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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Announces White House Bid; Community Gathers To Remember 21 Shooting Victims; Legendary Singer Tina Turner Dies At Age 83; Mawar Regains Super Typhoon Status, Now Category 4 Storm; Wagner Chief Wants New Nickname; Prosecutors Argue To Keep Man In Custody Who Crashed Into Barriers Near White House. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 25, 2023 - 02:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A very warm welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton. Ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM. Ron DeSantis' a big announcement.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): It just keeps crushing, huh?


NEWTON: Yes. The glitchy beginning to a campaign that has Donald Trump and Team Biden trolling. But is there a pathway to the presidency for Florida's governor?

The U.S. territory of Guam clobbered by a cat four equivalent typhoon we're live on the island where power is out. Water has been cut and they're still assessing the damage. Plus.



NEWTON: The queen of rock'n'roll Tina Turner dead at the age of 83. We will discuss the impact she had on music, pop culture and girl power with one of the industry's top writers.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center this is CNN NEWSROOM with Paula Newton.

NEWTON: And we begin with a 2024 race for the White House and it has a new candidate. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The 44-year-old Republican posted this announcement on Twitter just a few minutes before a live chat with the platform's owner Elon Musk. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Riding the ship requires restoring sanity to our society. The truth must be our foundation. And common sense can no longer be an uncommon virtue. We need the courage to lead and the strength to win. I'm Ron DeSantis and I'm running for president to lead our great American comeback.


NEWTON: That comeback started with a do over. The audio chat on Twitter spaces was filled with glitches and had to be delayed and then restarted. DeSantis' team tried to put a positive spin on it. Tweeting, well, it just seems like we broke the internet with so much excitement. While you're waiting, donate now. Republican front runner, meantime, Donald Trump trolled the Santas on his Truth Social platform asking followers is the DeSantis launch fatal? Yes.

Meantime, President Joe Biden piled on with a fundraising tweet for his reelection campaign saying this link works. We'll get more now on the DeSantis launch from CNN's Jessica Dean.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you go with the crowd or do you look at the data yourself and cut against the grain? And I chose to do the latter.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is attempt to declare his candidacy for president in a unique way with Twitter owner Elon Musk on Twitter spaces and audio only platform plagued by technical issues at the start.

DESANTIS: It just keeps crushing, huh?

MUSK: Yes. I think we've got just a massive number of people online. So, it's -- servers are straining somewhat.

DEAN: But server issues caused the rollout to be plagued with problems with Team DeSantis tweeting, "It seems we broke the internet with so much excitement. While you're waiting Donate now."

DESANTIS: We must look forward, not backwards. We need the courage to lead and we must have the strength to win.

DEAN: DeSantis also asked about the NAACP issuing a travel advisory against his state claiming Florida is not safe for minorities to visit.

DESANTIS: Claiming that Florida is unsafe is a total farce. I mean, are you kidding me?

DEAN: Wednesday's Twitter event the latest move and DeSantis his presidential campaign rollout. He filed paperwork earlier Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. On Tuesday, DeSantis' wife Casey tweeted a hype video encouraging supporters to sign up for campaign updates.

DESANTIS: America has been worth it every single time.

DEAN: DeSantis jumps in the Republican primary following months of speculation about the Florida governor's political future fueled by a national book tour and visits to key early nominating states.

DESANTIS: I have only begun to fight.

DEAN: As the Republican primary fight intensifies. A new CNN poll shows former President Donald Trump leading the GOP field with roughly double the support of DeSantis and no other candidate in double figures. But the survey also finds the Republican field to be far from settled. More than eight in 10 of those polled said they either support or say they're open to considering either Trump or DeSantis.

DESANTIS: We have to reject the culture of losing that has infected our party in recent years.


We have no more time for excuses.

DEAN: DeSantis and Trump have appeared to be on a collision course for months. With the former president launching repeated attacks against the Florida governor.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: DeSantis is very low and crashing. He's crashing and burning.

DEAN: But DeSantis has been intentional and not directly attacking Trump. Instead, using his speeches around the country to draw contrast.

DESANTIS: I don't have time for drama, I don't have time for palace intrigue, I want to make sure that we're executing the agenda. And you know what's happened over the last four years? We don't have leaks, we don't have drama. All we do is get the job done day after day.

