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Title 42 Set to Expire Tonight; Michael Gold is Interviewed about George Santos' Charges; Ukraine Gets Storm Shadow Cruise Missiles. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 11, 2023 - 06:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Mean for Ukraine's expected counter offensive. That's next.

That was very good, guys.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: That was awesome, guys. Thank you very much.

HARLOW: Thank you. And I love how you play off each other.


MATTINGLY: Tonight at 11:59 Eastern, Title 42 expires. Now you'll remember for the last three years the Trump era Covid policies allowed the U.S. to quickly expel migrants from the country. Migrants gathering at the border near San Diego as the policy is set to expire. Government officials estimate more than 150,000 people are waiting in shelters and in the streets in northern Mexico. The U.S. chief of the - chief of the U.S. border patrol is actually downplaying the surge, says he thinks it's already happened, and that the numbers could actually subside soon.

CNN's Nick Valencia is live along the border in Brownsville, Texas.

Nick, you have been down there. You have been doing the reporting. What are you hearing from local officials?


I was in touch with the mayor's office yesterday and they're projecting an air of confidence, saying that they're as prepared as they can be for what's to come. They're hopeful that policies put forward by the Biden administration, including regional processing centers and the home countries of some of these migrants will provide meaningful relief to border cities, like Brownsville, and they need it.


Let me show you what I'm talking about here. Respite center, like the one behind me here, are at capacity, processing between 800 and 1,000 migrants per day. And it's led to scenes like this of people sleeping on the streets. Dozens and dozens of people sleeping on the streets. We haven't quite seen the numbers yet from yesterday, but we noticed an uptick in activity of buses dropping off migrants.

And, meanwhile, we want - some video we want to show you from the border yesterday. We were at the border, a popular illegal crossing for migrants, where we saw dozens of migrants be processed through a makeshift tent there. The question is, where will they all go once they're released on humanitarian parole into the streets of Brownsville. I mentioned that the mayor says they're as prepared as they can be, but time will tell if they have a reason to be confident.


MATTINGLY: You know, Nick, based on the migrants that you've spoken with throughout the course of the week, and I've spoken to many who told us about it on the show, what's going to actually happen at midnight?

VALENCIA: Well, you know, there's some confusion among, you know, the migrants that we've spoken to. Some have the understanding that Title 42 will allow them to go through these ports of entry, to allow them to claim asylum and not be expelled quickly as Title 42 has allowed the government to do here. Others thought that Title 42 ending meant that the border would be shut down entirely. So, there's a bit of misunderstanding about this policy, which has led to the numbers that we're seeing waiting on the other side in Mexico.

And you talked about the border patrol chief in the intro sort of downplaying, thinking that we're right in the middle of this already. And that's kind of what we're hearing from team Brownsville here at this respite center. They're under the impression that the last two weeks they've been dealing with this so-called surge and they're not sure how much worse it can get but they are prepared and bracing for that to happen.


MATTINGLY: Nick Valencia, great reporting, as always. Thanks so much.

HARLOW: Thank you, Nick.

Joren van ders Sloot, one of the last people to see Natalie Holloway before she disappeared 18 years ago, will be extradited to the United States. We'll tell you why.



HARLOW: New calls for Republican Congressman George Santos to resign. Several of the freshmen congressman's Republican colleagues can calling for him to step down. This is after he pleaded not guilty yesterday to 13 federal charges. They're all felony charges. Prosecutors accuse him of fraud, money laundering and a string of other crimes. And he spoke after appearing in court. He said he won't resign and he's still running to plan for - planning to run for re- election.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I'm going to fight my battle. I'm going to deliver. I'm going to fight the witch hunt. I'm going to take care of clearing my name. And I look forward to doing that.


MATTINGLY: Prosecutors say Santos fraudulently collected more than $20,000 in Covid-19 unemployment benefits. They say he used campaign money to pay off his own debt and to buy designer clothes. And they accuse him of lying about his personal finances on congressional disclosure reports.

Now, the congressman is also facing multiple other investigations. The House Ethics Committee and the New York attorney general, two state district attorneys are looking into possible unlawful activity. Santos has been released on a $500,000 bond. He is set to appear in court again on June 30th.

HARLOW: So, let's bring in Michael Gold of "The New York Times." It is his reporting that brought so much of this to light. He's one of two "New York Times" reporters who broke the paper's initial story in the - on the discrepancies in Congressman Santos' resume back in December.

And this has all really come, Michael, from that reporting. So, it's really important. And thank you for being here this morning.


