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CNN This Morning

Eight Killed, Seven Wounded In Shooting At Dallas-Area Outlet Mall; TX Man Describes Carnage At Outlet Mall: "It's Just Unfathomable"; Thousands Of Migrants Await End Of COVID-Era Policy Title 42; E. Jean Carroll Case Will Determine Whether Trump Will Testify; Meeting Between Congressional Investigators And IRS Whistleblower's Attorneys; Evacuations From Zaporizhzhia Region Started By Russian Authorities; Jeremy Lin Gives Back To The Community. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired May 07, 2023 - 07:00   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Sunday. It's good to have you along. This is CNN THIS MORNING. I'm Victor Blackwell.


We begin in Allen, Texas where at least eight people have been killed in yet another mass shooting in America. Authorities say a gunman opened fire at an outlet mall just north of Dallas, as hundreds of people were, of course, shopping.

BLACKWELL: Now footage from one witness's dash cam shows the moment the gunman got out of his car and started shooting. Now we're pausing this before the shooting starts. Another witness recorded as people tried to get away from the attacker and we're going to play this now, but we warn you, it may be hard to watch.

You see people there running. Of course, you can hear the gunshot. Police say that an officer responded and killed the shooter. Here's how the mayor of Allen reacted.


MAYOR KEN FULK, ALLEN, TEXAS: Allen is a proud and safe city which makes today's senseless act of violence even more shocking. However, I want to commend our police and fire departments for their quick response. Their thorough training not to hesitate to move toward the threat likely saved more lives today than what we could imagine.


WALKER: CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Texas with more on how this shooting unfolded.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Amara, this is the site of the horrific shooting at the outlet mall in Allen, Texas, where authorities have announced that there are eight victims in all.

Six of those victims died here at the scene. Two of the victims were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Now, there are also, we are told, seven other victims that are being treated for wounds that were suffered here in this shooting attack at this outlet mall. Three of those patients are in critical conditions, so many people still fighting for their lives.

It was an extremely chaotic situation as the shooting scene unfolded here, just before 4:00 central time on Saturday afternoon. We were told by witnesses that there was what they believed to be the gunman, a man dressed and covered. We saw a picture of this with -- covered in tactical gear with ammunition on a body vest, as well as an AR-style, assault rifle, laying on the ground next to him.

So that is someone that was witnessed the end of this shooting. And what is interesting is, is that we were told that many of the victims that were killed were just beyond the lights that you see behind me near the H&M store. And from what we've been able to gather and piece together from speaking with witnesses, the area where the gunman was taken out was around the corner, some distance away in this large outlet mall shopping center parking lot.

So it's not exactly clear how much time elapsed from the initial moment of the shooting to when it all ended. We were told by authorities here that it was an Allen, Texas police officer who was able to take out the shooter and bring the shooting attack to an end. But much more beyond that, we don't know. We don't know if investigators so far have been able to identify who the gunman is or what the motive might be in this situation.

Many of the witnesses we spoke with say in those initial moments when the shots started firing, many people ran, took cover inside the department stores seeking shelter and hiding places in the storage areas in the back.


And for many people, it took almost two hours for law enforcement investigators to come through the scene and clear out those areas, letting them know it was, at that moment, OK to be able to come out. They were escorted out of the buildings with their arms in the air and out of the parking lot area here.

So, on Sunday, investigators will continue working this crime scene, continue looking into the motive and the background of this shooter. And that is what they will be doing for some time. But as of now, the latest information that we have is that there were eight victims in all, not including the gunman and three people still in critical condition fighting for their lives.

Victor and Amara?

BLACKWELL: Ed, thank you.

A man says that he raced to that shopping center after his son called to say that been shots fired outside the H&M, where he worked. That father immediately started helping victims, and he says there were at least three people whom he could not save.


STEVEN SPAINHOUER, PERFORMED CPR ON VICTIMS: I never imagined in a hundred years I would be thrust into the position of being the first responder on the site to take care of people. The first girl I walked up to was crotched down, covering her head in the bushes. So I felt for a pulse, pulled her head to the side and she had no face.