DEAN: Jessica Dean, CNN, Miami, Florida.


NEWTON: For more on this, I'm joined by CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon. He is also the author of Washington's Farewell and Wingnuts. And he is the host of the new CNN digital series Reality Check Extremists Beat. Another busy one here on the campaign trail. I mean, gosh, John, I listened to this. Tried to listen to it from the beginning. Literally, you can't --


NEWTON: You cannot make it up. It was so painful. Now, besides stating the obvious, you tell me, was this Twitter incompetence or a candidate who really should have known better and had no business on that kind of a platform? AVLON: Or see all of the above. Look, you know, you want to reward candidates for taking risks, but you also can't, you know, have a totally failed launch and then just simply blame the equipment. I mean, this wasn't, you know, this was -- Twitter couldn't handle the interest, but it wasn't that high a number. It was just botched. And it was sort of bizarre from the giddy-up because, you know, it was a audio only lunch so to speak. And, you know, Kara Swisher last night on CNN predicted it might crash.

But more than that, it was, you know, this is the first chance to, you know, don't get a second chance to make a first impression. And while he got around once the glitches were fixed to sort of lay out his case, in conversation with Elon Musk, you know, that there's something called the orchestra pit theory which is that if the -- if the candidate falls into an orchestra pit, it doesn't matter what they say before or after. People are going to talk about the orchestra pit. And that's what happened.

NEWTON: Yes. And we're talking about this kind of stage, right? Where Donald Trump and Joe Biden then gets to troll you. That's the kind of stage we're talking about here. It really is extraordinary. I'm going to get to a CNN poll in a minute where we're going to talk about it. But I just have to ask you right after that. When you see what's gone on, how much do you think this will impact him as a candidate because some people are brushing this off and just saying, it doesn't really matter that much?

AVLON: Look, it's not determinative. You know, you can absolutely say there's nowhere to go but up. But the fact is that DeSantis has been falling in the polls for several months. He wanted to wait until the Florida legislative session got done. Trump has taken advantage of that by softening him up and ads like devastatingly effective ads like this putting ad, which is kind of infamous for people who've been paying attention.

But look, he's got a strong case to make. He was broadly reelected as governor in Florida. He has been focusing really on playing to the base with policies that play better probably with a National Republican Electorate than maybe many folks in Florida, but he has remained popular, and folks keep moving to his state. So, until those transcend, change, you know, people might not like the policies in liberal communities or moderate communities.

But they are, you know, he is tapping into that zeitgeist very intentionally. The bigger problem, I think is going to be whether he can come across as a happy warrior.

NEWTON: Right.

AVLON: You know, I think ominously, he had a meeting with a couple of, you know, big donors who are looking for an alternative Donald Trump. Typically folks walk out of those, you know, with it -- with a deal sealed in several cases have been reported, you know, those folks walked away less inclined to back end.

NEWTON: Right. They were -- they weren't exactly fired up. AVLON: That's the problem.

NEWTON: Yes. I do want to get to a poll for CNN has done and if you just take this question alone, right? Would you support or would you consider supporting this candidate for the GOP presidential nomination? DeSantis 85, Trump 84. Does that give DeSantis kind of some hope here that this race isn't done yet, that it's actually just getting started?

AVLON: Absolutely. I want to be really clear. This race is not over yet. This race is just beginning. And DeSantis benefits from very high name ID. He's been considered the most likely candidate to challenge Donald Trump. That poll shows that he's very pretty much in the consideration set.


People who were are getting ahead of themselves playing horse race politics by looking at polling over indexing it in the May before a presidential year, stop it. You know, let as many people want to get in his race run, see if you could raise money, see if you can raise awareness, and then the field will start to winnow ahead of -- ahead of the primaries and caucuses when they begin early next year.

But -- I mean, you know, frankly, a lot of candidates who are pulling in the single digits seem relatively high in that poll there. So, that just shows how fluid this is right now. And that's a healthy thing.

NEWTON: Yes. Which is great perspective, John, given the debacle that we -- that we witnessed. John Avlon for us. As always, we'll continue talking to you. Thanks so much.

AVLON: Anytime. Take care. Bye.

