that through a variety of mechanisms of searches, word searches, bodily searches, age searches, and the algorithm -- all of those combined.

So if you actually look at the history of social media companies and criminal -- and crime on it, there actually is a history. The question now is can they do that for a limited group of terrorist organizations who are planning and organizing violence on the platform? I well recognize this is going to hit First Amendment rights, what is

terrorism, who is a terrorist in the U.S. versus abroad. Those are the slippery slopes we worried about. But the question still remains, can we ever find a single circumstance where we would find the social media companies liable for that? And the court right now is saying Section 230 is not providing that option to us right now. It may if it's amended.

WHITFIELD: All right. All still very complex. Juliette Kayyem, Jennifer Rodgers -- good to see both of you, ladies. Thanks so much.

RODGERS: Thank you.

KAYYEM: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, Colombian officials are scrambling to find four children who they believe may still be alive after a plane crash in the Amazon. The new clues of possible survival next.



WHITFIELD: All right.

Four years after a newborn was found alive wrapped in plastic and abandoned in the woods of north Georgia, finally an arrest.

This was the emotional moment officers encountered when they uncovered the newborn.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you hear it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard it just from our house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.


WHITFIELD: That's hard to believe. The woman who law enforcement say gave birth to the baby girl in 2019 is now facing several charges including attempted murder in what has come to be known as Baby India -- the Baby India case.

CNN's Isabel Rosales is joining me now with more on this. So the discovery is one thing. How did they track down the woman they believe is the mother?

ISABEL ROSALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And it's been a four-year mystery. So we heard from the sheriff of Forsyth County, Ron Freeman saying that ten months ago using advanced DNA they were able to identify the father of the baby girl.

Here in the past week, using that same DNA, they found the mom. The mom is 40-year-old Karima Jiwani. Officials say she is cooperating with this investigation. The sheriff says that through their investigative process they found that she likely gave birth inside of the car and kept going. Driving for a long distance with the baby in the car.

The investigation also revealed a history, says the sheriff of past surprise, hidden pregnancies and that the sheriff says she knew about this particular pregnancy, but it appears that the father -- there's no evidence that the father of this baby knew about the pregnancy or of the abandonment of the baby. Here's what else the sheriff had to say.


SHERIFF RON FREEMAN, FORSYTH COUNTY, GEORGIA: You really get it if you're a parent, right? This innocent baby girl who needed everything, right? They need everything from the time they're born. Got put in a bag and left as a bag of trash to die.

And so yes. I'll be very blunt. Every one of us behind here have said we wanted this one. We wanted this resolved, and we wanted to find the person responsible.


ROSALES: And Georgia does have a Safe Haven Law, meaning that a mom can get criminal immunity if she leaves the baby, abandons the baby at a medical facility, at a fire station or a police station as long as the baby is under 30 days old.

WHITFIELD: How is the baby? That was four years ago. We're now talking about a 4-year-old child.


WHITFIELD: How is she doing?

ROSALES: The sheriff says the baby is happy and prosperous and healthy but wouldn't go into any more details beyond that keeping her privacy.

WHITFIELD: Have they revealed anything more about the explanation that this mother is giving?

ROSALES: That's a big question. Why did she allegedly do this? The sheriff says that he will not go into details about a motive or the interview into the mom's citing (ph) pending prosecution.

WHITFIELD: All right. Isabel Rosales, so good to see you. Thank so much.

All right. An intensifying search in Colombia. What was first reported as an extraordinary survival story in the Amazon jungle now has the nation clinging to hope. The search for four missing children intensifying after the discovery of new findings that might help spot their location as Colombians wait to find out are the children still alive? CNN's Stefano Pozzebon is joining us now live from Bogota. So what is

the latest on this search? And do they still believe these children are alive somewhere?

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN JOURNALIST: Yes Fredricka, they still believe that they can still find the children alive. And this is a frantic search and rescue operation that is employing hundreds if not thousands of people to scour through the jungle, sometimes even shouting the name of the oldest of these four children by name in the middle of the bushes. Take a listen.



POZZEBON: A desperate search continues, but still no breakthrough. Colombian authorities are scouring the Amazon for four children believed to have survived a plane crash on May 1st looking for any signs of life after nearly three weeks. Earlier reports that the children had been found were later dialed back.

The grandfather of the kids ages 13, 9, 4 and 11 months says he is holding out hope.

FIDENCIO VALENCIA, GRANDFATHER OF MISSING CHILDREN (through translator): They already know the jungle. And after that accident, maybe they are hiding. They hide. Maybe they don't realize that they are looking for them. They are children but we hope that they are alive and have access to water because water is life.