BLACKWELL: Steven Spainhouer, and he says he found another child that survived while covered by his mother who died protecting him.


SPAINHOUER: When I rolled the mother over, he came out and I asked him, are you OK? And he said, you know, my mom is hurt. My mom's hurt. So rather than traumatizing him anymore, I pulled him around the corner, sat him down. He was covered from head to toe, like somebody had poured blood on him.

No one can see what they saw today and not be affected by it. It's not a situation that I would wish upon anybody, JD (ph). It's just unfathomable to see the carnage. It's tough when you see a family that's out shopping, having fun, get wiped off the face of the earth because somebody with a gun has some other type of issue.


BLACKWELL: Here with us now is former New York Police Department Detective Tom Verni and CNN National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem joined us back now. Tom, your initial reaction to what we know, although the details are scant about this shooter.

TOM VERNI, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Good, good morning. And my sincere condolences to those who have been affected by this horrible tragedy. And here we are again. I mean, look, it's -- we really need to ask ourselves as Americans, is this what we want? You know, is this the type of life that we want to lead or live, you know, in constant fear that you can't go to a mall, you can't go to a church, you can't go to a concert, you can't send your kids to school?

And, you know, again, I consider myself politically as a moderate, so I'm not, you know, speaking from sort of left-wing liberal, you know, viewpoint here. And also I'm someone who owns firearms myself, obviously, being, you know, in having been involved in the police department and also, you know, an advocate of the Second Amendment.

So, we have to try to figure out where we can draw this common ground where we can honor the Second Amendment and still be able to live our lives not being in fear that some, you know, psychopath is going to get their hands on a high capacity or high powered weapon and go out and just start slaughtering people at will. And, you know, my initial thoughts of this particular individual is that, you know, clearly, we're going to start, or the investigators are going to start combing through who this person is, any social media that they may have had to try to get a better picture as to what the mindset of this individual was and where he got the, you know, this weapon from, obviously.

We want to make sure, you know, was it obtained legally? Was it obtained illegally? Is this someone that should have had their hands on a weapon? Clearly, not, but they did. So we want to find out where they got that weapon. And what the mindset of this person was that drove him to feel that this was the right thing to do on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of Texas.

WALKER: You know, I'm still stuck on what that man, Steven, had to say when he responded to the scene as a Good Samaritan. I mean, pulling off a dead person, a parent off of a child who clearly knew what was going on. It's horrific.

And it seems like, Juliette, I mean, if you're caught in a situation like this, because this is what we have to talk about, right, because, you know, this has become so frequent, these mass shootings in public places, your life may depend on luck. The luck of a police officer just happening to be there for an unrelated incident. Let's talk about that and, you know, this could have been --


WALKER: -- much worse.


KAYYEM: Oh, absolutely. And we don't know how much -- I mean, because the public safety authorities have just not disclosed the basic information, which I think is a disservice at this stage, we don't even know how much more ammunition he had. I mean, we just simply don't know the killer's intent in terms of what he actually planned that day.

We know -- we certainly saw the -- we certainly saw that he was on a mission to kill as many people as possible. So, look, I mean, one of the reasons, you know, in terms of this common ground, right, is one of the reasons why the AR-15, if that's, in fact, what it was, or a similar type weapon is a weapon of wars because it does not give the public any time to respond.

And it just -- you're either dead or you're not, just depending on where the government is aiming. But, you know, as well, it gives public safety. No time to respond because you're talking about seconds before multiple people are dead and you heard that man say, you know, what am I -- I'm not a first responder, I'm the first one here.

Just because you happen to be at that place and we're demanding on the public, you know, ways to try to save people or to protect children who may still be under harm or traumatized. So in terms of why this kind of weapon is different than say guns generally, we don't -- they're not all the same. We have to admit that.