NEWTON: Credit Ratings Agency Fitch has signaled the U.S. could lose its perfect to AAA rating if Washington doesn't agree on a bill that raises the debt ceiling. Now Fitch placed the U.S. on what it calls rating watch negative, but since it still believes there will be a resolution before the default date. The White House Calls the Fitch warning "One more piece of evidence that default is not an option and all responsible lawmakers understand that. It reinforces the need for Congress to quickly pass a reasonable bipartisan agreement to prevent default."

But Republican sources say the prospects for raising the borrowing limit by June 1st are indeed grim. The Biden administration and House Republicans remain far apart following the latest round of talks. Listen.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think we've made some progress working down there. So, that -- that's very positive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said this week you need to have a deal this week in order to avoid default. (CROSSTALK)

MCCARTHY: Yes. I still believe that. Yes. And I still -- I still believe we have time to make an agreement and get it done.


NEWTON: So, Kevin McCarthy also warn lawmakers to stay close to Washington during the upcoming holiday weekend in case he calls them back to have some kind of a vote. Now the House goes on recess of reminder in the coming day.

Now a day after a deadly mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the community gathered on Wednesday to remember the 19 students and two teachers who were killed at Robb Elementary School.

Somber bells rang out in honor of the victims and Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered state flags across the state to be flown at half-staff. Flowers were laid in front of the school in a moment of silence observed across the state. A candlelight vigil was held by the victim's families and US President Joe Biden called on Congress again, to ban assault weapons.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Too many schools, too many everyday places had become killing fields and communities all across every part of America. And each place, hear the same message. Do something. For God's sake, please do something. We did something afterwards. But not nearly enough. We still need to ban in my view A.R.-15 firearms and assault weapons once again. You know, they've been used time and again in mass killings of innocent children and people.


NEWTON: These are the 21 innocent lives that were lost that day. Their families are still demanding accountability from authorities for waiting more than an hour to confront the gunman.

OK. She was one of the most remarkable people to ever stand in front of a microphone and make her voice heard right around the world. Coming up. We'll speak with the music industry insider about the incredible legacy of Tina Turner whose death has saddened fans everywhere.





NEWTON: Well, that's been playing in our -- in our heads all over the world today. The music world mourning following the news that Tina Turner, one of the greatest musical performers of the past 50 years has died after a lengthy illness. She was 83. Now, Turner first started recording in the late 1950s. But it wasn't until she was in her mid-40s that her solo career suddenly caught fire.

She would go on to sell millions of records, be honored with eight Grammy Awards and be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was a long and difficult road for a young black girl for rural Tennessee. Yet with raw talent and incredible voice and determination. Turner overcame numerous setbacks to rise to the top of her profession. Now before long, she solidified her place in music history with electrifying shows right around the world, leading music critics to label her rightly the queen of rock and roll.



NEWTON: Joining me now from Los Angeles is Bob Lefsetz. He is the author of the industry leading Lefsetz Letter. And it is great to have you with us to really -- help us really take a measure of this incredible career. Could you help us put her talent into perspective for everyone? I mean, it was her voice, her singular performance skills. But above all, what really got me every time was her presence, her commanding presence.

BOB LEFSETZ, AMERICAN MUSIC INDUSTRY ANALYST AND CRITIC (via Sype): Listen, many people have talent, but few become superstars. You have to look at Tina's persistence. She had a 50-year career. She started doing clubs. She ultimately was on food stamps to come back and be the biggest act in the world is quite an achievement. She never gave up. Now we have Malcolm Gladwell publicizing the 10,000 Hours. Tina Turner putting 20,000 hour.

She was touring like single tips in the early 60s. She did River Deep, Mountain High in the late 60s which was a huge hit in England but not here. Then they opened for the Rolling Stones. Ultimately, she was the Tommy movie, divorced Ike and it was over. And nearly 10 years later, an A&R guy, artists and repertoire at Capitol Records, John Carter who wrote the lyrics for Incense and Peppermints of all things and produced Sammy Hagar.

He said he could make a restore. Those of us in the industry felt this is a complete joke. It went on for years him talking about it. Then they released What's Love Got to Do with It. And we knew he was right.

NEWTON: Was he ever? I bet Tina Turner knew he was right as well. You know, when you talk about her and really her significance in the music industry, think about this. She was a global superstar, right? I mean, I was -- I -- it was incredible for me to think that she broke an attendance record in Rio in 1988. 180,000 people to see one woman perform solo. She was clearly in her prime at that point. What's the significance of that, especially that global star power she had?