POZZEBON: The plane had taken off from the remote area of Araracuara bound for San Jose del Guaviare. Details of the crash remain fuzzy, but the same plane crashed in the same region of the jungle less than two years ago, according to the Colombian Civil Aviation Authority.

Below the dense forest canopy, rescue efforts carry on around-the- clock. The Colombian armed forces using dogs to help search for the children following a trail of scattered debris including hair scrunchies and a baby bottle they believe belongs to the youngest.

And from above, Colombia's air force using loud speakers to play messages from the kid's grandmother in their native language.

In Bogota, the indigenous community is mourning those who died in the crash after it was announced on Thursday that the bodies of three adults including the pilot and the mother of the four children had been recovered, and demanding answers for what had gone wrong while the nation holds its breath praying for the lives of the four young children.


POZZEBON: And Fredricka, of course, right now, the Colombian authorities are saying that they're sparing no effort to try to locate and rescue those four children who are aged between 13 and just only 11 months old. But of course, there are questions that will be asked and that demand

some answers on the chronic situation of transport in the Amazon region because as you can see, that plane crashed only two years ago, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Well, everyone is hoping and praying for certainly for those four kids, but at the same time, this seems like a nearly impossible search in the thickness of the Amazon there.

All right. Stefano Pozzebon, thank you so much.

All right. Still ahead, a historic return to the court. Brittney Griner played in her first WNBA game since being released from a Russian prison. We'll bring you her remarks next.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

On the hard court, a basketball star was welcomed back with a standing ovation to the WNBA last night. Brittney Griner played her first game since her release from a Russian prison.

CNN's Andy Scholes has highlights.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Well Fred, just six months after getting out of that Russian prison, Brittney Griner was back on the court, this her first official game since October of 2021.

She played well. Griner along with her Phoenix Mercury teammates getting a pep talk from Vice President Harris before the game, then the eight-time all star getting a standing ovation from the crowd as she was introduced.

And Griner right away making her first shot, Shen went 7 for 9 from the field, scored 18 points. Her Mercury though would lose to the Sparks 94-71.


BRITTNEY GRINER, WNBA PLAYER: It was nice to be back on the court in a real game and everything. The love from the fans when I came out was amazing. The players -- I definitely feel it. I mean I felt it when I was over there still.


SCHOLES: Celtics meanwhile trying to even their series with the Heat last night. They had a nine-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter after Grant Williams hit this three. He was pumped up and had some things to say to Jimmy Butler going up the court, but that was probably a bad idea because that lit a fire under Playoff Jimmy. He would then hit multiple shots with Williams guarding him leading the Heat on a 24-9 run to close the game. Butler finished with 27 points. Now Jason Tatum had 34 points through the first three quarters, but

then went 0 for 3 with two turnovers in the fourth as Miami shocks the Boston crowd, winning again 111-105.

And Butler was asked afterwards about Williams talking a little trash to him.


JIMMY BUTER, MIAMI HEAT: It makes me smile, it does. When people talk to me, I'm like, ok, I know I'm a decent player if you want to talk to me out of everybody that you can talk to.

I don't know. It's just competition. I do respect him, though. He's a big part of what they tried to do. He switches, he can shoot the ball. I just don't know if I'm the best person to talk to.


SCHOLES: That loss really bad news for the Celtics. The Miami Heat, 17-0 all time when taking a 2-0 lead in a series.

The Western Conference finals meanwhile continue today in L.A. Lakers down 0-2 in that series making this one basically a must-win against the Nuggets.

All right. After a quadruple overtime thriller in game one of the Eastern Conference final the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights gave fans a little more free hockey on Friday night. But this one did not last near as long. Just a minute, 35 into overtime, Vega's Brett Howdens scoring the game winner.


SCHOLES: This is (ph) the first overtime goal of his career. First game winner (ph). He's had all season, came at a good time. Vegas wins that game 4-3. Game 2 Sunday in Las Vegas.

The Stanley Cup playoffs continue. Later tonight the Hurricanes and Panthers take the ice for Game 2, face-off set for 8:00 Eastern on our sister channel TNT.

And Fred, we'll see what kind of energy the Hurricanes and Panthers have later on tonight after playing nearly six hours of hockey on Thursday night.

WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh.

All right. Eat your Wheaties. Thank you so much, Andy Scholes.

All right. And this quick programming note. Shimon Prokupecz returns to Uvalde, Texas where the community is still seeking answers and families have turned to CNN for the footage the Texas authorities refused to release.

A new episode of "THE WHOLE STORY WITH ANDERSON COOPER" airs tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

We'll be right back.