And I think the second issue is, of course, depending on who he is, because that too has not been disclosed. Was he known to public safety officials? What kind of military or other background did he have, if any, just given, how he was dressed or was he just being performative?

One of the things that I am -- I think will help solve some of this is, is the extent to which gun culture has become a way of sort of mocking or a sort of strut, I guess I would say. You know, in other words, we can bring the temperature down whether you believe in gun ownership or this kind of gun ownership or not, and recognize that this performative aspect of guns that you see from politicians or you see from people about, well, it's my right is really, is amplifying the use of guns.

I'm just looking at the numbers now in terms of the number of mass shootings there are in the United States. One and a half a day now, in this year, 2023.

BLACKWELL: Let me come back to you, Tom, and we're close to 200 for the year, thus far, and not at day 200 of this year. Statistically, it is highly unlikely that any one of us will be the victim of a mass shooting. However, this is happening more.

How much should this inform how we live our lives, how we approach public places? There is not an intersection of public life that has not been touched by a mass shooting. We've listed them, schools, malls, grocery stores, churches. How much should this change how we approach going into these places?

VERNI: Well, you know, again, I believe the main job of state and federal lawmakers is to ensure the safety of their constituents, right? And I don't really feel like I'm seeing that, you know, even on a local level in a number of our cities. You take a city like New York where I worked for over two decades, say like Chicago, where gun violence is rampant and, you know, the streets are flowing with the blood of our youth.

You know, this is a real problem, you know, the amount of guns that are in our society. You know, listen, ISIS and Al-Qaeda, they don't need to come here to America, you know, to -- any further to kill Americans. We do that all on our own. You know, tens of thousands of Americans a year being killed by guns. It's unbelievable.

And, you know, we're supposed to be saying the example for the world, and in some ways we're the laughing stock of the world. Because we're just, you know, the countries are washing guns. We have lawmakers that don't seem to really care. I don't know what the body count has to be before some lawmakers wake up and say, oh my goodness, this is horrible. We need to do something about this.

Especially in a place like Texas. You just had, you know, shooting in Uvalde, you know, not long ago, where 19, you know, kids were killed. What does it take for a group of lawmakers to come together, a group of Americans to come together and, say, you know, again, yes, we have the right by the Constitution to legally own firearms. I believe that people should be able to own firearms for their protection, protect their families and homes and whatnot. I'm a true believer in that. However, you know, when you start amassing an entire, you know, garage full of weaponry, of high powered, high capacity weapons, what do you need that for?


You know, you can protect your home and your family with a handgun, that you can totally do that. You don't need to have a closet full or a case full or garage full of AR-15 style weapons to do that, unless you're looking to go to war somewhere.

WALKER: Yes, I mean, you're right when you say --

VERNI: So we have to have this conversation.

WALKER: Right. And apologies because we're running out of time, Tom and Juliette, but you're right when you say, you know, we are the laughing stock. We are the country that stands alone in the world when it comes to gun culture and also the mass shootings. I mean, you look at other countries and also when it comes to inaction after mass shootings.

I mean you just look at New Zealand, as an example, after Christchurch. It was within 72 hours, the lawmakers there in New Zealand overwhelmingly passed laws that banned assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, you know? And here we are talking about the hundred and 93rd, if my count is correct, or if this is according to the National Gun Archive. We are nearly at 200 mass shootings and we're not even through half --


WALKER: -- way through the year yet. Just incredible.

Tom Verni, Juliette Kayyem, we're going to leave it there. Thank you.

We're going to have much more on the Texas shooting in a moment, including how the White House is reacting to this latest tragedy.



BLACKWELL: People shopping at a Texas outlet mall race to cover as a man fired shots into the crowd. Now we want to share a few stories from people who were there yesterday afternoon.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The store manager came running in, get to the back, get to the back, get to the back. So we all ran to the back. She shut the door and everything.