LEFSETZ: Well, this is a power that we don't have anymore. You have all these niches even Taylor Swift who's on the road right now. Most people cannot even see one song for new album if they even know she has a new album, where when Tina Turner was a success, everybody in the world knew her songs primarily because of MTV. Michael Jackson broke the color barrier.

She came in after that, even though she was in her 40s, 20 years older than most of the people on MTV. She had the experience. She exuded a sexiness that penetrated consciousness around the world. And then she was in Mad Max Thunderdome, seeing the title song as well, appearing to the movie. And as a result, everybody in the world knew or she could tour around the world, a global superstar.

NEWTON: A global superstar who in your words, embodied liberation. It certainly meant a lot to the women's movement as well. Bob, we've got to leave it there. Thanks so much, really appreciate it.

LEFSETZ: Great to be on. See you later.

NEWTON: Tina Turner, the queen of rock'n'roll dead at the age of 83.



NEWTON: The worst is over for Guam as Typhoon Mawar moves away from the island. I mean, look at that. The storm has regained its super typhoon status and is now just shy of category five hurricane strength with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. It's expected to get even stronger in the coming days. Now we will say that Guam's governor has told people to continue to stay indoors.

No deaths have been reported from the storm which lashed the island with strong winds and heavy rain. As I said, the governor they're still telling people to stay indoors as they continue to assess the damage.

The U.N. is calling for more than $2-1/2 billion to help the people of Sudan more than 40 days since the outbreak of war and made a growing humanitarian crisis even worse. Sudan's two warring factions have continued their fighting this week despite signing on to a ceasefire on Saturday. U.N. says the fighting has displaced more than a million people internally while more than 330,000 have fled the country.

Egypt has received the most. Up more than 150,000 people. Chad follows with about 90,000. CNN's Larry Madowo now. He visited refugees in Chad who spoke of a heartbreaking and desperate situation.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The kids cry constantly. They adults look weary of war. The pain faces here a reminder of the horrors that drove them out of Sudan. At this refugee camp across the border and Chad, sadness stalks almost everyone. As fighting intensified in Sudan's Western Darfur region, they had to run or risk getting killed.

Koubra Abdullah left so suddenly that her son got lost in the chaos. KOUBRA ABDULLAH, SUDANESE REFUGEE IN CHAD (through translator): My brother is still back there. I heard he was injured. I was forced to come to Chad to seek safety.

MADOWO (on camera): Would you go back to Sudan?

ABDULLAH: No, no. The only reason I will go back is to bring my child and my brother here. There has been too much insecurity for too long.

MADOWO (voice-over): Because of decades of conflict in Sudan. Many of these refugees had already been internally displaced several times.

Mastiura Ishakh is 22 but hasn't known a permanent home for most of her life.

MASTIURA ISHAKH, SUDANESE REFUGEE IN CHAD (through translator): I'm worried about all the people we left behind, especially my mother who could not cross the border. I keep asking myself how I can get out of Chad.

MADOWO (on camera): I noticed that mostly women and children here. Where are the men from Sudan?

ISHAKH: The men told us to take the children and cross the border so they can stay behind to defend themselves and our property if necessary.

MADOWO (voice-over): The U.N.'s refugee agency says close to 90 percent of new arrivals in charge from Sudan are women and children. Many are so traumatized that they will need a lot of support to heal.

MADOWO (on camera): We had expected to meet refugees as they arrived in the border town of Ghufran (ph) right across from Sudan. But just before we arrived, it was hit by a rocket. That is where refugees are being moved away from border towns to places like this and Gaga.

MADOWO (voice-over): CNN traveled with USAID Administrator Samantha Power to Eastern Chad. The U.S. is giving more than $100 million to support the over one million people displaced by the war across Sudan and in neighboring countries.

SAMANTHA POWER, USAID ADMINISTRATOR: We met one woman whose I had been gouged basically with somebody just attacking her and she's seeking medical care here in Chad. Horrific violence, which trigger was for so many of these people. Also, memories of previous horrific violence.


MADOWO: It's a full circle moment for her. She was in Chad in 2004, writing in The New Yorker about Sudanese civilians fleeing the Janjaweed militia in Darfur.