HARLOW: These are all felony charges.

GOLD: Yes, all 13 charges are felony charges.

HARLOW: Potential jail time if he's convicted?

GOLD: Prosecutors are saying the maximum penalty would be up to 20 years. So - and that's if he's convicted on the top charges of wire fraud.

MATTINGLY: And given how closely you've been covering this, I think there's been a sense in D.C. where I am most days if I'm not spilling coffee on myself, is that this was kind of an inevitability. But I still think when it happened, particularly given the scale of the charges, there was a little bit of a kind of a jarring moment.


MATTINGLY: As you have reported this out, as you have gone through this, were you surprised with what came?

GOLD: I was surprised by two things. I was surprised by the speed of this investigation. We know that when the Justice Department, especially the public integrity unit, is looking at cases like this, they're pretty deliberate. I think what we saw in the indictment is these were things that were pretty easy for them to follow the money and find out. But I also think this was a pretty wide-ranging indictment.

You know, there's been a lot of reporting on Congressman Santos. It's not just us. You guys have been doing a great job, too. And one of the schemes in this indictment about the unemployment benefits was news to a lot of reporters who have been following him for months.


HARLOW: Can you explain that to people?


GOLD: Sure. So, according to prosecutors, in June 2020, Congressman Santos, at the time he was making his first failed run for Congress, he applied for unemployment benefits through the state. And those benefits were funded by the Cares Act. And according to prosecutors, on a weekly basis he would certify that he was eligible to receive this unemployment. And they say he collected $24,000 between June 2020 and April 2021. But during that time, Santos was actually employed as the regional director of a Florida-based investment firm Harbor City Capital and collecting $120,000 salary.

HARLOW: But wasn't he also out there deriding President Biden for continuing this aid?

GOLD: Santos has had a mixed track record on his views on this kind of aid. I think one thing that's actually really notable is that he's one of 35 co-sponsors on a Republican-led bill that would help states essentially recoup the money that they got from the kind of unemployment fraud that he's accused of committing. And we saw Republican leaders yesterday really double down on this issue and they're saying that they're really focused on attacking.

One of the things that I think the congressman did while he was running for office is said that, you know, pandemic benefits and pandemic programs had gone too far and that the spending needed to be cut back. So, it is interesting to see him allegedly take advantage of that.

MATTINGLY: Can I ask you, you know, there's been a lot of attention on how this wasn't kind of flushed out during the campaign, right? And I think you saw local press was reporting on it. I think Democrats knew about it, just maybe didn't capitalize on it.


How did you get on to this story and do you feel like, when you look at the national media and how we treated that race, that perhaps we could have or should have done a better job?

GOLD: That's a great question. It's something I've been thinking a lot about. You know, I think a lot of ink has been spilled about the fact that my colleague, Grace Ashford and I, did not publish this story until after the election. And, to be honest, we weren't looking closely at Congressman Santos' race.


GOLD: For various calendar (ph) reasons in New York, it was a very crowded season here. We had two primaries back to back, a very contested governor's election. And I think there's been a lot of talk in the press about how we can do better, locally media, national media, to make sure we're covering these races in people's communities. You know, as you said, there was a small, local paper that had started to raise a few questions about -

HARLOW: Yes. Let's name the paper and give them credit.

GOLD: "The North Shore Leader."


GOLD: "The North Shore Leader" was one of the earlier reporters. I also want to point to Mark Tucson (ph), who works for Newsy's editorial board, who had also been raising a lot of questions about Santos. There was a lot to uncover, which we got to in December. But I think there are a lot of questions as we head into the next midterm cycle about how we're going to make sure we properly vet candidates in a lot of crowded races.

MATTINGLY: Yes. We can always do better. But you guys have done the real work, and the real work takes time and a lot of effort and resources, and you guys have certainly done it.

GOLD: Thank you. I appreciate that.

HARLOW: Thanks again.

GOLD: Thanks.

MATTINGLY: Well, former President Trump refusing to say whether he wants Russia or Ukraine to win the ongoing war, but that he'll ended it in, quote, 24 hours. We'll tell you which potential Republican contender responded by calling Trump a, quote, Putin puppet.


HARLOW: All right, now to a CNN exclusive. Senior western officials tell CNN the United Kingdom has supplied Ukraine with multiple Storm Shadow cruise missiles.


Those weapons have stealth capabilities and are typically launched from the air with a firing range of over 155 miles. So that means it could strike deep into Russian held territory in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine has agreed not to use the missiles inside of Russia. A U.S. official says the weapons are a game changer ahead of Ukraine's highly anticipated counter offensive against Russia.