And then that's when she said she was over trying to get a funnel cake and said that there's been a shooting. And we've got to stay in the back until we get it all clear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you hear anything?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She did, but we did not, because we were kind of in the back of the store, but it was like, I guess H&M was literally right across the parking lot, so she really moved fast and got us to safety. So we really do appreciate her effort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's very brave and courageous and --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- she was very quick thinking and getting us back to her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, you know, you go to the mall Saturday afternoon to do a little shopping and then this happened, I mean, just, what are your thoughts on that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll think twice, I guess, you know, and it makes you a little bit more afraid to go out in the community. I mean, this is a very safe community, or I thought it was, and the mall, we, you know, frequent here quite often. And, you know, it just -- it's going to make me think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard like a bunch of shots, but we thought it was firecrackers at first. And then, a lot of people just started running like straight to our door, trying to come in and everything. But my manager, he went out and like, I guess when he was opening the door, like people just kept running in, trying to run in.

But he saw -- I guess he saw the person, he was like with a vest and everything, had a gun. It looked like AK, like he looked like he was trained. So like, I don't know if he like was a (INAUDIBLE) before, but he looked like he was -- he knew what he was -- he wanted to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mom and I were in Johnston and Murphy shopping and out of nowhere heard about like 10 pops go off. When I look at the cashier next to me, I was like, was that gunshots? And he was like, no, it's probably just construction or something. And then like, heard 10, 15 more shots go off and so I ran to the front of the store and we're like, no, that's shooting.

And we see the guy, there's this guy dressed in all black, wearing a vest, has an assault rifle, and he's just shooting at people right across. He was at like Francesca's area, shooting at people. So we got everyone in the store into the back of the store and just camped out there.


BLACKWELL: Thanks to our affiliate, WFAA for those interviews. WALKER: All right, let's go now to Jasmine Wright live at the White House. Jasmine, we know the president has been briefed on the shooting, and as we do with every mass shooting, we talk about the victims, we talk about the investigation, and now we go to the White House.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Amara and Victor. President Biden was briefed on the shooting, according to a White House official. Now, we saw President Biden yesterday around the 4:00 p.m. hour, leaving to go to church here in Washington, D.C., something that he does basically every weekend.

And then the 6:00 p.m. hour he was asked about the shooting, and he said at that time that he was unaware of the situation. Around 8:00 p.m., we heard from the White House saying that the President had been briefed and that the White House was closely monitoring the situation in touch with local law enforcement officials, as well as local officials down on the ground there.

Now, we haven't heard since then a more fulsome statement from the President or the First Lady about this shooting in Allen, Texas. But of course, the President has to -- has had to routinely respond to these very tragic mass shootings across the country, particularly this year. It's something that he's had to do, frankly, back to back to back.

And when these happen, he uses the moment to call once again for gun control measure. Specifically, he's talking about an assault style weapons ban. Now CNN previously reported that an AR-15 was found near the gunman yesterday, so this is something that President Biden is likely to talk about as well.

But, of course, we know what the current congressional makeup that those gun control measures trying to get something passed is unlikely to happen. So once again, President Biden will wake up here at the White House to a nation in mourning. Victor, Amara?

BLACKWELL: Jasmine Wright, thank you so much.

Still to come, the influx of migrants at the southern border is growing as Title 42 is expected to expire next week. We'll look at how border cities are preparing.



WALKER: We are continuing to follow the latest in Texas after that mass shooting at an outlet mall near Dallas. But first, we want to get you caught up on a few other stories we are following this morning. More than 36,000 migrants are camped out near the U.S. border in Mexico, according to some estimates.

The pan -- we're talking about Title 42, the Pandemic Era Policy, which allowed the U.S. to quickly expel some migrants back to Mexico. And now some border towns are worried about a potential new influx of people.

Rosa Flores takes us to El Paso, where some streets have turned into small cities for migrants.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The streets around this El Paso Church have turned into a migrant camp where desperation looms among thousands were hungry and broke.

(on-camera): Have you ever seen anything like this?