POWER: You talk to them, you feel like you're in a time warp because they're describing Janjaweed coming in, with their knives and their machetes, killing people raping women.

MADOWO: Is it surreal for you being here hearing these stories, when you heard them 20 years ago as a reporter?

POWER: Well, I feel lucky this time at least to be working at USAID, a big development humanitarian agency, at least there's something I can do. But fundamentally, there is no substitute for the root causes getting addressed for these two warring generals to put their own power grabs aside, and put the interests of these people who are fleeing sometimes for the fifth time in their lives.

MADOWO (voiceover): Chad, one of the world's poorest countries, had about 400,000 Sudanese refugees before this latest surge.

PATRICE AHOUANSOU, DEPUTY REPRESENTATIVE, UNHCR CHAD: We need to collectively, you know. Work with all the actors in support to the government of Chad to ensure that, you know, resources are mobilized, to address the urgent needs of the -- of the refugees.

MADOWO (voiceover): These are the innocent victims of a deadly power struggle in Sudan.

MADOWO: Say hi to the camera.

MADOWO (voiceover): The poor and most vulnerable, who have nowhere to go, just another chapter in a life of hardship. Larry Madowo, CNN, Gaga Chad.




NEWTON: You are looking at a radar image of super typhoon now Mawar, it actually gained strength after absolutely pummeling Guam. Joining me now is the Governor of Guam, Lou Leon Guerrero. I want to thank you for joining us as I'm sure must be some tense hours ahead. Now, you've continued to tell residents to shelter at home, what's the latest in terms of the effect and the impact of the storm has had?

LOU LEON GUERRERO, GOVERNOR OF GUAM: Well, we're still experiencing some tropical storm winds of about 35 to 40 miles per hour. And so, that's still considered pretty unsafe. And so, I am asking our residents to please stay home and keep boarded up and make sure that they are safe at home. I will be declaring a condition of readiness for which means that now, Guam is safe to return to normal business. I will probably be doing that in a couple of hours.

We have been communicating very closely, Paula, with the National Weather Services. They've been, throughout the whole storm, for over almost 24 to 36 hours been given us the scientific data and information so we can make the quick actions, and decisions again, to keep our island safe. I declare a condition of readiness three on Saturday and a condition of readiness two on Sunday. And what that means, if you are in condition of readiness three, that means we expect the winds to come within 48 hours.

NEWTON: Right. GUERRERO: If it's two it's within 24 hours. And so, that gives our people time to prepare and to plan.

NEWTON: And so, it seems that many, thankfully, heeded your warnings. I want to ask you now, and I know it's tough to do the assessments. We've been just looking at video of some of the damage. But what do you know so far? We know there were extensive power outages. But what do you know in terms of any damage that was done and how soon recovery efforts can begin?

GUERRERO: Yes, so, the hospital suffered severe damages to the structure. And also, as I toured the island, a lot of falling trees, lines, a lot of signage, but amazingly most of the buildings stood up because we are actually, our infrastructure is very strong. And so, that is a saving grace for this devastating typhoon of magnitude strength. And I have to say because our people, he did my instructions, and my directions, we have suffered no casualty and very minor injuries.

So, I'm very, very thankful and grateful for that. And so, as we continue to go back into normalcy, we will start recovering. I'm expecting maybe two to six weeks, we will have almost all of our island power back and water. Some, there will be some more urgency in, of course, priority of facilities like the hospitals, schools and so forth. But for the most part, our utilities will probably all be coming back within one to two weeks.

NEWTON: Yes, and as hard -- as much of a hardship as that is for residents. Really glad to hear that there are no deaths and no significant injuries. I have to ask you, you just talked about the infrastructure really being able to match the strength of the storm. How has Guam coped with that, because I know that's a fear all over the world, as they continue to see these typhoons, super typhoons. How do you protect against the severity, the strength of those winds and the rain that just seems to come down in buckets?

GUERRERO: Yes, so, you know, we are an island, isolated so, we can't just get up and move to another state. And so, our people have experienced these very strong storms and they have built their buildings up to a very high standard of structure by law. So, our structures are all concrete, concrete roofs, concrete walls, and we also harden it with extra wood shutters. So, it's like we bunker down. And as a result of that, I think that has been very significant in the safety of our people.