So, let's go to someone who knows more about this than any of us, Jim Sciutto, who joins me now.

Jim, you know this stuff inside and out. Why is this so important?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's an enormous weapons upgrade for Ukraine. It triples the range, really, of existing weapons system that Ukraine has, about 50 miles. This has 150-mile range which allows it to strike, as you said, Poppy, deep into Russian-held territory in eastern Ukraine. Also in Crimea.

As you mentioned, part of the agreement here is that Ukrainian forces have agreed not to target Russian territory proper. But as this comes just in advance of a highly anticipated Ukrainian counter offensive, it tended to regain some of that Russian or all of that Russian territory in the view of Ukrainian officials. It's an enormous step forward in terms of capability for the forces.

And I should note, it's a kind of system that the U.S. has refused to give Ukraine due to concerns that that range might make Russia skittish, in effect, and spark retaliation.

I should note, a western official is telling me this morning, quote, the U.K. has previously said that it will supply Ukraine with long- range weapons. This will now include a number of Storm Shadow missiles.

The British government has been clear that this is only in response to Russia's deliberate targeting of civilian national infrastructure and is a proportionate response.

But I don't think we can underestimate what effect this will have in terms of how far Ukraine can strike and timing is key here because they are about, by all - you know, perhaps you might say the worst kept secret, right, in national security circles that they are planning and preparing for a counter offensive to take back a lot of that Russian territory.

MATTINGLY: You know, Jim, it's so striking to look through the lens of what's happening with this action, and then compare it last night to when Kaitlan asked former President Trump who he wants to win the war in Ukraine. Take a listen to his response.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Can you say if you want Ukraine or Russia to win this war?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I want everybody to stop dying. They're dying. Russians and Ukrainians. I want them to stop dying. And I'll have that done - I'll have that done in 24 hours I'll have it done. You need the power of the presidency it to do it.


MATTINGLY: And, Jim, my biggest question when I hear that is, what's the response from international allies? What are you hearing from European governments, from Asian governments, who have been aligned within the U.S. and wonder what's happening after 2024?

SCIUTTO: Listen, outrage and fear because their fear is if Trump is re-elected that the U.S. and perhaps its allies will stop supporting Ukraine. Listen, Trump used a both sides approach to that war that does not align with the facts.


SCIUTTO: Russia invaded Ukraine unprovoked. It invaded the territory of a sovereign nation. And when Trump describes it as he wants people to stop dying on both sides, sure, no one was rooting for death on either side of this conflict. But remember, part of Russia's military strategy, as we've seen every day in that country, is to kill civilians, right, and often with evidence of war crimes.


SCIUTTO: Just tell the stories and remember the stories from Bucha of rape, of men, women, and children killed in the most horrible ways and daily missile and bombing attacks that target civilian infrastructure, right. So, Trump's both sides description of that war does not align with the facts or reality.

HARLOW: Mass graves in Bucha. Maternity wards targeted. And yet he would not, last night, call Putin a war criminal.


HARLOW: Jim, thank you for your excellent reporting.

SCIUTTO: Thanks.

MATTINGLY: Well, let's turn now to sports. It was survival night in the NBA on Wednesday. The defending champion Warriors keeping the title defense hopes alive with a must win game five victory over LeBron James and the Lakers. Steph Curry helping Golden State get out to a quick 12 point lead with a deep three. Kind of his jam. Then, right before the half, Curry added again at the buzzer. Now, Golden State would lead by 11 at the half, then, in the fourth, Anthony Davis taking this shot from Kevin Looney in the face, which doesn't seem great. He would leave the game with a head injury. According to the broadcasts, he needed a wheelchair to get to the locker room. Of course, the game itself, Steph putting it away. A little give and go with Draymond Green (ph). Steph, 27 points. Warriors winning 121-106.


Game six is tomorrow night.

HARLOW: I can't believe I had to ask you if the Knicks won last night but the --

MATTINGLY: Well, you're a big Knicks fan.

HARLOW: I mean, when it's convenient. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein is back in Washington after a

nearly three-month-long absence. What this means for those judicial nominations and more. That's next.



Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein casting her first vote after nearly three months of absence from Capitol Hill. Watch.





HARLOW: Senator Feinstein was pushed in a wheelchair onto the Senate floor for a vote on an Department of Education nominee.


The 89-year-old senator returned to the Capitol yesterday after a months' long recovery from shingles. In a statement she said she still.