FLORES (voice-over): Father Rafael Garcia runs the shelter here and says that the surge started about two weeks ago ahead of the lifting of Title 42, the rule that allows immigration agents to return some migrants quickly to Mexico.


GARCIA: And this is a -- it's an international issue, and we're just like the neck of the bottle of the funnel.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): With border patrol roaming the area, migrants like Daniel Gomez say they feel trapped.

FLORES (on camera): You work?

DANIEL GOMEZ, MIGRANT FROM VENEZUELA: (Speaking in a foreign language).

FLORES (voiceover): Because they have no money to continue on their journey.

FLORES (on camera): The fear is that immigration could pick you up if you leave?

FLORES (voiceover): He says, they have no other options but to loiter and pray. The kind residents like this woman who distributed 90 burritos in minutes will help them meet basic needs. Others like John Alvarez from Venezuela --

JOHN ALVAREZ, MIGRANT FROM VENEZUELA: (Speaking in a foreign language).

FLORES (voiceover): Are the life of one encampment where he set up a barbershop.

ALVAREZ: (Speaking in a foreign language). One, two, three, four. Four, four, four.

FLORES (on camera): Four $5?

ALVAREZ: Si. FLORES (voiceover): And even at a few bucks a cut, he says he has earned more in El Paso the last 12 days than one month in Venezuela. Across the street from the church --

FLORES (on camera): How long have you lived here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking in a foreign language).

FLORES: So, about 12 years.

FLORES (voiceover): Marina Carillo (ph) has been nervously watching the growing number of migrants who are now her new neighbors.

FLORES (on camera): What are you worried about?

She says that she's worried about security and also about potential diseases.

FLORES (voiceover): She says her heartbreaks for them, that she's helped some of them with food and water but that she, too, lives paycheck to paycheck. Javier Garcia, the manager at a nearby hardware store --

FLORES (on camera): Do they ask you for jobs?


FLORES (voiceover): Says, he has no complaints about the migrants.

FLORES (on camera): Has it impacted your business at all?


FLORES (voiceover): His frustration is with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden.

GARCIA: Not even Abbott, not the federal government is doing their job.

FLORES (voiceover): Rosa Flores, CNN, El Paso, Texas.


BLACKWELL: Rosa, thank you for that report.

Former President Donald Trump has just a few hours left to decide whether he will testify in the E. Jean Carroll case. Carroll says, Trump defamed her when he denied a claim of rape from an incident that happened in the mid '90s.

WALKER: Kara Scannell joins us not to get you caught up on the case.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Amara. 5:00 p.m. today is the deadline for Former President Trump to decide whether he wants to testify in the battery and defamation trial. Late Thursday, the judge overseeing the case said he would allow Trump additional time in case he had second thoughts about his decision not to testify. This came after Trump's comments in Ireland that he was returning to the U.S. to face his accuser. The judge said he might not grant a request to reopen the case but he was doing this as a precaution.

Trump's attorneys and lawyers for E. Jean Carroll both rested their cases Thursday after seven days of testimony. Carroll called 11 witnesses and took the stand herself. Trump's legal team didn't call any witnesses and said they sought to make their case through cross- examinations. Well, Trump has waived his right to testify. The jury did see and hear the former president respond to the allegations of rape and defamation when they played a nearly hour-long video deposition that Trump sat for in October. The deposition was made public Friday. Here is some of what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDEN: She is accusing me of rape -- of raping her. The worst thing you can do, the worst charge, and you know it's -- you know it's not true, too. You are a political operative also. You are a disgrace. But she is accusing me and so are you of rape and it never took place. And I will tell you, I made that statement and I said, well, it's politically incorrect, she is not my type. And that's 100 percent true. She is not my type.


SCANNELL: Trump's attorney said it was very unlikely that Trump would testify. So, barring any last-minute changes, closing arguments in the case are set for tomorrow. The jury will likely get the case on Tuesday. Victor, Amara.

WALKER: Kara, thank you.

Attorneys for an alleged IRS whistleblower who claims to have evidence of political interference in the Justice Department's criminal probe in Hunter Biden met with congressional investigators on Friday.