I also want to take the time, Paula -- just give my greatest appreciation to President Biden, he issued a request of mine to declare a pre landfall emergency. And as a result of that, we were able to get a lot of resources from FEMA. And so, there are hundreds of people expected to be here from FEMA to help us with this recovery. And so, I am very grateful for our federal partners, of course, FEMA, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and, of course, the Department of Defense, because of that --

NEWTON: Right, I mean, it's --


NEWTON: Yes, it's understandable given your position that you would need that prepositioning of any kind of recovery supplies. We wish everyone well, Governor, and thanks so much for bringing us right up to date on the storm. Appreciate it.

GUERRERO: Thank you so much.

NEWTON: I am Paula Newton, for international viewers, "WORLD SPORT" is next. For viewers here in the United States, I'll be right back with more CNN NEWSROOM.



NEWTON: A following new developments this hour in Ukraine, where authorities say Russia has now launched a new wave of air raids right across the country using Iranian drones. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia used 36 drones but none of them reach their target. The Ukrainian Air Forces, Russia was aiming at critical infrastructure and military targets in the western part of the country.

Russia is now denying reports of a fire at the Ministry of Defense building in central Moscow that according to state media, who first reported that emergency services were at the scene after a blaze broke out on a balcony. Now, local officials say no fire has been detected but video from Moscow shows you see there, smoke surrounding the building. And a woman could be heard complaining about a horrible burning smell. Now, this is coming as U.S. intelligence now suggest Ukrainians may have launched the drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month.

Sources say U.S. officials picked up chatter among Ukrainian officials blaming each other for the attack, that contributed to the assessment that a Ukrainian group may be responsible though the U.S. has not been able to reach a definitive conclusion. But they believe it is unlikely that senior Ukrainian government officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy actually knew about the attack. Meantime, the notorious leader of Russia's Wagner mercenaries is pitching a new nickname for himself. Yevgeny Prigozhin has been known as Putin's chef, but he says another name would be more fitting, listen.


YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, HEAD OF WAGNER GROUP (through translator): I never was a chef, and I have no idea how to cook. So, we need to get away from that. The nickname Putin's chef could mean anything. I'd be more accurate to call me Putin's butcher.


NEWTON: In a new interview on Wednesday, Prigozhin also fired off new criticisms of Russia's military leaders. Fred Pleitgen has more on this.


FREDERICK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): After months of ferocious fighting in Bakhmut. The chief of Russia's private army Wagner saying his fighters are exhausted and will withdraw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We will be leaving Bakhmut, and the Russian Defense Ministry will be responsible for it. We're leaving for field camps to train and rest.

Prigozhin claims to control all of Bakhmut, which the Ukrainians dispute. He also acknowledges losing around 20,000 fighters in the brutal months long campaign. Even as the U.S. and Ukraine say the figures are much higher, possibly up to a 100,000. Despite the alleged victory and Bakhmut, in a bold comment Prigozhin says, Vladimir Putin is war is not achieving its core objective of weakening Ukraine.

How did we demilitarize it? It's now, it turns out that we on the contrary, have militarized Ukraine. I think that Ukrainians today are one of the strongest armies. Prigozhin has long been attacking Russia's elites accusing them of being corrupt, lazy and not involved in the war. Now, he fears continuing losses on the battlefield could lead to a revolution in Russia.

All of this can end like in 1917 with a revolution when first the soldiers rise up, and after that their loved ones rise up. All this as the war is increasingly affecting Russia's home. Russia's Defense Ministry today releasing video of what it says was a failed attack on a Russian warship using unmanned speedboats. Ukraine has not commented on the incident. And after the brazen cross Border arrayed, by anti- Putin Russian fighters, which Ukraine says it was not involved in, but Russia blames on Kyiv vowing revenge.

SERGEI SHOIGU, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): We will continue to respond to such actions by Ukrainian militants promptly and extremely harshly.

PLEITGEN (voiceover): But Prigozhin says the attack shows the Russian military is incapable of protecting the country's border. Sabotage and reconnaissance forces calmly into Russia and march uploading videos driving their tanks, armored infantry vehicles. Where's the safeguard that they will not enter Moscow?


PLEITGEN (on camera): Now, of course, there has been an ongoing feud between Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. And once again, Prigozhin criticized Shoigu very heavily, even calling for him to be replaced. But in the case of this cross-border raid that happened in the Belgorod region. There are a lot of Russians who are asking, why the Russian military wasn't able to prevent it and why it took them so long to come to terms of the situation? Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv. NEWTON: The man accused of crashing a truck into security barriers near the White House appeared in court Wednesday. Prosecutors argued to keep 19-year-old Sai Kandula in custody on charges that could carry up to 10 years in prison. CNN's Brian Todd has more now from Washington.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Prosecutors say the driver of this 26-foot U-Haul truck poses a flight risk and should remain behind bars. A federal judge agrees, ruling that Sai Varshith Kandula, age 19, who allegedly crashed this truck into a security barrier at the park across from the White House will remain in custody for now. Kandula currently faces one charge of depredation of federal government property, with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. A secret service special agent alleges Kandula claimed he was there to take over the country and would hurt anyone he had to including killing the president.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Right now, they're zeroing in on what appeared to be mental health issues. They wanted to do harm to President Biden. But he shows up with a van that is searched to contain no explosives, no knives, no guns. The plan seems to be more in his head.

TODD (voiceover): He told law enforcement Nazi's have a great history, according to charging documents. He admires their authoritarian nature, eugenics and their one world order. And he looks up to Hitler because he was a strong leader.

OREN SEGAL, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: We often see people who laud Nazi era heroes or people who employ Nazi symbols attacking a wide range of targets. The anti-semitism often fuels activities that target other communities, that target our democracy.

TODD (voiceover): Authorities yesterday searched a house near St. Louis listed as the suspect's address. Classmates and neighbors have described him as quiet and never getting into trouble.

TIM LYONS, KANDULA'S NEIGHBOR: I didn't think a quiet guy like that would be able to do something to that degree.

TODD (voiceover): While much about Kandula's ideology is unknown. One expert who runs a lab studying online hate propaganda warns that many young people are exposed to extremism online.

CYNTHIA MILLER-IDRISS, AUTHOR, HATE IN THE HOMELAND: It's really -- specially in certain spaces like online gaming, or in certain forum, where young men are sharing memes, right? A lot of that content is going to be immediately pretty awful. And right away expressing racist, misogynistic ideas, often anti-semitic ideas, anti-immigrant ideas, very quickly escalating.


TODD (on camera): The suspect has not yet entered the plea. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has just issued a new advisory saying the U.S. remains in a heightened threat environment for terrorism, and that's driven by a series of racially and ethnically motivated attacks and plots in recent months. One official says there's been an increase in calls for violence based on neo-Nazi and white supremacist themes. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

NEWTON: The man who was infamously photographed with his feet on a desk in Nancy Pelosi office during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, has now been sentenced to four and a half years in prison. A jury convicted Richard Barnett in January of eight charges including civil disorder and obstructing an official proceeding. He has not shown remorse for his actions which impacted his sentence. Court documents say he spent 10 minutes in Pelosi's office who was house speaker at that time.

He wrote a note to Pelosi using a sexist expletive. He says he will appeal his case. A school in Florida has restricted access to the acclaimed poem written for President Biden's inauguration after a parent complained. Amanda Gorman wrote her poem, The Hill We Climb, for the inauguration in the wake of the January 6 attack on the Capitol. But a parent in the Miami-Dade County School District objected to that poem, claiming it contains, quote, hate messages. Here's part of that poem, as read by the author.


AMANDA GORMAN, FIRST U.S. YOUTH POET LAUREATE: We've braved the belly of the beast. We've learned that quiet isn't always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn't always justice.


NEWTON: Now, following the complaint, the school district reviewed the poem and decided to move it from the elementary section of the library to the middle grade section. Gorman says she's gutted about the decision to restrict her poem. The White House condemned the move and expressed support for Gorman.


An update now on former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who has been receiving hospice care for the past few months. His grandson Jason tells news outlets that his grandparents are spending their last days together, resting comfortably in their longtime home in Plains Georgia. Carter, who is 98 is the longest living U.S. President. Jimmy Carter was recently honored in the suburbs of Atlanta, where a major road was named after him in 1976. The year he won the White House. And I want to thank you for your company. I'm Paula Newton, we'll be right back with more CNN NEWSROOM after a short break.