BLACKWELL: Sources say, it's an early step, the attorneys are taking. They could eventually lead to their client sharing what they know with Congress. CNN's Alayna Treene has more.


ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: The whistleblower's identity is unknown to the public. But what we do know is that they are an IRS agent who has worked on Hunter Biden' case. And we have some new reporting that shows that the agent's attorneys met with key congressional investigators on Friday and offered them a glimpse of what their client might say in a potential interview. And I'm told that the committee's expect to interview the whistleblower in the near future.

Now, one of the key claims that this whistleblower is making is they say they have information that directly contradicts what Attorney General Merrick Garland told Congress earlier this year. He testified that he would not interfere in the investigation and that he has fulfilled that pledge. Now, Garland responded to a question from CNN this week saying he stands by his testimony.


But that hasn't really deterred these congressional committees from wanting to speak with the whistleblower in person and hear what they have to say. But really the bottom line here is that these latest allegations have thrust the Hunter Biden probe back in the spotlight. Federal prosecutors spent years investigating the president's son and have weighed bringing charges against him for alleged tax crimes and making a false statement. But so far, no charges have been filed and Hunter Biden has denied any wrongdoing.

Now, the president has also continued to stand by his son and he reiterated that support in an interview that aired Friday night. Here's what he had to say.

STEPHANIE RUHLE, "THE 11TH HOUR WITH STEPHANIE RUHLE" HOST: Sir, there is something personal that is affecting you. Your son, while there are no ties to you, could be charged by your Department of Justice. How will that impact your presidency?

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: First of all, my son has done nothing wrong. I trust him. I have faith in him. And it impacts my presidency by making me feel proud of him.

TREENE: So, the president's comments there are pretty standard for how he discusses Hunter Biden. And he has repeatedly maintained that he supports his son and that he doesn't believe the potential charges he faces will affect his 2024 re-election bid. Alayna Treene, CNN, Washington.


WALKER: We are also keeping a close eye on the war in Ukraine. For the first time, the country says it used a U.S. made Patriot air defense system to intercept a Russian missile. A live report ahead.



BLACKWELL: To Russia's war now, and Ukraine says it used the U.S.-made Patriot air defense system to intercept a Russian hypersonic missile.

WALKER: Yes, this is the first time the newly acquired system has been used to take down one of Moscow's most modern missiles.

CNN's Sam Kiley joining us now live from Kyiv. Sam, I mean, this sounds pretty significant, like a big win for Ukraine.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A really big win or an act of exceptional marksmanship using a very sophisticated piece of weaponry or luck. And I think that the developers of the Patriot missile systems, I mean, particularly the United States and the Pentagon, will be looking at this incident in detail to try to establish which of those three things it was because this is a missile system. An anti-missile system that was developed to take out missiles that predate the hypersonic missile that the -- the Kinzhal that the Russians have been using occasionally in Ukraine.

This is a missile that the Russians claim can fly at 10 times the speed of sound, and in technical terms, too fast for the Patriot. But the Ukrainians are saying that they did successfully shoot one down. Now, they are very short, indeed, of Patriot missile systems. They say they are very short indeed of all forms of aerial defenses.

So, this has been a major morale booster for the Ukrainians. And it also represents from the Russian perspective a bit of a slap in the face and that they did assume that these Kinzhal Missiles, although they don't have large numbers of them, were pretty invulnerable.

Now, they will have to take extra precautions to protect those missiles that they have been firing into this country. And they fired them at a time when they try to overwhelm the systems here with other missiles and drones from the very primitive Iranian-made Shahed drones all the way through to the Russian-made cruise missile systems. They fire swarms of these things, and then on top of them fire these hypersonic missiles. So, it is a significant step for the Ukrainians, but we don't really know the technical detail, whether or not it was basically a lucky shot.

BLACKWELL: Yes, still some questions there. Sam, what do you know about Russian officials evacuating civilians in the Zaporizhzhia region? I guess ahead of an unexpected counteroffensive, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog says, they are closely monitoring. What do you know?

KILEY: Well, Victor, we know from -- at least we know that there are claims of these evacuations circulating on social media and being made by the exiled Ukrainian leadership, particularly of the town of Melitopol, which is a very important town to the south of Zaporizhzhia -- the town of Zaporizhzhia which is still in Ukrainian hands and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station which is in Russian hands.

Essentially, Melitopol has been a bit of a hotbed of partisan activity on social media. There's been images of very large queues of vehicles leaving the city. There've also been reports coming from even Russian officials of other towns being evacuated closer to the front lines in anticipation of a Ukrainian offensive along that very long front line there in the -- that essentially runs east to west from Zaporizhzhia, all the way through to north of Mariupol, which of course was flattened by the Russians when they captured it last year.

This is seen as preparations being made by the civilian and Russian authorities in the south of the country that they have captured the beginning of this war, ahead of a Russian -- sorry, a Ukrainian offensive in the summer. The assumption is that they will be attacking in the south. But of course, the Ukrainians are also being trained by NATO in maneuver warfare and feints and fake attacks will be very much part of any future offensive that they do conduct.

WALKER: All right. Sam Kiley, appreciate your reporting as always. Thank you. And still to come, we are going to talk to former NBA star Jeremy Lin about his foundation to help marginalize youth in Asian American communities. Stay with us.



WALKER: Former NBA star Jeremy Lin is continuing to make a name for himself on and off the court. Lin is probably best known for Linsanity when he became an overnight sensation in 2012, leading the New York Knicks in a spectacular turnaround. And in 2019, he became the first Asian American to win an NBA title as a member of the Toronto Raptors. While he may no longer be in the NBA, Lin is dominating Taiwan's professional basketball league. He's also focused on the Jeremy Lin Foundation to help improve the lives of marginalized youth in Asian American communities.

And we're so delighted to see Jeremy Lin is now joining us from Taiwan as we continue to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Month. Jeremy, thank you for doing this. It's so glad to see you.


First of all, update us on how you've been because you know you have millions of fans who followed you, who watched you fight your way through the NBA. We've cheered you on. We got angry for you, and that includes myself. We were happy for you during these spectacular achievements. You now play basketball professionally in Taiwan. You recently tied the league record for most points in a game. How do you like playing therein Taiwan versus the NBA?

JEREMY LIN, PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER, GUARD, KAOHSIUNG 17LIVE STEELERS, AND FORMER NBA PLAYER: I've loved it. I mean, it's an amazing fan atmosphere, especially for me. Three straight seasons of, kind of, being in a bubble with no fans. And now, to be here, you know, the league is called the Plus League. And it's been wild, just the fan reception is off the charts. And so, I've been having a blast out here.

WALKER: So, you have this documentary that was just released to HBO Max, "38 at the Garden," which, you know, refers to the 38 points that you scored against the L.A. Lakers. It's up for a sports Emmy and it's also, you know, kind of, focuses on your remarkable career, your rise in the NBA. How is this documentary different from "Linsanity", that documentary which I absolutely loved?

LIN: Yes, you know, the "Linsanity" documentary, that was really a -- an intimate, behind the scenes encounter of, kind of, my life and the whole insanity story. And honestly, that North Star was really to tell the story authentically. So, it talks a lot about my family and my faith.

"30 at the Garden" tells the same story but it zones in a little bit more on a shorter stretch of time. And the North Star of "30 at the Garden" is really around social justice and that was just a piece that, for us, 10 years after "Linsanity", we felt like it was an important time for us revisit "Linsanity" within the context of social justice and what, you know, we were experiencing as a society. And so, I would say those would be the two differences.

WALKER: Got it. Got it. You know, a lot has happened since the "Linsanity" phenomenon. You said, more than 10 years ago. I mean, you were what? Only 23 at the time. And overnight, like it or not --

LIN: Yes.

WALKER: -- you were suddenly carrying the weight to represent all of Asian America. And you know, me, myself included, we were all looking at you like this superhero who shattered a million stereotypes for us. You know, I'm sure that wasn't, you know, always intended and that was not always your goal. But when you look back at that whirlwind moment in your career, is there any advice you would give to yourself, to the younger Jeremy Lin?

LIN: Oh, for sure. Lots of advice but the number one thing I would say is to slow down and enjoy the moment. I -- you know, I'm a high achieving, perfectionist. So, it always feels like there is something more to do, something to get better at. And I feel like, you know, that is -- you know, a mentality that over the long term can be really detrimental if I don't learn to really just enjoy the moment and soak in the experience, even if I may not at the destination that I want to be at. And so, that's something that I really wish I had really slowed down and just really soaked it in and just embraced the journey. That is what I would definitely tell my younger self.

WALKER: Yes, I'm sure it is easier said than done, right? I mean, you were under so much pressure and scrutiny at the time. And I think so many people, you know, can really relate to you and your story as an underdog. Always having to overcome. Prove yourself.

And I would love to talk a little bit about your foundation, the Jeremy Lin Foundation. You created it in 2011 to empower marginalized AAPI youth to spark cross cultural, racial conversations and understanding. And, look, you have experienced plenty of racism. The horrible taunting by other players on the hardwood in college. You know, even during your success in the NBA, main stream media didn't even know how to talk about you. I remember just being incensed (ph) seeing that article by the ESPN writer who, you know, obviously apologized and was fired using that racial slur, you know, "Chink in the Armor."

How do you use -- I bring this up because I wonder how you use these experiences as an Asian male in America. I know, you've said many times -- I just, you know, people look at me as the Asian in the NBA. I want to be known as the player in the NBA. How do you use those experiences to meet the needs of the youth in your organization with your organization?

LIN: Yes. I mean, I think for my foundation, really, we focus a lot on under privileged AAPI. But we also focus a lot on cross racial solidarity. I think that's just something that's been so important to me is, you know, us is -- as a society coming together. And it's been difficult to see because post-COVID we've seen, you know staggering statistics, you know, 80 percent of Asian Americans don't feel like they belong. And an insane number of, you know, Asian Americans are being bullied.


And so, these things, you know, really -- you know, my life experiences have kind of equipped me to be able to, you know, imperfectly but to try to inspire, you know, the next generation. And I think the more that we can be comfortable in our own skin, the more that we can be unapologetic about who we are. I think, you know, the better we will be.

And so, that's just something that we really focus on. You know, we have a stronger together collaborative in New York City. And we, you know, support quite a number of grantees, and to see the work that they're doing with their youth and to see not just, you know, within the organization but within the community as well. I think bringing people together, really sharing stories, finding time to listen and to have empathy, I mean, these are things that we're really trying to instill in the next generation.

WALKER: Five seconds, post basketball plans. What are you going to do after basketball?

LIN: a little bit of -- I definitely want to do philanthropy, more on my -- the Jeremy Lin Foundation as well as, you know, capital initiatives to do impact investing and to story tell. I would say, those are probably -- that is my five-second answer.

WALKER: Jeremy Lin, you are an inspiration and what a treat it was to have you. Thank you for joining us.

BLACKWELL: Tonight, be sure to watch the new episode of "The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper". Here is a look.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: So, I mean, Johnson & Johnson is at the center of this. And so, it is essential to hear from this lawyer who has been defending Johnson & Johnson in court.

ALLISON BROWN, OUTSIDE COUNSEL FOR JOHNSON & JOHNSON: The first thing that is most important for me, that people know about these cases, is that they are doing an enormous disservice to a very important issue of women's health. What we can say with 100 percent certainty is that we have never confirmed a finding of asbestos in any product that has been sold and that decades of scientific testing and study have shown that our talc is safe and does not cause cancer.


BLACKWELL: Tune in tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern for "The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper" right here on CNN. We'll be back.